Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Perfectly Rounded

In a very short space of time Lumiere et Son has established itself as a family firm with a reputation for quality and service and attention to detail. Here is an example of their most recent workmanship giving an insight into the creative process.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Lumiere first met Son on a trip to England when studying a scene through a letterbox at the Barbican. The music that came to mind was naturally from Orrori del castello di Norimberga (Baron's Blood).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Twinset John & Edwad Grimes out of sync

Psychologists and sociologists have long had a thing about identical twins especially those separated at birth as they provide endless possibilities for studies that try to pinpoint the exact impact of nature versus nurture; of the role of genes on our development against that of the environment we are brought up in. In wider society there is also a certain fascination with twins; obsessed as we are in the west with individuality the idea that such singularity can effectively be duplicated throws so many assumptions into something of a tail spin. There is also an underbelly to our preoccupation with twins which is to see something essentially malevolent in their bond and unspoken telepathic rapport with their almost inbuilt ability to gang up on the poor lesser world of us mere individuals. The krays best epitomise this malevolence and it is no surprise that once finally convicted the twins were separated and sent to different institutions; one to Broadmoor the other to prison. To keep both twins in the same institution would have been simply too threatening.

All of these preoccupations find an unlikely expression in this year’s X Factor in the form of the twins John & Edward Grimes from Dublin. In the auditions Simon Cowell took an instant dislike to the twins describing them as vile and willing to trample their grandmother’s grave if it meant success. Cowell himself something of a bully and control freak clearly felt in some way threatened by these two 18 year Dubliners either recognising himself mirrored back (twice) or recalling some playground trauma. Louis Walsh though seeing boy band potential (and interestingly they are in the band category – are twins a band?) and no doubt recalling the short lived though highly lucrative (for their manager) career of Bros put them through to the live shows despite serious shortcomings in their singing. For the last two weeks then the Grimes have performed and despite being largely out of tune and a serious media campaign to have them booted off have remained on the show.

Whilst they survive their performances offer a curious spectacle. More able to dance than most of the contestants they nevertheless struggle to synchronise steps or for that matter vocals. Watching their performance is a little like having your own brain dissected as they constantly dart glance s from one to the other in an attempt to synchronise their routines. The truth seems to be that twins don’t naturally align their performances but offer a simultaneous rendition of two performances by the same artist. If we took any performer, for example Paul McCartney with all his various mannerisms and got him to perform a song twice and then synced up the two versions they would be very similar but annoyingly different. A previous precedent can be found in Barry & Paul Ryan who for a brief period in the 60s shared a stage before Paul retired to write the songs and Barry remained on stage to belt them out. Their shared performances are equally as off putting as those of the Grimes

The answer is perhaps curiously not to get twins to try and synchronise but to either be asynchronous or to echo or anticipate each other combined with odd flashes of synchronisation. It seems nether our brains or theirs can cope with anything else.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Only For Pleasure

Only for Pleasure.
Note takes a moment or two to load. In Safari if after loading you get the QuickTime question mark, just hit refresh in the browser and the file should start to play. In Firefox file will play after loading. Not tested on IE.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sound Projector Railway Special

This Friday you are invited to take your seats aboard the Sound Projector Radio Show railway special. Your footplate DJs Ed Pinsent (Driver) and Philip Sanderson (Fireman) will be playing a selection of sound and music inspired by and derived from the railways. This one off special will leave from the Resonance FM sidings at 5.30 sharp and the round trip will take 1 hour and 30 minutes. After returning to the sidings there will be a chance for refreshments later at a local hostelry. Update: an mp3 podcast of the programme is now available here. The full playlist is here as well as the stanadalone podacast player.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Patamatic Cinema

Historically cinema has offered two opposing modes of reception, passive and active. In the passive mode we are swept along by the whole illusion of cinema; embedded in the narrative construct of seamless edits and musical accompaniment; we give ourselves up to the flow of the frames. Such is the stuff of Hollywood and popcorn. In the active mode the filmmaker keeps us restless in our seats by constantly re-asserting the illusion of representation. As viewers we are called to action; even if it is only to get up and leave our seats for whilst passive cinema can be a heady narcotic that leaves us ultimately drowsy and empty, active cinema can in the hands of some avant garde filmmakers pursue the denial of pleasure as almost a raison d’etre.

One form of active cinema that engages more than most is Expanded Cinema. Expanded Cinema draws attention to the act of projection itself by employing multiple screens and projectors, and a general level of performativity that involves projectionist/artist, space and audience. However the term Expanded Cinema (originally coined by Stan VanDerBeek) is quickly acquiring something of an historical edge, rather in the same way that happening or environment are connected to the heady days of the 1960s. Increasingly Expanded Cinema conjures a world of clattering projectors and mid to late twentieth century equipment, filmmakers and aesthetics.

As a concept though Expanded Cinema has an ongoing relevance particularly as a potential paradigm for video on the web. Watching a streamed movie file is everything conventional cinema isn’t. Rather than being in the dark often as not we are in a brightly lit room. Instead of sitting back in a well upholstered chair we are sitting upright no more than three feet from the screen watching a screen that far from enveloping us is often filled with text and other potential distractions. Most importantly of all we not at the mercy of the projectionist we can start, stop and move between files and perhaps consequently rather than being 90 minutes long most online movies are 2-3 minutes in duration.

All of these factors can either be seen as problems to be solved or as potentially fertile ground to be explored. The success of YouTube has demonstrated an appetite for the making and viewing of short movies on the web and indeed has created something of a cinema of spectacle but the potential both for a democratization of film production and distribution and for the emergence of some new form of expanded cinema has so far yet to be fully realized.

As is often the case the more interesting attempts to create an expanded web cinema are occurring at the margins. One such project is Spacetwo : Patalab. At first glance Patalab might seem like just another video blog with its almost daily postings of short works. In Spacetwo however there is a subtlety and complexity to the works that in part is underpinned by the maker’s undivided preoccupation with the seemingly unremarkable. Its is the nuances of space and time and of attention lavished on things that are perhaps designed not to be looked or that seek out obscurity that that elevates these everyday musings to a heightened poetic state. Patalab is as an ongoing project with seemingly no declared beginning, middle or end has echoes of Marcel Proust’s work and its continual obsessive return to the same territory, to the same places spaces and thoughts and the passage through them and back again.

Nearly all of Patalab’s video are shot hand held tracing simple steps through buildings and rooms. We move slowly up flights of stairs, down corridors along walls, pondering details as we go; a stack of chairs, an open window, a cornice or skirting. Occasionally legs and feet emerge in front of the camera as do overhead voices on the soundtrack but these are not voodles about people but about the resonance of space. Building day after day these two to three minute works create a library or repository of images from which the viewer can draw or withdraw. There is a willful denial of narrative progression and the audience is called upon to realize that they are re-tracing their own steps; going back to the same familiar passage. Forced to confront everything again till eventually seeing it all for the first time.

Into this charged space seeps the text for, all the Patalab voodles ( a contraction of video and doodle) are laced with quotes; quotes and passages from a variety of sources including philosophers artists, scientists, poets, religious thinkers. Enigmatically removed from their original context the text and ideas float on the browser page before leaking slowly into the videos. Nether obscuring or informing the quotes and links are tangential to each other and to achieving a strong sense of deconstructed purpose. A context of possibilities, open endings and beginnings; again echoing both Proust and the more absurdist Alfred Jarry Patalab is a rich source of endeavor that demands repeated viewings.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vested Interests

Just a very short time ago, it seemed we were at the end of something and the beginning of …well no one quite knew but post crash everything was definitely going to change wasn't it? With the most enormous of financial bubbles burst and the now flaccid little pieces of the balloon stuck to the sides of our mouths we all stood in awe of the devastation and vowed that everything would be different. We shook our heads at our collective foolishness and greed and pondered our debts and how we might possibly repay them.

But the vested interests are not so easily deterred. Having been bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of billions the city after the briefest of periods of contrition is back to paying out big bonuses. Never mind that a generation has effectively been robbed of its pensions, if the new RBS chairman can get the share price up to 70P then the government can cash in and sell its shares in the bank at a profit and supposedly wipe out some of the enormous public debt that threatens to dog us for the next 50 years. In other words the mechanism that broke the system is being restarted with some vain hope that it can now fix the very problem it caused.

Over in the art world it’s much the same as Tate Britain opens Classified an exhibition featuring the work of some very familiar names: Damien Hirst, the Chapman Brothers, Martin Creed, Tacita Dean etc. Curator Andrew Wilson says of the work, "I sincerely believe that this art is amongst the best work that has been made in the last 15 years or so." Of course Tate has invested heavily in these artists in so many ways and it was highly unlikely that they would leave the pieces mouldering in the Bricklayers Arms depot but have they no new tricks to play, nothing else up their sleeves but the same old fandango? It would seem not, “who knows” they no doubt muse privately perhaps the exhibition will remind us all just how good these artist are and help get the art market bus back on the road as well and the champers will flow again and the bankers and artists can once again mingle at the Frieze art fair tent whilst the poor sucker public pick up the tab.

Update 2012: Well whilst three years on the UK economy continues to be in recession the Art Market after a brief dip has bounced back. Despite the populace loosing their collective shirt the super rich go from strength to strength and these are of course the people who can afford art.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Last Few Days

The No Particular Place to Go exhibition is on for another week. During this time the gallery is open by appointment but will also be open from 2-4 PM on Saturday and Sunday the 20th and 21st. On Sunday there will also be a screening at 3PM of recent videos by yours truly.

Still Running

For the screening last Saturday various works in progress were "finished". Here then is Still Running

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

No Particular Place to Go

No Particular Place to Go
Exhibition ran from: 7th June to 21st of June 2009
Memorial Art Gallery, 7 Cambridge Road, Hastings TN34 1DJ

Press Release:
Criminally underrated, fly-tipping displays all that is best in contemporary sculpture. Combining a range of media, fly-tips can rival early Bruce McLean or Anthony Caro in their inventive composition. At ease in both rural and urban landscapes these seemingly effortless public art works stand out in any location.

In No Particular Place to Go Philip Sanderson has selected photographs of fly-tips from all over the UK. The photos were taken and uploaded by numerous people to the Geograph British Isles project; a website that aims to collect photographs of every grid square of the British Isles and make them available under a creative commons licence.

Using this pool or raw images as a starting point Philip Sanderson has assembled the fly-tip photographs into a video. Using a custom digital process each photo was scanned to produce a musical note. Putting the images together a musical sequence emerged; a pastoral accompaniment to the images.

No Particular Place to Go presents the resulting video on discarded TVs which together with hand selected detritus form a fly-tip installation. Each fly-tip’s location, grid reference, and the name of the photographer is identified on an index card displayed on the walls of the Memorial Gallery.

The installation can be viewed at the Private View at the Memorial Gallery Hastings on the 6th of June 2009 and thereafter for two weeks by appointment. During the Private View there will be a thirty-minute screening of recent videos by Philip Sanderson including Product Recall, Fleshtones, and examples from the Chronocut series.

To view the fly-tipping video that was playing on the monitors click here. When I have worked out a good way of rendering all the individual map refs and photographers names online I shall add that as well.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hair Cut

If Expanded Cinema gets too hairy try a fresh expanded browser piece here. Note ONLY works in Safari not Firefox, may just work in IE. Click refresh now and then for a different cut.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Carriage Return – the final DIY release from Snatch Tapes

To mark the 30th anniversary of the release of first Snatch Tape in 1979 we are pleased to announce the issuing of a final DIY cassette. Entitled Carriage Return the work consists of two twenty minute sound collages assembled from the thirty years of accumulated reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, mini disks, CDRs in the Snatch Tapes archive.

Focussing on music and voice-overs originally recorded for various film and video projects Carriage Return weaves a fragmented narration concerning ghost sightings, car crashes, ley lines and hidden bends in and around Blue Bell Hill in Kent, England. Mixed with the spoken word is prepared piano, VCS3 synth, circuit bent Casio, shortwave radio, pots and pans and the usual melodic cacophony we have come to expect from Snatch Tapes.

Snatch Tapes is well know for its pioneering DIY approach and this final tape is a true Do It Yourself release in that listeners are supplied with all the files needed to make up their own cassette. Provided are two 20 minute MP3 files (one for each side of the tape) and full sleeve and label artwork ready to print off at home. All you need is a cassette deck, a blank C46 tape and a pair of scissors (or scalpel for a cleaner cut).

As the cost of distribution has been reduced to zero the release is provided absolutely free of charge. Listeners may of course use the mp3 files on their iPods on the understanding that after a thirty-day trial period they should either transfer the files to cassette or erase them

Collectors wishing to archive their copies of Carriage Return may send their completed tapes to the Snatch Tapes HQ where for a small fee they will be authenticated, signed, numbered and returned.

All the necessary files for your Carriage Return are here. Note: right click to download as:

Nearside (Side 1), 40mb
Blindside (Side2), 40 mb
Cassette Cover, 2.9mb
Cassette labels

Friday, January 09, 2009

Kleptographia – or all photography is theft.

There is an old term from the days of sprocket holes and projectors called found footage; meaning either appropriated footage or literally bits of film discarded on the cutting room floor and then scavenged from the bins outside editing rooms. In the 70s you would have been able to find anything from snippets of earnest documentaries to porn if you knew outside which doors to look in Soho.

Of course you would be hard pushed to find anything so physical nowadays. The web however is just bursting with (mostly low res) digital clips and stills waiting to be found and recontextualised. Keen viewers of this blog will notice that that is pretty much what I have been doing these last few years. Starting firstly not so much with footage per se but with single photos, an accordion for A Rocco Din, a Harley Davidson engine for Engine Trouble, a pin-up poster of Marilyn for Kisser and so on. More recently I have been using short sections of classic films for the Chronocuts series and this has made this appropriation far more explicit indeed, even foregrounded.

In the Chronocuts series the viewer’s likely familiarity with the original footage is an important part of the process but more generally I am always happier working with someone else’s footage or stills. Or to put it another way there is always an unease about taking or originating either photographs or video. There is a sense in which all filming or taking of images involves a certain theft; a removal of something, which doesn’t belong to you.

I shall call this process Kleptographia. There is here something of a parallel with the idea held in aboriginal cultures of photography stealing the soul of those photographed but concept of Kleptographia goes much further to say that all photographic processes involve an illegitimate transference whether they contain people or not. What problematises that transference over say a process like drawing or painting is that nearly all commercially available camera equipment produce uncanny likenesses. Truer, sharper, blacker, brighter, richer colors and detail; the terminology of photography strives endlessly for perfect reproduction to act as some kind of seamless mirror reflecting a reality back to us. Or some illusion that passes for reality. The constant need to resist the illusion of reproduction becomes a time consuming process and can make it all but impossible to originate such material. Where does one look, brazenly through the lens as one swipes the scene? Easier to break a window and make off with a fur than stand on a street corner taking photographs.

So if unhappy to be a part of the Kleptographic process and steal the images in the first place why then happy to be a “fence”: a handler of stolen shots? With found footage and stills the anxiety of the original theft is lifted. The crime being subsumed by the supposed ownership of the image taker. The image or images do not of course belong to the original taker, the thief, they belong to the scene form when they were stolen. The thief’s claim on the images enshrined as it is in copyright law means the fence in this context is by handling the goods serving to release them from the thief’s grasp. Short of destruction and the death of all who have seen the pictures the theft can never be legitimized but in re-appropriating them there is a sense in which one can partially liberate them from the notion of ownership.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Woolworths Closed – UK to follow.

Many branches of Woolworths closed their doors for the last time on Saturday. Since the company went into administration in December it has offered a curious spectacle; its increasingly empty aisles filled with a mixture of bargain hunters and those who just came in to stare. Many seemed to be wandering aimlessly round the store gawping with a curious mix of fascination and nostalgia at the slow motion death throes of a retailer which has been on every UK town high street for 99 years. “Woolies” at it was affectionately known will be genuinely missed by many not least those without the transport to get to the out of town ASDA or Tesco.

In the high street the demise of Woolworths comes on top of a spate of recent shop closures leaving parts of many town centre bleakly empty. The closure of most of these shops was not however bemoaned, as was the passing of Woolworths. There was something symbolic in the closure of Woolies as one person was overheard to say “ its the end of the era”. Hardly the most original of phrases but somehow spot on. For the passing of Woolworths brought on as it was not so much by poor trading but a lack of credit to service the company’s overdraft marks some final chapter in England’s Dreaming. A Thatcherite dream that has held sway for almost thirty years who’s central fantasy was that the UK could shut down all of its manufacturing and rely on some shiny suited city types to make the money.

We would leave the nasty business of making things to low paid foreigners overseas somewhere. They could break their backs and inhale the toxic fumes manufacturing stuff and we would take the profit by pushing paper around. Indeed we even encouraged people to come to the UK to do the jobs we were not that keen on doing here ourselves. We as the first post-industrial country were beyond all that dirty work now. All those who used to make things here in the UK were either pushed into the service sector or onto incapacity benefit.

That we got away with for so long is remarkable. That the rest of the world effectively subsidised our relatively high standard of living for doing pretty much bugger all for thirty years is a trick that Malcolm McLaren would be proud of. Sooner or late though we would get rumbled and the man from the Pru really is sans culottes on this occasion.

When Thatcher was busy closing pits in the early 1980s whole colliery towns were left without a purpose; their populations stranded in the middle of nowhere without any jobs or any really reason d’etre. Much of the UK is now in that position.