Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Lists remind us that no matter how fluidly a system may operate, its members nevertheless remain utterly isolated, mutual aliens. Ontographical cataloging hones a virtue: the abandonment of anthropocentric narrative coherence in favor of worldly detail.
...ontography is a practice of increasing the number and density [of things], one that sometimes opposes the minimalism of contemporary art. Instead of removing elements to achieve the elegance of simplicity, ontography adds (or simply leaves) elements to accomplish the realism of multitude. It is a practice of exploding the innards of things.
- Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology
Boundary Cyclone Transaction is a video I made for the new season of DVBlog. The video takes Ian Bogost's characterisation of the ontographic list and uses it as a process by which to auto-construct a picture of a non-human, which is perhaps to say alien, world, using material found on or through the internet. As such it also presents a fragment of what might be considered as the consciousness of the internet as manifested in image, sound and text.
The video consists of collections of image sequences, written words, spoken words and sounds. The order in which each of those elements presents themselves to the viewer has been determined randomly, therefore any juxtaposition of the elements is entirely arbitrary. The words used are nouns, i.e. they are things, objects, they were selected using a random word generator. The sounds consist mostly of recording of environmental phenomena, such as weather or recordings of cosmic energies, generally speaking non-human sounds. The image sequences are all found online and consist of landscapes, insects, animals, images of microscopic organisms and viruses, astronomical image, in other words also largely non-human. Both sounds and images were found through using keyword searches. It was important in the making of the work for the elements to be as removed from what I might customarily intentionally select, for them to be as far away from the familiarity of the (my) everyday, as possible.
Imagine this as a premise:
the world as it appears is only as it appears to you
appears in arbitrary order
Alienation is a state arising from objects in the world as they present themselves inevitably arbitrarily and without a coherent narrative. In this video the use of random processes aims to make coherence impossible, or as difficult as possible, while still, due to the linear and temporal nature of its reception, will still self-organise into a kind of self-coherent ecosystem. The longer term aim is for this video to be realised in performance, to perform itself, using software to randomly order the playback sequence of the discrete elements and media objects (images, words, sounds) for every iteration.
Boundary Cyclone Transaction on DVBlog