Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Immersion, suspension, stasis...

So what is this?

This is s a sketch, an experiment, trying out an idea that I’m unsure about. It’s an experiment in making something that suggests or creates an affective state, an attempt to replicate the experience of something in such a way that the experience might be reproduced in the experience of the video, which might be considered to be attempting to reproduce a subjective state, or simply to replicate a situation as far as possible within the possibilities of a medium. Ideally it is intended to be experienced immersively, more of that later, but to this end the closest you can get to achieving some kind of immersion is if you watch it full screen
with the sound on headphones or better still the HD version at http://www.vimeo.com/2510462 (full screen with headphones).

Temporal slippage and the sensation of creeping jetlag, timelag. There’s a point when, after being on an flight for 12 hours, sleep seems impossible, weariness fills every limb, the dull hum of the engine, the occasional rough shuddering turbulence, the blinds drawn, seat reclined as far as possible, squeezed fetal, cabin lights dimmed, long slow feeling as though we could stay here forever, suspended animation, speed and perception, precipitates a kind of swirl of melancholy. It’s this creeping jetlag melancholia, a wistful, pensiveness born of suspension of time or its normal diurnal working patterns that I was trying to evoke: the suspension of a subjective experience of normality, a vague liminal hallucinatory state, a few kilometres over the Indian Ocean. This is the state that I am groping towards trying to recreate in this sketch.

The music that I’ve been connecting to this is the anti-drama of 90’s German techno: the more dubby ambient, deep, end of Basic Channel/Chain Reaction and Rhythm & Sound, or Plastikman’s Consumed, immersive spatial sounds, the sort of music that occupies narrow frequencies, is continuous and based on drones but with almost sub-sonic spatialised reverberant bass and rhythms, the sort of narrow frequencies of the pressurised container with the standing wave of the engine sound.

The interest here is in creating context, an environment, an affective situation rather than a perceptual spectacle or metaphors for vision and consciousness. Video here is not a ‘medium’, not here functioning as a carrier of information, or meaning, not in itself a stimuli for response, or to demand attention, and it is not a spectacle. It suggests rather that the viewer becomes immersed in the context that it creates.

Digital video is not so adept at being the presentation or a record of time past, it cannot easily be broken into discrete images that represent an indexical record of a moment. Digital moving image media is far more adept at thinking spatially. Compression dictates that any discrete moment, if it could be frozen in video, would represent not that one fraction of a second, but a merging of various particles of recordings of both preceding and following that moment, keyframing, bitrates all conspire against the representation of a temporal flow. So now temporal representation is a continuous streaming slippage of a number of points in time, all at once. If this is the case we recreate the illusion of the passage of time through perception and cognition, a slippage of multi-temporalities, or let’s say a lack of temporal specificity, suggests a spatial experience, multiple representations of time suggests the creation of continuity and place, in suspension, a few kilometres over the Indian Ocean.

The problem is that the video is inadequate in producing this context in and by itself without recourse to instructions to the viewer to watch it in HD, wearing headphones, or whatever. The possible best context for creating this context would be to create a space in which this video would be playing continuously, perhaps surround sound filling as much as possible the interior space, an immersive space itself standing in for an immersive space, a box, in installation. This line of enquiry is, perhaps, to be continued.

In the meantime, it has occurred to me that I have already made a film with these kind of immersive qualities, 17 years ago on super 8, it was intended to be exhibited in a cinema space, screening with continuous sound, Harmonic Maheno:

(watch it in full screen, with headphones... etc)

Sunday, 28 December 2008

it's cold

It's cold.

I move my leg here.
It's cold.

Then just a few centimetres,
over here.

Still cold.

Cold across my back.
Cold air on my back.
I turn so that my back is angled towards the radiator.
Still cold, but not as cold.

However this angle is awkward for the keyboard and it's difficult to type.


Monday, 22 December 2008


A column...
... no, a rectangular block of tiles set into the wall, floor to roof.
Its width is four
horizontal rectangular shaped tiles, with a ratio of around 2:1 width to height.

Dark turquoise green glazed tiles with light coloured, possibly white, grouting.

In the centre a patch of yellow and black striped hazard tape, four strips placed horizontally so that the black and yellow bands running at an angle of roughly 45° across the width of tape, create an irregular staggered pattern.

It looks to me something like an op-art painting, but resisting the illusion of movement.

The Bakerloo line train moves out of the station. Any further description would be based on memory and not direct observation.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

mute objects

Most of them are boarded up now.
One or two, here and there, still occupied.

When entire floors are empty
welders appear fixing fanned metal rods.

Friday, 12 December 2008


Camberwell pavements,
health insurance?
No thanks...

Thursday, 11 December 2008


Music on earphones.
Whose earphones?
His earphones?
No, mine.

Unattended bags
cause delays
please keep yours with
you at all times

The exclamation mark is to the right of the block of text
and runs its full height, vertically.
The point at its base is a graphical image of a case.

We stop and start through the emptied estates.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Three words collided
three words together
three words repeated
but not three times.

She's holding two mobile phones.
Why am I always suspicious of people
with two mobile phones?

From Waterloo Bridge the river looks sluggish in the indifferent chill.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

had enough

The Welshman on the night bus said he'd had enough of this country and couldn't wait to get back to China.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

there and back


Can't see much farther than the back of the seat in front, the rain on the steamed up window. Macro shift the grey sky, the spots of twin red lights, the yellow rail.


Sky darkening, windows more reflective, restless leg across the passage two seats up on the right. A couple are trying to read my notebook over my shoulder.


These keys... what do you want me to write?

A clear and unambiguous statement perhaps?

It's not before time, certainly.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Horizons and Centres

If my blog writing has been a little skimpy the last few months it's because I've been incredibly busy with other things. Two of those things reach some kind of fruition in the next few weeks: two separate curatorial collaborations, both involve Australian artists.

Transcentric, an exhibition at Central St Martins's Lethaby Gallery, a collaboration with RMIT in Melbourne on the theme of the urban centre, opens next week on Monday 17 November.

Figuring Landscapes, a touring screening programme of Australian and UK moving image works on the theme of landscape, has its first public exhibition at ArtSway in the New Forest on Monday 24 November.

Click on the links for details - I'm too busy to write more!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Hisstorical Release

MESSTHETICS GREATEST HISS CD (#110) An introduction to the D.I.Y. cassette scene 1979-84.

This is D.I.Y. at its most liberated.
The U.K.'s initial outburst of "cassette culture" produced sounds of incredible freshness, directness, and even occasional sophistication, which poured out of hundreds of bedrooms filled with found- and improvised percussion, Woolworths guitars, home-made electronics (and soldering fumes!) came at least a thousand tapes, mostly circulated through the mail for free or at cost (and usually in editions of 100 or fewer. The 'Greatest Hiss' series samples the cassette-scene's more, er, melodic material (sorry, there's no 'ambient' or 'industrial' - and everything's under 4 minutes!).

Just released, features 25 acts, including Storm Bugs, plus bonus mp3s.

More info at Hyped to Death

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Plagiarism Live!

Dirk de Bruyn is in town from Australia next week and Small But Perfectly Formed Olivier has kindly, efficiently, and at short notice, managed to rustle up a gig for his performance Plagiarism, a multi-screen film and sound poetry presentation addressing issues of traumatic effect/affect.

Also performing on the night,
improvising together for the first time will be
Phil Durrant (synthesizers and computer), Mathias Forge (trombone) and Samantha Rebello (flute), while kicking it all off Lynn Loo & Guy Sherwin will present two
16mm multi-projection performances Cycles #3 & Sound Cuts #2. Dirk will also be accompanied by guest appearances from local performers.

Here's some more info about the artists and work:
Dirk de Bruyn was a founding member and past president of MIMA (Experimenta), he’s been involved with Fringe Network and been a member of the Melbourne Super 8 Film Group. His materialist film practice is a representation of traumatised space, depicting a person consumed by a body of pain in which slowly something is remembered. In this performance he enlists the strategies of experimental film and punk, invoking notions of Artaud's "cruel" performance.

Mathias Forge and Samantha Rebello use a wide variety of extended techniques to explore the textural capacities of their instruments. Focusing on the fragile physicality of the sounds and on their environment they keep a strong sense of musicality in their improvisations.
Phil Durrant approaches the computer like an acoustic instrument, with all the flexibility and precision that this implies He has been awarded various Arts Council grants to research and develop his use of electronics. He has played with Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Grooverider, John Zorn, MIMEO...

Guy Sherwin and Lynn Loo: Cycles #3, is a hand-made film for two 16mm projectors. The image of a circle pulsates at varying rates accompanied by rhythmic sounds. This is a recent colour version that uses two basic colours that have the effect of inducing additional colours in the eye of the beholder. Guy explains Sound Cuts: “Black film stock is repeatedly cut and rejoined. The cuts are made with the angled blade of a splicer normally used for joining sound film. At each cut we see an angled flash of light followed by a thud of sound. The film combines rhythmic intervals from one cut per second to twenty-four cuts per second, spread across 6 projectors”.

7:00pm, Sunday 2nd November, £6 admission
Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4OE
Tube: Farrington, Angel / Bus: 19, 38, 341
More information on http://smabpf.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Night Garden or Meltdown?

let's leave the grown ups to their crisis as we enter the garden in the night...

Monday, 6 October 2008

The Grown Ups

They're all out there today you know. With their grey clothes, grey faces frozen into frowns, with their cigarettes, their cardboard coffee cups with the plastic lids, and their complicated mobile 'phones. Cash or credit? They look worried.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Green on the Horizon

Green on the Horizon, 18 min, 1988, Philip Sanderson & Steven Ball

It was well over twenty years ago that Philip and I spent weeks scouring the folk archives and local libraries, from the marshlands of the Medway delta to the lanes of the outskirts of Maidstone and that mysterious suburban liminal hinterland between, collecting loosely connected local folklore, phenomena occurring around pagan sites, universal urban myths, hatching plans to realise this as some kind of major cinematic opus. But how to achieve this vision?

There was some interest from influential figures in the experimental film world, which led exactly nowhere. Without the means to produce the project in its entirety, we were however able to make some forays into the project, first with the extremely DIY Apostrophe S in 1986 and then in 1988 for Green on the Horizon we received funding from South East Arts. It was shot on several days over a couple of months on Cliffe Marshes, using the London Filmmakers’ Co-op’s just about functioning Nizo super 8 camera, balancing precariously on bicycles while shooting, pacing around fields and along the Thames Estuary foreshore as Angie Staples made attempts to interpret the directors’ intentions through self-choreographed parading up and down, round and round. The finished video was influenced as much by Tarkovsky and The Avengers as it was by avant-garde formalism.

Green on the Horizon
was well-received in some quarters. Stephen Bode wrote “Short cuts make long delays. Green on the Horizon makes a wonderful diversion.” (City Limits, 28 April, 1988) and made it number four in the City Limits ‘Indie Vid Top Ten’ for 1988 (placing it above works by the likes of Mona Hatoum, Cerith Wyn Evans and George Barber). It was included in Electric Eyes, an early Film and Video Umbrella touring programme which resulted in screenings at the Tate, ICA, Video Brazil, and Wien Medienwerkstadtt, among many others.

But elsewhere the video received a more muted response. Mike Jones was frustrated: “A film that contains elements of dance/choreographed movements, but is not really a dance film; a film set in a landscape, but its insistence for much of the time on framing the figure closely in relation to background means that it’s not really a ‘landscape film’” and he goes on to suggest that it “…stumbles and then trips itself up…” (Independent Media, July 1988).

So, after twenty years how does
Green on the Horizon fare?

It looks to me now to be something of an ante-narrative, a catalogue of gestures and phrases on a linear path that suggests a parallel narrative that it is placed beyond; the narrative elements presented only partially in the work itself, which still curiously appears quite self-contained, well-formed but paradoxically incomplete. It is an enigmatic piece and perhaps best viewed alongside its complementary works: the aforementioned
Apostrophe S and Hangway Turning. The latter was made by Philip in 1990, after I had left the UK, and effectively collects most of the remaining elements that we had developed for the project into a work with a more satisfying narrative structure. This is achieved chiefly through the introduction of a second character, a kind of reluctant psychic archeologist who provides a narrative continuity, played with deadpan aplomb by Nigel Jacklin. An extract from Hangway Turning can be viewed here, courtesy of the archive at psouper.co.uk.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

More One Minutes (Volume 2)

More screenings during the remainder of this year for the One Minute (Volume 2) touring programme curated by Kerry Baldry

14 September - 31 October: The Big Screen, Queen Victoria Square, Hull

18 – 21 September
: Housewarming, The Marseille Project Gallery, Marseille, France

18 October
: Hull Film, The Red Gallery, Hull

21 October: NoD, Prague, Czech Republic

19 November - 20 December: Artprojx Space, London

Artists included in One Minute (Volume 2): Kerry Baldry, Steven Ball, Gordon Dawson, Catherine Elwes, Andy Fear, Steve Hawley, Nicolas Herbert, Riccardo Iacono, Hilary Jack, Esther Johnson, Nick Jordan, Tina Keane, Deklan Kilfeather, Lynn Loo, Kate Meynell, Louisa Minkin, Claire Morales, Gary Peploe, Martin Pickles, Stuart Pound, Laure Prouvost, Eva Rudlinger, Philip Sanderson, Erica Scourti, Margie Schnibbe, Guy Sherwin, Marty St.James, Unconscious Films, Phillip Warnell and Mark Wigan.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

At Five in the Afternoon

At five in the afternoon.
It was just five in the afternoon.
A boy brought the white sheet
at five in the afternoon.
A basket of lime made ready
at five in the afternoon.
The rest was death and only death
at five in the afternoon.

The wind blew the cotton wool away
at five in the afternoon.
And oxide scattered nickel and glass
at five in the afternoon.
Now the dove and the leopard fight
at five in the afternoon.
And a thigh with a desolate horn
at five in the afternoon.
The bass-pipe sound began
at five in the afternoon.
The bells of arsenic, the smoke
at five in the afternoon.
Silent crowds on corners
at five in the afternoon.
And only the bull with risen heart!
at five in the afternoon.
When the snow-sweat appeared
at five in the afternoon.
when the arena was splashed with iodine
at five in the afternoon.
death laid its eggs in the wound
at five in the afternoon.
At five in the afternoon.
At just five in the afternoon.

A coffin on wheels for his bed
at five in the afternoon.
Bones and flutes sound in his ear
at five in the afternoon.
Now the bull bellows on his brow
at five in the afternoon.
The room glows with agony
at five in the afternoon.
Now out of distance gangrene comes
at five in the afternoon.
Trumpets of lilies for the green groin
at five in the afternoon.
Wounds burning like suns
at five in the afternoon.
and the people smashing windows
at five in the afternoon.
At five in the afternoon.
Ay, what a fearful five in the afternoon!
It was five on every clock!
It was five of a dark afternoon!

Federico García Lorca

for Lee Smith RIP

Friday, 15 August 2008


The Big Carpet Snake came through this country long ago in the Dreamtime. At that time the sea was not here (and) the land went all the way to the mainland... On his way down from the north, his body made the channel between Hinchinbrook Island and the mainland. The big snake came down the Herbert River, went out to sea and broke up leaving parts of his backbone which are the Palm Islands and his head which is Magnetic Island. The tail of his body is at Halifax Bay.
- Wulgurukaba people, Yunbenun (Magnetic Island), Queensland, Australia

Friday, 1 August 2008

Personal Electronics Dossier

On Saturday I will be performing Personal Electronics as part of the series of moving image performances Intermission: Who is Miss Roder being presented by the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia. The performance is concerned with ideas around the notion of paranoia and was partly inspired by reports that instances of what one might call ‘everyday paranoia’ are on the increase. My subject expanded when I discovered phenomena such as gang stalking (people stalked or harassed in public by gangs of strangers, on the street, in cars, etc.), electronic harassment using lasers and voice to skull technology (people attacked in their own homes by remote lasers or hearing voices inside their own heads transmitted using technology that by-passes the ears), where individuals claim to be long-term victims of attacks by perpetrators unknown. There are many websites dedicated to reports about these attacks, speculation as to who the perpetrators (known as ‘perps’) may be and their motivation, as well as calls to government to introduce legislation against the practice (which might be optimistic as other sites suggest that governments themselves might be instigating much of this activity to intimidate and discredit personae non gratae).

There are also many videos on YouTube and Google Video made by the victims of these attacks. My performance will consist largely of extracts from online videos uploaded by victims with live voice performance of text extracted from videos and reports, including anonymous contributions to the performance gathered up to the day of the performance via a form on my website. The live voice will be performed by reciting recordings of extracts of these texts, played back in random shuffle mode on an iPod through earphones, in effect I will be repeating the voices in my own head. This will be presented without commentary.

The unasked questions might be whether this is an absurd extreme of the kind of everyday anxiety and paranoia that most people are familiar with, or whether the victims’ experiences are evidence that much paranoia points to justified concerns about organised activities being perpetrated potentially against all individuals.

Here is a link to some of the information available online as a research dossier of material for Personal Electronics:

Monday, 21 July 2008


click on image for QuickTime movie (9.7Mb)

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Work in Australia

With the recession biting at our heels in the UK it seems that many are considering fleeing to distant shores with the promise of a better life. According to this article certainly ‘white collar’ Australians in the UK seem to be cutting their losses and making the trip home believing “…that Australia, with its strong economy and buoyant jobs market, is the best place to ride out the credit crunch.” And then the other day on the tube I glanced over the shoulder of someone reading one of those nasty free papers; what caught my eye was an advert suggesting that the reader might “work in Oz” and gave this MySpace page. Was this a new attempt to lure Poms downunder to a life of endless barbeques on endless beaches, living in the shadow of Uluru or Sydney Opera House or any number of other clichéd icons of the ‘Australian lifestyle’? Well yes and no. Rather than an update on the White Australia Policy it is in fact simply encouraging young adults to take a working holiday in the country, itself of course frequently a backdoor to residency. In trying to debunk some of the old clichés the MySpace page constructs another image of Australia as the gap year rite of passage of choice.

Anyway this was not intended to be a deconstruction of contemporary representations of Australian culture, you’ll have to wait a little longer for that one, but to mention that I will be presenting some work in Australia later this month in Sydney and Melbourne in early August:

Loose Space and Circular Time
- a non-chronological retrospective of a selection of film and video works made between 1991 and 2008.
7.30pm, Friday 25 July, Teaching and Learning Cinema, SYDNEY (a bar), 302 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, Sydney

Personal Electronics
- a video/spoken word performance
10pm, Saturday 2 August, Intermission, Melbourne International Film Festival, Fortyfive Downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Two days later we travel out of Melbourne to catch the cogcollective screening
Intimate Journeys
curated by Lynn Loo
7pm, Monday 4 August at A Perfect Drop, 5 Howe Street, Daylesford, Victoria.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Hard art makes intelligence soft

Cryptic Burgess Dub 12:26, 2006
download QuickTime version (76 Mb)

Dubstep meets experimental video meets cryptology. Electronic video manipulation follow dub music processes producing visual distortion, echo and reverb. Like much contemporary dubstep music this evokes the grimy South London summer, as pavements melt, the humidity rises, a steamy fug settles and the city slows into an uneasy and frazzled hallucinatory dub daze. The image track provides a background rhythm to an experiment testing a proposition that the cryptic in experimental art might not simply be subjective obfuscated poetical aestheticism, or self-reflexive formalism, but a vehicle for the transmission of statements which, from a current paranoiac 'homeland security' purview, could be considered as sensitive, even dangerous.

Two years ago I screened Cryptic Burgess Dub in the Shifting Latitudes programme, the first cogcollective programme in London; the video had been completed specially for that programme. Last weekend, nearly two years later, the programme became the first cogcollective screening in Australia. So to date Cryptic Burgess Dub has had exactly two public screenings. Why have I not attempted to get it screened in any other context? I might have responded to the various calls for submission from festivals and gallery programmes, perhaps even sent it to Lux for consideration for distribution (while Lux has exhibited zero interest in my recent work, I persist in submitting work, perhaps out of masochistic perversity I like to imagine that the consistent rejections are intended to discourage me and that my submissions are met with exasperation by the acquisition panel, it’s a sad little game to play I know…), but with this video I didn’t. The video is the result of a difficult experiment, it embodies its own problematic.

Summer 2006 resounded to dubstep, I suggested of the form that “…the languorous rhythms and caverns of reverb of dub infiltrates the jerky twostep, dropping deep sonic bass notes in its path…” making for a “…music at once raw and expansive…” and “…on this sunny weekend, with long term reports that this could be the longest warmest UK summer since 1976…” dubstep sounded “…like becoming the inner city soundtrack of the season as pavements around the Borough melt, the humidity rises, a steamy fug settles and the city slows into an uneasy and frazzled hallucinatory dub daze.” - from Big up Bare at Spherical Objective. While dubstep had been around for a few years, it had been overshadowed by the grittier spitting Grime, but with the haunted sounds of the debut Burial album having just leaked, this music resonated with the undercurrent of fear in the capital with its post 7/7 institutionally fanned paranoia; in short it sounded like the Zeitgeist. This spirit was hard wired into Cryptic Burgess Dub. The images are mostly shot in Burgess Park, south London, between Old Kent Road and Walworth Road, linking Bermondsey with Camberwell with Peckham, a shabby sprawling park that has seen better days and which, rather than offer the casual walker some space to stretch their legs and fill their lungs with fresh air, offers ample opportune concealed space for potential muggers to hide and plan their ambush, at least this is how it feels in situ: an agoraphobic’s worst nightmare. The video sequences were subjected to ‘visual dub’ techniques. I used an analogue video mixer wiring delayed output to input loops producing controlled accumulating feedback as the visual equivalent of the tape delay echo and reverb that gives dub its distinctive deep repetitive resonance. The video feedback on the edge of dissolving into abstraction, produces electronic colours that seem to suck the ‘natural’ colour out of the scene replacing it with a toxic hallucinogenic aura. Treated loops of dubstep from Rinse FM cemented the musical relationship with map references to highlight the specificity of the locations.

I was however also concerned with what the use of experimental moving image practice could be. The distorted visual effects of video signal bending are all very well in an abstracted modernist way, but ultimately do little more than become, well, attractive visual effects, conforming to the condition of music. I thought that it would be interesting if abstraction could provide a function, as a conceptual container perhaps. I was concerned with the danger of facing the dead end of obfuscation for its own ends, an aesthetic device that merely succeeds in arriving at a vague ineffability. The cryptic should not be an end in itself, but a means to an end, the end of the smuggling of a text, hiding the real meaning or intention of the work, readable only by those provided with the tools to decrypt. If experimental moving image work has exhausted the efficacy of the novelty of formal experimentation, then perhaps the cryptic in the abstraction could, literally, contain an encrypted ‘message’. In the post-homeland security political climate of the first decade of the 21st century, where policy is based on paranoia and everyone is a suspect, where fears of encroachments on civil liberties drive liberal protest, if ‘they’ are actually snooping on ‘our’ every move and reading all our emails, then perhaps an experimental video practice could be the Trojan horse for the transmittal of subversive messages. Cryptic Burgess Dub was a test for this.

Throughout the duration of the video a succession of numbers scrolls across the bottom of the frame. This is an encrypted text, produced with a one-time pad, an encryption procedure which, if used properly, provides an unbreakable encryption algorithm. The Wikipedia One Time Pad entry provides a good description of how the process works. It necessitates the reader having access to a decryption key, normally provided once only and destroyed immediately after use. At the end of Cryptic Burgess Dub is the information that a decryption key can be found at http://www.steven-ball.net/onetimepad01.html however for this to be any use the viewer would have had to have noted the numbers running throughout the video - the encrypted message - and then match each number in sequence with the key. Remember that there have only been two public screenings, two years and continents apart.

This particular encrypted text is not particularly subversive: it speaks to the possibilities of this method of transmitting text and the potential for it to be subversive. It is essentially self-referential. The irony is that revealing from the outset, rather than at the end, that this video carries a ‘secret message’ would undermine its efficacy as an encrypted text. The paradox is that when the transmission of encrypted texts is itself shrouded in obfuscation the fact of encryption becomes ineffectual.

So the video is embedded above and, if anyone has the inclination, it should with patience and determination be possible to decrypt the text. The comments box awaits your result!

This key is simple. This is a test.

Monday, 23 June 2008

One Minute (Volume 2)

On Thursday I have a couple of videos in the new One Minute collection screening in Manchester. This is the second programme in the series of artists' videos curated by Kerry Baldry. This programme promises to be even more diverse than the inaugral One Minute programme first screened last year at cogcollective which went on to Manchester, Yekaterinburg (Russia), Hull, Prague, Berlin, Hornsey and will screen in Australia in August (the latter courtesy of cogcollective's Australian branch).

One Minute (Volume 2) will be screened
at 7 pm on Thursday 26th June at The Gallery Space, 1st Floor, Cow Lane Studios, Casket Works, Cow Lane, Salford, M5 4NB. Artists included: Kerry Baldry, Steven Ball, Gordon Dawson, Catherine Elwes, Andy Fear, Steve Hawley, Nicolas Herbert, Riccardo Iacono, Hilary Jack, Esther Johnson, Nick Jordan, Tina Keane, Deklan Kilfeather, Lynn Loo, Kate Meynell, Louisa Minkin, Claire Morales, Gary Peploe, Martin Pickles, Stuart Pound, Laure Prouvost, Eva Rudlinger, Philip Sanderson, Erica Scourti, Margie Schnibbe, Guy Sherwin, Marty St.James, Unconscious Films, Phillip Warnell and Mark Wigan.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Direct City Visions

On Sunday 15 June at 2pm I will be discussing my work alongside other artists and Tracey Warr at the Visions in the Nunnery show. Warr has curated City Choreographies a programme that concentrates on the relationship between the city and its pedestrian inhabitants, screening at the Nunnery on Saturday from 12 - 2pm and 3 - 6pm, at 2pm she will be in conversation with Alan Smith, one of the artists whose work is featured in the programme.

I'm looking forward to this very much as clearly the themes of Warr's programme connect strongly with the selection of Direct Language videos screening at Visions in the Nunnery (Direct Language 1, 8, 2.5, 2.7, 2.9, 3.2, 3.0, 4.0 and 4.5 - which can all be viewed on the videoblog), with their variously rhythmically edited sequences of skateboarders, ad hoc synchronised dancing in a Soho square, visual Dopplerised U-bahn trains, cable car landscapes, jittery urban spaces and so on, they are very much dancing about architecture, enunciations of the city space by the pedestrian inhabitants and the author, of course, is one of their number

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Direct Visions

A ten minute compilation of a selection of the Direct Language videos will be exhibited at Visions in the Nunnery between 6 - 15 June. The private view is 6:30 - 9:00pm on Friday 6 June, the Nunnery is at 183 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ.

With the exception of Outside and Unknown at the Pixelodeon and Screen Dump at cogcollective - both programmes dedicated to works from videoblogs - this is the first time videos made for Direct Language have screened publicly in a context outside of the web.

Usually using unostentatious settings as stepping-stone footage for the videos – from urban settings, interiors, and forests - the subsequently manipulated and precisely choreographed patterns mirror the concern for formal and cognitive visual rigor. Often palindromic and/or surgically sliced into rhythmic, repetitive footage with careful concern for soundtrack implications, the short pieces reveal, at times, surprising short-circuiting attentive observations from the seemingly banal out-sets. A study in the manipulation of the inconspicuous.

Direct Language has long since ended as an abstracted video serial journal project, it can be viewed in its entirety archived at Direct Language and I am also making a selection of the videos available as an unlimited edition DVD series, unostentatiously packaged in a plain cover with a handwritten label. This can be purchased for a nominal amount to cover materials, handling and postage. Email me for details with "Direct Language DVD" in the subject field.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Slow Space

Klaus W. Eisenlohr
16mm film/67:00/2004

Slow Space will screen in the no.w.here Light Reading series on 28th May 2008 at 7pm. Following the film I will be in conversation with its author.

About the film:
Slow Space takes the viewer on a visual trip through the city of Chicago without showing streets or plazas like we have seen in travel guides. Instead, the journey goes through places roofed and lit by glass architecture, a private living room, Gran Hyatt Regency and some other places. Scenes set in open urban space and interviews filmed in private homes complement this passage through public and private places.
Slow Space investigates the relationship between the body and the urban architectural environment over the time period of three years. Searching the anomalies of the normal, the filmmaker traces a 'Desire for Modernity' in the city's architecture being shaped by pre- and postmodern forces. In addition, the film discusses the topic of public space in American cities through interviews with the Chicago artists and filmmakers Deborah Stratman, Chris Harris, Gretchen Till, Ken Fandell, Thomas Comerford and Eduardo Pradilla.

Klaus W. Eisenlohr is a Berlin-based artist who works in a number of media including film and photography. He is also a curator and has for a number of years curated an ongoing series of Urban Research programmes which have screened at Directors Lounge in Berlin and elsewhere, including cogcollective.

Light Reading
28th May 2008
3rd Floor
316 – 318 Bethnal Green Road
London E2

£5 door £4 prebooked

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Thursday, 15 May 2008

One Minute in Crouch End

The One Minute programme curated by Kerry Baldry screens all weekend at Hornsey Town Hall as part of Crouch End Open Studios

Hornsey Town Hall
Crouch End Broadway
London E8
11:00 - 18:00
Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 May

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Rolled Up/Rolled Out

Rolled Up/Rolled Out
20:00, Monday 28 April, 2008
Resonance 104.4FM

Produced and presented by Steven Ball, this programme will present Breath: Polymers and Pneumatics, a breathing performance by Australian artist Irene Barberis specially recorded in Australia for Resonance FM alongside work by London-based artists featured in the Melbourne exhibition Rolled Up/Rolled Out including Riccardo Iacono, Tina Keane, William Raban, Anne Tallentire and John Wynne.

Rolled Up/Rolled Out is part of a collaborative project between the University of the Arts London and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology exploring the urban centre within and between the two cities. The Centres Project brings together two centres of Fine Art research, each central to their respective cities; within the complex flow of forces of an urban hub, each institution simultaneously responds and contributes to their cities’ stimuli.

Curated by Irene Barberis (RMIT) and currently on exhibition in Melbourne, Rolled Up/Rolled Out is concerned with how the production of art in global cities is responding and contributing to the intensification and expansion of cultural flows in globalization, providing a snapshot of the diverse practices that emerge through the common experience of contemporary urban space.

**Update: the show is here for anyone who missed it.

Monday, 24 March 2008


Melbourne International Film Festival trailer, 1:25, 1993

The 'nineties work so far in this series were rarely, if at all, screened. But this final post is something of an exception. I
n 1993 I was asked to make a super 8 film trailer for the Melbourne International Film Festival which was screened several times a day for about two weeks, and then never again.

Friday, 21 March 2008


Protein, 9:35, 1994

Moving forward one year for some systematic sampled randomness, images of waveforms, binary code and trains, repetitive audio samples of TV documentaries, modems and dial tones, a dubby data melange, all very current in 1994, on sound stripe super 8.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Circle of Confusion

Circle of Confusion, 6:11, 1993

rarely screened film in the impromptu early 'nineties festival which also features m-dot.report and over at Brut Smog some of Professor Ham's wonderful Standard 8 work here and here. Urban reflections shot in grainy high contrast black and white Super 8 accompanied by a looping sample soundtrack. I found a few other old super 8 films from around the same time (of dubious quality - artistic and technical). If any one's really interested, that's what the comments are for.

Saturday, 15 March 2008


m-dot.report, 6:02, 1991

A recently rediscovered video that has never been publicly screened, until now.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Hope, Trace, Zero

I recently re-discovered and have been re-listening to these three CDs over the past couple of days. Hope (1998), Trace (1999) and Zero (2000) were limited edition collections of one-minute, or two-minute in the case of the double CD Trace, soundworks. Contributors were invited to create an original recording of specified duration for each thematic CD. They were published by Audio Research Editions, which was founded by Colin Fallows in 1998 as a limited edition imprint for artists' soundworks.

The Audio Research Editions website tells us that:

“Audio Research Editions CDs contain soundworks by a broad range of international sound artists, experimental composers, noise makers and other audio creators. Using the limited edition print as a formal model, the imprint has to date published over two hundred works by artists from over twenty countries. Audio Research Editions treats the compact disc as an art space with each edition containing a themed audio exhibition that can be experienced in either linear or random modes.”

The CDs included contributions by ARPARP, Joe Banks, Warren Burt, Martin e Greil, The Groceries, Reed Ghazala, id battery, in between noise, The Land Of Nod, Longstone, The Mindwinder, Yoko Ono, Henry Priestman, Project Dark, Lee Ranaldo, Keith Rowe, scanner, Semiconductor, Will Sergeant, Janek Schaefer and Skyray among many others, including me.

The artists range from the well-known, the obscure and the unknown; the shortness, diversity and number of the tracks (68 on Hope, 70 on the two disc Trace, 46 on Zero) and their alphabetical-by-artist-name order, lends an arbitrary egalitarianism to the project which is further enhanced by taking the advice of the suggestion in the sleeve notes that they are ideally listened to in random mode: this is a project made for the shuffle play age. The CDs can be heard in their entirety as Real Media files (unfortunately only in unshuffleable linear order) at the
Audio Research Editions website.

Here are my contributions to the three CDs:

Hope Under the Weather (1 minute,
1998, 1.5Mb, mp3) from the Hope CD, is a compacted remix of the soundtrack to my super 8 film Microphone (1994, 24 min). The film centred around the elliptical theme of a shadowy individual who lived in a small back room facing onto Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne recording the weather and making arcane calculations based on the International Dateline. This shadowy individual was of course me and I appear briefly in the film with a shaved head wearing a green dress and ruby lipstick.

Brittle Creek Stalker Track (2 minutes,
1999, 2.9Mb, mp3) from the Trace CD, original sleeve notes: “Original tapes recorded on the foot along Brittle Creek Track, digitally parsed as image files and traced back to sound through a variety of programmes. Retracing the steps and strangely resonant with the haunting presence that haunts the track.” The title is an allusion to Brittlesea which was an early name for Brightlingsea in Essex. The originating field recordings were made on a track alongside Brightlingsea Creek.

Say Zero (1 minute,
2000, 1.5Mb, mp3) from the Zero CD, original sleeve notes: “Digital dub stammers, loping fractures and repeated returns to a zero point – an end in itself. A micro mix of incomplete projected settings of ante-logocentric voice fragments. Constructed at the Footscray Dip House.” The voices were sourced from a promotional CD for a voice over agency, the voices were manipulated effectively by removing the diphthongs from the recorded spoken words.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Sunday, 10 February 2008

No-way Street in Second Life

Until tomorrow afternoon No-way Street will be screening at an outdoors screening at Directors Lounge, New Berlin in Second Life. Above is an image of 'me' watching the video there. Read more about the screenings at the Directors Lounge blog.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Neinebahn Strasse

at Directors Lounge Berlin in Urban Research Friday 8 February and One Minute Saturday 16 February.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Here We Are Then

In cinema, activity contained by narrative framing can hint at a universe beyond the local narrative as an ellipse often occurring at The End. In Chekhov (the Russian writer to whom Maeve tells me she has formed an attachment) characters inhabit clearly defined places, situated in a kind of pre-cinematic spatial mise en scene, place is key to their narrative form. There is this same tension in these paintings as their contained form and arrested energy fixes the temporal activity of painting in dimensions inside and outside the boxes.

Here we are then, first with 43 small polyglottous paintings. Small strokes inscribe
stories, a number of occasions coexist in one pictorial space just as a place that can be described or named exists only when a number of temporalities have occupied it. In these paintings multiple, sometimes repetitive, actions and movements describe a spatial index, the body and movement both within and beyond the frame: activity is occupation within borders colonised by haptic abstraction.

There are qualities here that I remember from Maeve’s films in the nineties when we were both active in the Melbourne Super 8 Film Group. Films like Tawdry Sass (1996), incised and painted skinny film, in effect not unlike some of these paintings. A voice on its soundtrack offers a clue describing “… a symbolic conquest of some kind of room’s regular boundaries”. Scrammy and the Blowflies (1995), made for the Bush Studies project of super 8 film based on Barbara Baynton’s short stories, is perhaps the closest Maeve comes to conventional ‘narrative’, expressing claustrophobia born out of containment, wherein, given a voice, Scrammy plots escape from his imprisoning hut. Then the film Out of Place (1991) is alive with non-human subjectivity occupying a carefully defined macro world. At 52 minutes the film is long by most super 8 standards, but doesn’t conform to the familiar avant-garde durational mode of the heroic internalised temporal subjectivity; rather it presents spatially related subjectivities, coexisting in some interstitial place ‘out there’.

And now we are here, larger paintings with cinematic titles like Rear Window and Andalusian Slit (recalling Hitchcock and Buñuel, both of course occasional collaborators with Salvador Dali); feature-length with bold shapes and dissected space, like a floor plan of wheelchair-imprisoned voyeur James Stewart’s apartment, but the window here seems less suited to voyeurism, more a sinister opaque dark barrier threatening to block the view. In Maeve’s ‘Andalusian’ painting the cinematic icon of the dissected eye has been transformed into something like a danger sign through an abstraction of composition, or a diagram in which the razor has become a stake or a rod. I am reminded that surrealism thrives in that most dangerously mundane zone of the uncanny in the quotidian.

The relationship between titles with quite specific references and formally quite abstract paintings, is deliberate and carefully considered, not an after thought but as a way of complementing the works. The title of Firs on Stage, with Locked Doors comes from Maeve’s interest in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard: the central round ‘stage’ of the painting seems deserted and deforested, a bleak greyness hemmed in, taunted perhaps, by the bustling world beyond its boundary. The titles suggest that abstract painting is not just some kind of ineffable expression, but part of a complex visual vocabulary, a spatial narrative extending in many directions.

Here We Are Then recent paintings and works on paper by Maeve Woods is at Watters Gallery, Sydney, Australia, 5 February to 1 March, 2008

images top to bottom:
Andalusian Slit
- 2006, oil on cotton duck, 122 x 122cm
Rear Window - 2006, oil on cotton duck, 152 x 122cm
Firs On Stage, With Doors Locked
- 2007, oil on cotton duck, 122 x 122cm