First man on the scene by Ralph Dorey

Over the next few months, a guest writer will be offering they’re interpretation of a question I set back before the summer – what do you believe in. First up is Ralph Dorey, who can also be found here and here (or on the right hand links)

First man on the scene:

Interviewer: Clearly then, and this is actually a subject on which I’m sure we’d all like to hear a little more, clearly then, there is an actual point of division[1],  between that which we know and the other side of this?

First man on the scene: correct! That is the mark at which we start to think about belief.

Interviewer: Tell us something about belief please, where it goes, what it does?

First man on the scene: Imagine two mountain tops, two peaks each like that of Paramount film studios. These are like words or signs in a sentence, we understand what they mean, they are built up on all the information below them, built up and up and up getting more succinct, narrower and narrower and clearer and clearer until they get to the top; these are our words. In terms of these word mountains belief is dissolved in the space that spans them, or rather a facet of belief is present in that which spans them. Consider Joyce, say, the Oxen of the Sun, we know that the borrowed literary styles which make up that chapter of Ulysses are themselves built upon a foundation of language, of the development of history and language, of the larger context of the book, of the narrative within the book, the operation of the book. However even with all of the knowledge available to us now, contextual and meta-contextual traced forward and back we still do not exhaust the thing known as Oxen of The Sun. Something is left behind in terms of comprehension that is picked up by our understanding.[2]

Interviewer: Something private?

First man on the scene: Yes! And something private from all. It is a negative space, it is the negative space between those mountain tops but that spaces is fuzzy with clouds and trees and bears and snow. We can’t tell what shape it is really, how deep it goes, whether its far away in front of us or some phantasmagoric reflection from a completely unexpected  bearing. That space is uncertain and fluid and yet it defines the mountains and gives form to the things we know.

Interviewer: that space is belief?

First man on the scene: No[3]. Well, in part yes, the space between rationalities is belief. But it is not a hard edged object, it is slippery like wet concrete between your toes, it pools up from where you didn’t believe there was a gap[4]. It is a complicated mathematical shape, like that one that looks like a bong. It is all surface. All over. Which is perhaps why it is impenetrable.

Interviewer: so is belief more or less than this shape? Which contains the other?

First man on the scene: Belief is the means by which we deal with that is on the other side of the known, or rather it is at the edges of the known. That space is like the Zuhandenheit, it resists utterly its own being looked at, poof its gone! However it is very much there, touching effecting and colouring. The fact that we are unable to easily cut it out from the herd does not deny it was there, it simply only exists in that context. There’s that scientific principle that says that by observing the phenomena we are already changing the phenomena, well that seem so obvious to me![5]

Interviewer: please talk about language and art[6]

First man on the scene: I’m hungry! I’m really hungry, I’m going to eat this[7]. Ok?

Interviewer: fine.

First man on the scene: Ok, great. Right. Done. The thing about language is that it’s involved in a reign of tyranny[8] over that shape I was talking about earlier. Language destroys everything, it just tears things down and runs up its own flag, builds a fucking Subway, and an O’Neils and plans everything out like grids. Like something awful like Milton Keynes or Welwyn Garden City[9]. The problem is it dumps this system down that is fiendishly effective, it’s really quick and useful. Like a perfect commodity. In that pretty soon we have no comprehension of how we live prior to it. But actually it’s constructing a massive block between us and this other thing, a big cinematic scene-painters background[10]. Anyway, that’s not the worst of it

Interviewer: really?

First man on the scene: no! The worst thing is we lose the ability to function out side of the streets of the town centre. We can make choices but they are totally limited by and too our vocabulary. When we think we’re engaging with the world we are actually just engaging with all this other stuff and then we are also unable to comprehend the stuff out side of all of that logistics.

Interviewer: this is all sounding rather familiar…

First man on the scene: well yes sure. And that’s fine[11]. Its a fairly old way of thinking now, and that’s fine. The reason I want to talk about it though is in terms of art, like lets talk about this films thats playing on that tv, I know its on mute but we can just deal with it in terms of the imagery, or rather our perception of and experience of that imagery, that visual imagery.

Interviewer: its a good film, I think I’ve seen it before, is that Charles Dance[12]?

First Man on The Scene: I think it’s Robert Duval[13], maybe, not sure, that’s a big hat he’s wearing! Anyway, what I want to say is that our perception of things like art has become infested with the future. We engage with this thing but we now can’t help tracking forward in time to our relaying of our experience to someone, not even a specific someone, but it has become part of our machinery of experience. We examine something by wondering “what can I say about this?”. However, this is really limiting our ability to engage in the moment at all, which in the part was something art was able to make us do.

Interviewer: Let me read this note that you have just passed to me “I thought Brecht did away with all that! Confront the oppressive reality! And that’s why we have films that are entirely concerns with the forth wall, it is not theatre at all it is just post-its on your fridge![14] Like a modern comedy or something! What do you have to say about that?”

First man on the scene: Well Modernism as a whole did move to get rid of that sort of Body-Snatcher Enchantment, that loss of self[15] and submission. Well, its more accurate to say that the manner in which the big bangs of Modernism have now been assimilated in the establishment has made the story one of engagement with the “oppressive reality”, as you called it, rather than a submission to it[16]. However, that’s not really what happened, because Modernism often (and not always, and this is mostly because of the way it has been assimilated, re-written to make all kind of things fit under one slogan, and that in itself is a perfect example of the violent tyranny of language but I digress too far within these curved brackets I now call my home) made politics an appeal to the real, forget history, sever the line, let us deal with truth. However that truth was never ever pure, it was nowhere near, it was always someone’s truth, someone’s voice of authority, the scientist’s truth frequently[17], but others too. This truth was always built on all kinds of politics itself, all kinds of inter relations, all agreement of units of measure, what to exclude, what to keep[18], secret meetings and secret mediations. The whole thing was totally fucking corrupt almost at birth, in part as it was transformed into another part of the progression, another commodity, another rococo ceramic raccoon in a fez.

Interviewer: the wheels are starting to fall off again aren’t they?

First man on the scene: maybe, I’m getting hungry again[19] but there’s none of that left. I’ll just carry on. I think the film is about to finish, Ed Harris has taken his hat off so this must be  the final moral resolution of the story. Right, yes, anyway. Rococo Raccoon. The false engagement with concrete truth which Modernism presented to the world actually knocked our ability to engage pretty hard when it was all pulled back into the canon a couple hundred meters down the road.[20] We’ve got into this thing with art of taking it to pieces that we can stick a word on top of while we are looking at it, we’ve got into a habit of only really engaging with every forth lump which happens to be able to form a word. Just as the observer messing up what he observes[21], we are like the slow court secretary ignoring exhibits b and c while he writes up exhibit a. We built up a house on a foundation we then debunked and now we’re left with nowhere to live! So we’re just going round describing things, I guess this comes from the fact that all we can be sure about is that we think we saw it, so that’s all we’re logging in our brains! Anyway, this has awful results in art because it has become like pitching an awful movie, the actual content[22] hardly matters at all, all that matters is that you can say you did it, and that other people can say they saw it. The easier to describe the better!

Interviewer: I actually only came by to watch this film about the man in the big hat, so I’d like to start wrapping this interview up now if you don’t mind, can we bring it back to finish on the subject of belief, somewhere around the 5800 word mark would be good, that seems committed and thoughtful without being sad and eager.

First man on the scene: Ok, um, belief. Right, what I’m trying to say is that part of this thing which we access through belief, this shape on the other side of comprehension, but still within understanding, is being lost. We can’t nail it down so we can’t get credit for making it very easily in a society that feels it can’t get credit for having noticed it! We still want empirical facts even though we’ve been talking for about 40 years now about how there aren’t any that aren’t tinged with all sorts of prejudices and axe-grinding inflections. So that dumb experience of something, that shape that one can only believe in, is getting really lost and we’re back at some hyper-comodified hypo-sensitive works which are effectively a page filled with tiny numbers which refer to footnotes somewhere else! It’s obviously naive to ask for more naivety, and I don’t that’s actually what I’m after. The space between the mountains requires unstable instruments of destructive, generative and organic power to be used. Fractals can appear as a plane and then be examined but in being so they cease to be fractal[23]. You have to ride up alongside and take into account your own movement, your own growth, your own becoming. It is a fiction and incomprehensible. When we act in response to something we should remember that our action is a creative rather than enveloping one.

Ralph Dorey 23rd August 2011

[1] There is not an “actual point of division” where belief begins, as clearly a level of belief is required in all knowledge. What is perhaps being described here is a point beyond what can be reasoned, however this remains unclear at this time, 15th August 2011.

[2] Jonathan MacCalmont’s post on the publication of Cyclonopedia by Reza Negarestani could be of use here. accessed Sunday 31st July 2011. However I think the form of MacCalmont’s response at times stunts its capacity to fully negotiate the terrain it is examining. Cyclonopedia operates in a manner which fluctuates between the interpretable and the comprehensive, meaning that to approach this text by means of dissection will be thwarted at points by threads and lumps which reacted, collapse and disapear under such instruments.The manner of reading such a text should be protean as that of its making where hermeneutic analysis is a sub-division of the approach along with methods of divination and extraction. MacCalmont is indeed correct in his allusions to Foucault however, as such a text as Cyclonopedia not only sends to the surface the unrealiable voice of the writer but also, through its fracture, celebrates the unreliable reader. Our interpretations are just as broken and just as likely to crawl across the pages as those of Negarestani, it is required that we stray.

[3] This space itself is not belief but, being on the other side of readily confirmable and reasoned knowledge belief is required to deal with it. Throughout this text the term belief will refer to the manner in which we manoeuvre around things which empirical knowledge is not able to pin down, within the solution of belief is another semi-dissolved material which we-shall call doctrine, and clumsily label as “belief which is prescribed fully formed to us by another and less subject to change by our own experience without permission from this other”. This is essentially “remote belief” in that it transplants experience of these unknowns onto another perception rather than our own.

[4] It is a fractures network of process and the intangible. The unknown creatures in the shadows eating things and playing drums.

[5] There is nothing particularly wrong with stomping your big feet through the marshland when you try to look at the wading birds and neither is there much wrong with buzzing the villagers rooftops with your helicopter as you attempt to film them. In fact I would argue that is by far preferable to examine the state of your subject’s being which consists of their reaction to you. You can then speculate with extremely visible personal prejudice about what might be happening, what should be happening and what is at risk of happening both there and anywhere else in the world at that time and leave your findings in whatever manner and whatever fashion you see fit. Sneaking about and then laying things out neatly is simply attempting to cover up your own failed understanding (which paradoxically is a perfectly rational manner and fashion to approach the project if you so choose) and we will be judging you just as we judge your actions and your findings.

Consider also this;

“When scientists use their instruments to try and pin down a subatomic phenomenon, their intrusion transforms it. ‘The quantum void is the opposite of nothingness: far from being passive or inert, it contains in a dimension of potential all possible particles.‘ Scientific perception actualises a virtual particle. It changes the mode of reality of its ‘object’, bringing into being one of the states the quantum phenomenon holds in virtuality” Massumi, B. A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari Cambridge Massachusetts: The MIT PRESS, 1992.

[6] I wrote this before, it should go here:

[Fade up to:]

man kneading bread on a board, dark tanned hands on white dough containing seeds and flakes of barley. when the man pulls the bread toward him the board slides too so that when he pushes it forward again it sometimes bangs against the tiles at the back of the kitchen counter.

[Voice over, female, late teens:]

Philosophy, in its longing to rationalise, formalise, define, delimit, to terminate enigma and uncertainty, to co-operate wholeheartedly with the police, is nihilistic in the ultimate sense that is strives for the immobile perfection of death. But creativity cannot be brought to an end that is compatible with power, for unless life is extinguished, control must inevitably break down. We posses art lest we perish of the truth.

[Man stops kneading bread, fade to black:]

[Sounds of wind and birds. Cut to close up of spout of kettle. Voice over continues:]

The words make the man. One cannot see through them to the character underneath; there is no underneath. Or, to return to the metaphor, one cannot chop down the trees to find the wood; the trees are the wood.

[Kettle boils and whistles. a hand enters shot to flip the whistle from the spout. Fade to black:]

[7] “One temptation s to try and ingest all of reality into a system of thought, to eat it all to, to penetrate and possess it. This is what Hegel and the Marquis de Sade have in common: the desire to assimilate all reality to the subject through the power and the Concept […] The other option is to let things happen, to letter matter matter […] this is, for us, the essence of poetry […]of trying (and failing) to speak about the thing itself and not just about ideas about the thing[…]. In a sense, and this is the point that Blanchot makes so powerfully, all art and literature is divided between these two temptations: either to extinguish matter and elevate it into form or to let matter matter by making form as formless as possible. The INS delivers itself solidly to the second temptation: to let matter matter, to let form touch absence, ellipsis and debris. Like Flaubert at the end of The Temptation of St. Antony, who says he wants to, ‘…flow like water, vibrate like sound, gleam like light, to curl myself up into every shape, to penetrate each atom, to get down to the depth of matter – to be matter’” The International Necronautical Society “Tate Declaration of Inauthenticityin Nicolas Bourriard, Ed., Altermodern London: Tate Publishing. 2009.

“Every object populating the world encounters millions of other objects at any given moment, each responding to it in its own way, none of them ever fully sounding its depths. […] Whereas Heideggerians hold that the usefulness of objects for humans precedes their independent reality, it is clearly the reverse. The point of the tool-analysis is that reality always runs deeper than any objectification. […] The substance of a thing, whatever it is, must precede its functional form, since the thing is never exhausted by all that does, and since it can support several useages at the same time. […] if we define it along the lines of the tool-analysis, a substance is simply the unknown reality of a thing that resists being exhausted by any perceptions of it or relations with it. […] Any relation forms a kind of new reality which could represent a kind of inscrutable substance viewed indifferent ways by numerous other realities.” Harman, Graham “The Revival of Metaphysics in Continental Philosophy”  in Towards Speculative Realism Essays and Lectures. Winchester: Zero Books. 2010.

Matter is always partially unknowable, or at least untraceable, unpronounceable and inexplicable. Matter is the stuff from which the creative act is wrought and is indeed the creative act. Like the lower part of Hemmingway’s iceberg it remains hidden but its weight, its bulk and its process are inseparable from the actions of the upper part, the visible part, and from the ocean in which we bob, the craft in which we shall run aground upon it and the fish which must circumnavigate it to nibble our toes. The INS would hold that the failure to know the iceberg is what art is about and this is at least partially what I believe. Graham Harman would propose that the iceberg is more than our experience of it combined with that of all those birds and protons and fallen satellite parts which engage with it and I am loathed to disagree with this either. I would add though that failure is not the ends but part of the means and really by the by. The point is not to (fail to) map all terrain for future travellers but to cut a path, whether old or new engages with this terrain and let this be found along with your notes on what you saw and thought and thought you saw while you were there. Success is death, infinity and nothing. Failure is the arrival at somewhere else entirely.

[8] Some quotes by Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Lacan should really go here, but it doesn’t really seem appropriate so you the reader should find your own.

[9] Welwyn Garden City is a binary flickering of certainty and uncertainty, speed up slow down, pull round the corner and suddenly all systems seem to flutter at the edges. So sure that I was moving the right way, in correct manner; and now the oversoften supportarch has been pulled from me and my crib and I could be driving on the pavement with the girls or walking in a fountain, must stop and evaluate (though nagging thought that this is the worst thing to do, hold up cars and people, to be unsure and dither) all; Bloqbusters; Cozta, inch forward, righturn arrowright pullpull out and over and stärtergøen.

[10] It is not too far or crass a leap to now look to Nick Land’s proposition that “the third world as a whole is the product of a successful – although piecemeal and largely unconscious – ‘bantustan’ policy on the part of the global Kapital metropolis”. The important comparison being that the establishment of language is such that it already contains a colaring process that will pre-empt all attempts to circumvent it from with its own structure. Returning again to Land “Any attempt by political forces in the Third World to resolve the problems of the neo-colonial integration on the basis of national sovereignty is as naive as would be any attempt of black South Africans if the opted for a ‘bantustan’ solution to their particular politico-economic dilemma”. Land, Nick “Kant, Capital and The Prohibition of Incest” in Robin Mackay & Ray Brassier Eds., Nick Land Fanged Noumena Collected Writings 1987 – 2007 Falmouth: Urbanomic 2011.

Language’s map covers the ground to all horizons a way under it will not be found simply by more travelling. It can however be broken, cracked, purchase acquired and its very substance made visible as was an aim of Modernist literature itself.

[11] I’m dredging up these old armatures because the lumps which they initially dealt with has also bobbed up from the bottom of the river again, albeit in a slightly grown and mutated form. As I am writing this violence is blooming across London and other urban areas throughout the country and this violence has focused most prominently on acquisition of commodities. It is in the light of fires at furniture stores and the faces people with armfuls of electrical equipment and Tesco-Value rice that a cultural of acquisition is most strongly illuminated. Riots and looting seem to push acquisition to a point of extreme abstraction, but really we were already there. The streets are not full of naked people stealing clothes and I assume that most stealing food are not starving, in fact I doubt many walking off with televisions do not already posses one (though perhaps not as good) already. An 11 year old boy who was caught with a £50 rubbish bin has made the news frequently as the youngest (so far) to be prosecuted. We must wonder if he still would have been carrying this object 20 minutes later, or whether it would have found itself amongst the thousand of articles littering the streets, bait for the wonderful legal invention of “theft by finding”? The point in the looting seems to be about the taking, not the having. Taking is a dimensionless space between the hard edges of the future and the past, and it is exactly what our Capitalist society is driven by, the need for the unattainable, the crossed out thing between what you want and what you have. People are stealing luxury articles, and we could be forgiven for citing their high value for this, but remember than in a situation such as this, the depreciation of value is huge, (these items could not be any hotter!) and who would buy anything in the midst of a looting spree? No, the situation is itself more abstract, it’s the surpass value, the cultural value, the unreal value of points that count here. Like the shopping zombies in Romero’s Dawn of The Dead people are performing an action that is really no less or more meaningless than it was before. The site of value in society has been on the unapproachable point of acquisition, to get the new thing, that transition from the object of desire to the deterioration badge of shame (the past), this has been the goal, so when an opportunity to achieve this goal over and over again, with hundreds of others at your side as appeared, quite a lot have been unable to resist. The emptiness of this action (there is nothing in that gap) is perhaps a cause of the event’s frenzy and the capacity for people to transgress accepted rules of behaviour. Acquisition is empty, and therefor it is unreal. It is like a dream where you (repeatedly) reach out for the object and never seem to actually touch it, yet this absence is what we are focused on when we buy and re-buy and upgrade and renew. Everything else retreats into the background, the marker of the future acquisition and the record of the past acquisition have faded. We can see how the currency transference of money (acquired through the sale of labour) to simple labour (lift, thrown, reach, grab, run) could be a relatively minor detail.

[12] Charles Dance is always your father.

[13] The Lionised ideal of the cowboy, old for all time, never young (same as Clint) and always knowing the land (unwavering in that knowledge, Duvall does not play men who are public questioning themselves, Tom Hagen was a born a Lawyer, that’s why the Corleones adopted him in the first place) always meeting a tragic end which is so dusty and Romantic. The first Lonesome Dove movie, then as if Augustus had never died he pulls himself out from his grave to return in Broken Trail. Duvall is the cowboy, pulled up from the gutter year after year, older, drunker, syphilitically noseless and walking like a stiff crab. We see his next stumble of America’s self-flagelation as the old (but not so old) man at the end of The Road, there will surely be more and more, just a squinting eyeball and moustache on a bed of sand in Nevada inexplicably tying a hackamore.

[14] I could have had a nightmare in which, as I tried to leave my house I was endlessly pulling post-its off the fridge with reminders of things to do and all I could do was keep trying to hold these things, putting them on the back of my hand and then up my arm and on my head covering my entire body with shopping lists and plumbers phone-numbers and my entire life passed in it’s own ante-chamber as I lay trapped on the linoleum like a yellow yeti.

[15] Is it loss of self, is that what Modernism is (now, as it stands, as we re-configure the past through our very looking at it)? Is it the opposite? I really don’t know, but I’m inclined to lean toward the answer that it is neither and more a denial of Idealism, an engagement with the animal now (then) and tower built with a hard lines and poetry and an implied Nietzchean Perspectivism. Robert Smithson’s work was and is a churning, haunting gnashing hybrid of the one and the universal, of the local and the distant and bound up charnel rags of petty and international events and the smashed carcass of the man who mainly made them. Think about Renée Green‘s reassembled narrative on Smithson, “Screen A: He was born in 1936. Her mother was born in 1934. Often when you read about his work you can’t escape the importance of his death:” Renée Green, Partially Buried. Version B: Reading Script (1999) (Adapted from Partially Buried. Version A: Reading Script, 1996); in Renée Green: Shadows and Signals (Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2000) 65-72; (reprinted in October, no. 80 Spring 1997) 29-56; reprinted in Lisa Le Feuvre Ed., Failure. London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2010.

However something important that Modernism stood for was the striving to be righteous without being fascist, to be triumphant, without being prescriptive, simply defending the earth. This is the germ within the grand narratives which themselves fell but this germ goes back to our primeval metaphysic, “how can we do well? How can we be righteous?”. History has written that Modernism’s dream was to find the way and tell all about it, colonies terrain and minds and get it solved, PROGRESS, ONWARD, but when we look we see a lot of individuals tugged by the threads of their time but really turning away from them. The grand narratives are the preserve of the narrators at their mistaken understanding of the timeless, they are clumsy tools, monoliths which could not even accommodate the disturbances they themselves brought about let along the swirling mass that spun the coordinates around them. To be timeless is to be in continual renewal, the only thing that lives on is that germ, “I must do it right”.

[16] But this isn’t the case at all, the errands that we are sent on by the hyper-textual (the so-almost-contemporaneous references) do not take us the real at all, just a another shop in the same shopping centre. I saw some court evidence, the bag of meaningless objects had a label on it with writing that looked like this: “Exhibit F. Notes: “the references are almost exclusively to other cultural simulacra, not the feel of the seats in the cinema or the weather today”

[17]“Why should we be cowed by scientists’ descriptions of their activity and accomplishments; they and their patrons have stakes in throwing sand in our eyes. They tell parables about objectivity and scientific method to students in the first years of their initiation, but no practitioner of the high scientific arts would be caught dead acting on the textbook versions…Feminists don’t need a doctrine of objectivity that promises transcendence, a story that loses track of its mediations just where someone might be held responsible for something, and unlimited instrumental power. We don’t want a theory of innocent powers to represent the world, where language and bodies both fall into the bliss of organic symbiosis. We also don’t want to theorize the world, much less act within it, in terms of Global Systems, but we do need an earth-wide network of connections, including the ability partially to translate knowledge among very different – and very power-differentiated – communities.” Haraway, Donna “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” in Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Autumn 1988), pp. 575-599. College Park, Maryland: Feminist Studies Inc. 1988.

[18] “If science is based not on ideas but on practice, if it is located not outside but inside the transparent chamber of the air pump, and it it takes place within the private space of the experimental community, how does it reach ‘everywhere’?[…] The Answer is it never becomes universal – not, at least, in the epistemologists’ terms! Its network is extended and stabilized.” Latour, Bruno, We Have Never Been Modern,  pp. 24 Harlow: Pearson Education. 1991.

[19]Abstract vacuum, what is missing? Drive, will. I Hunger. I Hunger. I hunger.

[20] It is not art that is dangerous here, rather the normalising effect of assimilation which has become what art is all about. The arrival of artist’s studios in an area marks the beginning of the end for local residents (though not all property owners) through gentrification (patronising, self-fulfilling engagements with the community / public art works being some of its strongest weapons for destroying said community) and the construction of a second-social-strata which will strangle and replace what is present. Similarly, art assimilates and neuters concepts which it encounters by reducing them to straw dogs in its own games (it just eats). The Fine Arts are on one level driven entirely by commerce, which sometimes takes the form of monetary capital (the selling of work’s, the commissioning of new works) or an alternative capital such as sociapolitical power (the strategic use of more bankable, more established artists to raise the profile of a project for example) or indeed entire armatures established for the purposes of raising the value of this market (temporary events, print media, spectacles of all kinds). The artist’s stock market is based entirely on commerce even when none is changing hands, with all involved seeking to raise their own “worth” through successful manipulation of events. This is not to say, that good art, good people and good things are not possible! However, the primary drive of events is the levering up of value, whether by skill, artistry, deception or good will. When it comes to new ideas which on the surface appear to disrupt this they are simply brought into the art discourse of an aestheticism of both form and concepts. It just eats. It never changes.

Also see this:

“I am very dubious that art (or maybe I mean artists?) should play a part in these schemes, what gets called regeneration is very often gentrification thinly veiled. The participatory nature of many art projects seems to imply consent from those taking part in the agenda of the scheme as a whole. Art operating in this arena can be seen as providing a cultural rubber stamp for what is simply a land grab on the part of private developers.” Robin Bale in internet debate The Regeneration Olympics accessed 23rd August 2011.

[21] Oh Clever Hans, the cold reading horse who no-one could fail to believe in made clear our inability to distance ourselves, to produce even the most modest of pure fact-nugget.

[22] not content like “content/expression” or even like Susan Sontag’s content in Against Interpretation (though close) but more like the filling of a pie.

[23] Just as the darkness and space of the Navidson House’s labyrinth ( see Mark Z. Danielewski’s 2000 novel House of Leaves) can be lit and photographed only to be instantly obliterated by this act of recording through illumination and framing. Not to mention the obliteration of all sense data other than (an approximate representation of) the visual.


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