One might think, judging by the title, that this essay might be about the interactions between eastern philosophical meditative states and how they integrate into complex systems possibly through a digitally connected environment, but in fact this is about moving residence. Not long ago I completed a 740 km journey from one end of the north island to the other, a southern migration; like a bead of condensation driven by gravity on the windshield or a blue digitized line on the screen of a mobile device, its GPS following me everywhere I go. As I move along the prescribed route intersecting various coordinates, numbers and symbols dance across my field of vision. Mostly the journey is fluid, traveling at constant speeds, a direct route through varied topologies, occasionally there are diversions, intersections that interrupt the flow and divert attention, possible bifurcations and distractions.
As I traveled, I began to contemplate the effect that environment might have on ones being and how the outcomes of those experience manifest themselves through communication. Every time I leave a place I feel as if I have left something behind, not in the sense of forgetting something but more like a type of residue, something that is never seen, felt or heard. Every input one receives from these environments and experiences alters the way we see things and the way we react. I suppose one could say that humans are reactive identities with the ability to adjust their senses and responses in relation to their proximity, physical or psychological, to situations and events. In a way this is what set us apart; our ability to analyze any situation and adapt our thinking, our modes of comprehension and to adjust to other beings where we can either passively integrate or aggressively react or somewhere in between.
to be continued ...
Infiltrate it Pop, pop, .... wop Activate it
Get up, get down
Radio, video, boogie with a suitcase Your livin' in a disco, forget about the rat race ...
Try some, buy some fee-///// -fo-fum
living in a disco
Now, listen Talk about pop, pop, pop, pop
SCOTT & ROBIn
[image] A captured still from an encountered video left behind on an electronic device in a consumer goods store, 2015.
I got in trouble the other day ... again
Its not the first time I have been questioned for appropriating, using or capturing images of images. This time it was far less conclusive (in my opinion) but just as problematic, I guess. In one of my earlier journal entries titled pattern recognition :: I listed a series of quotes from some writers and thinkers who reference patterns and the importance of sequence and structure in the understanding of the world around us. I set about searching the web and decided to use an iconic image of Marshal McLuhan by the photographer Henri Dauman as my ‘poster-child’ image.
I had contacted Mr. Dauman and asked him for his permission, but in my haste I posted the image before him granting it, and subsequently he wanted to charge me an exorbitant fee for using it. I removed the image gave him a sincere and humble apology and searched the web for an alternative. I later went on to find out that Henri Dauman and the New York Times had successfully sued the Andy Warhol Estate for an image that Warhol had appropriated for his work ‘16 Jackies’ from a Dauman photo titled 'A Sorrowing Family Marches Together,' showing Jackie, Robert and Edward in the funeral procession (http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/08/nyregion/photographer-sues-andy-warhol-estate-over-kennedy-photo.html), so I suppose, I shouldn't mess with him.
In a more recent incident I was pulled-up for ‘taking’ photos of individuals from a ‘demonstrator’ device, which are commonly found in technology stores. It’s part of an on-going project of mine which involves observing the way that humans continue to expand and multiply their digital image into shared spaces. I am interested in the performative 'culture' a camera instigates and how we are ‘leaving’ traces of ourselves in digital form on various devices; the implications that this might have to the ‘ownership’ of an image and what value that image might carry for the ‘holder’ of that image.
It raises some interesting issues for me as I believe that the image is now intrinsically part of the ubiquitous digital public domain. Although an image might ‘resides’ on an electronic device, in a consumer goods store, I don't know that it means that the image ‘belongs’ to the retailer; and even though it may temporarily be ‘situated’ on an apparatus I don't think it ‘belongs’ to that device either. In a way the image that is 'left-behind' is no different than walking down the street and capturing a passer-by or photographing an album cover from a second hand shop or the walls of some hipster bar toilet. The individuals, often its more than one, consciously ‘leave’ their images behind for someone else to ‘find’. It’s like a 'tag' or a bit of 'techno-urban-graffiti' (maybe there's a better word for it), for me, it's the digital equivalent of the ‘Kilroy Was Here’ mark. The recording of the image is not done for the benefit of the retailer or the device for that matter, it was made for someone else, it becomes a mark to be encountered, and if I decide to take it away with me, to extend the life of that image, what’s wrong with that? I know I am on some shaky legal grounds here but it makes me wonder about the 'value' of the image. The image 'left' then goes on to be part of that device. In a way it enhances the 'features' of the device by making the device more appealing to the consumer, by 'showing-off' its capabilities to 'capture', 'record' and 'play-back'. By exploiting the residual image it hypes-up the 'product benefits' and increases the desirability of the product by demonstrating its pixel-perfect ability to represent colour, motion, skin-tones, etc. The image 'left' has now taken on an added unwilling function and its intent is 'hijacked' for the benefit of some unknown entity who is only concerned with ROI's, KPI's and stakeholder investments.
I was told by the retail floor person that the store upheld the privacy of the individuals and that they deleted the images after ‘some time’; of course even after the image is ‘removed’ it still remains on that hard drive, in another form (topic for a different discussion). They understood that we were in a public space, although technically it probably isn’t, because that space ‘belongs’ to the corporates who rent it, and that they wanted me to ask permission, which I then did, but was then denied consent. So, I am not sure where that leaves things, but it opens up some further questions around the ‘ownership’ of an image, the ‘value’ that the image carries, its scale within an 'economy' and who benefits from its 'value'? It also makes me think more about the hidden ‘shadows’ of information, the ‘exchange’ that an image actions, its ‘employment’ as a commodity and its position within virtual spaces.
we sat facing each other, fists pounding the table, plates rattling, scattering and shimmering on the wooden surface . like boiling water on the hood of a pick-up truck in the middle of a texan summer . two minds interlocked in a battle of differences . two opposing views, neither one understanding the complexities of their intents . the shouting got louder and the ability to rationalise increasingly became dimmer . loved ones dispersed, sheltering from the eruptions . we continued to shout . 'art is not art unless it is universal' thump ! the plates danced ... 'but hold on a sec, does that mean that i am not an artist because i am not universal?' no reply... 'art is only good when everyone recognises it ... like monet or michelangelo... that's what art is! bang! ... it went on like this and things shut down ... what began as a conversation, where the exchange of ideas and the sharing of experiences around a common space enlivened by the gift of food and drink, had now become, once again, a lecture . this is not normal i thought to myself . thankfully those days are gone .
extracts ... a dichotomy of mind where we are consumed by the sheer volume of its existence yet simultaneously define its very being through our participation.... As everyday life increasingly becomes immersed within the digital environment how might our codification affect our visual perceptions, cognitive processes and our rationality ... will this type of assimilation exclude our ability to interpret those unseen spaces, those moments which are composed through a process of intuition and experiment ... click/tap image to download PDF
It is generally accepted that a perceived negative experience is what holds the most weight; those contradictory thoughts that challenge an intent and question a result. In turn, this conflict might then take up residence in the realm of memory and as it is analysed, categorised and positioned within a framework of reference, it begins to expose itself to reveal its true intent. This disclosure can take ideas beyond the opaque which helps to initiate a continuum that compliments a practice and expands thought. These observations can also be the spark that propels ideas forward, in new directions. These challenges form part of a network which constantly relies on the surge of cause and effect, the connection of inputs and outputs, flows of information and flows of existence. These relations can be perceived as being organic, technological, ecological, economic, or relational and they can be placed just about anywhere within a systems of taxonomy; they are the threads, the nodes, the elements, the modules, the constituent parts of a whole.
As the artist becomes a scientist, the filmmaker a painter, the collector a writer, the student an educator, the performer an observer, the sculptor a dancer, the actor an activist, or the conductor a musician, ad infinitum, artists can learn to enrich their practice with the knowledge that nothing is static and all things are forever intertwined. This process of self-knowing allows them to inform every project they take on and feed the need for a line of enquiry which is dedicated and focused and allows for a convergence of ideas through a process of synthesis.
Synthesis is a way of thinking and doing, of providing a vision, in which an idea or a thing, imagined or real, is seen as a coherent whole; often consisting of parts, from which thought can be developed, action can be rejected or taken, and the thing made, assembled, or constructed; either as a new creation or activity or as a duplicate or substitute of known substances. (Hall, 1997, p.18)
In 1993 I worked with the author, philosopher (although he would not consider himself one) and engineer, Carl W. Hall. His book The Age of Synthesis – A Treatise and Sourcebook would become a significant piece of writing for me. This work confirmed a myriad of thoughts which had been muddling around in my mind. It helped validate my position in relation to the shift that I believe humanity needs in order to move forward in an intelligent, thoughtful and purposeful way.
Hall, C. W. (1997, Summer). The age of synthesis. The Bent of Tau Beta Pi, 17-19. Retrieved from http://www.tbp.org/pubs/Features/Su97Hall.pdf