Several months ago I blogged about the artist Alex Dipple and her conceptual collage work. Alex discovered my post and generously agreed to write a guest post about her interests. Collage is only one of the forms her art takes. You can find the full range of her work on her website and on her blog. Many thanks Alex!
Fold 4, 2015
From The Middle by Alex Dipple
A certain quote by Gilles Deluze seem to illuminate my current practice and interests so neatly that I can use it here as the start point of this blog post. ‘’Things and thoughts,” Gilles Deleuze writes, “advance or grow out of the middle, and that’s where you have to get to work, that’s where everything unfolds.”1
‘In medias res’ is Latin for ‘into the middle of things.’ It was used as a stage direction for a Classical tale that opens, or ends, in the midst of action. Tales beginning ‘in medias res’ don’t have a linear narrative, they often rely on flashbacks or descriptions of past events and they move fluidly between the past and the present. Often there is a suggestion things may turn into something else completely. Media has the same root as ‘medias’ which come from ‘Medius’ and means ‘Middle’ in Latin. It is this link between the middle and media that particularly interests me. Surely newspapers also immerse us in a world with no beginning or end. Here, endless and conflicting voices, circle the same stories whose key players dissolve and reform into new stories for the next day. Thus newspapers can be seen as an ideal vehicle for excavation of the middle. I see newspapers/rolling news as a point of creation, a churning production of words and images that constantly updates and transforms into other words and images on a daily basis.
Fold 3, 2015
The middle is also the territory of a dense structure of narratives and scenarios that determine every aspect of human interaction from personal relationships to work and ideology. “Folded and hidden away in all cultural products as well as in our everyday surroundings, these narratives reproduce communal scenarios that are more or less implicit:”2 Bourriard asserts. Newspapers, in particular, have the power to develop these normative pathways through repetition, omission and the use of subtle but leading language, framed as objective truth. Liam Gillick says: “We are all caught within the scenario play of late capitalism.”3 It is these artificial boundaries, aspirations and appearances that I find most insidious. Dangerous archetypes are forged and maintained in the images and column inches of the newspaper, on Page 3 and the sports pages, in the headlines and adverts. But I believe that real histories are not understood through reading mediated blocks of text aligned to party and editorial control but are necessarily complicated, ignored or hidden. Newspapers feign objectivity through an appearance of multiple viewpoints, and there is still an anxiety concerning authorship. George Orwell wrote: “He who controls the past controls the future: he who controls the present controls the past.”4 I see the press as a patriarchal voice with localized interests described here by Noam Chomsky, who suggests that newspapers make: ‘the selection of right thinking personnel… the editors and Journalists internalization of priorities and definitions of newsworthiness that conforms to the institutions policy.”5 And more… that: ‘’Dissent and inconvenient information are kept within bounds and at the margins.”6
Fold 1, 2015
In the quote Deleuze also uses the word ‘unfolds’ and it is this connection to “The Fold” that might offer other clues to his idea of the middle. Deleuze’s ‘unfolding’ necessarily accompanies the fold and it is both the production of new folds and an opening up to us that which is still to be folded. Folds allow Deleuze to think about the formation of subjectivity, and I think he is suggesting that we exist in a truncated present in which a multitude of surfaces co-exist within us simultaneously, linking our organic bodies across time and memory. Somehow for me this opens up material possibilities with art being a site of slippage in which the middle or media is expanded through the creating of an: “immanent beyond to the everyday”.7 One way to move beyond the everyday is to become attuned to the elements of it that hover at the fringes of perception. I have a need to engage with liminal, non-central information as a way of teasing out alternative meanings and questioning the hierarchy of the page; I favor a radical re-reading of the page in which the secondary details take centre stage. Mallarme famously declared that poetry could be found everywhere ‘excepte dans les affiches et a la quatrieme page des journaux’8 but my aim is to find something profound in the gaps around the news.
Fold 2, 2015
1 Rescher, Nicholas. On Leibniz. Expanded ed. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013. 2 Bourriaud, Nicolas, and Caroline Schneider. Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World. 2nd ed. New York: Lukas & Sternberg, 2005 3 “Ibid.” 4 Orwell, George, and Thomas Pynchon. 1984. Barcelona: Debolsillo, 2013 5 Achbar, Mark. Manufacturing Consent Noam Chomsky and the Media. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1996 6 “Ibid.” 7 Sullivan, Simon. “Definition: “Fold” Simon O’Sullivan/Articles. 8 Blanc, Dina. “Mallarme On The Press.” JSTOR. Accessed May 11, 2015.