An inadvertent but significant simultaneity

I have been trying to decide on an image for the paper strip around my chocolate for the Final Show. Struggling with the idea of of branding... see next post.… I decided to go up the Hill with Louise and  take some photographs.

This felt really false. A deceit.

So, after looking through my box of materials containing ‘As yet unmade actions’ I decided  to take some candles, matches and the inside of a roll of parcel tape.

My intention was to melt wax on the surface of the Hill, inside a ‘frame’, to make a kind of ‘Wax Tablet’, an impermanent print – an ironic nod to Empiricism, as it seems to me to serve as the opposite of a Tabula Rasa, containing  previous action within and on the surface of it and so, an ‘a priori’ residual presence.

Also  a commentary on the concept of palimpsest with a fluid reflexive relationship, between layers of  what is ‘written’ and erasure.

It started to rain as I  pitched my tent and talked to a passing dog ( Alfie) and his owner. We heard some shots, which I took to be a bird-scarer on the nearby Pick-Your-Own farm, but Alfie’s owner was not so sure, and was rather concerned thinking it was gun-fire. Not unknown in this rural area, but a bit close for comfort.

Louise arrived and I started work and broadcasting Trace #Crouch Hill.

Several people ‘hopped on’ including this viewer who had joined me before. It was a ridiculous Scope in many ways with Louise acting as ‘straight guy’ , chatting to viewers whilst I tried to light candles in the rain. I found a small wooden toy man figure, which had ended up in the earth

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 and placed the frame over ‘ him’ / that, to incorporate him in the wax.

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This gives an indication of the conversation during the process.

Towards the end, with the dogs getting restless, the wax leaking from the frame and me burning my fingers on the candle’s flame, I decide to just rest the candles on the soil and let the wax flow down on to the soil. Louise left and I just sat quietly chatting to the remaining viewer watching the flames via the Scope and my phone screen.

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When the candles had burnt away, I waited for the wax to cool, tool down my tent, packed up and returned home. As I left the Hill, I felt a sense of loss, as I often do when broadcasting alone from the site… a sense of detachment.

Later that night as I went through the Broadcast to save these screen shots I, unusually, had the TV on in the background.

Then I realised that I had been coincidentally privileged to be taking part in a simultaneous global community ritual of mourning and solidarity without being aware of it, and I understood the  meaning behind some of the comments a little more ( see link).

Orlando

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Simultaneous Broadcasts

This is a short post about something that took a long time to make and a long time to look through the excessive documentation…. for just a few screen shots.

I wanted to push the idea of simultaneous broadcasting from the same site via Periscope. Providing, what I hoped were several witnesses to the same event… and play with that idea.

I invited 2 local amateur archaeologists and 2 friends. The theme for discussion was Hill forts… relating to the idea of Crouch Hill as a signalling post, using fires, to nearby  Iron Age Hill forts such as Rainsborough Camp, which features in my research paper. Th planned action would also  aim to illuminate the general militarisation of the area, now and in the past; the  ‘multi-dimensional layering’ of  action, social interaction, memory  and physical landscape…. so combining the ideas of simultaneity and palimipsest.

Veronica had researched hill-forts and was to discuss them with Claire and other on-stream viewers, whilst Louise, Chris and I Periscoped the conversations at the same time. However, Veronica was sick and could’t lead.

Claire brought  her local OS (Ordnance Survey) map (a good link to the Trig Point and geo-location ) using that as a guide, we discussed the local geography and historyand position of some nearby  hill forts and ancient landmarks We  tried to spot some of them in the distance and then drank elderflower cordial. We finished the broadcasts  by  all walking around the summit and showing the viewers the geographical context of the hill from all our points of view.

This was the first time viewers had  been given a guided tour!

Challenges and thoughts

I had 2 phones with me , so in theory, a total of  5 different ‘witness ‘ broadcasts, (with another participant viewing from the  via desktop app. )

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a signal on one phone and the others have very few followers. so chat was limited…I had 43 viewers and the others  a handful. I didn’t see much chat visible though apart from a few ( mild-ish) Trolls and could only see a handful of people hopping on…. not at all sure why that was…Generally no direct chat from me to the broadcast means very little from the network – unless people choose to  chat between themselves.

This is what I’d hoped for. Chat within and between broadcasts and our group on the Hill.

The bright sun meant that none of us could see the screens properly without covering up the phone( and the cameras!)

We spent a long time faffing setting up, using up our data and batteries, I got several back-up packs jus in case)  by which time most viewers had got bored and left, I think.

I could possibly have spent more time ‘training’ people to use Periscope and practising but I don’t like that idea of rehearsal and practice. The action and event is just something that happens… not theatre…the  faff was just part of the process and was streamed too, as it evolved.

Essentially, it was what it was,

At that time, in that place 

Although we didn’t create the sense of community and chat between Scopers I thought may occur,  we did broadcast 4 different witnessings of the same action.We’d all used the same # to make it easier for viewers to track us ( at least one viewer  did make the effort to find other Broadcasts).

The exercise didn’t really investigate  simultaneity in different locations as we were all in the same ‘spot’ … but was more an attempt to explore and play with the idea of performer/participant/ audience/ viewer/ witness/ collaborator and these roles.

I had the original idea from looking at Trish Browns’ Roof Piece ( 1979), although that is different.There are different performers in different locations, performing the same action, simultaneously. This has probably been created already via a broadcast channels such as Periscope. But for global performance  is a possibility for future development.

 

What we did do, was to record 4 different perspectives of the same action and relations within the space at the same time…and network them to a ( small) but global and local community.

See below  for 3 different shots of a passing dog-walker  (owner of Jasper; half-terrier, half- Springer) taken at,  more or less…, the same time.

He wasn’t really keen on joining the chat… more concerned that my temporary occupation may continue to permanence…

I’d also brought a game of ( chocolate ) chess as a reference to the history of social hierarchy and capture ‘layered’ and hidden within the space. It was so hot the chocolate melted, leaving a mess resembling a battlefield on the board….

Games without frontiers?

From the 28th March 2016 my broadcasts took a superficially less serious turn. I’ve played around with the idea of board-games and what they represent in past work, looked a little at Game Theory, made some  games: some to be played and others where participation was questionable. I’ve not looked at video-games really apart from possible links with contemporary combat training for drone flights etc. as I’m need some serious collaborative input to engage with this for a making point of view…

In the context of my work now I plan to use board-games as a playful way of possibly highlighting underlying current and past cultural ideologies and events which have some relevance to the location of Crouch Hill.

They also have a ritual framework embedded within the game play and also within the customs around which individual groups, families and communities play the games…(i.e. ‘ We always play a game of ‘Risk’ on Christmas Day’…..)

There is a gentle reference to simultaneity here too .. all of us playing the same game at the same time…similar to Video Games…. but with the analogue reference.

In some ways its is my reference to Harun Farocki’s large-scale video installation Parallel I-IV (2012-2014) at the Whitechapel Gallery

So on 28th March, which was a Bank Holiday for Easter Monday here in the UK, I played some games with Periscope viewers.

I wasn’t up the Hill as it was pouring with rain I think…or some other practical reason…I just wanted to test the practicality of playing a game via Live Stream, so I played The Yes and No Game and Mancala.

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Hers’s a section of quotes from the Yes and No which in retrospect was probably the most popular of all my Scopes with and audience of 67 and 391 comments with 125 Hearts according to the Katch Sstats. I imagine this is because I was talking directly to the viewers, asking them questions and the game is strongly but simply competitive. I also included shots of my cat and my studio so it was very personal and intimate. I really enjoyed myself and so…. it seems did they. I seems to attract a few Followers on the one and did explain about some of my Scope for the future… so had some very interesting conversation.

I asked questions  from the cards included in the game but chose the cards relating to Britain, specifically and politics, customs etc  rather than for  e.g. entertainment.

It was interesting how everyone within the chat stayed for over 50 minutes and the interactions between them. Some obviously new each other already…..I can’t remember anyone ‘shared ‘the scope and invited their friends and followers formal or it jut evolved… I was too busy playing the game!

The purpose of this particular game was to explore the interaction whilst playing a game that may allow people’s personal thoughts to emerge and have some fun.So some elements of the ‘ludic’… spontaneous fun and playfulness

I apologise for the format below but it is taken from an Excel Spread sheet and I had some difficulties formatting it for here and still make it visible ..

maalkdo
You are losing
saif_2104
Let’s play the game
maalkdo
Well some one has to
 Always a chef born in Dundee      and grew up in Kenya
Yes well you could ask questions about fashion drinking and dance MAKES sense
Will the May 1st event be on scope I seem to remember a song about BAMBURY CROSS
U SAY U are not a historian but u are a great story teller I am sorry I must turn in but I will
Follow you
Take care

The second game I played was Mancala .. but this seemed very strange to play on my own.. but then on behalf of others….Unsurprisingly this had fewer takers! I was watching Youtube videos of how to play at the same time…. lots of variations.on a theme. The reason I chose Mancala as a conduit though was because of its ancient ( there is discussion about whether it is as old as [agricultural] civilisation itself) and wide cultural history  and its role as a ‘sowing’ game and ‘count and capture’ according to game play theory. Variants are popular in Africa, the Caribbean and US but not so popular in Europe apart form the Balkans and Greece ( this is a Wiki reference though…)

In a very simple way and possibly over literal, I was referring to  seed sowing and broadcast… seeding and spreading of ideas and possession/ territory whilst engaging with a global network which was relatively speaking …( apart from access to the technology and signal of course) without boundaries.

 

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14th November 2015 : waking up.

When I woke the next morning……having not seen any news the evening

before……I looked at on my phone straight away as I usually do.

I felt my actions the day before 13th November and  13th November continued were somehow prescient.

‘The Paris attacks’.

I haven’t got screen shots of those images as I was too shocked and concerned for people I knew of who lived in the area or were visiting.

This image here, now all too familiar.Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 09.32.52

and these from the Guardian,  images of many of the Front Pages of newspapers from around the world.

The shock changed into something else…..a feeling that as I was walking, thinking and acting so other actions were taking place simultaneously, elsewhere.

As mentioned in my previous post I’d been thinking about weaponry/ munitions, the actions performed  and the ritualistic nature of  their use in the  17th century ( and before) and in the present day before visiting Kineton, because of its association with storage of ammunition over many years.

The fact that these actions are played out globally not locally, in several places at one time but the ‘placement’ of these essential objects of this particular ritual are centred on this one location: one with such historic significance in the development of British politics and social history because it’s association with the start of the English Civil War.  See from this quote below from Caroline Wyatt in the Daily Telegraph 12th August 2012

The level of stocks held by the MoD only becomes clear when we visit Europe’s biggest ammunition depot, as we track the bullet on its journey from the factory. The depot lies in the tranquil countryside of Warwickshire, where Lieutenant Colonel Simon Hirst, the head of establishment for Defence Munitions Kineton, looks after several square miles of ammunition stores. Security is tight for the £2 billion of ammunition kept here.
“We are capable of storing about 50,000 pallets of ammunition,” he says, gesturing at row upon row of tidy boxes, stacked tightly from floor to ceiling in one of Kineton’s many warehouses. “We’ve been supporting defence since 1942, from operations such as Bosnia, Kosovo, the Gulf and more recently Afghanistan, as well as the campaign in Libya.”
From Kineton, the ammunition destined for Helmand goes to RAF Brize Norton, where it is flown to Afghanistan in a huge RAF C17 aircraft, landing at Camp Bastion, the UK logistics hub in Helmand.

My visit to the sited memorial  the previous day, hearing the distant deep explosions, somehow ‘sensing’ the history of past events from a psychogeographical point of view ,seeing the museum displays of  flintlock pistols, pikes and other weaponry and then the unfolding of events in Paris…..all these things reinforced the theories discussed in my Research Paper  see for Bibliography citations below.

From the Abstract:

Collective events, individual action and embedded practice act through embodied memory and both material and immaterial remains, as manifestations of previous actions and relations. These act reflexively in a continuing atemporal narrative process of actions, events, interrelations and subjective experience.

Temporal boundaries between present and past are arbitrary; the boundary is an ‘illusory’ horizon similar to the perceived physicality of the visual horizon.

Doreen Massey states:

‘space is always under construction, a product of relations between, relations embedded in material practices in the process of being made, never closed or finished.’(Massey, 2005 p9)

Lefebvre’s ideas on space regard places of social space as combined, superimposed and colliding; the local never absorbed regionally, nationally or globally (Lefebvre, 1991 p 88). He states that nothing disappears completely, earlier actions remain to underpin what follows; not just traces, memories or relics are left behind, instead, preconditions of social space endure and remaining real within that space (Lefebvre, 1991 p229).

Concluding:

Collective events, individual actions and embedded practice act through embodied memory and both material and immaterial remains – manifestations of previous actions and relations reflexively producing interrelations which occur within and between the communities ( locally and globally ).

Rather than being distinct, they are interwoven and accumulated in a continuing process of interrelations and material remains occurring within a durational present free from temporal boundaries. Subjective experience, individual small actions and larger events contribute to a narrative and constructed environment with equivalent significance in a cumulative continuum.