Nonsense Lab
Department of Biological FlowTBA (Teneral Breathing Apparatus)from Imago (Kino-Butterfly · Someone Might Be Listening · Lorenz Security Ltd.)April 28, 2011performance and archive

Department of Biological Flow
TBA (Teneral Breathing Apparatus)
from Imago (Kino-Butterfly · Someone Might Be Listening · Lorenz Security Ltd.)
April 28, 2011
performance and archive

Department of Biological FlowRGB (Retinal Ganzfeld Bitcast)(re)mixed media sculpturein process

Department of Biological Flow
RGB (Retinal Ganzfeld Bitcast)
(re)mixed media sculpture
in process

Department of Biological FlowBall Bearings (Reticulated Foam)silkscreened latex balloon installationin process

- - -

Generally speaking, we might suggest it is the multiple Eye (and its interface with the touch of Skin) that governs the preparation for contagion, processing, incarceration and trauma found in late modern sport, while the Voice (and its interface with the touch of Skin) anchors its eternal recurrence of particular sporting histories in nostalgia.

Finally, we might suggest that the Flesh (and its interface with the touch of Skin) both implicates and is implicated by the now of consumption. It is here that exchange occurs, tempos slightly out of joint, though one hopes not overly so. It is here that we gesture towards new forms of encounter, new politics, new exchanges — in part through and with the Skin, but also by interfacing Flesh directly, in resonances of harmony or interference.

_____

sportsbabel, april 2011.

Department of Biological Flow
Ball Bearings (Reticulated Foam)
silkscreened latex balloon installation
in process

- - -

Generally speaking, we might suggest it is the multiple Eye (and its interface with the touch of Skin) that governs the preparation for contagion, processing, incarceration and trauma found in late modern sport, while the Voice (and its interface with the touch of Skin) anchors its eternal recurrence of particular sporting histories in nostalgia.

Finally, we might suggest that the Flesh (and its interface with the touch of Skin) both implicates and is implicated by the now of consumption. It is here that exchange occurs, tempos slightly out of joint, though one hopes not overly so. It is here that we gesture towards new forms of encounter, new politics, new exchanges — in part through and with the Skin, but also by interfacing Flesh directly, in resonances of harmony or interference.

_____

sportsbabel, april 2011.

Department of Biological FlowRGB (Retinal Ganzfeld Bitcast)reworked sisal and steel wirein process

- - -

"The Ganzfeld effect (from German for ‘complete field’) is a phenomenon of visual perception caused by staring at an undifferentiated and uniform field of color. The effect is described as the loss of vision as the brain cuts off the unchanging signal from the eyes. The result is ‘seeing black’ - apparent blindness. … The Ganzfeld effect is the result of the brain amplifying neural noise in order to look for the missing visual signals. The noise is interpreted in the higher visual cortex, and gives rise to hallucinations. This is similar to dream production because of the brain’s state of sensory deprivation during sleep.”

Department of Biological Flow
RGB (Retinal Ganzfeld Bitcast)
reworked sisal and steel wire
in process

- - -

"The Ganzfeld effect (from German for ‘complete field’) is a phenomenon of visual perception caused by staring at an undifferentiated and uniform field of color. The effect is described as the loss of vision as the brain cuts off the unchanging signal from the eyes. The result is ‘seeing black’ - apparent blindness. … The Ganzfeld effect is the result of the brain amplifying neural noise in order to look for the missing visual signals. The noise is interpreted in the higher visual cortex, and gives rise to hallucinations. This is similar to dream production because of the brain’s state of sensory deprivation during sleep.”

Department of Biological Flow
ICQ (Inverted Cubofuturist Query)
[World Record Attempt]
forthcoming, 2012
performance

- - -

Becoming-Insect

If contemporary explorations in the arts and sciences are increasingly turning to the insect world for inspiration, then we must inquire after the particular types of relations that we are describing in this valorization. Put differently, with the thousands upon millions of insect species currently flying, crawling and swarming over the earth, the non-human turn in art and philosophy can pretty much locate any metaphor it wishes in order to explicate a particular form of expression.

What are the particulars? Insects, in toto, offer very different tempos, life expectancies, modalities of movement, moments of articulation, et cetera, than we humans — perhaps we turn to them too readily to find new models for living? In our valorization of the insects and the corresponding non-human turn are we simply abdicating our responsibility for the capitalist regime that only we humans have created?

Do we seek to simply represent insects, or do we seek a becoming-insect towards a new consideration of ethics within the contemporary ecologies of the electric?

top:
Brendan Fernandes
Changing to Summer
2005
performance, single channel video, photographs

bottom:
Department of Biological Flow
Ex-position (Program and Thumbnail)
in process
performance and two-channel video

- - -

Brendan Fernandes presented last night as part of the Art in the Public Sphere speaker series at the University of Western Ontario (the same series in which I gave a talk back in September). Fernandes is a graduate of the UWO program, now living and working in New York, and his return was met with a packed house at the Visual Arts Centre.

Brendan’s work is very personal and deals (primarily) with the complexities of identity and diaspora, particularly given his own experiences growing up of mixed Kenyan, Indian and Canadian heritages. Indeed, his practice continually challenges antiquated notions of “authenticity” as they relate to the global flows of migration, culture and commerce.

I mention him here because of one of the works he showed during his presentation, titled Changing to Summer. While perhaps not the most interesting or challenging example he offered during his talk last night, it directly related to work I’ve been considering at the Nonsense Lab concerning exposure and its politics.

In Changing to Summer, Fernandes attends several sessions in an ultraviolet tanning bed with stickers pasted to his body in various motifs, which represent textile imagery from his varied cultural backgrounds. Upon peeling the stickers — voilà! — Fernandes himself becomes a sort of temporary cultural tapestry.

Not only does he mark his body with these various signifiers (for example, an imprint of a mask borrowed from his Kenyan heritage), he also plays with tone, shading his brown skin ever-darker with each session in the tanning salon. As he pointed out last night during his talk, these “degrees” of brown-ness are tied to complex understandings of class in the diasporal contexts from which he draws his inspiration.

In this, Changing to Summer is certainly richer for me than comparable suntan/burn work by Ai Weiwei and Anna Gohmert, given the nuances of signification and how they weave into his broader project. While I appreciate what Fernandes adds to a technique that appears to be quite limited, I can’t help but feel that he remains in a spatialized frame of reference: yes, it takes time to make such a work, but the work itself is not so much about time; rather it is about the spatial surface of the skin providing a canvas on which to collage various images in sun-shaded relief.

There is certainly nothing wrong with this approach, of course, but since I mentioned earlier a work-in-process involving sunburn techniques, it seems like an appropriate opportunity to elaborate on what this project entails (to be completed next summer, as documentation requirements necessitate being outdoors instead of enclosed in a tanning bed).

Currently titled Ex-position (Program and Thumbnail), this work proposes to reference Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering stroboscopic photography and its subsequent folding into the surveillant imaging of the moving body decades thereafter. To accomplish this I plan to “paint” the skin with sunscreens of various SPF factors, such that image-frames of a moving body appear in succession on the skin of my back.

To put it differently, Ai Weiwei’s work stands apart from that of Fernandes, Gohmert and Dennis Oppenheim insofar as it uses solar intensity in the service of negative space: he has clearly applied some sort of sunscreen on his body everywhere but that space which forms the letters F-U-C-K in his dermal communique, whereas the other three block out the sun precisely in the form of the objects they wish to represent, as with pinhole cameras and rudimentary opacity studies on photographic paper.

Ex-position (Program and Thumbnail) proposes to combine both approaches by painting the back with different degrees of sunscreen protection such that various images emerge at different moments. As the shielding from the sun begins to wear off for lower SPF levels, an image will begin to emerge, before the next, and the next — eventually offering a slow movement of the body across the canvas of the skin.

Instead of painting with colour in space, then, think of it as painting with time — the application of white pigment to produce red pigment.

The entire process will be recorded to video. One channel of the video will be a large-scale image of the entire (slow) process as it unfolds in real time (the program). The second channel will be a small-scale reproduction of the same image, accelerated to more quickly articulate the process involved (the thumbnail). The shrinking of the image will be inversely proportional to the ratio by which the image has been accelerated, thus suggesting a topology of space and time in the presentation of the exposed skin.

Multiple-Body Kino-Gait Study
and Performed Archive
VAC 2291 - “Toward a Kinoderm Aesthetics”
University of Western Ontario

Tahir Ahmad
Joanna Braund
Madeleine Ferracuti
Emily Fister
Nicole Minett
Jacqueline Mok
Sean Smith

- - -

"Instead of smoothing over contemporary art’s violent and iconoclastic dimensions, instead of sanitizing and making complex artworks docile in terms of archival possibilities, this book suggests we abandon our fantasy of mastery over representation and respond in kind to the archive-as-artwork, to "living" archives, and to reenactments of history with their seamless connections between fiction and non-fiction. Among the concepts examined are Vilém Flusser’s techno-imagination, Lygia Clark’s and Hélio Oiticica’s participatory aesthetics, and Paulo Bruscky’s and Eduardo Kac’s literal performances of the archive. They contribute to the erosion of the archive’s former boundaries, stability, function, and meaning. Writing alongside the artists as much as about them, Osthoff examines the archive mise-en-abyme, as it grows increasingly recombinant and generative."

_____

Simone Osthoff, Performing the Archive: The Transformation of the Archive in Contemporary Art from Repository of Documents to Art Medium, Atropos Press, 2009.

Cara Spooner: “I think that the social codes of being in a theatre have an interesting dynamic. When you walk into a theatre, there is a predetermined way of viewing, of hearing and of acting as an audience member. Especially if the work is movement-based, the way the audience understands it is primarily visual (but also aural). That’s a really great tradition but, in a way, I think there is potential for a lot more. I think that the audience’s embodiment can become more integrated into performance and that the different senses can become more integrated. That’s what motivates me to pull things out of the proscenium stage. I want to make the experience something more than just consuming with just the eyeballs and allow the affect to be integrated into the work with a lot of embodiment on the audience’s side.”

_____

“Greater Choreography: The Psychogeography of Movement. A Conversation-Interview between Cara Spooner and Lendl Barcelos,” Her Royal Majesty, Sept. 2011.

Cara Spooner: “I think that the social codes of being in a theatre have an interesting dynamic. When you walk into a theatre, there is a predetermined way of viewing, of hearing and of acting as an audience member. Especially if the work is movement-based, the way the audience understands it is primarily visual (but also aural). That’s a really great tradition but, in a way, I think there is potential for a lot more. I think that the audience’s embodiment can become more integrated into performance and that the different senses can become more integrated. That’s what motivates me to pull things out of the proscenium stage. I want to make the experience something more than just consuming with just the eyeballs and allow the affect to be integrated into the work with a lot of embodiment on the audience’s side.”

_____

Greater Choreography: The Psychogeography of Movement. A Conversation-Interview between Cara Spooner and Lendl Barcelos,” Her Royal Majesty, Sept. 2011.

D S NFORMAT ON

Threnody from the Vision Machine

-

Sean Smith and
Department of Biological Flow

2001-2046

- - -

January 12-26, 2012

ArtLAB Gallery
John Labatt Visual Arts Centre
University of Western Ontario

D S NFORMAT ON

Threnody from the Vision Machine

-

Sean Smith and
Department of Biological Flow

2001-2046

- - -

January 12-26, 2012

ArtLAB Gallery
John Labatt Visual Arts Centre
University of Western Ontario

temporarily impermanent


immanent.

like a temperature on
one’s lips, is the word
not begun inspirating
a whisper of breath
to the sky
nigh expired.

expressed espresso of
quick twitch
flip sprinting
and surfing
the waves of
pedestrian glinting
and slowing
the beat to a much softer glowing,
for laying me lowing .tv dogs radioing,
[or rowing those waves but revisioned for knowing]
and wondering and waiting
and tired.

 (bergson breeze is still blowing)
 

can third be the number to remember you (bye)?
sport supple gestures in
damp potter’s spaces
claymation emerges
from multiplied paces
fastfry fractal relation
on hot blacktop baking
oven fired.

crying wolf. pack well
for timely dilation
braille acupuncture
teletype operator
of gait surfing needles
and coded transmissions
“i love you” net virus
contemplating my status of
wired.

so tired.

temporarily impermanent


immanent.

like a temperature on
one’s lips, is the word
not begun inspirating
a whisper of breath
to the sky
nigh expired.

expressed espresso of
quick twitch
flip sprinting
and surfing
the waves of
pedestrian glinting
and slowing
the beat to a much softer glowing,
for laying me lowing .tv dogs radioing,
[or rowing those waves but revisioned for knowing]
and wondering and waiting
and tired.


(bergson breeze is still blowing)
 

can third be the number to remember you (bye)?
sport supple gestures in
damp potter’s spaces
claymation emerges
from multiplied paces
fastfry fractal relation
on hot blacktop baking
oven fired.

crying wolf. pack well
for timely dilation
braille acupuncture
teletype operator
of gait surfing needles
and coded transmissions
“i love you” net virus
contemplating my status of
wired.

so tired.