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In Writing

Heatsick's Portal

May 2013

Steven Warwick's quick stop tour of his favourite bits of reading, watching and listening online, taking in drone aircraft technology, hybridisation and queer actor and director Fred Halsted.

Rise Of The Machines
This is a fascinating documentary about the rise of drone warfare. I'm interested in its unmanned aspect and why this bothers people. A bit like the recent 3D printing hysteria, in which civil liberties debates arise when they are not viewed in a "human" context, (people having ready access to firearms), functioning in a similar way to the uncanny valley concept.

Apple Bus by Rebecca Solnit
Interesting article that sums up the Californian ideology of technocracy and neo-liberalism quite nicely. The unidentified "Google Bus" (one of many luxury buses shuttling Silicon Valley workers from living quarters in San Francisco) facilitates workers with in-bus wi-fi enabling them to be constantly working. Lulled by nap rooms, luxury chefs and laundry facilities, the aim is that one is always working, expanding the work week (cf. with suicide nets placed outside Chinese Factories) and ever increasing interconnectivity on the planet. I am interested in this as malleability as a symptom of the Post-Fordist condition. Good capitalism presents us with sleeping rooms and organic food in exchange for every waking hour being dedicated to working. "Be Flexible" we are told, whilst workers are pondering at what time they will be able to spend their income.

Spam of the Earth: Withdrawal From Representation by Hito Steyerl
I am a big fan of the work of Hito Steyerl, in particular her Strike video. I found this article an interesting read thinking about mapping, (non) representation and replicating (non) information to pass onto someone/something else using the cultural detritus of spam as a diversion tactic.

Hanne Lippard
Hanne is a visual and text based artist living in Berlin, who I've collaborated with on several occasions. Her witty wordplay, video essays, sound works and fruity Norwegian received pronunciation unlocks language reception with a sideways glance.

LA Plays Itself - Fred Halsted
One of the few clips of Halsted available online, indeed anywhere. I saw this at a rare screening at Bozar in Brussels, which is otherwise locked up in the MoMA archives... LA Plays Itself is part social critique, part end of the hippie dream and rise of civil rights before they became trend reporting data, and urban renewal. It's all scored by Tonto’s Expanding Head Band's synth nightmare, with the first ten minutes of forest landscape soundtracked by Japanese banjo music, making the film resemble something closer to a wildlife documentary. Halsted engineered it so that Warhol and Dali were at the premiere, however most of this probably went straight over the heads of the straight to VHS porn crowd who were the ones to consume it. Quite a lost film. Halsted, an autodidact, wrote, produced, directed and starred in it.

Malcolm McLaren Lecture
I am a great admirer of McLaren, and find it fitting that he gave a talk on the Creative Industry Platform TED. Ironically it is highly doubtful such a figure could arise today in the conditions nurtured by TED.

Signal-Germany in the Air by Ernie Gehr
I saw this film recently in the cinema in Berlin. I'd first seen Serene Velocity by Ernie Gehr, so I was curious to see his other work. This film, made when he had a DAAD residency in 85, captures the everyday mundane traffic crossings in Berlin. Despite the severely edited and disorienting narrative, it manages to uncover a recognizable memory. Focusing on former ‘terror’ sites and playing with found radio and language classes about responsibility, the film slowly unfolds and unlocks memory, disrupting the banal and making the invisible concrete.

Samuel Delany interview in The Paris Review
Delany is a fantastic writer, dealing with but also expanding the genre of science fiction. He has also written extensively about sexuality and society as well as two issues of the comic Wonder Woman, in which the main character abandoned her superpowers and became a secret agent. His book Times Square Red/Times Square Blue was an influence when I was making the Déviation EP. "I think of myself as someone who thinks largely through writing. Thus I write more than most people, and I write in many different forms. I think of myself as the kind of person who writes, rather than as one kind of writer or another. That’s about the closest I come to categorizing myself as one or another kind of artist," he states.

Timothy Morton’s Ecology Without Nature blog
Morton is someone, alongside thinkers such as Bruno Latour, to think in terms of hybridisation, proposing an alternative to the nature/culture divide proposed by the Enlightenment. Morton instead proposes meshing genres and "ecology without nature" – the idea that humans, nature and inanimate objects are not separated but intertwined.

Business Without Borders
A HSBC website promoting limitless business expansion, with a title ironically borrowed from the non profit aid agency Medicins Sans Frontiers. Ideology stripped bare by its bachelor pads. Another example of "freedoms" inspired from the civil rights etc of the 60s quantified and cybernetically fed back into trending.

Heatsick plays at Bristol's Cube on 26 May and London's Corsica Studios on 15 June.