Ed Atkins & Patrick Ward: Defining Holes

Thursday 22 August, 2013 - 8.30pm

Tickets £8/£6 concessions (£4 Members). *Proof of concessions and membership to be presented upon arrival.

Booking essential. Please call the Information Desk on 020 7522 7888 to check ticket availability and to book with a credit or debit card.

A screening of collaborative film work Defining Holes (2012, 19'41 mins.) followed by a conversation with the artists Ed Atkins and Patrick Ward chaired by RCA lecturer and researcher Chantal Faust.

Defining Holes
plots the various nothings that exist between and within moving image. Using stock footage, youtube esoterica, genre cinema, original HD video, stirring music and conspicuous sound design, Defining Holes will compel itself and the viewer into affective coincidence. A conversation will be conducted concerning holes – but spoken in a peculiar vernacular: gaping vowels, narrow full stops and petering ellipses; intrusions, extrusions, and vast dilations.

Ontologically speaking, holes present a quandary: do they exist or not? As a noun, they are defined as such; their existence is at least nominal. Materially however, that which surrounds them – the things from which their presence predicates absence – always-already determine the presence of holes. The notion of a sovereign hole might be better understood as simply nothing. In order to recognize a hole as such, there needs to be a something for the hole to interpolate.

A hole is a parasite from the void: a negatively charged paradox whose nominal existence disguises an essential un-being. This apparently palliative dissimulation – the appearance of presence to veil desperate absence – might be understood as a harmless reparative 
if it weren’t so manifestly dangerous to confuse nothing with something.

Within the moving image, holes define the presence of the medium. Those dividing lines that lie abyssal between every discrete frame can only be traversed via an illusionary bridge: the persistence of vision. This impression of movement is an analgesic of ideological potential. A shot of a spot-lit coin-toss before that unblinking void.

Where film is materially discrete – each image a fragment divided from its intimates by a runnel of nothing – analogic video constructs its images in perpetuity: through the incessant sequential scanning of light-sensitive phosphors, the image is never fully present, either spatially or temporally. The nothing and the something confuse – or rather, the nothing’s boundaries begin to bleed – encroaching upon the something, upon the image. No thing has nothing to lose.

(Each of those attenuated black lines incising the reel of film is the same attenuated black line: a single, fifty kilometre long tendril of the void threading its way between the images. And that long shadow lurking within the VHS copy film noir is a mere stooge for the blind eyeball of a TV on standby …)

Digital video is something else. The appearance of movement is no longer predicated on the recurrence of absence – it is not predicated on recurrence at all: there is no movement because there is no matter. The digital is entirely hole, bordered and defined by its own dreamed-of, vacated representations.

— Ed Atkins / Patrick Ward

Ed Atkins is Whitechapel Gallery Writer in Residence 2012–2013.


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