sketchbook: first 1:1 meeting for d/c

I tell her of the gestures and how I am exploring them. Of how they originate in one thing then become something else.
  1. ——————————————————
  2. my gesture for what the line is, to T in the skype
  3. my tracing L.’s concerns, me following that gesture after and before the next I meet her (there are FB posts for each of these)
  4. >> transfer/ transgression: I deposit these back in another dialogue
At the moment I feel shy about 1., as if this is too private, can’t be made public. But I can possibly make this strange again.
I talk about what I would like to do with others. It is searching, I feel a bit stupid but persist with that (it is generally the best way to deal with stupidity):
  • the near space: that it isn’t about the context but the relationship, contact
  • I start with the thermoplast; the touching and tracing the contact that sets; but also the transgression of touching with the layer between.
  • what makes me feel stupid is the question of purpose: if this is big enough to form investigation.
  • my entry is Lefebvre and the production of space: what happens in the near space and if that near space offers not just constraint but an opening to elsewhere (that is where Le Guin makes my heart beat hard)
  • A: utopia sounds always like an absence, but really, where is its presence?
  • and then: what is there about gestures, poses, moves?
I recall our first meeting at their Transmo show and how I felt really daring to ask her to meet with me. She said: she liked that I did and it was a good and unexpected performance we did in the space that tried to give gestural form and reach beyond too. I then recall how when I returned from House a few weeks later that I had this pouch of assorted images that I would use to talk through House. How I would choose and arrange accordingly to whom I was talking to what images to show, which one to withhold. Which makes me now remember that she suggested to use a small series of 1:1 meetings to develop from one to another. She asks: where would you want to have them? I say: I don’t know. I like outside. Or perhaps an anonymous institutional space that doesn’t hold much meaning for either of us. But yes: I like the idea of moving with people. Perhaps even the same route, of discovering the difference along the same route. I tell her about the process of Charlotta Ruth’s analogue augmented reality: how a very simple proposition produces such complex arrangement.
I also talk a bit more about the workshop and how I tried to bring this into it, how I didn’t dare to be instructive enough. I then however tell her the zine and we flick through it. Before I get to the end she says: you know, this form fits perfect, both for the topic of the zine but also for what you are interested with your wider project — the marked out, highlighted gestures along with the glued in pages.
We split to meet again on the other side of town. Things intervene and I jump on a train home. We text a little and I tell her that this was the first time I discussed this in detail with someone who does this too (outside the ones who are paid to listen to me), and that I was nervous about it. She says: I look forward to us spending some more time with this.
My nerves sit at the focus: if it’s too small, too intimate. Why should it matter? And, damn it, that takes me right back to the smallness of House:
I will try a starting point for this. It is here: two images of an ordinary small-town house somewhere in Northwest Germany. The house was built in 1935, three men moved in, one died in 1943, one married and a young woman moved in while he was absent. From 1945 onwards it housed at times more than 25 people, mostly strangers, two girls were born. The man who built it died in 1964 […]’*
* The opening of the text I wrote for the walking/arts conference.


— I have been busy. I also have been recording things that I have done and will move more of them here to the sketchbook and write up as relevant parts to coursework.

A couple of days ago was the already postponed submission date for the BoW 2/ Gather and manifest. I let it pass: I had thought of pulling things together but also felt that the more dialogical/public/relational aspects of it still needed further pushing about.

What I have been busy with was a series of writing/publishing projects. And in that process, I also considered Research further and how to proceed with it. I will rejig it and step further away from the coursework. I wrote (as I know I do) about 5k on the line for the conference publication within a few weeks. The piecemeal leading towards the dissertation doesn’t work for me, I find I am picking arguments with it (and that is only productive in a certain extent). So, I think I will set a series of writing tasks/ projects as equivalent to the module stages and take it from there.

I am also thinking about the idea of defining down and focusing in as discussed in the last tutorial (the report of which will go up after this post, I had it for several weeks — it is here). I think I am really not interested in defining things down — it goes back to the interesting discussion Rachel and I had about ambiguity. So much of what my writing and focus has been over the past few years is an opening out, a holding in tension, and linking to — and I don’t mean with that a ‘more, more’ or just any old stuff, but a rather careful and measured approach towards what elsewhere is considered emergence, or even some of the nomadic theory of Braidotti will hold a hand towards this approach. So, the idea of a glossary for the dissertation is a really good one, but what if it works more like Raymond Williams’s Keywords: a link, emergence, a holding in tension, not an undue tightening down?

I think I will explore this further and am reminded of the pieces of writing that I recently got sent (let me post and link these two.).

sketchbook: Amy Mcauley Three poems (proposition) / Nia Davis Instant triangle

<< the form, untitled, then two propositions. they are curt, numbered. in that the genre makes it report like. proposition may serve me better than definition. why is that.

<< again the form, alternating, the subject matter and how it opens the three.

There is a thing about three. a mingling of potentialities.


These came via a friend and two recent events on auto-fiction and poetics in common.




sketchbook: the line as gesture

Album close/open

i talk at length about the line last night. he knows the work, he, like many of you, is in it. i talk about the reposting. the things the reposting is making clear to me. how it relates and how it alters what is central to the piece for me. i know that a photo essay will not be a sufficient form for it. that was already clear when E. and i finally spoke after half a year or more on Monday. it needs layering, looping and mingling. when i gesture about the state this work needs, i realise what else it is; how a conference paper on state and street violence is not sufficient for it; what else it is and how the list of participants for Prespes allayed some of my fear. how brazen it feels to bring violence and desire to walking arts. how it genders the walker, the walk, the city, the street.
— it doesn’t gender it, it only make apparent the deficiency of a whole number of accounts. it’s not like we are talking about a female principle. far from it.
towards the end he asks if the timeline stresses me. i: no, not all. i have a whole month to do this and there is little else that i need to do. this is fun.
the gesture i make is one that i recognise as my own, about myself. i get moved by it. literally. i may have to move it with it.

  • Gesa Helms — I still can’t believe that former tutor wanted to get rid of the core, the body, the heart of it…
    Edit or delete this
  • Gesa Helms i make the gesture of the line twice and pursue it further. it goes into different directions.
    i watch it and i sense it.
    nobody else watches and senses it.
    i wonder what T watched and sensed when he saw me doing it yesterday.
    did it happen?
    did i perform?
    what did it leave?
    the sense sensation is strong. it persists, increases, ebbs away a little, returns. it is that which animates the gesture and continues, prolongs it.
    i watch intently and wonder if it is of interest to anyone who watches. or, is it something that needs doing in order to be something.
    what do you see?
    Edit or delete this
  • Gesa Helms it poses again the question of the mirror
    Edit or delete this

sketchbook: the line (omission 1)

Album close/open
Gesa Helms
31 mins

the / line

— following that secret (along with my headache, why is that a thing again, btw) from last night’s post, i retrace my steps that first time i walked along Oxford Rd. i remember how far the hotel was, how the road changed abruptly past the Aldi (or was it a Lidl) and I realised that I had misjudged the proximity of things. I arrive at the hotel and am shown to my room. I am shattered and while I briefly wonder what is in the bathroom. are they for me? I undress and lie down to a mid-afternoon nap. shortly after, there is a knock on the door, i open, the manager is apologetic. explains the room hasn’t been cleaned. shows me to another room while the cleaner tidies. she and i chat, about working in Germany and in England, then i return. there is new bed linen. i shudder a little, realise i can’t quite sleep now and get dressed. i leave the hotel and wander to Andy Warhol.
do i see the grasses then? i don’t think so. i think that only happened the next morning.
i slept in someone else’s bed that afternoon. i still feel the duvet cover on my skin. i remembered how i wondered how used it felt, then dismissed that thought as one of cheap hotel bed linen.
something happened later still, when it was dark. i may still write about that. or maybe not.
in any case: i think i will redo the hinge of the work and see what happens in the process. i will report.
it may become a new thing.

sketchbook: gathering (the line, artistic practice, concepts of drawing/contact)

— I have been busy. Busy also with things that will eventually move into here and serve me both for Research and BoW.

I had my first discussion with Rachel, my Research tutor, and used part of that to figure out some of my current questions about the DI&C project the line (I had posted a brief note for her just before the tutorial here).

What I am figuring out is really four things:

  • the relationship between gossip, violence and pleasure — in the context of the project that sat as networked/digital identities; for my wider things it concerns what I have also discussed as the delineation of public/private; the questions of family archives, auto/theory fiction, performative and unstable/unreliable narrators.
  • the relationship of that kind of work (which in drawing/contact finds a more intimate, closer focus and intention) to its audience
  • the conceptual/methodological frame for this work but also for my wider working practice: how do I research, work with text and concept?
  • what constitutes methodology, an artistic practice and a new piece of work, and what is the relation to the original, else-where originating work.

I am in the process of writing a 3-4k text about the work that will be the basis for a 15 mins talk > in the context of a walking/arts conference, so part of how I address the latter is an interest in movement (analogue/digital) as a walking methodology (and with that I am close to my ideas about the body as drawing tool, of movement/performance and the sensorial).

In this, I republished the line as a Facebook album; I wrote an account of this process and observed it; I also investigate a written form for a spoken work, multi-layered visual body of work. I have found the concerns over linearity, progression and multiplicity really useful in understanding what my interest in this work is but also how it functions best (as I realised it in the context of DI&C’s focus on digital identities) and what other forms and processes are lying dormant in it.

I have also re-recorded some of the videos (one as visual; two as audio). Doing so, I added a contemporary position and framing to this. This, along with feeding it through FB is immediately productive of new material, new work, and so the manuscript in itself already presents a new piece of work being generated.

The work purposefully seeks contact (by exploring dialogues, encounters, past and present) and is relational, small-scale and intimate. It is at once private and at once, in its public present not. The purpose of presenting this work as mine (either through the Facebook account, or in person through a talk) rearticulates it and asks a whole series of questions about authorship, subject/object of work and audience. The latter have only sporadically featured in my previous modules and I am finding the disentangling of key questions here really useful.

(I had decided not to fold the conference presentations into course work as such — the form is too academic for me to hold much interest for either Research or BoW — but what I am doing here is serving as a basis for some key points of the research as well as of my artistic practice and how it informs the programme for BoW, more of that to follow).


sketchbook: Walter Benjamin’s One-Way Street

Gesa Helms added a post to the album [almost titled].

i read Benjamin’s Haschisch in Marseille (though in English). i want to be annoyed at it and subsume it under that bourgeois bloke who meanders, flaneurs along, unguarded and naive, seeing universality in all he does.
of course i am not.
i never read much of Benjamin beyond the Berlin childhood and Mechanical reproduction (i think my younger self never considered herself bourgeois, cultured enough to be illuminated into the arcades). there is so much in his that i recognise as a well-known modality of my own, sans l’haschisch, the receptive introspection and the meaning that shifts along, tumbles forwards, connects out while being thoroughly with oneself (at once in fragment and complete). then there is the recording, the protocol, the account.
— there is also something incredibly tender at play, there is a curious affective touching that goes on, almost in passing. (and i am thinking of that loud pose that Springgay and Truman strike with their call for affect, which drowns out the above, or perhaps also doesn’t quite know what do with that that they can’t categorise/ identify as white settler self and his others).
i had, this morning, when i dreamt up the modality for the meeting, also figured the relational forms that i am tracing, holding and letting go in the moving-with that i am doing. it is quite different too from any of the participatory stuff and aims at a social, it may just be boring social geography after all. it needs that social, both to understand the violence (close and far) but also to conceive of the tenderness, the longing. it needs a little trippyness too, i know where i get mine from, Benjamin clearly described his.
(work in progress)

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