Friday, 11 January 2019

Bastard Island

the weather is routinely 
no reliable reports 
set up the microphone 
time enough to prepare...

Bastard Island arrives as a collection of speculative fiction dispatches from spatio-temporally ambiguous elsewheres and elsewhens. These descriptive songs are fragmented and episodic crypto-narrative participant observations. They evoke disrupted temporal, meteorological, geographical, and seasonal conditions, and local and global social inertia. The songs inhabit ambient soundbeds redolent with spatial diffraction, signal refraction, small sounds, and distance communication.

A picnoleptic production in the English Asteroid series, written and recorded by Steven Ball, Summer 2018.

Linear Obsessional 2019 LOR120

CD and download long player album available from:

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Pure Shit online Australian independent cinema

A fascinating compilation of 100 Australian online independent cinema works has just been published on the Pure Shit Australian cinema site run by Bill Mousoulis. In the 1990s section is a link to my 1991 super 8 film Harmonic Three Three. By coincidence, courtesy of nanolab, I now have a 4K resolution scan of the film which will be uploaded soon, the current online version was captured from a VHS copy of a lo-band Umatic telecine of the film, and is therefore nothing much more than a distant approximation of the film.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Monday, 5 November 2018

Local Time

Local Time 13:50, 2001

Today I stumbled across an almost forgotten video I made in 2001 when I was interested in the material properties and qualities of digital video. It was shot on miniDV and then time stretched with a progressively granulated music track. It would then have been 'printed to tape', mastered back to miniDV, as was my practice at the time. 

That period in the late 1990s, through to the mid 2000s or so, before High Definition, before the necessity to distinguish digital video as Standard Definition, when we were still in the glow of the idea that digital video offered a superior quality to analogue video; when digital video as represented by the various DV formats, and available as a domestic format in the form of miniDV, seemed to offer the possibility of the same resolution and quality as broadcast; when briefly in a golden egalitarian moment everyone was able to achieve the holy grail that had eluded many in the bad old analogue days, that of 'broadcast quality' image, with the consumer level miniDV camcorder format, and the early days of video editing software being made available for free on entry level Apple Macs; the means of video production without compromising technical quality, indeed digital video production, no less, was finally in the hands of the artists, the amateurs, the masses; surely the revolution, whereby we would throw off the shackles, revolt against the repression of the hegemony of the professional classes was just around the corner... but I digress.

I don't recall how I produced the sound and the treatments, I may have some notes about this, most possibly buried in a box somewhere. 

The video documents the first day clearing the house of a recently deceased friend of the family, and seems now redolent with a kind of melancholy, perhaps that was the intention.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Public Water

Public Water 55:12, 2016

Public Water is concerned with exploring the nature and status of water as urban public space in London, UK, and Melbourne, Australia, with a brief stop in Istanbul. To qualify, ‘public space’ is defined broadly as space to which the public is freely admitted and while ‘urban public space’ is usually considered in social, physical and architectural terms, most large cities also contain large bodies of water such as bays, rivers, canals, and so on. The idea of these as public space, is much more ambiguous.

In recent years, with the escalation in official concern about the threat of terrorist attack, there is perceived to have been an increase in the enforcement of restrictions on the rights of the individual and their activities in public space. However what is assumed to be public space is often privately owned with its own independent rules above and beyond those in common law governing its use. Typically such places are also policed by security agents engaged by or on behalf of the owners.

Among the activities under scrutiny has been the capture of still and moving images. While there is no legally enforceable restriction on photography in most genuinely public spaces in the UK outside of the provisions of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, in private places to which the public has access, such activities can be, and often are forbidden. One place where this is the case is the Canary Wharf estate in London’s former Docklands, where I was on one occasion requested to refrain from shooting video.

London’s Docklands have been a model for global urban development and Melbourne in Australia has followed suit, regenerating and repurposing its own Docklands as spaces of business, retail and leisure, using local government, planning and corporate agendas in ways that parallel and echo those of London.

The conceptual and aesthetic strategic conceit that I have arrived at for this project as a result of these and other observations, has been to capture moving images of place reflected in water. The simple speculative formulation is that if there are restrictions in capturing the image of the place, what is the status of the image of that place as reflected in water?

Water as public space, water as medium: when reflections on water are photographed what and where is the image? Water becomes a medium reflecting and reproducing (albeit distorting) an image. By then rotating this image through 180°, I am attempting an optical illusion that further problematises the image as an image ‘of’ something in perhaps a gently subversive way. Most of this activity has been located broadly in urban and suburban landscapes, increasingly concentrated in and around the private/public space of the Docklands in both cities.

Reflections on Public Water (pdf)