Monday, July 14, 2014
1] HIS VENTRILOQUIST BODY
2] HIS TWINE STRETCHED FROM ONE TO ANOTHER
3] CUT FROM CODED SQUARES
4] SPIRIT TONGUES
5] TIME STREAKS LOST IN JUNGLE
6] LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS GROWS FANGS (BATAILLE)
7] LAFF TRAX
8] MOUTHS OR HOLLOW EYES
9] VOICES IN THE SQUARE
10] FOR EXAMPLE AS A GHOST (NIETZCHE, GAY SCIENCE sec 365)
11] PRACTICING DEATHS
12] STONES FOUND ON BEACH [Stone Found on a Beach, Documents 7, 1929, Meret Oppenheim, Stone Woman, 1938]
13] AUTO-SOPHISTICATION MACHINES
14] WILD BEASTS IN CAVES
15] THINGS UNDER THE SUN (CROWLEY, 777 – things under the sun which are called solary)
16] AFTER CEASE TO EXIST
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
Malcolm Clarke with the Synthi 100 via the RADIOPHONIC GALLERY on whitefiles.org. "Caption: It's 1974 and a bearded and long-haired Malcolm Clarke intently studies the settings of the EMS 'Delaware' synthesiser, located at this time in Room 10. The small supplementary mixer at the bottom was constructed by Richard-Yeoman Clark. The box on top of the Delaware contains a standard BBC Peak Programme Meter (PPM)."
Sol Lewitt wall drawing number 49 (Diagram and Certificate).
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
You speak of “disgust”; I hear this word around me from among the best of them. And yet here it’s not as it is in your country, but it’s the same word. It’s the word that openly says that we can no longer find our place in all this shit and that it’s vain to look for it, for all places are carried along by the insane course of things. We can no longer bathe at all in a river. Unless you’re a picket planted in the current that silently holds on. To a bit of terra firma. The important thing is to find this bit of earth beneath the waters. After all, it’s the “shaking-up of the world” of Montaigne who, when it comes to conjunctures, saw quite a few of all kinds. But the book is already written; you have to find something else.
- Althusser, letter to Merab, 1978.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
There is a child, a child inside of her mother, a child listening, listening to the echo of her own hand pushing through water. It is quiet, but not still. Her ears forget to listen, to her mother's heartbeat, to her digestion, to her blood. She decides that she is a plant, inside an animal, growing towards....
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
We operate under the assumption that the photo-object forms a relation with the being-present-as-event. This assumption then contributes to a learned history of object-events, diffuse throughout culture, simultaneously and paradoxically both representing and creating culture.
This assumption, in semiotic terms, the indexical nature of the photograph, forms and pervades all of our assumptions regarding representation. This assumption needs to be interrogated further, as archeology suggests new understandings of the nature of the transmission of culture.
An approach that seems to make sense for a discussion of the photograph, and its transmission of culture is a combination of evolutionary and diffusionist approaches. It seems most useful to think of the object in terms of its relation to time within the cultural context. Wissler’s age-area hypothesis notes (bringing together diffusionist and evolutionary paradigms) that objects in a culture tend to move from the center outward, with the oldest objects being located at the periphery. In this model, the evolutionary leaps tend to happen in the center of the culture, and then diffuse throughout the periphery. At the periphery of culture, then, are the institutions, where normative behaviours and ideologies are located, as objects/cultural material (in our examples, the photo-objects and their implied contexts) transmitted and located themselves.
The problem, of course, with the photograph is that it folds itself back into culture in ways that other historical objects do not, reappearing and redeploying itself as an indicator of power relations. The photograph functions as a visual text itself, its veracity shored up by its history as index, and also situates itself within culture through the context in which it appears. This relates directly, of course, to how we encounter the art-object (and the context in which it is placed as it is photographed). One doesn’t have to look any further than ArtForum to encounter a particular semiotic of art display, with art being displayed in clean, white, well-lit rooms, organized in a rational synthesis of design and educational strategies. The diffusionist function of art has been bolstered by the presence of the photograph, which states (through a circular logic): this is how things should look when one looks at things. This awareness of looking and its reproduction (in cleanly designed magazines, monographs, etc.) has led to a transformation of the gallery space, from salon to “white cube” to an ostensibly newly hybridized (but no less ideologically driven) space.
Problems in the representation of artwork parallel the questions of archeological representation suggested by Stephanie Moser in “Archeological Representation.” Moser’s semiotic read of the work of representation conjured the question of objects being seen in contexts. She notes, “archeological representations ‘make meaning’ because they employ devices that are not used in written and verbal communication. These devices can be described as conventions that appeal to our sense of reasoning in ways that text cannot.” We have seen this critiqued in ethnography and film; Michael Taussig writes of both in his discussion of Werner Herzog’s film Fitzcarraldo:
Then what of Werner Herzog’s delirious effort in his film Fitcarraldo, set in the early twentieth century Upper Amazonian rubber boom and constructed around the fetish of the photograph, so tenaciously, so awkwardly, clutched by Fitcarraldo, the visionary, its great ear-horn emerging from under the armpit of his dirty white suit, Caruso flooding the forests and rivers, the Indians amazed as Old Europe rains its ecstatic art form upon them. Bellowing opera from the ship’s prow, it is the great ear-trumpet of the phonograph, an orchid of technology in the thick forests of the primitive, that cleaves the waters and holds the tawny Indians at bay as the patched-up river-steamer wends its way into this South American heart of darkness.
The “delirious” re-contextualizing of the art-object (in this example both Caruso and the phonograph) serves as an site of power. Therefore, it is not merely the culture-object which is moving/diffusing throughout cultures, but it is the power structures and Western ideologies which are being attached to the object. We see this same recontextualizing in the contemporary museum experience, in which the culture-object is presented less as an object, and more as a force that “holds” us (in the utopic parlance of the visual designer), and more often than not “holds us…at bay."
I am most interested in Steward’s work suggesting a distinction between a “cultural core” determined by environment and evolution, and the “total culture”, which contains elements of culture susceptible to diffusion (Barnard, 56).
 Moser, Stephanie. “Archeological Representation,” in Archeological Theory Today. Ian Hodder, Ed. Pp. 266.
 Ibid. pp 268-9.
 Taussig, Michael. Mimesis and Alterity. Pp. 203. New York: Routledge, 1993.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
You woke up one morning, and your grandmother was a gun. Even stranger, you could see through her eyes as you sighted the weapon at the sky, the clouds parting.
How can the “being-there” of vision allow for a side-stepping of perception (and what might be called an empirical understanding of the world)? How can the contemporary notion of “play” undermine its evolutionary purpose?
The (relatively) new adverts for the United States Army are a good example of the confusion of not-here-and-now and the here-now. In contrast to the televised adverts for the Marines, which deploy a series of nationalist icons (the Western Landscape, the Flag, the Eagle, the Salute, the Uniform) in a clearly montaged mise-en-scene, the Army spots utilize Hollywood cinematic techniques for immersion (including match cuts allowing the viewer to “look through” night vision scopes and project herself into the scenario). This fairly clearly echoes the satisfaction of pretend play, although in this case, childhood pretence (and accompanying desire) and insertion into an imagined scenario is being utilized for ideological gains. The Army televised advertisements suggest only the tenuous singularity of the role-playing game, or the singular cinematic hero of the Hollywood era (Wargames, Spygames, Deerhunter – the reference to play continues), reiterated in the tagline “An Army of One."
And the logical endpoint is drones, a mobile architecture for 'looking through.'
What is central to this idea of advertising is the removal of the idea of consciousness from other beings. Through the utilization of cinematic and proto-cinematic machinery, subjectivities are being reduced to their mediated (insubstantial) counterparts, corresponding to the object-oriented world of the autistic child. One does not have to look much farther than the photographs at Abu Gharaib to see an example of a sort of learned autism. Susan Sontag writes in “Regarding the Torture of Others”:
Even more appalling, since the pictures were meant to be circulated and seen by many people: it was all fun. And this idea of fun is, alas, more and more -- part of ''the true nature and heart of America.'' It is hard to measure the increasing acceptance of brutality in American life, but its evidence is everywhere, starting with the video games of killing that are a principal entertainment of boys -- can the video game ''Interrogation'' really be far behind? -- and on to the violence that has become endemic in the group rites of youth on an exuberant kick.
We can see clearly here the role of visuality (and photography specifically) in disseminating ideologically dangerous ideas about play, simulation and entertainment. The frivolous nature of “play,” divorced from its evolutionary intent of “being-in-the-world,” is amplified and expounded in end-of-the-world scenarios like those suggested cinematically in the television series 24, the films The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, and religious teleologies such as Left Behind. The “plausible” nature of each of these mediated events only serves to distance the viewer from the nature of the “real,” an archeology Sontag suggests in her essay.
In these scenarios, the “actual situation” begins to disappear, leaving only a trace, fundamentally undermining the individual’s situation in society, and fundamentally changing (and challenging) the function of play, redirecting the functionality from “at-the-material-world” to “at-the-immaterial-world.” In this inversion of materiality, “Grandmother” becomes Grandmother-image, gun becomes gun-image, and the world becomes a flux of image-vapor, groundless, but for the ghosting of a once (ever?) perceived world.