Friday, December 19, 2008

Ritual Text

The saying of the rosary, the raking of gravel at Ryoan-ji, the chanting of a mantra: all rituals confined to the traditional, sacred world. Ritual text proposes a secular form of meditation, where the perambulations of a medieval monk coincide with the instantaneous, electronic, digital alphabet ... the text from the profane world of pixels, or LEDs, announcing a bus destination, scrolling out the stock exchange updates ... but here the walker paces out the letters on a 'pixel' screen of trees. The regular grid of trees allows the walker to walk their words, forming letters with their feet, disappearing in their wake as they walk, as in the words of Paul Auster (see post below), It was like drawing a picture in the air with your finger. There is no result, no trace to mark what you have done.

No trace, unless you are followed. Textual voyeurs may lurk within the grid of cypresses, surreptitiously recording the secret, personal tracings.

Landscape becomes theatre. Impromptu dances occur as the walkers merge and separate, each engaged in their own world of words.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Solvitur Ambulando

Angelica, traced in the snow by the footsteps of the smitten Persse, in David Lodge's Small World.

Walking the Nazca Lines.


For no particular reason that he was aware of, Quinn turned to a clean page of the red notebook and sketched a little map of the area Stillman had wandered in.
Then, looking carefully through his notes, he began to trace with his pen the movements Stillman had made on a single day – the first day he had kept a full record of the old man’s wanderings. The result was as follows:

It was like drawing a picture in the air with your finger. There is no result, no trace to mark what you have done.

From Paul Auster's City of Glass.

Jeremy Wood writes the word ‘water’ on the water through guiding his GPS with a small dinghy.
"In essence GPS Drawing is about recording lines using one's journey as a mark making medium. The GPS receiver automatically records your journey like a geodesic pencil. Most GPS receivers record your whereabouts as a track, like a dot-to-dot or a digital 'breadcrumb trail'. This is often displayed on liquid crystal display on the device and the track is updated as you move about. When the line is viewed on it's own you have a GPS drawing."
Jeremy Wood and Hugh Pryor

"Drawing is taking a line for a walk." Paul Klee


Thursday, December 11, 2008


Leonardo da Vinci, Adoration of the Magi, 1481
Johann Sebastian Bach, Erbarme Dich Mein Gott, Aria 39 from St Matthew Passion, 1736

(An experimental video ... my homage to Andrei Tarkovsky ... needs to be watched in state of extreme contemplation ...)

... Season's Greetings to all ...


En route to Auckland today, a mountain precipitates from the cloud, ether to solid, in the blink of an eye.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Very Becoming

On Francesca Woodman and Ray Mortenson

The melding of one into an other. To continue the thinking on shifts of state, water into light, light into solid ... images of decay, decomposition, dissolution. The reduction of architecture to particles. Of self becoming other, becoming wall, floor. Everywhere absence. But still presences linger.

Ray Mortenson, Untitled [The Bronx], 1983

Francesca Woodman, Space 2, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975 - 1976

"How could movements of deterritorialization and processes of reterritorialization not be relative, always connected, caught up in one another? The orchid deterritorializes by forming an image, a tracing of a wasp; but the wasp reterritorializes on that image. The wasp is nevertheless deterritorialized, becoming a piece in the orchid's reproductive apparatus. But it reterritorializes the orchid by transporting its pollen. Wasp and orchid, as heterogeneous elements, form a rhizome. It could be said that the orchid imitates the wasp, reproducing the image in a signifying fashion (mimesis, mimicry, lure, etc.). But this is true only on the level of the strata -- a parallelism between two strata such that a plant organization on one imitates an animal organization on the other. At the same time, something else entirely is going on: not imitation at all but a capture of code, surplus value of code, an increase in valence, a veritable becoming, a becoming-wasp of the orchid and a becoming-orchid of the wasp. Each of these becomings brings about the deterritorialization of one term and the reterritorialization of the other; the two becomings interlink and form relays in a circulation of intensities pushing the deterritorialization ever further. There is neither imitation nor resemblance, only an exploding of two heterogeneous series on the line of flight composed by a common rhizome that can no longer be attributed to or subjugated by anything signifying. Remy Chauvin expresses it will: "the APARALLEL EVOLUTION of two beings that have absolutely nothing to do with each other." "
From Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

Ray Mortenson, Untitled [The Bronx], 1983

Francesca Woodman, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-1978

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Water / Light / Aura

On Abelardo Morell and James Casebere

At the points of collection, condensation, the intangibilities of water and light precipitate. In chemistry, certain conditions in a liquid lead to the process of precipitation, and a solid is formed.
This seemingly impossible (al)chemical moment has its parallel in the play of light, shadow, water. And, perhaps if there is a physics and a metaphysics, then there is also a chemistry and a metachemistry, where objectivity is transcended. Chemistry and physics collide at the point of molecular thinking, of the thresholds between the constituents of things and their forming into the real.
The vision of James Hamilton-Paterson's swimmer, opening Seven-Tenths: The Sea and its Thresholds, looking up from below the water and seeing that surface of conditions meeting as a 'mirror of air' ..."The swimmer reflects on this mirror, imagining the sky weighing down on the sea and the sea holding up the atmosphere, curious about what exactly can be happening at the interface. If it were possible to magnify the activity, surely a buzzing skin of molecules would be revealed? Water molecules and air molecules so intermixed and saturated with atoms in common it would be undecidable which medium they constituted. At what point did these milling particles become waves?"

The swirling surfaces of chemistry and physics are momentarily held within the photograph. The phenomenological moment, where the process of condensation, precipitation, and state-shifting takes place. Light becomes solid, auratic...

James Casebere, Maghreb, 2005

Abelardo Morell, Light entering our house, 2004

Water becomes light, and light becomes water ...

James Casebere, Flooded Hallway from Right, 1999

Abelardo Morell, Camera Obscura: View of Central Park Looking North-Summer, 2008

Fessing ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Garden of Memento Mori[e]s

The Garden of Memories was a topos of artefacts, the uniqueness of which is only revealed by my distance from them - in time and place. Whale bone arches formed a guard of honour along the sandy paths, implying a ghostly skeleton of the whales once hunted off the coast. Wearing the wrath of the wild coast, the ribs became more and more weathered. The bones were re-painted from time to time, standing out starkly for awhile in their whiteness, before regaining their patina. The tri-pots were regularly painted too, a slick glossy enamel black. Memories of whaling were somehow detached from reality, reforming into a mythology of place, as though a gentle mantle was draped over things, obscuring the sharpness into a benign still-life of enigmatic objects.

Memories of war were gathered into the obelisk sitting in the centre of the gardens. The roll of honour for Kaikoura recorded there, like every small town. And like the whale bones it softened gently into the assemblage of elements, each with its own poignant aura. Now missing, and greatly missed, is one of the significant loci of childhood memories. The birdhouse in the shape of a whare nui, a Maori meeting house. Not painted in the conventional Maori strip of red, black, white, brown, it was instead green and white. A green roof and white walls, but with the traditional maihi, or carved 'arms' that decorate the gable on the building's front. It seemed to have been rebuilt on a visit a few years ago, but alas has now disappeared altogether.

The stone in the wall just along from the gardens is cracked and almost hidden. Perhaps I never even noticed it before. The crack intervened in the word 'memories', separating the syllables, and suggesting a re-reading, as not simply remembering, but remembering death. The fractured word hinted at mem[ento] mories, reminders of death. The whales on this very coast, the soldiers in distant lands, silently held in place, below the paper weights which tether memories in the winds of time.