Blogging about some of the things happening at Wysing, or influencing what happens at Wysing.

Archive: June 2014

Private vs Public Final Entry  28 June 2014

Patrick Goddard performs Apocalipstick – like lobbing a Molotov cocktail through the window of England’s green and pleasant land

Tags: publicvsprivateliveblog | 


Private vs Public Entry 7  28 June 2014

Skype conversation between Yuri Pattison and Josh Harris

Pattison: I came across Weliveinpublic, which I think is the first example of live blogging - you filmed in every room of the house and people watched you 24hrs a day.

Harris: It wasn’t that they were watching us, it was that they were getting into the hard drive of our brains and participating in our decision making process. I would get into a fight with my girlfriend and then she would go on social media and they would tell her to tell me to go sleep on the couch – which was out of character for her. People started controlling us.

Pattison: So Social media shifts people’s persona

Harris: Well actually Facebook is just a tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t produce our lives very well. It is going to be more sophisticated than that.

Pattison: What led you to do set up Net Band Command?

Harris: Every part of life is censored and monitored by the system, so instead of having the CIA or the FBI watching us, we do it ourselves.

Pattison: So are you reclaiming the network?

Harris: Well I don’t have any clearance level to watch other people. Someone in Scotland Yard is watching you, but I can produce it better. Scotland yard’s weakness is that its not very interactive. In the world of Net band

Command you can earn high security clearance and you can work in unison to effect change in the world. We are proposing to take over Tate Modern and turn it into a command centre for the world.

Pattison: Are the decisions of Net Band Command fair?

Harris: I just want to do a military action against the Tate Modern. In a virtual government, in any government people do good and bad. At least I have high security clearance.

Pattison: After you finished weliveinpublic what happened?

Harris: I was being hunted by the authorities. I looked not normal. In this post 9/11 society anything that’s fishy gets the fish eye! I was on the run and I can tell you, its pretty cool – for a while then its nice to settle down

Tags: publicvsprivateliveblog | 


Private vs Public Entry 6  28 June 2014

Soheila Sokhanvari on Iran from 1925 -1979
Sokhanvari takes us back to 1925 to tell the story of Modern Iran, a place that underwent a dramatic transformation when the royalty was overthrown and the Shah took power. He was pro-western and passed laws about wearing western clothes. She discusses the role of the British and the Americans in bringing about the revolution in 1979, through their desire for oil and fear of communism from nearby Russia.

Rammy El: The Egyptian Patriarchy
The structure of Egyptian society has always existed with the father at the top and there is a direct synergy with the position of the father and that of the godhead. Every organisational structure in Egypt is based on this patriarchy from the school to the factory to government. ‘Consider Mubarak as your father’ was the slogan. The problem with this is that this system of rule is highly inefficient.
The Egyptian language has many proverbs and sayings:
If you don’t have an elder representative you must seek one
The father is the God of the house.
El sites various ways culture has subverted this:
The novel Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz for which he received publishing bans and death threats told the story about a father who favours one son above the others (they are Satan, Jesus, Moses and Mohamed). He relates how Satan is expelled for standing up to his father.
In Egyptian society father knows best. Any non-conforming person is threatening. They are portrayed as unorthodox and dangerous and Political parties have respect because they’ve been around for a long time, not for their policies.

Throughout the Golden age of Egyptian cinema this patriarchal society has been ridiculed:
El presents a series of films including:

‘School of Trouble makers’ by Ali Salem. 1973
‘The Kids have grown up’ directed by Samir Al Asfory, 1979
‘Between the palaces’ 1954 written by Naguib Mahfouz directed by Hassan El Iman

The Arab Spring occurred because there was a crack in the system that gave people the chance to reflect and ask that maybe father got it wrong. This seismic change was so big as almost impossible to comprehend
What happens when the father is removed?
Because of Social Media patriarchy can not dominate the way it used to and the young do not see stagnation as stability, they are not afraid of change. Extreme personality politics will fall to the side and substance will take control.

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Private vs Public Entry 5  28 June 2014

Soheila Sokhanvari on Iran from 1925 -1979
Sokhanvari takes us back to 1925 to tell the story of Modern Iran, a place that underwent a dramatic transformation when the royalty was overthrown and the Shah took power. He was pro-western and passed laws about wearing western clothes. She discusses the role of the British and the Americans in bringing about the revolution in 1979, through their desire for oil and fear of communism from nearby Russia.

Tags: publicvsprivateliveblog | 


Private vs Public Entry 4  28 June 2014

Discussion session with Aaron Bastani and Ray Filar

Question: There is this strange idea where health has become a building block in the neoliberal system – eating well and taking care of yourself. So being unhealthy becomes a radical alternative, even if it is detrimental to the person.

Filar: Yes, if you drop out you don’t win. This is why communities are so important

Question: What do you mean when you talk about abundance?

Bastani: The obvious examples are Spotify or Amazon, organisations that give us access to any book or song. A socialist would say Nationalise them. It could happen to Amazon because they are too big to fail although its highly unlikely. But I am more interested in local solutions like the Boris bikes removing the idea of ‘my’ bike, or ‘my’ car and being more collective.

Question: In terms of mental health issues, the private made public happens all the time on Social media doesn’t it?

Filar: Yes but Facebook is a form of surveillance. This is not to say the kind of communities I envisage could not take place on social media. But in terms of mental health issues, I think it is important that these communities exist in another form. The problems with Social Media is that it has an isolating effect. The question is how you extend solidarity in Social Media?

Question: Does social media stop people demonstrating because they can rent their anger out on the Internet?

Bastani: if you look at the scale of some of the recent mobilisations it is in the 100s and 1000s, and I’m not just not talking about the Arab spring. The technology allows these protests to scale up to massive proportions this is thanks to digital networks.

Tags: publicvsprivateliveblog | 


Public vs Private Entry 3  28 June 2014

Ray Filar: How to stay sane when everything is shit

1. Success as a person = a successful career:

Filar says we define ourselves by the work we do. Politicians have championed hard working families but capitalism relies on the success of the few and the failure of the many.
The suggestion is that the unemployed are not trying hard enough creates a mental health situation.

2 The social imperative to stay sane:
This is the worst slogan for anyone mentally ill.
This individualises pain. We are supposed to cope and if you are not coping you are broken. You have to get treatment. This is a deliberate political strategy – neoliberals want us to be too sick so we cannot object to what they do politically.
450 million people globally have a mental health issues
In the UK one in four adults has a diagnosable mental health condition during the course of a year.
There is the idea with mental health that you are being lazy or you just need to get over it.

3. Refusing to stay sane as a radical action
Filar publishes articles about politics and mental health. There are two types of people  who write to her in response to this: those that say these articles resonate with them and the others who tell her she is brave. This is because writing about mental health can endanger your career. Who is going to want to employ you?
Filar wants to see a change in government policy by embracing mental health. This will hopefully build more mature, caring functional relationships.

4. Solidarity and communities of care
Filar wants to form communities in which it is ok to talk about mental health. It is a form of radicalism when taboo subjects are turned outwards and publicised. Sharing these emotions is to create a community from which social activism can happen.

Tags: publicvsprivateliveblog | 


Private vs Public Entry 2  28 June 2014

Presentation by Aaron Bastani:
Starts by listing the problems:

1. The present economy: Bastani shows a film of the American Republican Paul Kanjorski discussing the electronic run on the banks in 2008. He describes this as an existential threat to the entirety of western civilization.
This he says was the first trigger that awoke many from the apathetic slumber was the economic crisis. How bad was that crisis? It is still here. The solutions that have been introduced are temporary.
2. The long-term crisis in the ecology. The rise in temp 2 degrees C would mean the world JG Ballard describes in ‘Drowned World’ could be a reality.
Bastani discusses Wage Capital Relation – this means that capital eliminates people from the working model thereby diminishing amount of human labour needed.
But capitalists need wealthy time rich customers, and they want low paid workers, which results in ever expanding credit.
3. Political representation – memberships of political parties are in decline across the world. The conservative party had three million members and now has less than 100,000. This, Bastani says undermines the possibility of these organisations having any meaningful influence and means they are sycophantic to the media in order to woo voters.

So what are we looking at in the Future?

Three things he suggest we might see:
The collapse of Europe
That China will dominate the economy of the future
White people are going to be an ethnic minority in the Uk by 2065.
The world will be getting warmer.

Tags: publicvsprivateliveblog | 


Private vs Public Entry 1  28 June 2014

Live blog by Jessica Lack.
Good morning, and welcome to the second in our series of live blogs for Futurecamp, the ten week events series taking place here at Wysing Arts Centre over the summer. You can check out the other Futurecamp events here.

Today’s session asks what the future holds for the global economy and whether economic forecasts can shape the political landscape. Has society become more active or apathetic since the economic crisis? And what, if anything, can we do about the growing intrusions into our private lives through digital and drone technology?

I shall be keeping you updated throughout the afternoon. The event kicks off at noon with talks by Aaron Bastani, activist and founder of Novara Media, and Open Democracy Journalist Ray Filar.

In the meantime you can:

• Check out Aaron Bastani’s online site Novara Media
• Read Ray Filar’s article Mental Health: Why we’re all sick under Neoliberalism
• Leave your questions on the Facebook page and I shall endeavor to introduced them into the discussion at 1:30pm

In light of the recent ruling against three of Al Jazeera’s journalists and their subsequent jail sentences, our thoughts turn to the Middle East. I’m looking forward to hearing Al Jazeera producer Rammy El at 2:30pm on the ramifications of this ruling on free speech and impartial reporting in Egypt. You can get up-to-speed on the latest developments of the Al Jazeera court case here.

The artist Soheila Sokhanvari was nominated for the Catlin Art Prize for her work TPAJAX. She will be discussing Iranian politics from 1920 to the fall of the Shah in 1979 and the impact it had on the culture of Iran.

Artists Yuri Pattison and Josh Harris will be confronting the pervasiveness of digital technology in our everyday lives. Harris is perhaps best known for his weliveinpublic project in which he lived under 24-hour Internet surveillance.

Artist Nicoline Van Harskamp presents Yours in Solidarity, a film about the Dutch anarchist Karl Max Kreuger who died in 1999.

Finally Patrick Goddard performs Apocalipstick at 4:45pm

Tags: publicvsprivateliveblog | 


Private vs Public: Activism, Economics and Politics Today  28 June 2014

The writer Jessica Lack will be providing a live commentary on todays' event Private vs Public: Activism, Economics and Politics Today. Tune into Facebook and Twitter for live updates.

Tags: publicvsprivateliveblog | 


Helena Hauff  27 June 2014

It might be a bit early on a Friday morning to be posting this, but here's another great mix that I've been listening to a lot from Helena Hauff. It has a kind of majestic melancholia about it. Helena will be closing the music festival on 30 August and at the end of a long day of great music it's always good to know that there will definitely be some serious dancing... click here or cut and paste this link into your browser... http://lineout.pl/podcast-84-helena-hauff/ 

Click the 'spacetime14' tag for for music festival stuff. Click here for the full festival line-up.

Tags: spacetime14 | 


Whispering Pines  22 June 2014

A brief interlude from music festival posts to mention a performance that happened at Wysing last weekend by Shana Moulton. I really enjoyed it at the time and have been thinking about it a lot since. It was basically her performing in relation to computer generated imagery, pre-recorded scenes including footage shot in Wysing's famous 'Tree Keep' the previous day, alongside found footage including extracts from the most extraordinary TED talk by the stroke specialist Jill Bolte Taylor. There's a lot of very good work out there in which artists are using CGI and green screen technology, but I really haven't seen anyone interact with technology in this way before; questioning how that very technology manipulates our expectations of ourselves, both physically and emotionally, and offering a surprisingly spritual, albeit wryly so, persepective on being human. If you haven't seen her work before, here's the trailer for her ongoing 'Whispering Pines' performance in which she is collaborating with the composer Nick Hallett. 

Tags: shana moulton | 


Ravioli Me Away  16 June 2014

Thanks to Jessica Lack for live blogging our event on Saturday. You can read the full transcript by clicking the tag 'thewayweactnowliveblogtext'. We'll be live blogging all of our events over the summer so there's more to come. In the meantime, back to the music festival and the brilliant Ravioli Me Away - Sian Dorrer, Rosie Ridgway and artist Alice Theobald - have just released a very funny, and mildly threatening, video for their clever song Cat Call. Have a look... Plus click the spacetime14 tag for more videos of people playing at the festival.

Tags: spacetime14 | 


The Way We Act Now Final Entry  14 June 2014

Performance by Shana Moulton

Cynthia is Shana Moulton’s alter ego  - “an excuse”, she says, “to put on make-up, wear a wig and perform.” But Cynthia is more than that. She’s a 37-year-old Cindy Sherman looking conduit for all our neurosis’s, climbing through the cosmos of feminine hygiene products, beauty aides and cod-religious philosophy to Nirvana. Which, in this case is a pot of Activa - and all that eating it promises (immediate transformation into Shakira of course). A hilarious and warm portrayal of the ageing process, girdles, and the advertising industry that feeds off a woman's fragile vanity.

Frances Stark’s ‘My Best Thing’, 2011

Coercion, collaboration and copulation in the digital world. A soap opera featuring two online avatars on a dating website which is developed from real experiences that occurred to Stark online. To begin with the woman seems to dominate the conversation, she appears to genuinely want some kind of relationship with the man and continually pushes the man to reveal himself, while the man’s role appears to be more passive and only interested in seeing how far the female avatar will go to excite him.

Stark raises questions about the boundaries that are crossed when intimacies are exchanged online. The conversation swerves from flirty to aggressive to moments of poignant honesty, yet neither character ever truly reveal themselves and the relationship always seems to be contractual.

Best moment:
Man: ‘Do you have a slave who buys lighters for you?’
Woman: ‘Yes’
Man: ‘Capitalist’

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 16  14 June 2014

Rachel Reupke Wine & Spirits 2013…
A slow moving silent ballard depicting the relationship between a man and a woman through the prism of a beer glass.


"You need to breathe"

"I know I have actual pains in my chest"

Rachel Reupke on Wine & Spirits:

She has tried to read ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ by Thomas Pynchun three times and keeps  getting stuck in the same place. The same situation is happening to the characters in her film.
Each scene in the film is autobiographical
Most of the images are from alcohol advertising.
It is a silent film, inspired by Fritz Lang
The diversity of images is like some modernist poetry.

Erica Scourti, A Life in AdWords (2012/13)

A film in which the artist reads out the key advertising words attached to her online diary emailed to her Gmail account each morning:
Unsurprisingly sex and hangovers seem to dominate.

A typical list runs thus: ‘Birth control, red wine online, benefits of drinking water’.

I quite like that ‘the artist’ elicits the response ‘fatigue testing’ and ‘vibrating monitors’, while ‘Teacher’ is linked to ‘kicked in the balls’ and ‘how to build self confidence’.

In the discussion with Kathy Noble, Erica says the lists reveal just how saleable our emotional and physical states are. You can be sold a new pillow, new medication or a new lifestyle.
Jesse Darling sees this as a feminist work
Erica agrees, saying the imperative towards self-bettering was particularly feminine and it was interesting that many of the keywords were about self-improvement.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 15  14 June 2014

Jesse Darling Performance

A Power point polemic on the nature of social alienation and private angst. Jesse Darling discusses the origins of her name and her personality and how her life has been formulated by social media through the use of social media.

Its lyrical, funny particularly in relation to her surname - which she describes as 'a warcry of defense of the world that doesn't love you'

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 14  14 June 2014

Discussion between artist Cécile B Evans and Wysing curator Kathy Noble on her film AGNES (the end is near) 2014 about a spambot who manipulates digital data into expressions of human emotion.
The film is made in relation to her digital commission for The Serpentine Galleries website.

Questions were raised about how the work originated, Evans explained it evolved out of a performance she did in which she presented purely subjective information.

The character’s name AGNES is inspired by a Twilight Zone episode in which a digital being falls in love with her creator and ultimately destroys him – why is it always a woman who is created to destroy men? Says Evans.


Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 13  14 June 2014

Question: People are less aware of what is going on around them because of mobile phones, they are not present in the place that they are in. Is it really possible to be in more than one place at the same time?

Richardson: People just are in different places at the same time. It is part of who we are.

Broadbent: Its about authenticity. What is the authenticity of the situation, people will have to make decisions about what is more important in the space that they are in. The person on the mobile phone or the one in front of them.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 12  14 June 2014

Question: Do you know of any research into whether TV was seen as a threat to social structures when it was introduced?

Broadbent: I have been lucky to follow the arrival of the internet because I have watched it evolve since its inception. When TV arrived there were few hours of programming, it was a slow evolution. It managed to fit into the shared environment. Whereas with the WIFI devices they are personalised. In that respect it is less of a communal environment.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 11  14 June 2014

Question 1: Has concentration broken down through too many digital devices. How do we focus when we have so much social media and there is a lack of understanding across generations about this.

Dr Stefan Broadbent: We should not see attention as linear, but traditionally this is how it has been. This has now changed.
Dr Kathleen Richardson: We are not present because being present is not very enjoyable.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 10  14 June 2014

Richardson calls the way we interact now ‘Mechanical sociality’
There is the idea that we are not present when we are interacting with machines, but often we are not present when we are interacting with people. We are following well worn social conventions that may not actually reveal who we really are.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 9  14 June 2014

People are not interacting with another person they are interacting with a machine.

Richardson studies robots, social networking and also autism – and she tries to bring these things together to try and help people with autism back into the social arena.
A child with autism has difficulties reading human beings. There is an idea that a machine might be better at helping a child with autism than another human being.
In the philosophy of attachment disorder, people with autism are imagined to be missing social parts. These machines can address these ‘deficits’.
A human is too confusing to read, whereas a robot is simpler for the autistic mind.


Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 8  14 June 2014

Taking your senses away from your experience:

Cuna Figurines

The colonialists thought the Cuna when making these figures, were copying the colonialsts' culture - but we do not think the same when artifacts from tribes are then exhibited in museums.

The idea that if you are indigenous and you take ideas from other cultures your culture is disolved or disrupted, but this is not seen the other way around.


Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 7  14 June 2014

Richardson cites Walter Benjamin: Work of art in the age of Mechanical Reproduction

This changed our perception of the world around us.

Uses the example of the theatre - it is a collective experience for both the audience and the participants.

When a camera is present then you are acting for a camera - this is your audience, you are acting to a machine and it is no longer a collective experience.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 6  14 June 2014

Dr Kathleen Richardson: on Digital Social Networking: A collective out of body experience.

Dictionary def of out of body experience: as if your mind and soul have left and you are looking at your body from the outside,

People have all the consumer goods that they need and they want to invest their income in bigger and better houses - it is about social status and a display of wealth to others.

Two different types of sites in digital networking: the annonymous and the personal.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 5  14 June 2014

Dr Stefana Broadbent: Fundamental changes in the home

The TV was a fundamental transformation of the home environment. It was seen as an object as the focus of joint attention.
It was not a disruptive element in our social world.

The story of the computer is completely different. They were positioned in corners that were identified as little offices.
They were there for educational purposes. These were not in a shared space.

With the intro of WIFI this space was subverted. We see the emergence of individual devices and the conflict rises not just from the separation and isolation of individuals but also how our spaces have been designed.

It pushes the limits of what we imagine the home space to be.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 4  14 June 2014

Our attention is a limited resource and that is what makes it so special for those trying to get access to it.

Dr Broadbent describes a toddler pointing to a cloud and he's checking to see if his mother is watching.

This is a crucial moment in child development in the construction of language as most primates are not capable of this.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 3  14 June 2014

Dr Stefan Broadbent: discussing the social history of attention, she says the biggest currency that is being sold and traded in the internet and digital industry is attention

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 2  14 June 2014

Welcome to our live coverage of the first Futurecamp event in which we explore how human behaviour has changed in the digital age. Over the next few hours I shall be reporting the views of anthropologists and artists on the dramatic transformations in recent years in the way we communicate and what this holds for the future.

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


The Way We Act Now Entry 1  14 June 2014

Live blog by Jessica Lack.
Good morning, and welcome to the live blog where I shall be covering the first in a series of talks and screenings held at Wysing Arts Centre as part of Futurecamp, the ten week events series taking place over the summer. Today’s session focuses on how human behaviour has changed as a result of digital technology and what the repercussions of this might be in the future.

This blog will run throughout the afternoon. The event kicks off at 12pm with an introduction from Wysing Arts Centre curators Kathy Noble and Gareth Bell-Jones.

In the meantime you can:

• Check out the Serpentine Galleries’ spambot AGNES created by Cécile B Evans who will be in discussion with Kathy Noble later this afternoon 

• Get up-to-date with recent developments with this report about the computer AI who passed the Turing test. 

• Leave your questions on the Facebook page and I shall throw them into the discussion at 1:10pm

Today’s event kicks off with Dr Stefana Broadbent, who presented her research into how digital technology has revolutionised office culture by reducing social isolation in 2010. You can watch her Activate talk about the subversive nature of mobile phone communication in the work place here 
It will be interesting to see where her research has taken her in the past four years.

It could well be said this live blog is symptomatic of the very phenomenon up for discussion today, particularly in light of our second speaker Dr Kathleen Richardson’s recent writings into social networking as a dissociative practice.

Finally Futurecamp resident artist Cécile B Evans will be in discussion with Kathy Noble about her spambot AGNES

Tags: thewayweactnowliveblogtext | 


Psychology and Behaviour in the Digital Age  14 June 2014

The writer Jessica Lack takes over this blog today to provide ongoing commentary on our first event as part of the Futurecamp series; Psychology and Behaviour in the Digital Age. Updates will appear on the Wysing Facebook and Twitter accounts with links back to the blog. You can add your comments to the Facebook and Twitter feeds. Looking forward to seing you if you will be at Wysing. Otherwise, hope you enjoy the live streaming and live blogging.

Tags: futurecamp | 


Peepholes  12 June 2014

I'm really pleased that Peepholes are able to play at the festival this year. Trippy, mesmerising and overwhelming stuff... Full festival line-up here.

Tags: spacetime14 | 


The Future  7 June 2014

This is a really great video that the festival Moogfest made and in which Holly Herndon talks briefly about what she thinks the future possibilites in music might be. Her answer is similar to the one I have been giving people when they ask me why our festival is subtitled The Future. It's all about people working at the edges - trying things out to see what happens, blurring music, the visual and sometimes the audience. It's very interesting to think of the future in terms of that blurring at the edges - life, work, roles, genres, gender. The women taking part in our festival are are experimenting with that way of working, often working collaboratively in interesting ways. The whole festival is definitely a celebration of some of the amazing things happening when the visual and music cross over. By the way, Holly Herndon is doing a full AV show at our festival, you can see a bit of what that might look like on the video. It really is going to be amazing! The whole things is going to be amazing. Come!

Tags: spacetime14 | 


Silver Fox  1 June 2014

Silver Fox are artists based in Newcastle and I'm really pleased that they will be able to join us this year. Really lovely stuff. It's the last month to get your early bird discounted tickets sorted. Tickets with camping nearly gone! All tickets are vailable here. Also, click on the tag below to see videos by some of the people performing. It's an amazing line-up, full festival details here.

Tags: spacetime14 |