How to Construct a Time Machine
MK Gallery Milton Keynes
23 January-22 March 2015
Review by Edwina Attlee
In his essay on the history of photography Walter Benjamin charges patent-law problems and a coincidence of industrious inventors as the cause for the accelerated development and misty history of the medium. Conditions were created ‘that for a long time ruled out any kind of looking back.’ (1) The irony is that photography created the conditions for a backwards-look, an arrest and exposure of the momentary that made looking back, both pastime and pleasure. What was it now possible to look back at? Nothing more than the optical unconscious. This was Benjamin’s term for the hitherto unseen, the blown up, the magnified, the halted and the reversed. After photography people could see, for the first time, ‘their posture in the split second of their stepping out’. It is its revelation of the split second that makes the camera a time machine. Obsession with the split second is not a new phenomenon as the 26 works on show here, spanning 1896 – 2014, make clear. Film, video and still-image animation make up the largest proportion of an exhibition that includes drawings, sculpture, musical scores and recordings. From the grainy magic of Georges Méliès and Louis Lumière to Teching Hsieh’s 8,627 single film frames depicting a year of clock-punching, the screen-based medium seems to be the one that is turned to and returned to for attention to the timely.
The show’s curator, Maquard Smith, set himself this question, ‘what is particular – historically, conceptually, aesthetically – to the recent temporal turn in contemporary art?’ He writes that each work ‘makes it possible to play around with, to transform and reinvent the ordering of the past, the present and the future’. What the works do side-by-side is in fact to reveal the opposite, they might desire to subvert and escape time but not a single one does. The medium of photography and film is satisfying because it can be manipulated; it permits the fantasy of slowing down, speeding up and holding still.
The art historian Carol Mavor has described her essay on nostology (the study of aging) as ‘an embarrassment of helplessness’. This exhibition reveals the construction of time machines to be a similar endeavor. The machines betray a discomforting obsession. Their makers are desperate, compulsive, and I suspect, always to be frustrated. On Kawara’s date paintings are only a more legible version of the lines scored into prison walls, made by a captive so as not to forget. But not to forget what? Are dates so important? Are times? As Martin John Callanan’s ‘real time’ departure board, for all the planes in the world, scrolls through an improbable spew of lift offs from Ho Chi Minh City, from Bradford, from Tibilisi, the effect is nonsensical. These events (flight, waking, falling asleep) are both countable and uncountable, or, counting them does not add up to an amount that contains or stands for what is ‘real’. An attention to time does not hold it still, nor does it empty it of its contents.
Which is not to say that this is a pessimistic exhibition. Although redolent of Samuel Beckett’s gallows humour, a lot of the works are extremely funny. After all, a good joke is all in the timing. Thomson & Craighead’s ‘The Time Machine in Alphabetical Order’ calls out ‘machine, machine, machine, man, man, man, Morlocks!’ A number of the pieces give glimpses of a technological unconsciousness, the unbidden pictures and patterns that emerge from automatic systems of ordering. Manfred Mohr’s programmed expressionism uses algorithms to make art. The humour of these pieces works side-by-side with the discomforting sensation of the inanimate made animate.
It is always funny (and tragic) to think about what is happening at the same time as something else. Upstairs from the exhibition, in an empty Video Room, I watch John Cage and Merce Cunningham dance and make sounds on the same stage. Purposely near to one another but conscientiously dislocated they try to make their work without influence from the other. Cage describes it as ‘two things going on at the same time, which is characteristic of life’. It is the ‘at the same time’ which is the most contemporary of concerns for the time machines whirring in the gallery below. Current technologies make simultaneity visible, splitting seconds and distributing their image. The desperate work of the self-consciously timed machines continues – and the clocks still work.
(1) Walter Benjamin, ‘Brief History of Photography’, One-way Street and Other Writings (London: Penguin, 2009) p.172
This large survey book builds on the ZKM Karlsruhe exhibition tracing the multifaceted relationship between art, science and technology in Dutch landscape art around 1650. Long before digital satellite imagery, Dutch artists used modern systems of remote sensing. Their art works provide valuable insights into past exchanges of knowledge that anticipate the techniques of mapping used today.
Includes A Planetary Order.
Hardcover: 500 pages
Publisher: Hirmer (1 Dec. 2014)
Dimensions: 25.5 x 3.8 x 29.4 cm
24/7 will focus on the changing world & technology, and how the attention economy is affecting our lives, how we consume information and how it dominates not only our waking but also our sleeping moments. Our experience of time is mutating at the speed of light, due to the glass fibre and wireless networks that keep us entangled. How this affects our sense of reality now and its impact in the near future is one of the most important discussions in the world today.
In the late 1990s, when Google was barely one year old and was still a privately held company, its future CEO, Dr. Eric Schmidt was already articulating the context in which such a venture would flourish. Schmidt declared that the twenty-first century would be synonymous with what he called the ‘attention economy’, and that the dominant global corporations would be those that succeed in maximizing the number of ‘eyeballs’ they could consistently engage and control.
24/7 is focussed on stimulating discussion on this ‘attention economy’, the global thirst for information and the daily data consumption and mass synchronisation of work and leisure rhythms which are synonymous with this. We are working, communicating and consuming whenever and wherever we happen to be in the world. Divisions between night and day, between rest and work are gradually disappearing. Our experience of time is mutating at the speed of light, due to the glass fibre and wireless networks that keep us entangled.
Therefore 24/7 forces the audience to step out of the cinema, into hotels. A hotel is just like a cinema, a place where one checks in to step out of the daily routine. They are open 24/7 and strongly associated with our need for sleep. While examining the ever-changing world of the 21st Century, this programme challenges the traditional notion of a film ‘slot’ by raising the question of what we now class as a ‘normal duration’.
Made possible with support from the British Council Travel Grant Fund
The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies
Chapter 31, Of Re/appropriations, Gustavo Romano
Hardcover: 556 pages
Publisher: Routledge (26 Jan 2015)
Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 17.5 x 3.6 cm
23 January – 22 March 2015
Preview 22 January 2015 / 6-10pm
MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3QA.
Admission is free
January 2015 MK Gallery presents How to Construct a Time Machine (23 January – 22 March 2015), an exhibition of over twenty-five historical and contemporary works that explore how artists play with media in innovative ways to transform our experience of time.
What is time? How do we order the past, the present, and the future? Why are artists interested in time? How is art a machine, vehicle, or device for exploring time? How is art a means by which time ‘travels’, and how does art permit us to travel in time? Consideration of these and other questions has provided the exhibition rationale for guest curator, Dr Marquard Smith, Head of Doctoral Studies/Research Leader in the School of Humanities at the Royal College of Art, London.
The show’s title is taken from an 1899 text by the avant-garde French writer, Alfred Jarry, written in direct response to H. G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Time Machine (1895). Wells invented and popularised a distinctively modern, fictional concept of time travel, with the time machine as a vehicle that could be operated ‘selectively’.Jarry’s response crafted a pseudo-scientific fiction that presents the time machine and time travel as an instance of ‘the science of imaginary solutions’.
Taking this idea of the time machine, time travel, and perhaps even time itself as an instance of ‘the science of imaginary solutions’, the exhibition is divided thematically across the galleries and includes works by John Cage, Martin John Callanan, Jim Campbell, Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Matt Collishaw, Ruth Ewan, Tehching Hsieh, the Lumière Brothers, Chris Marker, Kris Martin, Manfred Mohr, Melvin Moti, Nam June Paik, Katie Paterson, Elizabeth Price, The Otolith Group, Raqs Media Collective, Meekyoung Shin, Sun Ra, Thompson & Craighead, Mark Wallinger and Catherine Yass, amongst others.
Film work ranges from George Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902), an iconic silent movie which follows a group of astronomers as they explore the moon, to Thomson & Craighead’s The Time Machine in alphabetical order (2010), a complete rendition of the 1960s film version of the Wells’ novella re-edited into alphabetical order.
Sculptural work includes Mark Wallinger’s Time and Relative Dimensions in Space (2001), an aluminium version of Dr Who’s ‘Tardis’ police box that simultaneously disappears into the space-time continuum and reflects its own surroundings, and Ruth Ewan’s We Could Have Been Anything That We Wanted to Be (2012), a decimal clock which divides the day into ten (rather than twenty-four) periods, echoing a bold 18th century French Republican attempt to redefine and rationalise the day.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, designed by Herman Lelie, featuring an extended Introduction by the exhibition’s curator and a translation of Jarry’s How to Construct a Time Machine, together with essays by Dutch cultural theorist and video artist Mieke Bal and radical philosopher Peter Osborne. The exhibition will be supported by a range of related events including tours by the curator and artists, seminars, academic conferences, and film screenings.
Objectivity and Representative Practices chapter
Dr Chiara Ambrosio, UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies
Digitalization and computerization are now pervasive in science. This has deep consequences for our understanding of scientific knowledge and of the scientific process, and challenges longstanding assumptions and traditional frameworks of thinking of scientific knowledge. Digital media and computational processes challenge our conception of the way in which perception and cognition work in science, of the objectivity of science, and the nature of scientific objects. They bring about new relationships between science, art and other visual media, and new ways of practicing science and organizing scientific work, especially as new visual media are being adopted by science studies scholars in their own practice. This volume reflects on how scientists use images in the computerization age, and how digital technologies are affecting the study of science.
Hardcover: 292 pages
Publisher: Routledge (22 Oct 2014)
“Departure of All”, 2013, מסך LCD, מחשב ותוכנת מחשב,91.4×49.9×40 ס”מ
באדיבות האמן וגלריה James Cohan, ניו יורק/שנגחאי
האמן הבריטי הקונספטואליMartin John Callanan מושפע בעבודותיו ממערכות חברתיות ושלטוניות המעצבות את חיינו וחוקר את מקומו של הפרט בתוך המערכות האלה. לא אחת הוא מפנה בקשות מידע לשלטונות או לתאגידי ענק בינלאומיים, ואוסף הנתונים הרחב שהוא מפיק במחקריו משמש כבסיס לעבודותיו וכמראה המשקפת את העולם הרחב. בעבודה “Departure of All” (כל הטיסות היוצאות) נראה לוח טיסות המציג מידע חי על כל טיסה שממריאה מכל נמל תעופה בינלאומי בעולם בזמן תצוגתה של העבודה. המידע מתחלף על הלוח במהירות גבוהה, וההמתנה המוכרת מול לוח הטיסות בשדה התעופה מתחלפת בזרם מואץ ומסחרר של נתוני טיסות, המקבל תוקף מעצם הידיעה כי מדובר בטיסות אמיתיות הטסות ליעדים אמיתיים בזמן אמת. “בעבודה זו אני מתעניין במה שאינפורמציה זו מייצגת”, אומר האמן, “58 טיסות בכל דקה מייצגות כ־400,000 אנשים הממריאים לאוויר בחלקים שונים של העולם והוצאה של מאות מיליוני דולרים מדי רגע”. המידע, המופרד ממיקומו הטבעי על קיר שדה התעופה ומתחלף בקצב מסחרר, מייצר בעבודה סתירה פנימית, ומעורר שאלות על משמעותו. הצגת העבודה – שנראית כלוח טיסות לכל דבר – בתוך חלל של גלריה – שאף הוא בדומה לחלל שדה התעופה מתפקד כמרחב ניטרלי, זירה זמנית ומקום מעבר – עוטפת את העבודה בקשר הולם, טוענת אותה במשנה תוקף ומזמינה מחשבה על ההשפעה הפסיכולוגית של החוקיות והנהלים במקומות כאלה על המבקרים בהם.
The Future of Objectivity
Dr Chiara Ambrosio, UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies
This volume sheds light on still unexplored issues and raises new questions in the main areas addressed by the philosophy of science. Bringing together selected papers from three main events, the book presents the most advanced scientific results in the field and suggests innovative lines for further investigation. It explores how discussions on several notions of the philosophy of science can help different scientific disciplines in learning from each other. Finally, it focuses on the relationship between Cambridge and Vienna in twentieth century philosophy of science. The areas examined in the book are: formal methods, the philosophy of the natural and life sciences, the cultural and social sciences, the physical sciences and the history of the philosophy of science.
Hardcover: 788 pages
Publisher: Springer; 2014 edition (20 Jun 2014)
Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 4.8 cm
Ecocinema Theory and Practice is the first collection of its kind—an anthology that offers a comprehensive introduction to the rapidly growing field of eco-film criticism, a branch of critical scholarship that investigates cinema’s intersections with environmental understandings. It references seminal readings through cutting edge research and is designed as an introduction to the field as well as a sourcebook. It defines ecocinema studies, sketches its development over the past twenty years, provides theoretical frameworks for moving forward, and presents eloquent examples of the practice of eco-film criticism through essays written by the field’s leading and emerging scholars. From explicitly environmental films such as Werner Herzong’s Grizzly Man and Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow to less obvious examples like Errol Morris’s Fast, Cheap & Out of Control and Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the pieces in this collection comprehensively interrogate the breadth of ecocinema. Ecocinema Theory and Practice also directs readers to further study through lists of recommended readings, professional organizations, and relevant periodicals.
Stephen Rust (Editor), Salma Monani (Editor), Sean Cubitt (Editor)
Hardcover: 344 pages
Publisher: Routledge (27 Sep 2012)
Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
Scientific research on climate change has given rise to a variety of images picturing climate change. These range from colorful expert graphics, model visualizations, photographs of extreme weather events like floods, droughts or melting ice, symbols like polar bears, to animated and interactive visualizations. Climate change graphics have not only increased knowledge about the subject, they have begun to influence popular awareness of global weather events. The status of climate pictures today is particularly crucial, as global climate change as a long-term process cannot be seen. When images are widely distributed, they are able to shape how the world is thought about and seen. It is this implicit basic assumption of the power of images to influence reality that this book addresses: today’s images might become the blueprint for tomorrow’s realities. “Image Politics of Climate Change” combines a wide interdisciplinary range of perspectives and questions, treated here in sixteen interdisciplinary case studies. The author’s specializations include both visual practice and theory: in the fields of climate sciences, computer graphics, art, curating, art history and visual studies, communication and cultural science, environmental and science & technology studies. The close interlinking of these viewpoints promotes in-depth insights into issues of production and analysis of climate visualization.
Birgit Schneider (Editor), Thomas Nocke (Editor)
Paperback: 388 pages
Publisher: Transcript Verlag (15 Mar 2014)
Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.8 x 2.8 cm
To sum up the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: we’re toast. The nearly two dozen participants in this terrific, if depressing, show propose an art for the Anthropocene, in which time has accelerated (Martin John Callanan’s airport departure board cycles eerily fast), the seasons are out of whack (Charles Burchfield’s “Summer” features a tree, December-bare), and no purchase of organic strawberries will outweigh the ten billion metric tons of carbon spewed forth each year. An eighteenth-century theatrical scene, featuring an artificial sun, leads all too inevitably to AlexisRockman’s trash-strewn seascape, featuring a drowning elephant and a capsizing container ship. The ever-sharp Pierre Huyghe and the young filmmaker Erin Shirreff also make strong contributions, but the most haunting work is an anonymous video from the destroyed power plant at Fukushima, in which a single man points his finger in silent accusation at the camera, at the polluters, at us. Through Aug. 8.
Chris Hong writes:
There are more thoughtful pieces such as Wars During My Lifetime, which is a newspaper by Martin John Callanan listing all wars between 1982-2014 and read aloud by a town crier at various times throughout the day. It is a sobering and thoughtfully simple piece that highlights the number of conflicts and the lack of progress we have made in reducing them.
Make the Living Look Dead
June 7 – July 26, 2014
Opening reception Saturday June 7, 3-6pm
For Make the Living Look Dead, Book Works invited a selection of artists it has previously worked with over the last 30 years to make a new work on A4 paper as a contribution, intervention or fictionalization for its archive. Each work plays with notions of time and exposes the fragility of coherence inherent in the archive. Contributions range from original discarded material to found objects or fabricated letters, as well as new work masquerading as past proposals or future projections of sequels, panegyrics or unfinished work.
Participating artists are: An Endless Supply, Steve Beard and Victoria Halford, Pavel Büchler, Martin John Callanan, Brian Catling, Adam Chodzko, Jeremy Deller, Mark Dion, Giles Eldridge, Ruth Ewan, Luca Frei, Dora García, Beatrice Gibson and Will Holder, Liam Gillick, Susan Hiller, Karl Holmqvist, Stewart Home, Hanne Lippard, Jonathan Monk, Bridget Penney, Sarah Pierce, Elizabeth Price, Laure Prouvost, Clunie Reid, John Russell, Slavs and Tatars, NaoKo TakaHashi, Nick Thurston, Lynne Tillman, Mark Titchner, Alison Turnbull, Eva Weinmayr, and Neal White.
This project will be shown alongside recent publications commissioned by Book Works and a series of poster projects by: Fabienne Audéoud and John Russell, Stewart Home, Inventory, Jonathan Monk.
Live Events with HEAD Gallery, Jarett Kobek, Maxi Kim and others to be announced.
2nd Cannons project space
2245 E Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90021
This article considers how distribution as a process interacts with technology and how users engage with distribution. It is not the first time that the relationship between distribution and technology has been discussed. It was discussed a curatorial practice for online technologies by CRUMB (Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss) on its 2012-2013 list. some of the discussions about distribution relate it to the visualisation of data within curatorial practice locating it within social and cultural debates. CRUMBS’s online group discussions looked at how the actions of curators, artists and gamers created social environments for people to interact with. Also Furtherfield art projects looked at the accessibility of online technology for people from low economic backgrounds. While mapping projects relate different data to other sources. However, this is not the only way to consider distribution. To comprehend distribution as a process this article discusses the different levels of distribution.
Departure of All cited as example.
24 June – 8 August 2014
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 26, 6 – 8 PM
James Cohan Gallery is pleased to present The Fifth Season, opening on 24 June until 8 August 2014. An opening reception will be held on Thursday 26 June, 6 – 8 pm. This group exhibition explores the seasonal rhythms of natural systems, the human disruptions of these once-balanced cycles, and the increasing alarms of global climate change.
The theme of the “four seasons” has inspired countless works of art throughout history. As a subject, the seasons are metaphors for life cycles and transitions. The calendar propels our existence on a regular emotional and physiological schedule. The rhythm of life is inextricably connected to the quartered year.
Ecological and technological changes have created a less defined cycle of life, one that is sped up by the velocity of communication and slowed down by unpredictable environmental behavior, calling into question our long-held notions of how time behaves. One is confronted on a daily basis by unprecedented connectivity and growing awareness of irregular natural patterns, and we as a species are struggling to understand this new reality.
Whether addressing the conventional notion of the four seasons or reflecting on today’s intense technological hybridity and climate change, the exhibition presents an opportunity to situate ourselves in this fifth season—a highly nuanced, unfamiliar place.
Participating artists: Matthew Brandt, David Brooks, Charles Burchfield, Martin John Callanan, Claude Louis Châtelet, Jacques de Lajoüe, Mark Dion, Spencer Finch, Finger Pointing Worker, Futurefarmers, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Natalie Jeremijenko, Beatriz Milhazes + BUF, Katie Paterson, Alexis Rockman, Erin Shirreff, Kota Takeuchi, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Tomaselli, and Erik Wysocan.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a free publication and guide containing complementary images and texts.