sensingsite 2012

The View from Above: An Urban and Rural Aerial Journey - Pat Naldi

In response to the exhibition Lines of Thought at Parasol unit, PhD students at University of the Arts London and Goldsmiths College, University of London presented their research over three afternoons in March and April 2012.

Programme and Abstracts

Wednesday 14 March

Out of Running
Carali McCall (Central St Martins)
Drawing has become a repetitive, continuous process, set to test my endurance and record my expenditure of time and energy. Drawing the limits of my body has been the foundation for my practice and defines how I approach thinking about 'marking process'.
This presentation will examine how I consider my physical actions while running as part of my practice. The constant rhythms of my heart beating, my lungs breathing and the motions of my arms and legs swinging are explored to help define drawing as a repetitive, transitory state of expending energy that marks territory.

Points of Dis-Articulation
Robert Luzar (Central St Martins)
Part lecture, part silent performance, this presentation examines 'gesture' as pointing-out, or apophanasis. This Ancient Greek term will set-out the subject of exploration under an artistic approach: coinciding the hand, body and projection by aligning them with a digital drawing tablet and projector, while projecting/pointing-out an image of a clear blue sky into the room. How does the presenter appear when illuminated, cast within an interior suggesting simulations of an outside, and marked by a series of points gestured through the drawing-tablet? Doubling this physical and virtual act the presenter will propose quotations and terms that, in the mode of 'articulation', look into clarifying how the index finger, hand and body support, in apophantic gesture, notions of 'this' and 'that'. After aiming to critically reflect through quotations, along with images and diagrams made for preparing this performance, the presenter turns and positions himself toward the shadow, screen and marks. In this scene, set for articulating intelligible points-of-view, these gestures can either suggest exactness and coincidence; or exceeding this place, a placing of 'this' as 'that', under a manner of dis-articulation. 

Wednesday 4 April

Lumino-City: the Perception of Light and Time in the Urban Realm
Rachel Sarah Jones (Goldsmiths, University of London)
In considering the role of light within the perception of urban temporality, the images within this presentation attempt to disrupt the boundary between a state of recognition and a state of disorientation in order to examine where this boundary lies. I will argue that the borders between familiarity and strangeness, distance and closeness, and virtual and actual are continually shifting, thereby making it impossible to determine them absolutely. The role of light within the perception of time has shifted from a primary reliance upon sunlight to what Paul Virilio describes as the 'indirect' light of machines. The virtual realm increases in importance, as actualised physical interaction becomes less, causing a potential disappearance of the material city. Images pre-dominate interaction within the present-day city, creating an 'overexposed city' (Virilio), whereby the relationship between individual and whole has become more significant than ever. Although light is necessary for perception and according to Deleuze is equivalent to and ever-present within all matter, its existence does not automatically engender perception or recognition. In order to understand further the relationship between the individual and the city (between the parts and the whole), this presentation examines the moving image as a metaphor for perception, looking at the intersection of the still and moving image. By recording the everyday urban realm and manipulating the amount of light within the camera to overexpose subject matter, I will explore how light functions to both reveal and conceal by reducing the legibility of the images and disorientating the viewer, thereby creating a sublime effect. The viewer is forced to decipher the faint subject matter appearing through the overexposure, causing a reliance on memory and imagination in order to help fill in the details, thus creating an instance of non-linear temporality or duration similar to the Deleuzian 'time-image'. 

Timeframes in the peripatetic view: temporal experience and the shattering of space in moving image artwork
Fay Hoolahan (Camberwell College of Arts)
This presentation investigates the idea of film as spatial practice, and considers how film as practice can be used to understand how we experience space and place. It addresses the concept of 'film as a means of transport' (Bruno, 2002), and explores how moving image artworks offer the experience of 'voyage' within a process of navigation. It examines how the medium of the moving image functions as 'cinema-topography' within a process of creative geography, in that it not merely depicts space but also conveys a sense of space beyond purely optical - and auditory - perspectives: film is able both to produce 'place', while also documenting the experience of material sites. The presentation proposes that, as a medium of 'motion', film is able to generate an experience that is both a spatial and temporal 'event' for the viewer; yet, as 'event', this can operate as adialectic of location and dislocation. The tensions in the experience are therefore exposed: issues of proximity/distance, exterior/interior, belonging/not belonging. The 'collision' of timeframes in the temporal landscape of film offers multiple viewpoints and shifting spectator positions. This is discussed in relation to Eisenstein's theories of the 'shattering' of space in film montage and in terms of picturesque practice, in which the fixed perspective of landscape painting is replaced with the peripatetic view of 'complex spatial wandering'. (Bois, 1987).
The presentation references examples of moving image work (Mariele Neudecker, Sophie Calle), and describes the current practice-based research of the artist/speaker in which these issues are explored, including Translation Points (audio and video work for Agendas Research Group at Venice Biennale 2009) and Great North Way (video work in progress).

Wednesday 25 April

The View from Above: An Urban and Rural Aerial Journey
Pat Naldi (Central St Martins)
The View from Above: an urban and rural aerial journey features aerial video footage of the view from two hot-air balloons of the terrain below of urban London and rural Warwickshire. Though diametrically opposed, the geographic locations captured in this video footage - urban and rural - are inextricably linked. These aerial journeys present a time and space that exist between the departure and destination of getting somewhere. Paul Virilio argues that the transport revolution of the nineteenth century brought about a change in the phenomenon of 'arrival', "Spatial distance suddenly gave way to temporal distance... the most distant journeys being hardly anything more than interludes." (Polar Inertia, 1990) In this video footage departure and arrival are literally suspended; space-speed slowed down in space-time.
The aerial view or view from above follows our historical desire and quest to visualize the territorial surface of the earth. An Apollonian gaze providing mastery over territory and a unity of vision has been a central tenet in the history of visuality and in theories of landscape.
This presentation will closely examine the link between technological advancements and their role in overcoming the natural limits of human eyesight to provide a new vantage point for the eye and our subsequent relationship to space and place. 

"Look at this Mountain, it was once fire."
Louis Henderson (London College of Communication)
This presentation will investigate Jean-Marie Straub's recent proposition that cinema, as an art of space, is a unique medium for conducting topographic studies of archival texts. Arguing for a form of 'archaeological' cinema, I will show how an archival text can be interrogated and put into question through the tracing of the document back to the landscapes to which it refers, in order that a better understanding of the 'truth' or 'memory' of the document can take shape. Comparing the material reality of an archival document with the materiality of the landscape that is spoken of.
I will also bring into question the ways in which cinema can reveal the written word (the script/the voice) buried beneath the lines and curves of a landscape (the desert). Highlighting what Deleuze claims is unique to cinema, namely that it can speak of something, whilst showing something else and that the something being spoken of is in fact underneath what is shown. I will particularly focus on Deleuze's idea that in cinema "speech rises into air, what it speaks of sinks underground." This will become especially poignant due to the fact that what will be spoken of in the film is the Egyptian anti-colonial resistance that fought and died in the desert in Sinai. As speech rises into the air, the resistance goes underground.
This presentation will be the first exhibition of findings from my recent field work conducted in the Sinai Desert, February 2012. The field work is part of a practice based research project that looks into the possibility of cinema as an archaeological critique of archival research, culminating in a short essay-film called Logical Revolts. The film is based on a script, found in an archive, for a film made in the 1950s about the Suez Crisis which was subsequently banned by Israel, Great Britain and France.