THING 004 : TERRAIN
FLEETING MOVEMENT SPOUTING OUTDOORS DOT-LIKE
01_Unreal Estate: The Royal Academy Is Yours (Subterranean Version)
02_Sky Line (Subterranean Version)
03_Sky Line: Detail – Hotel Elephant (Subterranean Version)
04_Shiva’s Dreaming: Crystal Palace (Subterranean Version)
05_First Person: Tate Tanks (Subterranean Version)
06_Equalizer.Space (Subterranean Version)
07_Mirror Stage: KunstWerke (Subterranean Version)
08_Sky Line: Detail – LegionTV (Subterranean Version)
09_Procession: Liverpool Cathedral (Subterranean Version)
10_Headquarters: Work-in-progress (Subterranean Version)
11_MemoryPalace: Tabularium (Subterranean Version)
12_Heavenly Palace: Tiangong-1 SpaceStation
“Subterraneans” are screenshots taken from below of virtual worlds I’ve made from 2013-2016. In computer graphics, surfaces are single-sided: they are only visible when seen from the direction that they point towards. CG terrains aren’t solid, but are single surfaces manipulated into mountains and valleys. But seen from below, the actual ground becomes invisible. The visual illusion of gravity disappears and everything floats.
MORITZ VON STETTEN
INDIVIDUALISM IS EXCESS
Individuals are something: angry and polite, bitter and helpful, violent and sincere, wounded and offending. Painful and peaceful.
Individuals want something: money and love, power and sex. All the clichés. Individuals never have them.
Individuals are excess, they are exceeding themselves without knowing what they are exceeding, without any need to know what they are exceeding. It protects the individuality. Virtual spheres. Phantasms without roots.
Individuals operate in a mode of silent emergency, of noiseless terror, of endless knots and rimless loops.
Try it yourself: define yourself as an individual and you will get definitions, memories and – there will be something. You will get thicker nets and tighter knots. But this is just an excess of isolation. You close a door, and it dissolves right away. You look outside a window, but it’s only an image of an illusionary outside.
Individualism is not a lie, it’s neither fake nor evil. Maybe you decide that it is. Individuals take decisions.
Individualism is taking you somewhere. Somewhere exciting and new, maybe dangerous, mysterious and uncanny. Isn’t it interesting that fresh air is never bad, never unbearable? Maybe that is not true. Sometimes you need dirty air. Do you sometimes want dirty air, need dirty air?
The individual is an instrument to itself without knowing what it is for itself. The individual needs to show its individuality to other individuals. It greets, it jokes, it is cheerful and happy, and it is good fun, even hilarious. Do you want to be hilarious? Do you think you can decide to be good fun?
Individualism is bodiless excess. It is an opinion without attitude. There’s no attitude without a body. There’s no bodiless attitude. Have you ever seen a political body? Have you ever seen organs?
Attitudes need bodies, bodies need encounters and affects. Encounters are blurred, shared, situational, and relational. They are complicated. They require the ability to dividualise yourself, to dissolve yourself in the web of relations that surround you. Without any you anymore.
Individuals are precise, clear, static and smooth. Not too loud and not too quiet. They are annoying and there’s no way to explain this to them. They will win. But they don’t breathe. Bodies do breathe.
Individuals have wishes and desires. What do you desire?
Individuals make truth, they are the truth. They help – but they do not need any help.
Sometimes they need to show their weapons, even the secret ones. Walls, bubbles. Violated space.
Pure bodies. What does that even mean.
Empty it. What? Purity. What? It probably does not hurt if you’re careful enough, but…
Excess is no exception.
Excess is no episode.
Excess is no phase.
Excess is the illusional other that nourishes the inner core of the individual. Remember the bubble? Have you ever seen one?
Individuals have no atmosphere, they own desires like others carry weapons. They hide them, control them, show them.
Have you ever seen an atmosphere?
It’s nice to be an individual, isn’t it?
Don’t be so offended, don’t feel so hurt. You look pathetic. Dividualise yourself.
I’m worried about my health. When I sit in bed, as I like to do sometimes for a whole day, it tugs at me. My intestines covered by a thick, fuzzy lining. Each velveteen layer constricts the mass further, pasting it to the base of my spine. My bowels are becoming a relief of themselves. Soon, tight little nuggets of all the cheap chocolate and organic kale I ever ate will force their way into blown out cavities. Areas where the soft flocking divides, like a queen termite’s exoskeleton splits over swollen membrane. I might vomit if I don’t shit soon.
I sit in bed and shop online. I scan the same grids without much consciousness. Occasionally I will make a break and buy. My sweat smells like pissed- on hay in these moments. I’m worried people think I’m stupid with money. No need to buy anything at all now- free to look away for a few days, while I wait for it to arrive.
I have no idea but every time I go outside and to the corner shop I feel he is reviewing everything I buy, weighing out the fags and crisps in his hand. Fuck off mate. I have to put in jars of pickles, herbal tea or a single couscous salad pack. He knows I won’t be eating couscous. It will stay in the fridge until the cellophane bulges with gas.
PICTO / PETRO
GRAPH / GLYPH
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SHARE
Nowhere feels comfortable online. Surfing the web is like being trapped in a labyrinthine house party where every room you go in has a strange atmosphere, when the group is off somehow, the dynamic is wrong, someone lurking in the corner is a wildcard just about to start a fight, piss everyone off by sticking on some techno, turn on the lights or persistently hit on someone inappropriate. This is how I’ve started to see everything, it’s disorienting and I cant remember how it was before.
Today I remembered talking with colleagues at the bookshop in January about Charlie Hebdo, I agreed I felt the publications take on satire was culturally very French and not one that I identified with, I was against stocking to next issue in the shop. I’d probably still say that Charlie Hebdo’s particular type of satire is not mine, but I’d now wonder if I was trying to excuse myself from the events, and any interaction with it; to opt out. I’ve been thinking about opting out today. It feels like its happening all around me, and that I constantly do it. This makes me feel powerless and isolated. It makes me feel confused and angry at my impotence. I realise I’m completely ignorant and living in a bubble of privilege that allows me to choose to what extent I engage with world events, whilst bemoaning others for doing the same.
Opting out comes in different forms. Social media allows us to opt out of direct action by trying to say the right thing at the right time. We can send condolences or share links that point out attacks in non-European cities that have had less coverage, all instantaneously. Somehow this feels like a way of informing others how informed you are, but there is no right way to react when you’re in shock. Where and how does access to information transfer or crystallise into feeling informed now? Is this a privilege we no longer have the space and time for? Am I just being terribly cynical? Yes, I’m working on it. Spaces like Facebook or Twitter are far from neutral, these platforms are used to carefully sculpt our identity towards a hybrid group of friends/family/colleagues and prospective employers or possible collaborators. We all want to show how informed and political we are. We all want to share and connect. I do it, we all do it and we all behave differently in these ‘public’ and ‘private’ digital realms.
I sent a Whatsapp to K earlier that read;
everyone i know on social media feels like they are competing to have the ‘best’ reaction or sentiment. our generation is fucked. totally lost in a vacuum with no way out. mediating everything we experience through non physical space with no bodily/embodied consequences and so used to sculpting our personas for our own gain there is literally no space to be earnest – we have no spaces to be vulnerable with each other, people trying to clasp hands that don’t exist – our children will laugh at our complete INEPTITUDE? to use tech to mobilise. I feel so fucking useless today.
ISIS use the encrypted messenger Telegram to communicate and plot, people use Facebook to mourn or organise memorials, twitter becomes a source for news outlets, I use Whatsapp to tell my friends I feel helpless and moan. Maybe my great great grandchildren will be able to recover digital fossils of my opinion, tastes, amazon purchases and status updates… like a shitty intangible and less poetic version of the jewels and cracked pots found in ancient burial grounds. Will these ancestors think they know us?
I want to understand better, to be able to get outside of myself, ask questions and listen to the answers without spewing out soundbites of opinion. I want to embody my empathy and turn it into something useful, and to find a new way or reclaim an old way to take up physical space, to connect and communicate with people in vulnerable and earnest ways. If The Place – is in fact – online, then I want to let go of this bullshit personal mediation, self promotion and constant psychosis-like millennial competition. Even if this is just a lens I am seeing such actions through, it’s still harmful that I’ve internalised it this deeply. Online, my glass can only ever be half empty. I get irritated with peoples responses, I’m irritated with my own responses and the ease with which I absorb horror via sites built for advertising, selling data and propagating idealised selves. I’m complicit in the sea change and I’m moaning not mourning. Irritation is not useful and more importantly, it’s not empathy. I don’t want to watch people dying online. I don’t want to read their last tweet. It makes sense that news be shared by the fastest means, but it causes clumsy and upsetting moments when death gets sandwiched between funny memes, self promotion and invites to art events. This feels debased and uncivilised. It leaves no space for compassion, decency or dignity.
What are our collective digital ethics, how are they negotiated, how do we enforce them? A comments thread cannot become debate and e-petition’s cannot become protest. (Im also left wondering, if repetition is a kind of prayer, what have our collective rituals now become and are they fit to process loss and disaster; maybe I need to create my own forms of ritual/prayer just to help me understand.)
Peace comes at others’ expense; atrocities are the rule not the exception. Peace is the exception, and I have existed in a privileged moment that has been hard fought for, it’s not a given and its not a birth-right. I conjure with a swipe the most mind bending, shattering accounts of total horror on the same device I use to chat and joke with friends and family. Generations are now brought up with 24hr rolling news, cyborgs for taking in and spewing out scrolling information –> Twitter crashes –> France closes its borders –> Germanwings volunteers at the stadium –> tagged as safe on Facebook –> France’s National Front gets airtime –> Poland will no longer accept refugees –> So much information causes a kind of paralysis and a pervasive sense of powerlessness. But this information fluidity is our reality now, so what do we do with it? We have more memory than ever, but chronic amnesia.
Ignorance is as structured as knowledge, we choose the things we don’t want to know. I know there are histories of torture, oppression and a continual failing to extend the cultural and economic wealth amassed in Europe often historically through such forces to others – but I have allowed myself to stay ignorant to the specifics. The UN becomes an advisory board rather than a law enforcer, and economic strength is the only power that protects a country when the shit hits the fan. The people with the 4×4’s get out first. I know my education omitted much of England’s history of colonisation, and that I have a very poor understanding of other European countries colonial past, including the Netherlands where I currently live. Neither do I understand the trade of oil and its history and repercussions. I’ve enjoyed dinner parties in houses gifted by parents of contemporaries where people utter how they ‘don’t like to get involved in politics.’ I’ve skipped lectures and classes and exhibitions and symposiums for feeling that they were for other people about other peoples issues and that they would take me off track.
Today I’m considering how we can use the spaces we have to be earnest in ‘public’ and how to admit how clueless I really am. I’m thinking again, and harder about what a responsible way to live and work looks like now, and how to better enact the forces that can outlast a digital footprint – learning –> meaning –> creativity –> compassion –> empathy –> integrity –> love –> compassion
BEN GJ THOMAS
POWÓDŹ / FLOOD
W 1997 miałam 12 lat i Wrocław, moje miasto, był zalany. Mieszkałam z rodzicami na czwartym pietrze kamienicy, pierwsze pietro bylo już pod wodą i sąsiedzi którzy tam mieszkali, przenosili swoje posiadłosci wyżej i spali na materacach na klatce schodowej.
Ich niedola, nasze bezpieczeństwo, ale też niestosowna nuda jaką odczuwałam tego lata, zatopionego pod wszechobecną brązową woda, wszytsko to rzuciło mi się na głowę. Ponieważ nie było gdzie pójść, całymi godzinami gapiłam sie przez okno, albo szłam do kościoła.
Tego lata postanowiłam że jestem świętą.
Chyba pierwszy raz się to stało, gdy byłam sama w małym kościele na wyspie. Wzięłam łyk wody święconej i poczułam jak mnie ogarnia. Ekstaza. Jednocześnie błoga i gwałtowna. Potem wracałam codziennie, wczesnym popołudniem i czasem na mnie spadała a czasem nie. Bardzo mnie to smuciło, kiedy nie mogłam jej znów poczuć. Raz, chyba kiedy nic nie poczułam, wróciłam do domu i wyjrzałam przez okno. Zobaczyłam helikopter zawieszony w powietrzu zaraz przy moim oknie, tak blisko, że prawie mogłam dotknąć mężczyznę w środku. Nie było też szyb, ani w jego oknie, ani w moim. Jednak chyba musiałam to wymyślić, bo to niemożliwe.
Paul Thek powiedział:
„Czasami myślę, że nie ma nic prócz czasu, że to co widzimy i czujemy, jest tym jak czas wygląda w danym momencie.”
In 1997 I was 12 and that summer Wroclaw, my city, was flooded. I lived with my parents on the fourth floor, the first floor was under water and the neighbours who lived there brought their possessions to the corridors of the top floors and slept on mattresses in the stairwell.
Their misery, our safety, but also the inappropriate boredom I felt that summer, trapped under the omnipresent brown water, got into my head. Because it was hard to get anywhere good I spent long hours staring through the window of our flat on the top floor or I would go to the church.
That summer I became convinced I was a saint.
I think it happened for the first time when I was in this little church by myself. I sipped the holy water and it came down on me. This ecstasy. It was blissful and violent at the same time. And then I would come back every day in the early afternoon, and sometimes it would happen and sometimes not, and when it didn’t, that would really upset me. I think once it didn’t happen and I went back home and looked through the window. There was a helicopter hovering in the midair, just outside, so close that I could almost touch the man sitting inside, and there was no glass between us, not in my window or his. But now I realise that I made it up. Because that is impossible.
Paul Thek said:
“I sometimes think, that there is nothing but time, that what you see and what you feel is what time looks like at the moment”.
PROTOTYPE FOR COLONNADE CANAL