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Ian Bourn

Self Portraits and Other Fictions

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27 June – 8 July

 

Image courtesy of the Artist

Lenny’s Documentary

1978, 45mins, black and white, Umatic video

Ian Bourn on Lenny: “[He is] a mixture of all the friends I hung about with and people I met on the streets of Leytonstone. But he was also a possible version of myself, expressing things I’d never been able to before. The objectivity it allowed me meant I could mix humour and seriousness in what was an incredibly bleak vision of the world.” (quoted in Felicity Sparrow’s essay for Lux Online)

 

 

Image courtesy of the Artist

Black White and Green

2003, 7mins, colour, DVCam/DigiBeta

Set amidst the etched glass, well-worn marble tables and polished tiles of a traditional East-End London eel and pie shop, Black White and Green is at once a meditation on the aesthetics of pie and mash and an excursion into memory, fantasy and places best forgotten.

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Selected Writing

The Work Programme – published in The Fortnightly Review, November 2016.

“Today is bright and cloudless in the Uplands B Business Park, which overlooks the Lea Valley and its sunlit reservoirs. I lock my bicycle to some railings near the rubbish bins in the car park of Landmark House. I could have come by bus, but I’m trying to keep fit…[continues here]”

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Subjective Interfaces – published by Piece Of Paper Press in September 2016 as a limited, numbered edition of 200. Each book is made from a single A4 piece of paper.

“My WS1 book is taken and tossed to one side as if it were unimportant by Ms. M, who today is temporarily standing in for K, my usual advisor. M is all the time giving me an “I’m not going to stand for any nonsense” look. “What kind of work is it you are looking for Mr. Burden-on-the-taxpayer.?” “Anything in the arts sector. Anything connected with art, video art in particular. That’s my background. That’s what I’ve always been involved with. I have a degree—” “And have you any other skills? I’m saying this because what you are suggesting is a rather narrow area with limited opportunities. We need to widen the range of your job-search. Would you be interested in cleaning work for example?” “I don’t think I could do that.” “Would you consider training to become a cleaner?” “Well, I don’t think—” “Mr. Bone-idle, you need to consider making changes to your work plan, and to your profile. It is no use waiting for a job ‘making films’ when the chances of that are highly unlikely…[continues here]”

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Subjective Interfaces and The Work Programme form part of Ian Bourn’s ongoing project Placement. Developed from diary notes, the project creates a portrait of an artist working without supplementary income or savings, trying to survive on state benefits, and residing in a country which itself is supposedly living beyond its means.

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Ian Bourn on his films: “Visions of my life as someone else.”

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John Wood and Paul Harrison: the men inside my television – published by Carroll/Fletcher, February 2015.

“TVs today are not pieces of furniture like they used to be. They are flat rectangles and have no depth.

“The world outside my kitchen window is grey and uninteresting. The view is limited. Beyond the glass, a low bramble hedge is vibrating vigorously in a stubborn and prolonged battle with a persistent crosswind. Snug behind the hedge is a drab wood slat fence with concrete pillars, its strong horizontal line cutting off vision at a height of six feet. Peeping over this barrier, but in reality about half a mile away, are the dark grey triangular tops of a row of pitched roofs, descending in size because of the angle of the street where they stand.

“A few spiky trees poke up here and there and just fidget slightly instead of sway, their leaves having fallen off months ago. Likewise the spindly prongs of TV antennae bend only slightly in resistance to the blast apparently coming from an off-stage industrial wind machine.

“This low-lying arrangement of flat shapes, tucked one behind the other gives the scene a theatrical quality. The world feels hunkered down as a long procession of small blotchy clouds speed across from right to left, through the middle of an otherwise empty sky.

“There is a moment in The Only Other Point (2005) by John Wood and Paul Harrison when the camera, on its slow endless track, left to right, through grey simplified sets suggestive of interior or exterior landscapes, reveals what looks like a courtyard or city garden. A smallish tree with plain green leaves growing in a square black pot comes into view. This is followed by a dozen bright green balls in a loose grouping, mysteriously hanging in space at roughly the same height as the tree. As the camera moves across and the relative positioning of everything changes with perspective, a moment arrives when the group of balls becomes perfectly aligned with the tree and, as though it were their sole reason for being (which it is), the balls temporarily become the fruit of the tree. The camera moves on, the alignments untangle, we pass through a dividing wall and all is forgotten as the next new ambiguous space is revealed.

“As I look from my window, I feel a similar sense of sadness at the passage of time, of things coming together and then falling apart…[continues here].

Bio

Ian Bourn (b. 1953) was educated at Ealing School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. As a video artist, his screenings include Hayward Gallery, Tate Modern, National Film Theatre and Raven Row (London); The Kitchen (New York); Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam); and Image Forum (Tokyo).

Bourn was co-founder of HOUSEWATCH Artists’ Collective (1985 – 1992), whose site-specific film/performance projects included Conservatory (Lux/BFI, 1997), Paperhouse/Imaginary Opera (British Council tour of Japan, 1992 and Meltdown Festival, Southbank, London 1994), Little Big Horn (Southbank Centre, London, 1992), Night Assembly (Scottish Arts Council/Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh, 1987) and Cinematic Architecture for Pedestrians (Artangel, 1986).

Recent solo and group exhibitions and screenings include INSULA (London Gallery West, 2017), The Horizontal Within/The Horizontal Without (Lubomirov/Angus Hughes, London, 2017), Microcinema (Cambridge Film Festival, 2016), Subjective Interfaces (Piece of Paper Press and Peer Gallery, London, 2016), Experimenta: LFMC 50 (BFI Southbank, London, 2016), Contact Festival of New Experimental Film & Video (Apiary Studios, London, 2016), Video Room: Ian Bourn and Mark Dean (Museum Bojimans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2014, and Interior Domestic: Early Works by Ian Bourn 1979 – 1988 (Five Years, London, 2014).

 

 

William Raban

Making Films Politically?

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“The problem is not to make political films, but to make films politically.” Jean-Luc Godard.

On 18 May Close-Up and Carroll/Fletcher present the second part of Making Films Politically?, a short season of William Raban’s films. The programme features Civil Disobedience and Thames Film – two films exploring transient aspects of our natural and built environments to expose layers of historical, political and mythological meaning. The screening will be followed by a q&a with the director. Tickets are available here. Ahead of Part Two Carroll/Fletcher Onscreen presents two films included in Part One – London Republic and Available Light – and a short episodic reflection on Thames Film.

London Republic

In April 2016, two months before the UK referendum on membership of the EU, Raban uploaded London Republic to Vimeo.  Originally conceived as a political provocation that invited the audience to guess the outcome of the vote to decide London’s fate within Europe, London Republic has proved to be startlingly prescient of the UK’s vote to leave the EU and, perhaps, of the ultimate consequences…

 

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Available Light

Partly as a reaction to the political climate in 2016 and partly as an exercise in film-making within strict formal constraints, in Available Light Raban filmed himself using ‘natural’ light to read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. Shot over six days, Raban used time-lapse to compress the film to nine minutes. The images are offset by David Cunningham’s score, which is composed solely from the two words of the book’s title.

“When I set out to shoot Available Light I thought the film should be 8 minutes long. I therefore timed myself reading 2 pages of the book and calculated that by filming at the time-lapse rate of 1 frame every 2 seconds, the 858 pages would last 8 minutes. I shot the film over 6 days though some days when I was going to work I only filmed for 2 hours. The ‘rule’ was simple. I set up the book under a window and only filmed in available daylight. I started reading at 07.00 when there was just sufficient light to see but not sufficient to fully expose the image on camera and continued filming until it got too dark at evening twilight to read anymore. It was February and freezing cold in my studio so I had to take regular breaks to make myself a cup of tea, have a cigarette or take a quick lunch break. At those points where I took a short break, I put a bookmark between the pages, closed the book and stopped the camera. So you can see that in the case of that film human agency impinges significantly on the pre-planned systematic structure. Also, the film ended up being 9 minutes long because I hadn’t reckoned on some passages being difficult to understand therefore taking longer to read so that is another example of human disruption to the pre-planned system.” William Raban in an interview with Federico Windhausen (courtesy of LUX, full interview here).

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“Another example, more minimal in its form but which recuperates time-lapse, is Available Light (2016).  The proposal is simple: while natural light is available, presumably the director himself – with only his hands seen – reads from beginning to end Das Capital by Karl Marx.  To this seemingly simple premise is added a fundamental soundtrack.  By means of little defined noises, David Cunningham’s music turns into a sound speech and represents what could be the awareness of whoever reads this masterpiece on political economy.  At first the sounds advance autonomously against the movement of the hands that turn the pages.  Little by little, music and movements are mimicked, until a near complete connection is almost complete. In time, one intuits that the word is ‘capital’ that is ringing, only in fragments but each time becoming clearer, although it never quite does so completely.  In short, in its entirety, it functions as a birth – a word game with the title – a political claim, a grain of sand that sets out to change the world.” William Raban Retrospectiva: Politica y Sociedad a ritmo de Time-lapse, Iago Paris, 6 June 2016.

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available-light-william-raban-2016

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Thames Film

“When I make a new work, the thing I find myself striving for is to make an object of both truth and beauty. But of course truth is beauty so maybe the sole object should be to make an object of truth?”

William Raban.

Thames Film col

“Making films is about showing people things, not telling them how to interpret the world.”

William Raban.

“This is a vision of the dark Thames, of ‘Old Father Thames’ as an awful god of power akin to William Blake’s Nobodaddy; and, in Blake’s poem, Jerusalem, ‘Thames is drunk with blood’. In this film there is something fearful about the river, something monstrous, recalling Conrad’s line in Heart of Darkness that ‘…this also has been one of the dark places of the earth.’ Walking along the banks of the Thames, downriver, approaching the estuary, it is possible to feel great fear. One of the possible derivations of the word Thames itself is tamasa meaning ‘dark river’; the word is pre-Celtic in origin, so we have the vision of an ancient, almost primeval, time. And yet there is beauty and sublimity in terror. Raban has learned something from the great artists of the river, such as Turner and Whistler, and portrayed the Thames as clothed in wonder.” Peter Ackroyd on Thames Film.

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 11.03.12

“The way my films look seems to be determined more by the necessities and conditions of their construction rather than by going out of my way to make beautiful images.”

William Raban.

By filming from the low freeboard of a small boat, Raban attempts to capture the point of view of the river itself, tracing the 50 mile journey from the heart of London to the open sea. Interspersed with images from Breugel The Elder’s painting the Triumph of Death, this contemporary view is set in an historical context through use of archive film and the words of the travel writer Thomas Pennant, who followed exactly the same route in 1787.

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 11.31.36

“[In Thames Film] Modernity is put on trial: Pennant’s links between British imperialism, technological advances and the Thames are juxtaposed with derelict British imperialism, technological advances and pompous voiceovers from post-war newsreels anticipating the collapse not just of the Empire but also the ideals which supported it.” Gareth Buckell, review on William Raban DVD release (BFI 2005).

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 11.28.03

“These examples of using camera movements to link particular ideas, are part of the larger project to determine the extent to which it is possible to construct political meaning by image and sound alone without dependence upon commentary or text. This has been the methodology that I had developed in Sundial (1992), A13 (1994), Island Race (1996) and MM (2002).”

William Raban.

“I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river

Is a strong brown god – sullen, untamed and intractable.

Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;

Useful, untrustworthy as a conveyor of commerce;

Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.

The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten

By the dwellers in cities – ever, however, implacable,

Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder

Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated

By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting”

From The Dry Salvages, T.S. Eliot

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 11.32.17

Breugel, The Triumph of Death, c.1562. ‘In this setting, legions of skeletons advance on the living, who either flee in terror or try in vain to fight back. In the foreground, skeletons haul a wagon full of skulls; in the upper left corner, others ring the bell that signifies the death knell of the world. A fool plays the lute while a lady sings; behind both of them a skeleton plays along; a starving dog nibbles at the face of a child; a cross sits in the centre of the painting. People are herded into a coffin shaped trap decorated with crosses, while a skeleton on horseback kills people with a scythe. The painting depicts people of different social backgrounds – from peasants and soldiers to nobles as well as a king and a cardinal – being taken by death indiscriminately.’

“It seems to be easier for us to imagine the thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and nature than the breakdown of late capitalism; perhaps that is due to some weakness in our imagination.” Fredric Jameson, Seeds of Time, 1994.

ThamesFilmcopy3 copy

Two reflections on Thames Film: Peter Ackroyd and Michael Chanan. Much of Raban’s interview with Jonathan P Watts discusses Thames Film.

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William Raban on film-making

“Whilst I think my work has changed substantially over the past 45 years, the films I am now making are still informed by a structural film approach. It is especially evident in About Now MMX (2010), which uses grid-like camera movements to create a cinematic map of the city of London. Perhaps it is less obvious with films like the Houseless Shadow (2011) and Time and the Wave (2013), but nevertheless I see the methodology of using straight cuts and no special effects as linked back to minimalist principles. When making a film now I am always asking ‘what is the simplest and most direct way to achieve the desired affect?’”

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“Four principles of political filmmaking:

(1) reflexivity: active audience participation rather than passive spectatorship;

(2) reflexivity: revealing the modes of production rather than concealing them;

(3) reflexivity: as understood in the social sciences – the effect that the researcher [film-maker] has on their subjects [content and audience];

(4) an ethical dimension of aesthetics – appearance determined by material conditions of production, it is not the pursuit of style.”

William Raban, Sequence, Winter 2012.

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“The notion of the ‘picturesque’ suggests landscape to me, especially when you consider ‘issues of land ownership’. I see many of my films as ‘political’ but this acknowledges the pertinent observation by Jean-Luc Godard ‘The problem is not to make political films, but to make films politically.’ I digress from landscape. I used to be irritated by the generic term ‘landscape film’. I was suspicious of where people were coming from who used it. Given that there is an accepted tradition of English landscape painting, I thought it was an attempt to legitimate film as a fine art practice. Partly with that in mind, I started making urban landscape films with Moonshine (1975) and Autumn Scenes (1978) and of course, it includes my more recent London films as well. I have always seen LS Lowry’s paintings of the industrial northeast as landscape paintings and I think there is work to be done to reclaim the term ‘landscape’ to include the city as well as so-called natural landscapes.” William Raban.

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Evan Roth

n50.204520e1.538171.fr

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9 November – 30 November

 

“The project started as a venture to find the Internet, but has slowly changed to the relationship between data and the landscape, and then again to the relationship between the self and nature.” Evan Roth.

 

n50.204520e1.538171.fr, Evan Roth, 2016, Network located video, 18:00, Unique, Price on application

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Introduction

n50.204520e1.538171.fr follows on from Evan Roth’s solo exhibition Landscapes on Carroll / Fletcher Onscreen, 28 June – 28 July 2016. A physical counterpart to the work is included in the exhibition Looking at one thing and thinking of something else, Part one: Dialogues with Art History, Carroll / Fletcher Eastcastle Street, 11 November – 26 November 2016 (the online exhibition can be viewed here and details of the physical exhibition can be found here).

The work forms part of Roth’s Landscapes series, which first featured in his solo exhibition, Voices over the Horizon, at Carroll / Fletcher’s Eastcastle Street space in Spring 2015. The series began as a pilgrimage to a remote area of Cornwall, on the south-western tip of the UK, where the trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables that carry the Internet emerge from the ocean; a quest to rediscover the optimism, inspiration and sense of community he had found in the Internet’s early days. His pilgrimage has continued with journeys to Internet landing sites in Australia, France, New Zealand and Sweden – n50.204520e1.538171.fr was filmed at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme along the North coast of France.

During his explorations, the project evolved from his initial specific concerns with changes in the structure of and our relationship with the Internet, to a more general meditation on our relationship with and the impact on our lives of the physical, digital and cultural landscape:

“The longer I work on this new series, the more peripheral the Internet becomes in my thinking. I’ve been using the phrase “Internet landscapes” to informally describe the work, but lately I’ve been dropping the “Internet” and just calling them “landscapes” (which I think is more true to what they are). Even though the Internet is a strong character in the narrative, the work is really more about the questioning of my surroundings and search for solutions to issues that fundamentally challenge my art practice and worldview.” Evan Roth in The Black Chamber – surveillance, paranoia, invisibility & the internet, interview with Domenico Quaranta, Bani Brusadin and Ruth McCollough.

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n50.204520e1.538171.fr

Although the work begins with a journey by the artist to the landfall site of an undersea Internet cable and a single, continuous static shot film of the landscape (for n50.204520e1.538171.fr, Roth visited Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and shot an 18 minute film), the work itself consists of a digital file of the film located on a web server situated near the landfall site, displayed on a website with a URL web address made up of the GPS co-ordinates of where the camera filmed the landscape, and of the server hosting the video – for n50.204520e1.538171.fr, n50.204520e1.538171 are the GPS co-ordinates and .fr locates the server in France – and, for Roth, the work is only completed when the website is viewed by an audience, i.e. when an infra-red signal travels along the cables from the server hosting the digital file of the film, to the viewer’s computer which displays the film in their browser – the work is the film, plus the network, plus the viewer.

“Visiting the Internet physically is an attempt to repair a relationship that has changed dramatically as the Internet becomes more centralized, monetized and a mechanism for global government spying. Through understanding and experiencing the Internet’s physicality, one comes to understand the network not as a mythical cloud, but as a human made and controlled system of wires and computers.”  Evan Roth in Domenico Quaranta, Internet Landscapes.  A Journey in Space and Time, in Evan Roth, Kites & Websites, 2016.

Roth films the landscape using infra-red light, a reference to the infra-red light that transmits the signal along the Internet’s fibre-optic cables and to surveillance cameras. The images are accompanied by a two-channel audio track; one channel being the ambient sounds of nature and the other from custom-designed hardware that scans radio frequencies in sync with the artist’s heartbeat. Both the camera and audio-recorder are based on equipment used in ghost hunting.

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A still from n50.186091e1.643751, courtesy Evan Roth

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“I would also point out that there are things happening within the frame. On first glance it seems as if nothing is going on, but you should be able to notice subtle changes in light as clouds pass in front of the sun, animals, people, airplanes and boats moving in and out of frame, and changes in the wind and wave patterns. These aren’t ‘actions’ as we are used to actions in a typical Internet experience, but actions in nature. I also think there is a performance aspect in watching the piece from start to finish. All of the things that might happen during that period (email notifications, SMS messages, incoming tweets, your impulse to move the mouse so you can see how much time is left) are all a part of the viewing experience. These clips, which are typically shorter than the length of a TED talk, can seem like an eternity to watch in their entirety (especially when viewed in the privacy of your own browser).”  Evan Roth, in Domenico Quaranta, Internet Landscape  A Journey in Space and Time, in Evan Roth, Kites & Websites, 2016.

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n50.204520e1.538171.fr – an expanded experience

If the viewer pastes the co-ordinates n50.204520e1.538171 into the search bar of Google Maps, an alternative exploration of the location is possible.

The route taken by the infra-red signal from the viewer’s computer to the web server can be followed using the computer’s terminal window: with the website open on the screen, go to the computer’s terminal window – /Applications/Utilities/Terminal on Macs or /Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt on PCs – paste the following line and hit return: traceroute n50.204520e1.538171.fr (for Macs) or tracert n50.204520e1.538171.fr (for PCs). Alternatively, James Bridle’s Citizen Ex – http://citizen-ex.com/ – can be used.

Another dimension of the work can be experienced  through the source code: in the Chrome menu bar, go to: View/Developer/View Source; Firefox menu bar: Tools/Web Developer/Page Source; Safari menu bar: Safari/Preferences/Advanced, check show Develop Menu in menu bar Develop/Show Page Source (more details can be found here).

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A step by step guide to installing n50.204520e1.538171.fr at home

In making the image larger than the browser window, Roth encourages the viewer to navigate around the website using the scroll bar. A detailed exploration reveals a small blue forward slash in the top left corner of the image. This character, known as a path, is used extensively in computer science to specify a unique location in a file system. This path functions as a direct link to the video file on the server: http://n50.204520e1.538171.fr/packets.mp4

Here the video can be viewed to the size of the screen, framed by a black border (it is best viewed full screen without the bookmarks bar or toolbar) and, if mounted on a wall, it becomes reminiscent of a traditional landscape painting.

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Collecting the work

Each landscape in the series is a unique work.  On purchasing the work the collector receives a monitor, a networked media player, cables, ownership of the lease to the URL and digital files of the video.  The purchase is covered by a sales contract (viewable here).

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Bio

Evan Roth is an American artist based in Paris whose practice visualises and archives culture through unintended uses of technologies. Creating prints, sculptures, videos and websites, his work explores the relationship between misuse and empowerment and the effect that philosophies from hacker communities can have when applied to digital and non-digital systems.

His work is in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Israel Museum. Recent exhibitions include the 2016 Biennale of Sydney; Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) at Whitechapel Gallery, London; and This Is for Everyone at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Roth co-founded the arts organisations Graffiti Research Lab and the Free Art and Technology Lab and in 2016 was a recipient of Creative Capital funding.

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Links

Related texts:

Kites & Websites, Evan Roth with text from Domenico Quaranta
The Black Chamber – surveillance, paranoia, invisibility & the internet
, interview with Domenico Quaranta, Bani Brusadin and Ruth McCollough (full exhibition catalogue here).
Infra-red Wuthering Heights, interview with Filippo Lorenzin in Digicult magazine.

Related exhibitions:

Voices Over the Horizon
The Black Chamber
Internet Landscapes: Sydney
Kites & Websites

Related works:

Total Internal Reflection
Kites

Related articles:

http://next.liberation.fr/culture/2015/03/26/evan-roth-debris-de-fond_1228978
http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/evan-roth-physical-internet-ghost-hunting
http://www.wired.com/2015/03/exploring-internet-ghost-hunting-equipment/
http://hyperallergic.com/283973/a-pioneering-net-artist-mourns-the-unfulfilled-promise-of-the-internet
http://mashable.com/2016/03/15/evan-roth-biennale-sydney/#bU98Tus1Zuqw
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3058543/making-it/the-mysterious-infrastructure-of-the-internet-made-visible/1

“The filming requires me to be still in these locations for periods of 10 to­ 20 minutes at a time, and what I found during these moments of stillness was that I really wanted to check my inbox. After 30 seconds I would instinctively reach for my pocket to see what was happening on email/twitter/instagram. I remember one time I was filming on top of a cliff in Sweden looking out over the water and whales started coming up for air. It was so quiet that the sounds of their breaths were strikingly loud. Despite this being one of the most beautiful moments I’ve had in nature, I was disappointed in myself as I went from witnessing this sublime moment, to feeling slightly bored, and then finally questioning whether I should post it on Instagram, all within the course of two minutes… Part of what interests me in the Internet Landscape series is the struggle to take more control over my relationship with time and how it is connected to the consumption of media, nature and the moments when I am not being social (online or in person).”  Evan Roth, Infra-red Wuthering Heights, interview with Filippo Lorenzin, Digicult magazine.

Evan Roth

Landscapes

 

28 June – 18 July 2016

 

“The project started as a venture to find the Internet, but has slowly changed to the relationship between data and the landscape, and then again to the relationship between the self and nature.” Evan Roth.

Introduction

Evan Roth’s Landscapes is the fourth in Carroll / Fletcher’s series of online exhibitions (previous exhibitions can be viewed here).  The series, launched in March 2016, forms an integral part of Carroll / Fletcher’s overall programme of exhibitions and art fairs, Roth’s Landscapes series first featured in his Spring 2015 solo exhibition, Voices over the Horizon, and includes work that is available for sale.

In the autumn of 2014, disillusioned with the increasing centralisation, monetisation and corporate and governmental control and surveillance of the Internet, Evan Roth embarked on a pilgrimage to rediscover the optimism, inspiration and sense of community he had found in the Internet’s early days.  Roth’s quixotic quest began with a trip to a remote area of Cornwall, on the south-western tip of the UK, where the trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables that carry the Internet emerge from the ocean.

In subsequent journeys to submarine Internet cable land-fall sites in Australia, France, New Zealand and Sweden, what began as a personal voyage of rediscovery evolved into a deeper investigation of, and desire to make manifest, the impact of the Internet on our everyday lives, how it structures our perception of the physical and digital world and, consequently, influences our thoughts, feelings and actions.  And, as Roth explores the cultural, political and technological contours of our natural and digital landscape, he emerges as an urgent chronicler of the contemporary sublime.

“One day, I was looking out over the dreary expanse of the desert.  As far as the eye could see, the purple steps of the uplands rose up in series, towards horizons of exotic wildness…  On such occasions, maybe, I have been possessed by a great yearning to go out and find, far from men and far from toil the place where dwell the vast forces that cradle and possess us…  And then all my sensibility became alert, as though at the approach of a god of easy-won happiness and intoxication; for there lay matter, and matter was calling me.”  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Cosmic Life, 1916 (quoted in Jeffrey Kastner, Call of the Wild: Four Natural Duets for Richard T. Walker, 2013).

Internet Landscapes: Sydney, 2016


(Scroll right to view more)

Internet Landscapes: Sydney, Evan Roth, 2016, a series of 11 unique network-located videos (price on application)

http://s33.727473e151.235952.com.au

http://s33.734152e151.304727.com.au

http://s33.806901e151.299299.com.au

http://s33.820180e151.184813.com.au

http://s33.843574e151.144477.com.au

http://s33.844228e151.144557.com.au

http://s33.848846e151.173501.com.au

http://s33.849695e151.244546.com.au

http://s33.851451e151.286459.com.au

http://s33.851850e151.244960.com.au

http://s33.898239e151.275644.com.au

Internet Landscapes: Sydney forms part of Roth’s evolving exploration of the physical, digital and cultural landscape of the Internet and its relationship to our overall worldview. Each network-located video documents the landfall, near Sydney, of the under-sea fibre-optic cables that carry the Internet. The landscape is filmed in infra-red light, in reference to the infra-red light that transmits the signal along the Internet’s fibre-optic cables, as well as to surveillance cameras. The images are accompanied by a two-channel audio track; one channel being the ambient sounds of nature and the other from custom-designed hardware that scans radio frequencies in sync with the artist’s heartbeat. Both the camera and audio-recorder are based on equipment used in ghost hunting.

Each video forms the content of a website located on a server in Sydney. The URL, or web address, is made up of the GPS co-ordinates of the camera-filming location, and of the server hosting the video. Thus, in http://s33.727473e151.235952.com.au s33.727473e151.235952 are the GPS co-ordinates and .com.au locates the server in Australia. If the viewer pastes the co-ordinates in the search bar of Google Maps (https://www.google.co.uk/maps), an alternative exploration of the location is possible.

In making the image larger than the browser window, Roth encourages the viewer to navigate around the landscape using the scroll bar. A detailed exploration reveals a small blue forward slash in the top left corner of the image. This character, known as a path, is used extensively in computer science to specify a unique location in a file system. This path functions as a direct link to the video file on the server:

http://s33.727473e151.235952.com.au/packets.mp4

Here the video can be viewed to the size of the screen, framed by a black border (it is best viewed full screen without the bookmarks bar or toolbar) and, if mounted on a wall, it becomes reminiscent of a traditional landscape painting.

“I would also point out that there are things happening within the frame. On first glance it seems as if nothing is going on, but you should be able to notice subtle changes in light as clouds pass in front of the sun, animals, people, airplanes and boats moving in and out of frame, and changes in the wind and wave patterns. These aren’t “actions” as we are used to actions in a typical Internet experience, but actions in nature. I also think there is a performance aspect in watching the piece from start to finish. All of the things that might happen during that period (email notifications, SMS messages, incoming tweets, your impulse to move the mouse so you can see how much time is left) are all a part of the viewing experience. These clips, which are typically shorter than the length of a TED talk, can seem like an eternity to watch in their entirety (especially when viewed in the privacy of your own browser).”  Evan Roth, quoted in Domenico Quaranta, Internet Landscapes.  A Journey in Space and Time, in Evan Roth, Kites & Websites, 2016.

As Roth notes, the audio track reinforces the image’s sense of place. The experience of the work within the ambient sounds and visual clutter of our everyday environment highlights our networked condition. And for Roth the network forms an integral part of the work: when a viewer visits the website a signal travels as a beam of infra-red light through the network of cables stretching from the viewer’s computer to the server in Sydney and back. This route can be traced on the viewer’s computer by going to the terminal window (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal on Macs, or /Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt on PCs), pasting in the following line and hitting return:

traceroute s33.727473e151.235952.com.au (for Macs)

or

tracert s33.727473e151.235952.com.au (for PCs)

The path from the viewer’s computer to Sydney is traced out step by step:


(note: This traceroute was run from a computer located in Paris)

The route can also be seen graphically using James Bridle’s Citizen Ex – http://citizen-ex.com:

“Every time you connect to the internet, you pass through time, space, and law. Information is sent out from your computer all over the world, and sent back from there. This information is stored and tracked in multiple locations, and used to make decisions about you and determine your rights. These decisions are made by people, companies, countries and machines, in many countries and legal jurisdictions. Citizen Ex shows you where these places are. Your Algorithmic Citizenship is how you appear to the internet, as a collection of data extending across many nations, with a different citizenship and different rights in every place. One day perhaps we will all live like we do on the internet.” James Bridle.

A further dimension of the materiality of the work is opened up when the source code is viewed:

To view the source code in the Chrome menu bar, go to: View/Developer/View Source; Firefox menu bar: Tools/Web Developer/Page Source; Safari menu bar: Safari/Preferences/Advanced, check show Develop Menu in menu bar Develop/Show Page Source.

The code between lines 2 and 66 is written such that while humans can read it, machines cannot. In a reference to the horizon line and nodes of the network route, the star is a unicursal hexagram; a hexagram drawn with a single unbroken line often used in occult religions to symbolise the intermingling of micro- and macro-cosmic forces. Below the star we find a description of the work:

And if the viewer goes to line 110 some more human-only readable code can be found, a note of gratitude and thanks from one artist to another:

<!–hat tip Olia Lialina, view-source:http://best.effort.network/ –>

“The longer I work on this new series, the more peripheral the Internet becomes in my thinking. I’ve been using the phrase “Internet landscapes” to informally describe the work, but lately I’ve been dropping the “Internet” and just calling them “landscapes” (which I think is more true to what they are). Even though the Internet is a strong character in the narrative, the work is really more about the questioning of my surroundings and search for solutions to issues that fundamentally challenge my art practice and worldview.” Evan Roth in The Black Chamber – surveillance, paranoia, invisibility & the internet, interview with Domenico Quaranta, Bani Brusadin and Ruth McCollough.

The Landscape Series

Total Internal Reflection, Evan Roth, 2015, single-channel video, 9′ 46″, edition of 3 + 1 AP, price on application

In the autumn of 2014, as a pilgrimage to rediscover the optimism, inspiration and sense of community Roth found in the early days of the Internet, he made a trip to Cornwall on the south-westerly tip of the UK, one of the world’s most important telecommunications hubs dating back to the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cables laid there in 1870. Today, fibre-optic Internet cabling connecting the United States to Europe ascends from the depths of the Atlantic basin onto the Cornish coast carrying 25% of the world’s Internet traffic. Zigzagging and disappearing through several small beach towns, here the physical Internet meets a picturesque, untamed landscape, long steeped in tales of both communication technologies and the paranormal.

In a quixotic attempt to re-establish a spiritual connection, Roth turned to ghost-hunting technologies to record his trip and investigate the physical and virtual landscape. These strange-looking devices, including full-spectrum video cameras, thermal flashlights and electronic voice phenomenon recorders, were developed by a close-knit DIY community. They not only lent themselves to Internet-focused modifications but also re-kindled a sense of mystery and wonder toward technology. Like his ghost-hunting counterparts whose urgent enquiries into the supernatural were often conducted on sites of assumed paranormal activity, Roth ventured out with his ghost-hunting toolkit into the landscape that physically hosts the Internet, in a personal quest to visualise and reconnect with what has become so integral to contemporary life; making sense of a web which feels less dynamic, less chaotic, more centralized and more controlled.

Total Internal Reflection connects together a series of moments from Roth’s trip shot with a full-spectrum ghost-hunting camera. The audio for the piece, recorded on location, is drawn from a custom-built instrumental trans-communication device or ‘ghost box’, which scans radio frequencies at regular intervals in search of paranormal activity. The scanning of radio static blends with the ambient noises of waves and wind and the warm tones of the images to evoke a powerful sense of place.  The video formed part of Roth’s solo exhibition Voices Over The Horizon at Carroll / Fletcher.


Voices Over the Horizon at Carroll/Fletcher, Evan Roth, 2015

“Visiting the Internet physically is an attempt to repair a relationship that has changed dramatically as the Internet becomes more centralized, monetized and a mechanism for global government spying. Through understanding and experiencing the Internet’s physicality, one comes to understand the network not as a mythical cloud, but as a human made and controlled system of wires and computers.”  Evan Roth quoted in Domenico Quaranta, Internet Landscapes.  A Journey in Space and Time, in Evan Roth, Kites & Websites, 2016.

http://n57.680235e11.668160.se, Evan Roth, 2015, network-located video from the series:

http://n57.630653e11.878293.se
http://n57.675322e11.662511.se
http://n57.888698e11.688815.se
http://n57.889503e11.685638.se
http://n59.329452e18.132398.se
http://n59.329736e18.132242.se
http://n59.363142e18.254658.se
http://n48.879773e2.367629.fr
http://s36.784432e174.777591.co.nz
http://s36.787854e174.775050.co.nz
http://s36.809596e174.417374.co.nz
http://s36.810855e174.422624.co.nz

All works unique, price on application.

As part of the Kites & Websites solo exhibition and Black Chamber group exhibition, Roth continued his pilgrimage with visits to Internet landing sites in France, New Zealand and Sweden. The locations are often remote and inaccessible; not meant to be visited by land – the signs indicating the presence of the submarine cables face the ocean, unreadable by casual visitors strolling on the beach or hiking along the cliffs. With a sensibility reminiscent of a Romantic landscape painter confronted by the sublime, he used an infrared camera to shoot the images and a custom-built audio-recorder to capture the ambient sounds and scan and capture radio frequencies at intervals regulated by the artist’s heartbeat.  The use of an infrared, rather than full-spectrum, camera and two-channel recording marked a refinement in the techniques used in Total Internal Reflection, and, in a further development, the videos are viewable via websites hosted in the locations of the landscapes (see the section above for further details).


Kites & Websites at Belenius/Nordenhake, Evan Roth, 2016

“The filming requires me to be still in these locations for periods of 10 to­ 20 minutes at a time, and what I found during these moments of stillness was that I really wanted to check my inbox. After 30 seconds I would instinctively reach for my pocket to see what was happening on email/twitter/Instagram. I remember one time I was filming on top of a cliff in Sweden looking out over the water and whales started coming up for air. It was so quiet that the sounds of their breaths were strikingly loud. Despite this being one of the most beautiful moments I’ve had in nature, I was disappointed in myself as I went from witnessing this sublime moment, to feeling slightly bored, and then finally questioning whether I should post it on Instagram, all within the course of two minutes… Part of what interests me in the Internet Landscape series is the struggle to take more control over my relationship with time and how it is connected to the consumption of media, nature and the moments when I am not being social (online or in person).”  Evan Roth, Infra-red Wuthering Heights, interview with Filippo Lorenzin, Digicult magazine.


http://s33.849695e151.244546.com.au, Evan Roth, 2016, network-located video, unique, price on application.

“I see Internet Landscapes more as a series about a personal struggle to find optimism and inspiration within an environment that feels irreversibly changed. It’s reflective of the cultural and political issues that precipitated this change…  [and as an attempt] to come to a better visual and conceptual understanding of what the network is, and how it affects us individually and as a society.”  Evan Roth, Infra-red Wuthering Heights, interview with Filippo Lorenzin, Digicult magazine.

Collecting the work

Each landscape in the series is a unique work.  On purchasing the work the collector receives a monitor, a networked media player, cables, ownership of the lease to the URL and digital files of the video.  The purchase is covered by a sales contract (viewable here).

Links

Related texts:

Kites & Websites, Evan Roth with text from Domenico Quaranta
The Black Chamber – surveillance, paranoia, invisibility & the internet
, interview with Domenico Quaranta, Bani Brusadin and Ruth McCollough (full exhibition catalogue here).
Infra-red Wuthering Heights, interview with Filippo Lorenzin in Digicult magazine.

Related exhibitions:

Voices Over the Horizon
The Black Chamber
Internet Landscapes: Sydney
Kites & Websites

Related works:

Total Internal Reflection
Kites

Related articles:

http://next.liberation.fr/culture/2015/03/26/evan-roth-debris-de-fond_1228978
http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/evan-roth-physical-internet-ghost-hunting
http://www.wired.com/2015/03/exploring-internet-ghost-hunting-equipment/
http://hyperallergic.com/283973/a-pioneering-net-artist-mourns-the-unfulfilled-promise-of-the-internet
http://mashable.com/2016/03/15/evan-roth-biennale-sydney/#bU98Tus1Zuqw
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3058543/making-it/the-mysterious-infrastructure-of-the-internet-made-visible/1

Bio

Evan Roth is an American artist based in Paris whose practice visualises and archives culture through unintended uses of technologies. Creating prints, sculptures, videos and websites, his work explores the relationship between misuse and empowerment and the effect that philosophies from hacker communities can have when applied to digital and non-digital systems.

His work is in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Israel Museum. Recent exhibitions include the 2016 Biennale of Sydney; Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) at Whitechapel Gallery, London; and This Is for Everyone at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Roth co-founded the arts organisations Graffiti Research Lab and the Free Art and Technology Lab and in 2016 was a recipient of Creative Capital funding.

Afterword 3

“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”  Peter Thiel (quoted in Elephant, Summer 2015).

“What do we mean by the web of the mid 90’s and when did it end? To be blunt it was bright, rich, personal, slow and under construction. It was a web of sudden connections and personal links. Pages were built on the edge of tomorrow, full of hope for a faster connection and a more powerful computer. One could say it was the web of the indigenous…or the barbarians. In any case, it was a web of amateurs soon to be washed away by dot.com ambitions, professional authoring tools and guidelines designed by usability experts.”  Olia Lialina, A Vernacular Web, 2005, http://art.teleportacia.org/observation/vernacular/

From an interview with Eva and Franco Mattes:

TB: Overall, how have the changes to the Internet over the two-plus decades you’ve been working affected your practice?

FM: There was a lot of idealism connected to the Internet in the ’90s, even, I would say, utopianism: that we’d finally found the technology that was decentralized and free and open sourced, that would bring about democracy, if not anarchy, on planet Earth. You could share information with the rest of the world for free in real time without any copy restrictions, without any monetary interchange. Of course, we’ve realized that it’s not that simple.

EM: We were young kids trying to make things. We both come from very narrow-minded, provincial, small places, so the Internet seemed like a place where you could get to a wider audience than you could normally if you were trying to show your work in a gallery. You could bypass traditional institutions and get in contact with audiences directly. It was really inspiring, in a way.

FM: And it’s gone.

Courtesy Eva and Franco Mattes, Thea Ballard and Modern Painters, 2016.

Hello might easily be seen as in line with Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s call, in his 1970 text Constituents of a Theory of the Media, to overcome the ‘consciousness-shaping industry’ of corporate broadcasting by harnessing media’s ‘emancipatory potential’ through interaction, feedback, and the potential reciprocity of reception and transmission. Like Nam June Paik, in his 1984 New Year’s Day satellite broadcast Good Morning, Mr Orwell, Enzensberger pushes back against the Big Brother thesis of media’s inherent complicity with sovereign power, seeing this as a paranoid fantasy of totalisation. Though such a McLuhanesque technoutopianism does indeed permeate Hello’s promise of connectivity, the tele-happening also points to something crucial that has become a central point of interrogation for many of the artists making work with and about new technologies: the exercise of power does not cease to exist over distributed networks, it simply functions differently. Time and time again, the Internet has been heralded as the harbinger of freedom, progress and the expansion of democracy. For many artists, the task is not to deny such possibilities, but to offer a deflationary, ambivalent form of engagement that stems from within the technosphere and emphasises the extent to which we all operate within a system founded on principles of algorithmic control. Even bi- or multi-directional interactive apparatuses remain apparatuses, operating at the intersection of power and knowledge and possessing, in the words of Giorgio Agamben, “the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model. Control, or secure the gestures, opinions, behaviours, or discourses of living beings”. Contrary to Enzensberger’s claim, this capactity is made even more powerful by the transformation of these living beings from spectators to participants.”  Erika Balsom, On the Grid in the catalogue for Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery, 2016.

 

“When I’m in the field filming [the Landscape Series], I usually shoot still tripod shots between 10 and 15 minutes in duration. Because I’m recording audio (both from the ambient surroundings as well as from the radio spectrum), I need to remain stationary for the entire duration of the clip. In that sense the filming process is like a digital retreat with mandatory periods of 15 minutes of solitary meditation in nature. And what was most striking to me when I started this process was not ‘omg, this retreat into nature and being away from screens is amazing!’, it was more, ‘holy shit, this is boring’. In the beginning I found myself negotiating internally whether certain shots were worth the 15 minutes of stillness that was required. As I continued with the project, however, this perception of time became one of the most interesting aspects of the work.”Evan Roth in The Black Chamber – surveillance, paranoia, invisibility & the internet, interview with Domenico Quaranta, Bani Brusadin and Ruth McCollough.

 

 

hierarchy of relevance

Richard T. Walker

the hierarchy of relevance

2010, 7′ 58″

3 February – 15 February 2016

Richard T. Walker, the hierarchy of relevance, 2010, a

Synopsis

 .

In the hierarchy of relevance we see the artist alone in the desert in conversation with the landscape:

“He knew that his capacity to acknowledge beauty was very much limited, so he began to wonder; if each object possesses such immense beauty how could he possibly even see the landscape anymore? For the landscape is made from a series of moderately beautiful parts, each with a specific limit to its appeal so that collectively; as a whole within his frame of vision they give a sensation of awe and magnificence. If each object is too beautiful, too appealing, he thought, then surely his senses would just become completely overwhelmed, exhausted, and thus thwart his capacity for appreciation.” From the hierarchy of relevance.

Richard T. Walker, the hierarchy of relevance, 2010, b
 .
Bio .

Richard T. Walker makes videos, photographs, text works and performances that reveal a frustrated, obsessive relationship with landscape and at the same time explore the complexity of human relations. Videos and photographs show the artist alone in the centre of dramatic landscapes, occupying a position reminiscent of a classic romantic figure contemplating the infinite, awe-inspiring mysteries of an impersonal natural world. As Walker’s narratives unfold, accompanied by his own musical compositions, viewers find themselves becoming beguiled by the artist’s gentle wit and drawn into his intimate relationships. Describing his work, Walker states, “I think, or I hope, that the viewer becomes simultaneously pushed away and pulled towards the landscape. There is a sort of redemption in the music – the idea of the Sublime is re-appropriated, re-positioned and I think the initial relationship to the Sublime becomes questioned.”

In his videos and photographs, Walker creates almost comic scenarios in which the artist apparently picks over the intricacies of his personal life in the face of an emotionally detached nature. These play off the familiar music video format, a format in which the anguishes of romance are so regularly thrashed out, to reveal the short-comings of language to describe or articulate our response to emotional or physical landscapes.

There is a conversational directness and honesty in Walker’s work that draws the spectator into his world. His narratives take the form of diary entries, letters or imagined dialogues: communication that allows the figure in the landscape to speak straight from the heart. The matter-of-factness of his tone is in direct contrast to the grandeur of the visual material, which seduces the viewer much as the artist wishes to be seduced by his unresponsive lover.

Recent solo shows, group exhibitions and performances include everything failing to become something, Carroll / Fletcher, London; In accordance with things, àngels, Barcelona; the fallibility of intent, Di Rosa, Napa, USA (all 2015); the predicament of always (as it is), The Contemporary Austin, Austin, USA (2014); the predicament of always (as we are), ASU Art Museum, Tempe, USA (2014); the security of impossibility, The Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, USA (performance) (2013); in defiance of being here, Carroll / Fletcher, London, UK (2013); let this be us, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, USA (2013); and Stage Presence, SFMOMA, San Francisco, USA (performance).

Filmography

an is that isn’t always, 2015

Fresh Kill

Shu Lea Cheang

Fresh Kill

1994 | 01:18:41 | Colour | Stereo | 4:3 | 35mm

December 8 – December 17, 2015

Synopsis

Fresh Kill tells the story of two young lesbian parents caught up in a global exchange of industrial waste via contaminated sushi. The place is New York and the time is now. Raw fish lips are the rage on trendy menus across Manhattan. A ghost barge, bearing nuclear refuse, circles the planet in search of a willing port. Household pets start to glow ominously and then disappear altogether. The sky opens up and snows soap flakes. People start speaking in dangerous tongues.

Fresh Kill premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, Berlin in 1994.  In 1995, it featured in the Whitney Biennal, New York and was broadcast on Channel Four in the UK.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.05.51

“Fresh Kill operates on a faith in media activism and the emancipatory potential of the digital. Commercial media penetrate into the social and psychological fabric of daily life, but they can be resisted. Fresh Kill offers itself as an example of that resistance while providing models for potential hackers and cable activists in the audience. Like the works of Brecht and Godard, it offers hope for seizing  the means of communication by reflecting on its own production and providing an image of radical media empowerment to inspire others.” Gina Marchetti, 2001.

Shu Lea Cheang in conversation with Lawrence Chua – BOMB Magazine, Winter, 1996

“Lawrence Chua: What was your emotional attachment to the narrative? You came up with the idea and then approached Jessica Hagedorn [the writer], right?

“Shu Lea Cheang: There was a certain political agenda we wanted to deal with, in terms of media and environmental racism. That environmental racism was manifested in the transport of industrial toxic waste to Third World countries. Right from the beginning, we made a parallel between the waste and the dumping of garbage TV programs into Third World countries. Basically, once that was constructed, it seemed like we kept on making parallels. You have First World/Third World, then you have New York City/Staten Island, and even within New York City, you have “Tent City” (a makeshift community of homeless people) as a kind of garbage dump. We set up a bunch of characters with the intention of trying to reverse stereotypes. Right from the beginning we wanted to have this Asian hacker, who was also this quiet sushi chef; a lesbian couple . . . There were all these preset characters we wanted to put into the landscape… [read the whole interview here].”

Courtesy: BOMB Magazine, Shu Lea Cheang and Lawrence Chua.

unnamed

Fredric Jameson on the ‘conspiratorial text’: “Whatever other messages it [the conspiratorial text] emits or implies… may also be taken to constitute an unconscious, collective effort at trying to figure out where we are and what landscapes and forces confront us in a late twentieth century whose abominations are heightened by their concealment and their bureaucratic impersonality… Nothing is gained by having been persuaded of the definitive verisimilitude of this or that conspiratorial hypothesis:  but in the intent to hypothesize, in the desire called cognitive mapping – therin lies the beginning of wisdom.” Fredric Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System, 1995.

Shu Lea Cheang

As an artist, conceptualist and filmmaker Shu Lea Cheang constructs networked installations and multi-player performances. In her film scenarios and artworks, she drafts sci-fi narratives and builds participatory social interfaces and open networks. Engaged in media activism with transgressive plots for two decades (the 80s and 90s) in New York City, in 1998 Cheang concluded her NYC period with the first Guggenheim Museum web art commission BRANDON (see www.carrollfletcheronscreen blog).  Cheang has expanded her cross-genre-gender borderhack performative works since relocating to the Eurozone in 2000. Currently situated in post-net BioNet zone, Cheang is composting the city/the net while mutating viruses and hosting seeds through underground parties.

Cheang has made two feature films, FRESH KILL (permiered at Berlin Film festival, 1994) and I.K.U. (premiered at Sundance film festival, 2000).  Her third film, FLUIDØ is currently in production:

“FLUIDØ  is set in the post-AIDS future of 2060, where the Government is the first to declare the era AIDS FREE, mutated AIDS viruses give birth to ZERO GEN – humans that have genetically evolved in a unique way. These gender fluid ZERO GENs are the bio-drug carriers whose white fluid is the hypernarcotic for the 21st century, taking over the markets of the 20th century white powder high. The ejaculate of these beings is intoxicating and the new form of sexual commodity in the future. The new drug, code named DELTA, diffuses through skin contact and creates an addictive high. A new war on drugs begins and the ZERO GEN are declared illegal. The Government dispatches drug-resistant replicants for round-up arrest missions. When one of these government android’s immunity breaks down and its pleasure centers are activated, the story becomes a tangled multi-thread plot and the ZERO GENs are caught among underground drug lords, glitched super agents, a scheming corporation and a corrupt government. Check yourself in as a fluid junkie for a super hyper viral ride.”

For more details and a cv see http://www.mauvaiscontact.info

Fresh Kill Credits

FRESH KILL, an eco-cybernoia film. An airwaves project in association with Woo Art International, ITVS and Channel 4, UK.

Director: Shu Lea Cheang

Writer: Jessica Hagedorn

Cast: Sarita Choudhury, Erin McMurtry, Abe Lim, Jose Zuniga, Laurie Carlos, Will Kemp, Nelini Stamp and Rino Thunder

Producer: Jennifer Fong

Associate producer: Shari Frilot

Music: Vernon Reid

Cinematography: Jane Castle

Film editing: Lauren Zuckerman

Production design: Nancy Deren

Art direction: Michael Nino

Sound editor: Margaret Crimmins

FreshKillPoster (1)

 

One Thing Leads To Another

Chris Marker, Stopover In Dubai, (2011)

“[Chris Marker’s] late short video Stopover in Dubai is the most minimal effective gesture: it’s the film produced by the Dubai State Security service, of found CCTV footage tracking the assassins on their way to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his hotel room. All Marker has done is change the soundtrack, adding the first three movements of Henryk Górecki’s ‘String Quartet No. 3’: the dark adagio as the team assembles, drifting in and out of shopping centres; the profound gloom of the second movement, as the circle inexorably closes and the doomed man goes to his hotel room under the watchful eye of the surveillance group; and the escalating frenzy of the allegro as the work is done and the killers scatter.” From Chris Marker’s obituary in Radical Philosophy November/December 2012.

Emily Jacir Europa at Whitechapel Gallery

“Winner of a Golden Lion at the 2007 Venice Biennale, Material for a film (2004–ongoing) is a large-scale, immersive installation based on the life of Palestinian writer Wael Zuaiter who was assassinated near his home in Rome by Israeli Mossad agents in 1972. Jacir reimagines chapters of Zuaiter’s life through materials unearthed by the artist including family photographs, correspondence and documents relating to his death.” From the catalogue accompanying Emily Jacir’s solo exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, London.

EmilyJacirPhoto“Wael Zwaiter / وائل زعيتر‎ ( 2 January 1934 – 16 October 1972) was a Palestinian translator assassinated as the first target of Israel’s Operation Wrath of God campaign following the 1972 massacre at the Munich Olympics. Israel considered Zwaiter a terrorist for his role in the Black September Group, while his supporters argue that he was “never conclusively linked” with Black September or the Munich massacre and was killed in retribution…[more here]” Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Eric Baudelaire, The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 years without images, (2011)

Trailer for Eric Baudelaire‘s film The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years without Images (2011)

“Who are May and Fusako Shigenobu? Fusako — leader of an extremist left-wing faction, the Japanese Red Army, involved in a number of terrorist operations — has been in hiding in Beirut for almost 30 years. May, her daughter, born in Lebanon, only discovered Japan at the age of twenty-seven, after her mother’s arrest in 2000. And Masao Adachi? A screenwriter and radical activist filmmaker, committed to armed struggle and the Palestinian cause, was also underground in Lebanon for several decades before being sent back to his native country. In his years as a film director, he had been one of the instigators of a ‘theory of landscape’ — fukeiron: through filming landscapes, Adachi sought to reveal the structures of oppression that underpin and perpetuate the political system. Anabasis? The name given, since Xenophon, to wandering, circuitous homeward journeys.

“It is this complicated, dark, and always suspenseful story that Eric Baudelaire — an artist renowned for using photography as a means of questioning the staging of reality — chose to bring forth using the documentary format. Filmed on Super 8 mm, and in the manner of fukeiron, contemporary panoramas of Tokyo and Beirut are blended in with archival footage, TV clips and film excerpts as backdrop for May and Adachi’s voices and memories. They speak of everyday life, of being a little girl in hiding, of exile, politics and cinema, and their fascinating overlap. All of which adds up not so much to an enquiry as a fragmented anamnesis.” Jean-Pierre Rehm (from the FID Marseille catalog).

The film is accompanied by a fascinating publication that’s available for free here from ISSUU (courtesy of Eric).

Jumana Manna – A magical substance flows into me (2015)

JM-WEB-04Courtesy Chisenhale and Jumana Manna

Jumana’s wonderful, inspiring, important new film forms the centrepiece of her first UK solo exhibition at Chisenhale, London.  The exhibition guide includes an Katie Guggenheim, Exhibitions and Events curator at Chisenhale, interviewing Jumana.

“I chose not to emphasise borders, in terms of what is Palestinian territory and what is Israel given that Lachmann’s radio programme took place before the partition of Palestine. I thought of Lachmann’s programme as radio waves spilling out across a territory, defining a certain polity, and participating in shaping the territory. In a sense, when making the film, I physically follow those waves. I follow the path of Lachmann’s research, performing the radio
waves as I travel to the different parts of the country bringing the recordings on my smart phone to where these groups live – even more segregated today than before. In this way, the structure of the work expresses both the loss of that political space –historical Palestine – but also my effort to retrieve it. This labor, and the traversal of various borders are not to idealise the period of the British Mandate, but rather to provide a space from which another Palestine can be imagined. It is part of my interest in going beyond the logic of segregation and separation. This paradigm of partition, the two-state solution that is still the prevalent one for Israel/Palestine is, I believe, no longer realistic or appropriate. It neutralises history by underestimating the pre-1948 realities, and is dysfunctional in the present conditions of the occupation. This is a big discussion, but essentially, given the increasing intertwinements – even if they are asymmetrical and devastating – resulting from the colonial expansion of
Israeli settlements in the West Bank, it is becoming increasingly impossible to imagine two separated states. Part of the decision to ignore borders in the film is also part of my interest in a long-term one-state, bi-national solution. Moreover, Israel is the only recognised state in the world that doesn’t have borders, so why would I adhere to the ones it imposes?” Jumana Manna.

The interview can be downloaded from the Chisenhale website here.

On your way back from, or on your way to, Chisenhale don’t forget to visit Emily Jacir’s exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery:

photo