Saturday, 23 January 2016

Society of the Spectacle quote by Guy Debord

“The alienation of the spectator, which reinforces the contemplated objects that result from his own unconscious activity, works like this: the more he contemplates, the less he lives; the more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him. The spectator does not feel at home anywhere, because the spectacle is everywhere."

Debord, Guy. 1967. Society of the Spectacle. London: Rebel Press.

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Thursday, 14 January 2016



Your half pint caused me distress:
I thought if we drank enough
we might become sisters,
already now.

We talked about sex with men
and sex with women
so I thought us all inaugurated
with one another
as we organised our own bodies on the couches in our living room.

"There's a koala in you"
you told me that afternoon we drank rice tea and lived together, separately
and I felt you understood me.
When we agreed it was hard to write about love
I secretly swore never to do it.

Maybe I'll sing to you one day
some kind of country song
that I haven't written yet
about beer and bodies.
It was that man who spoke about concrete
that brought us together
and made us old to each other, known to each other.

When I washed my face
I thought about not doing it
and going out to roll in snow,
but England didn't make enough of it.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Frank O'Hara and David Hockney

Today, at the talk given by Martin Hammer (University of Kent) at the University of York as part of the research series, he related to a series of prints titled 'A Rake's Progress' made by David Hockney from 1961-3 during a visit to New York. The talk discussed Hockney's autobiographical experiences in New York, which coming from Britain, seemed like a glamorous city that was fuelled by aesthetics and desire. Hammer explained how Hockney was influenced by a spectrum of (homosexual) artists and poets in New York, including Frank O'Hara and Larry Rivers. In this context, I was introduced to the following poem by O'Hara, which I immediately responded to with affection:


Did you see me walking by the Buick Repairs?
I was thinking of you
having a Coke in the heat it was your face
I saw on the movie magazine, no it was Fabian's
I was thinking of you
and down at the railroad tracks where the station
has mysteriously disappeared
I was thinking of you
as the bus pulled away in the twilight
I was thinking of you
and right now

David Hockney. 8a. Bedlam. From 'A Rake's Progress', 1961-3. 

Poem source:

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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Dance and the communication between bodies

I think it is probably appropriate for my first post of the year to be related to the PhD I have just started at the University of York on gender and abstraction in women's video art. Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading on LA-based artist Sharon Lockhart's interactions with and rereadings of Israeli choreographer Noa Eshkol's work.

In a volume printed on the 2012 exhibition Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol, Daniela Zyman expresses Eshkol's approach to dance as mirroring the ways in which our bodies interact with one another on a day-to-day level, the pedestrian dance, if you will. She says:

"The dancing body for Eshkol, was never singular. She never wrote dance compositions for soloists. The dancing body is always a figure of two – it reminds us that outside the sphere of self-referentiality it encounters, harmonizes, and withdraws from other bodies. It also reminds us of being totally one with ourselves, enclosed in an abstract sphere of coordinates. The body is always on the boundary, movements emerge between bodies, bodies touch, intertwine, embrace, and encounter” [1].

My hope is that this notion of the conversations between bodies will fuel a significant portion of my dissertation, whereby I hope to read the collaboration between Lockhart and Eshkol through a feminist perspective in which a certain democracy of gender becomes possible. 

[1] Zyman, “Who Am I, Dancing Body?”, 29.