Mission Statement as Responses to Five Questions

Question in Blue Original response in Black           Revision / Commentary in Red
1. what have you noticed in the space that you would like to change or adapt?
I wish to affect a change in how the user perceives self, mind, and their position and relationship within space.
The thing I noticed is merely people perceiving space – marking it, recording it themselves. All in the same way.

2. once you have identified your area of interest through what you have observed, How would you like to change it? (think about this in relation of what you can do in a project)
I want to make a wearable device that affects the user’s perception in strategic ways. By unbinding their perception and understanding of possibilities inherent in space from their usual norm-reinforcing routine. But what the hell does this mean? It sounds great to say I’m doing this via renegotiating the relationship of their ability to perceive space, their position in it, and making them aware of the workings of their mind while negotiating space.
But I think it’s rubbish right now.
I saw a skateboarder on my way in to school today. He fell mid-trick and almost smashed his face. He was fine, but imagine the rush, the visceral chemical appreciation of space there; how the physical space of “narrowly missed” has real implications. Imagine the mental correlation of previous knowledge of the hardness of the surface, of the pain and damage possible. I could only hope to chart this.
He was doing what I’m trying to do in a much more effective way.
So my project is really about noticing that people use space in the same fucking ways, and shaking them out of that.
If I make a device, it will be one that fights and impedes the person.
I hate all the over-intellectualizing I am capable of that gets in the way of DOING it.
So I am just going to “get in my own” way productively.
Before I wanted to throw all this on the trash heap, I saw this as having two components: the physical one listed above, and also an immersive Virtual Reality one. I wanted to use PureData, as part of a larger interactive system to generate geomantic charts, and alter a VR environment based on these permutations. The worn device attempts to affect a change in the wearer, but also is to be wired for exchange of this VR data. For example, if I use infrared Head-tracking, it would have the infrared lamps, etc.
Alternatively, (thinking out loud,) Could there be a feedback between two persons: one in a virtual space giving abstract nonvisual cues to one in real, who then in turn reports real-time data that becomes part of the information they negotiate, as obstacles, impositions, etc in the real world.
I seek to induce what some call the “zoom-out moment” wherein you get a sense of the larger scheme of things. Graphically, imagine the entire world, interior and exterior of the mind as a “sand mandala.”
Really “recontextualizes” a curb if you narrowly avoid smashing your face against it. Talk about a zoom-out moment. This still deals intimately with the praxis that is making a sand mandala.
Various people have called it a “Garden of Forking Paths,” a “Black Iron Prison,” or said that “All the world’s a stage.”
But it’s a grand construction within which we are all placing sand, grain by grain with often no understanding precisely why.

3. where would you like you project to take place? (is it an online project where you ‘project’ your enquiry back into the space/ or could it be that you insert something back into the space)
The project has three locations: inside the brain, on the body, and in exterior physical space – eg, I see Lavender Hill and Air Street as prototype spaces to be navigated and interacted using this system.
The project has one location – the territory of and around the body, as it relates to persons and spaces of all types. From the most prosaic to the most inherently dangerous. The mapping will be of the spaces created around the person – correlated with biological information.

4. Why are you doing this project? (are you trying to reveal something within the space itself that is somehow not obvious or challenged)
I seek the transformation of the individual (and the species) by transcending the limitations of our conscious minds.
Aspects of danger are always there, in the space negotiated by one person, in the interactions between two people, etc: and we just choose to ignore them. Sometimes it takes a 16 year old punk with a skateboard to get us to see what we’re really going after.
It’s only our a shared projection of the future (a “mutual delusion”) that stops someone from pushing you off a tube platform. “The most merciful thing about the human mind is its inability to correlate its contents.” HP Lovecraft.
It may sound grim, but being an optimist, and being able to mentally project into the future, I can tell you it will have a happy ending.

5. please list out the inputs to your project enquiry that you will source? (environmental data: wind,temp,light etc, social data: questionnaire through a website, hertzian data: radio waves, surveillance data, electromagnetic radiation)
See, the problem here is that my idea is much more slippery and “alchemistic” than remapping a physical property or indexable set of data. One possible thing to react to is the user’s stress level, via monitoring stress levels at the skin-level, and at the level of vital signs.
Recording biological information from a person while they are in various scenarios – heart rate, “stress” level, etc and discussing / recording (within the limits of language) the experience after it happened will be gathered information. I would like to incorporate some more subconscious means for information to emerge – drawing, automatic text generation, etc.

My Notes:

Properties with which I can work:
Presencing the invisible forces at play around us.
Is there a way to use immersive or augmented realities to manifest these?
Emerging new understanding of the existing senses and of relationship to space via synaesthesia is part of this.
The device should induce certain confusions and force negotiations with oneself in space to cause
Altering the viewer’s alpha-state of consciousness.
Using strobing lights, white noise, and sense data that comes from unexpected sources (via real or pseudo-synaesthesia) is part of this.
The idea of capturing the moment of heightened tension was there previously, but it takes on new meaning now.
Synthesizing what Bernard Cache calls the “interval” between cause and effect into the “architecture of the moment before…”
I think the closest to this I’ve come is throwing clay against my work surface in frustration, see the artifact. This needs more work.
Transcending the frame of everything we already know (the Noosphere) is part of this.
What is done for December, then? Because I am concerned with the amount of thinking that is going into this, and the lack of making things – in terms of aesthetics and craft.
I am not concerned now, because it has a direction – toward danger and performance, toward the body in space.
This opens up the aesthetic to being performance based, edgy, and challenging, even if aesthetically refined.

As Above, So Below – an Aesthetic Exercise – Part II

Click for Flickr gallery

As Above, So Below - Composite

This is a composite version of the piece I worked on last week, As Above, So Below.

On a “canvas” found on Lavender Hill, which is actually a discarded home furnishing – a picture of a canoe and oar in a mountain lake, I made this piece.

In the main frame, from left to right are:
The “murky depths” of the subconscious etc in grey

Blue – a layer of color representing activity in the subconscious

The first column of automatic text – taken from The Anais Nin Reader

More murky “subconscious…” really meant like the other to cover the existing “canvas” without being visually too overpowering

My notes from a rainy Friday on Lavender Hill, connecting the artifact to the place through the direct experience of having been there.

Feathers, found in the Bartlett, representing nothing and many things – including the subconscious desire to transcend and to escape earthly bounds.

A hexagon, which is also a cube in isometric view, and also the top of the Kabalistic “Tree of Life.”

The phrase Et In Arcadia Ego, from Nichlolas Poussin’s painting The Arcadian Shepherds amongst others. Chosen for its manifold and riddling meanings, and long history in the occult.

More automatic text from the same source, which forms a line mirroring the hills over in the “conscious” mind – chosen because it allows unintended meanings to emerge.

The gold line, representing liminality between conscious and subconscious

And the aforementioned “hills” in the conscious mind, which I take to represent … well, lots of stuff. But let’s stop the hoo-ha.

I will upload more dynamic images when I get the chance to assemble and photograph the piece in the studio, which should happen this coming week.

This is just the latest piece in a development of a set of ideas…

Check out the flickr gallery for other good images.
See the previous post for more background information on the method.
See this post for information about the site visits that informed this exercise and piece.
See this post and this post for a discussion of the need / desire to break the frame.

Found Objects…

I went to Lavender Hill on Friday – it was raining, and I had to see what that brought out… On this trip, I was also interested in the smells and sounds of the place, and took notes. I was looking at nonvisual information that I could gather without touching everything while it was wet and germy… But there were other possibilities I realized that night, as well.

Click Here for the Flickr set. (Since WordPress.com won’t let me insert code for videos, slideshows, or flash… even hosted externally.)

I went back to Lavender Hill on Saturday, and visited the delightful Comet Miniatures, which is the only shop of its kind left in Londontown. How much more unique to a site can you get than that? So, I was looking for something that dealt with space in a nonvisual or nontraditional way. Unfortunately, all the submarine models were too expensive, and the guys there recommended this – a model of the International Space Station. Simulacrum ahoy!

Click Here for the Flickr set containing the International Space Station.

Found Object

Found Object on Lavender Hill

And while I only went to to Lavender Hill on Sunday because I had to do my reading somewhere, I scored my biggest find – a found object canvas upon which to start all this. Don’t worry, it will be unrecognizable as a naff home decoration from Ikea by the time I’m done with it. This is afterall, an exercise in transformational aesthetics.

Found Object on Air Street

Found Object on Air Street

Found Object on the Tube

Found Object on the Tube

Nine (Pre-Visual) Canticles

1. There is a meta-frame which contains all we can comprehend
(The noosphere)
2. The body is a brush, the world is a canvas
(The body acts in space)
3. The world is a laboratory, the mind is a catalyst
(There are techniques for analysis)

4. The will has been decided in the moment before contact
(Time dilates in the moment before contact)
(There is a breathless moment between will and act – that is where this architecture is)

5. In the negative space between two bodies there is a positive charge
((perception of) Space constricts in the moment before confrontation)
6. Use notation to define and transcend the frame of reference
(Abstraction allows the synthesis of more data than experience, but must is useless without feeding back into experience)

7. Human nature is primarily reactive
(What constitutes sentience is the extension of the individual’s perception into the timespace of the future)
8. The mind is a record of its own workings
(The information has the inverse shape of its container)
9. Through using such methods we can break open the conception of ourselves and of what we are capable
(I am attempting to expand the frame in dimension and representational depth)
(I seek to synthesize the consequence of what I explore, not just analyze it)

Sorry if this seems a bit obtuse. It is a first draft, which will be honed over the coming days and weeks.
I feel they need to be honed into something more pointed, to extend the metaphor.

But – Canticle Nine is a statement of purpose – especially in seeking consequence.

Narrative Ecologies

There are ecologies to be found between any two or more things, or any qualities within one thing. Here is a visual essay in seven parts. I am exploring the space of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks as a vehicle for understanding the space of the moment before an event.

Decontextualizing the figures makes them a context their own, implies narratives based on the relationships between elements. Of course, the more you look, the more you realize Hopper’s paintings are so run through with narrative it’s almost unbearable.

Three loose thoughts:

1. I had never noticed that it’s very ambiguous whether the adjacent figures’ hands are touching or not. The “electricity” of this ambiguity is where my project is situated.

2. I am also interested in the monster lurking in the street, two inches off the left of the frame.

3. Of course she’s a redhead.

Original image copyright of the author, all subsequent are covered under fair use.

Nighthawks 07

If you would like to see these at higher resolution, check out my Flickr.

It’s a Pan-o-Rama

Step right up…

Sorry about the watermarks everywhere, I’ll take care of that – but I wanted to get these up as soon as possible.

Here are the results of my edited panoramas of Air Street and Lavender Hill stitched together into 360 degree panoramas.

These really expresses what I was going for with the originals, even if it took far too long of messing about with settings to get right.

Air Street: .mov (QuickTime) file or in case that doesn’t work, try the flash file.

And here’s the original, before the editing. (and the flash file)

Lavender Hill: .mov file or in case that doesn’t work, try the flash file.

And here’s the original, before the editing. (and the flash file)

I would have preferred to embed these here in the blog, but neither wordpress nor flickr could get them right. So linking will have to do for now.

Edited Panoramas

Stepping back from the hyper-graphic, time ordered multimedia projections of last week, (and here)I looked at removing everything nonessential from a projected panorama of each site. I identified zones of influence and transfer of sense data – the same as last time – the VISUAL, BOUNDARY, EXTENSIVE, and the AETHERIAL. I made two changes in the artifacts represented. First, I included whole human bodies as manifestation of the “extensive” quality of sensing, rather than just the hands and faces. Second, I also included the infinitely subjective picture plane that is transparent or translucent glass. And of course, I refined my technique for representing the “edges” of the sense data without allowing for visual clutter.

I think this technique of extreme redaction is very useful in getting to something at its most decontextualized and abstract; or as my tutor would say, getting at “It

Air Street

Lavender Hill

These images are much bigger on my flickr under “all sizes.” Additionally, if you really want a look at the originals, talk to me – they’re each about four or five meters long at 72dpi in file-space. The level of detail in the bits that recede down the streets is sort of ridiculous.