Tuesday 30 December 2008

Immersion, suspension, stasis...

So what is this?

This is s a sketch, an experiment, trying out an idea that I’m unsure about. It’s an experiment in making something that suggests or creates an affective state, an attempt to replicate the experience of something in such a way that the experience might be reproduced in the experience of the video, which might be considered to be attempting to reproduce a subjective state, or simply to replicate a situation as far as possible within the possibilities of a medium. Ideally it is intended to be experienced immersively, more of that later, but to this end the closest you can get to achieving some kind of immersion is if you watch it full screen
with the sound on headphones or better still the HD version at http://www.vimeo.com/2510462 (full screen with headphones).

Temporal slippage and the sensation of creeping jetlag, timelag. There’s a point when, after being on an flight for 12 hours, sleep seems impossible, weariness fills every limb, the dull hum of the engine, the occasional rough shuddering turbulence, the blinds drawn, seat reclined as far as possible, squeezed fetal, cabin lights dimmed, long slow feeling as though we could stay here forever, suspended animation, speed and perception, precipitates a kind of swirl of melancholy. It’s this creeping jetlag melancholia, a wistful, pensiveness born of suspension of time or its normal diurnal working patterns that I was trying to evoke: the suspension of a subjective experience of normality, a vague liminal hallucinatory state, a few kilometres over the Indian Ocean. This is the state that I am groping towards trying to recreate in this sketch.

The music that I’ve been connecting to this is the anti-drama of 90’s German techno: the more dubby ambient, deep, end of Basic Channel/Chain Reaction and Rhythm & Sound, or Plastikman’s Consumed, immersive spatial sounds, the sort of music that occupies narrow frequencies, is continuous and based on drones but with almost sub-sonic spatialised reverberant bass and rhythms, the sort of narrow frequencies of the pressurised container with the standing wave of the engine sound.

The interest here is in creating context, an environment, an affective situation rather than a perceptual spectacle or metaphors for vision and consciousness. Video here is not a ‘medium’, not here functioning as a carrier of information, or meaning, not in itself a stimuli for response, or to demand attention, and it is not a spectacle. It suggests rather that the viewer becomes immersed in the context that it creates.

Digital video is not so adept at being the presentation or a record of time past, it cannot easily be broken into discrete images that represent an indexical record of a moment. Digital moving image media is far more adept at thinking spatially. Compression dictates that any discrete moment, if it could be frozen in video, would represent not that one fraction of a second, but a merging of various particles of recordings of both preceding and following that moment, keyframing, bitrates all conspire against the representation of a temporal flow. So now temporal representation is a continuous streaming slippage of a number of points in time, all at once. If this is the case we recreate the illusion of the passage of time through perception and cognition, a slippage of multi-temporalities, or let’s say a lack of temporal specificity, suggests a spatial experience, multiple representations of time suggests the creation of continuity and place, in suspension, a few kilometres over the Indian Ocean.

The problem is that the video is inadequate in producing this context in and by itself without recourse to instructions to the viewer to watch it in HD, wearing headphones, or whatever. The possible best context for creating this context would be to create a space in which this video would be playing continuously, perhaps surround sound filling as much as possible the interior space, an immersive space itself standing in for an immersive space, a box, in installation. This line of enquiry is, perhaps, to be continued.

In the meantime, it has occurred to me that I have already made a film with these kind of immersive qualities, 17 years ago on super 8, it was intended to be exhibited in a cinema space, screening with continuous sound, Harmonic Maheno:

(watch it in full screen, with headphones... etc)

Sunday 28 December 2008

it's cold

It's cold.

I move my leg here.
It's cold.

Then just a few centimetres,
over here.

Still cold.

Cold across my back.
Cold air on my back.
I turn so that my back is angled towards the radiator.
Still cold, but not as cold.

However this angle is awkward for the keyboard and it's difficult to type.


Monday 22 December 2008


A column...
... no, a rectangular block of tiles set into the wall, floor to roof.
Its width is four
horizontal rectangular shaped tiles, with a ratio of around 2:1 width to height.

Dark turquoise green glazed tiles with light coloured, possibly white, grouting.

In the centre a patch of yellow and black striped hazard tape, four strips placed horizontally so that the black and yellow bands running at an angle of roughly 45° across the width of tape, create an irregular staggered pattern.

It looks to me something like an op-art painting, but resisting the illusion of movement.

The Bakerloo line train moves out of the station. Any further description would be based on memory and not direct observation.

Sunday 14 December 2008

mute objects

Most of them are boarded up now.
One or two, here and there, still occupied.

When entire floors are empty
welders appear fixing fanned metal rods.

Friday 12 December 2008


Camberwell pavements,
health insurance?
No thanks...

Thursday 11 December 2008


Music on earphones.
Whose earphones?
His earphones?
No, mine.

Unattended bags
cause delays
please keep yours with
you at all times

The exclamation mark is to the right of the block of text
and runs its full height, vertically.
The point at its base is a graphical image of a case.

We stop and start through the emptied estates.

Tuesday 9 December 2008


Three words collided
three words together
three words repeated
but not three times.

She's holding two mobile phones.
Why am I always suspicious of people
with two mobile phones?

From Waterloo Bridge the river looks sluggish in the indifferent chill.