Exposition

Various Writings: Chapter One (2018)

Dion Star, Lizzie Ridout, Maria Christoforidou

About this exposition

VARIOUS WRITINGS: CHAPTER I There are rumours that writing will cease, books will die, the digital eye will take over. Standing at the edge of this precipice we look away from these preoccupations. Instead we look back, investigating the act of writing through systematic consideration, attempting to disregard all preconceptions. This exposition focuses on the gestural and uses Vilém Flusser’s concept of ‘pseudo writing’, to analyse the interaction between the physical actions and the technologies of writing. The first act of Various Writings’ was a response to Vilém Flusser’s text The Gesture of Writing. This text radicalised our ideas on what constitutes research and thematised the conditions of sharing in ‘other’ terms. Flusser meticulously disassembles the act of writing. We follow in his footsteps, using personal mythologies, Oulipian constraints / translations, taxonomies and non-verbal conversations as implements to excavate relics of writing. We collect codes, tools, surfaces; test writing against various technologies and translate it into movements, attitudes and objects.
typeresearch exposition
keywordswriting, flusser, gesture, gestures, pseudo writing, art, oulipo, trialogue
date16/05/2017
published29/08/2018
last modified29/08/2018
statuspublished
share statusprivate
licenseAll rights reserved
urlhttps://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/364566/364567
doihttps://doi.org/10.22501/ruu.364566
published inRUUKKU - Studies in Artistic Research
portal issue8.


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id name copyright license
364588 VW_bamboo-canes Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364591 VW - Webfilm_low VW 2017 All rights reserved
364603 VW - biblio Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364610 thesoundofownwriting Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364612 ABallOfLines Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364614 Aqua Grid Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364616 Black Comic Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364622 Black Line Black Borders Both Sides Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364623 Blue Grid Red Margin Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364624 Blue Line Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
364631 DS_taxonomy_1 Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365152 VW - Webfilm_low VW 2017 All rights reserved
365154 VW - biblio VW 2017 All rights reserved
365160 S49C2749 various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365265 DS_taxonomy_4 Various Writings All rights reserved
365268 Code-Tool_surface Collections Various Writings All rights reserved
365269 DS_taxonomy_2 Various Writings All rights reserved
365270 DS_taxonomy_2 Various Writings All rights reserved
365271 DS_taxonomy_3 Various Writings All rights reserved
365272 ExerciseBooks2EDIT Various Writings All rights reserved
365276 Book Diagram Monument Various Writings All rights reserved
365277 Study for Pen Kiss (Workshop) Various Writings All rights reserved
365279 Study for Pen Kiss (workshop) Various Writings All rights reserved
365280 Study for Pen Kiss (Installation Drawing) Various Writings All rights reserved
365282 DS_taxonomy_2 Various Writings All rights reserved
365290 IMG_5468 Various Writings All rights reserved
365297 Small Monument (Word selection) Various Writings All rights reserved
365303 Small Monument (Derrida) Various Writings All rights reserved
365306 Antonymic Translation II: Document Pencil Study Various Writings All rights reserved
365308 Notes Towards My Desk Various Writings All rights reserved
365310 Not All Writing is Memorable Various Writings All rights reserved
365315 Setting Ideas in Lines Various Writings All rights reserved
365317 A Speaking Pencil Various Writings All rights reserved
365322 Exercise Books 1994- 2017 Various Writings All rights reserved
365326 Exercise Books 1994- 2017 Various Writings All rights reserved
365330 STUDY Antonymic Translation I: Document - Pencil Various Writings All rights reserved
365333 Hall of Mirrors Various Writings All rights reserved
365335 Hall of Mirrors Various Writings All rights reserved
365340 IMG_7337 v All rights reserved
365341 IMG_7336 Various Writings All rights reserved
365347 Iser's Artistic and Aesthetic Poles: Interactive Chairs I Various Writings All rights reserved
365350 Iser's Artistic and Aesthetic Poles: Interactive Chairs II STUDY|DIAGRAM Various Writings All rights reserved
365358 Study|Act One Exercise Book Retranslated Various Writings All rights reserved
365373 Uni- Code Keyboard Various Writings All rights reserved
365375 Multipencil Various Writings All rights reserved
365377 Triple pencil Various Writings All rights reserved
365379 pink Various Writings All rights reserved
365381 Polemos Anarchy Keep it real Maria Christoforidou All rights reserved
365383 iwriteinthemargins Various Writings All rights reserved
365387 Elsa Various Writings All rights reserved
365390 digital documents Various Writings All rights reserved
365393 Rearranged Shakespeare Various Writings All rights reserved
365395 folded text Various Writings All rights reserved
365397 TaxonomyOfThePortableDocument Lizzie Ridout All rights reserved
365400 DS_taxonomy_3 Dion Star All rights reserved
365402 Rope Various Writings All rights reserved
365404 PostItList Various Writings All rights reserved
365406 IMG_6109 Various Writings All rights reserved
365408 Code-Tool_surface Collections Various Writings All rights reserved
365410 IMG_6115 Various Writings All rights reserved
365412 Black Comic Various Writings All rights reserved
365415 mise02 Maria Christoforidou All rights reserved
365436 miseenabyme Maria Christoforidou All rights reserved
365438 Orange Line Blue Paper 2 Various Writings All rights reserved
365439 Blue Line Various Writings All rights reserved
365440 Blue Grid Red Margin Various Writings All rights reserved
365441 Aqua Grid Various Writings All rights reserved
365442 Pink Paper 2 Black lines One Red Line One Black Line Various Writings All rights reserved
365443 Black Line Black Borders Both Sides Various Writings All rights reserved
365445 Mise en Abîme Study| Act| Trialogue Various Writings All rights reserved
365447 Mise En Abîme Various Writings All rights reserved
365454 Various Writings | Distance Writing Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365458 Various Writings | Elsa Lines Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365462 Various Writings | Three Hands Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365465 Various Writings | Ballet Hands Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365467 VW-Z_Lizzie Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365470 VW-Z_Dion Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365475 VW-Z_Lines by Maria Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365480 IMG_5893 Various Writings All rights reserved
365486 Various Writings | Introduction Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
365618 VW - biblio Various Writings 2017 All rights reserved
424235 One Exercise Book Retranslated Various Writings All rights reserved
424248 ABallOfLines Various Writings All rights reserved
424251 thesoundofownwriting Various Writings All rights reserved
424252 OneExerciseBookRetranslatedTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424253 OneExerciseBookRetranslatedTextOverlaySlide V All rights reserved
424254 OneExerciseBookRetranslatedTextOverlaySlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424255 OneExerciseBookRetranslatedTextOverlaySlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424256 One Exercise Book Retranslated Various Writings All rights reserved
424442 PenKissDrawingTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424453 Pen Kiss Drawing Caption Various Writings All rights reserved
424462 One continuous line on A4 Various Writings All rights reserved
424471 SoundOfItsOwnWritingTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424472 SoundOfItsOwnWritingTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424473 OneExerciseBookRetranslatedTextOverlaySlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424474 OneExerciseBookRetranslatedTextOverlaySlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424475 SculpturalPaperTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424476 SculpturalPaperTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424479 SculpturalPaperTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424481 SoundOfItsOwnWritingTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424482 SculpturalPaperTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424488 Maria's Multi Pencil Various Writings All rights reserved
424490 Tri + Multi Pencil Text Slide copy Various Writings All rights reserved
424499 PenKissDrawingTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424507 Aqua Grid Various Writings All rights reserved
424508 Black Line Black Borders Both Sides Various Writings All rights reserved
424509 Blue Grid Red Margin Various Writings All rights reserved
424510 Blue Line Various Writings All rights reserved
424511 Pink Paper 2 Black lines One Red Line One Black Line Various Writings All rights reserved
424512 DigitalPaperCollectionTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved
424513 DigitalPaperCollectionTextSlide Various Writings All rights reserved

RUUKKU portal comments: 2
Elina Mikkilä 28/09/2018 at 10:50

The research positions itself in the context of “the ongoing discourse on the future of writing”. Despite this apparent topicality the debate about the end of the ‘Gutenberg era’ has been around for more than twenty years, with more or less unchanged rhetoric/arguments. It has become a redundant leitmotiv. Most recent statistics (presented during the Frankfurt Book Fair 2017) show that the e-book has failed to convince the reading public. At the same time, social media (and the like) give rise to a powerful ‘second alphabetization’. Thus, the starting premise of the exposition the alleged verge of an abyss, where “the digital eye will take over” – should be revised. Even if – and especially because – it is used as “a fictional perspective”.

 

As much as I salute the embodied approach as a fresh wind, I find it difficult to disconnect the act of writing from writing as a cultural technique. This latter aspect is implied by the chosen contextual setting and thus to be considered in all of the observations. Lacking founded knowledge of the current debate the references remain on the level of inspirational quotes. This approach might offer a legitimate starting point for artistic practice (indeed, Flusser is mentioned as a source of inspiration). However, such subjective impetuses are redundant, when it comes to academic discourse about digital writing. For instance, given that writing in the digital space is referred to as “secondary orality” (Ong 1982), it would be more adequate and fruitful to analyze McLuhan’s quote (in Obs. 2) in whatever relation to this point of view. Bringing a new perspective into the debate that is still largely based on French poststructuralists’ (notably Barthes’, Foucault’s, Kristeva’s) theories is overdue and welcome. But, in order to break the rules, you have to know them first.

 

Due to the fact that some of the references are used as topical buzzwords rather than true methodological foundation, the former give the impression of academic ‘name-dropping’. E.g. the constraints imposed by the members of the French experimental group OULIPO on their own literary work have to do with the semantic materiality of language. They were, on the one hand, highly challenging, on the other, ludic in an innovative fashion. (A more fruitful starting point for an embodied involvement with writing would in my view be the Dadaist experiments and those of the Vienna Group.) In the same vein, the visual adaptations of ‘antonymic translation’ all include the interplay of black and white – despite the aim of wanting to avoid dichotomies.

 

The last chapter ‘(Towards a) Taxonomy’ presents a selection of art works – without even an initial attempt to classify them. Since the artistic practice forms the core of the examination and also the observations are predominantly subjective (with an argumentation that is partly difficult to follow), it is crucial to fulfill the (cl)aim of a methodological taxonomy in order to legitimize the work as artistic research.

 

The introduction promises both “layering and simultaneity” of the exposition material. This kind of a palimpsestic structure is attained at two occasions, when the (moving) images interact with the text (cf. one of the films in Obs. 1 and Obs. 3). Yet, all in all the different elements remain isolated; the scroll bar in the middle highlighting this separation. There should be a clear aesthetic decision for one of the strategies (in all of its variations) in order to avoid arbitrariness. In my view, the layering approach offers more symbolic potential for an interactive exploration of ‘various writings’ (in line with Homi Bhabha’s eminent concept of ‘hybridity’). Readability is perfectly sustained by the visual material that (dis)appears when clicked on.

 

Various Writings: Chapter One defines itself as a trialogue. In fact, it has a tripartite structure (possibly owing to the origin of the different elements of the exposition known to the artist-researchers). However, like the ambiguity between separation and simultaneousness in the visual form, the exposition lacks a true exchange between the different parts and/or collaborators. E.g. Obs. 1 depicts an illiterate tribe leader imitating the act of writing. This forms a parallel to the childhood reminiscence in Obs. 3, where the speaker starts to write without knowing how to read. Although I welcome the intention to overcome binary oppositions by using a tripartite structure, a hypertextual presentation would in this case possibly allow for a more fruitful exchange in the Barthesian sense of « un espace à dimensions multiples, où se marient et se contestent des écritures variées » (1984: 65). It would be interesting to see the heterogeneous writings communicate with each other on an aesthetic meta-level.

 

The deficits owing to a poor knowledge of the discourse about writing as a cultural technique ‘on the move’ could be turned into an innovative strength of the exposition – in line with the call. In Obs. 1, for instance, the elusive chain of subjective associations could be replaced by a conscious aesthetic strategy of absurd argumentation – e.g. by exaggerating observations like “lost in translation” and “people can see through this charade”.

 

The exposition holds inspiring potential to deepen artistic reflection in line with the literary tradition: Its tripartite structure reminds of the traditional symbolic of fairy tales. Similar to observations 2 and 3 as well as their visual interpretations, the so called ‘pop-literature’ (from the 1990’s onwards) shows affinity to lists. The taxonomy-to-be allows to draw a parallel to the study of literary production aesthetics based on the examination of different manuscript versions. To these established practices the exposition offers an interesting alternative interpretation.

 

However, in order to attain (even modest) discursive significance, the exposition must overcome its l’art pour l’art temptation by truly engaging in the societal and/or theoretical discourse which is merely alluded to in the present version.

Johanna Pentikäinen 28/09/2018 at 10:53

The exposition fits very well to the theme of RUUKKU #8. It explores the nature of writing and thus questions the very essential part of meaning-making processes related to all research and artistic activities.

 

For me, the most fascinating part is how the exposition questions the ”natural” essence of writing and challenges the viewer to look the theme from different perspectives. For me, the exposition seems to inquire writing from ”various” perspectives to show that there is no such thing as a writing that is some kind of general human-controlled meaning-making process. Instead, there are various context-related ritual-like activities that we may call ”writing” in hope of finding some evidence to trust our own attempts of somehow trying to make sense of the world and communicate with others.

 

The artistic practice is in focus of this exposition. It clearly develops and communicates the theme. I personally found this piece really alluring and sophisticated, but at the same time, I feel my own limitations as a reviewer because I do not know the context(s) the researchers are from (and the exposition does not provide the information).

 

In order to be (more) significant in other disciplines, the exposition would need to communicate its setting, methods, and findings in a more explicit way. The written parts of this piece of research are very compact and dense which is partly purposeful and partly means a risk of confusing the reader.

 

As part of the artwork the compact texts work well and are part of the linear composition of the artwork. The text can be read in the same time than the videos are being showed, and reading and watching both compliment and beautifully disturb each other. The artwork does not need any longer texts to maintain its communicative aspect and composition.

 

At the same time, I felt that I am missing some worthy information. Who are the artists, and why they work within this theme? What is their background and how they developed their research questions? What are their presuppositions and argument(s)? How they or their artwork communicates with other artworks, theories? How do they justify their epistemology and methodology? In other words, this piece would need to show some awareness of the social aspects of the research conducted in research community, which means being aware of its mode of speech. Not all aspects of these questions are needed in an artwork like this, but at the same time, some mapping would be preferable.

 

The exposition shows solid understanding of the practices and designs of artistic research, and its overall implementation is noteworthy. However, it needs some improvements in the ways it communicates its research settings and contexts. Hopefully the artists find a way to share the background information with curious readers without violating the current manifestation of their project.

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