There’s an odd mixture, in varying quantities, of bone dry wit and
a strain of almost ecstatic lyricism in the work of Steven Ball.
This is combined with an interest in formal governing devices
(how much they actually govern and how much it is part of the
expressive character of the works that they should appear
to so do I don’t know)
Steven, I’m delighted to say, made this piece especially to
be unveiled here on DVblog and it was something worth waiting for.
I append some of his notes to the piece.
“Lists remind us that no matter how fluidly a system may operate,
its members nevertheless remain utterly isolated, mutual aliens.
Ontographical cataloging hones a virtue: the abandonment of
anthropocentric narrative coherence in favor of worldly detail.”
“…ontography is a practice of increasing the number and density
[of things], one that sometimes opposes the minimalism of contemporary
art. Instead of removing elements to achieve the elegance of simplicity,
ontography adds (or simply leaves) elements to accomplish the realism
of multitude. It is a practice of exploding the innards of things.”
- Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomonology
Imagine this as a premiss:
the world as it appears is only as it appears to you
appears in arbitrary order
Boundary Cyclone Transaction takes Ian Bogost’s characterisation
of the ontographic list and uses it as a process by which to
auto-construct a picture of a non-human, which is perhaps to
say alien, world, or at least one such as can be constructured
using material found on or through the internet. As such it
also presents a fragment of what might be considered as th
e consciousness of the internet as manifested in image, sound and text.
The video consists of collections of image sequences, written words,
spoken words and sounds. The order in which each of those elements
presents themselves to the viewer has been determined randomly,
therefore any juxtaposition of the elements is entirely arbitrary.
The words used are nouns, i.e. they are things, objects, they
were selected using a random word generator. The sounds consist
mostly of recording of environmental phenomena, such as weather
or recordings of cosmic energies, generally speaking non-human
sounds. The image sequences are all found online and consist of
landscapes, insects, animals, images of microscopic organisms
and viruses, astronomical image, in other words also largely
non-human. Both sounds and images were found through using
keyword searches. It was important in the making of the work
for the elements to be as removed from what I might customarily
intentionally select, for them to be as far away from the
familiarity of the (my) everyday, as possible.
Alienation is a state arising from objects in the world, as they
present themselves inevitably arbitrarily and without a coherent
narrative. In this video the use of random processes aims to
make coherence impossible, or as difficult as possible, while
still, due to the linear and temporal nature of its reception,
will still self-organise into a kind of self-coherent ecosystem.
The longer term aim is for this video to be realised in performance,
to perform itself, using software to randomly order the playback
sequence of the discrete elements and media objects (images,
words, sounds) for every iteration.
we’ll be back for two weeks, Monday to Friday, Oct 21st – 25th and
Oct 28th to Nov 1st, with ten new posts.
There’s some great stuff, including a new DVblog “commission” from Steven Ball.
We’ll be doing these short runs for the forseeable future so send us links
We’d also appreciate you spreading the word by Tweet & FB and whatever…
michael & doron
A dual purpose for this post.
I wrote a review of Vols. 1 to 4 of Kerry Baldry’s excellent One Minutes
project for a new journal, the Moving Image Review and Journal, due out soonish
(although the first issue is dated January 2012, I understand it’ll be out late this month)
and I thought it would be nice to post the pieces I discuss in it here.
So, here, with one exception, they are.
The second thing follows – just to encourage you, especially if you
are in Academia somewhere, to get a sub to this (or order it from your
library &c) – it’s going to be an interesting and useful resource.
Extracted from a longer work made for Steven Ball’s
“I also showed it as part of a presentation of material from
Aroundabout I did at City Methodologies at the Slade,
where it was displayed looped continuously on a flat
screen monitor face up on the floor, while I ‘performed’
the blog with Powerpoint!”
Some of these expanded cinema folk do relish a challenge!
Even truncated & divorced from its performative context it stands
as a splendid bit of structural/formalist film/vid poetry.
“something to stare at
This is a few years old, but hasn’t been put up; the dancer is Maud
Liardon, either Foofwa or I held the camera and made the video and
effects reminiscent of G. Moreau come to life, the church is in the
Swiss Alps, Rilke was buried behind it, murals of tormented hell,
angelic world of Elegies, we were transported”
…Alan Sondheim is one of the artists whose work you can see if
you can get to Nottingham, UK this Thursday – Sunday, 11th-14th Nov, 12-5 pm, in the first offline
appearance by DVblog, where a 45 minute program of work first posted here
will be continuously screened at The Wasp Room, part of Tether Studios.
17a Huntingdon Street
Kerry Baldry, Steven Ball, Robert Croma, Rupert Howe, JimPunk, Donna Kuhn, Morrisa Maltz, Millie Niss, Giles Perkins, Sam Renseiw, Alan Sondheim, Nathaniel Stern, Liz Sterry, Eddie Whelan
Also – if you’re reading this & are interested in screening this program -we have both PAL and NTSC
DVDs available. Just mail us!
Steven Ball has re-started his Direct Language project & this was the first piece
of the new sequence.
I think it is quite breathtaking.
It strikes me as very much in a relatively recent British experimental film tradition
where a quite austere formalism can engender the most extraordinary beauty.
There’s always the danger of a failure of nerve, the pill being quite needlessly sugared
and nothing such happens here.
Not only is it haunting & lovely, there’s food for thought here too,
the lack of glibness & the refusal to cuddle up to the viewer meaning
it sustains repeated viewing.
Two longer pieces from Steven Ball some of whose
Direct Language pieces we posted here last week.
Both pieces are great but I have particular soft spot for
ex Local Authority which, although I’m sure it
has all sorts of potent intellectual justifications for being is also,
quite simply, austerely & melancholically gorgeous.
More recent work from him soon.
Lyrical whimsy, which sounds lightweight, but isn’t.
It’s beautifully made by Steven Ball and has a strange
gravity not unreminiscent of the less dread-saturated
(I hesitate to say “more playful”) end of Kafka…or
Ben Marcus, perhaps…