Friday, 12 July 2019

Revisiting Schizocartography


If you are interested in schizocartography, or psychogeography in general, I will be presenting at the 4WCOP Psychogeography Conference on 6 September 2019.

Schizocartography will be revisited 10 years on, and you can see what will be covered in my talk below. You can sign up to the conference mailing list at the link above, or please regularly check the site for updates.

Hope to see you there!


Saturday, 15 June 2019

Space, Gaze and Power: A Foucauldian Methodology for Fashion Advertising Analysis


Figure 1: Las Meninas (1656) by Diego Velázquez © Museo Nacional del Prado

Link to free copy

Below is the abstract from my recently published articles in Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture and underneath that, if you click on the link, you can download a free copy (please note, there are only 50 free copies, so at some point they may run out).

Abstract:
This article examines fashion imagery in regard to representations of power as they pertain to the mise en scene of fashion advertising. By employing a specific form of image critique employed by Michel Foucault in The Order of Things [1966], a new methodology for analyzing fashion advertising is proposed and formulated. This form of critique enables elements such as the gaze, light and space to be framed into lines of sight. These lines can be examined in regard to the viewing subject, the staging of the advert, and structures of power. In his critique of the painting by Diego Velázquez Las Meninas (1656), Foucault states: “No gaze is stable, or rather, in the neutral furrow of the gaze piercing at a right angle through the canvas, subject and object, the spectator and the model, reverse their roles to infinity”. This sentence presents us with the phenomenological form of Foucault’s critique, containing a number of the themes that thread their way through his analysis of this baroque painting of the characters surrounding the child princess. These themes enable us to use this methodology to critique fashion imagery and this article offers up a new approach to visual analysis, one that has not been considered before and that can now be added to the fashion theory toolbox.

Keywords: fashion advertising, Michel Foucault, hermeneutics, pedagogy, phenomenology

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Psychogeography, Psychoanalysis and Progressive Rock - Public Lecture Manchester 13 June 5.30



I will be presenting a short research-based performance style lecture on June 13 at Manchester Metropolitan University entitled:

The Rael/Real of Psychogeography: Urban walking as a method of ameliorating castration anxiety in Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

It is for anyone interested in psychogeography, psychoanalysis, popular culture, cultural theory and/or progressive rock.

The lecture will be about 20 minutes long and there will be time for questions afterwards. All welcome.

ABSTRACT:
Rael is not real, but he is a popular culture representation of a real individual who is a stranger in a new city. As a recent immigrant to New York, Rael has to negotiate the alien space that has suddenly become his home. Part hero, part graffiti artist, part urban explorer, we witness our protagonist traversing the physical landscape of the city and that of his own psyche.

This paper explores the Lacanian concepts of castration anxiety, lack, the Other, and the real, in the context of the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Genesis, 1974). It examines the anxiety displayed in the character of the story and his attempts to work through this by using the landscape of the city as a vehicle for his own self-therapy.

By analysing Rael’s behaviour in the story, Richardson demonstrates that by taking a psychogeographic approach to the physical space of the city, and the abstract space of his own mind, Rael manages to work his way through the aesthetics of living in New York, as a foreigner, by facing his own troubled past.

TIME: June 13th 5.30-6.30
VENUE: Geoffrey Manton Building (Room GM LT4), Manchester Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University

Please see link to map here:

I look forward to seeing you there.

Tina Richardson

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Monopoly Was Invented to Demonstrate the Evils of Capitalism


By Kate Raworth

‘Buy land – they aren’t making it any more,’ quipped Mark Twain. It’s a maxim that would certainly serve you well in a game of Monopoly, the bestselling board game that has taught generations of children to buy up property, stack it with hotels, and charge fellow players sky-high rents for the privilege of accidentally landing there.

The game’s little-known inventor, Elizabeth Magie, would no doubt have made herself go directly to jail if she’d lived to know just how influential today’s twisted version of her game has turned out to be. Why? Because it encourages its players to celebrate exactly the opposite values to those she intended to champion.

Born in 1866, Magie was an outspoken rebel against the norms and politics of her times. She was unmarried into her 40s, independent and proud of it, and made her point with a publicity stunt. Taking out a newspaper advertisement, she offered herself as a ‘young woman American slave’ for sale to the highest bidder. Her aim, she told shocked readers, was to highlight the subordinate position of women in society. ‘We are not machines,’ she said. ‘Girls have minds, desires, hopes and ambition.’

In addition to confronting gender politics, Magie decided to take on the capitalist system of property ownership – this time not through a publicity stunt but in the form of a board game. The inspiration began with a book that her father, the anti-monopolist politician James Magie, had handed to her. In the pages of Henry George’s classic, Progress and Poverty (1879), she encountered his conviction that ‘the equal right of all men to use the land is as clear as their equal right to breathe the air – it is a right proclaimed by the fact of their existence’.

Travelling around America in the 1870s, George had witnessed persistent destitution amid growing wealth, and he believed it was largely the inequity of land ownership that bound these two forces – poverty and progress – together. So instead of following Twain by encouraging his fellow citizens to buy land, he called on the state to tax it. On what grounds? Because much of land’s value comes not from what is built on the plot but from nature’s gift of water or minerals that might lie beneath its surface, or from the communally created value of its surroundings: nearby roads and railways; a thriving economy, a safe neighbourhood; good local schools and hospitals. And he argued that the tax receipts should be invested on behalf of all.

Determined to prove the merit of George’s proposal, Magie invented and in 1904 patented what she called the Landlord’s Game. Laid out on the board as a circuit (which was a novelty at the time), it was populated with streets and landmarks for sale. The key innovation of her game, however, lay in the two sets of rules that she wrote for playing it.

Under the ‘Prosperity’ set of rules, every player gained each time someone acquired a new property (designed to reflect George’s policy of taxing the value of land), and the game was won (by all!) when the player who had started out with the least money had doubled it. Under the ‘Monopolist’ set of rules, in contrast, players got ahead by acquiring properties and collecting rent from all those who were unfortunate enough to land there – and whoever managed to bankrupt the rest emerged as the sole winner (sound a little familiar?).

The purpose of the dual sets of rules, said Magie, was for players to experience a ‘practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences’ and hence to understand how different approaches to property ownership can lead to vastly different social outcomes. ‘It might well have been called “The Game of Life”,’ remarked Magie, ‘as it contains all the elements of success and failure in the real world, and the object is the same as the human race in general seems to have, ie, the accumulation of wealth.’

The game was soon a hit among Left-wing intellectuals, on college campuses including the Wharton School, Harvard and Columbia, and also among Quaker communities, some of which modified the rules and redrew the board with street names from Atlantic City. Among the players of this Quaker adaptation was an unemployed man called Charles Darrow, who later sold such a modified version to the games company Parker Brothers as his own.

Once the game’s true origins came to light, Parker Brothers bought up Magie’s patent, but then re-launched the board game simply as Monopoly, and provided the eager public with just one set of rules: those that celebrate the triumph of one over all. Worse, they marketed it along with the claim that the game’s inventor was Darrow, who they said had dreamed it up in the 1930s, sold it to Parker Brothers, and become a millionaire. It was a rags-to-riches fabrication that ironically exemplified Monopoly’s implicit values: chase wealth and crush your opponents if you want to come out on top.

So next time someone invites you to join a game of Monopoly, here’s a thought. As you set out piles for the Chance and Community Chest cards, establish a third pile for Land-Value Tax, to which every property owner must contribute each time they charge rent to a fellow player. How high should that land tax be? And how should the resulting tax receipts be distributed? Such questions will no doubt lead to fiery debate around the Monopoly board – but then that is exactly what Magie had always hoped for.

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.
Aeon counter – do not remove

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Where the Garment Gapes: The Slit Aesthetic and Jouissance in Fashion


This semester, Philippa Jackson - a guest lecturer for my undergraduate unit, Fashion and Society - introduced me to the term “slit aesthetic” for the first time. The term was coined by Maureen Turim in her article ‘Fashion Shapes: Film, the Fashion Industry, and the Image of Women’. Turim describes the slit aesthetic as being a gap in women’s clothing that reveals the wearer’s skin, in particular the “neck, shoulders, back and breasts” (1983). While Turim’s discussion focuses on the representation of female actors in a specific moment in Hollywood film history, I would like to take up her brief discussion on desire and how this relates to the work of Roland Barthes in his own analysis of desire, wherein he uses a similar example.

In The Pleasure of the Text [1973] Barthes alludes to the arousing nature of what is not visible when he says: “Is not the most erotic portion of the body where the garment gapes?” (1975, p.9). He provides an example of the gap between the end of a woman’s sleeve and the top of her glove, revealing a tiny glimpse of her wrist.


He describes this process as “the staging of an appearance-as-disappearance” and explains how an opening reveals something that attracts the subject by creating a kind of window (ibid.). This offers a taste and yet conceals so much more. An obvious contemporary example would be the flash of a woman’s leg appearing through the split of a dress. What is conceals alludes to a promise. This may not be ‘a promise’ in the vernacular sense of the word, but it is not totally dissimilar: what is concealed, though not visible, is suggested and it is the desire that this instils in the subject, and the subsequent response, that we can describe as jouissance.

In terms of the slit aesthetic, Turim sees the desire as being oriented in the male gaze, but she also explains that this gaze becomes fetishistic in that in these instances the film’s editing appears as a “cutting back and forth between the gazing male and the female body he looks at” (1983). This fetishisation then turns this slice of flesh into an object which, hence, stands in for the whole female. However, Barthes’ interpretation is different. Barthes explains how it is the “seam” which is erotic (1975, pp.7-8). It is the boundary, the join, the incision that disrupts normal textual flow and opens up a domain of polysemy. But this space is required to remain in abeyance in order for bliss – jouissance – to remain. In other words, and as it would be for Turim’s male audience, they will never ‘have’ the female actress.

In her article 'Beyond the Jouissance Principle' Jane Gallop says: “If jouissance is celebrated as something that unsettles assumptions, it becomes ineffective when it itself settles into an assumption.” (1984, p.112). The condition of the space of bliss relies on the lack of conjecture. Assumptions, knowledge of the outcome, and emotional investment in the conclusion avert jouissance. Bliss continues until the subject 'knows'.

In A Lover’s Discourse [1977] Barthes explains how the lover’s absence can be manipulated. He describes it as an “active practice” (1979, p.16) in which the not knowing of the whereabouts of one’s lover creates doubts and desires: “This staging of language postpones the other’s death” (ibid.). Barthes explains that “to manipulate absence is to extend this interval, to delay as long as possible the moment when the other might topple sharply from absence into death.” (ibid.).

While, Turim’s example sees the wearer of the slit aesthetic as representing the “phallic woman” (1983), Barthes sees that gap as jouissance and plays with the space in which the lover has not yet returned by extending the interval: when will the lover return or might it be that the lover never returns…


References
Barthes, Roland. 1975. The Pleasure of the Text. Trans. by Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang).
Barthes, Roland. 1979. A Lover’s Discourse. Trans. by Richard Howard (London: Jonathan Cape).
Gallop, Jane, ‘Beyond the Jouissance Principle’, Representations, 7, (Summer, 1984) pp. 110-115.
Turim, Maureen, ‘Fashion Shapes: Film, the Fashion Industry, and the Image of Women’, Socialist Review, 71 (13), (Radical Society Ltd, 1983) pp. 78-96.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Non-Representational Theory - Part 2: 'Challenging Ossified Systems of Power'


Edited by Candice P. Boyd and Christian Edwardes, Non-Representational Theory and the Creative Arts has just been published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2019.

Below is an abstract for my own chapter in the book - a photo essay - 'Psy(co)motion: Anti-Production and Détournement in Affective Musical Cartographies'. And below that is a list of contents for the book:
This chapter discusses the musical compilation series psy(co)motion in the context of a Guattarian analysis. It introduces the set of psychogeographically-oriented CDs within the mix-tape/CD phenomenon while situating it as a form that challenges ossified systems of power. The chapter goes on to discuss whether psy(co)motion manages to successfully recuperate itself through the molecular creation of the object, and via its virtual and physical dissemination.

CONTENTS

Foreword
Non-Representational Dreams
Nigel Thrift
1          Creative Practice and the Non-Representational
Candice P. Boyd and Christian Edwardes
Part 1  Situated Practices in Art, Craft and Design
2          Geo/graphic design
Alison Barnes 
3          Geologic Landscape: A Performance and a Wrecked Mobile Phone
Veronica Vickery 
4          Micro-Geographies of the Studio
Christian Edwardes 
5          Making, knowing and being made: hand-stitching beyond representation  
Emma Shercliff 
6          Feeling Queer Art in Public:  The Gay Liberation Monument
Martin Zebracki
Part 2  Artistic Engagements with Geography
7          Affecting Objects:  Enacting Gesture Within a Performative Research Enquiry
Sarah Bennett
8          Circadian Rhythms, Sunsets, and the Representational Thresholds of Time-Lapse Photography
Kaya Barry
9          ‘Call That Art?  I Call It Bad Eyesight’:  Seeing or Not Seeing in the Context of Responsive Art Practice
Annie Lovejoy
10        Forward, Back, Together – and the Materialities of Taking Part
Simon Pope
11        Where Does ‘Your’ Space End and the Next Begin?  Non-Representational Geographies of Improvised Performance
Candice P. Boyd with Yan Yang, Juana Beltrán, Clinton Green, Jordan White, Carmen Chan Schoenborn, Elnaz Sheshgelani, Chun-liang Liu, Michael McNab, and Ren Walters 
Part 3  Geographers Exploring Artistic Practice
12        Making Theatre That Matters:  Troubling Subtext, Motive, and Intuition
Ruth Raynor
13        Creativity, Labour, and Captain Cook’s Cottage:  From Great Ayton to Fitzroy Gardens
Tim Edensor 
14        Material Conditions in the Post-Human City
Andrew Gorman-Murray 
15        Attuning to the Geothermal-Urban:  Kinetics, Cinematics, and Digital Elementality
Matthew Shepherd 
16        Thresholds of Representation:  Physical Disability in Dance and Perceptions of the Moving Body
Michelle Duffy, Paul Atkinson, and Nicola Wood
Interlude
Supervising
Harriet Hawkins and Rachel Hughes
Part 4  Sound, Music, and Creative Mobilities
17        Audio Recording as Performance
Michael Gallagher
18        Psy(co)motion: Anti-Production and Détournement in Affective Musical Cartographies
Tina Richardson 
19        Walk with Me
Jeffrey Hannam and Lawrence Harvey 
20        Imaginal Travel:  An Expedition in Fine Art Practice in Search of the Loneliest Palm
Gayle Chong Kwan 
21        Fragments (formerly Tales from the Asylum)
Thomas Jellis and Joe Gerlach
22        On Edge:  Writing Non-Representational Journeys
David Bissell
Afterword
Sensing the World Anew
Barbara Bolt

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

'One of These Days' from Meddle (Pink Floyd 1971)


I was watching a rerun of one of those prog rock documentaries on either Sky or BBC 4 the other day and found out that the track 'One of These Days' from Pink Floyd's Meddle (1971) was accompanied by a film made by Ian Emes who, at the time of making, was a student at The Birmingham College of Art. You can see the video here. It's really very good.

Emes later worked with Mike Oldfield and Duran Duran, and did many collaborations with Pink Floyd over the years. A lot of his work was featured at the V and A Pink Floyd retrospective in 2017: Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains Exhibition. Below is a photo I took at that exhibition:


Note: I am hoping that I will have a chapter included in an upcoming book about Pink Floyd, although it will be about the album and the film The Wall. You can read more about it here.