Sunday, 23 October 2011

and elsewhere there is:

this blog is no longer being updated. instead, read on at

Thursday, 13 October 2011

'in autumn the sky is tall and wide'

she just sent into my inbox as i was contemplating what would make a suitable last post here.
but that image captures it pretty well: the sky is tall and wide, the wind around my head makes it feel lighter. the rain and its many variations do their own thing to it too.

autumn is definitely the time for moving. for so many years it has already been. no wonder that m used to say that autumn was my season.

this place here has served me well. last weekend i got lost in the several hundreds of posts, went through many of them, back and further, sometime with a cringe more often with a grin. yeap. the blog served me well for my big departure and the arrival to the many things that are becoming.

one thing it definitely is no longer is paint and pastel. even the cluck_cluck may have moved from animal form to text: find_search (repeat) is what i will be calling it for the next little while.

so, i'm taking the presence as some kind of arrival. having moved some posts across to my new/old website, i will take some of this blog with me. hopefully too, many of you. without the worry that whoever will find me in future was really looking for paint and pastel and the often promised, never delivered instructive tutorials.

thanks for the time! it has been precious.

as of now: all future resides in find_search (repeat) aka http// (with functioning rss feed and email subscriptions, and a little bit lighter as without the many syndications that google provides).

Monday, 10 October 2011

c | fieldwork exhibition opening

finally, tom and my show is approaching.

also finally, interlinking this blog to my new/old website.
what remains: one last post here.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Glasgow Keelie (1990-93) is online

An archive of the Glasgow Keelie (1990-93) is online! The Keelie was a free broadsheet that exposed the cynicism and business motivation of the 1990 Glasgow City of Culture re-branding of the city, asking 'where's the legacy?' It highlighted the corruption of local politicians, and the plight of ordinary people during the early 90s recession.

Far too often it reads today as if little has changed. A voice much needed (again). For a future to be ours.

Thanks to those who magicked it online!
May it circulate widely and wildly!

Friday, 7 October 2011

reed: the sky

... that much for tying up loose ends...

[wanna read? click the image]

Thursday, 29 September 2011


it's simple isn't it? practice/ practising. keeping doing. and all the while it changes, in one direction or in another. after a while, the body of practice takes shape, some contours you recognise, others you don't.

suddenly the month since the last post acquires an -s and isn't alone any longer. all the while practising turns to unpractice elsewhere.

enon lake acquired it's final form if still without wall space (not for a lack of trying). l said not long ago that a piece only becomes art in the context of others; others possibly not as audience, that's too reductive, but nonetheless, in need of its social relations. i am still pondering that one, also in relation to the evident shift to offline in my own practice.

in any case, there are a few ends that deserve an other and in this spirit, here is what became of enon lake a, incl. of its textual form.

 helms/kavanagh enon lake a. mixed media with sound

evidently assumed, looking is often equated not only with seeing but also with understanding. in order to understand we have to look, observe, record and analyse, taking apart the different elements to recombine and preferably in the correct order to reveal meaning and significance.
the hegemony of the visual for such assumed evidence is strong. and nowhere so than if the medium is that of a truthful camera. in sound such evidence is less stringent, less taken-for-granted. however, what we can hear - the sounds that are made and recorded alongside a camera should also provide witness to what evidently is.
enon lake is a body of work that centres on a montage of photography, drawing and sound recordings. the material is collected in fieldwork at one of West of Scotland's hybrid spaces where deindustrialisation meets all sorts of attempts to instil new growth sectors - often as here tourism and retail. to facilitate such projects, another sort of evidence is required: that of business consultants whose reported evidence inspires policy. or was that the other way round?
the interweaving of photography, the glitches one image produces across software platforms, the careful observation of drawing as well as the operations conducted upon sound files undo and remake the evidence of what it was that we found in our fieldwork. in this process of mediating and reworking, the evidence becomes a thing in and of itself. strangely, so do the spaces that are produced across the UK. just like enon lake.
the layering seem obvious: people atop of more people, atop of layers of paper: the tarmac, the stones, the hedges, the trees. the water is marked for centuries. familiar lines. and yet there wasn't any water here on that first national mapping exercise. the landscape so new, so fresh. only 10 years old. and still to stand for the great outdoors, a beech hedge to enframe the basin. the boat to take the tourists, all to facilitate the movement of people from here to there to nowhere.
in all this contemporary familiarity we identify the layers and assume the knowledge of what we see. we hear the layers and again assume a knowledge. the layers are mapped across space: formations that share a name, some history (of migration, land ownership and industrial activity).

welcome to enon lake. the gateway to the great outdoors. have fun.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

glue1, glue2, glue3 [repeat]

the straight line from before in detail. with manual glitch and too much orange at the moment. the work process frazzles my brain. too much construction and deconstruction. take note for any future cutup. out.

Monday, 4 July 2011

the script

a joint collaboration it evolved over four days: inspired by many late nights, inspections of bat, bird and mice droppings and the hunting out of hidden lanes, lose floorboards and holes in ceilings.

the moment of truth announced itself early on a sunday afternoon. a promise of something better than a poorly told ghost story (as this one attempts to be).

along with plenty of evidence of bats (incl. chewed off butterfly wings), the nighttime visit to farm RE became in equal measure anticipated and dreaded.

l. had chickened off to round the corner, k almost got stirred by the cow's shitstirrer and all the while we wondered: who would die first and: more importantly who dunnit.

the man in the boiler suit? a woman out among the calves, owls and pips? or was after all the freshly hosed-down stables of the other farm to be the location??

if you have any further information, please leave a message

Sunday, 3 July 2011

bad transmission

it was going to start with this and unfold over the week in bad/t transmissions.

unfortunately, it was a rather bad transmission indeed. my phone never offered an E or let alone 3gs. hence: no transmission at all. all just live bat performances. maybe a little illustrated story of the highlights later (featuring collected evidence from farm resident evil).

here, in any case. the intro that never quite made it.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

shadow racing

... while going straight round

Sunday, 12 June 2011

outside in

little space is left outside for yet more plants, inside a white wall has magically revealed itself.

not for long though. sure there are uses to be found.
no doubt.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

direction? straight_round

attempt 1. wilderness landscaping

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

the weather: the job

"ruthi gavin sat hidden among the bushes in the depth of night and observed the house of gordon scott. she wore dark leather gloves. once in a while she pushed slowly one of the bush's branches to the side only to then let it slowly move back to its previous position. one after another all lights disappeared in douglas gordon's house. gordon seemed to have gone to bed. as finally the day was about to break, ruthi gavin pushed the branch to the side for a last time, let it glide back one last time and tiredly crept home. she was so fed up with her job! it was so excruciatingly boring being a minor character in a rejected script of a fifth-classed crime novel in an old and dusty drawer."

... as before, the taz's truth's weather, monday 23 may 2011, while waiting in the lovely city that i visit so frequently. 

Friday, 13 May 2011

The presence of precarity

The presence of precarity
Self-employment as contemporary form

Gesa Helms

Aligning artistic and academic labour in their shared belief in creative and autonomous practices and work identity formation - the valorisation of one’s self in such relational labour practices - this study, drawing on Maurizio Lazaratto and Sergio Bologna, takes us some way towards unravelling some of the myths around creativity and autonomy in immaterial labour (be it as artists or academics). In doing so it calls into question assumed understandings of class divisions between a culture of (UK) middle classes and working classes:

"These, unfortunately, too often remain anything but new in the studies of working class lives and firmly rely on the examination of cultural preference if not socio-economic class indices. Instead, going back to a Marxist understanding of class in relation to the means of production and ownership of these allows us to consider that drinking latte, flat whites, or similar, may not determine one’s class belonging. Consequently, a dismissal of self-employment, or rather freelancing, as the territories of the middle-classes (i.e. not working classes) does not take us very far if we fail to consider how such ‘autonomy’ of self-employment is indeed firmly woven into a process of subsumed labour."

text    pdf

But then, make sure to take a look at the other articles in this fabulous edition of Variant

Sunday, 8 May 2011

mobile sketch

[click image to get some air]

Monday, 2 May 2011


Sunday, 24 April 2011

lists (with birds)

lists: openssh; cydia; tinyumbrella; fw 3.1.3; itunes; tinyumbrella; rewind with fw 4.1.2; tinyumbrella; itunes; tinyumbrella; redsn0w; cydia; netatalk; finder. success. 1:40 hrs of sunday morning birdsong retrieved from phone. an extract here:

Sunday, 17 April 2011

of love and withholding

the ghost of love is bookmarked now and here. bookmarked for two projections.

one to a workshop in may on ns family history for 2nd and 3rd generation - with questions around the common in the personal and of course the political too. the experiences that led to that what was (not) done.

 a bit of a rarity: a man not in uniform; yet: as usual, a woman to each side

on the kitchen table in wedding two weeks ago we three traced our own commonality and the extent to which family secret, guilt and the not-doneness reverberate. all of us in history, politics and social sciences. a sense of where we left from and how those identity constructions are laden with individual guilt of grandparents and parents; and are nonetheless the social relations as they are marked out across time between photos from 1936 and a profile pic.

and one week ago, another round of "do you remember?", "is she still alive?", "did she ever talk about this? that?" and yet more discovery of common threads, strands - some of these may only be constructed in our remembering - the past as made in the present.

in all this, my granny anni becomes the ghost of love. much of this love was indeed a withholding. from a present, towards a future. and then the regret at the end of having withheld all along. having hoped for a future that never happened.

the second projection? art practice, year 2: (inter)subjectivities. beginning autumn 2011. and i do need to find who has the copy of the helene cixous rootprints before that. anyone?

that's it for the bookmark right now.

Friday, 15 April 2011

mirror gaze

she is looking back at me. and so many of these photos could be a mirror. not just the hair, the eyes and the face but her expressions, the way she holds her head and hunches up her legs. how...

the last time i actually saw her was the evening of december 1 1992, a few hours before she died. her death was the first meaningful one. its announcements throughout the year before imprinted in memory.

there are many photos - four albums filled with her, her friends, and travels. they are stored now next to the bed that is mine when i visit and i went to look at them in winter. my mother (a bit unsurprising) was far less surprised: yes, we always knew how much you looked like her.

it is a strange knowledge - that image one holds of oneself, so close and yet so strange. and how much time needs to pass to be able to apply some distance between what i see and what i think i know.

my granny anni was born in 1915. which makes her 21 to 27 on the photos in those  albums. it makes her too old to have merely been a girl in the nazi girls' organisation, the league of german girls (bdm).

i always knew how much she loved her youth, her friends who remained with her all her life, the travels. these albums speak of it. there exist photos of myself in nazi uniform, taken between 1936 and 1942.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Sunday, 10 April 2011

forest riffle

... and the last one:

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Saturday, 5 March 2011

still with the trees

... slightly to the right, or was it the left? slightly more marks. which ones are mine? and which one those of the graphite.
i don't think the photobooth minds though.

Monday, 21 February 2011

tripping up

 ... in the forest. while momentarily on the sofa. which shadow will it be?

 thank you, sam, for the tripping!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

light and shade. round 2

leads to this. in unspecified dimensions.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Whatever happened to the future: Art, autonomy and self-employment

at 10th Floor
12.30 Tue 15 February 2010
Central Saint Martins Charing Cross Road Site, London

the content as per poster - after having had to cancel the original date in December.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Affect and the politics of austerity

- published a couple of months back, it was good to revisit it in discussion tonight.

Affect and the politics of austerity: an interview exchange with Lauren Berlant. Variant 39/40, Winter 2010,

See the whole issue of Variant here.

Lauren Berlant's blog is here

the issues raised tonight: the opportunism of nostalgia. the political strategy of nostalgia. shaming in academic discourse. and the need to consider the rewards of being seen as a shamed subject.

there's more in it. but that's for another discussion. soon

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Next victim please or how to be a human being

Next victim please or how to be a human being

Saturday 12th February 2011
CCA, 2pm-4pm


The Interview / Die Bewerbung
(1997, 58min, subtitles: English)

Harun Farocki's The Interview fixes a wry, critical gaze on interview training courses for the unemployed. The objective is to teach them how to put 'the soul at work' (Berardi). Farocki's typically lucid film gains a crucial insight into the involuted processes through which potential employees make themselves 'labour-ready', examining how interview training scenarios teach people how to 'correctly' think and feel, and how the subject is disciplined for the realm of work.

"In the summer of 1996, we filmed application training courses in which one learns how to apply for a job. School drop-outs, university graduates, people who have been retained, the long-term unemployed, recovered drug addicts, and mid-level managers - all of them are supposed to learn how to market and sell themselves, a skill to which the term 'self management' is applied. The self is perhaps nothing more than a metaphysical hook from which to hand a social identity. It was Kafka who likened being accepted to a job to entering the Kingdom of Heaven; the paths leading to both are completely uncertain. Today one speaks of getting a job with the greatest obsequiousness, but without any grand expectations." Harun Farocki


The Strickland Distribution will screen Farocki's The Interview and facilitate a discussion of the film afterwards in relation to labour and welfare. The search for a new social subject in the neo-liberal age has led to a series of new terms to designate labour: 'affective', 'immaterial', 'precarious', 'cognitive', 'non-productive', 'creative', 'playbour', 'the knowledge economy'. In the context of a low-wage economy and the most severe welfare cuts since the post-war consensus, The Strickland Distribution want to open up these categories to critical discussion through a close reading of The Interview.

The Strickland Distribution is an artist-run group supporting the development of innovative and independent research in art-related and non-institutional practices. Art-related includes research forms that directly implement artistic practice as a means of research method. Non-institutional includes forms of grass-roots histories, social enquiries and projects developed outside of academic frameworks and by groups and individuals normally excluded from such environments. The research will be developed through commissioning of new projects, dissemination in publications, exhibitions and events, networking to build links between groups and practitioners internationally, and evaluation through public discussion and peer review. The Strickland Distribution will operate in the public sphere and seek to stimulate and contribute to public education, discourse and debate around the topics and themes addressed through its projects.

free but ticketed, available from CCA Box Office : 0141 352 4900

Comparison via a Third / Harun Farocki
Wednesday 16 February - Thursday 3 March 2011
11:00am - 6:00pm: FREE
Venue: CCA 1 / CCA 2 / CCA 3
Ages: all

More info:

Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)
350 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JD 


Eliminating Labour: Aesthetic Economy in Harun Farocki - Benedict Seymour, MetaMute

'The Flexible Personality', Brian Holmes, 2002.

The Precarious Reader, Mute magazine, Vol 2, 2005.

Proposal for an inquiry in Call Centers - Kolinko
hotlines - call centre | inquiry | communism

Beyond Aspiration: Young People and decent work in the de-industrialised city
Discussion paper, June 2009, Andrew Cumbers, Gesa Helms and Marilyn Keenan

To Banker, from Bankies
Incapacity Benefit: Myth and Realities
Chik Collins, with Janice Dickson & Mary Collins (Clydebank Independent Resource Centre)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

all that it is not

'all that it is not' - the common result of what i do. here, rather prosaically, the first attempt to turn some charcoal sketches from outdoors to indoors. an attempt at a bit of hue. only to find that GREEN is - how could i forget - the wrong kind of hue for most things green.

disregard the wrong paper. disregard the small scale.

in addition to the common observation on GREEN i did however  discover that powder is the wrong surface quality. i am after waxy, shiny, glossy. now - that was a surprise. in combination with my hunch - that wasn't any more than a half-thought until drumhill 1 and 2 - that it's the light i need to put down for these drawings.

the waxyglossyshinynogreenpastel light will give the direction for my next round of 'all that it is not'.

drumhill 1, charcoal/pastel on a2 canson

Saturday, 22 January 2011

'extra' by yijun li

 i started again listening to audio files. among them some short stories. this one filled my head from aberdeen to abroath last night. and resonated all the way on to glasgow.
rose tremain reads 'extra' by yiyun li. the audiofile is here.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


"Are you not pleased you stuck with it?"
The three-year old isn't quite sure though. Now she has looked closely at the colour of the stuffed cheetah. She has also continued - three times over - with its spots. All on her mother's encouragement.
Spot and spot again. The educational advice.

All the while gulls are circling above our heads on wire.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

a good plan

is deserving of whole-hearted abandonment. pursuit and dismissal. so close together.

part of my current practice (if less so plan) led me in search of the proper - appropriate and fitting - words to this. if i had known that language could LOOK like this, i think my horror of german in school would have quickly turned to something else. no: make no mistake, it is not about the wholeness of all that is one. but about the relations that exist between them. that they - as common in dictionary or thesaurus - should merely exist in list form is a cruel lie. a betrayal of their complexity. and if my rather literal mind had dared to venture beyond those lists, my encounter with language and meaning could easily have taken a different turn.

now, the thesaurus - in its animated unfolding - offers up the possibilities and exclusions of what i am searching after in those parts of my mind that speak neither german nor english yet are far from unintelligible.

thus, while making another plan for the year and the next, i am marvelling at the necessity i feel for precisely such and all the while am eying up their abandonment should plan and practice take a different turn.

the animation in time - the world of word associations that disappears as the new ones appears is lost here. also lost - while apparently given - are much of the german words, their translations and proximity to others. but... both are small losses.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

bright noise

they occur frequently throughout here. in particular in my winter posts. my winter posts are the most similar ones throughout. they are of night walks, snow flurries and flurry stars. the same fields, the same paths. and once in a while, the same one, two or three figures. two is the more common number of them.

like in this one here.

the night was perfect. clear. ice cold. a rather full moon lit up the fields and the dark forest. it was the sharpest night bright you can imagine. and still: the photo in all its hazy noise didn't take note. didn't listen carefully enough. or was it my hand, eye or memory that didn't get it?