Monday, 31 May 2010

"Libraries and Labyrinths: Borges and Me"

Just spotted that this is on tonight on Radio 4 in 15 minutes: Libraries and Labyrinths: Borges and Me. Peter White talks about Borges and his short fiction.

You can also listen to this edition of In Our Own Time, from Thu, 4 Jan 2007, 21:30.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

J.G. Ballard

"Crowd Theory: Claustrophobia masquerading as agoraphobia or conceivably Malthusianism.

Suburbs: Do suburbs represent the city's convalescent zone or a genuine step forward into a new psychological realm, at once more passive , but of far greater imaginative potential like that of a sleeper before the onset of REM sleep? Unlike the unruly city counterpart, the suburban body has been wholly domesticated and one can say that the suburbs constitute a huge petting zoo, with the residents' bodies providing the stock of furry animals.

Satellites: Ganglion's in search of an interplanetary brain."

J.G. Ballard, Project for a Glossary of the Twentieth Century.

Sherrie Levine 1984

"We like to imagine the future as a place where people loved abstraction before they encountered sentimentality."

I imagined this to be Malevich, or a constructivist, from an essay on modernism? From

But it was from
Sherrie Levine
I found it here:

and here.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Is It Art, or Memorex?

This is a link to an article in Wired called Is It Art, or Memorex? by Reena Jana 21/5/01 discussing the work of Net artist Michael Mandiberg. Mandiberg's "art prank" was to "reproduce" Sherrie Levines reproductions of Walker Evans work and presents them as his own: a simulation of a simulation.

Mandiberg posted his photos on two websites he created: and
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Friday, 7 May 2010

Presentation and write up.

Digital Imaging and Photography Project 1: The Irritated Gaze.

Key aims and objectives

  • To create visual metaphors that explore migraine auras and migraine experiences.

  • The migraine auras are studied via personal experience and research.

  • To produce work that explores the condition of seeing within the migraine experience.

  • To explore the hallucinatory nature of the migraine aura.

  • The imagery inspired by the migraine experiences are not attempts to produce medical illustrations of the auras.

To explore a range of technologies and media:

  • Drawing

  • Paint

  • Collage

  • Photographic

  • Digital imaging

  • Digital montage

The process was an attempt to compress technological and media history into a series of images: from drawing, painting, collage to photography, montage, the digital image and digital montage. Elements of the work look like photograms, solarization, abstract expressionist paintings and Daguerreotypes: see Current Developments 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9. See this discussion of Robert Rauschenberg's Retroactive I (1964). I do not believe that the digital montage fully achieves this kind of compression of technological history as seen within Retroactive I, but seems to represent it in more ambiguos ways.

Migraine aura visual distortions.

Migraine auras often include visual distortions, while other symptoms include “faintness, decreased levels of consciousness..., sleepiness….Twinkling and scintillating effects…” accompanying “visual auras” (Grossinger, pp.6-7). Accounts describe “small angled” spheres or disturbance suddenly appearing within the field of vision. This is described as a scotoma (plural: scotomata), while “the term scintillating scotoma is used to designate its peculiar luminous pulsation” (Grossinger, p.10). Where there is a blind spot within the field of vision this is called a negative scotoma (Grossinger, p. 11).

The psychological experience of migraine aura

"The variety of psychological experiences associated with the migraine aura include: negative (a guided tour of aura's hell) and positive emotional and cognitive reactions (a glimpse of aura's heaven)mystical, spiritual and magical interpretations as well as appreciation in terms of psychic experiences, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic interpretations, likening migraine auras to animals, humans or human-like formsthe experience of an increased creativity during varying stages of the migraine attack" (Podoll, Klaus 2007).

Digital Collage: Zoomorphic and Anthropomorphic Forms

Hudson, J Untitled 2010.

Modernist Experience and the Migraine Aura

  • Not everything which looks like a migraine aura - e.g. Pablo Picasso's Cubist paintings - actually must have been inspired by a migraine aura.
  • Likely sufferers: Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico, who founded the metaphysical school and the surrealist Dali.

  • Doubtful sufferer: Dutch Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh.

  • Migraine auras do not fully account for or explain Modern Art

    Sofia Greene, Migraine aura, 2005. © 2005 Sofia Greene

    Anonymous, from Podoll, K and Robinson, D (2008) Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from within, Berkley: North Atlantic Books Ch: 1 p. 1.

    Grossinger: “spontaneous visual distortions have been described throughout history”, but observes, interestingly, that “the association of a class of them with migraines was not recognized until the late nineteenth century” (2006 p. 5). What do we see in the 19th Century, but the birth of modernism and psychiatry?

    Is there are parallel between the migraine aura symptoms and modernist experience as described by Baudelaire and others?

  • Modernism led to a new emphasis on the "fragmentary and fluid nature of experience" (Ward, 2003 p. 123).

  • Baudelaire: “modernist consciousness is dominated by a sense of the "transitory, the furtive, the contingent", an image of the city and identity as being fragmented (Baudillaire, C 1863 p.23 and Ward, 2003 p. 123).

  • Georg Simmel too commented on the "fragmentation of modernist consciousness" (Ward, 2003 p. 123).

  • "Seurat had grasped that there is something atomized, divided and analyzed about modernist experience" (Hughes, R 1991 p.118)

  • Gilbert-Rolfe in his essay "Edouard Manet and the Pleasure Problematic" paraphrases T. J. Clark's description of the décor in A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Clark suggests that the décor in the Folies' as garish, "but the painting's prettiness is the prettiness of black and white punctured with intensities which signify softness or impalpability" (1995 p.3). It struck me that the migraine aura has similar intensities and this description of Manet's picture seems to resonate with my own imagery. See also here.

Clement Greenberg: In Picasso’s Collages the various elements, the lettering, the charcoal lines and the coloured papers "begin to change places in depth with one another, and a process is set up in which every part of the picture takes its turn at occupying every plane, whether real or imagined, in it" (Greenberg, 1958, p. 106).

The process of digital montage is also an attempt to achieve this. See this early version of Deepest Autumn (2010).

Pablo Picasso Guitar, Sheet Music, and Wine Glass 1912

Modern Art: Surrealism and Film

Still from Bunuel and Dali’s Une Chien Andalou 1928

Stills from Hitchcock’s Spellbound 1945, featuring a dream sequence by Dali.

Stills from the Irritated Gaze Part III, The Irritated Gaze 2010, montage: photography and wallpaper.

The connections between the above imagery is fascinating. Bunuel's imagery is sadistic, Dali seems to reference Bunuel and both seem to problematise sight and punish the act of seeing. Bunuel's action is extremely visceral and sadistic, while Dali plays out symbolically a sadistic act: the eyes transform into patterns onto curtains which are then cut out. Visual examples are also to be found here.

The connections to migraine's auras are not concrete or fully explored here, but much of the symbolism and re-presentation of hallucinations and dreams seem to suggest the experiences of the migraine and it's aura.

Works Cited:

Baudillaire, C (1863) "The Painter of Modern Life" in Frascina, F. and Harrison, C. (1987)Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology New York: Harpers and Row pp.23-27.

Entwistle, E.A. (1954) The Book of Wallpaper London: Arthur Baker

Frascina, F. and Harrison, C. (1987) Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology New York: Harpers and Row.

Futurism and Dada Reviewed, LMT Publishing 1988/2000.

Gilbert-Rolfe, J. (1995) Beyond Piety: Critical Essays on the Visual Arts 1986-1993, New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Greenberg, C (1958) “On Collage” in Frascina, F. and Harrison, C. (1987) Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology New York: Harpers and Row pp.105-108.

Grossinger, R (2006) Migraine Auras: When the Visual World Fails, Berkley: North Atlantic Books.

Hamilton, J (1983) Wallpaper London: Victoria and Albert Museum/HMSO.

Hudson, J (2009- incomplete) Digital Imaging and Photography MA Blog: [Last Accessed 7 May, 2010].

Hughes, R (1991) Shock of the New, London: Thames and Hudson.

Podoll, K and Robinson, D (2008) Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from within, Berkley: North Atlantic Books.

Podoll, K Migraine Aura Foundation (2007) [Last Accessed 7 May, 2010].

Ward, G. (2003) Postmodernism, London: Teach Yourself, Hodder Education.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Digital montage: problemitised sight, illusion, art and sculpture.

Greenberg's comments about collage are relevant to the reading of my digital montages. I use similar materials like wallpaper. There is the same optical play on depth and surface, foreground and background. There are other ways of seeing that seem as relevant and connected. The digital montage in its transitions shifts the wallpapers and the flowers from being intaglio to relief and back again. This shifting view recalls Helen Chadwick’s Piss Flowers which seem to be moulds and then transform into the very objects that come out of moulds.

Chadwick, Helen Piss Flowers, 1991-2
Bronze, cellulose lacquer

Still from The Irritated Gaze, Part II Intimations 2010. Digital image, wallpaper and light.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Edouard Manet: Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère (1882)

Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère (1882)

Manet’s last painting Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère (1882) is a fascinating modern painting. Its relevance here was at first unclear to me. Ever since we discussed modernism in the Media Technologies and Public Spheres unit, it has been recurring in my thoughts.

T. J. Clark made reference to the criticisms of the painting: it “was held to be badly drawn and insubstantial”, while “the light was ‘indecisive’, ‘bluish, (and) murky’, the glass and reflection were hopelessly botched” (Clark, T.J. 1985, p.240). There is a “general haze and dazzle” (
1985, p.249) which provides us with a fascinating atmosphere. Clark quotes the critic Jules Comte’s description of the painting: “the bar and the room are lit by two globes of electric light, that white blinding light that we all know; but Monsieur Manet has probably chosen a moment when the lamps were not working properly, for never have we seen light less dazzling; the two globes of polished glass have the look of lanterns glimpsed through a winter’s fog” (1985, p.240).

The paintings softness and blackness is described by Gilbert-Rolfe in his essay “Edouard Manet and the Pleasure Problematic”. When it comes to the light, he suggests that within the Bar “the hardness and reflectiveness (invisibility) provide a space for blurring and bursts and orbs of light brighter than the light of the painting as a whole, but which is shown to be the source of that light” (Gilbert-Rolfe, 1995 pp.3-4).


Clark, T.J., (1985)
The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Age of Manet and His Followers, London: Thames and Hudson

Gilbert-Rolfe, J., (1995) “Edouard Manet and the Pleasure Problematic” in
Beyond Piety: Critical Essays on the Visual Arts 1986-1993, Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, pp.3-12.

Gilbert-Rolfe, J., (1995) Beyond Piety: Critical Essays on the Visual Arts 1986-1993, Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Cave: 2

The Cave

"Suspension of disbelief is a fundamental part of the effective use of a virtual reality Interface. Until we can ignore the interface and concentrate on the application, virtual reality will remain a novel experience instead of a serious visualization tool." (Packer and Jordan, 2001, p. 287).


This video is a video demo that explains the functionality of the CAVE®.

producer/director: Sumit Das, Alan Millman

evl contributors: Drew Browning, Carolina Cruz-Neira, Sumit Das, Thomas A. DeFanti, Alan Millman, Daniel J. Sandin.

credits: Lewis Siegel, Kathy Koller and Michelle Miller.

The Cave (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment or Computer Virtual Environment) was conceived by the media artist Dan Sandin and the engineer Thomas DeFanti with the assistance of graduate student Carolina Cruz-Neira in 1991. It was developed at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Dan Sandin, The Cave 'Virtual Reality Theatre' (Prototype: Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois, Chicago, 1991; publicly showcased: SIGGRAPH 92, (the annual convention for the Special Interest Group for Graphics of the Association for Computing Machinery) Chicago 1992). "Virtual Realiity, accessed through dark glasses, allows users to feel as if they were in a totally different universe. For Paul Virilio, 'We are entering a world where there won't be one but two realities: the actual and the virtual' (Rush, 2005, p.237)

Michael Rush describes The Cave, a virtual environment, as “a cubic room, three meters (sic) square… consisting of stereographic computer graphics which react interactively to actions of the ‘user’, who is equipped with stereo glasses which make it possible to see other ‘playmates’ (Sandin’s word) in The Cave" (Rush, 2005, p. 234).

The CAVE's immersive experience "was intended as an allusion to Plato's cave; its multiple screens and surround-sound audio evoke the metaphor of a shadowy representation of reality, suggesting how perception is always filtered through the minds veil of illusion" (Packer and Jordan, 2001, p. 287). In his Republic, Plato "used the image of prisioners in a cave who define the basis of their reality through the shadows of fire dancing on the walls of the cave to develop concepts of reality, representation, and human perception" (Paul, 2008, p.129). The "Cave 'dwellers' do not need to wear helmets, which would limit their view of and mobility in the real world , nor don bulky gloves and heavy electronics packs, nor be pushed about by movemement retricting platforms, to experience virtual reality. Instead they put on a pair of lightweight 'glasses' and walk into the Cave, a 27-cubic-meter room with an open side and no ceiling" (Sandin, DeFanti and Cruz,-Nera, 1993 p.288).


Packer, R. and Jordan, K. (2000) Multimedia from Wagner to Virtual Reality, ArtMuseum,
Available from World Wide Web: [last accessed 05/05/10].

Packer, R. and Jordan, K. (2001) Multimedia from Wagner to Virtual Reality New York: Norton & Company.

Plato, (2008) Republic, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Paul, C. (2008) Digital Art London: Thames and Hudson.

Rush, M. (2005) New media in late 20th-century art, London: Thames & Hudson.

Sandin, DeFanti and Cruz,-Nera (1993) "A Room with a View" in Packer, R. and Jordan, K. (2001) Multimedia from Wagner to Virtual Reality New York: Norton & Company, pp.287-292.

Fun, Music and Nostalgia!

After Mike mentioned Sugar in the previous post that included Husker Du I thought I would add this video for the Sugar song Tilted from the EP Beaster:

Interestingly the video is co-directed by the photographer Sandra-Lee Phipps known to me via Q magazine and other journals (NME perhaps) and as an early photographer of REM. She is now a Professor of Photography at Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta Georgia.

I have no info about John Bruce, the other director of the video. He could be very famous, I have no idea! He seems to have directed other Sugar videos like If I can't Change your Mind.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Fun, Music and Nostalgia!

Well I put this in because well, the Guy Called Gerald track in previous blog is associated with the Hacienda and I think that this Nova Mob (Grant Hart ex Husker Du) track has a Manchester vibe about it.

Fun, Music and Nostalgia!

As I write my reflective piece on my practice and the internet being so accessible (duh!) I am getting nostalgia pangs. So I decide to listen to some music. I think well what have I not listened to for a long time? My choice I thought of videos were rather random! I was oddly struck by the aesthetic similarities between the Husker Du’s Could You Be the One (hardcore punks turn into power popsters) and A Guy Called Gerald’s Voodoo Ray. What was it about the late eighties and these bright colours? I like the use of abstractions here. The animations are like the work of Len Lye and Norman McLaren. Amazing! Well as one underground movement draws to a close a new one emerges!

Husker Du:

A Guy Called Gerald:

I had to include the "original" mix:

When Seeing Is Not Believing - Dana Foundation

When Seeing Is Not Believing - Dana Foundation

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