Sarah Hughes ‘The Continuum of the Field’

The final essay in About Looking, a collection of John Berger’s writings published in 1980, is a short and generally overlooked text called ‘Field’.[1] Although first written in 1971, in this context one is tempted to read the essay in conjunction with the others that surround it. Such a reading places the essay within Berger’s prolific writing practice and in relation to his inquiries into a broader art historical context. More specifically, when encountered in proximity to Berger’s critique of painters such as Jean François Millet and Seker Ahmet, ‘Field’ can also be understood in relation to landscape painting. Continue reading “Sarah Hughes ‘The Continuum of the Field’”

Daniel Barbiero ‘Stillness-Energy-Sound: Notes on Negative Space’

“I am interested in stillness, in the silence that emanates from objects. I see this stillness as a form of energy that these objects radiate.”–Reiner Ruthenbeck[1]

If stillness is a form of an object’s energy, then its sound is the realization of that energy in its active form.

Consider stillness as the sound latent in objects. Sound is released from stillness the way energy is released when, for example, an atom’s nucleus is disturbed. In a more prosaic, musical context, disturb the string by plucking it or pulling a bow across it and a series of vibrations is released, which we receive as sound. Continue reading “Daniel Barbiero ‘Stillness-Energy-Sound: Notes on Negative Space’”

David R J Stent ‘THE TASK OF THE IMPOSSIBLE (or The Figure’s Contributions to the Field)’

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At this moment the Figure spies a strange platform set into one of the banks – a semi-circular indentation set into the earth like a stage, book-ended by large mounds as if boulders were concealed under nettles. In amongst those grasses the Figure makes out a series of hard angles glinting in the light, slowly recognising the surfaces of a crude shelter – a tiny hermit’s cabin pinned against the slope, propped up with a stick. Although the coincidence would be lost on the Figure, the setting echoes that of Gustave Flaubert’s The Temptation of St. Antony, missing only the Saint’s holy book and the cross casting a shadow over the hovel.[1] What also escapes the Figure would be Jean-Luc Nancy’s reading of Flaubert’s text as an “exemplary case of literary disaster (…) an act of stupidity” and his insistence, no doubt laced with irony, that Flaubert enjoys the doomed cause of his writing; or rather that he enjoys his lack of enjoyment in the whole “pointless and exhausting enterprise.”[2] Continue reading “David R J Stent ‘THE TASK OF THE IMPOSSIBLE (or The Figure’s Contributions to the Field)’”

Seth Cooke ‘No Locus’

“That place… where the imaginary comes into contact with the local and the real, is what we strive to create.” Michael Pisaro, Ten Encounters

 In the West Yorkshire Police control room we used the word ‘locus’ to describe Pisaro’s place-which-is-not-a-place, a descriptor for the cloud of subjectivities and contingencies that exists around initial reports of any incident before a scene can be established. A ‘scene’ has actors, script, setting, spatial-temporal bounds and a context within a larger narrative. The locus is more slippery. ‘Locus’ means a place, position or configuration of co-ordinates – but it can also describe a focal point of activity or concentration. There are loci of events, of ideas, of possibility, of uncertainty. Through custom and practice, West Yorkshire Police parlance defined the ‘locus’ as a superposition of potentials, mapped from emergency calls, that sets the parameters for an initial response. The ‘scene’ is the collapse into materiality of those potentials, determined when officers arrive and make their assessment. The struggle in emergency response, always, is for an accuracy of relation of locus to scene. Continue reading “Seth Cooke ‘No Locus’”

David Dunn ‘An Expository Journal of Extractions from Wilderness’

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Is my primary responsibility as a composer merely the creation of substantive concepts and structures, or am I responsible for the formation and maintenance of a proper environment for such structures?

Beyond this the question must be asked:

What are the contextual limits for such an environment and of what might appropriate maintenance consist? Continue reading “David Dunn ‘An Expository Journal of Extractions from Wilderness’”