Afternoon Dust

Specific Utopias: Non-General Responses To The 'Problematic' Site

The current issue of Interference journal contains an interesting essay by Will Scrimshaw titled ‘Any Place Whatever: Schizophonic Dislocation and the Sound of Space in General’. The essay draws upon works by Francisco López, Asher Thal-Nir and Taylor Deupree to describe a shift in site-specific sound art from “veridical act[s] of documentation” towards an abstract “schizophonic dislocation”, a shift Scrimshaw considers in terms of a movement from the specific to the general. In Scrimshaw’s view, the tendency to try to capture ‘essential’ sonic features or events that give a site its specificity and uniqueness, an approach he associates with R.

Zoe Leonard's Observation Point

I was introduced to the work of artist/photographer Zoe Leonard by Dr. Sophie Berrebei in a recent lecture, and was persuaded to schedule a visit to Camden Arts Centre in London to see Leonard’s current show Observation Point. While the lecture was based mainly on the earlier work Analogue (about which Berrebei has written an informative article in a recent issue of AfterAll), the work on display in London is more recent, and includes the conversion of one of the Centre’s galleries into a camera obscura. Other works on show include You See, I Am Here After All (2008), a collection of postcards depicting the Niagara Falls, and a series of photographs of the sun taken in 2011.


On Wednesday I was in Tilburg, where I saw Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma’s current solo show at Tilburg’s Textielmuseum. Meindertsma’s primary interest is in the “lines that link raw materials with producers, products, and consumers”, lines she traces through a diverse practice spanning product design, artistic intervention, and historical, botanical, and industrial research. Her work One Sheep (2004/10) consists of sweaters knitted with the wool taken from a single sheep, accompanied by a ‘passport’ identifying the animal in question. For her book Pig 05049 (2007), she details all the various products that are made from or through the use of materials of porcine origin, including fruit juice (cleared by gelatine), bullets (pig grease is used during manufacture), and the brake discs of German trains (made from bone ash).

Making time is hard these days

Finally got myself organised and got out of the house in time to see some exhibitions. Guy Tillim’s ‘Second Nature’ at Huis Marseille was an odd experience – his photos of São Paolo and Polynesian islands looked as if they could have been taken pretty much anywhere, which I’m not really sure was intentional. I loved Bertien van Manen’s ‘Let’s sit down before we go’ at FOAM, all intimate, off-the-cuff snapshots of friends in the former USSR, images of people eating or drinking or lounging round the house or running around in the snow. The New York Times show, also at FOAM, was nicely done, but to be honest I can’t look at any more press photos, I just don’t see anything anymore. I liked Gary Peress’ admonition to “Listen, listen, look, look”, though.

Sun, sea, sand, and sound

I spent Friday afternoon on the beach at Scheveningen with sound artists Frouke and Leon, watching them work. They are currently investigating ways of trying to generate sounds from wind currents using kites – the wind-driven movements of the kite produce vibrations in the kite’s string, which can then be picked up using a contact mic. The research at Scheveningen is facilitated by a BADGAST residency from Satellietgroep, a Den Haag-based initiative dedicated to the study of “the cultural significance of oceans and seas from the perspective of the arts and science”. We had great fun, the weather was great, and we all got a little sunburnt.

Incident Report Form

Date: 07/03/2012 Time: approx. 13:20 Location: Rosa Overbeekbrug, corner of Bloemgracht and Bloemdwarrstraat Weather: Moderate rain, low visibility

Description of Incident: A young adult male on a black scooter, travelling westwards along Bloemgracht, collided with a middle-aged woman (50-60yrs) on a bicycle as she attempted to cross Bloemgracht heading north. The woman was accompanied by a young child (2-3yrs) who was strapped in a child seat at the rear of the bicycle. All appeared to avoid serious injury, although the child was in a clear state of distress. There appeared to be some minor damage to both vehicles. Onlookers quickly arrived at the scene.

Fragments #1

Fragments #2

Window Shopping with Anna Malagrida

A couple of weekends ago I was in Cologne reviewing a music festival for Fluid Radio (you can read my coverage here). On a spare afternoon I hit the gallery trail, and came across a nice solo show at private gallery Figge von Rosen. The artist’s name was Anna Malagrida, and for her Shop Windows series (2008-09) she photographed the windows of Parisian shops, looking in from the outside. However, in her photographs the shops’ interiors are obscured by reflections, objects, and the white paint often used to cover up the windows of businesses that have closed or are being refurbished. A strong dichotomy is thus produced between outside and inside, yet at the same time the ambiguous combination of objects, window pane, and reflections casts uncertainty upon what is being viewed, and from where. Is that an object or a reflection?

The ghost that haunts is always one's own: Sven Augustijnen's Spectres

Yesterday I headed over to De Appel to see Sven Augustijnen’s solo exhibition, “Spectres”. By coincidence I happened to arrive just in time for a screening of a film made by the artist, also called “Spectres”. The exhibition contained many other items, including photographs, posters, books, display cases full of archive materials, and what looked like banana plants in big pots. However, I’m going to concentrate here on the film, mainly because my head was too full of what I’d just seen to pay attention to anything else.

Voyage Through A Room – From Rotterdam to New York and Back


If I were a moth, bookshops would be my lightbulbs. While noseying round Joot, just off Herengracht in Amsterdam, I came across what looked like an interesting collection of articles on Dutch contemporary artists, something I had been wanting to read more about for a while. Even better, the price had been reduced. Clearly the planets had aligned in such a way that I had to buy this book.