Since I am spending more time working on projects than on my own promotional website, it will take much longer than foreseen…while waiting people can get in touch with me mailing to: info(at)thatrenaissanceman.eu as proposed also on my one-page-website www.thatrenaissanceman.eu
Working on a new website which will exist besides this scrapbook-blog.
For contact mail filip.daniels(at)skynet.be
A new work I have been working on is a box/cube with two mirror sides. On these two sides I project an animation which was based on a stroll through some (empty) rooms. While doing that I tested my computer aided version of human echolocation. This last thing means I walk around carrying a speaker which is emitting clicking sounds. These sounds are reflected back by silent objects, walls, windows, etc. thus providing echoic/accoustical information. This sound for me captures the sonic soul of the space. It is put inside the cube and the speakers make the mirrors on the side tremble, suggesting a presence inside the cube.
Projecting on the mirrors also means that the projection is reflected on white panels on the side. The mirros pull these reflections back in the cube creating an interference between different dimensions (1 of the perspective lines in the animation, 1 of the perspective lines in the mirror image and 1 physical dimension which is the cube, the table it is on, the panels around it, etc. You could see the cube as an object, however some might look at it as if it were a model. Both ways of looking at it are fine by me. (Picture below is not really showing the full effect.)
What I think I want to do is use the echo location recordings and exploit them as a possible way to suggest a certain presence in a space. I was thinking of combining the abstract sounds with more recognizable sounds such as doors, squeaking wood, etc. Since I was going to suggest a presence and I had been thinking about Kosuth’s chairs I thought why not…so I took a chair, recorded some sounds while giving it slight, gentle and a few harder pushes. I attached two very little cheap speakers(therefore also quiet poor sound but it was just a test so at this point I don’t care …) to the bottom of the seat and sent the recorded chair sounds through them.
Small, rather low sounds of the chair wobbling a bit, still worked o.k. At some point while watching it and listening to the sounds I sometimes even started to really doubt whether the chair really wobbled or not. The bigger sounds like the legs scratching the floor, didn’t work so well. Probably because the sounds sounded comming from the seat instead of the legs, which would be more logical. However getting tired of this disappointing result, I sat down on the chair with the sounds still going. Suddenly it all worked better. Why? Well because the sounds sounded like they came from under the chair, which made sense from my new perspective. Second thing was that the vibrations of the speakers started to feel similar to vibrations I would feel when wobbling a bit or when slightly moving the chair in a certain direction.So as I realised the gap between the data from one sense and the data from another sense (in this case, hearing and touch) was smaller then the gap between the info comming through ears and eyes.
So feeling more lucky, I decided to switch to my echo location sounds which actually represent my movement through a few rooms/spaces. I will have to continue tomorrow, but it felt quiet O.k. for now. It kind of felt like there was something beneath my chair, sometimes hitting the seat from beneath in a quiet hard way, at other times it seemed/felt, more distant. I am quiet certain that if I would expand my setup with speakers in the room and use them to give direction to the ‘creature’/’object’ suggested by the sound, it would work quiet well.
To be continued …
There is this joke about a couple looking at a city map with a large sticker saying YOU ARE HERE. It ends with the woman asking her husband: But how do they know this? Well that’s simple and obvious, because here is where their focus is. Focus can take you anywhere and nowhere, but most of the time it might feel like being-in-between.
A lot has become clear recently. To put it simple I should say that I think I found my focus since thinking about the earlier mentioned conversation with Frans Evers of last year about talking to somebody using video chat or just a phone. Looking back at my master proof I realised the most important object on my table to me, is this disc saying ‘YOU ARE HERE’ which represented ‘me’, ‘myself’/’my Self’, ‘I’, … . Not that I am so fascinated by myself, I just want to say it made me realise the rest of the map didn’t matter so much, my main interest is the question, are are questions like: What is the Self? Where does it come from? Does it exist? What influences this Self? How is it affected by media? etc.
I believe my tests with my ‘echo location’ technique are also connected to this theme in some way. This idea has been taking more time then expected but slowly this project is finding its way out of my head and into…mmm…reality? 🙂 In order to get to some kind of possible output I decided to continue with my drawings and I also made a quiet simple video that should be presented in a mirror.
This simple thing that I have practically finished now is this video just showing subtitles in the middle of a mirror. The visitor should look into the mirror and should experience a chat with his/her mirror image. The idea was somehow inspired by the weired conversation with the Mystery Man in Lost Highway. It is rather manipulative as I try to take over the visitor’s thoughts, but hey how many times aren’t we manipulated every day without even noticing…at least I do it in your face.
My drawings have changed a bit since last year. They are still mind maps in some way, but I push them until they fail. Nothing is really recognisable anymore, just maybe some very tiny details, just to give the viewer a little something to hold on to, even if just for a split second. The drawings are some kinds of koans. It’s over-layering of images and blind spot bubbles to come to some kind of point at which the Mind Maps becomes a kind of irrecognisable void. They are inspired by the meditational character of the koan and meditations on the Self.
Some years ago I quit smoking. I didn’t smoke for about 4 years. Soon I smoked about a pack a day again and now, from time to time I stop smoking for a day. Not more, I just can’t. Why? Even not after this night when my chest was hurting really bad, not after a night of coughing and the near-suffocation-experience that came along with it? No. Not since I started realizing that when you quit smoking, reality changes. It’s maybe not a really hallucinating type of drug, but it is a drug. Just quit smoking for some time and you will notice how your experience of time changes.
Somebody recently said that we are actually hallucinating all the time. This goes well together with what I have been reading about and a remark by Thomas Metzinger, that we (can) have different states of consciousness and we just need to find out which is a good state. For me now, whenever I stop smoking for a short time, just to get into this non-smoker-state-of-mind, I realise for the moment the one in which I do smoke fits me more.
He (Ludwig Wittgenstein) once asked me: ‘Why do people say it is more logical to think that the sun turns around the Earth than Earth rotating around its own axis?’ I answered: ‘I think because it seems as if the sun turns around the Earth.’ ‘Good,’ he said, ‘but how would it have been if it had seemed as if the Earth rotates around its own axis then?’
Translated ou of the Dutch translated version of ‘Egotunnel’ by Thomas Metzinger, the original quote should be on p.151 of Elizabeth Anscombe’s An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus’ (London, 1959)
It is hard to answer Wittgenstein’s final question, but it is even harder, impossible even, to imagine how it would have been if it would have seemed as if Earth rotates around its own axis, as it actually does. However I think that it would have affected especially our ‘ego’s’/our ‘Selves’. Even though incorrect, it does seem more logical that Earth is the center and the sun turns around it. Even though we know the Earth rotates and the sun is actually the center, we are not seeing it this way. If we keep seeing it in the ‘logical’ way, we can still see our Earth, the home of the humans, as the center of the Universe. As long as we feel like this, our ego’s don’t need to worry, they can be big and strong … sure … why not, we ARE the center of the Universe! … I think we need this illusion, however, I am very very very curious how it would indeed be if we would be fully aware of the fact that we are not at the center of, or more boldly: how it would be if we wouldn’t think of ourselves as being the center of the Universe.
At his lecture on Sonic Acts this year in Amsterdam, Derrick De Kerckhove ended his talk with some advice. To be more precise he made a list of subjects he thought artists should focus on. Here’s the list:
– More in multiplicity instead of unity
– Interest in epistemology
– Investigating areas where senses mix/cross
– Also what kind of space does each of the senses create
– The string theory remains a very interesting zone of observation because it says there is an infinite number of dimensions in space that are being created in terms of physics
– BUT perhaps more than anything else in the neutral space of the point of view that we have been accustomed too (that there is nothing there and space is neutral) in which we lost the sense of the interval …
If you have read one of my previous posts, summarizing my subjects of research, you will understand that I felt quiet assured to continue walking the path I seem to have chosen, or seem to be choosing for the moment.
Never thought I would write a post about a conceptual work of art. Then again, only fools never change their mind, right? So what interests me when talking about Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs?
First of all what doesn’t interest me as much is what he was trying to say about understanding art, the linguistic nature of an artwork etc. What I like about this work is, what makes it contemporary and still valuable to me, is the multiplication of the chair. Being presented as an object, in a photograph and as a word, it made me think about how we are multiplied and distributed throughout dataspace today. The main question is also, what happens to the Self, when undergoing this phenomenon. To me a similar question is triggered here by the title, ‘One and Three Charis’, suggests that there should be 4, while you only see 3 (object, picture, word). So what is this fourth chair? It is the concept of the chair, the mental image of the chair, … .
Thinking about this, and when applying it to the multiplied and distributed Self, I would say it is not the Self that is distributed, but it is just our image that is distributed. All these distributed images together all lead to imagining (part of) the Self. So how much is the Self then affected by the multiplicationand distribution we are confronted with? Are we creating a problem where there is non, misleaded by ‘reason’? Do we just have to focus on that mental image and use that as our reference, our vantage point? … As usual more questions than answers arise (hopefully some (possible) answers, will be posted on this blog in the future).
Another aspect that interests me is, when thinking about having the feeling we are evolving more towards the tactile (as a reaction to too much focus on the visual)(inspired for example by the thinking of Derrick De Kerckhove, a man I do respect), this work by Kosuth also interests me on this level. There is a difference on the level of tangibility here, that’s clear. But instead of going on believing we do need a more tangible world, I started doubting this again. For example one could ask the question if a return to the tangible is really necessary? Or maybe it is necessary, if only to conclude that we were wrong? Hard to answer at this moment, sure. All also depends on how you define ‘tangibility’. So instead of getting lost in this complicated subject, I will go on posting about this (as it is in some sense my main subject anyway) and try to elaborate this theme step by step. So I will end this one with saying sorry to all those of you adjusted to our ‘instant society’.