World in a Box - A Bittersweet Salon - Film

8 December 2013

The World in a Box (A Bittersweet Salon)

Note on the installation by the curators

The world in a box (a bittersweet salon) features contributions from about 70 individuals and collaborative groups. In a recent discussion with Francesco Pedraglio there was agreed a preference for installing television-based digital films in the place of projected works given the context of the space. In addition to this, the hosting of live works, exhibiting wall-mounted works and putting objects into makeshift vitrines, might, we conjectured, take advantage of the few remaining furnishings from the pub interior such as glass cabinets or cupboards used previously to house large television sets. The large high space at the back of the building has no natural light as it was built originally as a cinema, then many years later partitioned off and fitted out and used as a public house. It overlooks the seafood stall, a section of beach and to its left cement steps. Opposite, the sea.

Note from the editor

The sound of a world in a box
Not sure about how to interpret an art event like 'The world in a box', where, what it is, what it does...could be less interesting to do so [in a sense to have a 'take' on curating that I don't share, so much as it's very much an intellectual/pedagogic entrapment...with a kind of more authorising role in terms of what exhibitions 'do' in communities and geographies], whereas Peter Fillingham, the curator, is taking more an artist's view which is a radical turn away from these traps, in my opinion - less about his contempt for a politically correct speech, interested only in translating sculpture as a 'spatial practice' for example, and more that what comes across and stands dangerously in the way, makes these events easy to be misinterpreted by vested interest and its pathogenesis (its capacity to reduce something benevolent) to a community-friendly 'event'. That's not how I would see an event, if I can claim a radical turn away from these totemic powers of bonding groups, separating individuals. I don't think they are necessarily, even trying to be, 'events' in that ilk of serving a totem and a taboo of not belonging, or being mysteries about deciphering objects - things, as they are [objects are used as still very much the concern with how we are led into 'community'] - fake representations, even the Situationist inheritance is so wrong. It would be fallacious to make any singular interpretation re: what the event does or how it is specific to in this case, 'Margate' or 'Warsaw' or anywhere, any place, or as Alain Badiou calls 'splace' - rather I think the idea of a sound of a place, 'sound-place' here or elsewhere, I take from a work by Peter Hofer in the show (or if I am mistaken, more than one sound is mixed here with other sounds, ambient noise, chatter, reflecting words in space, misheard, something sounding like 'here's a light' for example, because a torch appears in view...) might serve the intention of the curator better than any rationalisation 'post-event' or any ethically-grounded curatorial conceit. The power of the piece is wrought in its ugliness, its idiopathic rigour, the appearance of the intentionally clumsy, last minute constructions. The apparent ease of presentation of failure [the sublime] to understand its unease in ambiguous readings of the Beautiful, is in the nearness of things, or words spoken softly in a crowded room. How unrelated material that co-existed in the show can be re-presented again in film montage, in this particular recording by Janet Hodgson [with the thinking of J-L Godard, about living forms of material, entangled in the history of the apparatus, about film as it were fabricated in film, that prevents less abstract interpretations as such. Film is always provisional in the way controls of meaning are to be generated by institutions and their discrete positions toward its space and social formation, both inside, the subject of the camera, and as an object, a cinema [now on vimeo or youtube, or distributed by avatars, into or out of the world in a sudden appearance, as if from nowhere]. The institution that Peter Fillingham works well with is one that is very slippery in both Marxian and Nietzschean senses of a place of sudden appearance. Postmodern poison and antidote swap over readily, positions are destroyed despite what ideology might 'recommend' as an identity -that 'no' position is still positioned, more so, posited in blood and irony about representation and non-representation, about not wanting an identity, not belonging, having no membership. I want to feel there is a negation of negations at work despite all the calling and suspicion, a 'not outside' of 'no outside' of freedom. So I would go with the call of 'abstraction' if we pretend a microphone exemplifies the real abstraction, the appearance of a tool that makes something happen, that is made from such concrete social relations that have invented it, need it, if non-discursive, if we see singularity, a poetic object of speech is in its sayability of sound waves - after all, the concrete 'is' - is the ideology that renders social effects and behaviours, and the abstraction of 'is' - is the arrival of many such objects [totems] that reproduce these concrete relations in a way that is non-reflective, that are vehicles that move space from the outside to a new obsolete composition about obsolescence of time. Obtuse...speculative, the abstraction of a specific sound produced in an 'aeroplane cabin' is made in a sound device, an apparatus that thinks for itself, functions more as reason by dissociation - by non-relation to the ground or to any specific listener, disturbing to the relations, arriving out of, and being inside, it is par excellence the thing made capable of simulation. Literally, the World in a Box, is a cabin suspended in the sky, still astonishing, as mundane as an air flight, the warmth generated of cold machinery, the fragility of a monster, the tragic consequence of being human, all too human, the miracle of technology, angels without wings, as Newton conceived of as gravity...whatever it is, as such, it is known, but all the more astonishing, the world is without, since an abstraction, unknown and displaced, the aura of bitterness and sweetness.