There is 3.5% left of a download (Adobe CS6 Master Collection) I will write until it is at 100%. Let me explain why. I have been waiting for a long time for this to download, it’s in its final stages. If I were to sit and watch it, it would go on forever, but as I now have a task to complete before it is done it will inevitably speed up. It is already on 97.5%. It is an odd idea, using the downloading of a digital productivity tool such as cs6 as a delimiter of creative time. Once I start to use it, it will inevitably throw up a whole load of new progress bars, waiting periods. It being the software. Soft. Ware. I’m on 99%. What does it mean to use the time something takes to process on a machine as a unit of creative time? Usually for me it is a weird dead time – waiting for something proper to happen. This, co-incidentally just about sums up my career as an artist. Waiting for something to happen. Possibly missing the.
I have been making new work for an exhibition in Nottingham. Continuing the conversation (I am having with my self) below, I have been researching massive online image archives so I can produce massive image sequences. There are more and more on the web, as institutions put their collections online and into the ‘public domain’. Not a week goes by without a new slew of data being released (this week it was the BFI’s footage of Britain Collection). I’ve done this once before, on quite a small scale, with a zip file containing a few hundred hi res images of paintings from the MOMA collection. When I was playing with this large image sequence in Premiere I realised they were, obviously, all different shapes. Some were long and thin, portrait wise, others wide, landscape. I decided to order them by size, widest first, narrowest last, with one frame per painting at 24 frames per second. Playing this back produced a strange movement, like compression or expansion as the edges of the painting moved inwards. Despite the imagery on each painting being barely visible as it flashes past, you get a sense of the paintings as a body of different things. The digitality of the image sequence does not help you better understand any one painting, but perhaps helps you to understand painting. I, for one, realised how idiosyncratic paintings are in their size. The same cannot really be said for digital images, which tend to conform to screen size (800×600, 1024×768 etc etc). This somewhat confirms, on quite a technical level that digital image making is about standardisation. The technology itself ‘orders’ the world in a very machinic way.
Featuring Catrin Davies & Lewis Wright, Dave Evans, Emily Speed, Frances Disley, Gregory Herbert, Imogen Stidworthy, James Quin, Jason Thompson, Joe Fletcher Orr, Joseph Hulme, Kevin Hunt, Leo Fitzmaurice, Linny Venables, Madeline Hall, Rosalind Nashashibi
10th July – 31st July
SYSON Project Space
9 Beck Street, Nottingham NG1 1EQ
Wednesday – Saturday 12noon – 5pm
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”.