notes 2011-2015

Someone said it probably wasn’t a good idea to stand “in a giant mass blocking the entire sidewalk” in front of the party they’d just abandoned, and the group of twelve to fifteen people began walking in a direction, led vaguely by Daniel, who was talking into his phone. Laura slung her arm around Paul’s shoulder and said “Paul” loudly and that she was going to slap him if the party wasn’t good and asked for a cigarette. Paul said he didn’t smoke and Laura walked away. After around ten blocks Daniel moved his phone away from his head and told Paul – and three or four other people within range – that they’d walked in the wrong direction. Paul said someone needed to make an announcement because the group, which wasn’t stopping, was too large for information to spread naturally to itself. “We walked the wrong way,” shouted Mitch. “Stop walking. We walked the wrong way.”
People scattered a little, on the sidewalk, looking at their phones, seeming confused but surprisingly calm, except Laura’s friend Walter, who was moving an unopened Red Bull soda in arcs through the air, as if wielding it, while sometimes saying “what’s the address of the party?” to seemingly no one, with an agitated expression, then abruptly walked away, followed by Laura.
“Wait,” said Paul, and hit her shoulder with a chopping motion while intending to touch it lightly. Laura briefly turned only her head – she was frowning – while continuing to walk away. Paul went with Daniel and Mitch to the other party, which they found after around forty minutes, when everyone else had gone home, to bars, or sheepishly back to Kyle and Gabby’s party.

Tao Lin, Taipei

hell is working as an unpaid performer in a participatory art project with other people, while enacting a predictable exchange that comes nowhere close to inducing the promised new and emancipatory forms of social collaboration and relation.

Jaenine Parkinson

January 2015

sit down on a flat surface - the floor, the ground - in your kitchen, the street, your place of work, a shop, your bedroom, the park.

rest your index finger on the ground and scroll left and right
- just a centimetre in each direction.

imagine the surface of the world is a jpeg, and you can move it back and forth with your finger.

because of its size, there's a fraction of a second delay before the image re-orientates itself, and for a moment it fractures along fault lines where satellite mapping has come unstitched.

scroll up and down a little bit.


"... I think that primarily communication is the transmission and propagation of information. What is information? It is not very complicated, everyone knows what it is. Information is a set of imperatives, slogans, directions, order-words. When you are informed you are told what you are supposed to believe. In other words informing means circulating an order-word."

from the youtube video below (at 30.15) of a talk by Gilles Deleuze

This troubling view of communication (what happened to communication being a good thing - its good to talk?) reminded me of a text by Norbert Weiner that had been niggling away at me...

"In giving the definition of Cybernetics in [Cybernetics – Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, 1948], I classed communication and control together. Why did I do this? When I communicate with another person, I impart a message to him, and when he communicates back with me he returns a related message which contains information primarily accessible to him and not to me. When I control the actions of another person, I communicate a message to him, and although this message is in the imperative mood, the technique of communication does not differ from that of a message of fact. Furthermore, if my control is to be effective I must take cognizance of any messages from him which may indicate that the order is understood and has been obeyed...
When I give an order to a machine, the situation is not essentially different form that which arises when I give an order to a person. In other words, as far as my consciousness goes I am aware of the order that has gone out and of the signal of compliance that has come back. To me personally, the fact that the signal in its intermediate stages has gone through a machine rather than through a person is irrelevant and does not in any case greatly change my relation to the signal. Thus the theory of control in engineering, whether human or animal or mechanical, is a chapter in the theory of messages. "


winter 2014

If I could code or I could employ some coders I’d like to make something where the whole of the environment around you is translated into a CGI simulation.
I guess you’d have to wear some glasses or have some kind of implant to make it work.
You’d look at the laptop on the table in front of you, or down at your hand or knee, or at the carpet, and you’d see them as 3D graphic representations. But the graphics are mapped precisely onto your real hand and the real laptop.

So when you lean forward and touch the casing of your simulated laptop, behind the image there’s the real laptop and you feel it’s mass and warmth, and the slight vibration of the hard drive.
Then, if you get up and put your animated hand on the plane of the CGI wall of your room you feel the texture and coolness and solidity of the real wall beneath your CGI hand, and if you take the pulse of your CGI wrist you feel your blood pumping through your veins, and you can feel the hairs on the back of your wrist – even if the resolution of the image can’t always pick out those hairs.
At the window there’s a simulation of the street outside, and under the texture map of the carpet you’re standing on, under your naked cgi foot, you’re aware of some fluff beneath your real foot.

Some noise leaks through from the apartment next door, and you know that your neighbour moving around in her room is mapped out as a graphic too.


From J G Ballard's introduction to the 1974 French edition of Crash

We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind - mass merchandizing, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the pre-empting of any original response to experience by the television screen...
In the past we have always assumed that the external world around us has represented reality, however confusing or uncertain, and that the inner world of our minds, its dreams, hopes, ambitions, represented the realm of fantasy and the imagination. These roles, it seems to me, have been reversed. The most prudent and effective way of dealing with the world around us is to assume that it is a complete fiction - conversely, the one small node of reality left to us is inside our own heads. Freud's classic distinction between the latent and manifest content of the dream, between the apparent and the real, now needs to be applied to the external world of so-called reality.


comet text


spring 2014

Pil and Galia Kollectiv on Structuralist Film

Avoiding all story to show an empty film strip of celluloid running through the machine is no better than focusing on the content or style of a particular film...
"'Empty screen' is no less significatory than 'carefree happy smile'"...

In The Future of the Image Ranciere describes the attempt to get away from content and story through abstraction as futile. Whenever painting succeeds in fulfilling Greenberg's condition of rejecting illusion in favour of a pure demonstration of the flatness of the medium, it ends up also telling the story of this purity, of being nothing but paint on canvas, and it is in representing this story that such art fails to leave representation behind.


winter 2012

From the introduction to Steven Shaviro's Post-Cinematic Affect

…we are now witnessing the emergence of a different media regime, and indeed of a different mode of production, than those which dominated the twentieth century. Digital technologies together with neoliberal economic relations, have given birth to radically new ways of manufacturing and articulating lived experiences…
I would like to look at developments that are so new and unfamiliar that we scarcely have the vocabulary to describe them, and yet that have become so common, and so ubiquitous, that we tend not even to notice them any longer. My larger aim is to develop an account of what it feels like to live in the early twenty-first century.

… I am interested in the ways that recent film and video works are expressive: that is to say, in the ways that they give voice (or better, give sounds and images) to a kind of ambient, free-floating sensibility that permeates our society today. By the term expressive, I mean both symptomatic and productive. These works are symptomatic, in that they provide indices of complex social processes, which they transduce, condense and rearticulate in the form of what can be called, after Deleuze and Guattari, “blocs of affect”. But they are also productive, in the sense that they do not represent social processes, so much as they participate actively in these processes, and help to constitute them. Films and music videos, like other media works, are machines for generating affect, and for capitalizing upon, or extracting value from, this affect. As such, they are not ideological superstructures, as an older sort of Marxist criticism would have it. Rather, they lie at the very heart of social production, circulation, and distribution. They generate subjectivity, and they play a crucial role in the valorization of capital. Just as the old Hollywood continuity editing system was an integral part of the Fordist mode of production, so the editing methods and formal devices of digital video and film belong directly to the computing-and-information-technology infrastructure of contemporary neoliberal finance. There’s a kind of fractal patterning in the way that social technologies or processes of production and accumulation, repeat or “iterate” themselves on different scales, and at different levels of abstraction.


screen work text extract


autumn 2012

From Notes to Proposal for an Action at Picture This

The presence of the screen:
A parallel organising principle in pro-filmic and screening events

One aspect of Screenwork is an investigation into the organising or arranging principle paralleled by the camera frame, and the viewing screen.
This is not a reference to the framing of image by camera and screen, but to the ability of both the camera and the screen to arrange live bodies in space…

During the pro-filmic event (the event captured by the camera) - bodies, objects and space are arranged for and by the camera.
During the viewing situation - a viewer’s body is arranged in space by his or her orientation to a screen (whether phone, computer, tv, or cinema screen)

Screenwork aims to make explicit the parallel arranging principle occurring in the pro filmic event and the live viewing situation.
Screenwork does this by making the participants (who are also audience members) move in space, in a way that often exactly mirrors the way the participants are moving in the event recorded on the screen.

nb. The live participants are not copying the actions on the screen. They are receiving the same instructions via their headsets as the recorded participants were at the moment the image was made.


june 2012

copy for action at Cube Cinema

LTA (Live Timeline Actions) is a live art project which recruits members of the audience to investigate deterritorialised energies and social forcefields at each site it visits.


september 2011

postcard printed for distribution at first actions


may 2011

statement for Bioskop Unscreen

LTA say – At work and in leisure time pervasive screen based technology (laptops, phones, tv, cinema) has long since succeeded in colonising our minds and imaginations, and become protheses for memory and emotion. Now that we all have screens inside us, do we need them in the physical world?