Wednesday, 29 December 2010

notes from "meta/data" by Mark Amerika

"The body is an image-making machine.
It filters information.
It creates dreams, memories, and spontaneous situations made out of images.
The images are created in the body as they respond to images outside the body.
The images change as the body moves.
These movement-images resonate with dreams, memories, and spontaneous situations made out of images.
This means that spontaneous situations made out of images can be dreams or active memories and vice-versa.
For the VJ-Hacktivist who inmixes the real with the unreal, a live performance can be experienced as the memory of a dream composed of spontaneous situations made out of images.
Writing out the intuitive phrasing of an image écriture that always drifts in its revolutionary aimlessness, the philosophical scribe becomes a VJ Artist
The VJ Artist is a metafictionally charged philosophical scribe that uses subject plug-ins to manipulate image-information and in doing so doing begins the process of a myth-making oftentimes in a narrative context even when the so-called narrative itself is an antinarrative that works against conventional storytelling and standard rhetorical spin-control. P.13

Monday, 20 December 2010

rhur by James Benning

It was the first time that I heard of director James Benning, during the London Film Festival 2010, when I thought that in order to feel good about not being able to decide which film to watch, I could simply focus on one category, that of experimental films, and this is how I watched 'Ruhr'.

2 hours of selected scenes of this industrialised region in Germany, the film is dissected into 5 different chapters or scenes, each happening in one area of ruhr. It was interesting to see how a basic structure could construct such a powerful and moving film, even though all is happening in a very slow pace. A sculpture of Richard Serra arises in the middle of a composition and a man is standing facing it, trying to remove parts of a graffiti that has been sprayed on. Benning decides that this is a scene worth being stretched over a certain period of time, this is how we spend almost 20 minutes watching the worker water blasting a tiny part of the huge graffiti...

I was able to capture few stills (below) during the projection, this scene shows the tower of the world's largest Coca-Cola plant, a lot of people have found similarities between this scene and Andy Wahol's Empire State.

This is how the BFI introduced the film, I am pasting it below:

"James Benning brings his rigorous perspective to bear on the heavily industrialised Ruhr region in Germany.

In his first film to be shot outside the US, and the first to be made on high-definition video, James Benning brings his rigorous perspective to bear on the heavily industrialised Ruhr region in Germany. Constructed as a series of fixed frame compositions varying in length from seven minutes to an hour, Ruhr is in part a subjective portrait of a region, but more than this is an exploration of the relationship between landscape, work, culture and art. And as with all Benning's films, it's an invitation to interrogate the process of viewing and the creation of meaning. Each shot draws our eyes and ears to rhythm, repetition, sound, motion – nowhere more so than in the majestic sixty-minute view of the tower of a coke producing plant, where every ten minutes cold water poured into the base creates a cloud of steam to billow out of the building. Benning has long been a skilled manipulator of sound in his meticulously structured films; in Ruhr he takes this further, making subtle interventions in visual images and their temporal structure."

Director: James Benning - Country: Germany - Running time: 121min - Year: 2009

Stills I took with the iphone:

Sunday, 19 December 2010

notes from “kinomuseum, towards an artists’ cinema”

“In her essay collected in Preziosi and Farago’s anthology, Paula Findlen traces the etymology of the word ‘museum’ in the Renaissance, where it signified “the place where the muses dwell” – an almost-mythological any-place without spatial or temporal dimensions.” P.14

“The museum is a political place. As an artist, Fraser is not alone in taking the museum itself as her subject. Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Box in a Valise’ (1935-41) is an artwork and a transportable collection that contains reproductions of the artist’s ‘other’ artworks.” P.16

“Duchamp and Broodthaers share the fact that they construct both a museum (a museological frame) and the work (their own work/s) that it contains. These ‘authors’ are also the authorizing institution. As such, they exploit or deviate from the definitively museological business of removing something from one place in order to re-situate it in another: the museum expresses its political, social and cultural agendas by establishing and maintaining a collection.” P.17

“Preziosi and Farago describe the museum as a construct, re-presenting things in order to make sense of them. And it is this – to reiterate – the removal of a thing from one place and its re-situation in another place, which forms a continuous thread through the various cultural readings of the museum. It is the pivot upon which turns Theodor W. Adorno’s essay ‘Valéry Proust Museum’, as it compares two French poets’ positions, and links institutional responsibility to personal experience, and pleasure. The culturally conservative Paul Valéry experiences almost an act of violence in the curatorial frame of the Louvre: ‘Neither a hedonistic nor a rationalistic civilisation could have constructed a house of such disparities.’ On the other hand, Adorno quotes Marcel Proust: ‘The masterpiece observed during diner no longer produces in us the exhilarating happiness that can be had only in a museum.’” P.17

“In the short film ‘Mounting Buffalo’ (1920, ‘Toute la mémoire du monde’) from the archive of he American Museum of Natural History, a buffalo is systematically dismembered, its organs replaced by plaster, its body remade as entirely artificial, its skin draper ‘naturally’ over its new (typical) form. Cinema, like the museum, effects a memorialisation.” P.19

“‘Kinomuseum’ similarly attempts to make content of criticality by locating the museum in and as the cinema auditorium, rather than deploying cinema as the museum’s ideological annex. There is a physicality to the proposition, as expressed by Mary Kelly’s programme ‘Fallout’: three epochal works, from three different decades, were shown in three auditoria of the Lichtburg cinema. They were not looped, like film and video in a gallery room that the audience enters and leaves at will, but timed sequentially, one after the other, so that the audience had to physically move from one auditorium to the next at the end of each work. The perambulatory space of the gallery collapsed onto the organizing architecture and institution of cinema. The difficulty of such movement through spaces that otherwise control or curtail it (cinemas are more like airports than art galleries in this respect), this peculiar arrangement, was the limit of cinema made physically manifest.” P.26

“Ian White: Did you feel dissatisfied by the cinema auditorium as a vehicle for exhibiting your work?
Mary Kelly: Yes, although it’s easier to make these observations with hindsight! I was still in love with film because I was caught up in a particular moment when it was viewed as the most progressive medium and I was trying to do activist work. But I also really wanted to do something with still images and I thought there was so much potential in installation; a kind of temporal experience that could be more self-reflexive. My problem with cinema, I mean the conventions of spectatorship, is that you have to watch a film from beginning to end, that you don’t have a chance to stop and rewind. Also, over the years, cinema has increasingly become the dominant institution of our time, and the museums that we used to complain about in the 1970s have become sanctuaries for experimental work; the only thing left that’s not completely virtual. It’s one of those rare instances where the outmoded has some redemptive value. It was absolutely clear to me that ‘Post-Partum Document’ was not going to be a film. It needed material things that I could frame, both literally and metaphorically, as objects. The diagrams were just as emotional as the memorabilia and, as time went on, I became increasingly convinced that installation was the only way to relay this. At the time we were saturated with images of women and I was trying to figure out how you could give a voice to that subject position without a figurative referent. The solution seemed to be that more should become contingent on the viewer, in how people moved around the space and became surrogates for the absent body in the work. I’d take that even further now and say that the artwork doesn’t exist without the viewer. Girgio Agamben has spoken about the ethical position as one where you’re neither producing something not enacting it. I think this is what happens as a spectator, if you can really let yourself be open to that possibility: you complete the work by anticipating rather than judging or deciphering it. P.51

White: ‘Mea Culpa’ (1999) explores the horrors of war from a very different perspective to ‘Gloria Patri’
Kelly: ‘Mea Culpa’ was my attempt to deal with the victims of war crimes. It was the most difficult project I’ve ever undertaken because it just seemed so difficult to pull off without seeming wither megalomaniacal or hysterical. I worked on it from 1996 to 1999, trying to figure out the best way to do it, until I came across what I thought was the perfect medium: the lint that collects in the screen of a domestic clothes dryer; ephemeral yet integral to everyday life. So I transferred my texts in vinyl to the screen, and by controlling the drying process – first white clothes then black – reproduced them as intaglio script in compressed lint; nothing was added or stamped on. It was very direct, like an assisted ready-made. The finished work is presented as contiguous panels of texts. You have to keep walking to read it, and can never see everything at once. The phenomenological effect is very rhythmic and I wanted to develop this musical and, in a way, cinematic potential in my next project. P.56

The last word is from Jacques Rivette:
… The cinema I’m after… films which impose themselves on the spectator through a sort of domination of visual and sound ‘events’, and which require the screen, a big screen, to be effective. These are films that impose themselves visually through their monumentality. What I mean is that there is a weight to what is on the screen, and which is there on the screen as a statue might be, or a building or a huge beast. P.68

Hall of Mirrors by Emily Peethick
Analogies between cinema and screen and the mirror are well known in the cinematic theory. Film theorist Christian Metz argued that, in the identification with the gaze of the camera, the cinema spectator re-enacts what psychoanalytic theorist Jacques Lacan described as ‘the mirror stage’ – the infant’s first identification with their own image in the mirror being their first recognition of themselves as ‘other’, and the first time that they objectively see themselves within their surroundings, as part of society. In relation to photography, theorist Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins observed that, ‘mirror and camera are tools of self-reflection and surveillance. Each creates a creates a double of the self, a second figure who can be examined more closely than the original – a double that can also be alienated from the self.’ This mixture of self-identification and alienation can be found in Joan Jonas’s early performance video ‘Left Side Right Side’ (1974) in which she performs to the camera with the aid of a mirror that distorts her image. Plainly describing her movements, she consistently mixed up what she is seeing, at one point indicating her left eye and announcing, ‘This is my left eye (or right) eye,’ creating a slippage between real and reflection, viewer and viewed. During the film she draws an infinity loop that suggests the co-dependence of these relations.
This confusion of subject/object relations can also be found in artist Dan Graham’s seminal performance, ‘Performer/Audience/Mirror’ (1977), in which the artist performs in front of a large mirror, which is not dissimilar in proportions to a cinema screen. Graham initially describes a series of simple actions out loud as he performs them, then turn on the audience and describes their responses to him, before turning back towards the mirror and describing both himself and the audience through their reflection. Through these actions, Graham confronts their respective roles as performer and audience, object and subject, creating a heightened state of self-consciousness.
In later works, Graham went on to further analyse how subject/object relations are encountered in public space through the high reflectivity of modernist functionalist architecture. Here he finds the subject is consistently reflected back on itself; the window, like the mirror, forms a screen that yet again unifies and separates public and private, subject and object, creating a fractured or doubled self which reinforces social divisions, in particular, he highlights corporate architecture as employing this double function of both revealing and concealing its business:
The glass’s literal transparency not only falsely objectifies reality, but is a paradoxical camouflage; for while the actual function of the corporation may be to concentrate its self-contained power and control by secreting information, its architectural façade gives the illusion of absolute openness. The transparency is visual only; glass separates the visual from the verbal, insulating outsiders from the content of the decision-making processes, and form the invisible, but real, interrelationships linking company operations to society. P.99

A more ambiguous notion of the surface is explored in the Bernadette Corporation’s film ‘Hell Frozen Over’ (2000), in which semiologist Sylvère Lotringer is filmed standing on a frozen lake discussing the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé. Describing the sense of nothingness in the white emptiness of the poet’s page, he portrays the poet as an illusion-maker and a creator of playful artifice, his account interspersed with footage of a fashion shoot in which the similarly cool gaze of models, as with a one-way mirror creates a black screen defying identification. Bernadette Corporation themselves play with an ambiguous notion of subjectivity, collectively working under the guise of a fictional corporation, which they describe as ‘the perfect alibi for not having to fix an identity’, appropriating the corporate strategy of the blank façade. This fluidity of subjectivity is also explored in Ina Wudtke’s video ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Worker (rmx)’ (2006), in which the artist performs a text by the theorist Dieter Lesage which objectively unravels her various roles as an artist, dj and magazine editor, as well as how the socio-economic condition of the art world reflect the neo-liberal economy’s desire for a flexible worker. Wudtke presents this form of split subjectivity as a ‘gentle form of schizophrenia’ – as she puts it: ‘you pretend and you are for real.’ As in Frederic Jameson’s theory of ‘late capitalism,’ schizophrenia here becomes the embodiement of a post-capitalist subject in the, ‘experience of isolated, discontinued, discontinuous material signifiers which fail to link up into a coherent sequence.’
This sense of ‘gentle schizophrenia,’ the blurring of subject and object, the presence of absence – as embodied in the spectral – and the fractured or disconnected self, become the leitmotifs of this hall of mirrors, where vanity is refracted, displaced, and open to contradiction. This fracturing of viewpoints can also be related to the very idea of Kinomuseum, which, through virtually transplanting the idea of a museum into a cinema space and reading one through the other (and vice versa), creates what Ian White describes as ‘cinema of multiple point of view.’ As in Dan Graham’s ‘Cinema (Model), here the conventions of the ‘official’ culture of the museum and the Cartesian spatial arrangement of the cinema auditorium are symbolically opened up and displaced to allow for other perspectives, introducing conflict, difference, and a sense of consciousness of the codes of each – and the ways in which they might be changed.” P.101

“I think this is a very old problem which artists’ films – frequently called ‘avant-garde films,’ or, in certain times ‘underground films,’ or which may be called ‘independent films’ – have consciously dealt with at least since the 1960s. They practised a radical and playful form of detachment from two kinds of social and ideological apparatuses. One is regular commercial cinema, and the other the art market and the art museum. In a way this detachment from both systems could be looked at as incredibly stupid from the point of view of what the common sense is in a capitalist society. On the other hand, it could also be looked at as heroic, and I am aware of the pathos involved in this, but I was very happy in re-reading a wonderful roundtable discussion that was published in ‘October’ magazine a few years ago, in which Chrissie Iles was also part of the discussion. In this discussion Annette Michelson said that since the 1960s she had felt that independent filmmaking was the last of the heroic occupations. And I think that her feeling has a lot to do with that resistance towards both the cinema as a commercial apparatus and the art market.

In a way, independent filmmaking uses one of these hegemonic economies to refute the other. It uses cinema, films and its connotations of endless reproducibility and availability, to refute the museum’s insistence on the unique object which can only be seen when the owner shows it. And on the other hand, it uses the art world or artwork connotations to refute cinema’s insistence on commercial validity and the pressure to make the money back that has been invested. It is at such a point in a radical filmmaking practice that the question of sustainability not as the opposite but the verso-side of heroism, the question being how that third, inbetween place of practice can be sustained with falling prey to either of the two forms of commodification mentioned before. Now, Lars Henrik Gass posits the film festival as that third place, which is of course understandable because he runs a film festival. But even though I used to run a film festival myself and I do understand its utopian possibilities, I hope you forgive me if I call attention to another third place which is less of a special event but an attempt to have a continuous offering of those third-space experiences, and the place I mean is called ‘film museum.’” P.119

Inner and Outer space
(shown on 7 May 2007)
Curated and presented by Ian White
… photography, film, and inexpensive pamphlets and books, [whose reproducibility] helped to accelerate the circulation of museum objects and their related discourse. Through these media, curators and educators developed the means by which the knowledge generated would extend beyond any singular outpost and thus more effectively shape the public, securing their authoritative place in the emerging landscape of modern leisure. To some degree, the field of art history, art journalism, art catalogues, coffee-table books, blockbuster exhibits, and even the seemingly ubiquitous gift shop owe their genesis to the potential and the perils of this living, mediated museum. The Museum of Modern Art’s Film Library formed during a period in which efforts to realise the ‘living museum’ had accelerated considerably. The museum’s technological network expanded to include newspapers, radio, and even television. American museums were, in general, undergoing considerable changes in heir curatorial practices, funding sources, and basic institutional structure […] During its first ten years (1929 to 1939), MoMA was widely considered an innovative and unusual undertaking and quickly became a flagship American institution, representing the best as well as the newest of modern works. Like many American museums, MoMA was established with the resources of wealthy industrialists and a cadre of East Coast elites who conceived of the museum, from the beginning, as a national educational experiment of vital importance. By making use of established emergent methods of curation that embraced media technologies, MoMA enacted the ideals of not just the modern but also the mobile. In other words, the living museum had become a modern and mass-mediated museum. – Haidee Wasson, Museum Movies: The Museum of Modern Art and the Birth of Art Cinema. P.166

Toute la mémoire du monde
(Shown on 8 May 2007)
Curated and presented by Ian White

The uses of the word museum in the nineteenth century, especially in the popular press, further attest to the symbolic power of the institution. Between 1806 and 1914, more that seventy newspapers, journals, and albums carried the word musée (museum) in their titles. This fact alone suggests an interesting relationship between, on the one hand, the world of press, with its retinue of money, publicity, and advertising […] and, on the other hand, the museum as a privileged exhibition space. The metaphor of the ‘printed museum’ presents a particularly striking image: the museum as encyclopaedic institution devoted to the education of all. This image, although it represented an ideal in many ways unrealistic vision of the museum, carried great authority and tended to supplant other available representations. It was from this model that the periodicals borrowed their purpose (to amuse, to instruct, and to moralise), their ‘table of contents’ (an encyclopaedia of useful facts), their conceptual categories, and even their layout, which was formally analogous to that of the great museum galleries.
The marriage of the museum and the press in the nineteenth century was not a coincidence. In their preambles, many editors stressed the significance they attached the title ‘museum.’ The printed ‘museum’ was to be a genuine museum. – Chantal Georgel, ‘The Museum as Metaphor in the Nineteenth-Century France’

Alain Resnais: Toute la mémoire du monde - France, 1956 - 21’, 35 mm
Resnais’ remarkable documentary on the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris examines its architecture and its operating systems as grand narratives. The memory of the whole world becomes a labyrinth rendered as an expressionist thriller.

What happens is that the museum gives this guarantee that the work that it contains has ‘museum quality’ …. So it’s about the condition of creating value, and that is the function of the museum. But what happens in the museum, which Ian also talks about, is that it also removes a work. It controls its destiny of exhibition, dissemination and, most importantly, interpretati n. oI think there is a distinction between the function of the museum and a place like an archive or a library, because an archive has no imperative to display. The library is the same thing. It’s a different kind of space. And I think it is very important to make this distinction and to think of the museum with its function, which is primarily to collect, display and interpret. P.133

Thursday, 16 December 2010

curating the blog task 1st draft

Ever since the start of unit 1 and until December 1, 2010, I have posted 79 blogs, some examining a single issue and others mixing and recapping, under the same post, the practice of multiple artists and the briefs of different readings, on the condition that the latter practice should be revolving around the same subject.
Looking in retrospect, sometimes I think that I could have been more systematic from the beginning and try to make every other post homogeneous within the entire blog, but again, it’s turning out that this platform is not a website, and it would be like shifting the concentration towards style, proof reading and unifying rather than spontaneous content and ongoing writing.
I feel comfortable blogging, even though I am not big on social networking tools. But having a specific topic in mind, and the specific task of writing about the development of the project, I noticed that sometimes I use some of my posts as archival material or notes to self to which I could come back to later on. I have managed to create a comfortable space for me where I get motivated to watch a film and then write about it or search about a specific notion and try to rewrite it to myself to grasp it more. I also revisit my blog to inquire about a specific gap in the project and look at certain aspects that might have been possible weaknesses or even look at the areas that are already richly covered and maybe over-saturated.
I also discovered, while checking out my posts that my trips between Beirut and London could be reflected on my blog as well; in Beirut I usually post about books I am reading or certain reflections on the project itself and the project’s context, while when I am in London, I am usually writing back or archiving a specific exhibition I have visited or a festival that I have attended.
My main topics revolve around narrative styles in relation to computing and digital arts. I use a lot practitioners work to speak through them about a certain methodology or about a certain detail that could relate to my field of interest in this MA and the progress of the theme: narrative breakdown in the VJing playground.
The research paper’s posts have dissected the big theme into: new media objects in relation to autobiography, therefore, a narrowing down of the narrative to autobiography and a trimming of the big theme of objects has become specific to transitional digital objects.
The research paper helped me coin some terms that were a source of anxiety earlier and that have now given me the confidence in the bigger vision.
Other posts include more vast digital arts practices and technology related inventions, general examples, techniques or theories that could be related to the field in general.
There are reserved posts in regard to the practical aspect, this is what I should start emphasizing. I was not convinced earlier that my tutorials in the different softwares could be worth being posted, but now I am thinking that since this is a learning practice, it should also include the practical aspect even if there’s not much worth mentioning yet, visually speaking.
For the first draft of this task I am pasting below a list of all the titles that were posted as well as all the labels that have been assigned to each post. An elaborate diagram should be created at a later stage and a reshuffling in the labels (in a new post) is needed at as a second step, as some were very vague and are clearer now.

1- research paper - final submitted december 1, 2010
2- rheo: 5 horizons by ryoichi kurokawa
3- celluloïd-e by andré décosterd, michel décosterd / cod.act
4- dj spooky - on information - instrumental reason
5- london futures: 1 oct 2010 - 6 march 2011
6- feedback on research question and abstract version 4
7- revisiting the research paper - version 4
8- revisiting the research paper - version 3
9- hollis frampton’s nostalgia (1971)
10- hollis frampton’s lemon
11- tutorial - feedback on abstract
12- abstract v. 2 - to be revisited
13- walid raad at the whitechapel gallery
14- kx culture: stories/images/sounds
15- museum of london: ldn24 by the light surgeons
16- alphaville festival 2010
17- requiem for concrete - mah rana
18- collecting a kaleidoscope
19- objects as clutter, as emotional and intellectual companions, as reflective of historical periods.
20- live cinema: a documentary by toby spark
21- the internet: is it changing the way we think?
22- jonathan harris and digital artscapes
23- cultural analytics - mark rothko paintings - on th2 287 - megapixel hiperspace wall at calit2
24- david cronenberg’s short film «camera»
25- research paper - updates on the idea of objects
26- research paper (idea #1) and institute benjamenta the film
27- citations from david bowie
28- david bowie speaks about ziggy
29- fast note on what is the opposite of opposite?
30- on ‘material memories’ by dj spooky
31- dan black ‘symphonies’ video
32- jk keller - or the guy who enjoys working!
33- yas get it right
34- ‘symphonies’ by dan black
35- mpr conclusions and recap on tutorial session
36- brainstorming on screen - frame - canvas etc...
37- inspiring practices: faraday_101 by andy stiff
38- the new spike jones: ‘i’m here’ preview
39- on memory - 1
40- pixels: retro gamers
41- leftover brainstorming - and an after effects trial
42- mpr feedback
43- mpr presentation
44- lev manovich: from sketchpad to ipad
45- drafting personal narratives
46- leftovers of images from my iphone
47- soft cinema: navigating the database
48- dissecting and structuring
49- remixing ‘deep remixability’: trying to get it right
50- baa - british animation awards
51- dj spooky speaks about his album ‘the secret song’
52- dr. riley crane (mit) and the 10 red balloons darpa contest
53- laura marks and the theory of ‘haptic visuality’
54- burroughs and gus van sant
55- decode: digital design sensations
56- 107 women is too much women.
57- indie film ‘the girlfriend experience’ by steven soderbergh (2009)
58- 1w13 damien hirst’s no love lost
59- 1w13 janet murray and the incunabula days of the narrative computer
60- 1w13 the times that remains
61- 1w12 what is remixology? a research in the visual style
62- 1w10 narratives online
63- 1w9 yann tiersen + dominique a = monochrome video clip and live in concert
64- 1w9 project proposal - final version
65- 1w8 a conversation with a friend
66- 1w7 the narrator in wim wender’s wings of desire
67- 1w6 the 5 obstructions by jørgen leth and lars von trier
68- 1w5 hamletmachine by heiner müller
69- 1w5 a foot kicking a ball: romance of football narrative in the digital field
70- 1w4 tokyo! a film by michel gondry, leos carax, and bong joon ho
71- 1w3 virtual and actual
72- 1w3 douglas gordon and philippe parreno’s film: ‘zidane a 21st century portrait’
73- in praise of the jackass, the airhead, and silliness in general
74- 1w2 onedotzero’s ‘adventures in motion’
75- 1w1 bus stories
76- all is happening in my brain
77- 1w1 presenting myself and my proposal
78- jill magid’s ‘authority to remove’
79- a foot kicking a ball: the romance of football

autobiographical compositing
digital art
DJ Spooky
drafting the project
haptic vsuality
image making
inspiring practices
Lev Manovich
live cinema
multi-sensory mundane
narrative styles
new media object
online community
project proposal
research paper

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Research Paper - Final Submitted December 1, 2010

For this research paper, we were asked to address a theoretical concern central to our practice. Below is the first part that includes my research question, the abstract, as well as the keywords. The end result paper is available on the following link:

Research Question:

Transitional digital objects: Fluidity in compositing an autobiography or a failure to create a portrait of the whole?


The paper explores the transitional aspect of digital objects in relation to autobiography. D.W. Winnicott (1971) coined the term ‘transitional objects’; it travels around the theme of object and fantasy. The paper assumes the fluid nature of digital objects, ‘a new media object’ could be ‘variable, mutable, liquid’ as per Manovich’s (2001) definition. Placing autobiography as the aim from transitional digital objects manipulation, the paper questions whether the fluidity will act as a facilitator to autobiographical visual compositing or will it fail to create a portrait of the whole?

The first part is dedicated to looking at the fluidity of digital objects through observing and relating theories and artworks of practitioners who have investigated the theme object. Mark Leckey (2008) exemplifies the dissolved physical into a digital object at the beginning of the century and by its end; Hollis Frampton (1969) doubts the object’s third dimensionality on the screen; Sherry Turkle (2007) emphasizes the emotional in objects; whereas Donna Haraway (1991) rejects the concept of objects being sacred in themselves; the Cult of Less (2009) upload their material lives on external hard drives and online services platforms; and Michael Craig-Martin (1973) challenges belief through a glass of water, a shelf and a printed text in his sculpture An Oak Tree.

The second part is focused on autobiography compositing. Different autobiographical manifestations come together to reach the final conclusion later. Christiane Paul (2008) defines the new nomadic nature; Mark Amerika (2007) speaks of the ‘hyperimprovisational narrative artist’ in Meta/Data; William Burroughs (1970) discusses the viral in the language; and Marcel Proust (1913) gives a lesson in generative autobiographical storytelling and involuntary memory in his book Remembrance of Things Past, specifically the episode of the Madeleine; Lev Manovich (2005) concludes this section with his compositing in the digital realm theory that leads to ‘deep remixability’.

The conclusion is preceded by notes on ‘recollection’ according to Mark Freeman (1995) and the ‘wholistic fictionalization of the past’ by Michel Foucault (1973) as well as Nietzsche’s (1889) statement of ‘the whole’ that ‘no longer lives at all: it is composed, reckoned up, artificial, a fictitious thing’.

The findings of the paper affirm the fluidity of autobiographical compositing through transitional digital objects as well as the failure of creating the portrait of the whole but do not judge the latter conclusion as necessarily inconvenient.


New Media Object – Autobiographical Compositing – Transitional – Fluidity – Wholeness

Monday, 29 November 2010

rheo: 5 Horizons by Ryoichi Kurokawa

This video audiovisual installation is composed of 5 flat-panel displays and five multi-channel speakers, each panel connected to a mono channel sound, audio is synchronizing the video, while each panel acts independently, together the 5 panels create a sort of an ensemble. I was intending to use this work as an example in my research paper, in the paper that speaks about the fluidity of the New Media Object, then again, It was going to be hard to explain both process and the details and then place this work within the context of the paper. Kurokawa's piece is brilliant and the implementations it suggests, the independent yet self-contained units could be hard to imagine otherwise. check out the video, the quality is much better on the DVD, yet, it is an OK option for now.

Celluloïd-E by André Décosterd, Michel Décosterd / Cod.Act

While researching for the paper, I was watching the Prix Ars Electronica DVD (2010), and I saw the piece entitled "Celluloïd-E" by André Décosterd, Michel Décosterd / Cod.Act. Later from the description I realized that they have been searching mechanisms that capture and produce visible undulatory movements and try to link this movement with sound. Their resulted piece was a motorized pendulum that generates sounds while rotating and shifting in space. A sound sculpture that works.

Watch the video on the following link:

Below are stills from the sculpture in motion.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

ideas to film: grandmother's library

Reading about the museum and database > take pictures the different compartments of my grandmother's library > stitch the pictures > import to after effects > use slow camera movement to move closely between different compartments > the edge between different compartments could become an abstract canvas in motion.

Friday, 19 November 2010

london futures: 1 Oct 2010 - 6 March 2011

A month ago, while at the Museum of London to see the light surgeons' video and and installation, I got into a room behind the Sackler café showing an exhibition called 'London Futures', mainly manipulated landscapes in London describing what the city will look in the future under the global warming context. The exhibition is lasting until next March, it's a good opportunity to see it. There's an ironical sense of humor in the images!
Below is a section copied from the Museum of London's website:

A display of 14 arresting images will be on display at the Museum of London from 1 October 2010 to 6 March 2011.

Like postcards from the future, familiar views of the capital have been digitally transformed by GMJ (external link) illustrators Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones.

The display brings home the full impact of global warming, food scarcity, rising sea levels and how all Londoners will need to innovate and adapt to survive.

Examples of the striking images that will be on show include Parliament Square put to work as a rice paddy, ice skating down the Thames, Buckingham Palace surrounded by a sea of shanty housing and the Gherkin occupied by thousands of eco-refugees highlight the shocking realities we could face.

Listen to our soundtrack inspired by this display

We have created a playlist on Spotify (external link) to accompany this display which takes its inspiration from the images and possible outcomes of climate change on London. Click here (external link) to listen and post reviews and additional suggestions via our Facebook and twitter pages.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

feedback on research question and abstract version 4

Tuesday's session was a tutorial, I got feedback and approval on the last version of the research question and abstract.
So to recap, it sounds very good and Andy's advice is simple: keep the boundaries as defined in the abstract and just write
expand definitions etc. 'fluidity' should be defined early on for example.
me: I did include a little paragraph about objects and museum
"The ‘physical’ object in the creative industry was criticized in the museum environment. Museum and objects is a vast topic, the paper’s restriction will not allow giving it justice. However, within the context approached here, and to back up Mark Leckey’s vision of the physicality dissolving, Theodore W. Adorno in his ‘Valéry Proust Museum’ declares the death of the object in the museum when he brings in the German word ‘museal’ and connects it to the word ‘museum’."
so mainly just one example and am skipping the rest of the topic to stay focused
feedback: it sounds like I have worked hard over the past week to really get your idea defined and this is a huge transformation
me: I think i started the whole paper in reverse, that is I read a lot before coming up with the question, should have been the other way around, I would have saved a lot of time
feedback: there is no right way to be honest - sometimes you need to read alot to get inspiration / focus
it offers you poosibilities beyond the immediate imagination
me: is it normal to feel that it's actually combining material to fit the main question? i am barely writing, it's more collecting the notes in a logical way, like introducing what is going to be cited and then leading the way to the next point
feedback: thats the way to do it then you re-write ensuring there is a flow
just make sure your collection of data is following a pattern that will allow for the development fo the argument and discourse
me: I had hard time figuring who worked on the "wholistic" idea, then one day i was able to chase 3 good references that I have read earlier but didn't spot them since i was focusing on the bigger topic. I am happy with this finally
feedback: you sound in good spirits on this, my advice is keep writing while it lasts and enjoy the process, the other issue is really to suggets you just get this going, get it finished asap so you can focus on your practice
do you think this essay will inform your practice much?
me: sure it will, i even have 'notes to self' file on the side
every other note is generating visuals for the practice
like the idea of filming my grandmother's library, with books in the background and all the frames of the whole family (like 3 generations) in the foreground
and the idea of having the show (maybe, if it does fit within the budget), mapped on a building
like a live show on a building, but this requires huge budget for the projector and the structure
so am not thinking about these logistics, but it's definitely paper generated ideas
feedback: ok yes that could be complex and expensive - however a digital recreration of a space could be a very interesting development
it would allow you to be inventive with the recording and recreation of the space
me: but things are making sense out of this, autobiography was not coined earlier, and the idea of trying to get a whole narrative is now rejected in my head, but with a back up argument

Monday, 15 November 2010

Revisiting the research paper - Version 4

Transitional digital objects: Fluidity in compositing an autobiography or a failure to create a portrait of the whole?


The paper explores the transitional aspect of digital objects in relation to autobiography. D.W. Winnicott coined the term ‘transitional objects’; it travels around the theme object and fantasy. The paper assumes the fluid nature of digital objects, “a new media object” could be “variable, mutable, liquid” as per Manovich’s definition. Placing autobiography as the aim from transitional digital objects manipulation, the paper questions whether the fluidity will act as a facilitator to autobiographical visual writing or will it fail to create a portrait of the whole?

The first part is dedicated to look at the fluidity of digital objects through observing and relating theories and artworks of practitioners who have investigated the theme object (1970s onward); Hollis Frampton doubts the object’s third dimensionality on the screen, Sherry Tuckle emphasizes the emotional in objects, the Cult of Less upload their material lives on external hard drives and online services platforms, and Michael Craig-Martin challenges belief through a glass of water, a shelf and a printed text in his sculpture “An Oak Tree”.

The second part is focused on autobiography in the digital realm. Different autobiographical manifestations come together to reach the final conclusion later; Mark Amerika speaks of the “technomadic” and the “hyperimprovisational narrative artist” in Meta/Data, and Marcel Proust gives a lesson in generative autobiographical storytelling and involuntary memory in his book “In Search of Lost Time”, specifically the episode of the Madeleine.

The conclusion is preceded by notes on ‘recollection’ (Mark Freeman) and the ‘wholistic fictionalization of the past’ (Michel Foucault) as well as Nietsche’s statement of ‘the whole’ that ‘no longer lives at all: it is composed, calculated, artificial, a fictitious thing’.

The findings of the paper affirm the fluidity of autobiographical visual writing through transitional digital objects as well as the failure of creating the portrait of the whole but do not judge the latter conclusion as necessarily inconvenient.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Revisiting the research paper - Version 3

Revisiting the research paper:

The research question:

Transitional digital objects:
Fluidity in compositing an autobiography
or a failure to create a portrait of the whole?


The paper should explore the transitional aspect of digital objects in relation to autobiography. D.W. Winnicott coined the term ‘transitional objects’, it travels around the theme object and fantasy. The paper assumes the fluid nature of digital objects, “a new media object” could be “variable, mutable, liquid” as per Manovich’s definition. Placing autobiography as the aim from transitional digital objects manipulation, the paper will question whether the fluidity will act as a facilitator to autobiographical visual writing or will it fail to create a portrait of the whole?

The first part will be dedicated to look at the fluidity of the digital objects through the work of theoreticians and practitioners who have worked on the object theme; doubting the third dimensionality on screen by Hollis Frampton, “emotional objects” of Sherry Tuckle, the Cult of Less’s initiative to upload their lives on external hard drives and online services platforms, and challenging belief in Michael Craig-Martin’s “An Oak Tree”.

The second part will be focused on autobiography in the digital realm. Exploring the “technomadic” and the “hyperimprovisational narrative artist” of Mark Amerika, Nietsche’s concept of “the whole no longer lives at all: it is composed, calculated, artificial, a fictitious thing”, Marcel Proust’s autobiography triggered by the “Madeleine”…

Mark Freeman in “Rewriting the Self: History, Memory, and Narrative” suggests linking autobiography to recollection and development:
“'re' makes reference to the past, 'collection' makes reference to a present act, an act, as we put it earlier, of gathering together what might have been dispersed or lost. Framed another way, the word recollection holds within it reference to the two distinct ways we often speak about history: as the trail of past events or 'past presents' that have culminated in now and as the act of writing, the act of gathering them together, selectively and imaginatively, into a followable story…”

Whereas Foucault considers “a great deal more that is accidental in both history in general and in our own life histories in particular than we might wish to avow. Perhaps we have reverted too often to a kind of wholistic fictionalization of the past, imposing unity and continuity on that which doesn't deserve it.”

Monday, 1 November 2010

hollis frampton's nostalgia (1971)

Hollis Frampton, USA 1971, 36’

Excerpt taken from the tate modern website.

"American artist and writer Hollis Frampton's film overturned the conventional narrative roles of words and images. In his account of an artist’s transformation from photographer to filmmaker, Frampton burns photographs that he has taken and selected from his past, along with one found photograph. A calm voice-over tells a story about each image, but it’s about the next image that the audience will see, not the one shown. Confounding comprehension still further, the narration begins and ends during the photograph’s combustion so that smoke and ashes busy your eye while you are trying to make sense of the image and the narration, trying to remember the story to fit the next image, trying to remember the image to fit the story you are hearing."

And form the artist's website:

"In (nostalgia), Frampton is clearly working with the experience of cinematic temporality. The major structural strategy is a disjunction between sound and image. We see a series of still photographs, most of them taken by Frampton, slowly burning one at a time on a hotplate. On the soundtrack, we hear Frampton's comments and reminiscences about the photographs. As we watch each photograph burn, we hear the reminiscence pertaining to the following photograph. The sound and image are on two different time schedules. At any moment, we are listening to a commentary about a photograph that we shall be seeing in the future and looking at a photograph that we have just heard about. We are pulled between anticipation and memory. The nature of the commentary reinforces the complexity; it arouses our sense of anticipation by referring to the future; it also reminisces about the past, about the time and conditions under which the photographs were made. The double time sense results in a complex, rich experience." - Bill Simon

"In (nostalgia) the time it takes for a photograph to burn (and thus confirm its two-dimensionality) becomes the clock within the film, while Frampton plays the critic, asynchronously glossing, explicating, narrating, mythologizing his earlier art, and his earlier life, as he commits them both to the fire of a labyrinthine structure; for Borges too was one of his earlier masters, and he grins behind the facades of logic, mathematics, and physical demonstration which are the formal metaphors for most of Frampton's films." - P. Adams Sitney

"(nostalgia) is mostly about words and the kind of relationship words can have to images. I began probably as a kind of non-poet, as a kid, and my first interest in images probably had something to do with what clouds of words could rise out of them... I think there is kind of a shift between what is now memory and what was once conjecture and prophecy and so forth." - Hollis Frampton

"(nostalgia) is a film to look at and think about, not a film that seizes your mind and forces its sensations on you. It liberates the imagination rather than entrapping it. It raises questions about the nature of film, the tension between fact and illusion, between now and then. It advances our understanding of film magic, and for this I am grateful." - Standish Lawder

"(nostalgia), beginning as an ironic look upon a personal past, creates its own filmic time, a past and future generated by the expectations elicited by its basic disjunctive strategy." - Annette Michelson

hollis frampton's lemon

Frampton on Lemon:
"As a voluptuous lemon is devoured by the same light that reveals it, its image passes from the spatial rhetoric of illusion into the spatial grammar of the graphic arts."

For more about this project, check out the excerpt in the abstract for the research paper, taken out from the book "Kinomuseum - Towards an artists' cinema" edited by Mike Sperlinger & Ian White, a 2008 publication:

tutorial - feedback on abstract

For the research paper, the abstract was followed by a tutorial session with andy, i need to reconsider and clarify many points, to recap:
- I am aiming to look at different artistic practices that shifted the object from its physical state to a narrative dimension, viewing artworks (in history, but stressing more on contemporary digital art related practicionners) who have worked on the object theme in narration and what are the implications?
- key example would be:
- the video lemon by Hollis Frampton: "Hollis Frampton worked on a video entitled "Lemon" where "a light moves slowly around the fruit describing it as defiantly three dimensional, touchable almost, until the light is entirely behind it, the fruit made into a perfect silhouette, three dimensions irreducibly made two, a flat shape that is nothing but a shadow of itself, a space of no light on the screen."
- and "The Cult of Less" who would sell everything they own except for anything that could store data and be used to digitally interact
- and the Tsunami collective who work on physicality of the connectivity
The relevance:
- Kelly Sutton from from "The Cult of Less" "cherishes online services" while Sherry Tuckle "cherishes objects" and describes them as "philosophy down to earth"
- My first attempt for this research paper is trying to understand or build a certain relationship between inanimate physical objects and objects that become data
- Andy suggests that this needs to be more prominant in the title
- is it about the dematerialisation of objects
- and how this process extends out knowledge of the the object
- and how narrative is affected by that
- seeing a physical object could generate narrative, seeing the same object as a photograph on facebook would generate different type of narrative
- I should define narrative in this context
- narrative for an object is about the relationship between it and its context: if you see a lemon on chopping board you can assume what the narrative is
- if the narrative is something from a individuals past it will not work as a straight narrative
- because the memories that trigger it are specific to you
- Function of the paper - its to discuss a specific issue within my practice
- as a paper it needs clarity and there is no room of interpretation
- I need to be specific and use citations to support my assertions
- I should read journaled articles, a good idea to familiarize myself with some as they are very different form books, they have a specific format, not just to emulate a style, but in the way information is ordered and imparted, it would help focus my idea
- Check out book called "Public Intimacy" by Guiliana Bruno, it discusses how museums build a narrative around objects
- Search for journaled articles within the terms used in my paper
- I need to understand them as this is what I need to produce
- The content of these papers is current and [assuming they are written now]
- In general, it's a nice idea you have a nice idea but it needs alot more ework to make this a objective assesment of the object and narrative
- stick with it - but make it objective - its an explanation/observation of a current state of affairs.

abstract v. 2 - to be revisited

Subjective Narrating of Objects

In my project an object (a football) triggers a whole narrative about economy, war, and entertainment.

In the research paper I will be looking at different artistic practices that shifted the object from its physical state to a narrative dimension.

Hollis Frampton worked on a video entitled "Lemon" where "a light moves slowly around the fruit describing it as defiantly three dimensional, touchable almost, until the light is entirely behind it, the fruit made into a perfect silhouette, three dimensions irreducibly made two, a flat shape that is nothing but a shadow of itself, a space of no light on the screen."

On a narrative note, Marcel Proust's Madeleine cookie triggers almost 180 pages of describing childhood memories in his autobiographical book "A la recherche du temps perdu" (Remembrance of Things Past): "And as soon as I had recognised the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me (although I did not yet know and must long postpone the discovery of why this memory made me so happy) immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set to attach itself to the little pavilion opening on to the garden which had been built out behind it for my parents ... the Square where I used to be sent before lunch, the streets along

which I used to run errands, the country roads we took when it was fine."

Michael Craig-Martin's "An Oak Tree" is a glass of water standing on a shelf attached to the gallery wall next to which is a text arguing that it is an actual oak tree. In an interview with the artist says that "on one occasion when it (the oak tree artwork) was barred by Australian Customs officials from entering the country as vegetation, I was forced to explain it was really a glass of water ... an incident that ... extended into 'real life' the discussion about belief and doubt, and fact and fiction I was addressing in the work."

I will be exploring how different art practitioners have worked on narrating objects in different eras, thus examining the relationship between inanimate physical objects in everyday life and in museums and objects as data.

I have been reading about the cult of less, an initiative by a young software engineer, Kelly Sutton, to get rid of everything he owns by digitizing all his possessions, and then keeping the few cherished objects, selling the ones that could benefit other people and ship the rest of the goods he owns but don’t interest him.

In a BBC interview, Kelly is described as the '21st-Century minimalist’; he says he “got rid of much of his clutter because he felt the ever-increasing number of available digital goods have provided adequate replacements for his former physical possessions.” He got rid of most of his assets, apart from his iPad, Kindle, laptop and a few other items, replacing his actual records with mp3s, his photographs are now digitized and uploaded on Flickr, he credits his external hard drives and online services like Hulu, Facebook, Skype and Google Maps for allowing him to lead a minimalist life.

I will be stressing more on the today's digitized data of objects and looking on how narrative is affected by that matter.