Critical Spatial Practice

Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs)
  • Penny Florence | Shot in three separate European exhibitions (UK, The Netherlands)

  • Still from Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs) Still from Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs) Still from Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs)
  • The film shows itself and its maker filming/being filmed in three art locations (two major museums and one independent show), and with two visibly different cameras (iPhone and camcorder). The presence of the hand-held cameras constitutes a material difference from painting, where the technology cannot actually feature in the image; the brush can’t appear in a painting as it paints. There is a kind of infinite recession at the interface of all the constituent elements, especially when the film is played in a gallery and on a loop without the titles. ‘The move is from a model of reflection to one of diffraction; it is the ability to actualise the ideas of “self” and “portrait” dynamically and ex-centrically that is new. Hypermedia embodies a new way of articulating how the surface of the body is conceived as relation to its interior, to the senses and to the mind.’ (‘Cybiog and sexed digitalia’, p. 145) In the same essay, I link this with a shift from the fetishistic self to the prosthetic, starting from the Freudian sense in which the fetishist can only be male in a manner continuous with his understanding of the self. ‘The pre-digital self-portrait was an object and entailed the splitting that is inherent in mirror-theories of the self’ (‘Cybiog and sexed digitalia’, p. 147). I summarise these interfaces as ‘topological’. The moving image writes, and having writ, shifts dimension.


    Biography:

    I am Professor Emerita at The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. An interdisciplinarian working between digital language art, poetry, film, feminism, my international publications focus on the multivalent relations between forms of art and poetry.  I have supervised over 25 practice based PhDs on art and writing and am a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists. I have also been privileged to join Jane Rendell in teaching students of the Critical Spatial Practice: Site-Writing module, bringing together practice-based PhD students from The Slade and the Bartlett. I hope that my latest book Thinking the Sculpture Garden (Routledge 2020) will be thought as site-writing.


    Practices:

    I do not differentiate clearly between practice and thought. A differential exists, but the exact moment of transition is as unknowable as the moment of coalescence into form: awareness here is retrospective. Boundaries have their uses, but they are ultimately restrictive, especially when elevated to principles. So writing may evolve into painting, film, and so forth. These factors define for me Jane Rendell’s understanding of “site-specificity” within site-writing, which isn’t a matter of inter/cross-disciplinarity, but a rather generously expansive mode of exploration that enables both freedom and structure, because it is its own site, yet it is interconnected.


    Keywords:
    film, cybiog, self-portrait, interface, topology, diffraction

    References:

    Maya Deren Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, 18 mins). 

    Sally Potter’s Thriller (1979, 34 mins).

    Jean Cocteau Orphée (1950, Ihr 52mins).


    Other projects:
  • Time on Site (2019)
  • Stori Mwd (A Story of Mud), (2019)
  • not nothing (August 2019)
  • Hungry Mothers, En La Frontera (2019 – present)
  • Exchanging Values at Bank (18 October 2019)
  • Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs)
  • Civic Pedagogy, learning as critical spatial practice (2019)
  • An environmental history of La Guajira (2019)
  • A Weird-Tender in progress (2019)
  • A walk in your words (25.01.2019)
  • Portal Zaryadye: A Portal Not Only to Heaven, But Aslo To Hell (24 July – 12 August 2018)
  • Text-isles: sowing an idea, October (2018)
  • Objects removed for study (2018)
  • Female Futures Lexicon on Space (2018/2019)
  • Bank Job, (2018–2020 and beyond)
  • windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman [performance] (2017)
  • Viscous Myths (2017/2018)
  • The Pass (October 2017 – June 2018)
  • The House Alice Built (2017/2019)
  • Productive Withdrawals: Art Strikes, Art Worlds, and Art as a Practice of Freedom (December 2017)
  • Request for the unrequested voluntary interlinguisticality (2017)
  • Caring for Communities (2017 – 2019)
  • Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • a place called … (Spring 2017)
  • Uppland (2016 – 18)
  • Music for Masterplanning (2016 – 17)
  • P | A | N – Proyecto Amasandería Nacional (2016)
  • Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces (2016)
  • In My Mothers’ Garden: Memories and practices of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (2016)
  • Having not felt like eating, but eaten, I sat down to eat / tea … (2016)
  • Bamboo dialogues (2016)
  • Alternative Arrangements: Walking the Border in Ireland (2016 – ongoing)
  • Matter of the Manor (2015 – 19)
  • The First World Congress of the Missing Things (2014)
  • Private Choices, Public Spaces (2014)
  • Hanging Matters (2014)
  • Act#5 & Act#6: What does Mai Mai Mean? (March 2014 – December 2016)
  • Gardening for Untold Ecologies: A Manual for Making an Arid GARDEN Out There, (2013)
  • A Game of Dominoes (2013)
  • Lina & Gio: the last humanists (February – June 2012)
  • Learning-through-Touring (2012)
  • Empty Words Build Empty Homes (2012)
  • Ridley’s (2011)
  • Hustadt project, 2008 – (2011)
  • Palimpsest Performances (2010 – 2014)
  • Negotiating Conflict: Bordering Practices in a Divided Beirut (2010 – 2014)
  • Expanded Architecture (2010 – 2014)
  • Unfixing Place: A Study of Istanbul through Topographical Practices (2008)
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