HEADSTONE TO HARD DRIVE
MONUMENT TO FOLLY 1
‘Headstone to Hard Drive, Monument to Folly 1’ is the first of three symposia addressing the issues of exteriorisation, technique and technology as they affect, inform and construct the ‘visual’ arts. Taking its cue from André Leroi-Gourhan’s theory of exteriorisation, the event will consider the agency of technology and media as a co-author of content, a fact that imbues media with an inherent semiotic and physiologic power and relevance.
The aim is to consider the consequences and effects for critical and artistic practices of the ”liberation of memory” performed by technical prosthesis, a “liberation” about which Leroi-Gourhan and others have written extensively.
For more information please visit the website: http://events.arts.ac.uk/event/2014/10/25/Headstone-to-Hard-Drive-Monument-to-Folly-1/
PRE EVENTS TO ‘MONUMENT TO FOLLY 2’
Friday 30th January D107 5.30 pm
I’ll be editing this film down to the interviews with Bernard Stiegler in which he discusses the relation between technology and time and the importance of the myth of Prometheus and Epimetheus. Edited down these sections amount to under 1.5 hours.
Screening of sections from David Barison and Daniel Ross’s 3 hour film which takes a journey up the Danube River. Conceived as an accompaniment to Heidegger’s lecture course on the poem, ‘The Ister’, by the poet Friedrich Hölderlin, the film presents several interviews with philosophers. These include Bernard Stiegler, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, as well as with the German film director Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. Stiegler discusses the relations between technology and time, between modernity and inheritance.
The film also looks at war, politics, myth, National Socialism and the Holocaust.
Tuesday 3rd February D107 5.30 pm
Briefing for ‘Headstone to Hard Drive 2’
Wedsnesday 18th February D111 5.30 pm
Debriefing for ‘Headstone to Hard Drive 2’
‘HEADSTONE TO HARD DRIVE, MONUMENT TO FOLLY 2’
9.30 am – 5.00 pm, February 7th, 2015
Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London
“The evolution of the “prosthesis”, not itself living, by which the human is nonetheless defined as a living being, constitutes the reality of the human’s evolution, as if, with it, the history of life were to continue by means other than life: this is the paradox of a living being characterized in its forms of life by the non-living – or by the traces that its life leaves in the non-living”
‘Technics and Time: The Fault of Epimetheus No. 1’, Bernard Stiegler 
‘Headstone to Hard Drive, Monument to Folly 2’ is the second of three events addressing the issues of exteriorisation, technique and technology as they affect, inform and construct the ‘visual’ arts. Taking its cue from André Leroi-Gourhan’s theory of exteriorisation, the event will consider the agency of technology and media as a co-author of content, an approach that imbues media with an inherent semiotic and physiologic power and relevance. The aim is to consider the consequences and effects for critical and artistic practices of the ”liberation of memory” performed by technical prosthesis, a “liberation” about which Leroi-Gourhan and others have written extensively.
This second event, following the first symposium in October 2014, draws contributions from
artists, philosophers of technology and media, curators, and financial derivatives software providers. It includes presentations by Elie Ayache, Ami Clarke and Richard Cochrane, Steven Claydon, Felicity Colman, Annabel Frearson, Sarah Jones and with a keynote address by Bernard Stiegler.
The growth of digital databases, acting simultaneously as storage, circulation and calculation technologies, magnifies the artistic dialogue between authorship and automation; a socio- cultural dialogue familiar within the visual arts from the histories of photography and the readymade. Both of these historic ‘techniques’ drove a wedge into the traditional supports of aesthetic experience; communication and production. This is the backdrop against which the three symposia question aesthetic theory’s robustness in the light of technological development. Whether we view technics either as extensions or as appropriations of human physiology, the question remains: how can aesthetics, mired in anthropocentric bias and organicist analogy, make space for the inorganic or the technical? Where now are we able to locate a spectator moving between the sentient human and the auxiliary non-human or the auxiliary human and the sentient non-human?
Whilst the discursive topic incorporates contemporary developments in technology, the approach of the symposia is not to consider such technologies’ import as existing in developmental isolation, rather they are seen to have retrospective agency, in historical reconstruction, in the obsolete and in the survival of the anachronistic. Also, technology gains calculative and prospective agency, not through an unfolding end-point but in a ‘purchase’ of, and a ‘loan’ to, the future. It is through a chiasmic image of the present, a revolving door, that the con-temporality of technology is proposed.
The series of events bridge historical and contemporary mnemo-techniques; the alphabet; financial trading software; micro-processing; extra-terrestrial architecture; plaster-cast replicas of antique statues; phonography; photography; 3D data capture; heritage industries; archives. These are examples of mnemo-techniques and technologies, derived from the architectural monument to the semi-conductor microchip – from the headstone to the hard drive – encompassing the actual and the virtual.
This question of the temporality of technology is developed across the three events by exploring archaeological and historical approaches and their ability to provide points of purchase for considering the impasse of aesthetic theory when faced with the technical. A tension is staged between the epistemological value of technical memory and a media-archaeological understanding of technology; concern with data, material fragments, “decisive mutations”. What noise, supplementarity or redundancy might accompany this tension?
The third event will take place at The British School Rome on June 26th 2015, specifically engaging distinctions of method between history and archaeology, examining their differing potential for critical/artistic practice.
 Stiegler, Bernard, Richard Beardsworth, and George Collins. Technics and Time: The Fault of Epimetheus No. 1. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1998. p.50
 Ernst, Wolfgang and Parikka, Jussi. ‘Digital Memory and The Archive’, University of Minnesota Press, 2013. p.48
Tickets for this event are free and available from Eventbrite:
Bernard Stiegler is a philosopher. He is doctor of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, head of the Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation (IRI), which he founded in 2006 at the Centre Georges-Pompidou. He is President and co-founder in 2005 of the political and cultural group, Ars Industrialis, the founder in 2010 of the philosophy school, Ecole de Philosophie d’Épineuil-le-Fleuriel, Professor at the University of London (Goldsmiths College), Associate Professor at the University of Technology of Compiègne and teaches at the ETH Zurich. In 1987–88, with Catherine Counot, Stiegler commissioned an exhibition at the Centre Georges-Pompidou, entitled Mémoires du futur: bibliothèques et technologies.
Stiegler’s work has philosophically explored questions of technology and knowledge approaching this through the lens of the phenomenological tradition, evolutionary biology, political economy and the critique of consumer capitalism. He is a prolific writer whose best- known works are the three part volumes of Technics and Time (1994) and Disbelief and Discredit (2004). His book Stupidity and Knowledge in the 21st Century: Pharmacology of the University is published in February 2015.
Elie Ayache – Pierre Menard’s Don Quixote
Can contingency be independent of time? Pierre Menard doesn’t write the Quixote in time for the reason that Cervantes’ text would precede Menard’s in time and that Menard would then do nothing more chronologically than rewrite it — and not write it, as Borges insists that we understand what Menard does. In chronology, writing the Quixote is no longer a possibility because it is already past, thanks to Cervantes, and the text is now actualized. Menard writes the Quixote outside possibility and replication. He doesn’t repeat the text; he repeats the contingency of the text. The contingency of the Quixote survives time and the actualization of the text because it remains true that the text is contingent after it is finished and after its possibility is extinguished.
Elie Ayache is the author of The Blank Swan and founder of ITO33, a company offering technical products and services to the financial industry. The Blank Swan is Elie’s highly original treatise on the financial markets – presenting a totally revolutionary rethinking of derivative pricing and technology. The book criticises the whole background or framework of predictable and unpredictable events, the very category of prediction. In this revolutionary book, Elie redefines the components of the technology needed to price and trade derivatives. Most importantly, and drawing on a long tradition of philosophy of the event from Henri Bergson to Gilles Deleuze, to Alain Badiou, and on to recent philosophies of contingency, embodied by the speculative materialism of Quentin Meillassoux, Elie redefines the market itself against the common perceptions of orthodox financial theory, general equilibrium theory and the sociology of finance.
Ami Clarke and Richard Cochrane – Low Animal Spirits
Low Animal Spirits by Ami Clarke and Richard Cochrane is an algorithm driven by real time data, scripted as a live onscreen score and audio work with automated
‘readers’. Taking its cue from the oft-mentioned loss of the referent in both language and the economy, it is a live model of high frequency trading, dealing in words sourced from global news feeds for virtual ‘profit’, whilst speculating on their usage. The analysis produces new phenomena in the form of headlines generated with the help of
Natural Language processing algorithms, tweeted @lowanimalspirit.
The visualization you see projected is a glimpse into the HFT algorithms buying and selling activity with volatility at the centre of these concerns. It accesses 994 English Language global news feeds ‘live’ and acts upon the data as if it were trading in the global market place, analysing words in terms of the potential for a virtual ‘profit’ to be made. You are watching what is about to trend, and likewise, the speculative headline generator is trying quite hard to anticipate the next headline, based on recent history, and incoming headlines, with the help of a Natural Language Processing algorithm.
Ami Clarke is an artist and founder of Banner Repeater: a reading room with a public Archive of Artists Publishing, and project space; opening up an experimental space for others, with a shared focus in her practice on publishing, distribution, and dissemination. Her practice continues to develop alongside her facilitating Banner Repeater, which has become a unique research model informing this, in a working train station environment. Her work is concerned with structures of meaning, and the semiotics of everyday life, and what kind of representation could possibly articulate the complexities and contradictions of life working as an artist
today. She has recently exhibited/curated works at Hayward Gallery project space, David Roberts Arts Foundation, Camden Arts Centre and a solo exhibition in Tokyo, Japan.
Richard Cochrane is a writer, educator and musician, and a founder of the new Centre for Art and Mathematics at Central Saint Martins and director of Big Ideas Initiatives. In his previous career he wrote software for derivatives trading floors in the City, mostly as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs. He has performed at the Museum of London, the Bridewell Theatre, and is the author of several books on poetry, computer programming, music and history.
Steven Claydon – Ad Apsis
The talk will take a peripatetic trajectory, orbiting aspects and notions thrown up in the formation and wake of the show ‘The Noing Uv It’, co-curated with Martin Clark for Kunsthall Bergen in January 2015. In particular I will dwell on the notion of emergence in relation to linguistics, bio-morphology, technology as an umbrella term and
artificial intelligence. The talk will explore primitive consciousness inherent within matter as suggested by David Bohm, Karl H. Pribram’s understanding of holographic theory, extra-terrestrial architecture as a pre-ruin, IBM’s manipulation of atoms, anthropocentric ‘monkey logic’ in quantum mechanics and Heidegger’s difficulties in apprehending the essence of Being, the strobing between revealing and concealing, earth and world, establishing a relationship between this and David Bohm’s explicate and implicate orders. These connections establish a climate of pro-associative signifiers that eccentrically satellite one another within the exhibition, ‘The Noing Uv It’.
Steven Claydon is a sculptor, curator and musician based in London. He has performed and shown work internationally in exhibitions at Haus Der Kunst (Munich), Tate Modern (London), Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen (Düsseldorf), Portikus (Frankfurt am Main), First Site (Colchester), White Columns (New York). In 2008 he curated ‘Strange Events Permit Themselves The Luxury of Occurring’ at Camden Arts Centre and in 2015 has co-curated ‘The Noing Uv It’ with Martin Clark at Kunsthall Bergen. He is represented by Sadie Coles HQ (London), David Kordansky (Los Angeles) and Galerie Massimo de Carlo (Milan).
Felicity Colman – Speculative data: creativity, and Robert Smithson
Speculating on the transformation processes of energy forms, Robert Smithson’s work emphasises how the visualization of time is structured by the differences in material cultural systems. In his practice (manifested in writing, films, performative work, plastic forms) and in his research (into geophysical and technologically produced systems), Smithson frames duration as allegorical, entropic, iconic, heteroclitic, and heterotopic.
Made from his contemporaneous technological cultural field,
noted for its contribution towards
redefining the field of creativity. While using
vernacular material to inform and develop material practice to intervene and change is a
common creative methodology, Smithson’s work also contributes to a post-modernist
understanding of a philosophy of temporality. In this paper, I investigate Smithson’s
speculation on durational properties as systems of
technologically directed perception.
Felicity Colman is Reader in Screen Media at the Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. Dr. Colman is the author of Film Theory: Creating a Cinematic Grammar (2014), Deleuze and Cinema (2011) and editor of Film, Theory and Philosophy: The Key Thinkers (2009), co-editor of Sensorium: Aesthetics, Art, Life (2007). She works on philosophy and issues of gender, media arts, and creative practice, and has published several essays on the work of Robert Smithson, including Colman, F. (2006) “Affective entropy.” Angelaki (11, 1); and
Annabel Frearson – Affectation Correspondence
Annabel Frearson will present her ongoing project Frankenstein2; or, The Monster of Main Stream, which aims to reconfigure the entirety of Shelley’s Frankenstein (1831) using all and only the words from the original. The work is facilitated by a piece of bespoke software, Frankenwriter, and to date the project has taken the form of performed readings; an album of original pop songs (including combined reconfigurations of songs by David Bowie and Lady Gaga); a 35mm b&w film of movie titles; a Slimvolume poster edition; a Victorian publicity pamphlet; a review of I, Frankenstein on Rotten Tomatoes website; a corporate PowerPoint presentation promoting a light industrial / biotech / life sciences park; an audio work; a description of Max MSP software; and most recently a work of science fiction.
Annabel Frearson rearranges existing cultural objects into new relationships in a dialogical method. Projects inhabit multiple forms including performative conceptual writing, film collages, sound, digital and printed works according to the context of their manifestation and mode of dispersal.
Frearson has participated in exhibitions and events including at Camden Arts Centre, LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images, V&A Museum, Whitechapel Gallery, London; Arnolfini, Bristol; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Haifa Museum of Art, Israel, and Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, Reno, USA. In 2012 Frearson had a solo show at xero, kline & coma in London.
Frearson studied modern languages at Bristol University and fine art at Central St Martin’s (University of the Arts) and the Slade School, UCL. She recently completed a PhD in art practice at Goldsmiths College.
Smithson’s practice is
change, made visible through
Colman, F. (2013) “The Matter of the Image: Notes on Practice-
philosophy.” in Charlotte DeMille and John Mullarkey (eds.) Bergson and the Art of Immanence
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Sarah Jones – The playing of a 7″ phonograph record
A theatrical vignette. A reading of the past present.
Sarah Jones lives and works in London. Her work draws on legacies of minimalism and literal theatricality, embracing and ramping this up as a part of picture making. She gained her PhD in Painting at the Royal College of Art, recent exhibitions and performances include: Spoken Weird, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2014); An Independent Voice, Modern Art Oxford (2014); FOAM, Andor, London and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2014); The Amateur Poacher, Winter Projects, London (2013); choon, The Great Central, Leicester (2013); New Contemporaries, Liverpool Biennial /ICA London (2012); and Where’s My Cheese Roll I Made That Cheese Roll, ICA Film Salon, London (2012). She is the current Resident in Critical Practice at the Royal Academy Schools (2014/2016).
Programme 9.30 Registration
9.45 Martin Westwood – Introduction
10.00 Steven Claydon – Ad Apsis
10.45 Annabel Frearson – Affectation Correspondence
11.45 Sarah Jones – The playing of a 7″ phonograph record 12.05 Elie Ayache – Pierre Menard’s Don Quixote
1.45 Sarah Jones and Martin Westwood – Conversation on ‘The playing of a 7″ phonograph record’
2.05 Ami Clarke and Richard Cochrane – Low Animal Spirits
2.50 Felicity Colman – Speculative data: creativity, and Robert Smithson
3.55 Bernard Stiegler – Keynote 4.45 – Finish