Wednesday 27 February 2013

Weekend OtherWorld

We're delighted to be invited to collaborate with the Aural and Visual Cultures department at Goldsmiths to present an afternoon of talks, films, readings and sound pieces on Saturday 27th April.

Location: LG01, New Academic Building, St Donnat's Road
Cost: Free
Department: Visual Cultures
Time: 27 April 2013, 13:00 - 20:00

Weekend OtherWorld aims to realise a new form of aesthetic broadcast. It imagines a parallel present where the forensic documentary intensity of 1970s television, evidenced in World In Action, Man Alive, Weekend World and Chronicle still exists but at a sorcerous angle to reality. What if the earnest authority of these programmes could be extended to occult aesthetics. With hard hitting, convincingly paranoid reports of the concrete irrational, Weekend OtherWorld subverts the roundtable format of the current affairs programme to broadcast a series of films, presentations and concomitant discussions from a potent broth of hermetic psychogeography, revolutionary sacrifice,  aesthetic psychopathology and eerie capitalism.  Distilling the essences of the recent AGM, the afternoon programme will further attempt to define these new breeds of creative research. By exploring reality at a sorcerous angle, might we also find that the machinery underlying politics and culture is a magical construct?

1.00pm The Actophile Society
Haunted Shoreline, Antony Clayton
The South Bank Show recast as a cultural occult documentary on the applied surrealism of an hermetic beachcomber along the Sussex coast and a memoir the final days of Aleister Crowley by the sea. Actophiles are creatures that love the beach, and The Actophile Society can be construed as  Bataille's decadent cult of L'Acephale on holiday in Brighton and Hastings, searching the shoreline for mineral truths and revelling in the memory of wickedest man in the world.

2.00pm Cinema and its double
Mark Pilkington, Will Fowler, Hannah Gilbert, Alison Gill
Cinema and its Double will explore the intersection of horror film location, urban legend and folklore. Do the myths imposed upon a place by its representation in film create or feed from new and existing realities? Can this be seen as a form of geographical vampirism in itself, a magical ripple in the space time continuum, or more sorcerously a means of opening up a fault line in its contours – to cut-up and collage reality and let the future leak through?

3.00pm Woman's Hour
Blue Firth, Cerys Thomas
Join us for a live UNwomans's Hour, exploring the darker side of the fairer sex (musically)

4.00pm Musical Interlude.

5.00pm Aesthetic Psychopathology
English Heretic, Ken Hollings
English Heretic – Anti Heroes: Imagine the slightly salacious Man Alive series, car jacked by Crash's Dr. Vaughan. A road movie of English Heretic's forthcoming album and book. Easy Rider on the M4 corridor of a pathological ambulance chaser, Anti-Heroes celebrates with morbid relish the suicide cult of Psychomania, the nihilism of George Sanders, the sleazy intersection of JG Ballard and Peter Wyngarde. Necromancy and pop culture collide in the fast lane to create a casuality list of self sacrificing warlocks and paranoid would be assassins. A portmanteau of Black Plaques, where the ghosts of the Fool wonder forever in Slough's grey zone.

Ken Hollings – Psychoanalysis Of Trash: Imagine Antony Clare's maudlin In The Psychiatrists Chair hosted by JK Huysmans? A session of decadent psychoanalysis, but also a profoundly cogent argument illustrating the inevitable self-destruction of the child-king. Taking in the lives and  tacky luxuries of Prince Rudolph, King Ludwig, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, Ken demonstrates a reverse alchemy in their demises. The Kings may not die, but they do gradually decay into the empires of their excess. They do, also, like the angels of some lurid occult system display a common set of correspondences - a love of artifice, an asexualisation to the point of infantilism, retreat, military fetishism and the power to indulge every parameter of their self-disgust.

6.00pm Revolutionary Sacrifice
John Cussans, Lisa Cradduck, Roberto N Peyre
Including The Pomba Gira working: a compelling journal of John Cussans and Roberto Peyre's recent collaborative work for Plastique Fantastique's "There is not and never has been anything to understand" show at ASC. A delicious picaresque and diasporic journey taking in the Crossbones graveyard at Southwark, pimp aesthetics and the occult use of talcum powder in the rites of Northern Soul: pure voodoo poetics.

7.00pm Horror Capitalism
Mark Fisher, Dean Kenning, Savage Messiah, Nicola Woodham, Tristram Adams, Carey Robinson
Explore attempts to create a new genre of documentary of Horror Capitalism. Short Films and collage as de-indoctrination rites.
Dean Kenning Prospect for Growth (film), A situationist subversion of the party politcal broadcast. Biological education loops pulse like a 70s psychiatrist's hypno-wheel, a map of England infests with maggots as divisive political diatribe heckles over a  high pitched siren. A 5 minute warning for the immediate future.
Eerie AngliaUnvisited Vastness (film). England as the alien planet. Combining field recordings from Felixstowe with Mark Fisher's prose poem  - a hymn of a vague disease. Unvisited Vastness attempts to remove humanity from the container port, recasting the space as the speculative hinterland of some recent and unfathomable invasion. Eerie Anglia will also premiere the report of a Communist uprising at Shingle Street, Black August.
Nicola Woodham - The Gift Experience (vocal performance and soundtrack)
Car radio in the distance: a news report is brought to you in fragments on the shifting current of the wind. The threadbare words get louder as you approach the warehouse. You’ve brought a votive candle and a cuddly toy elephant. The others come into focus, they are waiting for you. A host of characters tell a story that starts with an anomalous algorithm within the workings of an electronic commerce giant. A cult springs up - devotees of impossible spaces.
RO/AD (Carey Robinson, Tristam Adams) - As Sonorous Murmurs Rise (10 min sound performance) 
Explores the elusive ‘grain’ of the voice; the parts that hold a libidinal energy, a vo-corp-aural energy traded in service industry, media and music. Taking Jean Francois Lyotard’s visceral prose from the 1993 translation of his Libidinal Economy essay as a starting point, the piece trades upon the aesthetic of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). The ASMR aesthetic is explored and renegotiated to question the preconceptions of such seemingly innocuous sounds. The hope is to conjure an intense vocal undoing; a tangibly sonic and performative deconstruction of voice that may be peculiar, strange or even horrifying. It is in this sense that notions of libidinal vocal capitalism and the traditional apportioning of subordination and domination within service intonations are deconstructed. Framing the narrative will be soundscapes compiled from Carey Robinson’s archive recordings. 

Monday 11 February 2013

The Golden Book Of Knowledge

Over the past few years, I've worked creatively with a number of dream paradigms ("the software theory" of Dr. Chris Evans, James Hillman's dream as nekyia, dreams as alchemical revelations, and even Jim Shaw's exploration of dreams as pop cultural collages). What was most revealing about all these investigations is that the dream begins to apprehend its systematic landscape, gradually within each paradigm, the dream talks with the jargon and rubric of its chosen arena. It is buzzword and image compliant, like a scientist or a corporation; and it is even ahead of the dreamer, challenging the conscious mind like a knowing guru of our explicit intent. Funnily enough this insight reminds me too of Raymond Cass' introduction to the EVP recording anthology, The Ghost Orchid, where, with the paranoid alignment of a true obsessive, he remarks that the recordings he made soon began to home in on the operator himself.

Hannah and I recently spent a very enjoyable afternoon visiting Jim Shaw's Rinse Cycle retrospective at the Baltic in Newcastle. It also compounded for me an idea about the subconscious being a driven entity forever accelerating and demanding more from the disciple of our conscious. Early in his career  Shaw created a non-linear autobiographical alter-ego, Billy, whose exposure to Americana and adolescence is told in a wonderful series of heavily referential cartoons, form based pastiches and homages. Encounters with drug culture and sex, those teenage tribal rites of passage are apotheosised to the status of comic book hero. Billy is the nervous creative energy of the adolescence and the imp of a fervent surreal libido, inverting, subverting and confabulating reality to a more playful realm. One of Billy's imagined childhood inspirations appears to be an Encyclopedia, The Golden Book of Knowledge featuring Pinocchio on its cover - Billy as the made up boy.

But Billy grows up, or more to the point, inward to be subsumed by Shaw's adult creativity and to manifest as his muse in the artist's fascinating study of the perpetual motion ricochet between the irrational and concrete most evident in Shaw's "Dream Objects" project. Shaw's twin inspiration of comic book narrative and his own career storyboarding for advertisement companies provides the form for the blue-print "Dreamt of Drawings" sketches. These serve both as hilarious debunkings of angst-ridden Freudian ideology and revelations as to the nature of the alchemical garbage in our image banks. We do not sleep in some ruined acropolis of limbless and alabaster Greek Gods, creating carved, melodramatic and obvious text book myths: but in a trashy saturated prima-mater of talk show demi-urges and prog rock landscapes. Our Necronomicon's are not sealed with Babylonian demons but B-movie monsters. Above all there is a honesty and, as a very beneficial result, a psychotic humour in Shaw's storyboards. Even the titles with their transparent self-awareness manage to convey the impossible wit of the dream theatre... "I was in Vegas in a show with a Viking Farmer" - a pithy description like a game of exquisite corpse cutting up the sentential boundaries of history and the immediate.

What is particularly illuminating about the progress of Shaw's Dream Objects is the demands they make on the artist himself. Imaginary books - pulp Necronomicons in effect - synopsied by sleep need their covers designed in the day world. The artist becomes an hyped up copy agency for hypnos. Even the canvases of the dream world are irregular, creating objects that mutate between painting and sculpture - the facets of the work homages to disparate influences. The piece Of this man shall no nothing redrafts Max Ernst's enigma above a mock up of the Led Zeppelin IV album cover. These curious monoliths are Shaw's occult cornerstones, sigilised with ancient memories of his aesthetic lineage. 

Shaw is forced by his hungry dream muse to create ever more outlandish monuments to his nightworld. He dreams a monster piano in the trunk of a tree and through his talents carves a bizarre instrument  - piano keys for teeth. The result is a psychotically funny statue, part Rapa Nui, part Martin Denny.

Billy, the restless adolescent urge, by now has blossomed into a lascivious anima, coiling in  its own desire. This is perhaps epitomised in the Dream Object, which Shaw describes thus  - "I was working on a landscape sculpture that was actually a big garbage pile of all the dream objects I'd done and on top of it all was a sculpture of the whore of Babylon riding the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns"

So at last the muse reveals its true nature, the very whore of Babylon (which Crowley depicts as Lust in his Thoth deck). Creativity is Lust sublimated. Shaw's dream devours and subjugates all his previous dream objects beneath the rampaging beast of Revelations. Brilliantly Shaw bows down in supplication before this dream, creating miniature versions of all his dream objects piled up in a perspex box beneath a figurine of the whore of Babylon. Included in the garbage pile of miniatures is a miniature version of    the perspex box containing all his dream objects. The dream demon has taken full possession of Shaw, it is infinitely procreating - Shaw is a slave but also a puppet master aware that he has successfully brought to life an alchemical Golem from  "The Golden Book Of Knowledge"