Archive for the ‘ACCORDANCE’ Category

Together or Alone

Monday, March 25th, 2013

I will never know where you are while I write this, or where you are while you read it. Do you sit alone like me; feet tucked under a folded-down duvet, clothed in soft jersey – a Sunday-morning-style of working-from-home? In my last post I mentioned the anonymity of the screen in the room; the secrecy of the users gaze. Since, I’ve been researching aloneness and sociability.

Contemporary working methodologies include “think groups” and “ break-out areas” and are concerned with game theory; collaboration has become a strategy as well as an art practice. Within artist-run studios and post-studio practices collectives share tasks and ideas to mutual benefit, but where does leave the introvert who works best alone; what of the Anachorites, when idiorrhythmia calls?

Sloterdijk writes ‘Psychologist-philosophers of the early Modern ages had made it clear that the interpersonal space was overcrowded with symbiotic, erotic and mimetic-competitive energies that fundamentally deny the illusion of subject autonomy.’ [Sloterdijk, Peter, Bubbles (Semiotext(e) 2007) pp.207.] Philosopher Wittgenstein suffered from this lack of ‘subject autonomy’ and noted that he could only think clearly when outside the academy; away from other academics and institutions. He retreated to Norway:


Wittegenstein’s cabin in Skjolden, Norway


Where could I find this isolated place now? I ask this question while alone in my room I have conversations popping up as texts and Tweets on my phone, as emails and Google chats pop up on my laptop screen. I have Facebook and Skype set to “invisible” and am contemplating downloading ‘Freedom’, one of the study aids that block your computer from receiving the internet for a pre-set time:

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 15.31.32

‘Freedom’ – when did the internet become something we needed ‘freedom’ from?

When I do retreat to a rural heaven, I take my computer and can’t help but to key in the Wi-Fi code, and therefor continue to be connected to the very same international network. Unlike the many classic literary gents (T.S. Elliot who finished The Wasteland while on retreat in Margate, Orwell who wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four on the Scottish island of Jura), wherever I go my position on the network remains un-removed. I question how the relevance of location has changed since we are constantly surrounded with this same network of peers and information; plugged into the same Gmail program, the retreating artist must go further, to “get away”. For those accessing this blog post, total removal from “the” globalized society, is an extreme action and quite difficult to come by.
When listening to the narrative of any of Oliver Laric’s Versions film works, the infinity of content online is brought to my attention through his narrative essay. Since information on the internet is infinitely duplicated and is expanding in all directions, the source of the information becomes untraceable, and eventually, irrelevant. Information is removed from its original context as soon as it becomes digitally accessible, this philosophy could be carried across to our own geographical location. The geographical setting of origin becomes unimportant if the digital network, the same network that we access every day and the traveler, easily accesses everywhere. It doesn’t matter where we are. Perhaps when the 20% of us who are served by telecommunication found “Globalization”, lost original context.

What becomes of the introvert who traveled to find solitude, does he/she now have nowhere to retreat to, or does this person find a new, intermediary space? Shyness becomes less compromising now that popular digital communications provide a regular mode through which to communicate, protected by one sort of visor (screen/ keyboard/ microphone) or another.

The idea of Anonymous is that you’re fucking alone until you get to 4chan, and all these people think like you, and then all of a sudden you’re not alone, you’re with 500 others, they all know the same jokes and the same interests as you, “here is your culture”, you meet you’re own people, finally. [Mike Vitale, friend of Anonymous during Project Chanology.]

The rise in digital collaborative forums such as Anonymous, Reddit, 4Chan, server lists, reduce the social handicap that the introvert has been dealt with in the past allowing a guise through which to effortlessly access a peer group. Looking for similar social interaction stay at home mothers founded netmom and adolescent pre-teens divulge their most intimate concerns to group feedback on the comments pages of  Wikihow and Teenspot.
“Girly chat” is not really the same though is it – when it’s limited to anonymity and removed from your girlfriends. Gregg Housh, internet activist associated with Anonymous, joked about Anonymous’s members ‘who are not socially good, they still live at home at 23 and half of them virgins,’ and in the 2013 Storyville BBC documentary How Hackers Changed the World: We Are Legion went on to divulge that a number of them admitted to ‘getting laid’ at the first physical gathering during the scientology protests of 2008. My point here is something about the importance of physical interaction, even the platonic kind. Questioning the effects of the impossibility of it on the internet, and how that’s effecting online communication.

I have a colleague who’s obsessed with ASMR (Auto Sensory Meridian Response):

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 15.25.03

The strange ASMR YouTube videos of people folding towels, stoking their faces with soft brushes or applying make-up are made by people who have found that watching these videos provokes a ‘tingling feeling which begins around the scalp and can often travel all around the body particularly down the back and into the persons arms and legs’ []. The draw is relaxation not sexual pleasure, but, maybe like porn, the visual sequences broadcast physical sensation through the screen. Having spoken about concerns of physically reductive online social-lives, to find this group of people who’s brains have developed to experience this ‘tingling sensation’ on the body without physical touch, crosses one of the limits of the screen.

ASMR is a very new fad, it is not yet scientifically researched as far as I can see but physical stimulus has been a heavily researched as a psychological effector, since the beginnings of erotology. This ancient and continually existing study is dedicated to physical stimuli and sexual behaviors and subjects long biography quantifies it’s own psychological importance.

Magnetosophical theory is a development of erotology, towards platonic physical stimulus, and has been researched by philosophers, anthropologists and psychoanalysts including Plato and Freud.  Magnetosphy addresses intersubjective intimate space and argues that our bodies are imbued with magnetic forces that, like planets in the cosmos, respond to each other – are drawn to each other. In the previously mentioned book Bubbles Sloterdijk evaluates every type of human-to-human intimacy including the magnetosphical, to claim that intellectual connections entail physical proximity, to grasp ‘the uppermost heights of cognition’. If indeed the ‘magnetic fields’ coming from another’s body really can take our thoughts to otherwise un reached places, this would reaffirm why working collaborations, which are played out face-to-face, are a vital method of practice.

Without the possibility for this physical interaction, can message boards, server lists and forums ever attain to similar qualities as face-to-face communication? Skype might take us closer to physical togetherness but the “magnetism” between two bodies is still voided through the disjunction of the screen. ASMR only serves to relax the viewer, and so far hasn’t expanded to look at the possible transmission of physical connection within two-way social communication. Are what we gain from almost always being connected, and a shyness-sensitive inclusiveness, worth the sacrifice of physical-social interaction? One risk is that the shield of the anonymity of the screen leaves users more reckless, but one benefit is that it distributes more voices to be heard, and therefore attains to a greater and more unilaterally satisfied community voice.

The Digital Dimension of Le Petit Néant

Monday, February 4th, 2013

It seems impossible today, even if you are obstinately attached to paper,  to ignore the possibilities offered by the web. At first sight, the internet is a low-cost platform that potentially allows you  to reach anyone in the world. And thus, it seems that any project could have an echo that just a few years ago was absolutely unimaginable.

A project like the Le Petit Néant could not exist without the internet, even if it is primarily a printed magazine. The contact with the artists, for example, is done mainly via Facebook and Flickr. Without these tools, it would have been much more difficult to contact them. Without the internet, we would have used conventional means of distribution such as newspapers, advertising, presentations and exhibitions, and of course word of mouth. This would have increased the cost and required more effort and energy we could not have not dealt with.

Let’s  explore the digital “life” of Le Petit Néant through screenshots of its web presence to see how the space of the internet is being used in parallel to that of the printed page.


1. The Website

Le Petit Néant Homepage

Le Petit Néant Homepage


The website follows a very standard structure, e.g. presentation of the project, artist bio, news, links, contacts and a paypal link to order the publication online.


News and Reviews

News and Reviews


It contains basic information and is only updated to convey general information about the overall activity of magazine, with little interaction allowed to the audience.


2. Facebook 

Facebook Page

Facebook Page


Unlike the website, the Facebook page is updated several times a week. Its main function is to expand the audience by posting events and presenting the work of the artists featured in the publication. Its purpose is to promote the artists or introduce new ones to the public as well as providing snippets of their work.


Henrik Drescher drawings for Le Petit Néant

Henrik Drescher drawings for Le Petit Néant


The Facebook page also presents works by artists who are not featured in the publication. We do this just for pleasure. However, it attracts new visitors who have similar tastes and iterests and who we might not be able to attract via the the publication.


We Love Roland Topor !

We Love Roland Topor !


We Love Le Bus by Paul Kirchner

Bus by Paul Kirchner


We consider this space  a kind of “extension” of the magazine, a tool for keeping the attention of the audience alive. We also use drawings created specifically for the page, a space of social promotion. Below are some examples.


Le Petit Néant Launch - First Poster

Le Petit Néant Launch – First Poster


Le Petit Néant Launch - Second Poster

Le Petit Néant Launch – Second Poster


Le Petit Néant Launch - Third Poster

Le Petit Néant Launch – Third Poster


...Under the water...

…Under the water…


...In the Dark...

…In the Dark…


Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012


3. Vimeo

Recently, we have created a Vimeo channel, for wich we invite animators or filmakers to imagine small idents for Le Petit Néant. The format of these works draws on that of the well-known MTV videos of the 80’s and 90’s. But through this initiative we are able to observe how a printed drawing magazine might inspire creators working with other media, see for example “Tomato Soup”  by Peter Millard, an artist working with animation  recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, London (UK).


Peter Millard ident on Vimeo

Peter Millard ident on Vimeo





The different time and content of the “digital life” of LPN complement the activity of the publication, creating a flux of new content and information that expands on the annual printed publication.

That said, the idea of Le Petit Néant would not exist without the printed publication, because it only make sense as a whole. In the magazine, the narrative is created page after page, through the encounter between the images. When one separates the images the rhythm and the continuity are lost, so it is the narrative. This is what happens in the Facebook page, for example, where the drawings are presented individually.

The artists included in the publication work primarily with ink, paint, printing techniques, or animation. We do not look for people working with the web, or digital tools as such. However, because nowadays these artists are all used, like myself, to seeing their work in digital format, the various internet spaces mentioned above are considered as potential spaces and tools for extending their activities. These spaces are not seen as an alternative reality but as a complementary dimension.

Today the publishing industry seems to be moving towards digitization. At least this is the general perception. And perhaps in the near future all drawing publication will be exclusively online. But we decided to take a different route, against current trends. When working on the first issue of LPN we were thinking about the pages, the paper, the binding, the smell of ink. We had a fixed idea: to produce a physical object in which to create a narrative. But we did so while  keeping a watchful eye on the possibilities offered by the digital age. At present, we just consider them useful tools.


Terminology and the Draw to the Unknown

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Internet or internet: as a proper noun the ‘Internet’ is a specific place, and refers to one specific Internet Protocol Network where as the common noun ‘internet’ refers to the larger inter network of Internet Protocol Networks that we generally think of when we use the word internet. Language for that large part of our lives (the internet part) is made up of metaphor and metonym, to reach into a reality that at its outset couldn’t be comprehended without use of terminology that related to physical experiences, which the general public was already familiar with. At this point I’d like to refer to Ben Vickers’ project introduction for ATARAXIA: Survey #1 below:

“A note on networks. “Networks are not a thing, they are a way of understanding and representing the world. A social networks perspective seeks to understand the way in which discrete units – nodes – are connected and affected by the relationships between them.” Ben Vickers,

Recently I heard a student do a lecture at Goldsmiths University, during which he said that we no longer surf on the internet, but swim, there are currents and we are submerged; a metaphor that relays how the relationship between who is a resource to who: internet content -> <- user, has become mutually balanced in the last five years, due to the amount of receptive content, thus repositioning the users self, in context of the data stream.
Data stream.
Swimming in a stream of content.
We can take ‘walks’ (swims), (basically just whole journeys) on the internet, in so many different ways. Look at Bernhard Garnicnig Soundwwwalks, where he leads the viewer through a sequence of online sites that combine to build a complex audio texture that is then peeled, back page-by-page to silence, he calls these online performances ‘walks’.

Tron, The matrix, both are extended metaphor representations of what is behind the internet interface, because our brains can’t comprehend what dark matter is without subjective narrative and physical architectural identity. As our generation has grown up with this technology, I want to grasp it in real terms, dark matter included. I want to be able to understand it’s true, coded, electrical and invisible form, and not to rely on fictional illustrative allegory. I’m feel frustrated at how much I lean on the right, creative cerebral cortex of the brain and how little my left hemisphere gets involved in comprehending what must be a complex coded system of O and I’s.

Leaning through these physical metaphorical terms, also extends to social network theory, where identity of the internet is analogized from theory of place. For Certeau, it’s a practice space, an extension of the space of experimentation with practical function or without. Marc Augé ‘s theory of non-space has been posthumously protracted to a forth stage, by myself and others, to include non-space on the internet, such as the search engine home page, frequently updated news sights, image search listings; these places are transient and lack any solid or static sense of place, such as a chat room or online archive does.

George Lakoff argues that ‘metaphors can create realities’ ‘cultural change arises from the introduction of new metaphorical concepts and the loss of old ones’ [Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. Metaphors We Live By (IL: University of Chicago Press, 1980),]. Is this true? We have metaphorised the space of the internet and now there are virtual realities and technological systems that begin to bring the physical place of the internet to the room you are sitting in. Has the metaphorical language has built the use, or the other way around?

Over use is what happens to a word when it means too much. What does it mean to talk about the internet when we are on it, in it, constantly. Doesn’t it become redundant and, like saying ‘ I’m on earth’ totally standard. What would happen if we didn’t have this word – the internet – would we all get specific; speak about spending time in live video communications, online broadcasting, email servers, specific news streams, archive sites, or even just a specific YouTube video. Wouldn’t that necessity, force open the web to be less of the mystery place we all go to for hours, and over time, make our negation of it more transparent and comprehendible.

Then I realise – this is exactly what we do want : the MYSTERY place –  the nameless void of knowledge.  When you say ‘I spent the day in the library’ the reply isn’t always followed with ‘which books did you look at’. Like this, the phrase ‘I’ve been surfing the net’ affords the researcher secrets. This over used, broad term ‘the internet’ lends us a closed door; you could be reading Heidegger or you could be looking at cat memes, nobody needs to know where you’ve been on your screen.

The DeLillo chapter that Marialaura Ghidini and the Accordance show reference also depicts the ‘invisible system’ and the surrounding mythology that has grown around that; the myth of what we cannot see to understand. So there are two unknowns, how the system works, and on a personal level, how our neighbors interact with it. Rather than trying to pin down the language and make everything transparent, I think these ambiguities and unknowns are employed by users of the internet. The specifics lost in analogous and loose terminology leave spaces for creative development.

Le Petit Néant – The Small Nothingness

Friday, November 30th, 2012


Nothingness – the state or condition of being nothing; nonexistence / complete insignificance or worthlesness

Le Petit Néant is a new annual publication devoted to the the art of drawing and is one of the current guest bloggers for the Accordcence programme. Over the course of 3 months a series of contributors to the publication will explore the fluidity and constant transformation of the art and practice of drawing; they will look at what drawing might be in relation to digital mediums, focusing on its relationships with the art world, the market, the paper and the screen.

To open our series of blog post we would like to give you some information on the first issue of Le Petit Néant

Published in September 2012 the First Issue of  Le Petit Néant includes the work of 28 international artists from diverse backgrounds, but united by the practice of drawing. A practice which proves to be fluid and which always surprises us, especially with its evocative nature.

The first Issue is non-thematic, subsequent issues will further explore the possibilities of pictorial narrative. Artists present in the first issue: Andrzej Klimovski, Bayrol Jimenez, Cyop & Kaf, Kottie Paloma, Charlie Duck, Josephin Ritschel, Benjamin Monti, Ericailcane, Miguel Angel Valdivia, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Sergio Gutierrez, Gianluigi Toccafondo, Giacomo Monti, Gaël M. Minne, Alejandro Garcia Contreras, Firenze Lai, Barthélémy Schwartz, Francesco Cattani, Bernhard Fuchs, Claudio Parentela, Henrik Drescher, Frédéric Coché, Diego Miedo, Edoardo de Falchi, Giacomo Nanni, Thomas Dowse, Gabriel Leger, Sam 3 and Marc Brunier Mestas.