Monday, 14 May 2007

Untitled #16

I came across this sign when taking a walk around my local parkland only the other day and ironically, I thought I would post here, in light of the last few images of women suspended in water.

Untitled #15

As a still taken from 'Isolde's Ascension' in the Love/Death: The Tristan Project, Bill Viola always manages to keep the suspended moment hanging on throughout his video installation work. This particular project created something quite vivid; a reversal of expectations and a slow moving and almost violent transition through the elements, culminating a kind of spiritual sequence of death.

Attached to lifes surface by the beaded thread of breath, this reading of death equates to that of 'The Piano', whereas Ada's resurrection (or ascension) remains in body and life.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Untitled #14

'The Piano', directed by Jane Campion 1993

I have to admit, I haven't even seen the film yet. My girlfriend looked at my blog last week and she told me I must see it, describing the scene whereby "Ada jumps (or falls?)
overboard with the piano attached to her leg. The shot under water of
the floating yet restrained body (umbilical cord) seems to connote a
state of suspension, between life and death. I remember reading an
article in "Screen" that was entirely devoted to this fascinating image
that carries so many meanings". Ok so I'm quoting my girlfriend, but it sounds quite impressive and whilst the film stills are ambiguous, we can only imagine the intensity of what this succession of images imply.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Untitled #13

Taken from 'Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie' program at the Gasworks contemporary arts organisation, this particular photograph (ironically) stood apart from any other. 'Stand, I don't' takes not only the literal meaning acted out by the body, but also represents the underdog, the unheard voice and the opressed. Indeed, disguising the true identity enables a reading to be captured and embodied by many - which appears to be a familiar trait amoung most of the images posted thus far.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Shy Exhibitionist

shy1 (shī)

adj., shi·er (shī'ər) or shy·er, shi·est (shī'ĭst) or shy·est.

Easily startled; timid.
Drawing back from contact or familiarity with others;
retiring or reserved.
Marked by reserve or diffidence: a shy glance.
Distrustful; wary: shy of strangers.

Not having paid an amount due, as one's ante in poker.
Short; lacking: Eleven is one shy of a dozen.

intr.v., shied (shīd), shy·ing, shies (shīz).

To move suddenly, as if startled; start.
To draw back, as from fear or caution; recoil.
n., pl. shies (shīz).
A sudden movement, as from fright; a start.

shy2 (shī)

v., shied (shīd), shy·ing, shies (shīz).
To throw (something) with a swift motion; fling.

To throw something with a swift motion.

n., pl. shies (shīz).
A quick throw; a fling.
Informal. A gibe; a sneer.
Informal. An attempt; a try.
[Perhaps from SHY1.]

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
Queer Peformativity: Warhol's Whiteness / Warhol's Shyness

Friday, 20 April 2007

Untitled #12

This image was taken in 2004 on my back stairs. I was listening to 'Angel, we'll go down together' at the time and somehow it seemed quite an appropriate position to put myself in, with the sun beating its way through the back door and an answerphone message I refused to listen or reply to. By acting out emotions through the body alone, words became meaningless and disfunctional; language essential.

Monday, 16 April 2007

"This heart within me I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch, and I likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge, and the rest is construction"

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Untitled #11

I've found it! See Untitled #5 ...

Untitled #10

Stumbling across this, I just had to post it. The idea and implications of a baby being uncontrollable in body and space, without the dependancy on adults to position it, move it, keep it safe from harm .... or indeed, falling from a great height!

With the use of text on a 'sign', it's clear in this case that it is a requirement as to the inherent implications. The image alone represents something quite absurd.

Untitled #9

"Think about your body, the angle of each limb, which parts of you are making contact with other surfaces and which ones are surrounded by air. What are the distances between your left arm and the nearest objects above it, below it, to its sides? Your right arm and those objects around it? Your legs? Your trunk? Your head? The truth is, getting at the real where of where we are at any given time is a staggeringly complex affair. Surface area, distance, spatial density, volume - all factors to be taken into account, and taken into account separately for each distinct segment of the body, setting up thousands upon thousands of spatial relationships to consider. And with each minute shift of the body - the curling of a pinkie finger, for example - comes a shift in dozens if not hundreds of those relationships. No wonder, then, that we typically restrict our thinking about space and our place in it to only the loosest terms. Pondering that fully would crowd out all other thoughts; it would consume us..."

'Lost in Space' by Robert Faires

Friday, 30 March 2007

When informed that Sam Taylor-Wood was among a number of artists exhibiting at the STUK Arts Centre, in the ‘wife-beater’ Stella Artois producing catholic university town of Leuven, Belgium, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to be able to experience one of our reputable and home-grown female artists on continental shores, in combination with of course, a significant sampling of the world finest beers.

Completely retarded by language (and nursing a severe hangover), my initial frustrations were emphasised with a somewhat lack of ‘English’ text material that supported the exhibition and I was then acutely aware of relying on the audible interpretation of my Flemish radical feminist ‘teacher’ girlfriend who demonstrably had no hesitation in taking advantage of this situation, translating to me her own transgressive subtexts and visual reading.

As I began to adopt my own queer interpretation, it appears that even the painted red line along the floor (used as a guide) now became ‘gay’ pink, as it pathed its way through the corridors of this ex-University Chemistry block, taking me from one absence to another, reflecting back my own lack of supporting texts, Anglophone literary comfort zone or indeed, the misunderstandings of the written word. From the self-reflecting television screens, documentation of a child’s ‘mirror phase’, a solitary flapping curtain that reveals and conceals, miniature reconstructions of empty places in empty places, light to dark, empty yet promising spaces and corridors; the curatorial concept of presence and absence, the visible and invisible, focuses on a number of international artists working within these same specific fields of tension. The exhibition and its space invite one to come and see, yet it allows a sense of emptiness to prevail. Mostly representing new media artists using video, audio and even an interactive virtual reality space, there was something far more primitive in the exhibitions constructions, making us climb through obscure, dingy and almost empty portakbins, tip-toeing awkwardly through darkness and by restricting our senses, emphasising the uneasiness of eerie silences.

Whilst an overall powerful and emotive exhibition, Sam Taylor Woods headlining film contribution representing some of her older works Prelude in Air, Ascension and Strings (which generally consists of, quote “her ability to get vulnerable men doing silly things”) was, as always, of a cinematic and visually dramatic qualitative level yet relatively minimal in comparison to the overall submission by the other sixteen artists. Occupying the largest space and drawing in a crowd, maybe my dampened experience of this Taylor Wood’s ‘revered’ work a second time round on foreign lands reveal the English desire and sensibility for the exotic and the unknown or maybe indeed, all I needed was an English version of the exhibition guide.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Untitled #6

Carl von Weiler (x3 or more), 1998, hanging upside down like a bat in a low dark space. Whilst we can merely observe the image of an installation piece, we sense that this duplication of a haunting and repressive space, mediated by television and again in the gallery space itself, amounts to further curatorial layers whilst we observe it through the density of a computer screen. Tell me, is he really upside down?

Saturday, 24 March 2007

"The artists body as gravity makes itself its master"

Artist, Bas Jan Ader

Untitled #5 by Lonely Planet Girl

Aside from the prototypical images of the pop star, there was always something a bit ridiculous or indeed tragic, about some of Morrissey's poses that always managed to slap me around the metaphorical face. They were of course poses; both for the photographic image and the live performance.

I was intent on finding a particular image captured whereby he is draped across an amplifier on stage at a live concert. He was upside down if I recall. Anyway, he would do this quite often in his younger years, during an unspoken chorus or the fading out guitar solo of a song. We were never quite sure why he did this (he was probably just taking a breather) but it certainly dramatised the event.

Being the 'anti-pop star', throwing himself into the audience was never an option. Presenting himself as an 'object' to his eager and willing fans however, was imperative. Fans then and still, 20 years on (and dare I say, 20 years older, heaven forbid) climb the stage to grab a piece of him. Meat maybe murder, but on these occasions it was raw, cold and waiting on a plate to be devoured by the most ardent vegetarians.

I realise this isnt the original image I was looking for or have even described, but the construction amounts to the same reading of performativity albeit without a chanting audience. What's strikes me even more is the surrounding context of the image. Whilst he is hardly tied to the train track (by a moustached villan as depicted in some of the old silent movies), he offers himself up as the victim and therefore as the culturally represented role in the female, passive postion. However, before I digress into some kind of queer analysis and ramble on any further, I just want to quote Morrissey's words describing the descent of popular music back in the 80's as "slowly being laid to rest" ...

Read as you will.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Untitled #4 by Charles Ray

"Ray instinctively knew that the artist's first concern when working in three dimensions is the human body—as reference, implicit subject, or field of experience.
Ray made this photograph of himself while in art school. A neat critique of abstraction, it represents an early victory in his campaign to recapture the body for art. The work also confronts the modern tendency to bind and gag our visceral responses. Hovering overhead in disquieting equipoise, Ray suggests both artistic control and personal submission; according to this duality, the picture's formal perfection is in service to a "happening," a gesture of aesthetic activism. The artist's deadpan, mock-aggressive tone is deliriously literal; with an irony worthy of Ray's idol, Buster Keaton, the photograph is a characteristically witty cross between a dangerously close call and a good joke...."

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Untitled #3

As a film still from Pasolini's 'La Ricotta', this is an image of the character Stracci, who works as an extra (as a crucified thief) on a film about the life of Christ. After numerous attempts (and final success) to gorge the 'free food' on set, Stracci actually dies from a fatal indigestion during the filming of the crucifixtion.

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Sunday, 4 March 2007

'Our body is not in space like things; it inhabits or haunts space. It applies itself to space like a hand to an instrument, and when we wish to move about we do not move the body as we move an object. We transport it without instruments as if by magic, since it is ours and because through it we have direct access to space. For us the body is much more than an instrument or a means; it is our expression in the world, the visible form of our intentions. Even our most secret affective movements, those most deeply tied to the humeral infrastructure, help to shape our perception of things.'

- Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Untitled #2

Although provided with a title, 'Trans-Fixed', I wanted to include this image of Chris Burden which could be read, as a photograph, within the same context as the previous images. The similarities are striking, with the same melancholic and tragic reading of some kind of victim, with the obvious religious connotations.

On reading the act of performance, Chris Burden takes masochism one step further by having the 'participant' (or accomplice) nail him to the roof of the car....

Friday, 23 February 2007

Untitled by Francesca Woodman

I cannot deny that Francesca Woodmans' photographs have cracked me round the head on numerous occasions. Two painkillers and a good nights sleep later, I have always returned, intrigued and alarmed by whats' in front of me. That's not to say I have this experience every time, quite the opposite. Every moment with her photographs tell me something new, something I never saw previously and indeed, something I can never forget.

Margaret Sundell (in Vanishing Points: The Photography of Francesca Woodman) describes her images that "seek out and surpass the borders between subject and object, self and environment, and in sensibility they reveal a moment hovering between adolescence and adulthood..."

This particular image haunts me like no other.