[-empyre-] Narrative, and speaking traces

naxsmash naxsmash at mac.com
Mon Jun 1 02:31:01 EST 2009

dear Sarah et al,

I am so pleased you mentioned Teri Rueb. Her work "trace' was the  
first new media work I was ever involved with actively-- at Banff  
Center for the Arts, Alberta, Canada,  in a residency in 1999. We both  
happened to be there-- she was
producing "Trace" for the first time at Banff-  http://www.terirueb.net/old_www/desc_3.html 
   involving a walking meditation in the upper reaches of the Yoho  
National Park at and near the Burgess Shale-- where the first known  
invertibrate "soft'' fossils from the Precambrian are
found  (see Stephen Jay Gould's book  'Wonderful Life'   (for an  
amusingly scorching pan of this book by Richard Dawkins read here http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/Dawkins/Work/Reviews/1990-02-25wonderful.shtml

)   At that time I was also hiking the Burgess Shale and Yoho and  
doing meticulous extrapolation drawings of the fossil record-- as if  
the creatures were moving or flowing through
geologic time.  It was the first time that I started to seriously  
explore geologic time in relation to human sensing-experience (skin,  
and the memories of. in touch and skin).

  Not long after that I was able to translate the implications of   
skin drawings  nto a whole series of ideas and works about aphasia ,  
ie perseverant/halting speech, caused by trauma.   http://tracearchive.ntu.ac.uk/Incubation/abstract.cfm?presenter=55 
   in Espanõl more here http://www.carceldeamor.net/vsc/recursos/rec9.html

  Of course, 'skin' and 'voice' rapidly zip into 'screen' and 'audio'  
in the twinkling of a pixel. Teri was up to something slightly  
different: "Trace" triggered voice recordings at specific locations  
along the Burgess trail.  The voice recordings were by poets recalling  
people that they had loved,   At least this is my sketch- 
interpretation- it was deeper than that.

The human-memory-geologic-memory nexus sets the stage for  a  
cybernetic exercise (sounds better than aerobics!)  .  On the screen?   
Hana speaks of the 'abjective" or presumably 'abject' .  And you  
Sarah, speak of
an interest in arts that regulate the body as if or as indeed  
subordinate to the body.  I really found it fascinating to think of  
the net as a 'subaltern' subject .... ie the other way around , sort  
of like the idea that the flip side of the
net as 'community' is the net as 'identity' and if so then what kind  
of body / voice does it emit/emanate from 'behind' the screen  '   http://www.drunkenboat.com/db7/feature-aphasia/mcphee/neuraltopologies.html
i did this to try to fake an identity as it were-- as if to subvert  
the idea that i as a female 'onscreen' could be controlled via 'gaze'  
so I am interested in how subjects that appear to be abject are not  
that, in fact the power flips back in a cool feedback loop and then  
fugues out-- whos' in charge'? the bachelors and the brides (see Large  
Glass) fuse and break, somebody or nobody ? dances in the shards.  Cut  

  Hal Foster in the "Return of the Real" links the 'abject' move to a  
question of the power of gaze.  I think he's writing in re Robert  
Gober  http://www.thefreelibrary.com/American+Gothic:+Hal+Foster+on+Robert+Gober-a0132554962


> Foster has written convincingly in The Return of the Real  on the  
> paradoxical strategies of abjection in contemporary art. He begins  
> his argument by invoking Lacan's discussion of the gaze in his  
> authoritative text The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.  
> [vii] For Foster, Lacan's schematic presentation constitutes a  
> radical shift from the Albertian perspectival paradigm of visual  
> mastery (see perspective).  In Lacan's revised diagram, the  
> traditional cone of vision, with object at the wide end and subject  
> at the point, is superimposed with a second cone.  This second,  
> inverted cone locates the "gaze" at the point and the subject in the  
> object position.  At the center of the overlapping cones is the  
> image-screen. Lacan imagined this other gaze as that which emanates  
> from the world, and he conceived of it as violent, a threat to the  
> subject.  The subject therefore depends on the image-screen to  
> mediate the pulsatility and brilliance of the gaze that gazes back.  
> [viii]


--Rachel Furnari,  http://humanities.uchicago.edu/faculty/mitchell/glossary2004/screen2.htm

Teri was our guest on -empyre- FYI in 2003  https://mail.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/2003-April/author.html 
   with Brett Stalbaum

naxsmash at mac.com

christina mcphee


On May 29, 2009, at 3:48 PM, sarah drury wrote:

> Hi all,
> I've been on the road all day and have just found a rest stop with  
> wireless.
> More on narrative: I’d like to branch out from projects that explore  
> the
> body  as “the site or sites of multiple struggles, ambiguously  
> positioned in
> the reproduction of social habits, requirements, and regulations and  
> in all
> sorts of production of unexpected and unpredictable linkages” and  
> look at
> projects that track artifacts of the body in space and place, with  
> various
> ways of referencing the body as a tracking device for reading the
> landscape.
> Earlier in this month’s conversation, Christina McPhee discussed her  
> project
> Tesserae of Venus, that explores the buckling or folding of skin:  
> the skin
> of the body, the skin of drawings of technological landscapes as these
> drawings buckle and fold over time in the weather, the skin of the
> photograph documenting this deterioration over time, the skin of the  
> earth
> as it submits to processes of energy extraction and other kinds of
> technological deformations, the skin of the buckling surface of the
> carbon-saturated landscape of Venus, the cultural/architectural  
> buckling
> that occurs as  “biological systems clash and meet with technological
> landscapes at the urban edge. In an online interview, she refers to  
> this as
> an exploration of “some sort of granularity of scale between the  
> human body
> and geologic form.”  Ultimately the photographs and video are the  
> top layer
> of skin, shed as a narrative form from this process. . “Fault-seeking,
> fault-finding, the performance drawings suggest field notes to a  
> geophysical
> and psychic space that can only be realized in brief.”
> In a project that focuses more on memory and the archaeology of the  
> ground
> one stands on, Teri Rueb’s “Core Sample” creates a GPS-equipped,
> headset-equipped  sound walk in which the walking body reads the  
> landscape
> of Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor, a former dump and reclaimed  
> landfill
> park visible just off the coast.  This project does not focus on  
> issues of
> body trauma, but on the wanderings of the walker as a kind of  
> playback head
> on the landscape, with the walker’s coordinates, including elevation
> relative to sea level, corresponding to exact points of narrative in  
> the
> geological, archaeological, industrial, the more current  
> recreational layers
> of the island’s geological surface and including the
> technologically-determined atmosphere above the island as well.    
> With each
> step, the walker encounters geospatial tags and engages audio  
> narrative of
> the many layers of density of information: the geological record and
> satellite communication, air traffic control of the nearby airport,  
> the
> archaeological record of native cultures on the island, the  
> artifacts of the
> increasing speed and violence of usage of the last 150 years, the  
> current
> recreational use of the island as a park.   Engaging the  
> unselfconsciousness
> of the walker as a kind of empty state, the walker moves over and  
> through
> the layers of human and nonhuman activity, engaging a four- 
> dimensional map
> of narrative of the landscape.
> The body’s movement through the gentle recreational location spools  
> out its
> embedded narratives, “all sorts of production of unexpected and
> unpredictable linkages”.  The body’s path reveals the location of  
> the place
> in space extending from the geological core to the orbital’s of  
> satellites,
> its location in a historical continuum of production, consumption,
> forgetting, cultural erasure.
> Sarah
>> hello all
>> thanks to Sarah and this discussion that has been springing forth --
>> i was really interested by your emphasis on narrative, and hope we  
>> can come
>> back
>> to asking more questions about "narrative"  (different narratives) in
>> relationship to voice (sounding/sound making/
>> vocals/music) and movement, and in relationship to  body movement   
>> and
>> gesture,
>> and following the last statements you made, also in regard to the
>> interactional design
>> you describe in some of your examples (the narrative in design is a  
>> tricky
>> issue, i would
>> suggest, since working with interactivity, in my mind, is always
>> counterintuitive and
>> abjective.
>> Her movement was counterintuitive in the degree of learning and  
>> control
>> required to manipulate her wearable accelerometers to achieve a  
>> specific
>> graphic quality.  Practicing was about finding the movement that is  
>> both
>> expressive in itself and also "draws". Lezlie's performance was  
>> highly
>> controlled, highly choreographed, and was about control in some  
>> sense.
>> i am not sure now how to address the many issues related to control  
>> and
>> control systems
>> (in such interactional settings of performance), but initially, i  
>> thought, the
>> discussion was
>> heading somewhere else, when you began to recount your work with  
>> Lezlie.
>> I didn't understand what "normative embodiment" is, I also don't  
>> know what
>> "fear of ephemerality" is.  I always consider it a joy  
>> (ephemerality).
>> The "challenge to normative embodiment" may rest in Lezlie's body  
>> presence and
>> movement themselves,
>> in terms of the role of the gaze in the social construction of the  
>> body with
>> dis/abilities,
>> paralleling postmodern theories  of the gaze in the construction of  
>> the female
>> body.
>> I think you perhaps would have to talk more about what you assume  
>> such
>> constructions to be like (gender -specific?
>> age-specific? culture-specific? abilities-specific?), and how a  
>> behavior or
>> performance performed can critique
>> the gazes (which are all differentiated), and how such differencing  
>> works.
>> I am in rehearsal and cannot fully find the space to reflect and  
>> think of
>> examples where i might have been confronted
>> with : "existential anxiety" about the functioning of the body  
>> being seen, and
>> by extension,
>> the body of the viewer [my body?] , and "aesthetic anxiety"  
>> generated by fears
>> of bodily difference in a society "with a quest for 'supernormal  
>> bodily
>> perfection'."
>> I would like to hear others respond to this challenge.  I don't  
>> recall
>> aesthetic anxiety, unless you assume that we all are insecure about
>> our "lack" or or difference from some assumed "norm"  - i don;t  
>> think there
>> are any norms that anyone believes in except of course on the surface
>> of consumption and sexual selection display.  Or are you also  
>> including
>> "religious anxiety"?
>> well, there is so much to say now.
>> I hope we can come back to  the question of movement narratives.
>> I certainly think that all movement is inherently story telling and  
>> telling.
>> And naturally so, it is also always also lying, no?  it is  
>> fashining our
>> selves as movement characters
>> in the stories we invent and retell ourselves and others every day,  
>> faking it,
>> and being also quite serious about that.
>> In the everday sense [i would also think there is no everyday, but  
>> that we
>> tend to live under constant or increasing stress symptoms and in
>> symptotopographies, and so the question of anxiety is of course  
>> real, a kind
>> of performance anxiety, and we smile now because that too is  
>> institutionalized
>> and rhetorical now,  cliché) , the movement through our  
>> environments is
>> something i assumed you'd be also addressing,
>> when i think of walking or audio walks (Janet Cardiff and others),  
>> they sound
>> is voice is oral culture of whispered and shouted memories or  
>> associations,  i
>> love to listen to audio art and radio dramas,  they are rich to me  
>> and full of
>> e/motion...
>> and then the notion of the trace as walking is something i came  
>> across this
>> morning, in  preview of Richard Long's new exhibit at the Tate  
>> (Heave and
>> Earth) in London, and the preview mentions the walking/ tracing in  
>> the
>> landscape as a motion leaving shadows or foils,  i never saw the  
>> term foil
>> before,  and apparently it refers to hunting vocabulary and the  
>> track that
>> might be left by some legs or feet when they touched the dawn of  
>> the grass and
>> its wetness, as first sunrays fall across the land.
>> I remember viewing DV8's "Cost of Living" and wondered how they  
>> wanted to foil
>> me into taking it, feeling confronted by it?
>> What’s a movement worth? £5 for a plié, one performer suggests in  
>> this piece.
>> With arms  that’s a tenner, add some emotion you double the fee. “
>> Heard you can do  some tricks”, another man pesters a dancer. “Do  
>> that thing
>> with your leg. I can pay you,”
>> I wondered how such critical work (if that is what it is, or is it
>> exploitational? experimental? anxietal?)  is received by different
>> communities/audiences, and how you narrate the work  
>> organizationally when you
>> produce software interaction design with abled and differently abled
>> performers in company or in schools or therapeutic environments;
>> I noted recently also the work of Petra Kuppers (The Tiresias  
>> Project , an
>> Olimpias Disability Culture Production), featured recently in TDR,  
>> with a
>> stunning photograph of one of her collaborators on the cover.  It  
>> is certainly
>> the case, i think, that methods are altered when dis/abilities are  
>> involved as
>> a conscious /acknowledged fact.
>> regards
>> Johannes Birringer
>> _______________________________________________
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>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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