Monday, 22 May 2017


Daniel Ryser, (2013) Assange's Room, [1:1 Installation] FACT, Liverpool.
HOW MUCH OF THIS IS FICTION. Presents an exhibition of politically inspired media art employing détournement at every turn, hacking the reality to present urgent post-truth politics.
With Guy Debord’s text The Society of the Spectacle in mind it seems possible to interpret the current state of the media and politics in relation to the Spectacle:

The spectacle cannot be set in abstract opposition to concrete social activity, for the dichotomy between reality and image will survive on either side of any such distinction. Thus the spectacle, though it turns reality on its head, is itself a product of real activity. Likewise, lived reality suffers the material assaults of the spectacle's mechanisms of contemplation, incorporating the spectacular order and lending that order positive support. Each side therefore has its share of objective reality. And every concept, as it takes its place on one side or the other, has no foundation apart from its transformation into its opposite: reality erupts within the spectacle, and the spectacle is real. This reciprocal alienation is the essence and underpinning of society as it exists.
 (Debord, 1994, p.5)

The first visible consequences of a widespread use of détournement, apart from its intrinsic propaganda powers, will be the revival of a multitude of bad books, and thus the extensive (unintended) participation of their unknown authors; an increasingly extensive transformation of phrases or plastic works that happen to be in fashion; and above all an ease of production far surpassing in quantity, variety and quality the automatic writing that has bored us for so long.
Détournement not only leads to the discovery of new aspects of talent; in addition, clashing head-on with all social and legal conventions, it cannot fail to be a powerful cultural weapon in the service of a real class struggle. The cheapness of its products is the heavy artillery that breaks through all the Chinese walls of understanding. It is a real means of proletarian artistic education, the first step toward a literary communism.
 Debord defines détournement in three stages:
Minor détournement is the détournement of an element which has no importance in itself and which thus draws all its meaning from the new context in which it has been placed. For example, a press clipping, a neutral phrase, a commonplace photograph.
Deceptive détournement, also termed premonitory-proposition détournement, is in contrast the détournement of an intrinsically significant element, which derives a different scope from the new context.
Extensive detourned works will thus usually be composed of one or more series of deceptive and minor détournements.

As the spectator moves around the exhibition space of FACT these levels of detournement are explored at different rates in different works. The spectator is virtually détourned or hi-jacked as artist Adam Harvey in the digital work Skylift (VO.2) uses a geolocation spoofing device to virtually relocate the spectator’s smart phone to the location of Assange’s residence at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
It could be perceived that the spectator is then physically détourned when in front of Assange’s Room a 1:1 reproduction of Assange’s office at the Ecuadourian embassy, it is from my perspective detourned rather than just merely produced due to one key element, the room is meticulously constructed entirely from memory. This is due to no photography being allowed in the embassy, so after several visits artist Daniel Ryder has hijacked reality to take the embassy from its original location and into the location of the gallery space. We trust Ryder’s work to be an accurate representation of Assange’s room however ultimately the work is a minor détournement, we without Assange’s presence in the Embassy have little interest in the actual embassy or this 1:1 installation.
Both Ryder and Harvey act as despots, they try to relocate us or deteritorialise us – we are displaced from our actual location of the gallery and are taken virtually and physically the Ecuadorian Embassy. This diaspora reterritorializes us into the forced displacement of Assange. We are all detourned. For the Situationists[1] detournement was like a game, humans being its player to ignite the world into gamespace. This gamespace is referred to by academic Sher Duff:

“The globalisation of gamespace by a runaway capitalism exudes a comparison to the societal paradigms of discipline and control advanced by Foucault and Deleuze respectively.”
(Duff, 2006, p.3)

Through globalisation our gamespace has become what theorist Marshall McLuhan refers to as the Global Village (1962).  Although restricted to the Ecuadorian embassy’s walls Assange takes full advantage of our Global Village and harnesses our gamespace aka the media to detourn sensitive or confidential documents through Wikileaks to liberate them from their capitalist confines.

Adam Harvey, (2013) Skylift (VO.2), [Digital artwork] FACT, Liverpool.

We all need to become the aimless wanderer at some point in our lives, we all need to be liberated from our systematic lifestyles and addiction to our smartphones which drip feed us detourned information from media conglomerates, we trust the devil we trust the machine – we must liberate the derive from the urban praxis it exists in according to the Situationists and allow ourselves to drift further, go beyond the walls of the city and escape to breathe in the landscape of the enlightenment to return to a pastoral golden age. We trust the city and its machine, it’s time to take a chance on nature and allow ourselves to get truly lost in order to discover who we really are. 

Duff, S. (2006) From Psychogeography to Cybertoplogy: Situating “Place” in the Disorientated Dériveérive
McLuhan, M. (1962) The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. University of Toronto Press: Canada.

[1] Revolutionary alliance of European avant-garde artists, writers and poets formed at a conference in Italy in 1957 (as Internationale Situationiste or IS). The IS developed a critique of capitalism based on a mixture of Marxism and surrealism. Accessed: May 21, 2017


Set in an old shoe factory the exhibition RESIST, RESIST, RELEASE has a history of its own already bounding forward with the presence of previous industry still hinted at with the raw architecture of the space.
Entirely made up of new works there is a site-specificity to the works but also to the process. The exhibition seems to be a complete act of research, both research as practice and practice as research working in sync developing the concept of researchers Grays and Malins refer to as “Dynamic Knowing” or Knowing- in – action (2004, p.22). According to the gallery literature the works in the exhibition aim to mimic the actions required to produce them.  This process seems to echo what Philosopher Donald Schön calls a pro-active approach: “Research approached now can be much more pro-active involving practitioners researching through creative ‘action’ and ‘reflecting in and on action’.” (Schön, 1983, in Grays and Malins, 2004, p.25) The artists aren’t scared of mistakes and instead they thrive on serendipity and chance and allow the works to live and breathe as animate objects.
Tacit knowledge is made explicit through a reflective practice with a cartography of the processes involved in the creation of the exhibitions works displayed in the foyer. Thinking occurs physically through the materials of latex, clay and spray paint and a sense of urgency or the works being in a state of flux inhabits the freshly curated space with there being seemingly infinite curatorial possibilities for the works.

Researchers Grays and Malins refer to the concept of “Meta-thinking” which is thinking about thinking, here both Warner and Morrison seem to be Meta-making, thinking about making through making. This seems derivative of action research (McKernan, 1998, p74 in Malins, 2004), as the artist’s work involves intervention, diagnostics and problem solving in action. Taught latex echoes the tension in the bodily relationships between artist and material with the gloss of the orange spray paint highlighting a deep reflexivity in process and questioning of the position of the self in the process of the works coming into being.

An 8 hour recording of the Warner and Morrison’s working processes plays as a durational work in the stairwell, this audio reconstruction or reprint of the process seems an intriguing means of documenting process and thought in action. Action research is already a key research concept in existence however perhaps this audio recording could be action reflection, with reflection replacing research as a means of developing and learning from data already in existence.

The term ‘material witness’ is cited by Biggs and Karlsson (2012, p.211) in The Routledge Companion to research in the arts  and highlights how knowledge is created through experience with materials. Clay literally holds the index of creation with fingerprints presenting the presence of the artist and create an embodied experience of creation, as a spectator in the exhibition I am witness to the embodiment of the artist in the clay, their process is marked in the index of the fingerprints and by the manipulation of the form of the clay into various shapes.

Gray, C. and Malins, J. (2004) Visualizing Research – A Guide to the Research Process in Art and Design. Ashgate Publishing Limited: Aldershot.
Stiftelsen Riksbankens jubileumsfond., Biggs, M.A.R. and Karlsson, H. (2012) The Routledge companion to research in the arts. London: Routledge. (Routledge companions).

Sunday, 16 April 2017


Within virtual environments we have the free will to walk anywhere in a seemingly infinite landscape yet we are controlled by a programmer, our movements monitored by a machine with a processor mapping our liminal location. Politicians and programmers in this context could be seen as similar beings, positioning people in spaces and places the end users are ultimately controlled, our free will is an illusion.

Our politics of space is transfigured by a capitalist landscape, profit and power pervade our existence. Today we walk under the mercy of the digital dérive we wander aimlessly in a series of hyperlinked portals absorbing ourselves increasingly into our screens. Our spatial existence is performed within a controlled cartography, an LCD super HD 4K resolution screen of some shape. We complete the same performance of the swipe on the infinite scroll, moving left to right, top to bottom in a dismissive action.

Continually connected tethered by wireless hotspots we have met as writer George Orwell states in 1984 “…in the place where there is no darkness.”  Our devices are always on, breathing inhaling and exhaling as we do, the sight of iPhones on life support chained to a power bank so that our energy sapping devices have breath in their digital lungs to get through the day. 

Screens become the embodiment of our actual environment presenting our surroundings to us as a series of infinite interpretations. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche states: “There are no facts only interpretations”, in the endless reprint of the Internet fact becomes fiction, reality is mutated by digital representation. The human form becomes the ultimate print matrix receiving and sending data via telecommunications, our bodies are extended by the Telematic Embrace (Ascott, 2007).

The prosthetic pulse of telecommunications devices interrupt our time, functioning as artificial pacemakers – they set our hearts racing or drop us like a stone. From Instagram photos of someone’s lunch whose looks better than your dodgy sandwich to the thrill of the chase and a sideways swipe on Tinder. New digital architectures house our souls, they embody our lives as prints of the self – the ideal self. Our egos print a representation of ourselves as we build virtual architectures to house our digital self.  

So what are you waiting for? Join in with the #sadsandwich and sideways swipe at your own risk and wander aimlessly in the virtual sandwich of your dreams.

Thursday, 12 January 2017


Photograph: Emily Godden & Audit Chaos, Rhizome 2.0, SPILL Festival of Performance 2016, produced by Pacitti Company. Photo by Guido Mencari.

Within Virtual Reality (VR) anything is possible, the rules of physics can be defied and the world literally turned on its head. Instead of operating within a traditional orientation of printmaking I have been exploring the application of new digital technologies with a focus on VR to transpose traditional print techniques. My initial proposal outlines my intentions to explore the notion of the melted matrix and how our reality is blended between the actual and virtual.

By framing print within a digital context the definition of the matrix is transformed from the print definition[1] of “to the computerised or data definition[2]: During a residency at Aldeburgh Beach Lookout (3-8 October 2016) I began exploring how Etching and VR could operate harmoniously in a multi-level installation of works in response to both the location and history of the space influenced by Virginia Woolf’s 1928 text A Room of One’s Own. Through my research I discovered a quote of particular pertinence:

…the body seemed contained in a miraculous glass cabinet through which no sound could penetrate, and the mind, freed from any contact with facts (unless one trespassed on the turf again), was at liberty to settle down upon whatever meditation was in harmony with the moment.

(Woolf, 1928, p.7)

The notion of the body being contained in a miraculous glass cabinet echoed that of the presence of the body in a virtual environment. We exist as people of pixels and as Sociologist Jean Baudrillard alludes to in Ecstasy of Communication we exist as a reflective self:

But today the scene and mirror no longer exist; instead, there is a screen and network. In place of the reflexive transcendence of mirror and scene, there is a non-reflecting surface, an immanent surface where operations unfold- the smooth operational surface of communication.

(Baudrillard, 1998, p.12)

With this in mind it could be perceived that each of our bodies is being situated with a much larger network of connected bodies communicating the ideal self  thus allowing us to exist in a multitude of virtualities. We exist as people of pixels and as Sociologist Jean Baudrillard alludes to in the text Ecstasy of Communication we exist as a reflective self:

But today the scene and mirror no longer exist; instead, there is a screen and network. In place of the reflexive transcendence of mirror and scene, there is a non-reflecting surface, an immanent surface where operations unfold- the smooth operational surface of communication.

(Baudrillard, 1998, p.12)

Baudrillard further argues that the subject is always close to instant information as we are always in close relation to some sort of information network as the subject; “becomes a pure screen a pure absorption and re-absorption surface of the influent networks” (Baudrillard, 1998, p.30). This suggests that we have become a number, an extension to the binary 0s and 1s and chained to the code we have programmed to serve us. Our bodies are now swimming in an information flow as the screen functions as a hyperreal simulatory mirror not representing our reflection as a standard mirror but acting as a gateway to connect the self within a teleological theatre.

I originally set out in my initial proposal to work with Deleuze’s concept of the Rhizome however this expanded to allow for the works created to be informed by Gilles Deleuze’s concept of Deterritorialization. The actualization of the virtual proceeds by way of intensive processes and is described in relation to the codification of the virtual reality print. The Deleuzean virtual is thus not the condition of possibility of any rational experience, but the condition of genesis of real experience. (Deleuze, 2004)

Operating within the frame of Live Art as defined by LADA[3] below enabled me to truly work with printmaking in a post-digital landscape working with print in an expanded virtual field:

The term Live Art is not a description of an artform or discipline, but a cultural strategy to include experimental processes and experiential practices that might otherwise be excluded from established curatorial, cultural and critical frameworks. Live Art is a framing device for a catalogue of approaches to the possibilities of liveness by artists who chose to work across, in between, and at the edges of more traditional artistic forms.

Working with digital technology, Live Art and Printmaking led me to generate and coin the term Live Print in order to articulate my print process. Using new digital technologies including virtual reality on October 20th, 21st and 22nd I presented my debut durational performance Rhizome 2.0 at SPILL Festival of Performance 2016. Rhizome 2.0 explores  the notion of the melted matrix within printmaking to develop a durational work which situates the body between the print and the screen. Working with the body as both a source of data and means of data capture, leads to the creation of a Live Print where  I  immersed myself in a virtual forest to uphold a suspension of disbelief to trick myself that the forest is not virtual but actual. 

In a dialogue with Critic Helena Blaker Photographer Manual Vason states: “I always had the presumption that the image was a space, a sort of parallel space.” (2015, p.15) Placed within the frame of VR notions of new image spaces are evoked which is further exemplified by the idea that that the body itself exists in a multiplicity. Within traditional print processes registration is a significant part of the process of the genesis of a print. I am deliberately exploiting this, examining and researching how the body can be registered within the print process within a performance orientated context. I have coined the term Live Print to offer a fluid exchange between the actual and virtual to explore both virtual and actual forms of embodiment of print, below is a breakdown of the layers present within Rhizome 2.0 with the Green boxes outlining the each layer:

Emily Godden (2016) Image breaking down layers of registration in Rhizome 2.0

Theorist Katherine Hayles raises the notion of virtual reality as a means of creating a prosthetic electronic self with regards to the application of virtual reality as a means of not disembodiment but a re-embodiment of the physical self in a virtual landscape:

Katherine Hayles remark vis a vis virtual reality (VR) technologies applies in a broader sense too: “It is never (…) a matter of “leaving the body behind.” Instead, the technologies of telepresence and VR are about ‘extending embodied awareness; highly specific local material ways that would be impossible without electronic prostheses.

(Hayles, 1999 in Pelzer, R, 2012 p.56)

This notion of an electronic prostheses led me to research Artists such as Stelarc (1946-). In works such as 1992 piece The Third Hand, Stelarc a mechanical human-like hand is attached to Stelarc’s right arm, this idea of the body and machine being at one led me to work with the Leap Motion sensor to integrate haptic control in virtual spaces and aroused some intrigue in the relationships and dichotomy’s that sit between subject and object and how I can integrate the actual alongside the virtual to elicit dual realities and mixed reality environments.

Emily Godden (2016) Experimenting with Leap Motion Sensor [Leap Motion Sensor]

I had picked up on some anxiety when presenting Rhizome 2.0 as the fear of the unknown was present. Although I project a live feed from the virtual reality Head Mounted Device (HMD) on the wall there is still some anxiety when first entering the VR. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is often cited as laying the foundations for Existentialism[4], it could be perceived that the new digital technologies which surround us with their increasingly sleek screens are the monsters we fight with: “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. (Nietzsche, 1886, p.102) Virtual reality could be interpreted as being an abyss, 21st century technology is the monster that gazes at us and we at it, we follow each other’s moves and with virtual reality the absorption of the self into the screen is complete.

When framed around ideas and philosophies such as Phenomenology[5] VR opens up an entire can of worms regarding the existence of print and into the realms of what Film maker Hito Steyerl refers to as audiovisual capitalism in allusion to how distinctions between consumers, producers, audiences and authors are becoming increasingly blurred by the digital (Steyerl, 2010). Philosopher Merleau-Ponty evokes the idea that the body exists within a spectacle when in a virtual state:

This virtual body ousts the real one to such an extent that the subject no longer has the feeling of being in the world where he actually is, and that instead of his real legs and arms, he feels that he has the legs and arms he would need to walk and act in the reflected room: he inhabits a spectacle.

(Merleau-Ponty, 1945, p.291)

From my initial proposal I desired to explore how the presence of the body of either producer or consumer animated a print, working with VR appeared to open up virtual bodies in virtual spaces.

After reading Guy Debord’s text The Society Of The Spectacle I began to explore VR as a spectacle in its self. I have created my VR environments utilising 360 ° filming and post production  therefore it could  be perceived that I am actualizing a physical environment into a virtual one. According to Debord:

The spectacle cannot be understood either as a deliberate distortion of the visual world or as a product of the technology of the mass dissemination of images. It is far better viewed as a weltanschauung[6] that has been actualized, translated into the material realm ­ a world view transformed into an objective force.

(Debord, 1992, p.5)

There is no escaping the material nature of print even when in a digital context, this is perhaps something I underestimated in my original proposal. In order to continue the development of Rhizome 2.0 I plan to further investigate the materialisation of print with a focus on both actual and virtual materialities and how the process of putting on the VR Head Mounted Device (HMD) could be a symbolic gateway from the actual to the virtual.

During the past few months I have discovered that there is the capacity for VR to be utilised as a device to create behaviour change is an exciting proposition. My next iteration of Rhizome 2.0 will be shown as part performance part workshop as part of Space to Breathe a weekend of installations, performances, talks and workshops highlighting the impact of air pollution on our health at Somerset House which is part of which is part of year long a series of events under the title Utopia 2016. This is for me the ideal next place to present Rhizome 2.0, I am currently intrigued by how virtual reality can be used as a tool to improve our health and wellbeing and how virtual reality can illicit behaviour change. I propose to further investigate the psychology behind virtual reality.

[1] A mould in which something, such as a record or printing type, is cast or shaped [Accessed 2 January 2017]
[2] An organizational structure in which two or more lines of command, responsibility, or communication may run through the same individual. [Accessed 2 January 2017]
[3] LADA is the acronym for Live Art Development Agency
[4] A philosophical theory or approach which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will. [Accessed 3 January 2017]
[5] An approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience. [Accessed 3 January 2017]
[6] A particular philosophy or view of life; the world view of an individual or group. [Accessed 3 January 2017]

Ascott, R. (2003) Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness. California: University of California Press.
Baudrillard, J. (1988) The Ecstasy of Communication. New York: MIT Press.
Debord, G. (1992) The Society Of The Spectacle. London: Rebel Press.
Deleuze, G. and Patton, P. (2004) Difference and repetition. [New edn.] London: Continuum.
Deleuze, G., Guattari, F. and Massumi, B. (2013) A Thousand Plateaus : Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Bloomsbury.
Greene, R. (2004) Internet Art. London: Thames & Hudson.
Jones, A. (2006) Self/Image: Technology, Representation, and the Contemporary Subject. London: Routledge.
Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945) Phenomenology of Perception. Translated by C.Smith., 2002. London: Routledge.
Nietzsche, F. (1886) Beyond Good And Evil. Translated by R.J. Hollingdale., 1990. London: Penguin.
Pelzer, R. (2012) ‘Sensing Print: Reflections on the Materiality of the Contemporary Art Print’, Impact Press, pp.53-59.
Pritchett, J. (1994) ‘The Completion of John Cage’s Freeman Etudes’, Perspectives of New Music, 32 (2), pp.262-270.
Ranciere, J. (1999) The future of the image. London: Verso.
Ranciere, J, (2011) The Emancipated Spectator. London: Verso
Ryan, M. (2001) Narrative as virtual reality; immersion and interactivity in literature and electronic media. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
Snaith, A. and Whitworth, M.H. (2007) Locating Woolf; the politics of space and place. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Steyerl, Hito (2010) The Wretched of the Screen, e-flux, Inc., Sternberg Press.
Vason, M. (2015) Double ExposuresPerformance as Photography, Photography as Performance. Live Art Development Agency. London ed. By David Evans
Whyte, J. (2002) Virtual reality and the built environment. Oxford: Architectural Press.
Woolf, V. (1928) A Room of one's own. Penguin.

Monday, 30 May 2016


Week two of the build led to some late nights and difficult curatorial decisions, but knowing less is more I knew I had to be brutal and that annoying canvas screen above had to go. 

After negotiating a spaghetti junction of cables the Oculus Rift is good to go. 

The sculpture room has proved a tricky room to curate my work in and funnily enough what you would think would be the easiest area to place work (the only conventional white wall) actually proved the most difficult. 

In order to establish my influences and research I created a mind map in my studio over a period of weeks to try and establish my thoughts on my coining of the term Printmaking 2.0. It was an extremely useful exercise downloading all of my thoughts onto one piece of paper (ok it was a rather large piece of paper). I titled the mind map Google only knows the answer if you know the question to allude to our reliance on machines and technology to know and do things for us, however intelligent these devices are at present most still require a human input, i.e. Google can only help you if you know what your searching for - how many times have you tried Googling something you don't know the name of? 

To develop my mind map I started to branch out starting with Printmaking 2.0 as the centre, choosing to draw straight onto the wall after watching  a video on  Sol LeWitt's Scribble Wall Drawings. This video contextualises and influences my reasoning for drawing my mind map straight onto the wall, there is something very raw about drawing straight onto the wall and echoes the idea of bringing the outside in by referencing tagging/grafitti on the streets of Nicosia.

Ready to roll for assessment, I've placed my portfolios in the space.

I know why the tennis balls are there, anyone who really knows me will know exactly why there's three tennis balls. 

I'd originally planned to screenprint the floor of the sculpture room, however after testing the screen onto paper and canvas it was evident that the photo silkscreen of grass was going to detract from the gestural marks of the broom painted floor. This meant I had a photo silkscreen waiting in the wings to play with so in keeping with other works in my degree show I decided to whack out the montana cans of spray paint and see what would happen if I screen printed on top of a spraypainted layer. 

Acid grass

Screen print loading 

Registering the print


During the first week of the degree show build my original plans for the sculpture room were developing as new problems were emerging. Ideas that originally seemed perfect for the space when put into action actually didn't work. The room is far from a conventional white cube gallery space and this is why I was drawn to use the sculpture room for my installation (it also helped that it was the biggest space!). I want to maintain a sense that this is a workable environment and not just an exhibition space to maintain an edge like that of the studios at Cyprus college of art (please click here). 

As the space was being emptied the challenge ahead me seemed to grow, the space felt incredibly intimidating (to contextualise the room is roughly 9.5x10.5m). However as I started to bring down work from my studio upstairs the space soon began to shrink and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.  

With each challenge the space also affords an advantage, the floor began to sing once coated in a sea of green watered down screen printing ink. Thanks to the genius suggestion of using a broom to paint the floor the green soon swept across the floor and I must say painting the floor was much more fun than the walls. There was something very expressive an gestural about using such a big brush which echoed abstract expressionist desires. awakened some abstract expressionist desires. 

As I move towards the second week of the build the pressure is on, next week I will be installing the Oculus Rift and can't wait to test my virtual tree.

If anyone finds the remote can they please hit pause, this degree show is still loading. Thank you for waiting, we will be with you shortly. 

See below for some images of the install in progress:


Daniel Ryser, (2013) Assange's Room, [1:1 Installation] FACT, Liverpool. HOW MUCH OF THIS IS FICTION. Presents an exhibition of p...