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Perhaps some words will follow later…

14 Responses to “Visual Artefact”

  1.   James Lamb Says:

    Jeremy, this is great – I’ve been watching it on repeat. It’s hypnotic. I love the electronic chatter travelling down the telegraph lines.

    Was the abscence of life (barring the odd seagull) intentional – to create a bleak, soulless, mechanical scene? The buildings are all abandoned, there’s no-one to be seen, but the machines are still doing their thing.

    The quickfire images of cables made me think of Testsuo Bodyhammer (I won’t include a link as I’m not sure everyone would thank me for that). That film would certainly fit lots of our recent course discussions.

    Really interested to read your words when they come. Meanwhile, I’m going to have another view…

  2.   martin Says:

    hi Jeremy,

    I would be very interested to read your words on this highly charged, emotional artefact. I have now watched it several times, as much for the artistry, as for trying to develop and clarify my own thoughts on it.

    The ‘fun’ element, the buzzing (of the speakers) reminded me of the beginning of Back to the Future, where Marty plugs in his guitar to the massive speaker. This signifies for me the introduction of technology (audio based) into an area.

    The apparent bleak, desolate, somewhat isolated environment, portrayed following the audio images, left me a little cold. As though, technology can be our friend, but can then leave us all alone. The white noise and the ‘voices’ in the background accentuated this, and I certainly felt somewhat haunted by the imagery. My other notion was of a scene from Lost…

    All of this, goes back to us needing to be discerning viewers, I love the fact there is no text. A powerful artefact, which I very much enjoyed :)

  3.   Dennis Dollens Says:

    An electromagnetic expose in a bio-techno ecotone. Signal, pause, interference, static; Signal, pause, interference, static; Signal, pause, interfer . . . . the refrain. You ROCK.
    The music of the spheres, ours; where other generations had Bach and Scarlatti we have pulsation electronica; thrilling infrastructure / lonesome landscape. I agree with James, it’s hypnotic — an aspect of living in the inbetweens. Meditative and beautiful. Bravo. I’ll be back for more.

  4.   Jeremy Knox Says:

    @Dennis, fantastic interpretations. I like the analogy of music here, as sound representative of culture.

    ‘Thrilling infrastructure / lonesome landscape’ – Brilliant, I’d definitely agree that the tech bits are thrilling, loud sounds, quick cuts, LEDs, exhilarating to me! (I prefer this to a dystopic reading)

    I love the signal analogy. ‘Signal, pause, interference, static; Signal, pause, interference, static;’ Read this way, it is like a code, makes me think of Morse code. Perhaps another message entirely is encoded in the clip? – fantastic.

    The notions of ‘living in-between’ is something that really comes across watching it again. I like this idea; rather than focusing on either as dominant or emotive, existence happens through these seemingly opposing dimensions. Oscillation is a good metaphor. Definitely useful for thinking about digital culture. Thanks.

    @James I like the ‘hypnotic’ take on this, reminds me of the signal analogies mentioned above. It seems useful to think in terms of hypnotic waves, repetition, recurrence, reverberation. Perhaps this is how cultural influences move and expand. Repetition is of course also linked to teaching, learning perhaps indoctrination? When making this I wasn’t thinking so much about how it repeats the same transition, but this really comes across a day later. A comment on traditional educational practice perhaps?

    Like the idea of machines operating autonomously, perhaps out of control? Nice.

    Tetsuo Body Hammer – oh go on…nothing like a bit of violent machinic coupling…ok maybe not. I am about to have lunch. Thanks James.

    @Martin. The speaker cone, I liked that bit too. ‘This signifies for me the introduction of technology (audio based) into an area’ Nice – hardware designed to make noise, rather than it just being a by-product.

    Great connection there between the white noise and the voices! The voices are kind of granulated, almost as if they are in a transition towards noise. Noise is random frequency, so perhaps we can say the voices are a comment on the mass of opinions in the network, unstructured, uncorroborated, random. Interesting.

    ‘Discerning viewers’ Yes agreed, Transliteracy important in ‘sense-making’! Yes, wanted to avoid text, but was sore tempted at one point, managed to resist. Thanks!

  5.   Noreen Dunnett Says:

    Having just read your post on interpretations and then watched your visual artifact, your comment on Dennis’ artifact seemed to chime with what I had just watched,

    “If we are ‘natural’, (which some seem to forget), then anything we create must be considered ‘natural’ as well, and I mean technology here. If ants construct ‘natural’ anthills, why is the microchip ‘unnatural’? Furthermore, the commonplace idea of ‘natural’ seems to ignore the molecular dimension. Everything on the planet is natural; it is all made out of the same set of elements isn’t it?!)”

    I jotted down some words as I watched ‘Surveillance; noise; interference; intrusion; fear. Some of this was visual interpretation, some was an emotional interpretation and some a more cognitive, intellectual interpretation or polysemic as Roland Barthes might say!

    Your artefact brought home to me, for the first time, the power of the multimodal text. The sound evoked the emotional response, the visuals moved me on to a more considered response and finally the combination of the two gave me an interpretation. What I ’saw’ was a question – is technology an alien invasion (in the natural landscape), is it noise in the channel (of human interaction and action) or is it a ‘home’ or alternative context or method of connection and human interaction. Thanks – made me think!

  6.   Mark Garratt Says:

    Jeremy, for me this is a very powerful combination of sensory representation, in terms of what you have chosen with regards to not just imagery and sound, but also in terms of timing.
    It is disquieting, and for me, definitely tips the scale towards dystopian. As James points out, the lack of life (apart from a seagull) is apparent, as is the condition of the buildings. In some respects, the sense of desolation, vulnerability and loneliness reminded me of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” – both book and film.
    I was struck by the different eras of digitalisation that were apparent, and this made me think of the communication “chatter” that we have been transmitting for over a century – and notions of how far such “noise” has travelled across the solar system – perhaps this is our planetary footprint ? I also enjoyed the almost rhythmic loss of resolution, and this helped to remind me that what I was watching was in fact a digital depiction rather than a celluloid film.
    Great artefact !

  7.   James Lamb Says:

    Hello Jeremy. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve used the the sound from your clip as ‘atmosphere’ on one of my blog entries. Is the sound an original piece of work? Let me know and I’ll credit the author.

    Thanks in advance.

  8.   Alison Johnson Says:

    Hi Jeremy I really liked your interpretation, it captures the noise and emptiness that is the internet in reality. Cables humming, chattering voices buzzing wires – where are the people you wonder. Also makes me think about that film jodie foster was in where she is constantly listening for noise patterns to identify potential communications (cant remember what that is – let me do a quick google search) ooh er – quite a good link for you its called ‘Contact’

    I also get a sense of you harping back to old military installations…..


  9.   Jeremy Knox Says:

    Comments much appreciated folks

    Really interesting that you made a connection between my comment to Dennis and this artefact. I thought then that the noise and the technology might be read as the molecular dimension of our web interactions. Just like we see an substance, but don’t contemplate its molecularity, we communicate online but never consider the actuality of the data bits, and the noise that creates. Fantastic.

    Like also the reading of surveillance, as if something is being communicated about people, without their knowing. I think somebody else commented on the feeling that technology was autonomous in this piece.

    Thanks for the Barthes idea here, I think I might find that useful in my current thinking…I’ll go and look it up.


    Re: the road, yes enjoyed both the book and the film, an interesting connection, and gives this piece a real dystopic feel. The buildings where I took this footage were indeed derelict, and there was certainly an eerie feeling about the place. Loneliness and vulnerability are emotions that I am sure people often feel online.

    Your suggestion of transmitted signals really appealed to me, and reminds me of Hugh and Alisons artefacts. In a similar way, all the data involved in our communications online are stored somewhere, or are bouncing around the network somewhere, unheard by us. Something eerie about this as well. Also reminded here of Michaels blog post about memory and digital storage.

    Thanks for the link. Think I have seen Contact before, but may have to take another look. I seem to remember there being a strange signal that took the form of a pulsating sound.

    Excellent connection with the army. There is definitely something militaristic about the functional look of the buildings, and this is a great link to the origins of the net.

  10.   Linda Matthews Says:

    A mesmerising film Jeremy, thank you. The aliens in ‘the meat’ film clip (week 2) would have been much happier in this environment than watching the ‘meat eat’ in the diner. For me you created an uncanny, unsettling place where technology exists both within and outside the real world. It has substance, tangibility and presence at the same time as it score for the film captures the sound of the abyss of cyberspace. Spine tingling.

  11.   » Week 4 Summary Ali's E-learning and Digital Cultures Blog Says:

    [...] though more subtly or unconsciously, our lifestreams too, will leave digital trails. Could we tell Jeremy was previously a sound engineer for example? It has been a very interesting [...]

  12.   Jen Ross Says:

    What hasn’t yet been mentioned in the comments explicitly but really strikes me is the insistence in this film on the material – the wires, buttons, cables, speakers, pylons – of digital culture. It pulls us away from the ‘cloud’ and the ‘web’ to the copper and rubber and plastic that makes it all go. It’s simultaneously very physical and somehow very vulnerable – prone to static and erosion. So much to talk about! Really lovely job, Jeremy.

  13.   Sharon Boyd Says:

    I agree Jeremy, a really amazing piece of work. It interests me that you use the term “eerie” a few times – it seems like a deserted town in the physical space, but the lines are humming with communication – echoes of past conversations humming in the air or people in the present who have moved from country to city and now communicate across the desolation. Ghosts in the machine?

    I love the use of the materials (wires, etc) too – especially since you gave me insight into their short-lived nature too in my artefact comments.

    I agree with Dennis – a very meditative piece and I’ll be back to watch again.

  14.   Sharon's E-learning and Digital Cultures Blog » Week 5 Reflection Says:

    [...] movie reminded me of Jeremy’s artefact, so I include it here, a balance of nature and technology, with the age-old sound of the shinobue [...]