Dan Graham Helix / Spiral (Simone Forti) 1973 two 8mm films, enlarged to 16mm, colour
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"In Dan Graham’s double projection Helix / Spiral (1973), a performer, standing in an empty Soho lot, slides the back of a camera across her body in a helix-shaped movement, filming a second performer, the artist Jeff Wall. In a projection on the opposite wall, he is seen filming the first performer, moving in a spiral towards her. The helix/spiral camerawork of both performers splits the cinematic image into two vertical and horizontal movements, in which the body’s relationship to space is explored through the physical apparatus of the camera.”
"Today we are all ‘creators’, all able to see ourselves extended into the data networks of the ludic-virtual. In other words, all complicit in the creation of a new mirror — a slightly kaleidoscopic mirror, mind you — but one that captivates us like Narcissus long beyond that mirror phase of childhood. Like the two-way sort used in clinical psychology, however, this new era of the interactive is at once mirror and screen, at once opportunity for enclosed self-contemplation and open performance. For we all know what lurks behind the silvering of this new mirror in the Facebook Polis and that is the gaze: sometimes manifest as benevolent glance and sometimes as cold, clinical, unblinking stare. Always performance.
Narcissus never suspected that Echo was swimming below the surface of the pool, but we know better.
This blur between mirror and screen is perhaps best understood in the language used to describe it: ‘one-way mirror’, ‘two-way mirror’, ‘one-way glass’ and ‘two-way glass’ are all used interchangeably, two sets of complete opposites in recombination to express the same concept. The fragmented subject only finds confusion in its attempts to articulate its relation to the interface; even with this 2x2 matrix the concept eludes us. Political action in the Facebook Polis must consider both the material element of this membrane between gesture and vision as well as its relative opacity in approaching the speed of light — the panoptic space is obsolesced by our very reflection.”
"The I-R.A.S.C. is an infrared device, which protects against infrared surveillance cameras. It can be made by anybody; no special skills are required. The device radiates infrared light disrupting the reception of infrared surveillance cameras. A sphere of light covers the face of the person under surveillance and as the interaction is invisible to the human eye (at a frequency between 780nm and 1mm), the individual is unaware of what is going on i.e. they don’t see the infrared rays emitted by either the surveillance camera or the I-R.A.S.C."
Michael Awad and Evan Penny Panagiota: Conversation 2007 photo/sculpture assemblage Biennale de Montréal
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"Awad photographed Dimos using a custommade camera built from old aerial reconnaissance equipment. The camera recorded an image over time as the moving shutter panned across the photographic plane, documenting movement and stillness in monstrous distortions. The utterances and gestures of the conversation are just barely discernable in Penny’s contorted features as a remarkable record of the drama of conversation emerges. His sculpture is a near impossible proposition of what this moment could have been in space."
November 17-18, 2012
Museum of Human Achievement
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What if one’s gait could see?
Take Dziga Vertov’s concept of kino-eye and vision it anew in the age of gait-based detection and surveillance: the skin-as-camera. Think with others on questions of performance, politics and pedagogy as mobile subjects in the contemporary vision machine.
"Toward a Kinoderm Aesthetics" might be of interest to academics, artists, activists or others working with questions of moving bodies, visioning technologies, public spaces and politics in the common sphere. We encourage a variety of educational backgrounds, professional practices and personal experiences to enliven and enrich the weekend event.
This intensive workshop of research-creation will weave previous work by the Department of Biological Flow together with contemporary critical theory, embodied movement practices and consideration of cognate works by other artists. While a background in any of these areas would certainly be considered useful for the workshop, it is by no means a prerequisite for participation. One need only be interested in challenging discussions designed to catalyze potentials in one’s own projects thereafter.
"See and be seen. Interpolate and interpellate. In an explicit gesture to Duchamp and the Russian Futurists, the Department of Biological Flow offers ICQ (Inverted Cubofuturist Query), a performance that reconsiders the question of tempo in public space and interrogates opportunities for movement in the contemporary vision machine.”
1. Plug kinoderm tail appendage into faux kino-gait transcribing device.
2. Begin walking staircase. Ensure a steady rhythm.
3. Using surgical devices at hand (scissors, small garden shears, Japanese band saw, large BBQ knife), cut away from kinoderm while walking up stairs.
4. If gait slows down too much, cease cutting and resume steady rhythm.
5. The performance ends once the artist has cut free from the kinoderm and fled the gaze.
Department of Biological Flow Traffic Shaping performance in process
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Traffic shaping is a computer network traffic management technique which delays some or all datagrams to bring them into compliance with a desired traffic profile.
1. Some math: m is the artist standing within a large embryonic volume made of translucent latex; L is the hose of an industrial vacuum; vt is the rotation speed of a 360-degree camera placed at the origin of the circle, facing the artist.
2. The latex embryo is filled with air to approximately 75% of capacity.
3. The artist begins walking around in a counter-clockwise circle, tethered by the hose to its origin. A switch is flicked on the vacuum, causing air to be slowly removed from within the embryonic volume.
4. The artist continues to walk around the circle at a speed synchronized with the rotation of the camera.
1. The two Department of Biological Flow particles will begin the process at opposite points on the circular orbit.
2. One particle begins walking around the circle counter-clockwise toward the other stationary particle, who holds the relay baton.
3. A camera will serve as the relay baton.
4. When the moving particle reaches the stationary particle it shall bump the stationary particle into motion along the same orbital trajectory.
5. The baton shall be passed backwards each time two particles collide.
6. The orbital velocity shall increase with each revolution until both particles are in motion, at varying speeds.
7. Once both particles are in motion the orbital velocity for either particle may decelerate, so long as the overall energy in the system stays relatively constant (ie. if one particle slows to a walk, the other must accelerate to a run).
8. The performance ends when the plant has been activated.
Nonsense Lab was dubbed the unofficial name of the studio space that hosted Sean Smith for the inaugural Artist/Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Western Ontario's Department of Visual Arts during 2011-2012. The title is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Sense Lab, a program space for research-creation founded by Erin Manning and Brian Massumi in Montreal.
This blog originally documented Sean's engagement with students in the elective Visual Arts course "Toward a Kinoderm Aesthetics," other activities and initiatives with the UWO and broader London communities while in residence during the fall 2011 semester, and progress on work for the exhibition D S NFORMAT ON: Threnody from the Vision Machine, held January 12-26, 2012 at the ArtLAB Gallery, John Labatt Visual Arts Centre.
Today it continues to share emergent processes with various networked communities, as well as offering a rough curatorial exercise of inspiring artworks that engage similar thematic trajectories.
Much of Sean's current work emerges from the Department of Biological Flow, his ongoing experimental dialogue of research-creation with Barbara Fornssler. Spanning performance, installation, text, image, poetry and motion capture, their consideration of biological flow develops processes to a state at which they have just ceased to be fragile enough for one's imagination to take over and build upon the framework.
While the focus of their practice often concerns the aesthetics and politics of surveillant optics in urban spaces, they also intend to bring a more multisensory approach to their processes of research-creation -- along with generous helpings of humour.