Not Wanting To Say Anything About John Cage

Monday 1 August 2011

The Collected Collaborations show opens this Thursday, featuring artist books by OSW (Open Spatial Workshop) and the Redrawing Collective. The latter is the group I’ve been involved with since the first Redrawing show back in 2008.

For this new show, I was asked to contribute something related to that first show in the form of a book, emphasising the form over the work over its content. After a little thought I found a good way to represent one significant aspect of my piece, String Quartet No. 2 (Canon in Beta) in visual form, and in a way that recaptured the original impetus of Redrawing.

This latest iteration of String Quartet No. 2 (Canon in Beta), rendered as a 10-minute spectrogram, is being published in a way which simultaneously refers to several aspects of graphic art made by John Cage, another composer who was repeatedly enticed into the visual realm of art. One of these aspects is shown above.

The Redrawing Collective book is being published in a very small edition. In fact, I’m not exactly sure how many are getting printed now.

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Wednesday 27 July 2011

Today I wrote up a thoughtful piece about the gig I played Saturday night, and the differences between analogue electronics and computer software. I thought I’d mailed it to myself to post tonight, but it’s nowhere in my email. I either forgot to hit send, hit print by mistake, or deleted it without sending. The blog post may appear tomorrow, but in the meantime please enjoy this photograph of a pretty swan made from an old car tyre.

Two New Shows Coming Up

Thursday 14 July 2011

Not much blogging lately, because I’ve been preparing for two shows coming up in the next few weeks: a live music gig and an art exhibition.

Live gig! ABJECT BLOC. My first analogue electronic gig in… six years? With John Wall, ”              “[sic]™, Anthony Iles, Allon, Lee Gamble (DJs).
Saturday 23 July 2011. 8pm start. £5 donation. Limehouse Town Hall, 646 Commercial Road, London E14 7HA.

Sorry about the short notice but the date had to be juggled a bit. I’m dusting off the old analogue gear to get some live feedback oscillation happening again, with sets from the very fine John Wall, ”              “[sic]™, Lee Gamble and others.

 

Art show! Collected Collaborations. An exhibition initiated by the Artists’ Book Research Group, featuring propositional projects from the Redrawing Collective (Ben Harper, Fiona Macdonald, Alex Martinis Roe, Thérèse Mastroiacovo and Spiros Panigirakis) and OSW (Terri Bird, Bianca Hester and Scott Mitchell). Guest Curator: Brad Haylock.
Monash University Museum of Art, Caulfield Campus, Melbourne. 4 August – 1 October 2011.

This is the exhibition of art books, including brand new contributions the Redrawing Collective. This project is a further extension of the project that included my sound installation Redrawing: String Quartet No.2 (Canon in Beta). We have created a two-part book that is both a performative object and a platform for critical engagement.

Every Goddamn Day

Friday 1 July 2011

“Well thanks for wrecking my evening.” The modern art critic in crisis.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

This was almost going to be one of those “Great Moments In Art Criticism” posts.

“For me the Turner prize is a hit-and-miss affair – there are years when it actually seems important who wins and years when I honestly couldn’t care less. This year, I care because Mark Leckey is on the shortlist.”
Jonathan Jones, “The Turner should go to Mark Leckey”, The Guardian, 13 May 2008.

“Leckey won a Turner prize in 2008, which goes to show you should never take these awards too seriously.”
Jonathan Jones, “Mark Leckey’s art creates noise without meaning”, The Guardian, 23 May 2011.

Jones’ latter review is so vituperously negative (he compares Leckey to Gordon Brown, which is just plain mean) that maybe, just maybe, he should have mentioned his dramatic change of heart. The comments section, usually a desultory place peopled with commentators who don’t seem particularly interested in art, has come alive. Comments both for and against, amongst the usual dross, make some fascinating points on the current state of art and art criticism.

Jones himself responds frequently, steadfastly refusing to admit he made a basic error in interpreting one of Leckey’s works and offering unintentionally hilarious ripostes such as “It was 2008! Why would I refer back to it?” and the Mugatu-like “I have put my views of art across in such contexts as a Turner Prize jury. Have you been a Turner judge? So where do you come off so high and mighty?” Eventually, Mark Leckey himself comments, along with other critics, all of whom predictably end up wallowing in self-pity. Why did all this anger and sorrow suddenly burst forth?

Stephen Potter famously observed that the role of the critic is to convey to the reader what a splendid person the critic is, and that “you must never praise or blame two weeks running.” In his initial praise of Leckey, Jones begins by announcing “I’m a natural fan. I can’t stand indifference.” – and so smartly allows himself intellectual room to praise or blame at will. Regardless of the quality of the art, the critic must alternate praise with blame; their career depends on it.

Car journalist Jack Baruth recently described at some length the necessity of what he calls “the wobble”. Praise every car and you appear a corporate shill; slam every car and you appear apathetic.

A successful automotive journalist doesn’t fall into either of the above traps. He wobbles. He creates what Jimmy Page called “light and shade” in the body of his written work…. Every autowriter with ambitions to be something more than a low-paid PR agent needs the wobble. Credibility, success, a fan base, a recognized name. The wobble giveth, and it taketh away.

The motoring writer’s dilemma is that for the past 20-odd years all cars have been, fundamentally, the same. The car-buying punter no longer has to choose between one model that has disc brakes and no heater, another with a heater and chronic rust problems, or a third with bucket seats and a tendency to flip over and kill you. Baruth’s article explains how a car journalist tries to find or make “the wobble”, and sometimes gets caught out.

Of course, for any of this car talk to be relevant to Jonathan Jones, modern British art would have to be somehow comparable to the car industry. The latter has large financial investments riding on the steady production of homogenised product, largely devoid of any extreme highs or lows of user experience, whereas…

Fear and Loathing in Street View

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Google was somewhere around Rancheria, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.

Pis Manneken-Pis

Saturday 30 April 2011

Rather like my fateful encounter with Jeremy Bentham, I was wandering pleasantly half-bombed on midday Chimay Bleus around the streets by Bruxelles-Midi station while waiting for the Eurostar when I turned a corner and bumped into this guy.

I thought he’d been dressed up as a prank but it turns out this is a Regular Thing. This day’s outfit is supposed to “honour the IT division of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).” Apparently Belgian tech geeks are into yachting; or at least Yacht Rock.

Lost in Amsterdam

Friday 22 April 2011

Off to see Sonntag aus Licht – back after Easter.

Little Old Ladies Are Waiting To Rob You Blind.

Friday 18 March 2011

The evolution of my video style: a pictorial history

Friday 11 March 2011

In 2008, Fiona Macdonald made a flat, white video for my installation at her Redrawing show.

In 2010, I made my own video for a performance of String Quartet No.2 (Canon in Beta), and uploaded it to YouTube.

In 2011, my piece This Is All I Need was performed as part of Interior Design: Music For The Bionic Ear, with a video projected against the back wall.

Next year, I expect I shall make a video that is solid black.

Filler By Proxy LXXX: NSFW NSFW NSFW

Friday 4 March 2011

You really can find anything on Google these days. In their mania for completeness, Google Books has scanned in the Cunt Coloring Book.

Or rather, someone scanned in the first few pages of the book before either they lost interest, the scanner died, or they could resist temptation no longer and had to go break out the Faber-Castells.

Filler By Proxy LXXIX: I’ll Chop Your Head Off!

Sunday 23 January 2011

What could be more exciting than an action comic strip written by a 5 year old boy and drawn by his 29 year old brother? Nothing! You are commanded to read Axe Cop.

The Corrections

Friday 29 October 2010

this is not stupidity. but this is future… of google

Monday 20 September 2010

Mystery Play

Saturday 28 August 2010

Like all you mortals I get inappropriate junk mail, such as the flyer offering me discounts on entire sheep and teatowels for Ramadan. This one threw me for a second:

What do you think this pamphlet was trying to sell me? I’ve blanked out the last bit, because when I first saw this ad all the signals – amateurish layout, the word “passion”, the attempt to emulate the look of Facebook, the rainbow, the passive-aggressive use of imperative tense, the big old building, the ascending stairs, the open door, and (to be perfectly frank) the clean-cut young black man – made me assume this was yet another flyer from one of the hundreds of charismatic churches in the East End, and that the final word would be “salvation”.

I was wrong. Was this confusion intentional? Is pretending to be a god-botherer a way to get people’s attention now, or have I slipped into a parallel universe?