So, I figure it’s about time to start trying to rationalise this year’s work leading up to degree show. I think that maybe if I put it down in writing then it’ll help me resolve a couple of issues (or more likely give me a better picture of quite how sideways my brain is going).
At present, the working title of the show is “A Return” although this is highly likely to change. The exhibition is, intrinsically, an investigative excavation into internal space comprising of four main works (although there might be a couple of additions depending on the overall narrative flow of the space). The works can be broken down as follows.
A concrete poem of sorts relayed via static floor projection, the text lays out a manifesto on being receptive to the notion of crossing between internal and external space, the concept of a ‘bridge of light’ has been plaguing me for a while, an updated version in some ways of De Quincey’s Northwest Passage.
The Numbers At The Threshold
A partner piece to Spanning, an audio/text work, based addressing the same area, each letter of a prose poem has been transcribed using a one time pad and then relayed as a numbers station broadcast, a willful obscuration of message. The speakers playing the looping audio and the text will face each other in a space which visitors will pass through, breaking the line of sight between the message in both forms, inhabiting the space that lies between (both literally and metaphorically). more…
Having crossed over the threshold pieces, the next piece in the grand narrative is Marconi’s Shipwreck. This is a 72 minute audio-visual longform drift piece built from individual movements, composed entirely in modular synthesis which act as small, self portraits based on mental states arising from dissatisfaction with the subverted 21st century ideas of connection and interaction. With the rise and rise of f*cebook, it dawned on me that relationships have become, in many cases, little more than the pressing of a button, people becoming so entrenched in the technology that their every move is a capturable, saleable, marketable commodity to be sold to the highest bidder – we have become a population obsessed with taking photos of us having a good night out to post online to prove we were having a good night out rather than actually enjoying ourselves. Maybe I’m just rapidly becoming a grumpier, older man but this piece followed by a talk by John Armitage on Virilio led to me finally disconnecting from that site. The underlying idea that since Marconi invented radio, the signal to noise ratio has been increasing and now, we find ourselves scuttled in a sea of information/data with very little actual content or purpose within. The accompanying visual treatment uses an old TV set, a projector and a video camera set up in recursive feedback systems, the screen noise being captured and reprojected into itself building sets of visual static for the viewer/listener to scry with, searching the noise for some form of pattern or cognitive landmark. Marconi’s Shipwreck will be released on DVD under my Erstlaub persona on Broken20 (hopefully by very late April).
A Return (working title)
This is where things get a little less opaque and difficult to define. Over the last year, I have been undertaking what I’ve only recently decided I’m comfortable enough to class as ’subconscious archeology’. Consider it the application of the fundamentals behind psychogeography applied to internal space (or non-space if you like). So, in 2006, my life changed majorly, I responded in the only way I could by channeling Erstlaub and making my first album to get a proper release ‘On Becoming An Island’ on Highpoint Lowlife (you can get the whole thing for free here). Given the passage of time, I decided to go back and try to make sense of the landscape, to conduct (as proper as you can get with this sort of thing) a proper geographic, historic and cultural study of this space and it’s disappearance from the physical.
Now, normally I’m a bit of a control freak. I come up with the concept for a piece, the manifestation of thought presents itself clearly and the piece is realised. In this instance, I consciously decided to let go, to let the project direct itself in as organic a way as possible. This has led to a number of different, intertwined narratives, interventions between ‘real world’ events and people and the fictional metaverse being explored, the writing of folk song, founding/realisation of mythological beliefs, all manner of things. Almost everything contained within the project has significance, the names, numbers, concepts at play all have anchors within me or have been based on decoded subconscious interactions, the reference points are all of interest to me, certain authors are referenced (or alluded to), philosophies and observations recirculated from the external world into this internal space. The piece then in some ways exists to highlight that the kingdoms we build within us are as, if not more, important than the corporeal, four dimensions we inhabit in day to day life.
The piece manifests itself as a ‘museum’ of artifacts for the viewer to engage in at the level they choose, hopefully with a view to considering the validity and importance of their own internal spaces. A return will consist of a curated dialogue between text, audio, video and other physical objects.
Well, that’s probably a bit too much noise/not enough content but then I’ve always ended up hoisted by my own petard. It’s obviously a fairly static set of exposition, it really will be all about experiencing the show first hand so please do come along to Duncan of Jordanstone, Dundee between the 19th and 26th of May 2012, I’ll be in the White Space in the Time Based Art studio (follow the arrows on the floor).
So it goes.