Wednesday, 25 April 2012

It was my birthday the other week, I'm 29. I forgot to ask for anything though.

Dear Spinozan Buddha, I have three dichotomies to merge:

 The intuitive Heideggerian "I will" being-art of flowing encounters with matter vs the social "I am but a conduit" relational practices.

The collective unharnessed monster of the cosmos vs the need to take responsibility for one's own motherfucking actions.

language vs the many orders of the universe which language is unable to access.

Thanks a lot. If you can't grant me knowledge of those things, I'll settle for a slightly expanded attention span and an end to this head-cold. 

EDIT: fourth dichotomy, "Awareness of structures and inherent power relations vs immersive flow with and through these structures.

How to square donna Haraway with Heidegger and Deleuze."

all my love

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

PhD Proposal 2012

Ralph Dorey
Proposal for PhD in Fine Art Practice

Title: Applications of the unknowable: a praxis of instability through the non-human.

“strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall?” - Melville

This project will investigate the principle of instability in terms of both a broken
language and an eternally chaotic matter on the site of the now of experience.

History / Slide List:
Since 2009 I have occupied a teaching research position at The Bridge School in
Islington, North London. The Bridge is a special needs school and my work concerns pupil lead education focused on individuals’ understanding of the operations of their bodies, the operations of the world around them and developing their own agency to affect change in this world. Taking a lead from both Bataille and Deleuze, this is achieved through encounters with malleable and unstable material and trained adults who work in parallel to maintain this instability.

In 2010 I undertook a research residency in Thanet, which examined the notion of an “immediate moment of action as site of art beyond representation”. This research was conducted through fragmentary writing and action while camping in an overgrown arboretum, building equipment as it was needed to facilitate this. The project examined not only the Heideggerian Zuhandenheit as site of action but considered how this state might function as part of a artist’s repertoire. Slide 1 (image)

It shook me by the hand, and then it punched me in the ear (2010) is an archive of images and a set of marginal notes. It is concerned with moss, mid-winter, the fluid nature of people and places, old growth, new decay and the gentle raging of systems.
Tulenizdat/Ralph Dorey, 2011. 24pp., illustrated throughout, 21x14.8cm. Edition of 50 Slide 2 (pdf)

Astral Praxis (Berlin Friday 21st May 2010 to Wednesday 26th May 2010) (2010)
I carried relics and raw matter in a 70 litre rucksack to Berlin and spent 6 days foraging and building to produce an installation for an exhibition in a vacant shop.
Slide 3 (installation image)

School of The Moment 2 (2010)
A discrete hijacking of an exhibition, an exercise in misdirection. I had an opportunity to invite 4 others to exhibit with me in a group exhibition. Defining the two days set aside for installation as the site of attention discourse was conducted at the margins of the action which facilitated it. A book of this discussion was produced.
Slide 4 (image)

First Man on The Scene (2011)
An argument for lush and dirty praxis in the guise of a television detective show
Text for the Institute of Spectralogical Audio Research on the subject of belief, defined here as the space beyond knowledge.
Slide 5 (screen grab) Link to text

...Poured Across The Border... (2011)
A web-collage text on the revolutionary powers of dirt between the years 1983 and 1985. Slide 6 (screen grab) link to text

Sunk In (2011) comprises of a set of ephemeral duplicate materials and a loose series of interoperable instructions for their installation in my absence. The work, reflecting on different notions of proximity, distance and the politics of a rarified object is shipped to Copenhagen for an exhibition at the end of which the materials are recycled.
Slide 7 (installation image)

Slide 8 (image) link to video

Pot Healers (2012)
DVD 10 minutes 40 seconds
Philip K Dick, Bertolt Brecht, octopus, ceramics, space. This video was produced for another web-collage.
Slide 9 (image) link to text and video

My Cadillac and My Pinkie Ring: a Diagnoses of The Rapture of Objects in The Form of a Funkadelic Review By Ralph Dorey on Friday 13th of January 2012 in Holloway

Further travels in funk, further travels in mud and death.
The seemingly lowly art of music criticism can be a jump-off point for discussion
of something unknowable. This might be rooted in the obvious disconnect between what music criticism is and what it repeatedly attempts, and fails to breach, namely the divide between the moment of experience and the non-time of prediction and recollection.

Lester Bangs understood better than most that the broken living thing of experience can only be dealt with by something equally broken and unpredictable, that an unreliable narrator is the only one worth listening to. Slide 10 (screen grab) link to text

Robert Altman's 3 Women, Peter Weir's The Last Wave, Francis Bacon's Landscape and a conversation in a hotel in 1978 (2012)
A series of prepared images and a short dramatic scene concerned with horror, lies and ideology. Slide 11 (screen grab)

Sender Brocken (2012)
I run the research base, broadcast and publishing unit Sender Brocken.
Sender Brocken is focused on research and experimentation, and particularity
concerned with action/praxis/labour as “theory” beyond language and this might be developed and merged with concepts without the latter dominating the former. The space is specifically for processes to occur, and whilst this includes performance where fragments of its development might be filmed, and the creation of art works the site is not a place for the display of rarefied, finished objects (including performances) which edit out the manner of their own production in any way. Sender Brocken is an attempt to create something free from the burden of presentation.

Sender Brocken is not just the physical warehouse space but an institution, with
projects also occurring in other spaces, whether these are deterritorialized pseudo-public spaces or in completely virtual spaces consisting of the interactions between people.
Sender Brocken examines the process of art-production itself as well as attempting to use this as a form of discourse relating to something outside of itself.

Landmark Seizures (2012)
A book as proposal for exhibition. In an attempt to truthfully address the gap between theory and practice a document is produced which all though does not represent the work which might appear within the unrealised exhibition, does demonstrate intent through the parallel of the book.
Slide 12 (pdf)

Contextual literature map covering some relationships between the different areas of my research. Slide 13 (graph)

The attempts of art to break outside of itself have fallen foul time and time again of an equally fluid and adapting dominant narrative. Yet protests, self-organised education and the actions of bacteria and hurricanes demonstrate a poetry of action that resists this. At this very moment though agents are moving against the motorcycle ambulances of Cairo and against solar flares and peat bogs, trying to wrap up each in a comprehensive narrative.

Current materialist philosophy presents a rush against such comprehensive
narratives through its raising up of the non-human and avoiding submission to the “superior principle”. Furthermore, constructs such as the Open Source movement provide a good context for this kind of free-form research to take place.

“Organisms [...] either make continuing endurance an achievement or exhibit that to be real is not to be self sustaining” - Stengers

Collapse, instability and opaque signs have a broad field of examination as
demonstrated by the brief survey shown in Slide 13. The saturation of information in Ulysses or the layering of samples in a Public Enemy record move toward a point of cognition skating upon the surface of something shifting.
This might well be compared with the absence intrinsic to Beckett, the first two films of Peter Weir, the writing of Borges and horror in general or the concept of “desertification” proposed by Reza Negarestani.

Likewise Martin Heidegger’s essay The Origin of The Work of Art presents a starting point of dealing with something which one can only hope to point toward, rather than apprehend completely, a principle which resounds through the work of Paul Thek or Dennis Oppenheim and leads directly to the concepts of Graham Harman.

As well as signs pushed to the point of materiality, matter itself is both studied as in the writing of Cormac McCarthy, used as anti-information by Nathalie Djurberg or applied as a synthesis of the two in the works of Robert Smithson as well as leading to the writing of Bruno Latour among others.

Finally the destabilising of encounter most famously discussed by Brecht and played out in a number of ways by Robert Altman is a creation of material through damage and a disruption of authorities. This leads out to Haraway, Foucault, The Situationist
International and so on.

My proposed project utilises the rhythm of observation and response through both theory and praxis, and ultimately seeks to synthesise a hybrid.

A progression of questions is central:

"Can the network of a work of art be engineered to allow an actual encounter with that work of art, now?"

"Can this same apparatus be used to allow an encounter with material reality?"

"Can art operate in a manner which acknowledges the agency of the non-human whilst the artist acknowledges their own position and operations beyond simply bringing forth?”

“Can the human and non-human collaborate in a manner that does not succumb to a dominance of one over the other?"

Action is vital to this project, not least to avoid the absence of “real connections”, “work” and “entropy” recently identified by Levi Bryant as three areas of lack in much “name only” materialist theory.

Action is on the same level as thought.

A fluid grammar need be developed in order to avoid a dominance of one over the other.

This grammar itself must be developed between the other elements, rather than
enveloping them. This necessitates a project which records itself as it goes and for which duration and development are recognised parts. To find the answer and then re-write history to accommodate it is yet more Idealism.
Propositions and plans are a means to new experimental sites of action. Reports come after actions but do not supersede the authority of said actions. All reports are situated knowledge. Writing merges fiction with theory and thus becomes material which must be engaged with warily, actively and creatively, avoiding the risk of false authority disguised as transparency.

Everything is unreliable and untranslatable.
This project will incorporate art production. The making of works through processes in the sculpture studio, of performance, or discussion. The project will also include the orchestration of group discussion, of interviews, lectures, teaching and publishing.

1. Object.
A series of works will be produced which will incorporate, make reference to, use and examine process of sculpture.
The term sculpture here is defined as “the application of the malleable”

2. Network
Encounters between human and non-human agents. Discussions, lectures,
performances, workshops.

3. Critique.
Series of examinations both internal (1 and 2) and external material. Text recognises it’s own state as authored, seeing fiction as merely a part of a gradient.

The project will involve the above three strands, submitting all to close scrutiny. The numerical listing should not be confused with a hierarchy or progression.
The project will encourage the merging of these three strands, examining the mutant forms that emerge as a means toward a sculpture of use.
The project seeks to negate the dichotomy of the artist’s action upon the world (the individual) and the ideological frames which are developed from that action (the group).

Last week I went to the Design Museum and saw a box of Jasper Conran’s unused tools.

What I propose in this project is the very opposite of that.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

ReCap / R'lyeah

I have fallen out of love with Blogger  it seems. I don't know how it happened.
No if I think about it, I do know, I got pulled into actions and movements and doing things and I couldn't find a place for this place in my heart any more.
I don't know what it's for, I'm writing for the decades blogs when I can, but even that is stalling recently because I don't want to just write cultural critique (I can't I haven't the patience for the research, I simply don't care about much of it) and what I do want to write is become more and more a monster of poetry and sound and lies. I wrote Snow Space and then kept wondering if I shouldn't have, like what the fuck is it about? Well it's a train of thought that's all, through fact and fiction, I hop-skip across moments and things and there we are, economics and snow. I've had a piece started on a Sun Ra song for ages, I just haven't had the attention for it.

Instead I've been learning to use a pull knife and a shaving horse and shape wood with an axe with the good people from Grounded at the cemetery park in Mile End, while they were on a break from building the roof garden at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank. I put together a couple of new videos and walked around a lot and built things in the studio and have nearly finished a hay-box cooker.

I have been developing a piece of work for a few weeks that's partially virtual, all the stuff about New Aesthetic started recently so it might be timely, or not. I'm showing a sculpture in Birmingham in a few weeks, and part of the work is outside of itself, in a tumblr. The web-work is a collaboration of sorts, and experiment in non-directional rhizomatic exploration. I've been thinking about this a lot for Sender Brocken, how to find the balance between enough structure to start a project, yet allowing this order to collapse when needed, like those huge Crawlers NASA launch rockets from. Just leave it all behind.
After a lot of work I realised it's just about conversations with the right people. The first work then is R'Lyeah which is a wild collaboration between me and Frances who is Animal Magic Tricks . So there is a sculpture in a building in Birmingham, and it links to this webpage which is just going to grow over the course of the show. Fairly trite perhaps, that's how things look if you want a flat plane for both action and ideas, starting points are just that, a place to leave behind.

So the first couple of longish videos are up now, one called "1978" and the other called "South of Heaven".