Archive for the ‘cultural studies’ Category

Voiceless in today’s globalised society   Leave a comment

Scottish Elevator Voice Recognition – ELEVEN!

Joyce would have LOVED this.

Posted February 1, 2011 by R.H.H. Nisbet in cultural studies

Tim Minchin, Tim Ingold, Lifeworld.   Leave a comment

Watching Tim Minchin after reading Deleuze was fun time-out… until his song “Not Perfect” turned my thoughts to Tim Ingold’s figure comparing Lévi-Strauss’s and Bateson’s views on mind and ecology. Sounds like Tim Minchin stands with Levi-Straus here.

But Minchin is also singing through spheres. Like centrifugal man!

“When you feel like you’re the smallest doll in a babushka doll”.

As Ingold observes, “the perception of the spheres was imagined in terms of listening rather than looking” (210; see Ingold’s figure 12.2 The Fourteen Spheres of the World). Ingold observes that visual perception involves light reflecting off the surface of things. Sound perception on the other hand place us at the experiential centre of a lifeworld, listening out. Tim Minchin starts “this is my earth, and I live in it”. He sings inwards Geosphere -> Bio-sphere -> Noosphere (213). And is bloody funny!!!

Thanks Tim and Tim!

Posted February 1, 2011 by R.H.H. Nisbet in cultural studies, Deleuze

Low Culture   Leave a comment

Just received a low culture kit, posted by a worried friend!

It includes Shaun of the Dead… Voila. Everything connects to Finnegans Wake!!!

Posted January 27, 2011 by R.H.H. Nisbet in Art, cultural studies

Deconstruction   Leave a comment

The blurb on the back of my copy of Finnegans Wake reads:

“Joyce’s final work, Finnegans Wake, is his masterpiece of the night as Ulysses is of the day. Supreme linguistic virtuosity conjures up the dark underground worlds of sexuality and dreams. Joyce undermines traditional storytelling and all official forms of English and confronts the different kinds of betrayal – cultural, political and sexual – he saw at the heart of Irish history.”

Now I’m back to reading my ten pages of FW a day, part of my head constantly interrogates this boundary crossing, this undermining of traditional forms and genres.

Last Friday seated in the Le Vidy theatre, waiting for Israel Galvan’s flamenco performance “La curva” to begin, I said to my husband: “Look, the lighting gels are blue. This is not going to be traditional flamenco.”

A formal line up of the four performers opened the piece: singer Inès Bacan, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, palmas performer Bobote, and the dancer Israel Galvan. This was followed by pedestrian movements from Galvan; his toppling of a stack of chairs; the sound of the chairs falling; the sound of the piano strings resonating, and a performative wiggle-waggle hand gesture from Galvan in the direction of the fallen stack.

So much attention focused on the un-stacking of chairs brought to mind Martin Creed’s 2010 exhibition at the Edinburgh Fruitmarket gallery. Interviewed by The Guardian (18/07/2010), Creed says of his first work (Work No 3: Yellow Painting – a piece of purple paper with a big yellow painted swirl on it): “It goes whoop.” …The article continues: “The thought process that inspired Work No. 3 has continued through to some of his most recent work, including some of his stacking pieces. We talk about the paintings on paper which look like steps. These works are all about restrictions: impersonal rules which require a quick, definitive line in space in order to complete the task. So, the stack paintings’ restrictions come from the paintbrushes used. The bottom mark, which acts like a sort of ground stroke, is made by the biggest paintbrush in one swoop, left to right. This then sets the parameters for the next mark, made by a smaller paintbrush: the mark made must be directly proportional to the ground one. And so on, until there aren’t any paintbrushes left in the packet. Part random, part ordered.”

3 minutes into “LaCurva”, my attention focused on exactly what Galvan was un-stacking. Is it the piling up of flamenco’s rhythm + voice + text +guitar accompaniment + dance? Does the resonance of one vibration curve and sound-wave its way into all other resonance chambers? Restricted by what?  Mediated by what?

Galvan suggests through virtuosity, flicking his four fingers against his teeth (think the semiquavers of an up beat) before tapping his forehead with his fist on the downbeat.

At the climax of Galvan’s performance he lies on a large white rectangle (powdered chalk?) positioned centre stage. He has jumped over this rectangle many times without touching it; dropped a mini dance “stage” into the centre of the white rectangle and danced inside it without touching the “chalk”; pulled a diagonal line out of the rectangle without putting his foot into the chalk (he keeps one foot on top of the mini stage which he drags along with his toe) until he has travelled to the front of the stage (stage left). It is as if he has created the visual trace of a fallen stack of chairs on the stage.  Once this trace is realised, Galvan no longer observes the black/ white boundary that he established on the floor. He walks in the chalk. He blurs it. He kicks up a white dust storm. The chalk tamps the sound of his dancing. Dust billows, visually indicating the rhythm of his footwork. He lies down inside the chalk rectangle. He smears white chalk over his black dance clothes.

At the end of “La Curva”, once the stage has emptied of performers, Galvan drops another stack of chairs using stage mechanics. The sound resonates. It is a wrap.

Following up on notes   Leave a comment


In this passage all directions are whispered; all section “headings” are read loudly; and the footnotes are read all together at the end!

My favourite endnote of the year is in Timothy Morton’s The Ecological Thought. It refers to the “happy-happy joy-joy” song in Ren and Stimpy. I’ve since returned this book to its owner, but I guess the context of the endnote was consumerism… or perhaps environmentalism as an ideological consumer strategy?

See for example Morton’s post of May 2000:

“the knowing, happy-happy joy-joy imagery of workers in suburbia/countryside, a homage to Stalinist cinema), “New Killer Star” observes correctly that there’s nowhere to which to escape, nowhere from which to mount a criticism of current social conditions that is outside of those conditions. Nature is as much a part of the perverse enjoyment-factory as the twin towers of the power station exuding polluting smoke within the emerald landscape of the video.”

Well, today I received a Ren & Stimpy box set from Amazon, and have just finished appreciating the “perverse enjoyment factory” satirized in the “happy-happy joy-joy” song.

Right! Now its time to grapple with the massive footnotes in the current excerpt of Finnegans Wake (located at the top of this post, as per usual).