To See is to Change: Ashok Sukumaran
Duration: 00:36:26; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 11.943; Saturation: 0.028; Lightness: 0.208; Volume: 0.279; Cuts per Minute: 0.960; Words per Minute: 70.655
A Parallax View of 40 Years of German Video Art.
Over two days, ten artists, critics and enthusiasts present a "recuration" of the 40 Years of German Video Art (http://www.40jahrevideokunst.de
), a collection being circulated internationally by the Goethe Institut. These respondents brought to the archive their own urgencies and preoccupations, and suggested that this "package" is not a sealed entity, and can be re-read as a history of encounter and entanglement between disciplines, geographies, schools of thought, agents and artforms.
A package in this form this suggests a certain stability in the category "German video art". At the same time its circulation opens up the material, and its context of production and thought, its "Germany", to review by diverse and sometimes unsolicited sources. It is our good fortune to be able to promote such activity. Sehen heißt ändern, to see is to change. For more: http://camputer.org/event.php?id=45
The 2-day screening program was held on 14th-15th November, 2008, at Jnanapravaha and Gallery Chemould in Mumbai.
Ashok Sukumaran studied architecture and media art, and now works as an artist and organiser He is a co-initiator of CAMP, a space for artistic research, projects, residencies and events, in Mumbai. Ashok traces the development of media art in the specific context of the ZKM, in relation to the abandoned promise of the "digital bauhaus", and links to both industrial design and actionist performance, as conceptual supports. These early negotiations with computers appear to have a certain sensible potential, where concepts such as "touch" and "tool" appear, briefly, as political entities.
Queen's Mansion, Chemould Prescott Rd, Mumbai
Ashok: I'm going to speak a very short segment about a peculiar failure or absence that is for me a buried or can be read in the (?). It's a somewhat sad story. It's a story that involves me, because it's also a story perhaps of a certain mode of thinking, perhaps of a certain philosophical approach to technology which I was a part of in the sense itself and is quite obvious in this archive that we are discussing that it is completely absent although some of its illogical and exceptional tools came from Germany. So this kind of entire production and ethos of an institution were wiped away in their own production, and the institution that I'm speaking about is the ZKM, Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, and in a sense they intiated a (?) this kind of production and restored other people's films if you like.
Digital technology has to an enormous extent blurred the distinctions between the classic media such as video, television, photography and film. It no longer makes sense in terms of technology to continue using the term 'video'.
'At the right place at the right time? A brief report on current video art' by Sabine Maria Schmidt in 40 Years Video Art De. Digital Heritage: Video Art in Germany from 1963 to the present, Rudolf Frieling/ Wulf Herzogenrath (EDS), pp. 34.
So, I'm trying to draw a line through how some of this may have happened. So... one of the terms that points fairly directly to an understanding this video 'Think', the term used by the first director of the ZKM Heinrich Klotz in the year 1997 when the ZKM as an institution was launched after almost a decade of negotiation with the city after about a 85 million dollars spent by the city of Kalsruhe. The term used was digital bauhaus, that was the philosophy that ZKM as a second modernism if you like, in thier own words was tempting to articulate. The old bahaus, of course, that's a shot of the building in Weimar was a school, that lasted from 1919 to 1932, between the two wars, which (?) to the fall of German monarchy, and it ended up due to various political pressures being moved from city to city almost every 5-6 years. So it went through Weimar in the south and in Berlin where in 1933 under nationalist political pressures, it was closed down.
But what is the key to my understanding is that it presented a certain way to negotiate between industrial production and individual creativity extending across the variety of design,art and craft .So, for example :Paul Klee in 1922 thats his rendering of the bauhaus structure,was a member of it and the indepth combined craft edition very strongly deliberately lit with fine arts . The first exhibition of it in 1919 was titled "the exhibition of unknown architects" what worked was the ability to create the views of craftsmen without caste distinctions which raised an arrogant paradigm(?) in the crafts men and artists over these works .All of this points to how the idea of the bauhaus can be recovered . Of course the major relationship of industrial production with individual creativity has been articulated very interestingly already. Thats a bauhaus chair.
Heinrich Klotz invokes the tradition of the Bauhaus as a project linked to modernity and the 'creative connectivity between two contemporary social facts, art and technology'. Klotz situates the contemporary relations of art and technology within a 'second modernity' following deconstruction and post modernity, one that does not follow a linear, historical tradition of the historical avant garde, but allows a 'pluralism of styles', approaches and strategies, creating a new vocabulary for modernity.
'Cybersponsoring' by Mark W Rectanus in 'Culture Incorporated: museums, artists and corporate sponsorships, 2002, pp. 218.
In 1907, Peter Parigans ,a designer working for the AEG state electrical company found a language of design,a kind of typology which extended from the factory building to clocks inside the factory ,to voltameters and so on and that in some sense acccuses a range of people involved in this creative industry during this period of effectively masking the presence of production line, of labour in this process. So the example of Peter Behren's Electric Kettle. This is a map of bauhaus activities in 1937 and the range of its activities and depends on peoples ability to exchange ideas,information,styles and languages in order to sustain itself and has sensed that... this form of.... transmissible organisation and in related to internationalism was to be found again within the new updated bauhaus, ofcourse these kind of arrangements are not foreign to us in India,because they have atleast two institutions of which one is in Delhi ..around Asian heritage.....which looks a bit like this the structure of which the alancholy in 90'still imagines a possibility of doing this .
The ZKM does not function as a warehouse or a depot for exhibiting media art. Rather, as Hans-Peter Schwarz underscores, its role is to represent 'the effects and social functions of the media' in the museum. Schwarz calls for exhibition practices that invert the relations between the media ob-collaborations that led to larger interdisciplinary projects exploring the social and cultural uses of new communications technologies.
'Cybersponsoring' by Mark W Rectanus in 'Culture Incorporated: museums, artists and corporate sponsorships, 2002, pp. 218.
I am not cynical of this,im just trying to point out what happens to that digital bauhaus? ,what happens to it at a certain time at a certain place how does this play out and how this system is cleared. One of the ways in which I can point out a few merits and some of the ways in which the modernism of bauhaus play into the idea of a city and the constitution.This is even before the 1987 launch of the second institution when the supra- modernist architecture and ulhas commission to design the second building.This is his proposal for the media fassad and the entire of the entire building and of course carries images of a cowboy and is a classic imagination of the digital modern society of these images and points to definite kind of universality any image they use on this building ,very serious about it but at the end other inhibitions they have.
But another notion of universality, very specific to digital was that it is the newfound ability to connect to anything or any other system to produce anything else or any other system . So as a result of this there were number of strange and quaint experiments where the project of material life we've lived it was transformed and challenged by these new digital technologies . A classic example of canons of changing media art,for example this is a bicycle which allows you to ride through virtual lens, its a classic work and is called legend city, it came around 1994 - 1998 and this plays out various configurations of cause and effect and universalist ideas and action to be transformed ........and you have strange new constructions which follow form from this kind of logic.......... this is a classic example of the cave where your motion or body position could be transformed into landscape.There were large number of experiments in the late 90's to early 2000's in these areas. `
Finally,there is another interactive work where the touching of .. is also considered a classic idea of touching of an object depending on the nature of touch , video for example would be manipulative.. on screen. So all these classic video box or video works have these kind of arrangement and the problem was that they were difficult to connnect and to trace one projectory ,example in almost military result ends up being very close to the part of the military machine technology system both in European context and in US. I'm going to follow a few trajectory or figure (?) he was the head of the media and was a great influence for the few trajectories. His first few years as an artist were spent with strange or can be read now.In retrospect he went from making 60-70's styled inflatable environments which were quite fun to making advanced environments and all these projects were being done by this millenium .
TO going to other exotic locations,he sensed the project of being which was in the great bar of 400 degrees of the environment and these were very fun video works said to have various emotions under the carpet . So we end up with these lines of massively paid for gigantic technical systems which in the end are only one step away from the weapons which are developed by the military at the same time . For example: I went to a lab in the US, University of California which are exactly like the images from Iraq, i.e virtual Iraq . These come so close that there were physical collaboraters that would be sure towards the university centre and all these technologies effectively worked feeding of each other in a very direct way.
So,there were numerous other examples ,there were early inspectors such as the movie maps which were tracking of people in the videos and so on ,one of which I basically studied as a new media student which were not necessarily feeding but were an impalor to surveillayance, to end the political structure of technological war and that level becomes clear about what was going on and my question is what was bad about their thinking and what went wrong ,this was a generation of I thought interesting people who were involved in this .
Now, Ineffect....so I'm trying to think of this purely as a narrative that I could offer this gathering and am trying to kind of position this as a real moment of collapse of certain kind of imagination. It was a collapse that needed to happen and it did and its something that needed to be placed on the table.In the end I'm going to show one film which is not from the correction and am going to now try to recover some things which I considered to be some of value in the original imagination of this period and something that I use in my work. There are two kind of works or ideas that I have been trying to spot and bridge similarities and we are looking at art practice and art brush users and there are a few technical terms that I'm trying to expand into something else. There are two kinds of concepts, motion of interface and motion of tools .
So,obviously they are near to the administeral idea in the thing that is interface .... interface design,which is now very popular and profession ,interface is something which we are aware due to ATMs, etc,etc.these are a few technical narrow terms and what are tools that we understand from mechanical history and so on. Now I am trying to a little bit expand these technicians towards tech propositions. One of these stories is related to all of us ,its kind of a necessity of moving a discussion (?) for our interview, because if we consider the various connections ,the various kind of flows that are in the present, make an idea of interface necessary which is also up to us to create what kind of understanding what it is and if you don't then the effect will be tooled by this, it will be designed by the desings and that is the teritory that we are trying to looking into and..
Now, I will jump sideways into a quick paragraph on the idea of touch ,touch being a fundamental interface ... gesture ,touching in this case...the touching machine (?).......there is a line in the song called the tourist by the finnish band (?) in which the line says..... the tourist says I quickly pedest in these museums and shaken hands with many stautes. So at one level this kind of touch is a yearning for some kind of contact that the heart seems generally not to provide..... you only speak upto statues and shake his hands with the statues and the tourist is hungry for the contact . He's doing this activity in the museum on the other hand touch..... as a gesture can be read as a firming or a kind of insulation.....a firming of the anatomy for the science of it . Its also a way......it can also be read as a way to heat the human machine,the man or woman by the exposed case .For example, the arms...just to allow this party to withdraw into the depths of their own unreachable and vulnerable thoughts and vulnerable communication. So,like in a sense, listening, touch and skin provide metaphor for a kind of a surface that you can make free moves and is negotiable not to take literally and the interface is something that we doand consider.
What are tools? Tools are basically things that other people can use and the thing which came from this story appears to be the development of other tools became too close to the big machines, to the capital of tool machines and in that condition as I said before comes this thing where we are becoming tools ourselves, it's nevertheless or therefore can be imagined the way it builds tools is art making. In professional art making as it has tool making not in the literal sense but in the very specific sense that things other people can use and for us we are thinking about how ..for me how to .. how to negotiate collaberations, how to organise projects, how to build things and in a way to build things and is a way of thinking about art practice that does not involve an irony.It is somehow.... for me goes beyond the irony. It is positivist in a way. Here's a tool analysis that categorises a general quote and I'm going to show a film which....I think for me.....aspires to.... brings out on a surface and a certain explainable meaning or a vigour or presence in objects (?) it's the parallax nature of equipments no matter how long or dilligently we stare at its outward appearence we will never be able to discover, if its ready to hand , that its ready about a piece of equipment unless we actually take trouble to use it. Its only when we take up a hammer, in order to hammer that our primary relationship to the hammer's equipmentarity becomes apparent in the context and the agency of the hammer are revealed in this more rather then any seat.
So I'm showing the video.....and..... it's not the final dream..or it's not that presence or kind of... ,ability or presence in readinesss completely.... while it's true that we recieve as one goes larger, so I'm gonna show a video it's about tools and their reconstruction it's called "Using them" ,it's a video clip shown before at CAMP. It was made by Martha Rosler and called "Semiotics of the Kitchen".
Martha Rosler: Semiotics of the Kitchen: In the middle of the 1970's feminism, Martha Rosler made a short videotape called 'Semiotics of the Kitchen'. This was the period in which semiotics and structuralism were the height of intellectual fashion, and the science of signs was seen as a way of proving the veracity of radical readings of films and popular cultural texts. The systematic exploration of systems of meaning was seen as a radical gesture, as inspired by Roland Barthe's classic analysis of images such as the cover of Paris Match published in English as Mythologies (1972).
'The semiotics of the kitchen' uses the format of a child's alphabet primer to explore the kitchen. As Rosler proceeds through the alphabet, rendering egg beaters, forks, hamburger presses, and rolling pins as offensive weapons, it becomes clear, as she finished on a Zorro gesture with raised knives, that semiotics of the kitchen signify containment, fury, aggression, resentment and potential revenge. The semiotics of the kitchen has nothing to do with cooking.
Rosler said that she was concerned with the notion of the 'language speaking the subject' and with the transformation of the woman herself into a sign in a system of signs that represents a system of food production, a system of harnessed subjectivity.
Like bell hooks, Rosler has always insisted that the forces of domination and oppression as played out in the private sphere are inseparable from our more conventional understanding of their impact in the public sphere.
'The Feminist in the Kitchen: Martha, Martha and Nigella' by Charlotte Brundson in Feminism in Popular Culture, Joanne Hollows and Rachel Moseley (EDS), 2006, pp. 42.
'Stories to tell' by Jayne Wark in Radical Gestures: Feminism and Performance Art in North America, pp. 115.
Of course, a relationship to tools that is very particular, that's ginger, that's placed in time when expected as medium or small..... but for me contains some thing of ranking,... are question that....surround .......certain practical problems in work.The paradox between them resolves somewhere between what is called good mentality and as opposed to that mentality there is how to create tools ,how to expand tools,how to explore tools,how to collapse tools.... how to create tools and a lot more to create, to become the tool master. I will end here .
Mriganka : Its very interesting the way you started from bauhaus and moved ...towards the interactive . I'm just asking you about one particular idea, I'm saying that bauhaus or the interactive .....bringing this whole interactive gathering over here,the idea of functionality , what probably distinguishes design from art , was risky as always during the classification of functionaliity . If you see there the functionality is coming this whole problem to interactive art works and interactive installations .
Ashok: Yes , so also , this functionality , for example is about these beings not knowing what they are doing , about us being doubtful of them , so within the logic of functionality we always realise that we dont actually know what this system is doing or how it may behave or what are the consequences of this. So thats not functionality, purely speaking.(?) it's a , complete doubt.Its a ery functional list but I had to use it
Sebastian: In aspect of restoration of these video works looks like a fortunate change .Its (?) actually getting the picture which is difficult and getting the entire thing is a fantastic thing .(?)