Archive for April, 2008

INFANTOCRACY – SOCIOCRACY

April 8, 2008

Infantocracy is a series of  large photographic prints addressing ideas on childhood and power through the investigation of space and displacement. The series focuses on spatial relationships between the surrounding social environment, its cultural landscapes and the ‘child’, who like an explorer is in the process of learning how to negotiate and occupy the given space/s. (2003).

 

Some images from the series Infantocracy

 

Infantocracy #1

Infantocracy #1

Lambda print; 240 cm x 240 cm

 

 

Infantocracy #2

Lambda print; 100 cm x 100 cm

 

 

Infantocracy #3

Lambda print; 100 cm x 100 cm

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BECOMINGS I & II

April 8, 2008

A Still Image from Becoming’s, (2006)

A Still Image from Becomings I, (2006). 

 

 

 

 

THE HABITS OF REMEMBRANCE

April 8, 2008

The Habits of Remembrance by Steve Rushton is a text in response to Rehearsing Memory, 2007. 

It has appeared in The Collapse of Several Pillars, an exhibition catalogue for the exhibition Knowing Nothing of Agility, TENT, Rotterdam, 2007.

 

Let’s imagine that four people meet in order to remember something that happened a long time ago. Three of the people experienced the event and the fourth person was not alive when it happened. Now, they all agree that the event took place but each has a different interpretation of those events.

This collective remembering happens in the present and speaks of the past. So, let’s briefly consider time and its relation to memory.

i)

There are different ways of understanding memory and each has its own technological logic. Some think of memory as a series of ‘snapshots’, others like to believe that memories are recorded like the ‘flash-back sequence’ in a movie, others think of the brain as some kind of sophisticated ‘hard drive’ that can retrieve and organize  ‘data’. An even older idea is the religious notion that memories are ‘transmitted’ in the same way that God transmits the truth of his existence to believers – this idea passed over to the age of radio, which at its inception was regarded as a strangely supernatural medium (disembodied voices floating on the ether). Today we are entering the era of ‘wearable memory’ – this is a little mobile camera that records the faces and voices of the people you encounter and, using recognition software, whispers their name in your ear when you next meet. In this final scheme memory becomes something radically exterior to us – memory can only be understood as ‘information’ and we also become in some way information machines, exchanging information with other machines. The camera has always been the prosthesis of memory (a tool of verification of the past) but today our mobile phone can take any number of snapshots of the most trivial thing – why memorise something when you can take a more reliable snap shot? Why remember a name when your wearable memory can do it for you?

But such an argument avoids asking what memory actually is – is it something more than information, is memory more than a retrieval system, or more than the flashing dance of synapses – those tiny transmitters in our dark skulls?

 

ii.)

To talk about memory as a snapshot is an interesting starting point (principally because there’s so much wrong with the notion that it helps us think about other modals of what memory might be). We can imagine the snapshot as a particle of the past that is fixed – and this very idea encourages us to believe that there is such a thing as the past, present and future. But maybe the past, present and future aren’t what we assume them to be.

 

Bergson uses a photographic metaphor to help us understand a different conception of time to the one we habitually understand. The snapshot in Bergson is the object which divides and which underlines the artificiality of the ‘thing’ and the ‘state’. When we understand a memory as a snapshot it betrays our natural tendency, our habit, of dividing time from the continuity of our inner life But the metaphor of the snapshot is useful to make us aware of our habits of thinking, so that he can then describe time as the “very fluidity of our inner life”, or as “The present ceaselessly reborn” To help us understand this idea the fluidity of our inner life, which is embodied time and memory, Bergson tells us this story:

 

“A melody to which we listen with our eyes closed, heeding it alone, comes close to coinciding with this time which is the very fluidity of our inner life; but it still has too many qualities, too much definition, and we must efface the difference among the sounds, then do away with the distinctive features of sound itself, retaining of it only the continuation of what precedes into what follows and the uninterrupted transition, multiplicity without divisibility and succession without separation, in order finally to rediscover basic time. Such is immediately perceived duration, without which we would have no idea of time.”…

 

 

In considering the nature of time Bergson finds it necessary to proceed through negative definition, to describe what time is not in order to construct a notion of what time is. He proceeds by describing time as proceeding from the very fluidity of our inner life. He then goes on to describe how we pass from an ‘inner time’ to the ‘time of things’. Here Bergson breaks the illusion of the division between the interior and exterior self (“a surface film of matter in which perceiver and perceived coincide”) by suggesting that such divisions are illusory. In the above quotation we are invited to imagine the nature of time by progressively denuding a property that passes through it (music) of its characteristics, and we are consequently left with the mere experience of embodied time. It is common for us to lose touch with the nature of basic time because we habitually tend to spacalize it, cutting into its indivisible continuity and viewing aspects of the world as if they are static entities (snapshots). But Bergson’s time is not essentially logical, in the sense that it can be examined on the scientific bases which philosophy traditionally accords it. As Wildon puts it: “[Bergson’s notion of] time as duration [durée] can only be lived through intuition, a form of apprehension that is qualitatively distinct from representation and that overcomes spacalization through effectuating a certain fusion with the very flux of time itself.” In Bergson, therefore, we can see a means through which we can recognize the various technologies that spatialised time, that materialize and memorialize it, as well as philosophical notions that attend such technologisation. These technological views of time, these habits of thinking, are set against a view of life as being constitutive of the flow and change that is duration itself. Similarly consciousness and memory are indivisible from the same flux and represent an indeterminate interval, a virtual state between states which is nevertheless real. To commit only a slight injustice to Proust, memory might be seen as: “real without being actual, ideal without being abstract.” The influence of Bergson on Proust centers on Proust’s understanding of time as movement. Time is ‘regained’, for instance, precisely through this movement – memory is transformed in remembering, where the past is remade in a present ceaselessly reborn.

 

 

 


Financial Times, Digital Bussiness section, p.5 May 30, 2007

Bergson, H., Duration and Simultaneity, Clinamen,1999, p.30

ibid, p.p30

ibid, p 30

ibid, p., p.30

ibid, p.p 31

Wildon, C., “Bergson’s Theory of Knowledge and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”, Lecture to the Lyceum Club, 2000, p.1

Proust, M., in Remembrance of Things Past, speaks of the past as “real without being actual, ideal without being abstract.” Proust, M., À la recherche du temps perdu, Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1987-9, volume four, p.453..

REHEARSING MEMORY

April 8, 2008

 

Rehearsing Memory, TENT (2007).

REHEARSING MEMORY, (2007), A single screen video work divided into several acts and scenes each dealing with different aspects and types of memory. The 22:23mins.long video piece was recorded during a one-day long filming session, which took place in March 2007 at Willa Mac, Museum of Contemporary Finnish Art in Tampere, Finland.

 

About The Work

Rehearsing Memory brings together three sisters, now all in their seventies and living in various parts of Finland for a reading of some ‘official’ and personal documents and letters describing the events surrounding the death of their father during ‘The Second World War’, as well as to share personal and collective recollections from this specific, historically important time period in their childhood.

Wanting to produce a situation that would allow for the subjects in it to oscillate between the re-activation of narrative and involuntary memory and the fixing of these fluid moments of recall and involuntary memories into personal narratives, I became to choose this situation for several reasons. One reason was that this event had turned out to become a significant one in the family’s historiography, affecting the following generations including my own personal history. The other was the fact that as these women had not been together in 22 years, they would inevitably be reconnecting, after such a lengthy pause, through acts of personal and collective recollections and so memory would obviously be the means through which their becoming to each other would take place as they would perform themselves to each other once again. I felt that this set up would place me in a position in which I would be exposed to the relational processes between memory, identity and the production of ones own subject-hood. But it was also a situation through which I could allow for new knowledge to be produced by the gaps, the silences, the body language and the very configuration or constellation of the ideas, feelings and characteristics that these women embody.

Throughout the whole process, all of the women seemed to oscillate between personal recollection and the larger cultural meaning/s of their personal childhood events. They took turns in being inside a memory and then looking at it from the outside locating it in a larger context of meaning outside of themselves. This tension between the personal, collective, cultural and historical memory and their constant negotiation by all the participants present was given a highly important role and as a result various types of memory became produced, moving from personal- to cultural- to historic memory.

Questioning the authority of memory given in the construction of historiographical narratives and historical singularities, that such narratives produce, Rehearsing Memory places the production of memory in the present moment where it becomes actualized and mediated again and again in its relation to the conditions of the present moment as opposed to the past.

 

 

RESONANT BODIES, VOICES, MEMORIES

April 7, 2008

A new publication coming out in 2008:

RESONANT BODIES, VOICES, MEMORIES

The contributors to this publication each in different ways reconsider the relation between mind and body, apparatus and signification, interiority and exteriority, when we are making sense of the past and the present. The indivisibility between these categories especially gains pertinence when the body, memory and language are somehow dislocated or dissociated, and thus caught in an impossible division – through migration, through technological mediatisation (as in speech machines, telephone, cinema), or through a breakdown of habitually established abilities (as in amnesia or aphasia).

Edited by Anke Bangma, Deirdre M. Donoghue, Lina Issa, Katarina Zdjelar.

With contributions by Ernst van Alphen, Özlem Altin, Steven Connor, Mladen Dolar, Deirdre M. Donoghue, Jeroen Fabius, Brigitte Felderer, Gunndís Yr Finnbogadóttir, Lina Issa, Suely Rolnik, Imogen Stidworthy, Jalal Toufic, Katarina Zdjelar.

Designed by Johanna Bilak/T Y P O T H E Q U E

Published by PZI, Rotterdam and Revolver, Frankfurt.