Friday, October 31, 2008
PAUL B DAVIS
Video Compression Study #3 (Barney), 03:31, 2007
Where We Were When We B.A.S.H.E.D! the Fash, 09:50, 2008
ABBE LEIGH FLETCHER
corrugated (levels 7 to 2), 00:58, 2008
jump off here, 00:30, 2008
waterside gasworks, 00:50, 2008
curated by Francis Summers
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Marc Hulson 'Untitled 2' oil on linen 2008
Roderick Harris 'Fugue - Dancer (dynamite) 7' watercolour on inkjet 2008
Peter Lloyd Lewis 'A Forest - Painting 1' archival pigment print 2008
Dan Hays 'Colorado Impression 16d' oil on canvas 2007
THE PLACEBO OF LOVE - a response to the exhibition by Ole Hagen
A Great Mistrust in the immediacy of the senses saturates Western minds, at the same time as the desire for sensory seduction wells up with great force through the entertainment machines. Artists also know that the timelessness of rational schemes have been somehow challenged through the ongoing revolt against metaphysics in postmodern thought. Yet it seems at times that what survives this ongoing revolt is a firm belief in a rationality grounded in a commonsense belief in materiality. All the theories that postulate something factual about the external world are grounded in causality. As long as something can be described through the division of cause and effect, there is the tendency to believe that it is rooted in something objective. Magically this belief also extends beyond the perception of the sensory world to be applied with great conviction to the world of (meta-physical) ideas. Countless times I’ve heard artists themselves review exhibitions with a total rejection of affect in favour of rational semiotics. It is somehow seen as safe to admit to be affected by renaissance paintings of sacred motifs, but is seen as a dangerous departure from secular scepticism to recognise a similar affect in contemporary work. There is the idea that artists making work with a malleable effect on the sensory realm, in a way that is not immediately recognised against a historical backdrop, are somehow tricking the audience. It is as if the artists where seen as playing with mirrors and light. We feel the urge to say that of course we knew all along that it wasn’t real, that we were being seduced, but luckily we were able to recognise the semiotic signifiers that allowed us to read the work as representative of certain ideas.
But ideas are nothing but interchangeable metaphysical belief structures validated by consensus. Affect on the other hand, is at least what it is; we have an experience, a sensation of undeniable phenomenal immediacy. Feelings or sensations are not ‘fake’ just because they do not stand in for a heavenly transcendental realm or are grounded in objective criteria. They are what they are: the reality of fleeting experiences registered by conscious minds. An artist uses a light bulb in a way that alters our sensory continuum, and people say she is using the seductive tactics of the sacred in a secular way. If we can further remove ourselves from our experience by saying that the artist is representing the sublime, i.e. a historical idea, we can stay safely within the frames of rationality. But what’s so wrong with experience? It is the basis for all causal theories, without really proving the existence of spiritual realms nor the existence of any absolute materiality. We use a similar value judgement when we talk about ‘the placebo effect’ in medicine. It is estimated that the placebo effect in conventional medicine must be quite high. But from a ‘physicalist’ point of view, the term placebo denotes something a bit fake, something without real causal properties. Of course, even if we endorsed the idea of placebo as more worthy, we could not make a pill that could guarantee a ‘placebo effect’. Placebo denotes a multiplicity of factors, the relations between interdependent processes, in short everything in the world that falls outside of ‘properties’ and in a true sense, the scary thing is that there doesn’t exist an entity in the entire world that has any absolute properties. Properties are only effects, only relational and relative, because there are no independent entities. Cause and effect can be imputed precisely because there are no absolute causal properties, only symptoms of processes. The word ‘placebo’ stems from the line Placebo Domino in regione vivorum, ‘I shall please the Lord in the land of the living’. In the 14th century, professional mourners at funerals would chant this line from the ninth verse of psalm CVIVcxiv in the Latin Vulgate. The idea of the professional mourner faking it, or standing in for a family member gave rise to the connotations of ‘placebo’. When I was a teenager, my mum used to suggest that the fun I got from drinking beer with my mates at the weekends, was not real, but artificial fun. Already at that time, this made no sense to me. If you’re having fun, you’re having fun I would say to my mum. I could extend this a little now, by saying that phenomenal experience is what it is regardless of what causal processes we impute upon it. If a trained actor in a movie is able to cry in a given scene, who is to say that the tears are not real, that the experience of sadness the actor is able to guide herself into is unreal? Normal emotional responses work no differently from this; they are not a set of representational devices to stand in for something concrete, something with real properties. They are what they are in the moment, which does not render them valueless. Who would say that their loved ones are just a collection of semiotic signs standing in for an idea of love? The idea of love might be eternal, but not anymore nourishing than the idea of a biscuit. At the same time, ‘real’ love is often fleeting, depending on a multiplicity of circumstances. The word seems to promise something singular and unique, when in a sense it often covers a variety of complex emotional responses and processes, a forest of placebos or possibly an alluring overgrown garden saturated by slumbering potential? Is there anything that presents itself to the senses that is not a placebo? Undeniably we have a sensory register and we also have judgement, analysis and thinking. Observed a bit more closely, perhaps these faculties are not so different in the way they present themselves to our conscious register? All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, said Marx, but added that our ‘sober senses’ and our ‘real condition’ would remain. Perhaps he was getting things the wrong way around a little? It seems to me that the fleeting nature of experience is the closest thing we can observe about our condition, and that even the sober structures of rationality melts away. Personally I’m more inclined to feel I’m being manipulated by mirrors and lights when I’m isolating a set of ideas than when I’m observing my immediate experience. But in either case, whether being seduced by a garden of ideas or a garden of sensory delights, who knows, I might be rigging the mirrors and lights myself according to my own desire?
From the micro-gestural to the macro-gestural, Garden of the Sleep of Love seduces the viewer to a point beyond seduction, where it’s no longer possible to say that one knows one is being seduced or that the experience of the work is only the product of transparent manipulative schemes. Of course, there is the translation of information taking place, in the sense that we register that the work on display has been filtered through a series of mediated forms. In new speculative cosmology it is suggested that if this old universe collapsed, perhaps the information contained in it could be smuggled through a black hole and into another dimension, where somehow something could be restored. This is as incomprehensible to me as the idea that information is transported digitally through computers. It seems to me that a string of binary units of plus and minus only makes sense if there is someone conscious there to interpret the material. Unless there is a code for how something is preserved, the translation from one medium into another irrevocably alters the thing itself. Rather than a process I could hope to trace, the mediation going on in these works are interesting to me because they do not separate or prioritise between internal and external, mental and physical; these are all planes and dimensions, folds and crevices within the same world. There is no point in separating between the sacred and the profane if there is only one world. What then does it matter if we call all that exists matter or spirit? In this context, introspection is not confined to the subjective sphere, it is just a word for a thing folding in on itself and the fabric of reality from which it springs. A critique levelled against the more conscious act of introspection has been that by the time we observe a mental content, or by the observation itself it will be altered. But if there is no original form, no fixed content of information to be communicated, is this attention to the transitory nature of experience not equal to the act of introspection itself? In any case, even if experiences are fleeting and information depends on some interpretive apparatus, the exercise of introspection is still an exercise in focus. The work in this exhibition seems to me to be exercises in focusing in the sense of the pushing and pulling of a lens. It is only in the particular distance from the motif determined by the limits of the canvas that Dan Hays’ oil painting becomes a landscape. This is not the story of a paintbrush, but rather the story of a calculated chance encounter between fragments, where the artist is just one such fragment. The crypto-narratives of Roderick Harris’ water colours seems to me akin to the story of a process of emergence closer to that of photographic film, where a moment’s over-exposure could dissolve the recognisable image. In Marc Hulson’s work we are witness more to a shift in focus where the emergence of a thought or feeling takes the form of a bodily, gestural surface like the cross-point of a hypnagoic image. In Peter Lloyd Lewis’ image the blur of the image and the blur of our attention to the image become interchangeable. All this is held together by the grey walls which set the ambience for the exhibition space. Atmosphere is something which carries affect beyond the isolation of confined bodies, as it permeates a space. In this particular space the atmosphere is that of a type of sensory chamber with different invisible lenses dividing the attentive dimensions of the space. But there is no room for the neutral observer here. We are already participatory investors in the quest to chase some form of desire, if by desire we mean a type of basic connectivity. Whether it is the origin of the trace or the obliteration of the trace we most long for, the original feeling of love or the new love that will replace it, there is cause and effect. But if we’re attentive enough we might notice that it’s the focus that determines the motif, and give up the idea of grounding cause and effect in objective criteria. A self-luminous doughnut shape is afloat in the psychedelic vista of Peter Lloyd-Lewis’ photograph. There is nothing there to decidedly help me pull the focus either towards subjective vision or objective reality. The only hope of ecstasy beyond definitions of the banal or the sublime seems to be to lose myself in the immediacy of the out of focus experience itself.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
FIVE YEARS PERIODICAL VOLUME ONE
Friday 11th July 6-9pm:
publication launch event and exhibition preview to mark the completion of
Five Years Periodical Vol 1
EXHIBITION (until Sunday 13/07 Gallery Open Sat & Sun 1 - 6pm):
aas Jo Addison Michelle Deignan Edward Dorrian Rochelle Fry Alexander Haßenflug Marc Hulson Cedar Lewisohn Louisa Minkin Sally Morfill Susan Morris Esther Planas Alex Schady Francis Summers Alice Walton
PERIODICAL nos 1 – 4 (available at the gallery):
Edward Dorrian Alex Schady Jo Addison Alice Walton Esther Planas Louisa Minkin Lucy Wood Rochelle Fry Michelle Deignan Claire De Jong Lisa Castagner Theo Cowley Jayne Parker Bjørn Venø Marc Hulson Susan Morris Mathew Hale Alexander Haßenflug Rita Nowak Laurence North Cedar Lewisohn Sally Morfill aas Hanna-Mari Blencke Heike Kelter Jasmin Cibic Pete Moss Francis Summers Neil Ferguson Anthony Griffin Charles Harrowell Matthew Vincent-Townend Neil Ferguson Simon Wells Guy Beckett Mike Watson Anouchka Grose David Selden
The purpose of the periodical is to provide a parallel space to Five Years gallery: artists who have exhibited at Five Years are invited to publish new work relating to their gallery show. Each issue covers three months in the exhibition programme and includes a written piece by a guest contributor.
Volume 1 (comprising issues 1 - 4) of the periodical covers projects at Five Years from its opening in February 2007 through to February 2008. 'Volume One' is a two day exhibition of works by some of the contributors to the first year of the exhibition programme.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
EIN TALENT HABEN IST NICHT GENUG: MAN MUSS AUCH EURE ERLAUBNISS DAZU HABEN, - WIE? MEINE FREUNDE? 1
HAVING A TALENT IS NOT ENOUGH: ONE ALSO REQUIRES YOUR PERMISSION FOR IT - RIGHT, MY FRIENDS? 2
Friedrich Nietzsche 1, Aphorism 151, Sprüche und Zwischenspiele [Epigrams and Interludes],
Jenseits von Gut und Böse [Beyond Good and Evil] translation Walter Kaufmann 2
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: PLEASE FIND GALLERY*AVAILABLE FOR USE.
ANYONE MAY TAKE PART. PARTICIPATION IS FREE.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBMITTING YOUR WORK TO THE GALLERY AND INSTALLING IT.  YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WORK’S FORM AND CONTENT: ITS DEFINITION. ALL WORK WILL BE PRESENTED. PRESENTATION IS NEGOTIABLE THROUGH THE DISCUSSION MADE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR FELLOW PARTICIPANTS.
YOU MAY INSTALL IN ANY WAY YOU THINK NECESSARY. YOU MAY NOT MOVE, DAMAGE OR DESTROY ANY OTHER WORK IN THE GALLERY WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE WORK’S AUTHOR (WHOEVER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBMITTING THE WORK).
YOU HAVE THREE DAYS ACCESS**TO THE GALLERY PRIOR TO PUBLIC OPENING TO INSTALL YOUR WORK. YOU MAY CONTINUE TO WORK IN THE GALLERY (OR SUBMIT WORK TO THE SHOW) ONLY WHILE THE SHOW IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. 
PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY E-MAIL AND BLOG CORRESPONDENCE WILL BE REPRESENTED AS PART OF THE SHOW AND LATER PUBLICATION (WEB AND PRINTED). NOTE ALSO THAT DISCUSSION IN THE GALLERY DURING THE SHOW ITSELF WILL BE RECORDED FOR FUTURE TRANSCRIPTION. ALL COPYRIGHT THE ARTISTS/AUTHORS.
ALL WORK MUST BE DELIVERED, INSTALLED AND REMOVED IN PERSON. ANY WORK SENT TO THE GALLERY IS DONE SO AT THE ARTIST/AUTHOR’S OWN RISK. FIVE YEARS ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY DAMAGE TO WORK WHILE ON SHOW. YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO LEAVE YOUR NAME AND CONTACT DETAILS. PLEASE SUPPLY ANY MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED FOR INSTALLING.
TWO MONITORS AND TWO DVD PLAYERS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE GALLERY FOR USE.
ALL WORK MUST BE REMOVED ON THE LAST DAY (SUNDAY: 22/06/08) BETWEEN 1PM AND 6PM
WORK MUST BE COLLECTED AND ANY REPAIRS MADE TO THE GALLERY ON SUN 22/O6/08
WORK LEFT IN THE GALLERY AFTER 23/06/08 WILL BE DESTROYED.
* FIVE YEARS
UNIT 66 REGENT STUDIOS 8 ANDREWS ROAD LONDON E8 4QN
** 04/06/08 - 06/06/08 11AM - 4PM (WED-FRI) THREE DAYS ACCESS PRIOR TO OPENING
07/06/08 - 22/06/08 1PM - 6PM (SAT & SUN ONLY) SHOW OPEN TO PUBLIC
Saturday, May 24, 2008
a group exhibition conceived by Rochelle Fry
with Vanessa Billy, Dustin Ericksen and Giles Round.
The Four walls of the gallery have been covered with a single sheet of paper. The artists were invited to make work in relation to this modification of the gallery. Each work is a trace on the paper, and so drawing is the theme of this exhibition. The paper is to be re-used in a similar way in future exhibitions in different spaces.
Vanessa Billy, recent exhibitions:
Flexible values, Limoncello, London (solo)
Empty Centres, with Pamela Rosenkranz, BolteLang, Zurich (solo)
Wet and dry practice, The Hex, London (solo)
Blackwater, Espace Bellevaux, Lausanne
Pilot: 3, La Guidecca, Venice Biennale – London
Dustin Ericksen, recent exhibitions:
Hey, Rachmaninoff’s, London (solo)
Read Me! Text in Art, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA
Unit/Structures, Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon
Masters and Johnson, Charro Negro Galleria, Guadalajara, Mexico
Giles Round, recent exhibitions:
The Sky was made for us tonight, Process Room, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (solo)
Everything is Repairable, White Cubicle, George & Dragon, London (solo)
Time Just Falls Away, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Life Without Work, Luke Dowd and Giles Round, Whitechapel Project Space, London
Unborrowed from the eye, John Connelly presents, New York
Spitting distance is the second exhibtion in an on-going collaborative dialogue between Mick Finch and Guillaume Paris. This collaboration is situatued in terms of shared thematic concerns in their individual artisitic practice. The present exhibition engages their respectives works in a dialogue. The sense of this collaborative engagement is best illustrated by another exhibition project which they are co-curating for an exhibition at the galerie de l’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts de Paris entitled Insidious. In a recent text about Insidious published in /seconds.com they stated its objectives as
The first addresses the notion of 'insidiousness' structurally, as modus operandi. The collapse of a cold war dichotomy and the progressive establishment of hegemonic power relations gave rise to an increasing cynicism in the 1990s. In the "New World Order" of late-capitalist society, the omnipresent commodity is erected as fetish. The logic of globalisation has arguably transformed symbolic orders to serve its own ends and has refashioned cultural forms upon models of communication and spectacle. The mechanisms delivering ideology's disciplinary forms have progressively permeated into the sphere of the everyday.
The second axis parallels this arguably emerging gestalt of a world view or sensorium. It looks at the symbiotic problematic of the logic of representation and rhetoric that is appropriate in the face of it. The works considered are centred around the question of power and its representation, in close relationship to the rise of mass culture (and the cultural industry at large). As such, they address both the problem of the autonomy of the work of art and that of the aestheticisation of politics.
It thus appears that 'insidious' designates at once a process of signification (a signifying strategy) and a thematic (the representation of power).
The works presented in Spitting Distance engage this territory. Paintings exhibited by Mick Finch, videos and image based works by Guillaume Paris.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Rules to Hold on to…
Appropriating Appropriate Appropriation
Organised by Neil Ferguson
Neil Ferguson: Card
Anthony Griffin: Plastic
Charles Harrowell: Sound
Matthew Vincent-Townend: Wood
The event will provide spaces for imagining for both the practitioners and the spectators by providing appropriate or inappropriate (?) appropriation of processes and materials to consider the rule structures of making being used.
The event will offer sounds, objects, images that seek effect by offering differing contextual references.
What rules are applied to make actions appropriate or inappropriate?
What rules are appropriate to a situation or action?
What thinking makes things do, or not do things?
What strategies allow technique and medium do things?
What structures do we align our imagining to?
What rules are relevant to the act of making that offer potential and encourage progression?
As art disciplines begin to overlap and expand Art practices are forced to look outside their own histories to meet fresh considerations and ways of working that challenges the boundaries of their practices.
Consequences arise then that disciplines “borrow” or rather “steal” from each other and “virtually?” anything becomes available for appropriating.
What is inherent in something to make it appropriate for this form of appropriation? What are the rules of this transference?
What thinking or action needs to be “Held on to?”
What is applied, combined or rejected to make certain actions suitable?
What is or can be exploited, inferred and used?
For imagining to emerge as more than a thought, evaluative decisions have to be made in relation to what has influenced changes in and through the medium so that it seems “to work” or doesn’t.
What simple medium or complex rule sets are applied or adopted to imagine through, to test or push back boundaries?
How is this thinking through action influenced?
Rules need to be applied to set up a situation for discovery. These may or may not embody the initial thinking, interest or action but provide structure for imagining and getting on and doing things.
The situation demands that attention be paid to the adoption and implementation of rules and their influence on decision-making.
This situation also requires attention be paid to what rule interpretations are appropriate or relevant to being taught and therefore promoted through art education.
What are the appropriate rules to underpin art and design education and practice?
The event offers different opportunities for the spectator to apply their own rules for imagining.
Each participant works in a different medium to display different concerns and interests and adopt different methods for investigating them. To some extent each participant borrows from the other to add what is missing.
It is through the exchanges, the visual conversations, difference of approaches that the display becomes both appropriate and inappropriate through what it is appropriating from in order to influence the environment it operating within and what the viewer is attending to.
Rules change, but not all of them…which ones are held on to?
1,001 cards, 2,002 drawings
by Neil Ferguson
Each drawing is produced on the same sized card.
The same pen is used for every drawing in the series.
Each card is numbered and given general title “app…app”.
Each WAS drawing is archived from an external source and then adapted as a NOW drawing.
Each card is given a specific title after the drawings have been completed.
Each drawing is completed numerically.
Each drawing are completed after each other, firstly WAS and then NOW.
No initial drawing is returned to and reworked.
No card is rejected, therefore no drawing is rejected.
All drawings are composed within the printed boxes and do not overlap the edge of either box.
Rules as a strategies for “getting on” and “going on”.
I use the act of drawing as direct connection to thoughts, opinions and memories in recognition of the versatility of line, mark and style to produce individualised forms and patterns. The drawings synthesise thoughts and words as lines and marks that are indexed by numbers and titles. They form a series constructed as a form of conversation and dialogue between thoughts and actions.
The structure adopted suggests different forms of experience and coherence than through more conventional use of writing and drawing as story-telling.
The titles and collection of forms interest me because they do not form an obvious narrative. Indeed the drawings require the abstract qualities behind them to justify their own enigmatic form rather than provide absoluteness of meaning and purpose. They use the medium to form their own imagining. They can be everything and nothing.
The notion of the title on each card, “Refund”, anticipates a return, giving something back. But what we get back from all types of situations may not be wanted. Disappointment may closer to the truth. The NOW drawings may not be better.
Living is not a narrated story, I use the drawings a series of patterns and experiences that may make sense out of the often non-sense of daily decisions, patterns and experiences that form opinion, as series of episodes within a set. The freedom to use line and word in any manner I choose permits series of plots that have beginnings and ends but only operate within the numerical restriction of one thousand and one cards and two thousand and two drawings, just as thoughts operate within the random context of a moment, hour, day, month, year, life-time.
The series pulls from these wide and random sources of influences, personal discovery and experience that allows change within their moments of production, but recognises that each pair of drawings on every card allows for change as metaphor to real life in that initial thoughts are often misappropriated, moulded, and changed. Often initial thought loses its way. It loses its spontaneity, its certainty and direction. These are the NOW drawings, they have become corrupted to become something else “as”. Whether this is for the better has to be judged, but against what?
This is when rule bases become important as a place to begin again.
Procedure dictates and imagining begins afresh or as pastiche on an understanding that nothing can ever be exactly the same again.
Rules provide structure for imagining where strategies can be employed to transfer any quirk or notion that may come to mind into a drawing.
When my drawings are initiated certain decisions have been made regards scale and technique. These can suggest further decisions regarding effect and aims for the work. However by laying down a set of plans of action I am also receptive to new adventures.
I want every piece of work to have the opportunity to use luck, as something is not anticipated. I want to retain this stroke of luck or chance.
By giving it recognition a decision has been made about it, a direction and rule of choice has been applied. Decision making has to take place when one is confronted with a variety of different issues in a drawing’s production and appearance. These issues arise from the very first mark, line or act of production.
If I follow style then I recognise that my art may resemble other artist’s work. This is not a problem.
It is recognition of one’s attention to looking and my interest does not weaken by its association. Its appropriation may well be very appropriate.
Its similarity is useful for the work to go on in the manner I want it to. I am in charge. Restricted only by my lack of craft or the decisions about how I observe my craft?
It is my drawing and my experience that I am addressing as I do not expect to find a new drawing technique but rather a means of communication that has more commonality than people may believe.
My drawing may communicate many of my own political and social concerns but will always be recognised primarily as and read through the act of drawing.
Drawing becomes interesting, perhaps vital, when it questions what we do not expect by challenging what we accept.
I am involved in drawing as research of visual language and through the visual language I use in considering this.
My understanding of what constitutes success and failure in a work is vital to my interest in art. I value the selection processes that influence my development and challenging the rules and systems of production I employ.
When I consider the rules, values and methods of selection I apply I recognise that I use very similar assessment criteria to any number of artists. However, I come up against conflicting attitudes about what is considered to be important or significant and the role rules play in the production of images acknowledged as innovative models of artistic success.
I want to promote drawing as a rule based yet innovative and exploring discipline that recognises that the act of drawing as a style based discipline.
By recognising this, one’s appropriate rules of appropriation apply heightened focus to one’s selection of rules in looking at, thinking through and acting as.
Neil Ferguson January 2008
There were no rules imposed on what should be made.
The rules stipulated a body of work supported by written reports.
My initial proposals were quite far from my results (my rules were too vague).
I theorised as to what the rules were (still too vague).
By starting to pick up and play with materials I began to develop a rule that my thinking may work best through the activity of putting things together to see what could be seen in connecting shapes and objects.
Material choice came from a belief that I could use found or waste objects as much as possible (a strong rule).
I was a little shocked at how many household-waste plastic bottles, lids and packaging I could collect in a short space of time. I developed a rule of working with these materials that could use their plastic properties. Using heat to soften the plastic allowed for new forms to be discovered but also revealed to me the rules of the material. Chemical properties differ by plastic type. The difference in ease of heating thin or thick material became apparent. The engineering strength of solid plastic allowed the cutting of threads into the material.
I had another rule developed from the idea of the material as cast-out. The material could possess a personality or animistic spirit. I wanted a visual theme to follow. I needed to know what I was making the shapes into -another rule – they are figurative pieces.
Once I had an idea of a character I could allow myself the option of imposing other imagery onto the work as it developed. The rule becomes able to work in both directions. I work the plastic but the plastic works me. A shape forms and I see a familiar image that triggers memory. I change the direction of my thinking on the shape but the material rule remains.
>> “We the family came upon each other in the early 1980s, there we began our
>> important research into the latent psychology of contemporized urban and
>> suburbanized landscapes. We saw how mechanisms of social-control
>> functioned to mediate the human–environmental relations and thus the
>> processes of environmental orientation in the city and suburbs. We are
>> believers that a history of social control mechanisms, both formal and
>> informal, maintained viable socio-environmental urban relationships. Ergo,
>> their decline over the last several decades has produced a legacy of fear
>> towards the urban and suburbanized environment that has, and continues to
>> have, profound socio-spatial, ecological and psychological implications.
>> We argue that these changes have their origin in the radical architecture
>> introduced during the volatile years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. An
>> architecture that was later suitably dismissed, but then, like a
>> pestilential flashback, covertly appropriated into the motorway flatlands,
>> the desert wastes of today.
>> In our current Shelter based projects we seek to reinstate the Hidden
>> Dimension to the inter-urban realm, to create proxemic microspaces within
>> landscapes we have deemed most potentially damaging to its inhabitants.
>> They are structures built in mind of an imagined future and its populous,
>> marginalized and existing outside the neo-system. We envision an
>> inhabitant for whom the passing high-speed automobiles while have become a
>> transformative vision, like the sea and the stars. Here the Hermitage
>> hovel melds with control-tower architecture. The Shelters in essence
>> provide defensible space, to help introduce people to themselves. The
>> Family Karr collectively believe in the power of individuality, the
>> shelter IS individualization”
>> –Brother Matthew of The Family Karr.
>> Formed 30 years ago by 10 PHD students the then Institute for Commune
>> Design Analysis, Inc. was a not-for-profit corporation which, aimed to
>> develop and apply interventionist technology that altered the
>> psychological perception of housing projects and suburban communities in
>> order to reduce crime and improve psychological stability in the
>> community. When, in 1984, nine of the founding members deserted the
>> project, Brother Matthew chose to continue as part of the Family Karr. The
>> Karr group continues to develop community-based interventions to this day
>> at both their UK and Australian earth centers.
Sound Sculptures – Rules, Appropriateness and all that guff…
Sound is sculptural as an entity it is 3 dimensional – volume, duration and frequency define what we hear but not what we see as the waves that make up sound are not visible. I use the term ‘Sound Sculpture’ both in this sense and in the sense that I sculpt sound to make my pieces of work. Sound is also sculpture in the sense that it sounds different to the listener depending on their physical position in relation to the source of a sound in the same way as viewer of sculpture changes their experience by moving around a piece.
In the main I work with found sound – sounds I collect as I listen. I try to actively listen (active in the sense that I will stop and ‘listen’ in the same way as visual artists will stop and ‘look’) and as a result I probably identify more sounds than others whose active listening periods are less conscious. I might collect a sound for its inherent beauty or its ugliness or its blandness, maybe for its texture, its angularity or its roundness or strength. Many words used to describe sound are ‘visual’ words – being very visual creatures humans don’t have as many words for sound and visual words often convey meaning very satisfactorily.
Sound is my raw material and I collect it often with no inherent purpose, rather it is good to always have stuff to work with whatever medium one chooses. Reviewing and listening to sound that I have collected is an important process for me that may provide beginning or ending points of pieces or may elicit feelings of, ‘hmmm nothing there today maybe tomorrow’
I might use sound as a metaphor, the anguished scream of a poorly lubricated crane reminding me of my headaches or a photocopier that encapsulates the repetitiveness of many people’s work as they strive to have money for stuff. This seemingly simple communication is always mediated by the listener – one man’s pain is another man’s pleasure and so the relationship between an ‘audience’ and the sound is as important as the relationship between the sound and its creator and/or its appropriator.
Rules and Appropriation.
The rules that govern the making of my work are as elusive as they are omnipresent. This duality of freedom and constriction allows me to do as I please whilst at the same time creating the rules that allow creation to take place. It is this paradox that is at the centre of my work.
Whilst working I will often accept or reject a course of action based on the many faceted criteria or rules of that which ‘sounds good’. Good in this context may be best, most effective, most jarring, most pleasant, ugliest, most beautiful – often the sound I want and/or need does not fall into binaurally opposed concepts it’s just that language often does. That which ‘sounds good’ is often that which sounds most appropriate for the piece.
Occasionally I know the sound that will work on my terms and can find and manipulate that sound in a ready way. Very often I need to experiment with texture, depth, distance, timbre, repetition, editing etc for the sound to fit my minds ear and achieve a ‘good sound’. Rules govern this process even when I am thinking ‘out of the box’
Rules are often informed by my past work as sound engineer where I worked with many different types of music. The craft and skills I learnt at that time allow me to manipulate sound. This freedom of ability allows me forget process and work towards a goal but also tacitly places limits on my courses of action and my judgement of that action. The very rules that allow work also limit which parts of a piece I may deem legal or illegal – appropriate or inappropriate.
Rules play their part in forming the practical and/or emotional and/or decisional and/or judgemental frameworks that allow me to create. Rules are not so much something to hold onto or let go of rather they are a continually changing dialogue between the legal and the illegal. Because rules are often elusive it is much harder to let go of them than it is to hold onto them and any rejection of a rule can only really be seen as an acceptance of another. This continually changing dialogue makes rules amorphous and plastic not solid and stuck fast.
Rules exist and they are appropriate and inappropriate at the same time both explicitly and implicitly – visible and invisible they make up our understanding of the world and that which we choose to make within it.