Symposium 2.6.2016 with replies and reflections

Following the Symposium 2.6.2016 I’m posting answers to hopefully most of the questions which were asked during my slot.

There was quite a lag which meant that questions were more difficult to answer properly in the live time-frame, unlike the previous Skype chat-only Research Discussion ( and also further notes here)  in February.

Thanks to Jonathan who explained things on my behalf ( an uncomfortable process , but useful under the circumstances- also good to hear which areas I had made explicit to Jonathan during the Tutorial and which may need further clarifiction!)

Live-stream options:

I have looked at other ways of Livestream ( Google Hangouts, Livestream) but prefer Periscope as it is essentially a mobile app and so handheld and ‘intimate’ ( although available for viewing via Desktop now ) and accessible through 3G. With Hangouts and Youtube Lifestream using Downloaded Encoding Software I had variable results and was dependant upon  Wi-Fi.

The places I have been working often have no Wi-Fi but usually 3 or 4G.

I had problems with stream quality and faffed around changing Network providers (from 3 to Vodafone on unlocked phone and looked at others via other accounts ) but have solved the problem more or less completely by early upgrading from old iPhone 4S to SE…..

Periscope is essentially ephemeral, lasting only 24 hours ( Though there has been an app that saved stream with live comments visible- Katch )

and you can chose to save the video footage ( but no interactive comments) to your phone video roll.

Since upgrading my phone I’ve also been able to save ( within the 24 hours) by screen recording direct from the phone using  Quicktime onto my desktop.

Prior to that I was accessing via the desktop app and ( provided you used Chrome as a browser) you could screen record the whole thing with comments using Quicktime)

Prior to that, relatively briefly, I’d forgotten about the screen recording option… …(Doh! I’d used it enough for other things!!) and tried to record just paying pack and recording through a hand help or tripod mounted camera/ phone just so that I could reflect on the comments and make sure what I’d missed… also translate in Google translate as initially ( October 2015) many of my audience were Russian.

That paradox of ephemerality and desire to archive is important and significant throughout the process and conceit of the work.

The ‘actions’ ( which are all performative but not necessarily always ‘performance’) are ephemeral but still ‘trace’ remains – with or without archival documentation.

(I’ll be describing more of this in other posts…. but some links with Mystic Writing pad metaphor and other Derridean and other references ).


Audience Numbers

Numbers vary from about 70 to nil depending on what I’m doing and what time of day it is.

If I’m doing something alone which has a high degree of performance then I tend to get a lower number of viewers but who watch for a while. They may ask questions but get no answers as I am not behind the camera but in front… a separation of audience and performer as in stage theatre…. but an intimacy depending on where and how I position the camera.

If I’m doing something and chatting to viewers as they appear then the tend to stick around. This isn’t always possible as I’m working outdoors and want to read the comments and respond but can’t because of screen glare ( I’ve tried covering the screen but then it covers the camera! I need a low tech solution…the tent helps!)

I haven’t tried to get a following but have one. In the beginning I did try to ‘Follow back’ my followers just so that I could see and analyse other broadcasts broadcast but many of my followers are watcher only and many, early on, were just porn streams, so are blocked.

Audience for May Day bonfire  ‘Scope 

Ed mentioned that it would have been worth using high production values for the Bonfire video ( burning tapes) but this was  also a Periscope broadcast and despite the horn sound at daybreak being at 5.40am I had 3 viewers and 3 Replay viewers according to the stats.

There were between 6 and 12 viewers for the following series of Scopes of the bonfire making and lighting which followed and unto 6 replay viewers. (more details on an Audience post – with one screen shots).

The music for this was played at the site at the time of the Scope from another phone via a Bluetooth speaker, from a mix I’d made of all the music on the original tapes I was burning, downloaded from iTunes. see the May Day post . it is not added post-production

Generally speaking, here is also the chance of ‘happenstance’ viewers who are walking on the hill, as it is a popular dog-walking , family stroll route  and ‘camp-out’ location.

Some local walkers know me directly or by association abut others do not…they engage or don’t engage….as is their choice.

Style of video production – decision…

The hand-made style of video production is inessential choice in my work. Referencing the vernacular and hoping to  highlight obvious mediation/ remediation  of the event through the technology and yet provide a sense of immediacy despite a lack of immersion…see this paper on immediacy 

There is ambiguity in this approach and interpretation I realise. Lots to argue about and discuss which goes along with the performance/theatre/ audience boundaries and discussions which I hope to put on this blog somewhere..and should have done already….

Broadcast/ not Broadcast

All the work I have done on the Hill has been broadcast, even the trials of the equipment and the stream/ signal tests and experiments with video projection inside the tent.

Some of the footage on the first clip of the discussion whilst walking was not Broadcast as it took place on an M0D ( Ammunition Depot) site and as we approached the boundary my battery went dead.I filmed on my camera and included it anyway for the put[oses of the Symposium.

What’s the point of a memorial that you can’t see

Trystan was correct, this is important.

It referenced the memorial which is on MoD land which now ‘overlays’ the battle of Edge Hill Civil War site and memorial. The one we visited is on the public road and can be visited at any time but the one referred to is on the site which is visible on the first map used as background in the Symposium, at Graveground Coppice; the site where the bodies are actually buried.Is is only accessible with MoD permission and by the Sealed Knot on the anniversary of the Battle, as far as research tells me see also battle of Edgehill Battlefield siteScreen Shot 2016-05-28 at 14.14.11

The ‘half- and half space’ is at the boundary corner of this area. There are no signs prohibiting access but it is not on the Public Footpath Civil War trail.There had been previous warning signs P1030953and you can see further video on other private posts (if you want the password please email).

The quote’s important because you can’t see this memorial but people know it is there. I was thinking really of Pierre Nora’s ideas of ‘Site of Memory’ which  do not simply arise out of lived experience but are created to embody a memorial consciousness. These sites still mark rituals which he believes, act as boundaries to the past and as ‘illusions of eternity’ ( Nora – Les Lieux de Memoir Nora, 1989 ) in an otherwise de-ritualised society. Also there concept of the Derridian ‘trace’ ( Derrida- Of Grammatology , 1976) 

Engagement and meaning

I was pleased that Ed picked up on some of the layered meaning within the clips of documented Periscope streams.

These are intended to be accessed and engaged with by differing audiences depending on their geographical location, culture, age…as discourse operates at different ‘levels’ according to Post-Structuralist  and Discourse Theory quick link but more discussion needed.

I was rather concerned that he thought it to be ‘exclusive’ and ephemeral and I hope my methodology of ‘slightly ridiculous’ is open, engaging and accessible in its playful nature; but that as in the Trickster has a depth  and another level of engagement…….

I have wrestled with the terminology Site- Specific for this work because, Yes, it is located physically at specific – sites and the work is related to the history of these particular sites but it also connects with a global site and community as well as local and specific…..

Also the same methodology and method could easily be applied to any location or ‘place, so I chose not to use that term… also the term Psycho-geography or ‘derive’ does not really apply to my walks and discussions as they are chosen with purpose rather than discovered. The research process around their history is more of a ‘derive’ I feel and the discourse which arises when we are there… though there is a brief for participants so that is debatable.

Certainly there are  Situationalist links  though.

Hopefully I’ve answered most of the questions. I’ll check the Youtube video again and thanks to Jonathan for describing my Show ideas….. there will be more on a specific post.

Also some theory references which I should have put on a slide in the video.

Note to Self

Remember that the focus of my proposal should be on change, plasticity, fluidity and the ephemeral rather than ‘holding on’

Remember that !

Amygdala Strengthening of Cortical Memory Representations

Candice M. Chavez, James L. McGaugh and Norman M. Weinberger Chapter 7 in

Neuroscience » “The Amygdala – A Discrete Multitasking Manager”, book edited by Barbara Ferry, ISBN 978-953-51-0908-2, Published: December 19, 2012 under CC BY 3.0 license


Figure 1. The BLA is activated by stress hormones released by behaviorally important experiences. Dependent upon noradrenergic actions within the BLA, memory modulation effects on experiential representations produce memory consolidation in target brain structures

Thoughts and reflections on confusion, fragmentation and ephemerality on Tuesday!

Tuesday’s chat with Ed Kelly was especially interesting.

To start with I was engaged and excited by the content of video links Ed gave us and their reference to the concepts and nature of digital information and how this is relevant to art.

The first video showed how written text is unilinear but digital text is not. The Machine is Us/ing Us.

This felt quite relevant as I had been thinking more about written and printed text in my past work and artists I see as inspirational.

We chatted about code and machines a little, text as sculpture and corridors and  also about fragmentation.

A quote from Ed

So, the nature of that message is that we are all conduits of public information, but that the data is a medium of sculpture, of graphic representation (or audible representation – harking back to my work as a sound artist)’

The Khan Academy of Free education, bit like MOOCS I guess and other systems of e- learning. The idea of a non- hierarchical system of education.

Then the  chat started to become fragmented itself with every chipping in about all sorts of interesting things including dreaming machines ( algorithms sorting images), the flexibility and interactive nature of media and flash and allsorts.

I started to feel really frustrated as there were several conversations running at the same time.

Talk of glitches and music (Pierre Schaeffer) and Stockhausen and Eno and sound- art and an on going concern from Peter about not being able to access work as hardware changes.

This became a discussion about old analogue and digital materials and keeping old stuff or throwing it away and the first web page and sound work and sound artists and live music and Marshal McLuhan ( ‘the medium is the message’ —- the process is the product ) and who will be in London in February and ephemerality of digital media and………

I enjoyed it but felt we were just following random things thrown in and not discussing anything in depth and not sure what we should have been discussing.

Then we started to discuss ephemerality in digital and other art ;experience; process; commodity, consumption and it got HOT.

I realised how strongly I felt about process over product and what is most important to me.

How I am focussed on experience ( or like to think so).

We discussed Stonehenge and Lascaux briefly.

I see them as architectural spaces for communal use rather than ‘pieces of art’, whatever that means.

I then realised how much of my work has been about place and action within the place.

How I felt animated by the discussion because it was about topics that really enliven me.

 How I mustn’t lose that in my practice or my proposal.

Interesting that I felt able to say these things in a web-chat.

I feel sure I would have said less in a face to face discussion!!!

I felt that, in the end, we had all walked down different corridors of ideas with doors opened  by each other as we meandered through the conversation.

All of us finding different rooms of interest, in the same way we might research on-line… following our noses.

Hopefully each of us finding something relevant but without a didactic instruction…process led and an example of what Ed was aiming to demonstrate…am I correct?and does it matter?