sensingsite 2014

Transcribing Site
19 May 2014

Parasol unit
14 Wharf Rd
London N1 7RW

Bram Arnold
(Falmouth University)
'Walking Home: Infinite Edition': On the abandonment of authorship in materialising site.
The work comprises a series of text and images that the audience is invited to contribute to by editing and restructuring my original textual account of the journey in 'Walking Home'. As the images scroll through, the text functions as a subtitle that increases in abstraction the longer the work is watched. The pace of the images and text challenges the viewer to decide between reading the text or looking at the image. In this it plays also with some of Matthew Buckingham's work and seeks to materialise a site in the mind of the viewer, through a multiplicity of engagements with a distant place that they have the opportunity to generate through anonymous participation.

Kevin Logan
(London College of Communication)
On the use of the ‘_’ word in my research [And, the _o_ filter as a com_ositional device

[_-_-_-_icking a ‘_’ word]
My current research being _ractice-led, one would be forgiven for assuming the ‘_’ word is ‘_ractice’- it is however ‘_erformance’ and its derivatives that I am referring to. I frequently describe my _ractice as being _erformance with a small ‘_’; this is to differentiate the low-key and lowercase sound-_roducing deed(s) that I am concerned with, from the added dramaturgy of what usually comes to mind when one considers _erformance art2. To be more _recise, the _articular ‘_’ word that I am going to deal with briefly here is the term ‘_erformative’.

“You are more than entitled to know what the word ‘_erformative’ means. It is a new word and an ugly word, and _erha_s it does not mean anything very much. But at any rate there is one thing in its favour, it is not a _rofound word” (Austin. 1970). The notion of _erformativity can be traced back to a series of lectures delivered by the _hiloso_her and linguist J. L. Austin at Harvard University in 1955, and _ublished _osthumously in ‘How To Do Things with Words’ (1962). Austin’s develo_ment of ‘s_eech act theory’ draws a distinction between constative and _erformative statements. The _erformative being an utterance that, rather that merely describing the world, does or _erforms something in the world, creating a state of affairs by the fact of its being uttered.

Maria Papadomanolaki
(London College of Communication)
My research investigates the crosspollinations between landscape, listening and literature. Drawing on the practice of soundwalking and the tradition of psychogeographic urban fiction and semi-fiction writing, the project seeks to develop an original set of methodological tools for exploring, listening and narrating the urban environment.  What does a sound triggers in our thinking and memory processes? Can a sound be limited down to it’s “here and now”? Do we think the “where, why, when of an aural event only in response to sound? How can different layers of experiencing a site be transcribed in written form and how can this document’ s finitude be negotiated through the process of listening? Brandon La Belle talked about thinking as a form of listening, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay investigates the transient and the nomadic though his “hyper-listening” and Gernot Boehme refers to sound and listening in the framework of the olfactory under his theory of the atmosphere. In all the aforementioned perspectives, listening becomes a field that invites reiteration, ambiguity, subjectivity and mobility, notions that prove to be of great importance in this research trajectory.

I will work in advance within the area surrounding Parasol Unit by the conduction of a series of reiterative exploratory walks. The end result will be the composition of a text in response to the site.  In order to present the text in front of the audience I will prepare a video where different parts of the text will be projected as slides.  While the audience will be reading/watching the text, I will be using pre-existing streaming technology on my iPhone (mixlr  broadcasting platform for pc or mac) to remotely  stream my live soundwalk as I move from outside to the gallery. The presentation will conclude with me entering the actual presentation/gallery space. The role of the text in the context of the presentation will be to act: a) as an intimate transcription of the site, b) as a score for my live streamed soundwalk. and c) tentatively as the “subtitles” to the incoming sound, existing in combination/juxtaposition to it depending on the listener/reader.

Sharon Phelps
Agnes Martin: her methods of painting and their origins
By means of a presentation, workshop and exhibition of my studio practice I consider how non-pictorial paintings can share an experience of landscape.  My practice-led PhD research Agnes Martin: painting as making and its relation to contemporary practice examines Agnes Martin's methods and their origins. I explain how her tactile approach began with found materials. She was a painter who came to prominence in New York during the early 1960s, aligning herself with the Abstract Expressionists.

Repetition of marks and hand drawn lines that invite close viewing are characteristic of her work.  I will explain her paintings in relation to my practice, which is also informed by certain contemporary artists whose work falls within an expanded field of painting. Examples of these are Karla Black and Simon Callery.

Karla Black's recent installation at a gallery in Hannover showed an exploration of everyday materials such as clear sticky tape, cellophane and cosmetic wipes combined with traditional art materials.  The spacing and layering of the composition mimics that of a natural environment.

Simon Callery references the layered surfaces of landscape revealed by archaeological digs.  His paintings are multi-layered constructions, which the viewer can peer into.  Pigments are saturated through his canvases so that paint and surface become one, and these can be suspended in concertina-like folds or stretched over semi-circular frames that protrude from the wall.

Sophie Read
(University College London)
My research examines the concept and act of transcription within a larger project exploring the role of the lecture in the performance, production and circulation of architectural knowledge in the early nineteenth century. As part of this work, the concept and act of transcription is developed as a performative architectural historical practice - operating as reflexive technique for collecting data, reenactive mode for scholarly enquiry, and critical, performative methodology for writing the role of the 19th century architectural lecture and its afterlife. My interdisciplinary work brings into contact art practice and performance, theatre and architectural historiography.

At this event I will present some of the transcriptions I have made of texts of the architect Sir John Soane's lecture manuscripts that he read at the Royal Institution in 1817 and 1820. This material has been neglected by other historians and never published before. Unlike conventional historical transcription approaches that primarily focus on recording and transmitting the formal architectural content of lectures, I have also been concerned with transcribing other aspects of these documents for example changes in (revealing a number of scribes), their layout and spacing on the page (data to be read/material to be shown), inconsistent punctuation (acting as a score that was written in order to be spoken, read and heard) etc. I use the technique of transcription as a means to close read the lectures as well as to investigate a number of linked sites including the material manuscript objects themselves; the scenario and dialogue in Soane's office within which the lectures were written and prepared for; the interplay of verbal and visual information that made up the lectures.​​

Trish Scott
(Chelsea College of Art and Design)
Experiential archives and archival experiences
This presentation discusses an installation Untitled (2013/14) which playfully explores the gap between the experience of "place" and the representation of that experience through words, A three screen video installation features a protagonist in three different locations. On each screen the protagonist appears to be discussing the "site" they're in, yet moving between screens the certainty of this connection is thrown into doubt, as it's the same monologue being spoken simultaneously, and we only hear one voice. Though not obvious the actual subject of the script is the archive, specifically the experience of being in an archive, which when re-enacted in different contexts plays on the already elusive nature of the archive as a "site": stretching it and transforming it, questioning the extent of its mutability. Beyond being rooted in an exploration of the archive, the work raises questions about the overlap between discursive and locational sites and the relationship between textual, semantic and sensory experience.

My research examines how archives are embodied as practice, centred on a case study of the Baring Financial Archive in the City of London. Archives are notoriously complex sites because of their elastic geographic, temporal and discursive dimensions. But whereas debates around the archive are often framed in abstract metaphorical terms, a long way from the actual spaces where archives are housed, this presentation asks: How can the archive be understood as a site (that's simultaneously located and discursive) and how can this be given tangible physical form as artwork? Where does the body fit in? And how can the experience of using archives (which often get written out of subsequent textual or visual representations) be articulated? Drawing on theoretical ideas on the archive from Derrida, the spatial approaches of Massey and Meyer and contextualised in relation to two artworks by Koseth and Mančuška, this presentation takes a playful and humorous approach to
explore what (if anything) separates the archive from other "sites" and experiences.

Materialising Site
23 April 2014
Lethaby Gallery
Central Saint Martins

Fagner Bibiano 
(Central Saint Martins)
Picturing Borders: Erotic Perversions in Relation to Site and Visibility

This practice-based research addresses the possibility of a transgressive practice of photography in relation to the desirous gaze and perverse practices of the erotic. It focuses on the kinship between the framed visual field of the photographic image and the desire to look through introducing acts of photographing in erotically charged sites. Drawing on Philippe Dubois’s L’Acte Photographique (1983) and Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume I (1976), the research endeavours to reveal affinities between the act of framing such spaces and operations of fantasy, fetishism as an activity (Freud) , erotic perversions (Barthes) in relation to the gaze (Lacan) in specific spaces in London through photographic practice. 

Since the beginning of my research programme, I have been visiting gay saunas and sex clubs around London to photograph their façades. Isn’t that a suggestive word, a façade? In spite of deploying an unobtrusive approach, no matter how low-key I tried to be, curious reactions to my act of photographing them have occurred. There would always be a passer-by who would brusquely stop and look towards whatever I pointed my camera at. 

At one particular location, a lady from a next-door shop stopped a conversation inside and came after me in the street enquiring the reason for my photographing. She advised me to be careful and mindful when photographing places like this because according to her, people have their reservations, and not everyone likes to be seen coming out of such a place. I jabbered I was an architecture student photographing signs in public spaces and she felt reassured. 

Charlotte Law
(Central Saint Martins)
Flowers From The Monkey Puzzle Tree
‘I've come to smelt, but even before I left home I knew I wouldn't.  The team has dropped away, storms are forecast, and the place had its own particular curiosity to abandoned research site used for experiments on monkeys.... (day two) is dedicated to the monkeys and my second combustible the making I'd considered this form a spirit, a voodoo dancers sceptre, animated and finding a home in the upturned roots of a fallen tree it becomes a paper effigy to ignite.  In a fraction of clear sky I take my chance, and raise-up a flame to the tree of knowledge: a monkey playhouse.  Weakened by the fire the central metal rod, an axis mundi, breaks at the point where the effigy enters the original, and another tree falls: ashes fly, surrounding me like snowflakes...everything is broken here, there are many sites of past fires, and the remains of a crematorium.  The images of action turn to blue prints in my mind, taking me out of Oxford, out of England, to tropical climes.  Within them lie a sense of revolution, the action of another age which feeds from the complexity of the sites psycho-geography...As the storm returns I research it's history... macaque monkeys of the Old World Monkeys are the most widespread monkey species, found from the rock of Gibraltar to Japan and Afghanistan...Brain damage in monkeys increases their fear of toy snakes, Brain-damaged monkeys forced to watch fish, Brain damaged monkeys set thousands of tests...’.   (diary entry) 

Onya McCausland
(Slade, University College London)
Turning Landscape into Colour Turning Landscape into Colour is an investigation into the origins of earth pigments ‘ochre’s’ in the British Landscape that considers their significance as contemporary cultural materials. Locating, mapping and extracting ochre’s from the landscape, and their manual processing, manufacture and re-presentation as colour are explored as vehicles for re-integrating experience of place and aims to establish new connections between landscape and painting.

Ochre is the generic name used for natural earth pigments, each ochre has a different chemical composition and physical characteristic, the colour of an ochre is as varied as the possible constituents and variety of settings in which it occurs. Once this was seen as a disadvantage because artists demanded consistency in their colours (Winsor & Newton pioneered colour consistency) now, those variables can be presented as a distinguishing quality that connect particular colours with particular places embracing diversity and local idiosyncrasy.

Interest in material knowledge has been re-ignited, spurred on by technology demanding new materials and applications whilst finite resources force innovative thinking about how existing material is reused. The emphasis on waste ochre materials; pollutants and spoil heaps - a legacy of past industrial scale mining across the country - highlights changing relationships to places and land use and considers ways in which neglected and overlooked materials can be recycled and turned into usable pigments that revive value, acknowledge the complexities of their context and reinforce a connection with place of origin.

Dan Scott 
(CRISAP - London College of Communication)
The Tingle Response
This presentation will explore a current work entitled Tingle, part of an exhibition at Harewood House in Yorkshire.  The work is a collaboration with a practitioner of the online phenomena of ASMR, a user-generated genre that features sound and listening as central components.  Tingle features my collaborator Olivia Kissper exploring a clock once owned by Marie Antoinette, using techniques she’s has developed in her popular ASMR Youtube videos.

The unique selling point of ASMR is the “tingle”: a buzzing, vibrating, physical reaction from which the acronym derives (the autonomous sensory meridian response), described by the website as  “a pleasant, often intense tingling sensation that begins in the head and travels down the body to varying extents”.

Tingle explores the material specificities of a historical object via this contemporary affective technique.  ASMR utilises the materiality of sound to connect two sites and subjects.  Its success is measured in its ability to literally “touch”; to trigger this “tingle” response. The voice is adapted, using modes such as whispering or soft-speaking to accentuate the tactile aspects of speech, allowing the physiology of the practitioner more presence (lips, tongues, vocal folds etc). The transposing of a located object and subject into sound, which in turn acts as a trace of that site reinvigorated by the tingle response of the viewer/listener, presents a novel example of the materialisation of site.  Site becomes a function of sensory transduction, mediated by technology and nervous systems of the practitioner and audience. 

Kai Syng Tan
Slade, University College London
On Running, Running London, Happiness and Playing Ambassador of Platform 9 ¾
a 25 minute performance lecture for sensingsite

Love London but feel lost? Fancy flaneuring and dériving – but tired of walking? Had enough of the 10,000 CCTVs shadowing your every move? Sick of being seen as an Other? Refuse to toe the party-line or to take things lying down? Tried sit-ins and walk-outs – but need something more poetic? Come join Kai Syng Tan in this stand-up – or rather, running – 1-woman show. Let Kai run through the ways in which running can empower you to feel a sense of ownership of London. Along the way, she will reveal a few secrets about being undercover as ‘Nondon’ Ambassador during the 2012 Olympics, happiness, and Platform 9¾. 

This performance is built on Kai’s PhD research on running as a creative practice (2009-2013) conducted at the Slade as a UCL scholar. Kai has been called ‘one of Singapore’s foremost video artists’ (Dr Eugene Tan 2007), and ‘a media artist to look out for’ (Johan Pijnappel 2005) with a ‘sardonic humour but also a sharp intelligence which makes her a self- reflexive, incisive artist of South East Asia now’ (Keng Sen Ong 2009). For the past 20 years, the cross-disciplinary-artist-curator-educator-researcher-advisor has exhibited (dOCUMENTA, Guangzhou Triennale, transmediale, Biennale of Sydney, YIDFF; ICA, MOMA, ZKM, 27th South East Asian Games), picked up awards (SFIFF Golden Gate Merit Award, The Young Artist Award, Japan Foundation Artist-in-Residency Award), curated (Cinema South Festival 2007, Delhi International Film Festival 2012), taught/wrote curricula/visited (LASALLE College of the Arts; RCA; LCC; ANU), opined/advised (School of the Arts, National Arts Council; Media Development Authority) and volunteered (GLA, Bloomsbury Festival). 

John Wild
(Queen Mary College, University of London)
Humans are widely assumed not to have a magnetic sense…However, there is consistent evidence of an influence of geomagnetic fields on the light sensitivity of the human visual system. Moreover, it has been proposed recently that light-sensitive magnetic responses are not only used for directional information, but may also aid visual spatial perception in mammals, by providing a spherical coordinate system for integrating spatial position.
Lauren E. Foley, Robert J. Gegear & Steven M. Reppert. (21 June 2011). Human cryptochrome exhibits light-dependent magnetosensitivity. Nature Communications, 2, 1-10.

The ability of humans to sense electromagnetic fields is a disputed territory at a period when a vast infrastructure of communications equipment has been constructed across urban and rural spaces to form the backbone of the im/material economy. These structures are as important as the iron bridges and railways were to the industrial revolution, forming an electro-magnetic architecture of transmission and reception.

Each site creates its own unique electromagnetic geography through its networked devices, WLAN, Cell phone signals, RFID readers, Bluetooth devices, DECT cordless phone base stations, and the internal processors of laptops. Making use of a GSM sniffer, electromagnetic induction coils, and a broad spectrum RF receiver to make this invisible geography audible, John Wild will employ the technique of electromagnetic audio drifting, allowing himself to be guided by the intensities, textures, and ambiances of the site’s electromagnetic transmissions, materializing the invisible architecture of the Lethaby Gallery.

John is currently a PhD student within the Media and Arts Technology Programme at QMUL researching ‘The Psychogeography of Post Digital Space’.

Performing Site
9 April 2014
The Performance Centre
Falmouth University

Photographs of the event by Ethan Folk

Bram Arnold
(Falmouth University)

A line made by walking: Again

In 1967 Richard Long got on a train from London Waterloo and got off somewhere in the Surrey countryside where he walked into a nearby field with a black and white 35mm film loaded into his camera. The photograph that remains of that days exploits’ has become an iconic artwork and a key moment in art history. As choreographer and artist Simone Kenyon put it in an interview I conducted as part of my ongoing PhD research “the whole [issue] around durational performance explained in a photograph.” 

Over the past two years I have been working with a program developed by artists Rob Smith and Rebecca Birch called Field Broadcast. The program enables an artist to be stood in a field with a video camera, a laptop and dongle and then broadcast a live-stream from that field directly to the desktop of any viewer who has downloaded a program beforehand.

For Performing Site, hosted at Falmouth University, I plan to present a work called A Line Made by Walking (Again) as a field broadcast, directly to a studio prepared with a projector for the presentation of the work, before returning to the studio to take part in a panel discussion around the day’s presentations, and issues of performance works for disparate, distant and out of the way locations.

Katrina Brown
(Falmouth University)

Perfect Circle: perfecting circle-ness
In perfect circle –  drawing is both a continuous and reiterative process – there is persistent accumulation of circles and a continuation of circling – and from this a circle-ness becomes evident on the surface.  In this imperfect and simultaneous process of making-unmaking and intention-accident, the circle- ness is perhaps perfecting itself.

In this a performance demonstration I am interested in opening up some discussion around choreographic processes of (un)making, action-image, lining/surfacing, scoring appearances of material and human presences. 

Lori Diggle
(Falmouth University)

From the Halseny Hut to the Shadow Hide

Where is the past and what has happened to it? For Nicholas Watson (The Phantasmal Past 2010) the past is fast disappearing, like our polar ice-caps, from the cultural imaginary of modernity.  Or perhaps, because it has more information latent within it than can be retrieved by current technologies, our past belongs more to our future and some future archive which will be capable of containing our distributed selves through many time zones.

From the Halseny Hut to the Shadow Hide builds on two locative  projects that each generated images, objects, sounds and texts through performative encounters with particular historical sites and particular historical figures, to express the slippery relationships between histories and fictions in site responsive work about the past.This work can be read as an exploded book. By capturing the shadows of individuals who have experienced it and projecting these onto a single, suspended page, individual portraits aggregate as a collective series.

For more information about my practice-based doctoral research, a poetics of uncertainty please go to

 Julie Groves
(CRiSAP London College of Communication)

Sense, sensation and the sensitive

Immersive and participatory sound art performance, utilizing the physical space as compositional component. 

I contend that the very act of sensing site is ultimately based in a physical interaction of the senses with the encountered. In those first moments, we must perceive it with our very bodies: let the sound drain into our ears, the resonance beat gently about our skins and accumulate a myriad spectrum of sensed-signals in light, touch, smell and sound. Only after that moment of first encounter can we then begin to make sense of sensation and to form conclusions about site, meaning and subjective significance.

With a creative sound art practice that consciously and intuitively utilizes physical elements as compositional processes, I explore notions of audience-ship, performance and tangibility.
This presentation takes a number of recent new works and discusses how my practice develops my PhD research into physical composition. The presentation will explore these installation works as site and will ‘physically compose’ the audience’s bodies through the presence of some simple, smaller pieces.

I will interrogate site in terms of the body and subjectivity, exploring the body as a transformative performer of site: demonstrating the relevance of the sensed in my current practice investigations into temporality and it’s physical manifestation as a denomination of sound.

John Hartley
(Falmouth University)
Material flow and entangled oscillation: The art apparatus and its own production
I will present and consider a suite of water-based art-works which function as low-fi, low-impact research devices.

The marine is a location of entanglement on many scales. Waves sit on top of each other. They mix timescales and energy flows of many nested scales, from planetary movement and atmospheric flux, down to ripples from bodies in the sea and the tiniest zephyr. Depending on the scope of an observation, we might isolate particular waves and consider others noise. But this contingent act removes us from our knowledge. The waves that are beyond our perception are no less influential. And going among waves causes yet further resonances. Our observations are implicated in what we observe on many levels.

I will attempt to develop and present an experience of waves that moves from considering waves as isolated artifacts to a nested, entangled perception appropriate to ecological knowledge. Using contemporary and redundant electronic equipment I will attempt to draw the process of sensing within an understanding of the waveform we sense. I will consider how an arts practice might try to read the process of its own writing.

Rachel C Kremer
(Central Saint Martins)
Selvedge: islomania and the wayfaring photographer
is a Masters research and practice-based project centred around both the obsessive impulsion to travel towards a topographical edge, and an enquiry into working at one’s physical and psychological boundaries.

Photography’s traditionally static two-dimensionality, inherent representationalism and its enforcing of Heideggerian notions of enframing is examined in tandem with more durational, non-linear performances—journeys made by repetitive, unselfconscious and flaneuristic acts of long-distance walking, indicated by Wallace as the peripatetic method of intention (
Wallace, Anne D. Walking, Literature and English Culture: The Origins and Uses of Peripatetic in the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994). By circumnavigating archipelagos of the British Isles, engaging in “memory walks” spanning twelve London postcodes or seeking the new and mysterious within the margins of a domestic garden, projects explore the dimensionality and diversification of “bounded” spaces; ‘a limitless fabric of possibilities, elegant variations […] on the same themes, yet each point unique’ (Snyder, Gary. The Practice of the Wild. Canada: Harper Collins, 1990). 

Utilising walking as both a meditative and investigative mechanism, significance is placed less on final output than understanding the landscape through the capability of the body. Resulting images—shot instinctively and after lengthy periods of exertion—present these literal/littoral perimeters with a subdued sense of expectation and imminence.

Carali McCall
(Central Saint Martins)
Running Restraint
Using (myself) the runner to articulate a form of drawing that tests the body’s physical limits, this performance is based on the discipline of marathon running. I aim to explore how drawing is not only connected to movement but can be located in a larger inquiry into the performative nature of human activity.