by Yuri Pattison
Event talk with Erica Scourti and John Arrington
by Yuri Pattison
ERICA SCOURTI, JESSE DARLING, YURI PATTISON, TYLER COBURN, ANNA BARHAM AND AMI CLARKE.
Opening night: 6.30-9pm 2nd May.
2nd May-20th July 2014
“As the sun sets, it’s red light is supplanted by the light of many neon logos emanating from the franchise ghetto that constitutes this U-Stor-It’s natural habitat. This light, known as loglo, fills in the shadowy corners of the unit with seedy, oversaturated colours.
The business is a simple one. Hiro gets information. It may be gossip, videotape, audiotape, a fragment of a computer disk, a xerox of a document. It can even be a joke based on the latest highly publicised disaster.
He uploads it to the CIC database - - the Library, formerly the Library of Congress, but no one calls it that anymore. Most people are not entirely clear on what the word “congress” means.
And even the word “library” is getting hazy. It used to be a place full of books, mostly old ones. Then they began to include videotapes, records, and magazines. Then all of the information got converted into machine-readable form, which is to say, ones and zeroes. And as the number of media grew, the material became more up to date, and the methods for searching the Library became more up to date, and as the methods for searching the Library became more and more sophisticated, it approached the point where there was no substantive difference between the Library of Congress and the Central Intelligence Agency. Fortuitously, this happened just as the government was falling apart anyway. So they merged and kicked out a big fat stock offering.” (Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash, 1992.)
In Neal Stephenson’s science fiction of 1992, Snow Crash is a computer virus that can also infect humans; “crashing their neocortical software and turning them into mechanized entities who have no choice but to run the programs fed into them” (1) and provides the subtext for concerns relating to the erosion of subjectivity and what amounts to free will. Two different types of language are identified by the software: ‘the librarian’, one that functions as an operating system for the brain, meta-viral protocols for living, and the other that operates as a counter virus seemingly liberating the people through self-reflection. Writing in 1992 Stephenson is intent on privileging the remnants of the liberal self that constitute the individual that notably is produced by market relations and do not predate this. In the intervening decades it can be seen that increasingly through the application of big data, both surveillance and marketing drives thrive, whilst structural feedback loops ‘reify and reinforce certain cultural, racial, gendered assumptions and misconceptions, limiting users to a particular stream and thus perspective’. (2)
Blurring the lines between what we might regard as code where ‘saying’ coincides with ‘doing’, through the problems inherent to computational linguistics where language resists easy processing, artists’ works emerge from the tangle of human and multi-media assemblage, leading to ideas of the de-centred human subject through their production.
"The recursivities that entangle inscription with incorporation, the body with embodiment… invite us to see these polarities not as static concepts but as mutating surfaces that transform into one another,” …”technology not only as a theme but as an articulation capable of producing new kinds of subjectivities”. (3)
(1) Katherine Hayles: How We Became Post-human. (2) Jean Kay aqnb interview with Yuri Pattison 20/01/2014. (3) Katherine Hayles: How We Became Post-human.
In Colocation, time displacement, by Yuri Pattison a roving camera navigates the interior of a former civil defence centre in Stockholm. Built in the 1970s to protect essential government functions from nuclear strike, it is now a datacentre. The Pirate Bay & Wikileaks have both used Pionen for colocation services but the camera's POV remains discreet on finer points like these, never fully disclosing the location it inhabits. Disclosure of a different kind reaches the viewer via speed reading technology, which displays chatlogs of John Titor, (purported) time traveller from 2036. One conspiracy suggests this character, diffused through online forums, is an upcoming Disney franchise seeded into internet culture by it’s suspected creator. Albert France-Lanord, architect of Pionen, has referenced 1960s & ‘70s SciFi cinematography (specifically Silent Running) as an inspiration for the design. The video was shot in digital HD Super16 using legacy lenses that are unable to resolve the contemporary requirement of HD, resulting in an image that is inextricably complicated by time.
The shelving units deployed by Yuri Pattison as a readymade display strategy for digital works were coincidentally arrived at as a format for presenting works in progress, a testament to their ubiquity and schematic aesthetic. In keeping with the shelving’s modular component like structure, Pattison will engage with the structure following his methodology with regards the display of data in physical space, as well as the shelves providing a site for other artists' presentations for a number of on-going works.
Erica Scourti’s work draws on the expertise of professionals within the fields of cyber security, digital privacy, social profiling and data mining to obtain ‘profiles’ and data based on her public and semi-private online activity, which will be displayed and updated throughout the exhibition period. The data that can be accrued through the inscription of our digital selves across social media and other platforms seems harmless until that Kafka moment arrives and you are refused access to board the plane you’re booked on. Working with a ghost-writer, the material collected will inform the basis of a new text narrating her fictional memoirs, extrapolating a version of this aggregate data self constructed through her digital footprint.
Jesse Darling employs EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) - a psychotherapeutic technique for treating PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) using bilateral sensory input and a visual script. Drawing on her recent research into trauma theory and neurological 'bare life,' (empirical and otherwise), this new video work guides the viewer through a 'self-administered' EMDR therapy session, sound-tracked by a new composition of binaural beats - low-frequency auditory stimuli that reportedly alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Robots Building Robots by Tyler Coburn (published by 2HB) meditates on the “lights out” factory, so-named for the lack of need for regular, human supervision. The book takes form as a travelogue of improvised performances, which Coburn conducted at a science park in Southern Taiwan; rumour has it that a robotics company is presently building one such facility on site. During a long walk through the park’s grounds, the author considers literary and philosophical speculations on labour, machinic intelligence and the “automatic factory”: an enduring fiction gradually creeping into reality. Adjacent to the book a rocker switch is embedded, made by an American manufacturer in control and communication devices that has gradually introduced more ‘lights out’ operations over the past twelve years, in an effort to remain competitive with overseas production.
Anna Barham uses technological and computational processes in the production of texts that explore the plasticity of language and the tension between subject and system. The voiceover of Barham’s 2013 2-channel HD video Double Screen (not quite tonight jellylike), consists of 15 (re)generations of an original text which she appropriated from Bridget Crone’s essay Image Machine. The new versions were made by repeated processing through voice recognition and synthesis software, subsequently cut and pasted together and an interpretation momentarily fixed by a human reading/recording. Barham utilises the voiceover from Double Screen as a starting point to generate a new text Penetrating Squid to be produced and presented in stages, at Banner Repeater and online, over the course of the show through a series of live readings and recordings.
Impossible Structures “the eye that remains of the me that was I” (Error-Correction: an introduction to future diagrams (take 3)) by Ami Clarke, is a whispered visual/audio work made available through a downloadable app that provides the ideal conditions for the work to be listened to – one to one, on headphones, kept in your pocket a little like a paperback. It is one in a series of experimental takes of an on-going enquiry into diagrams, that reference and include appropriated texts, contemporary commentary; news items, as well as anecdotal evidence, culminating in an interrelated convergence of many interwoven threads, whereby the voice, through language, is constituted “between someone else’s thoughts and the page’, and considers the production of meaning through inference, association, paradox, and contradiction. Take 3 was compiled within the Brutalist architecture of the Barbican and the artists tendency to get lost within this structure, and it’s location within the Corporation of London (which has a legal system outside of normal UK legislation) in relation to the new digital storage space/proposed commons of the Cloud.
Project space library.
4338 by Vladimir Odoevsky - new English translation of the unfinished novel (based on a public domain translation), edited by Yuri Pattison with translation notes by Oksana Pattison. The novel is set a year before Biela's Comet was to collide with the Earth, as computed in the 1820s, although the comet burned up later in the nineteenth century.
Robots Building Robots by Tyler Coburn (published by 2HB).
Not Quite Tonight Jellylike by Anna Barham and Bridget Crone (published by Arcade).
Penetrating Squid by Anna Barham. The score as a schematic arrangement of the different versions of the original text tracking the phonic mutations between them.
Title tbc - new publication by Erica Scourti – produced during the exhibition period and published by Banner Repeater.
UN-PUBLISH (2.01) by Ami Clarke, touches upon some perhaps misleading ideas regarding technology, open-ness and democracy. 'No one suspected a thing. (I) listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga's Telephone while "exfiltrating" possibly the largest data spillage in America history." (Chelsea Manning).
Colocation, time displacement by Yuri Pattison. With thanks to BAHNHOF AB, Sweden & the John Titor Foundation. colocation, time displacement was originally commissioned by Temporary Arts Project (TAP) for Migrating Origins, a project curated by Warren Harper and James Ravinet.
Programme of accompanying events:
The early 19th century saw numerous improvements in printing, publishing and book-distribution processes, with the introduction of steam-powered printing presses, pulp mills, automatic type setting, and a network of railways. These innovations enabled publishers to mass-produce cheap paperbacks and distribute and sell them across the UK and Ireland, principally via the ubiquitous W H Smith & Sons newsagent found at most urban British Railway stations.
“The term ‘communication’ has had an extensive use in connection with roads and bridges, sea routes, rivers, and canals, even before it became transformed into ‘information movement’ in the electric age. Perhaps there is no more suitable way of defining the character of the electric age than by first studying the rise of the idea of transportation as communication, and then the transition of the idea from transport to information by means of electricity.” Marshall McLuhan.
Banner Repeater is enmeshed within a site rich in a historical sense, as well as providing an opportunity to reflect on more recent writing and publishing technologies; their distribution and dissemination. New publications: both digital and print, as well as other hybrid productions, are published by Banner Repeater, adopting this lead in the distribution of new artists’ works from the platform at Hackney Downs train station.
‘In production’ reading group / workshop with Anna Barham
Tuesday May 20th 7-8.30pm and Tuesday June 10th 7-8.30pm
Readers are invited to read aloud and interpret the volume of raw, un-punctuated text that Barham will be generating over the course of the show.
UNIDENTIFIED FICTIONARY OBJECTS
Friday 27th June
Launch: Artists talk, performance and new print edition.
Publication Launch and Artists talk – Erica Scourti.
Launch of Erica Scourti’s new fictional memoir published by Banner Repeater, and artists talk with data analyst and ghostwriter, the co-authors and contributors to the new text.
Audio performance - Anna Barham.
Performance of the new work produced over the development period of the exhibition from the ‘In production’ reading group / workshop, interpreting the volume of raw, un-punctuated text that informs Penetrating Squid.
New Print edition by Jesse Darling – new screen-print edition developed from the work on display during the exhibition period.
Please note that Snow Crash exhibition 2014 - above - bears no relation to Snow Crash 2019 at IMT gallery Bethnal Green, curated by Kirsten Cooke.