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#nostalgia

I keep downloading them. Entered a search term - got 14,500 thousand results: each one similar, each one new. This is just on one website, by the way. There are many more online services around. Generic as it is, this form comes in a variety of shapes and scenarios. Here: I picked one. Is it hi-res enough? Yes. Love it. Somehow it resonated with my murky 14,500 thousand-year-old memories. Cobras, dragons, serpents. Winds, waves, and spirits. Leaves, trees, branches. Guts, umbilical cords, worms. Palaeolithic arrows and Palaeolithic diets. Early human ‘Out of Africa’ migrations; economic and ancestral expansion curves. I often imagine it migrating from PowerPoint to PowerPoint: its quiet existence in forgotten folders, its impressive appearances in the early Monday morning meetings and shareholder reports. The Law of Accelerating returns. Approaching Singularity, approaching Chaos, good old entropy. An accelerationist proposition for a spinal-cord level of intelligence. It’s a wave directed towards North East, always North East. Accidentally, that is where I come from — Northern Eastern Europe. I called it by its name: “GROWTH ARROW”. It inhabits the space of possibilities defined by mother Technology and father Globalisation. Vectors are best thought of as abstract mathematical objects with particular properties, which in some cases can be visualised as arrows. I am intrigued by this make-believe visual materiality, the reflective surface, an occasional shadow, the emphasised mass and elasticity, the softness of joints. It thinks it’s doing a good job appearing all animated and organic. I imagine it to be heavy and a little bit slimy. Who knows, maybe it has a heart-beat. Maybe it is a sketch for a sculpture, or a totem. Lets try to attach some harnesses and hope it can be tamed. Intensive and Extensive growth. Here I am, navigating patterns of indeterminate optimism: everything will be higher in value, even though I have no idea how and what will make the world better, no-one does. Stochastic processes, stock market forces, money as an ultimate resource of optionality. It doesn’t need application or a long-term plan, it thrives on portfolio investments and impulsive algorithmic micro decisions. Through enormous booms and tiny busts: Recovery, Prosperity, Slowdown, Negative Growth —  rinse, repeat. Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers on Mars. I finally saw a Martian sunset, I don’t mind it was just another image. As they say, next best thing to being there. I say it again, a Martian sunset. My optimism is determined. This PowerPoint presentation is done. 

 

The text and image were performed at CCA Glasgow, 8 April 2014

 

#nostalgia is a performance conceived by Laura McLean Ferris, featuring the work of Ed Atkins, Nina Beier, Juliette Bonneviot, David Raymond Conroy, David Horvitz, Leslie Kulesh, Katja Novitskova, Heather Phillipson, Cally Spooner and Kate Steciw.

The performance lifts its structure from Hollis Frampton’s (1936-84) seminal film (nostalgia) (1971), in which selected photographs from Frampton’s archive burned on a hotplate one by one, while a voiceover delivered texts about the images long before they are seen, challenging the viewer’s powers of memory.

For this new performance, the artists have been asked to write a personal monologue in response to an original stock image – a form of speculative commercial photography always created with a future market in mind. Filling such deliberately empty images with their personal subjectivities, these artists' monologues will be performed live in front of a film featuring the photographs, as though the speakers were performing a form of image-based karaoke.

This performance is produced by Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

 

 

#nostalgia was curated by Laura McLean-Ferris