Thursday, 18 June 2009

More questions. Where have all the explorers gone? Last night, as we sat in the record store, I thought once more of spoken narratives. We arrived expecting music, but instead we were greeted with an Andy Graydon film of parallel, concurrent moving images. Two, sometimes three, squares of edited super 8 abstracts - a building, a horizon, a figure - flickered alongside each other while a voice relayed a narrative of connected and disconnected places, of postcards pinned up onto the walls of rooms.

Then we were given a tour of a work in progress by Jacob Kirkegaard, footage of a quest in Oman to uncover the talent and sounds of singing desert sands. There was something in the diagrams of cochleas, the Marco Polo maps, the grainy handicam footage that brought a development of fantasy and adventure to the pieces we heard. The stories were obviously ones of sonic interest - what is it that gives rise to the phenomena of singing sands? - but the real interest was in the pursuit. The exhausted footage from the jeep, the remarkable photographs of light and shade, the field recordings. Where have all the explorers gone? What is there left to map?

Maps, the maps of today and tomorrow, chart hidden areas of convergence, of secret histories, uncharted medias and the silent contours of the everyday. They give science to myth and fantasy to logic. There is too much artwork given over to homage and lineage, too much to appraisal, recontextualisation and reworkings of other artists. Now is the time to chart the everyday, to head out into explorations of normality, of occurrence and happening and return with folklore. It is also the time to set out searching for superstition and return with fact. It is within the deserts and fields of the everyday that histories and futures unfold. Heidegger stated,

...the truly decisive events in history are not battles and the rise and fall of dynasties. They are little noticed changes, behind our backs but affecting everything... Such shifts are not something any individual or society can direct: they are where they already find their existence.

and it is only now I realise how this guides my thinking, my own attempts at work. They, the attempts, exist only as echoes and no one is looking for echoes. So, another time - where are the explorers?

Who is moving direct to source, to the deserts and seas, to the poles and fields, to capture evidence of the everyday? Who is unfolding history, gently easing out the creases in the atlas that might have hidden entire regions, and begining to plot new routes? These are the people and groups we should be looking for. We either explore ourselves, or we look for the explorers. What choice is this?

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