Tuesday, 22 March 2011

blogging, about blogging 2

I’ve just posted my latest contribution to the or-bits.com blog.  This has taken somewhat longer than planned as real-world events intervened.

This post was originally part of the first draft for my first post but, as that was getting lengthy and mindful of the necessity of keeping texts written for reading on the web at a relatively short readable length, it became split in two parts. This latest is an attempt to bring the rather subjective ‘historical’ overview of my first post up to date, with a focus on specific activities in the world of glitch.

So the first structural issue that has arisen has been to do with the length of the posts, how much one can reasonably expect to include in a single post and how this will effect the serial nature of the writing. As I mentioned before, serial posting around themes is something quite new to me and the development of ideas from one post to the next would seem to be contingent and evolving. Where this will go will be determined as much by the process of actually writing the post, as by what I’ve provisionally mapped out for future posts as these are the germs of ideas, theories I'm not yet sure, even convinced about, so I can’t certain about their efficacy until I come to write them.  Sometimes I'm holding things back, avoiding the temptation to give too much away in post in advance is proving difficult, other times planting clues that won't be recognised as such until.

Thinking through writing is what most writers do but there is a small irony about this as one of the ideas I’m planning to pursue is that of medium-specificity as attending to media objects. This would be objects in a ‘post-correlationist’ formulation, beyond a correlation between thinking and being that privileges the human; thinking media works, media, and so on as ontological objects (and megaobjects) in their own right, and in that sense a counter to a post-structuralist hermeneutic approach that would privilege textual analysis, the world as text. While I’m suggesting that I will develop the ideas through writing, the production of text. Text as an inscription technology among others may well also play a role in future or-bits.com blog posts, but I’ll write no more here for fear of writing those posts before I write them.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Urban(e) Environments

ACMI Gallery in Metalogue
This Wednesday 23 March Melbourne Cinémathèque will show a programme of my recent video as part of an evening of three programmes called Urban(e) Visions. My programme is sandwiched between John Smith’s War Diaries and Of Time and the City by Terence Davies, elevated company indeed and it's interesting  to me for my work to be in the context of, on one hand Smith’s situated reflections on the war on terror, and on the other Davies’s documentary revisiting of his Liverpudlian childhood. Interesting partly because this collection of my work is hardly as thematically, and perhaps formally, focussed as its neighbours'. However Cinémathèque has thoughtfully titled my programme FORMAL ENVIRONMENTALISM and describes it as work that “explores the geography and topography of physical landscapes and technological environments”.  In an attempt to flesh this out a little, I have provided some programme notes with an introduction suggesting that the programme  “…covers a range of territory, as digital materialist experimentation meets spatial exploration to become urban landscape study and hyperlocal excursion. Concretist formal processes explore and exhaust species of spaces and media, producing variously eccentric musically rhythmic structured works, and abstracted, essayistic studies."

Reflecting on these digital video works, I think that there is a sense in which many of them do strike a tricky balance between the specificity of place and formal process and techniques, but that specificity is often less to do with the qualities of the place -  an essence that might once have been called the genius loci - but more the way that my construction of place is an abstraction. In short I’m not so sure how ‘successfully’ these works do actively ‘explore’, ‘interrogate’, ‘construct’ (unsatisfactorily metaphorical words in themselves) the specificity of place.  Some, such as The Defenestrascope and Metalogue, are constructed from images captured in diverse places: in the former Lucca in Italy, Berlin, and London, while its ‘musical’ structure draws on English folk song and samples as diverse as Music Hall and Chinese traditional song, the neologism of its title suggests throwing views out of the window; while the latter ranges from London, Pisa, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne... the neologism of its title signals it as a travelogue in which metadata has risen to the surface.

One reason I am interested in screening Metalogue in this programme is because a section of it was captured somewhere several storeys below where the screening will take place, in what is now the gallery at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the images taken from a private tour of the space I was given while the building was still under construction.

The final work in the show Aboriginal Myths of South London, might carry a slightly provocative title in an Australian context. It is in part an attempt to speculate what might happen if I articulate what I understand of certain Australian Aboriginal attitudes to the relationship between the history of a place and its specificity, in relation to the history of the now deceased people who once inhabited that place. It has occurred to me that the indigenous Australian attitude to the dead affords a level of respect entirely lacking from a European belief system, which plays itself out in terms of ethical protocols and legality.  The video is a first attempt to bring such a philosophy close to where I live, to New Kent Road in south London, as a way to pay closer attention to the specificity of that place and apply a pragmatic materialism in the face of what I think might mistakenly be considered to be the mystical notion of the genius loci.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


The Defenestrascope screening at:
InCounter sound______video_____performance 
Friday 4th March
7pm- 3am @ the Bussey Building, opposite Peckham Rye Rail
Tickets: £7 on the door, £5 in advance from http://incounter.eventbrite.com
Doors open 6.30pm

A programme of work exploring structure and process through sound, performance, and videos. With a special screening (World premiere) of James Benning’s new work YouTube Trilogy at 7pm

performances by: Anne Bean + Chris Gladwin + Richard Wilson, Stephen Cornford, Melanie Clifford, Howard Jacques, Kalendar + Clutter, Kaya King, J Milo Taylor, Rachel Moore, Ring Mod Orkestra + Marlon Random, Thomas Pigache + Yann Leguay (ARTKILLART)
with InCounter DJ Matt Brown
videos by: Holly Antrum, Steven Ball, Katy Connor, Riccardo Iacono, sue.k., Erica Scourti, Maria Theodoraki
live link with Resonance 104.4FM 8 - 9pm. Bring FM radio / mobile phone to take part.