BOW: Assemblage

Since sending out various versions of work and receiving the feedback I have developed the overall concept and presentation further – seeing what could be ditched but also how I would bring some of the various elements I had created together into an ‘assemblage‘.

I do not much like the word assemblage but after reading it used (a great deal) in a blog by Deborah Lupton, the author of Data Selves: More-than-Human Perspectives, 
it seems like the correct word for the collection of images, sounds and materials I’ve gathered together. She writes:

I examine the interplay of human and nonhuman affordances associated with digital technologies – devices, software and the digital data they generate – and the agential capacities that are opened up or closed off as these things assemble. I ponder the questions of who benefits from these agential capacities, and in whose interests they operate. Here again, affective forces are central to the engagements of humans with these nonhuman things and the capacities that are generated by their gatherings. I address how human-data assemblages can generate agential capacities that empower and vitalise actors in the assemblage; but can also expose them to vulnerabilities and harms.

This approach recognises the entanglements of personal digital data assemblages with human action, reaction and understanding of the world. Personal digital data assemblages are partly comprised of information about human action, but their materialisations are also the products of human action, and these materialisations can influence future human action. While digital data assemblages are often conceptualised as immaterial, invisible and intangible, I contend that they are things that are generated in and through material devices (smartphones, computers, sensors), stored in material archives (data repositories), materialised in a range of formats that invite human sensory responses and have material effects on human bodies (documenting and having recursive effects on human flesh). (2019)

I am therefore creating an assemblage although I have not used this word.

The assemblage consists of:

  1. A video – itself a collage, a type of assemblage. While not a still collage like Höch’s were, it was made to emulate that trope, cutting up and pasting material that exists in the world. It includes audiovisual material that is available on the internet but contains signifiers of earlier technology. It will be shown on a Kindle – a handheld device.
  2. The film will also be available on my website but it will be a different version. Mostly the same apart from one or two tiny sections, but with an alternative audio track. The instruction to visit the website is printed on newsprint and is part of the assemblage.
  3. Still frames from the film which have been ‘captured’ and frozen  – in more or less the same way a photograph of life is captured and rendered a still image, using a slightly different tech/method – and printed on newsprint. These will be placed on the platform or hung from sticks.
  4. The poem printed on a tabloid page, orientated portrait. I hope this will hang above and slightly behind the kindle, perhaps alongside printed newsprints but I will need to see how this pans out when we set up. I was very influenced a long time ago by Louise Bourgious’ He Disappeared into Complete Silence. This is a book with several plates each of which consists of text and a drawing. The drawing is not an illustration. And sometimes it is hard to make the connection. But they are made to be seen together. I feel the poem and the video work this way too. Each can stand on its own but the point of the work is only brought to the fore when they are placed beside each other: A moving image piece alongside text, working with it but not illustrating. I might have read/performed the text in a video or even live. But this did not feel the right place (collaboration) for that – perhaps I might have reached a way of doing this if we’d had longer or were working in a smaller group -and it is something to consider for the longer-term, BOW-wise. 

 

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Image Louise Bourgeois He Disappeared into Complete Silence 1947 From: https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection/artwork/he-disappeared-complete-silence-6 

The work will exist in a ‘village’ (the platform) alongside other work made by my collaborators. The contents were influenced by their interests and the interactions I had with them. It is a reflection of them and my time with them. So my work is part of a greater assemblage, a network of creators which itself exists within a further larger assemblage – i.e. the three groups organised/curated by Pic London. That too is an assemblage which is again part of something greater. And so on = the fractal nature of existence.

Looking back, this is the pattern of my work. And now I know why. I am not focusing on one tiny aspect. I am recreating the chaos and interaction of conscious experience (not an individual, not an isolated and alienated concept, not one thing).

When I submit the assignment I will include critical information I sent to Pic London  – but here since it is relevant, I will just add a quotation I used which I have inserted into my work previously, and put at the front of my Self & Other blog:

“There is no such thing as a single human being, pure and simple unmixed with other human beings … [the self] is a composite structure … formed out of countless never-ending influences and exchanges… we are members of one another.” (Joan Riviere, 1927) It seems the assemblage whether it’s made up of flesh or tech or both and all sorts of other stuff is a description of Riviere’s statement.

Ref:

Lupton D. (2019) Excerpt from Introduction of Data Selves [online] WordPress Available from: https://simplysociology.wordpress.com/2019/09/01/excerpt-from-introduction-of-data-selves/ [Accessed 2/10/2019]

The Museo Reina Sofía (2019) He Disappeared into Complete Silence [online] User-generated content. Available from: https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection/artwork/he-disappeared-complete-silence-6 [Accessed 2/10/19]

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