The orginal intention of the thesis was very wooly, I recognised this before I had even sent it off. I was somehow interested in how working with objects in the world could disrupt the established tempo of neo liberalism. I was interested in being bored and repetitive tasks. The initial interest came from science fiction, and how it is capable of making this rhythmic disruption, of flinging us to an imaginary future. In terms of consumption this is pretty useless. You aren’t buying when you are day dreaming of an imaginary future (unless you’re watching a movie full of Audi concept cars and other brands cool futures). Somehow I conflated the act of making with this. Frederic Jameson talks about how science fiction gives us an oblique entry point into the present, through a framing of it in another way. I thought (in my lazy western, not really committed way) that spending months looking at and working with, say, scented bin liners, opened up a similar temporal fissure which might bring with it a whiff of alternatives, or understanding of the baffling-ness of contemporary existence. Bergson entered here, and I was excited by his arguing against the idea of things being reduced to concepts, or rather, his acknowledgement that things need to be broken into concepts for some things, but not everything (metaphysics and philosophy, religion and morality being the things I have encountered up to now), and how this can expand our understanding of reality in new ways. Bergson was working in a time where there was a massive effort to mechanise thought, to assimilate consciousness into the logic of natural science. This meant quantifying sensation, which Bergson though was bad. I kind of drew similarities between this situation and the contemporary assimilation of consciousness into the logic of neo liberalism.
I’ve been working on some new video clips, thinking about the idea of never being able to repeat the same physical movement twice, . It struck me that a big difference between the physical and digital worlds is that movement in the physical world cannot be looped perfectly, while digital movement can – seamlessly. In a sort of related way I have been working in my studio with resistance bands, coloured lengths of elastic tubing used for aerobic exercise (and also for catapults). I chose it as I wanted to make objects move in an ‘inertial’ way (something I seemed obsessed with when I worked as a digital animator and programmer). I had great lethal fun tying up lumps of concrete and allowing them to bob lightly up and down in the studio. I filmed some of these but they were unsatisfying (they just give you a sense of the expenditure of energy, not of creative renewal). On a bit of a whim I started downloading Youtube films of people working out with these resistance bands, up to now mostly women in exotic locations. They are strange bits of footage and have, unsurprisingly, the rhythm of a gym session – 2 ‘reps’ of 10 stretches. I’ve been splicing out individual stretches and trying to get them to loop perfectly, which is really hard. On a couple of occasions I have come really, really close, but while arms hip and legs might sync up, ponytails, clouds or the ripples on the surface of a pool will always give the game away. These tiny, disruptive details become the focus. There are two chapters of the Crocker book that sound like they might relate somehow – Medium as means and Obstacle and Man Falls Down: Unanswerable Situations. I will have a look at them – Alexander R Galloway’s Interface Effect is also dying to be read….and I need to start plugging away at Matter and Memory. I should get up earlier….
I’m excited to read the intro of Bergson and the Metaphysics of Media by Stephen Crocker. It gives as good a short description of Bergson’s ideas as I have read anywhere and ties in some interesting names – particularly Marshall McLuhan, Michel Serres and Walter Benjamin (who I know criticised Bergson’s romanticism). It really puts the implications of mechanical thought into context in a few pages by using a visit by Zen guru Alan Watts to the IBM offices during the 60’s and relaying dis descriptions of prickly versus gooey thought. Although the prickly analogy doesn’t quite do it for me it’s an interesting read.
Research into time management and creative production has led me to this:
Duration (n): late 14c., from Old French duration, from Medieval Latin durationem (nominative duratio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin durare “harden”.
Durable (adj): late 14c., from Old French durable (11c.), from Latin durabilis “lasting, permanent,” from durare “to last, harden”.
I am curating a show as part of MODEL, a project I am co-curating with Kevin Hunt and Fran Disley. It’s the first show in the old Open Eye Gallery on Wood st in Liverpool.
The ARKA Group / Sam Belinfante / Hannah Brown / Adam Clarke / Joe Graham / Patrick Goddard / Mark Riddington
2nd August – 23rd August 2014.
The ARKA Group will present ‘Beginnings’ during Axolotl over August Bank Holiday weekend, Friday 22 – Sunday 24 August 2014.
Preview Friday 1 August 2014 – 6pm till 9pm.
Open Wednesday to Sunday 12pm till 6pm or by appointment.
“The eyes of the axolotls spoke to me of the presence of a different life, or another way of seeing”.
I was happy to make new work for the Culture Quays Sculpture series in Manchester. The work is installed in the foyer of the BBC building.
It’s made from a piece of 20 square meter sheet of white Fabriano paper suspended inside two wooden cubes. I spent two cold weeks at the end of 2013 beating creases into this sheet of paper with a wooden mallet.
I think it was Kinky Friedman who would say ‘put it on a bumper sticker for me‘ when he wanted someone to get to the point. I like that phrase. I liked the bluntness of the bumper sticker. Sadly it was mostly reserved for misogynist or xenophobic statements. Unfortunately we don’t use bumper stickers much anymore, preferring to tweet instead, so they never got to realise their full potential as an artist’s medium. Artist’s Car Bumper Stickers have been created to right this wrong.
Screenprinted at The Bluecoat
I have a bunch left for £2.50 each – so if you want – email me. All profit to TRS.
Images © Warren Fournier/Castlefield Gallery
Launchpad – Some Misunderstanding [on Mondegreens and Pareidolias]
9 August 2013 — 18 August 2013
Mondegreens are mishearings of words or phrases, which in turn acquire new meanings. Pareidolias are randomly occurring shapes, forms or sounds experienced as significant by individuals or groups. Drawing on examples such as misheard song lyrics or sightings of religious figures in banal objects, this exhibition explores how misunderstandings can lead to everything from amusing mistakes to amplified experiences of the world.
Some Misunderstanding brings together eight artists from across Europe, the U.S. and the North West of England. Dina Danish performs her own mondegreen as she strains to lip-sync to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ under water. Anton Bruhin organises the Swiss-German dialect in order of near-homophones, problematising the task of differentiation for the listener. Ben Gwilliam’s installation wäil, a play on the words veil and wail, shimmers and whispers with unheard sound when disturbed by the viewer. Cory Arcangel compresses Iron Maiden’s song ‘The Number of the Beast’ 666 times, referring to its history as a source of subliminal messages, and ‘corrects’ Jimi Hendrix’s performance of the Star Spangled Banner using Apple’s auto-tune software. Inspired by sci-fi film sets, Dave Evans’ Paper Mountains indulge our ability to suspend disbelief. Jenny Core’s drawings encourage our inclination to recognise familiar patterns in abstract images. Maya Erdelyi constructs meaning by reorganising her own random thoughts, family histories and dreams, whilst Denicolai & Provoost expose the blurred lines between subjective experience and objective reality, between seeing and believing.
2 Hewitt Street Manchester, M15 4GB
Gallery opening times during exhibitions: Wed-Sun, 1-6pm