— I in turn may keep adding to the next page.
— this is the manuscript I submitted as part of the Walking/Arts conference in July in Prespes, Greece.
This contribution explores a series of video pieces of encounters on street corners, in parks, at dusk, at lunch time. They also take place in private chats, in Facebook posts: circulating across a networked public, tracing notions of veracity, transparency and secrecy. In their gossiping nature they insist that something happened while attending to the power of silence and our attempts to comply and subvert at once. The work is interested in the constitution of public and private in circulation and production: what happens to a private self when it becomes public in: a series of movements-with, urban space, an audio-visual body of work.
a PDF of the manuscript is available here: Gesa Helms Moving-with a line_080619_FINAL_image placement
— it’s a working title, and it is the continuation of my earlier post (and research) on absence, walking into the verge, small performances.
These happened on the day of my departure. They are planned differently (like me walking on my own across some of the fallen walnuts. My dad comes and offers assistance. I don’t refuse and a series of explorations on drawing/contact ensue:
There are a few routes that I would still like to explore for Part 3 of BoW. The investigations of edges, sides, spatial demarcations and what bodies move across has been there since the bridge and road crossings in Northern Greece, they got taken further in August and September with explorations of routes, bridges, side views when moving (see here), as well as the biggest series of work around verges/weeds (minimally here).
When I started drawing the concept maps for this project, I kept finding some questions about in/visibility and absence. I conceptually knew this to have been a recurrent theme, it seemed to belong here too — in its most simple form: what happens when nothing, no drawing/contact happens, but I hadn’t got a sense how/why.
One medium I have continued to struggle with has been that of 1:1 performances or even of devising solo ones. It seemed futile, insignificant, compared to the materials that I would come across and find and develop further from an initial find.
Last week I did however pick up the idea and it was a simple one: to walk into the verge, and then later: to purposefully walk towards a point (in this case, a single apple). These developed over a few days and became some investigations into gravity, movement, our initiation and observation of these (it is also a lot more, but let me see how I want to articulate that).
The ‘verge’ is one of the wild flower borders in my parents place. It continues from there to two apple trees and later a walnut tree (all in early October).
This is the FB post and commentary I wrote about it and which explores ‘absence’ at the heart of the project’; I am also including another post on failure, which is similarly relevant, given my concerns about smallness of the subject matter.
- sweet Rambour
he is already my substitute. i ask her first, she is not keen: i don’t think i can operate your phone camera. he, as usual, is as keen as i usually am. when we walk down, we walk underneath the walnut tree and as on the days before, we step on nuts, on cracked nuts and on empty mushy shells. i say what i would like to do. it sounds simple. it sounds again too little. i am tempted to apologise and then think better. he says: so you want test what happens when you step off the marked way. i nod and explain him the camera and what i would like him to do.
he does it (beautifully). and we acquire this sketch.
later, she asks: are there more walnuts. i say: what do you mean? of course there are. if you asked me if i specifically stepped on some i hadn’t stood on before, i can’t say (but perhaps i should).
2. just after, I write this on failure:
earlier, still, i write a note on failure. the failure is obvious. i speak of it on the second phone call. the first one was mainly my silence, after stuttering: it’s not good. then i am silent again.
the failure is simple, i try to bypass it, to make it non-consequential but it sits at the heart of things. it pounds with a steady beat. it was what invited me in. and now it just evades, i reach my hand out and it remains nothing. not a single thing.
i offer a reason, i don’t think he believes what i offer though he sees the consequences and hears ‘i don’t want to talk about this’ and ‘that is enough now’.
let me turn to the note. it is a line through the year, you can fill in the gaps (you will know a few of them).
The form that folded onwards and sought to become different, other, more, and different again. The final piece in the room contained precisely that: an instruction of a performance for one. Folding, opening, folding again.
He admired my enthusiasm. He mistook my accent and my determination.
In the grass there was everything I desired for this. Like that.
I say later: I don’t care.
inadvertently I revisited the kaleidoscope images from right at the start of this. I had printed a few dense shrubbery images from the verge/weed series on inkjet to work on, but hadn’t really moved much with that yet. yesterday, while waiting I started folding and it became an inside/outside viewing device/ lens/ focussing object. I took some more with me and will explore a little further.
the initial kaleidoscope images were: spatial praxis play (2: kaleidoscope)
(elsewhere/ otherwise I took a series of routes through drawing/contact and what that concept of near space could be, as set out in the forward plan after the previous BoW tutorial. I am now beginning to review, move and assemble what is there so; will send the overdue Part 2 for Research off in the next couple of weeks and then assemble Part 3 of BoW (for this, I still want to do a small number of enquiries, pursue questions that got raised, these notably concern a couple of larger drawing pieces or more sustained working in series and iteration)).
f. Is ‘My Brexit shite’ a suitable degree show title?
last evening and this morning i catch late and early sun on a couple of rolls each.
— the verge romps ahead in late summer resolution towards its demise: the only plant growing in abundance is the bindweed and it helps topple thistles and nettles along with all else and creates the most intriguing sculptures (it is Daseri in miniature, no villagers displaced here).
i don’t find what i found all other walks but am again enthralled by the lure and beauty of that waist level viewfinder. part of me wants the world in that viewfinder forever. a bit like the wind last Sunday it separates the view and isolates (here: by distance, i can take the narrowest slices through).
the images become in this much more still and sculptural (it’s not what i have sought and still it is of course also in the ones from three years ago). i stick with it and it’s abundant along this route too. it is warm and while i considered the insects i did forget that stepping into verges to photograph tall and extensive nettle patches has a bodily effect. this morning i at some point jump in front of weekend cyclist with a loud ouch. the sunlight is pretty glorious and sculpts further. it is all a little too pretty and the film substrate will make it more so. but then: nettles and bindweed.
— following my 2nd BoW tutorial last week, I want to write up a few posts exploring some of the key themes going forward. This is the first one, the other ones are likely to be:
- what are expectations of self/object/viewer in the work?
- what about the smallness of things?
For the past few months, I had a sense of what events, gestures or questions would become source material for the project (they were significant, they generated questions for myself and they invited to be explored and shifted in register). Following the tutorial, I however think, that my source material is far broader and more extensive than I had previously anticipated.
It was becoming evident when discussing what I had and notably what the role of the lens-based material is. I tend to sketch with the phone, and yet I hadn’t thought of including virtually any of the photographs as work (the moving image clips possibly, but also not really).
It was also then becoming clearer as to discussing why an event/ gesture/ question is part of the project (and which ones I overlook); and whether I had collected and explore enough for assignment. I had far too much, Doug seemed to indicate I was an assignment further on that 2, and also that there was not enough time to even go through material that was already on the blog/instagram, let alone the material that was still sitting aside/offline.
This has been turning in my head and so I wanted to explore it further. With my parents, I went on a day out yesterday and I designated the day as exploration. I used the camera a lot to observe what came to attention and recorded a series of questions.
Here they are: road signs, positions of bridges, then an artificial mountain of a mining extraction and its position within a field of wind turbines, cloud formation, incidental signage and finds.
The questions or interest revolved around connections while moving, and of bridges/crossings.
— I recognise that earlier bigger projects also started to follow a line of adjacent/ juxtaposed propositions and questions (notably: the line) to place a series of themes next to each other or in relation with each other. I will explore existing material with this in mind to see what it is that leads me to include within the project or to consider part of the project (i.e.: to ask what is the connection/contact/moving-with that I am interested in and how does it manifest and when).
I presented a short cut through the site/moving-with question to the art&environment group on Wednesday evening. For it, I had edited in iMovie+Powerpoint the set up to show the three pieces from the pavement walk in Kozani on one page.
— It was rough but functional. I knew that iMovie doesn’t allow a three-way split screen, and Powerpoint for Mac doesn’t allow to export as video slides with embedded video. So I finally opened the Premiere Pro and figured out how to split a screen and a few hours later, this is a more than functional sketch.
The audio is surprisingly generous of both clips and works well, also in interaction between them. I edited the ending a few times and this works for me at the moment.
I will review a bit further as to balance between the freedom of moving and the structural constraint.
for months i have been circling around her. like an elastic band i stretch the connection and at points then jump right onto some of her pages.
i write a cryptic line in my summary and off i go again.
this morning i pack all three and search.
among other things i find:
as i continue swimming i bodythink through the cosmos. through the work the living and the dying are doing for each other at this moment in time and any other. i had realised earlier this summer that my dad is going to teach me something vital. and here in this process with Achim i realise the work that is being done by us around to facilitate the movements between here and there and what each receives in this. i think i rarely felt so tender amongst it all.
thisconnectionofeveryonewithlungs (juliana spahr)
it is the closing line of a longer thisconnection (men, women, roleplay, victims, essentialism)
she will be the bridge across and away from the site. form content that connects while standing apart.
in army of lovers, she and David Buuck investigate a plot of grassy wasteland between a few major roads.
i have precisely such a plot. a pontoon bridge leads to it. all sorts of insignificant incidents take place. some are fantasy. a good part happens on speed. someone falls into the water and eighty-seven pelicans take off while the sparrows argue over the best spot to pig watch each morning. he who opens the kiosk at will and hides in dark corners within sells me an ice cream for €2.50. i think he made the price up. next time i check and i know he did. but he settled on it, having committed to a sun-worn board with lots of expensive ice cream (all cost €2.50). it sits next to the instant cameras,€20 for 2. how did the film develop?
unrelatedly, i observe the verge. in mid-July on the abundant West Coast it is exuberant. i move along and record it. later i step into it and record some more. elsewhere in the village, the council spent money on controlling growth. it does so abundantly. i record eagerly and just wait for being approached by watchful neighbours (none so far).
I have an earlier short note also relating to Juliana Spahr here.
this is the centre slide from the presentation of the line. I want to record the whole presentation again but haven’t got it finalised yet.
— I am trying different forms of editing voice and video at the moment; this is a direct recording and then export within powerpoint (current version for Mac), it does some things quite well, it doesn’t record any audio across transitions, and it also seems to show that there is audio on the slide (the symbol on the bottom right). Yet: the synchronisation is straightforward (before I would record audio separately and combine files in iMovie).
— some of the pages (mainly in chronological order) of the sketchbook.
— move, lock, pause. move, lock pause. it rotates around the axis of the split screen (but not quite); the camera is fairly static but still hand-held, I suspect. Twice, or three times the screen goes black except for the split and some colour cast, the monochrome and colour side switch. for at least one of the sequences, the camera is further away. the screen is suspended, like all others, from the ceiling, has some leaves wound around the suspension leads. to the right you see part of the large projection across the far narrow end of the room.
For my travels to Greece I made a travel album, which then during the week at the Made of Walking encounters/conference became a research site.
The album is here: τους πελεκάνους μου.
The closing post to the album is this one:
EDIT: my phone browser also misbehaves and forgets to place it into the album 😮
my browser Fb misbehaves and doesn’t let me post, so let me type this on the phone:
– i think this post concludes my pelican adventures.
– i think that most of the memory pieces i wanted to place next to each other i have now
– what i realised that i wanted to try was to seek a container to place next to each other a variety of things, meetings, sights and smells that came together in that week in Prespes
– there were two points when i realised that so much was mingling that i wanted to treat it as a field site and become a keen observer with interest:
(a) institutional processes and critique came together with both my inside/outside and my family album work in a site combining several key aspects of what i am concerned with in my work over the past four years
(b) Jen and then others started to talk about my FB posts and placed them offline again; and while not for the first time but for the first time with people who didn’t or hardly knew me, did i have a form in which the different forms of conversation mingled and informed each other;
>> that i was going to talk a few days later on a project which employed these two strands also, was perfect and too good to miss
>> i kind of used this then to make my own project (and sought some links to what is to be my final year work)
all else from this will sit in my sketchbook album (i add a link below, most of you will have access to it, should you not, drop me a message and i will add you)
there is something about the (fraught, failing) attempt to build a closed situation, room, site and i am keen to test this for this material. we did discuss in the past a corridor, a Fischli & Weiss machinery, i had dreamt of a world of Ursula Le Guin, a stage with Joan Jonas, Carole referenced Katrina Palmer’s Loss adjuster on Portland, i also think about the space the Sonic Seance show has set up at the CCA currently and bak invites for a training for an otherwise futurity. — many of these will be too ambitious. i think what interests me is as before the leaking and the blurring, the open fuzzy edges and i am pleased to have all the bus journey sketches around Kozani which go some way towards this.
i also am grateful to have tested the notion of gossip a little further. i have a lot of respect for it. found myself at various turns of the week being made to decide one or another. felt the hot spots of conversations travelling, adjusted some posts, didn’t write others and then on other occasions found myself surprised at what tender things it also was generative of. now with this having passed, i sense acutely the absence of those close and frequent iterations and interactions that made it possible to write like that. now it has firmly become a thing past and of reflection. i have lost the careful hold and sensation in my finger tips to gauge one thing or another (or to be wrong), so as a practice, this is also no longer a possibility.
oh: and i almost entirely forgot Susan Hiller’s Dream Machine and that beautifully fraught Soviet apartment room recreation at the Tate.
For my work for the two modules, some of this can be drawn out further:
>> totality/ situation:
it relates to other sites, events:
- Corridor as institutional site (with Green and other Green)
- the line as body of work
My interest is in:
- details events processes that are held in temporal and spatial proximity (maybe even just through my attention, there is no assumption that it is causal or functional)
- part of that attention then concerns memory/ focus but also subjectivity
- what gets deposited, contained and what doesn’t or can’t
- so the totality/ situation/ event is one with open, blurry or fuzzy edges: things are bleeding in and out (does it make sense to focus on the blood?)
As much as this concerns the source material for a work, it also gives an indication over how to present it, how to realise it: Since House in 2015 I had thought of a room, an installation to re-access the site, to make it public. Similarly: there as an idea during D2 to do something similar with the corridor, to remodel it, to situate it elsewhere. Effectively, too, the work around Office at Night did something similar in its final realisation.
There are a series of ideas, possibilities from this:
- a construction of a physical site to contain and hold together objects deemed relevant
- a visual realisation (such as concept maps, presentation) or a publishing form that achieves something similar.
The kinds of materials gathered are small, ordinary, fleeting (and this makes a little clearer to me what I had initially written as the ordinary, every day in the first statement/ outline). So, the collection/archive/situation (I will need to have a closer look at what this is) is constituted in ordinary form, encounters, events, gestures.
There are a series of influences and references (many not new):
Katrina Palmer’s End Matter / Loss Adjuster
Joan Jonas larger performance cycles (I have one in mind in particular, I will need to look this up)
Juliana Spahr’s writings (This connection of everyone with with lungs, Army of Lovers and The transformation) that all try to assemble and hold in relation a whole range of things.
Fischli & Weiss’s installations were a reference point for the parallel project of D2 (and possibly to fold forward).
I had also revisited the Andy Warhol materials that informed the formation of the line (the diamond dusted screenprints but also Gilda Williams’s writing on Silver Sliver and the close attention to when present becomes past in his work).
One current show at the CCA in Glasgow, Sonic Seance presents a series of collaborative works around music, performance and spoken work in a setting that takes in two rooms, one an ante-chamber with sofas and reading materials; the other, larger one, has four screens with a video looping in each, some printed textile banners, many cushions and floor seating around a few tables, a wall-spanning projection of some grasses and above all and scent infusing the whole setting in fairly low lighting (the scent is for me just past comfortable and just about not making me feel nauseous).
I also, one reflection of my sketches and drawings for this, and how the sketchbook is developing, have been returning to Rosemarie Trockel’s work, notably the drawings and zines that I saw several years ago at Talbot Rice. There is a review of the show here, and it is good in capturing my memory of the show and what intrigued me in her drawings but also in the exhibition of her book drafts under glass.
near space as concept:
the gap as source – copying – remaking the gap – mapping/reinstalling (not) – talking about it – writing endings – performing it. letting it be.
the corridor – walking it – recording it – sitting next to – intervening in it – re-orientating it – working in it. leaving it.
other space – the gap as opening – utopian space in the office – world-making – tracing the corridor. dreaming the spot that opens up and out.
the line to the car park.
Gesa Helms — it made it quite clear what it is not (and the FB album format is in no way a better format for what I already had): it is not a single line narrative account. It was never meant to be that and it is curious how the format (that in itself took the gossip, the 1:1 social media interface serious) reduced it in terms of narration and authorship. I have a long account of various worries and concerns over what follows what post and how they relate to each other; of choosing one and taking a particular turn. — all that is really useful for what is comingEdit or delete this
Gesa Helms — it also pointed, and that is possibly the key substantial insight into the material, to an existing secret and existing omission: one relationship (towards F.) never got moved forward and rearticulated (with her) — but: I have moved it into the present, notably with a conversation last week over lunch, that was exciting to see what it would yield if I simply stretched my arm from here to there and let it slide along; I also never revisited and tested that one evening sequence that happened and which needed re-positioning. I did rework it but only ever in practice, entirely serious, I never took it as a play thing but it was dead earnest. So, there is a site, a stretch of road off Oxford Rd that needs a bit more re-appropriation. I will fly from Manchester in a few weeks time and I think, while I made sure I don’t need a flight that needs a stay, that I may stay for a night and revisit. I will take Kapil with me too and be curious as to what new thing this may create — taking it to Prespes with me seems entirely fitting.Edit or delete this
Write a reply…
Gesa Helms — the fall out, the one I never put anywhere and that I barely related to one or two people concerns our approach towards secrets. Her anger at my refusal to conduct matters in secret (which she in turn did ). That anger then manifested in the account I included in the line (and some more, that I didn’t include)… It is interesting how that non-resolution remains and is carried forward to face me, us, you at various turns (and I stumble over it yet again). tappel-di-tapp, once stepped across…Edit or delete this
Gesa Helms — it doesn’t ‘need’ reappropriation: it is resolved as event. And yet, there is something in it that intrigues me, intrigues my sense that it may yield another route/ perspective onto it and with having recorded some new audio for the work; I wonder if there is another visual/ another material in there…Edit or delete this
Gesa Helms this morning I get another email, this time personally addressed to me concerning the logistics of Prespes, it states my link doesn’t work. I don’t quite follow, as it works for me. I am so curious as to the logistics… I may get simply stuck with Saint Achilles for a week (but found the bathing spot within near walking distance… at least the one for the tourists). https://the———————–line.tumblr.com/Edit or delete this
my gesture for what the line is, to T in the skype
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)
>> transfer/ transgression: I deposit these back in another dialogue
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 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 […]’*
— 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.).
<< 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.