As part of one of my university courses I’ve been conducting a survey of art book readership, asking people to share how and why they read art books. A statistical analysis of results thus far can be found here. The sample size is somewhat small, but hopefully some of the data there will be useful to those involved in art book publishing. Thanks to everyone who participated!
The survey is ongoing — you can participate by going here. Results should in theory be automatically updated to include your answers.
The café is crowded and full of noise: animated conversations, kitchen clatter, the scrape and chink of cutlery and glasses. Composer Sam Messer approaches groups of diners and politely asks to deposit a small cube speaker on their table. No one refuses. The cubes are initially silent, but after a while one or two of them quietly start to sound: a continuous hollow wave rushes then fades; somewhere else a ringing sine wave begins. They are hard to hear over the clamour of voices, but hearing them does something strange and unexpected to those voices, and to the room itself. The quality of the sonic environment changes somehow, while remaining the same: noises suddenly lose their character as conversation or as café ambience, and become somehow object-like, abstract and distanced. The insertion of the composed sounds turns the whole café environment into a kind of sculpture.
I’ve just finished reading Edward S. Casey’s The Fate of Place (1997), a fascinating history of the idea of place in Western philosophy from early creation myth to Derrida and Irigary. Although a lot of the concepts discussed seemed to me to be frighteningly complex, each one was made easier to grasp through comparison with the others, and while Casey never shies from using appropriately technical terms when necessary, I found his writing style to be very clear and straightforward.
Last time I saw Dog Kennel Hill Project, they were busy sending up theatre’s aspirations to the sublime in the bitingly satirical Devil in the Detail. Their new piece Marks, Measures, Maps and Mind takes things a step further, leading audiences right into the heart of Nature itself — into that which underwrites and provides the model for every attempt at the sublime in art. Commissioned by Stour Valley Arts, Turner Contemporary, and South East Dance, the piece is a roughly forty-five minute guided walk through the forest at King’s Wood, Kent, with a large company of dancers performing a number of movement studies, solo or in groups, around the audience.
Here’s a video I made this morning. I might submit it as my BA dissertation, along with a 7,991-word bibliography.
As part of the research for my forthcoming dissertation I’ve been getting stuck in to the work of Italian-born, US-based feminist film theorist Giuliana Bruno. Streetwalking on a Ruined Map (1993), her book about early Neapolitan filmmaker Elvira Notari, was interesting to me on many levels, not least for her convincing argument that in the early history of cinema and the city, Baudelaire and Benjamin’s literary flâneur becomes a cinematic flâneuse. However, it was Atlas of Emotion, her 2002 magnus opus investigating the crossing over of film, architecture, mapping, travel, and the body, that yielded the most fruit in terms of my dissertation research.