Thursday, 1 December 2011

Notes from "The Future" by Miranda July

After a long time
a long long time
I gave up.
Not waiting anymore.
As it turns out, living is just the beginning.
And so the beginning is over
I am cat of nobody
I'm not even cat
I'm not even I.
It's warm,
it's light,
it goes on and on and on and on….

Notes from "Kika" by Pedro Almodovar

Notes from "Little Birds" by Anais Nin

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Notes from the 'Naked Lunch' by William Burroughs

"We friends, yes?"
  The shoe shine boy put his hustling smile and looked up into the Sailor's dead, cold, undersea eyes, eyes without a trace of warmth or lust or hate or any other feeling the boy had ever experienced in himself or seen in another, at once cold and intense, impersonal and predatory.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Notes from "Illuminations - The films of Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi

Mario Giacomelli: Contacts, 1993, 35mm, black and white, 13'
Animali Criminali, 1994, 16mm, colour, silent, 7'
Lo Specchio di Diana (The Looking Glass of Diana), 1996, video, colour, soundtrack by Keith Ulrich, 31'

History and memory
Body and embodiment
Death and cinema

Materiality of film (textures, speed, temporal disturbances, colour) that leads to the imaginary, experienced as a haunting.
Photographers as explorers
Cinematographic pornography
Symbology of fascism - invisible hand puts one creature against another (Animali Criminali)
The image with the grammar of cinema
Secrets on top of secrets on top of secrets
Cinematic archaeology
Ships of the desert = camera
Mussolini : Everyone wants to touch his hands but he's wearing gloves (forms of behaviour)
Sensory cinematography - the 'touch' (contact, missing contact)

Friday, 18 November 2011

from "snow white terror tale"

You can see 
and you can hear
but from inside the tomb of your mind
no breath will escape your lips
no tears your eyes
to the world you are dead
And soon, even your precious father will forget you were ever alive
But you my dear
you will have all the eternity
to remember

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Notes from "The face of Garbo" by Roland Barthes

...when the face represented a kind of absolute state of flesh...


...are two faintly tremulous wounds.


She herself knew this: how many actresses have consented to let the crowd see the ominous maturing of their beauty. Not she, however; the essence was not to be degraded, her face was not to have any reality except that of its perfection, which was intellectual even more than formal. The Essence became gradually obscured, progressively veiled with dark glasses, broad hats and exiles: but it never deteriorated.


A mask is but a sum of lines; a face on the contrary, is above all their thematic harmony. Garbo's face representes this fragile moment when the cinema is about to draw an existential from an essential beauty, when the archetype leans towards the fascination of mortal faces, when the clarity of the flesh as essence yields its place to a lyricism of Woman.


...the passage from awe to charm.


As a language, Garbo's singularity was of the order of the concept, that of Audrey Hepburn, an event.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Notes from 'Feel Flows : The Films of Phil Solomon' @ Tate

private made public, but available
non-ironic montage
the compulsion to be with others in language (observation made to someone texting on mobile right after 'Nocturne')
the world ending with water, fire and ice
night photography
lighting as the essence of film
everyone suspect to sentimentality. Hollywood to blame.
economy of gesture
aura as light
night as a field where your eye moves across

nathaniel dorsky
joseph cornell

Films screened :
'What's out Tonight is Lost', 1983, 16mm, colour, silent, 8 min
'Psalm I : The Lateness of the Hour, 2001, 16mm, colour, silent, 10min
'Nocturne', 1980, 16mm, b/w, silent, 10min
'Seasons...', 2011, 16mm, colour, silent, 15min
'Remains to be seen' 1989/94, 16mm, colour, sound, 17min

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Notes from the show 'Progress / OMA' @ Barbican

As a quasi-apocalyptic mood holds us, and the idea of a worldwide wave of 'saving' the environment shows signs of faltering - too expensive, politically unfeasible - we should rediscover the beauty of the desert: not only as a metaphor of our future, but perhaps as a state we could aspire to: present in unimaginable quantities, distributed over the entire globe, pure, often surprisingly habitable, (at least part of the year), they are also easier to "protect" than more demanding ecologies... A good way to begin our future...

What did those billions who left the city leave behind? The countryside is now the front line of transformation. A world formerly dictated by the seasons and the organization of agriculture is now a toxic mix of genetic experiment, science, incidental inhabitation, tax incentives, investment, political turmoil, spill over development, terminal class warfare, in other words more volatile than the most accelerated city...

If 'bloated' is the word that best describes the outcome of many forms of contemporary exaggeration / excess - bloated sectors, bloated bills - can we make sobriety appealing? Generic medicines have been a noticeable success in the war against inflation. Can we achieve the same effect in architecture by introducing GENERICS, designs that focus on essentials, repeatable perhaps, prefabricated even? Projects for instance that would embody legal minimums, foreign worker accommodation, a resurrection of the modernists' existenziminimum*, a voluntary surrender of that is unnecessary, that could have a political potential...

*the minimum accommodation necessary for a dignified existence.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Monday, 19 September 2011

Notes on "The Future of the image" by Jacques Ranciere

from the "Journal of Visual Culture": 

The image as currently conceived does not offer the possibility of critical insight, let alone political efficacy;
rather, it induces only a nostalgic desire for ‘a promise of flesh capable of dispelling the simulacra of resemblance, the artifices of art, and the tyranny of the letter’ (p. 8). This is not as desperate or dire as it seems: our eucharistic desire is symptomatic of an ‘aesthetic regime’ that has framed and organized the ‘distribution of the sensible’ around the concept of the
‘unrepresentable’ since the mid-19th century.
-Jae Emerling

...For by way of compensation [they] then received a new image-value, which is nothing other than the twofold power of aesthetic images: the inscription of the signs of a history and the affective power of sheer presence that is no longer exchanged for anything...
-Jacques Ranciere

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Camille Paglia on Q TV

-Why are you an atheist who believes in religious education?

-Well I was a rebel against the highly puritanical and moralistic American Catholic church of the 1950's and found it unbelievably constraining and oppressive. I identified strongly though with the Italian Catholicism of my youth that wasn't so full of moral prescriptions but that was heavily image laden and spiritual; Cult of the saints, the iconography, heavy stained glass windows of my baptismal church in New York, and I just feel that the religious perspective is our best chance to see the universe whole. I think it's more adequate than philosophy or even science. On the other hand I don't believe in the transcendent god; I do worship nature, I feel that the legacy going from high romanticism into the hippy 1960's of my college years actually is ultimately humanistic and needs to be recovered. The 1960's generation wasn't just about politics, it was also about exploring Hinduism and Buddhism and alternate forms of understanding the mysteries of the universe. So yes, for 20 years I have been calling for comparative religion to be at the centre of education. A core curriculum for the world that we can understand anything in the world about another culture until we know the religious background and their assumptions even among non-believers of the present time.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Notes from 'Junkspace' by Rem Koolhaas

Air-conditioning has launched the endless building. If architecture separates buildings, air-conditioning unites them. Air-conditioning has dictated mutant regimes of organisation and coexistence that leave architecture behind. A single shopping centre is now the work of generations of space planners, repairmen and fixers, like in the Middle Ages; air-conditioning sustains our cathedrals.


Junkspace is additive, layered, and lightweight, not articulated in different parts but subdivided, quartered the way a carcass is torn apart - individual chinks severed from a universal condition. There are no walls, only partitions, shimmering membranes frequently covered in mirror or gold. Structure groans invisibly underneath decoration, or worse, has become ornamental; small, shiny, space frames support normal loads or huge means deliver cyclopic burdens to unsuspecting destinations... The arch, once the workhorse of structures, has become the depleted emblem of "community", welcoming an infinity of virtual populations to nonexistent there.


Because it cannot be grasped, Junkspace cannot be remembered. It is flamboyant yet unmemorable, like a screen saver; its refusal to freeze ensures instant amnesia. Junkspace does not pretend to create perfection, only interest. Its geometries are unimaginable, only makable.


The aesthetic is Byzantine, gorgeous, and dark, splintered into thousands of shards, all visible at the same time: a quasi-panoptical universe in which all contents rearrange themselves in split second around the dizzy eye of the beholder.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Heidegger the Fox - Hannah Arendt

Heidegger says, with great pride: "People say that Heidegger is a fox." This is the true story of Heidegger the fox: Once upon a time there was a fox who was so lacking in slyness that he not only kept getting caught in traps but couldn't even tell the difference between a trap and a non-trap. This fox suffered from another failing as well. There was something wrong with his fur, so that he was completely without natural protection against the hardships of a fox's life. After he had spent his entire youth prowling around the traps of people, and now that not one intact piece of fur, so to speak, was left on him, this fox decided to withdraw from the fox world altogether and to set about making himself a burrow. In his shocking ignorance of the difference between traps, he hit on an idea completely new and unheard of among foxes: He built a trap as his burrow. He set himself inside it, passed it off as a normal burrow—not out of cunning, but because he had always thought others' traps were their burrows—and then decided to become sly in his own way and outfit for others the trap he had built himself and that suited only him. This again demonstrated great ignorance about traps: No one would go into his trap, because he was sitting inside it himself. This annoyed him. After all, everyone knows that, despite their slyness, all foxes occasionally get caught in traps. Why should a fox trap—especially one built by a fox with more experience of traps than any other—not be a match for the traps of human beings and hunters? Obviously because this trap did not reveal itself clearly enough as the trap it was! And so it occurred to our fox to decorate his trap beautifully and to hang up equivocal signs everywhere on it that quite clearly said: "Come here, everyone; this is a trap, the most beautiful trap in the world." From this point on it was clear that no fox could stray into this trap by mistake. Nevertheless, many came. For this trap was our fox's burrow, and if you wanted to visit him where he was at home, you had to step into his trap. Everyone except our fox could, of course, step out of it again. It was cut, literally, to his own measurement. But the fox who lived in the trap said proudly: "So many are visiting me in my trap that I have become the best of all foxes." And there is some truth in that, too: Nobody knows the nature of traps better than one who sits in a trap his whole life long.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Token of Sacrifice

'Token of Sacrifice'
copyright 2011

Notes from "Hans Ulrich Obrist, The conversation series - Rem Koolhaas"

Hans Ulrich Obrist - Can you tell me about Junkspace?

Gjon Mili, 1947
Rem Koolhaas - One of the consequences is that parts of the building are never in the same space, which inevitably means that certain parts of the building are dying while other parts are being reborn, others are being used while some are still being finished. So, where buildings used to exist in one single time, now each part has a different timeframe and we have become completely used to the fact (although it is an insane situation) that half of our building scheme is in the process of conversion. Now it only consists of taping, gluing, not even hammering. So therefore, what has become the prominent force (and it can only be related to the market economy) is this unbelievably shared exposure of every individual, form the most famous to the most normal. I think that Andy Warhol famously said - probably also in 1972 - that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes; I think reality is much more tragic, much closer to hell, in that everyone will be famous forever. We are condemned to be collectively famous!
So basically, to define the architecture that we are working in, the text which is called Junkspace, was based on a famous economic model that has fuelled that market economy over the last thirty years. As you may know, to various theories "space junk" is the debris that is created by different satellite and planetary ventures. In a way, all the world relies on has the same junk status - junk space. It is not a negative term, but just the kind of term that defines the expectations and the properties that architecture can have today.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Notes from "Susan Sontag - Reborn - Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963"


In Schoenhof's [bookstore in Cambridge, Mass] today - waiting, nauseated again, for Philip to choose a book for [Professor Aron] Gurwitsch's birthday, after the Descartes Correspondance is discovered epuise- I opened a volume of Kafka short stories; at a page of "[The] Metamorphosis." It was like a physical blow, the absoluteness of his prose, pure actuality nothing forced or obscure. How I admire him above all writers! Beside him, Joyce is so stupid, Gide so- yes - sweet, Mann so hollow + bombastic. Only Proust is as interesting - almost. But Kafka has that magic of actuality in even the most dislocated phrase that no other modern has,  a kind of shiver + grinding blue ache in your teeth. As in [Robert Browning's] "Childe Roland to the dark tower came" - so certain pages in the Kafka diaries phrases - "But they cannot; all things possible to happen, only what happens is possible."

Monday, 11 July 2011

Notes from "The pensive spectator" by Raymond Bellour (1994)

One one side, there is movement, the present, presence; on the other, immobility, the past, a certain absence. On one side, the consent of illusion; on the other, a quest for hallucination. Here, a fleeting image, on that seizes us in its flight; there, a completely still image that cannot be fully grasped. on this side, time doubles life; on that, time returns to us brushed by death. Such is the line traced by Barthes between cinema and photography.

What happens when the spectator of film is confronted with a photograph?

Still from 'Letter from an Unknown Woman" (Max Ophuls, 1948)

What do these photographs serve? A narrative one, to be sure. [...] The photos act as a hinge between the two major parts of the story; they express the passing of time. Yet, these photographs also seem to resist time. It isn't only that they symbolize it, as one might believe. They, in fact open up another time: a past of the past, a second, different time. Thus, they freeze for one instant the time of the film, and uprooting us from the film's unfolding, situate us in relation to it.


The photo, subtracts me from the fiction of the cinema even if it forms a part of the film, even if it adds to it.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Notes on 'bricolage' from 'The Savage Mind' by Claude Lévi Strauss, part II

Chapter One
The Science of the Concrete

images from personal archive

Signs resemble images in being concrete entities but they resemble concepts in their powers of reference. Neither concepts nor signs relate exclusively to themselves; either may be substituted for something else. Concepts, however, have an unlimited capacity in this respect, while signs have not.


The elements which the ‘bricoleur’ collects and uses are ‘pre-constrained’ like the constitutive units of myth, the possible combinations of which are restricted by the fact that they are drawn from the language where they already possess a sense which sets a limit on their freedom of manoeuvre (Lévi-Strauss, 5, p. 35).


It might be said that the engineer questions the universe, while the ‘bricoleur’ addresses himself to a collection of oddments left over from human endeavours, that is, only a sub-set of the culture.

images from personal archive

The difference is therefore less absolute than it might appear. It remains a real one, however, in that the engineer is always trying to make his way out of and go beyond the constraints imposed by a particular state of civilization while the ‘bricoleur’ by inclination or necessity always remains within them. This is another way of saying that the engineer works by means of concepts and the ‘bricoleur’ by means of signs. The sets which each employs are at different distances from the poles on the axis of opposition between nature and culture. One way indeed in which signs can be opposed to concepts is that whereas concepts aim to be wholly transparent with respect to reality, signs allow and even require the interposing and incorporation of a certain amount of human culture into reality. Signs, in Peirce’s vigorous phrase ‘address somebody’.
Both the scientist and ‘bricoleur’ might therefore be said to be constantly on the look out for ‘messages’. Those which the ‘bricoleur’ collects are, however, ones which have to some extent been transmitted in advance – like the commercial codes which are summaries of the past experience of the trade and so allow any new situation to be met economically, provided that it belongs to the same class as some earlier one. The scientist, on the other hand, whether he is an engineer or a physicist, is always on the look out for that other message which might be wrested from an
interlocutor in spite of his reticence in pronouncing on questions whose answers have not been rehearsed. Concepts thus appear like operators opening up the set being worked with and signification like the operator of its reorganization, which neither extends nor renews it and limits itself to obtaining the group of its transformations.
Images cannot be ideas but they can play the part of signs or, to be more precise, co-exist with ideas in signs and, if ideas are not yet present, they can keep their future place open for them and make its contours apparent negatively. Images are fixed, linked in a single way to the mental act which accompanies them. Signs, and images which have acquired significance, may still lack comprehension; unlike concepts, they do not yet possess simultaneous and theoretically unlimited relations with other entities of the same kind.

images from personal archive

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Notes on 'bricolage' from 'The Savage Mind' by Claude Lévi Strauss

Chapter One
The Science of the Concrete

still from video
In fact, the delimitation (determination of limits) of concepts is different in every language, and, as the author of the article ‘nom’ in the Encyclopédie correctly observed in the eighteenth century, the use of more or less abstract terms is a function not of greater or lesser intellectual capacity, but of differences in the interests – in their intensity and attention to detail – of particular social groups within the national society: ‘In an observatory a star is not simply a star but β of Capri- corn or γ of Centaur or ζ of the Great Bear, etc. In stables every horse has a proper name – Diamond, Sprite, Fiery, etc.’

still from video

To transform a weed into a cultivated plant, a wild beast into a domestic animal, to produce, in either of these, nutritious or technologically useful properties which were originally completely absent or could only be guessed at; to make stout, water-tight pottery out of clay which is fri- able and unstable, liable to pulverize or crack (which, however, is possible only if from a large number of or- ganic and inorganic materials, the one most suitable for refining it is selected, and also the appropriate fuel, the temperature and duration of firing and the effective degree of oxidation); to work out techniques, often long and com- plex, which permit cultivation without soil or alternatively without water; to change toxic roots or seeds into food- stuffs or again to use their poison for hunting, war or ritual – there is no doubt that all these achievements required a genuinely scientific attitude, sustained and watchful interest and a desire for knowledge for its own sake. For only a small proportion of observations and experiments (which must be assumed to have been primarily inspired by a de- sire for knowledge) could have yielded practical and im- mediately useful results. There is no need to dwell on the working of bronze and iron and of precious metals or even the simple working of copper ore by hammering which preceded metallurgy by several thousand years, and even at that stage they all demand a very high level of technical proficiency.

Neolithic, or early historical, man was therefore the heir of a long scientific tradition. However, had he, as well as all his predecessors, been inspired by exactly the same spirit as that of our own time, it would be impossible to understand how he could have come to a halt and how several thousand years of stagnation have intervened between the neolithic revolution and modern science like a level plain between ascents. There is only one solution to the paradox, namely, that there are two distinct modes of scientific thought. These are certainly not a function of different stages of development of the human mind but rather of two strategic levels at which nature is accessible to scientific enquiry: one roughly adapted to that of perception and the imagination: the other at a remove from it. It is as if the necessary connections which are the object of all science, neolithic or modern, could be arrived at by two different routes, one very close to, and the other more remote from, sensible intuition.

still from video

There still exists among ourselves an activity which on the technical plane gives us quite a good understanding of what a science we prefer to call ‘prior’ rather than ‘primitive’, could have been on the plane of speculation. This is what is commonly called ‘bricolage’ in French. In its old sense the verb ‘bricoler’ applied to ball games and billiards, to hunting, shooting and riding. It was however always used with reference to some extraneous movement: a ball rebounding, a dog straying or a horse swerving from its direct course to avoid an obstacle. And in our own time the ’bricoleur’ is still someone who works with his hands and uses devious means compared to those of a craftsman.The characteristic feature of mythical thought is that it expresses itself by means of a heterogeneous repertoire which, even if extensive, is nevertheless limited. It has to use this repertoire, however, whatever the task in hand because it has nothing else at its disposal. Mythical thought is therefore a kind of intellectual ‘bricolage’ – which explains the relation which can be perceived between the two.

* The ‘bricoleur’ has no precise equivalent in English. He is a man who undertakes odd jobs and is a Jack of all trades or a kind of professional do-it-yourself man, but, as the text makes clear, he is of a different standing from, for instance, the English ‘odd job man’ or handyman (trans. note).

still from video

The analogy is worth pursuing since it helps us to see the real relations between the two types of scientific knowledge we have distinguished. The ‘bricoleur’ is adept at performing a large number of diverse tasks; but, unlike the engineer, he does not subordinate each of them to the availability of raw materials and tools conceived and procured for the purpose of the project. His universe of instruments is closed and the rules of his game are always to make do with ‘whatever is at hand’, that is to say with a set of tools and materials which is always finite and is also heterogeneous because what it contains bears no relation to the current project, or indeed to any particular project, but is the contingent result of all the occasions there have been to renew or enrich the stock or to maintain it with the remains of previous constructions or destructions. The set of the ‘bricoleur’s’ means cannot therefore be defined in terms of a project (which would presuppose besides, that, as in the case of the engineer, there were, at least in theory, as many sets of tools and materials or ‘instrumental sets’, as there are different kinds of projects). It is to be defined only by its potential use or, putting this another way and in the language of the ‘bricoleur’ himself, because the elements are collected or retained on the principle that ‘they may always come in handy’. 

They each represent a set of actual and possible relations; they are ‘operators’ but they can be used for any operations of the same type.

still from video

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Notes from "Teorema" by Pier Paolo Pasolini

We must try to invent new techniques, unrecognizable......which are unlike any previous avoid childishness, ridicule......make our world unlike any other......where previous standards don't apply......which must be new, like the technique. Nobody must realize that the artist is worthless......that he's an abnormal, inferior being......who squirms and twists like a worm to survive. Nobody must ever catch him out as naive. Everything must be presented as perfect......based on unknown, unquestionable an madman, that's it. Pane after pane, because I can't correct anything......and nobody must notice. A sign painted on a pane......corrects, without soiling it......a sign painted earlier on another pane. But everyone must believe......that it isn't the trick of an untalented artist, impotent artist. Not at all. It must look like a sure decision......fearless, lofty and almost arrogant. Nobody must know that a sign succeeds by chance... is fragile. That as soon as a sign appears well made, by a must be protected, looked after, as in a shrine. But nobody must realize......that the artist is a poor, trembling idiot, by chance and risk, in disgrace like a child......his life reduced to absurd melancholy......degraded by the feeling of something lost for ever.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Guy Sherwin's 'Paper Landscape' / Karolina Raczynski's 'Skype Call'

Click to : Documentation of Guy Sherwin's 'Paper Landscape

Or watch Karolina Raczynski's piece 'Skype Call', inspired by Guy Sherwin's 'Paper Landscape' 
from the Royal College of Art 'Acoustic Images' showcase (Year 1)

Super 8 Simon

Footage shot in 2009

Polytechnic (Raven Row Gallery)

Notes from the BFI Review, the exhibition catalogue and others.

Yet a sort of personable humour is here in abundance. One of the best examples is John Adams’s Sensible Shoes (1983). It’s a love story as told by an amnesiac spectator. On the soundtrack, we hear a woman ad-libbing a narrative based on sequences of trashy daytime television, cop shows, and adverts for such wonderfully demodé brands as Interflora and Quantro. Our narrator is continuously distracted, and shuns the real world, as if entranced by the gloss and glamour of television itself.

Script inspired from crossword puzzle in 'Sensible Shoes' by John Adams.
(a claustrophobic and enclosed space)

Marc Camille Chaimowicz :
They flicker between the indexes of fine art and decorative arts, shifting our understanding of the space in which we experience them, which oscillates between the aesthetic, the domestic and the dramatic.

Other works here had a unashamed grace and beauty. Marc Camille Chamowicz’s dandyish installation Here and There (1978) is a series of boards featuring filmic images that could have come straight from a Louis Malle or Jean Eustache movie – a man broodily smoking in an elegantly bohemian-minimal apartment, snapshots of phone calls being made, typewriters abandoned.

Interchangeability : Catherine Elwes, Kensington Gore. fantasy and fiction.

Notes from my Blackberry

Anarchitecture group:
Square yourself. With who. Square yourself. Each side up. Spread Eagled down. Floor flushed and dead straight. Right angled and clean out, floored finally resting firmly lying low, flat broke and quite down here.

William Blake:

Everything is an attempt to be human

Frank Sinatra:
Cock your hats, angles and attitudes

Susan Hiller:
How does production relate to desire?
How does desire relate to representation?
How does representation relate to death?

Sonorous Desires

Text I wrote published in MS.USE Magazine

“In these moments of subtle pain, it becomes impossible for us, even in dreams, to be a lover or a hero, even to be happy. It is all empty, even the idea of its emptiness. it is all spoken in another language, incomprehensible to us, mere sounds of syllables that find no echo in our understanding. Life, the soul and the world are all hollow. All the gods die a death greater than death itself. Everything is emptier than the void. It is all chaos of nothing.”

Fernando Pessoa (The book of disquiet)

Meital Covo's Somniloquy (2009) is a sound-based piece that exists in multiple forms: as a film with just subtitles, an installation, a performance, and now as a series of images. It was edited from personal sleep talking recordings, collected during 40 nights in April and May 2009, at 41 Manchester Street, London.

In Kutlug Ataman's installation Twelve (2004), twelve people stand before the camera to talk about their previous lifetimes. In this case, language revels a history, refers to geography and ultimately constructs an identity. Even so, language collapses:

"When two different realities of two different life stories are combined in one identity, the syntax fails to work and the structure of language becomes insufficient. Ataman explains this impossibility by the fact that all languages are dependent on the logic of a single life. When this life is doubled or multiplied, the syntax and grammar become confusing and incapable of ensuring a communication."

(Emre Baykal ,

Susan Hiller sometimes uses the voice instead of (or as) the body. The physicality of sound is brought forward and placed in close proximity to the audience. She speaks, whispers or chants (Elan, Magic Lantern and Belshazzar’s Feast). She considers sound to be archaic, thus suggesting that language might not be just about communication. In The Last Silent Movie (2007), extinct and endangered languages are gathered, translated and presented on to a black screen; whilst the translation ensures communication, it also evokes a sense of loss.

Similar to Antonin Artaud’s body without organs [1], the voice in Meital Covo's work floats through the airwaves, boundless and disembodied; it is the exhibition of a voice detached from its proprietor. A voice with more severity than we might care to subscribe to. In a sense, a black well stares back at us.
In Somniloquy the voice in the dark reclaims the day it lived prior to being seduced into sleephood. The idea here is to consider this language that has no place in our culture. To pay attention. If we listen (or read) carefully, we fumble our way to chaos.

This language does not belong to sleephood anymore. The artist hijacks her own voice and we become witnesses to this injustice. In effect, we familiarize, with the tone and timbre of her voice and the intimacy of the room (is it a cinema? is it a bedroom?). The artist sets free the becoming of a body, to make a body out of a voice. Meanwhile what is experienced, is a recording surface, a site from which all flows come and go. Her voice is a sonorous desire to bring together the inside and outside. Even so, we need not trouble ourselves with interpretation, as it is the incapability of interpretation which makes this work be affective.

"Only those who are unable to think what they feel obey grammatical rules. Someone who knows how to express himself can use those rules as he pleases."

Fernando Pessoa (The book of disquiet)

[1] To Have Done with the Judgement of God (Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu), a radio play by Antonin Artaud (1947)

Canonical Grimaces: Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Invitation to reverie

"My friend, the great Italian cultural critic Enrico Ghezzi, has written about this very thing, Dadda remembered: the invitation to reverie that a visionary cinema can provide, the invitation to become unconscious. No joke."

Notes from "The painter of modern life" by Charles Baudelaire

Beauty is made up, on the one hand, of an element that is eternal and invariable, though to determine how much of it there is is extremely difficult, and, on the other, of a relative circumstantial element, which we may like to call, successively or at one and the same time, contemporaneity, fashion, morality, passion. Without this second element, which is like the amusing, teasing, appetite-whetting coating of the divine cake, the first element would be indigestible, tasteless, unadapted and inappropriate to human nature. I challenge anyone to find any sample whatsoever of beauty that does not contain these two elements.