Its origins are indeterminate

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    Darren Banks, Object Cinema, 2016

Past Event

This event was on Sat 17 Mar, 11.30am – 6pm

This series examines the concept of ‘language-as-a-virus.’ As carriers of meaning, words and images are vulnerable to intervention and corruption. The works presented on screen test and bend the limits of language and breakdown systems of grammar control.

Featuring: Morehshin Allahyari, Graeme Arnfield, Darren Banks, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, Jenny Brady, Terence Broad, Karen Cunningham, Katie Hare, Saskia Holmkvist, Mike Hoolboom, Sky Hopinka, Patrick Hough, Hannah Catherine Jones, Christine Sun Kim & Thomas Mader, Ieva Kraule, Oliver Laric, Liz Magic Laser, Serena Lee, Ghislaine Leung, Deirdre Logue, Sara Magenheimer, Evan Meaney, Anne McGuire, Sondra PerryLaure Prouvost, Gabrielle de la Puente & Zarina Muhammad, Steve Reinke, Miko Revereza, Manuel Saiz, Keith Sanborn, Linda Stupart, Jenna Sutela, Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby, Douglas Waterman, and Anna Zett.

Respondents: Uma Breakdown, Tamar Clarke-Brown, and Jessa Mockridge.

Text response online by Nina Trivedi

Its origins are indeterminate essay by Erik Martinson

Enclosed print with programme notes by Linda Stupart

Design by Gaile Pranckunaite

The series is curated by Erik Martinson and is supported by the inaugural Stuart Croft Foundation Special Projects Award.

With support from: Electronic Arts Intermix, LIMA, LUX, Video Data Bank, and Vtape.

About the series

The title for this screening series comes from Robert Barry’s Untitled (Its Origins are Indeterminate) from 1970. On a single sheet of paper type-written statements cascade down the page. The text reads as follows:

‘Its origin is indeterminate / Sometimes it is alone / It can cause things to happen / It is affected by other things / Some of it is unknown / It may appear to be something it is not’

This relatively open text appears vulnerable. The words, received and floating in the reader’s mind are combined with theories as to what ‘it’ is and what ‘it’ does. Perhaps even what ‘it’ means. These pressed ink letters are a virus.

The series features an array of international artists in four programmes. Three of the programmes are premiering at Whitechapel Gallery, and the fourth, a feature length work, screens at Close-Up Film Centre.


11:00am Gallery opens

11:15am Doors open Zilkha Auditorium

11:30am Welcoming remarks

11:35am Programme 1: Introduction

11:40am Programme 1: ‘Making a hunter’s bluff out of a word’

01:00pm Programme 1: Respondent: Jessa Mockridge, artists’ Q&A

01:20pm Lunch break

02:20pm Programme 2: Introduction

02:25pm Programme 2: ‘The black curtain is the instant when the eyes shut’

03:35pm Programme 2: Respondent: Uma Breakdown, artists’ Q&A

04:00pm Break

04:20pm Programme 3: Introduction

04:25pm Programme 3: ‘We want superior forms of corruption’

05:35pm Programme 3: Respondent: Tamar Clarke-Brown, artists’ Q&A

05:55pm Close

Programme 1: ‘Making a hunter’s bluff out of a word’

The first programme is titled ‘Making a hunter’s bluff out of a word’ after a line from ‘Pontypool’ by Tony Burgess. Between speaking agents, some things catch, hold on, despite the distance various translations create. The works presented begin to unravel language as a faulty carrier of meaning, vulnerable to semiotic stowaways.

Programme list:

In the Cinema No One Speaks Unless They Have Something to Say While in Real Life It’s Just the Opposite, Mike Hoolboom, 1992, 0:40

Nothing Comes from Talking (But Sound), Sara Magenheimer, 2012, 1:43

Loneliness will be my greatest treasure, Ieva Kraule, 2014, 3:01 (silent)

Wawa, Sky Hopinka, 2014, 6:00

Classified Digits, Christine Sun Kim & Thomas Mader, 2016, 5:28 (silent)

Per Se, Deirdre Logue, 2005, 4:12

Writing Culture, Karen Cunningham, 2013, 1:50

Blind Understanding, Saskia Holmkvist, 2009, 11:55

My Mind is My Own, Liz Magic Laser, 2015, 8:05

Stretto, Serena Lee, 2016, 6:45

Text-to-Speech, Anna Zett, 2015, 9:38 (Audio work)

Wow and Flutter, Jenny Brady, 2013, 13:03

We Know We Are Just Pixels, Laure Prouvost, 2015, 4:44

Programme 2: ‘The black curtain is the instant when the eyes shut’

The second programme ‘The black curtain is the instant when the eyes shut’ looks at strategies of appropriation as spell-craft and conjuration. Circulation and versioning of texts and images from various sources becomes a form of viral spread. The programme’s title is extracted from ‘Ring’ by Koji Suzuki.

Programme list:

The Artwork in the Age of Its Mechanical Reproducibility by Walter Benjamin as told to Keith Sanborn, Keith Sanborn, 1996, 3:38

Versions, Oliver Laric, 2010, 9:06

HELLO OLIVER LARIC :0), Gabrielle de la Puente & Zarina Muhammad, 2016, 1:58

Wrong then, wrong today, Katie Hare, 2016, 7:17

Object Interviews (Part III), Patrick Hough, 2015, 5:32

Specialized Technicians Required: Being Luis Porcar, Manuel Saiz, 2005, 1:47

Shuffle, Douglas Waterman, 1971, 4:00 (excerpt)

Amethyst, Linda Stupart, 2016, 0:56 (silent)

Colossal Cave, Graeme Arnfield, 2016, 11:12

Ceibas: Shannon’s Entropy, Evan Meaney, 2008, 5:54

Owed to (C)ode, Hannah Catherine Jones, 2014, 4:39

Ask the Insects, Steve Reinke, 2005, 7:19

Object Cinema, Darren Banks, 2016, 5:26

Programme 3: ‘We want superior forms of corruption’

The third programme ‘We want superior forms of corruption’ looks to fissures in language and communication as material to manifest and re-interpret for acts of resistance. Against the forced rigour of grammar and control, a space opens up for re-assertion and defiant existence. The programme’s title comes from Laboria Cuboniks’ ‘Xenofeminism: A politics for Alienation.’

Programme list:

Blade Runner – Autoencoded (Side by side comparison of the opening 5 minutes), Terence Broad, 2016, 4:46

Seven Signs That Mean Silence, Sara Magenheimer, 2013, 10:48

This is Living, Ghislaine Leung, 2011, 4:11

My Twilight Zone Thing, Sondra Perry, 2014, 1:04 (Work in progress)

Toxic, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, 2012, 13:00

Quantum Identity Politics, Miko Revereza, 2017, 8:48

She Who Sees The Unknown: Huma, Morehshin Allahyari, 2016, 6:04

Attention Public, Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby, 2004, 10:00

Noise Tribe Speaking-Out-Of-Control, Jenna Sutela, 2015, 7:00                  (Audio work: documentation of performance at Lunch Bytes Conference 20-21 March 2015, HKW, Berlin).