Art, poetry, digital art, photography, criticism and essays.

19 Nov 2015

November 2015

Digital, text-art reflecting on events, both personal and global, during November.  I'm also reflecting on the Postmodern idea of displacement, once again on both a personal and global level.

"Ici, La'" translates from the French as "Here, There". Apologies for the lack of an accent sign on "La'".  An apostrophe will have to suffice due to the limitations of my keyboard!  


Copyright "all rights reserved" Simon Harris

4 Sep 2015

Dead Can Dance Kiko HD

14 Aug 2015

Propaganda - Heaven give me words

26 Jul 2015

Near Macgillycuddy's Reeks

Near Macgillycuddy's Reeks

Taken at the Ring of Kerry, Ireland.Simon Harris (all rights reserved).

17 Jul 2015

Philip Glass and Lucinda Childs - Dance 4 - Solo by Caitlin Scranton

3 Jul 2015

Yearning for Simplicity and Pragmatism

Ever experienced a miasma of contradictory and arbitrary information?  Every day, perhaps?  It's happening all too often for me.....

5 Jun 2015

10 May 2015

6 O'Clock and the Sky is Melting

6 O'Clock and the Sky is Melting

Copyright "All Rights Reserved" Simon Harris

27 Mar 2015

6/02/2015 to 27/03/2015 - Observations and Wisdom

Wisdom does not sit well in a capitalist landscape.  Knee-jerk reactions and immature, short-term thought are paramount; youth is enshrined as highly desirable, essential; a youthful irresponsibility is intrinsic to our debt-ridden societies.  Images of young adults are fed to us in shopping malls, through Internet advertising, televisions, smart phones, attempting to suspend maturity and graphically using young adults as sexual objects, hinting at the public's desirability if we buy in to the modes of current capitalist ideologies.

Advertiser's use of young adults as sexual objects defies both common-sense and morality in societies, such as the UK, where paedophilia has become a corruption at the very heart of our culture.  A sense of irony can be suspended for a feeling of shock, as post-modern advertising and the perplexing miasma of information overload becomes, not just a burgeoning, global culture, but a faux-reality disassociating us from the necessity of the body, the self, the mind, heart-beat, pulse and breath that requires the suspension of doing/sensing to be experienced.

Stephen Hawking's recent rant about new technologies potentially causing the end of the human race, may seem a bit ridiculous coming from a brilliant, but rather flamboyant physicist, who seems to enjoy his courtship with the media.  Nonetheless, he has a reasonable point and as Bill Gates has also joined Hawking by adding his, somewhat less severe warnings, I feel we should listen to these gifted individuals, particularly as Gates expertise was in IT.  Notions of an imminent "the end of the world is nigh" scenario should be left to the global warming aficionados (who also have a point, if not an entirely convincing argument) and those who are nonchalant about the dangers of new technologies should also be dismissed as not seeing the wood for the trees.  Caution is not only apt, but necessary.

Indeed, the purpose of being human is to experience humanness, to express our condition in our environment.  This requires both self-expression and moderation, as is prescribed by others and by our environment.  Our purpose is not to overtly limit ourselves by the results of our creativity, but to use our creativity to aid our full experience of being.  When new technology impacts on our health, our well-being and even becomes frightening and dangerous to ourselves and/or our environment then we should take this to be a warning that we should slow down the pace of the development of new technology and take time to reflect on the impact of change.  That, that we have created must sit well with our condition, or our condition and/or our environment may suffer.

Because our major, driving force is currently the acquisition of wealth we suffer from a blatant lack of maturity.  I speak mainly of the West, but this is increasingly the case in Non-Western cultures.  Moderation is key to wisdom and greed contradicts moderation.  We inspire, to find energy, ideas, emotional direction, to live.  We expire to complete the cycle of respiration; a petit morte, an end, a necessariness of mortality.  Time is measured within the body, the rhythms of the heart-beat and the breath, the response of the senses to alterations in our environment as time passes in cycles.  The Sun rising and setting, the Moon appearing then disappearing, moving through its cycle or phases and the stars patterning the falling of darkness or clouds passing overhead are all types of natural time measurement that we innately comprehend.

Indeed, we are made of the same matter that the stars, planets, galaxies and the earth are made of.  Our connection to nature is not whimsy but fact.  Of course, Human Beings are part of nature, despite our battles with nature and our necessariness to separate ourselves from nature.  The body moves by its self.  It is body awareness, rather than conscious thought that acts as a precursor to physical movement and therefore, an expression of intent/self.  The body is not some alien concept, some animalistic entity within an artificial world.  The body is intrinsically us, human. 

As the great ball of fire in the sky, the Sun, sinks spherical and blazing beneath the horizon, one realises that reality is far stranger than fantasy.  The brilliance of creative minds cannot conjure up something more bizarre than the Sun, the Earth tolerant to and abundant with life, the Universe stranger and larger than the human mind can comprehend.  No "virtual worlds", new technologies or any other form of human creativity is as strange as this.  In fact we are dependent upon and continually react with our reality of inhabiting the Earth.  New "virtual" experiences or explorations of Outer Space should not be at the detriment of our health and well being; our natural physical and mental state of living on planet Earth.  In our enthusiasm and, unfortunately, our greed human beings can overlook that, that is imperative to our existence.  To ignore or devalue, to take for granted these essential truths would be foolish and potentially harmful to us.  Furthermore, it would be unwise.


12 Mar 2015

Siouxsie And The Banshees - Candyman

29 Jan 2015

k.d. lang - Constant Craving (Video)

2 Jan 2015

Time, Happy New Year and Other Subjects

I really don't have time to write.  Although writing is ubiquitous in our society(ies) there is little time for reflection.  Someone once wrote that I should define the society that I'm writing about, but that would be both difficult and problematic from the position of the internet (sic). Time is one hell of a problem today, certainly in the UK and other Western countries, but I neither wish to nor have time to write about time.  We fill our days with movement, either moving our bodies or by proxy, observing movement. 

Much has been written about the distraction of new technology, hypereality and its artificial and acquiescing nature.  Capitalism and postmodernity are bedfellows, dependent upon each other.  The recession is long-term and further starves the vulnerable of money, while the wealthy continue to benefit, while politicians legislate to protect the vulnerable!  So little has changed in the West and probably beyond, at least not over the last few years.  What hasn't changed is the accelerated rate of change, that we should expect to continue for years to come. 

If we are well versed in new communications and the state of current affairs, then why should we write at all?  Writing is tiresome and ponderous when compared to video, the cogency of photography, the dramatic immediacy of watching sport, the quick laughs and emotional responses to TV entertainment.  Writing is dry, thoughtful and time consuming.  Indeed, words are limited in their potency and range of expressivity, when compared to images or sounds.  Music seems to access our innermost feelings, thoughts and touch upon the rhythms of breath and heart-rate with an immediacy that cannot be matched by any other medium. 

Yet we write.  It isn't just the personal that can be expressed by writing, an individual's subjective responses to a world in flux.  It is the limitations of writing that give it such potency;  a power of communication, accessibility.  Writings weaknesses are its strengths. 

If you are writing about the early 21st Century then it would be difficult not to touch upon the dramatic alterations to sexual relationships.  We all know about high divorce rates, short-term marriages, affairs for the many, short-term "partnerships" and the legalisation of gay marriage, but there are other aspects of  postmodern relationships that are equally important.  Recently I've been reading much about young (and not so young) men and women who prefer to live alone.  These burgeoning parts of Western societies find aloneness more conducive to contentment than sharing their life with a sexual partner.  The reasons for this are manifold, yet cogent.  A culture of suspicion and overt legislation, a reliance on technological communications, hyper-reality, its distraction and promise of the unobtainable, the entrance of many more women into the workplace and an increase in unemployment for many men and the fleeting nature of societies in flux all contribute to this occurrence.

The behaviour of women has also changed, as a result of new legislations to protect women and to enforce "equality".  Equality is often anything but, and shifts emphasis and discrimination onto men, tied by the fears of employers and the overbearing actions of the divorce courts.  All this has resulted in an attitude of cynicism and fear in many women, causing a distrust of men and relationships and a need to tag on to numerous admirers, pulling them in and then rejecting them in equal measure.  However, men too play their part in the current nature of transient relationships.  Online porn and casual sex may be interesting diversions, but have an impact on long-term relationships.  Equality often causes women numerous problems as well as men.  Many women are not cut out to be ambitious and hardened career women and find these expectations difficult, if not impossible to meet.  Self-reliance has its advantages and its disadvantages, for example bringing up a child by yourself while trying to hold down full-time employment is both stressful and potentially damaging to children.  Many women wish to stay at home and bring up their children, but postmodern realities make this task difficult or even impossible. 

Living by legislation, communicated by a multitude of new technologies (we are almost at the point of continually being plugged into devices) leads to an artificial understanding of the real.  It's a bit like living within a film rather than going to the cinema, watching and then leaving the film behind.  If we are always interacting with a film, we start to wonder what is real and what is a film?  If this is the case then we may start to ask questions about gender, gender roles and lose touch with the physical and biological differences between the sexes. 

Of course, there have always been people who have been more androgynous than the majority, this is nothing new.  However, since gender seems to have become a big issue for people today, we could suggest that this increase is a result of hyper-reality; a loss of touch with reality, the physical and our sexual identities.  Coupled with improvements in medical science, gender realignment may become more common.  I appreciate the sometimes, profound difficulties that people can experience regarding their gender, and this can have a biological component.  However, the physical needn't be regarded as transient or superfluous, it is an important and essential aspect of ourselves.

Writing on the Internet is both liberating and restrictive.  People may read a book for hours, but a flickering screen is hard on the eyes and the miasma of information available to the reader is very distracting.  My writing on this electronic page is in danger of becoming "Internet prolix"; an irrelevance via time constraints and a plethora of distractions.  I guess, unwittingly I have returned to the subject of time even though I have no desire to write about it.  It seems that the subject of time is intrusive, which may well indicate our societies obsession with the overt measurement of something

If this writing contains a circular argument then I should end with a coda: and wish all readers, viewers and contributors a very happy 2015.  Although, I must say, did anyone notice how fast 2014 passed?  Does time pass more quickly as you get older?


16 Nov 2014


Copyright - "all rights reserved" Simon Harris

8 Oct 2014

Feverish Dream of Fertility and Fucking

Copyright - all rights reserved Simon Harris

12 Jul 2014

Raphael Preston: "Selfridges Oxford Street London 2014"

"Selfridges Oxford Street London 2014" by Raphael Preston.

"… their bodies were streaked … the dancing began ..."

Well, I haven't gone out dancing tonight (working too hard(!)) and I await the kick-off of the England World Cup match against Italy, so I have a spare hour to enjoy some writing!  And here it is! 

Raphael's graphic and dynamic account of window-shopping in London, invites the viewer to consider both the aesthetic and conceptual aspects of his photographic art-work.  How much of the colouration is due to photo-editing and how much it was part of the display, I cannot say.  However, the splattered paint seems too daring to be entirely the work of window dressers, even for a store such as Selfridges.  Therefore I will assume there is at least, some editing.

The artist leaves comments refering to dancing and a battle.  Conceptually, for me I can only conclude that Raphael intends to inform us about tribal dances and battles that are evoked by a shop display at a prestigious store in an affluent area of London.  So, Western cultures are aspiring to tribal cultures!   So much for the supremacy of the West, see Postmodern theory and globalisation/multiculturalism.  I also note the cyborgesque nature of the mannequins in the series of photos.  Photographers and artists who regularly reference mannequins are not only refering to the dehumanizing nature of capitalism, but the condition of "fluid indentities" and "fractured subjectivities", that we currently experience in the West.  Particularly in large cities. 

Well, England are kicking off soon, so after writing about the conceptual evocations of the work (and the series) I will briefly touch on the the aesthetic relevance of the work.

Like an automatic post-painterly, post-modern painting, dripping with haptic, layers of abstraction this photographic "accident" (art-concrete or "found objects"(?)) is a great example of contemporary, visual art.  I resist using the term "avant-garde" because it is debatable whether there is such a thing anymore, perhaps "cutting edge" is less rigorous but more relevant?  
Of course, these are my critical murmerings and they may not be what the photographic artist meant at all!  I reckon I've touched upon some salient sentiments, but the artist knows best what his intentions were!  I forgot to mention musicality; the energy and colour suggest a musical sensibility, but England are just about to kick off!  So I'll leave you to consider this and I'll be off to watch the beautiful game....

Hello Simon,
very glad you enjoyed the series, and the "dance" context they triggered in my vision of them … many thanks also for your text and thoughts … You are welcome to put a link to your text on the photo itself should you wish too .. ? Anything encouraging discussion and reflections, is really great and very welcome …
To answer some of your questions, I do use curves to control Contrast and Tonality in my "developing", and I tend to sometimes favour high contrast. I see this moment as an emotional interpretation of my "negative". Apart from carrying out "repairs" of missing pixel, white holes, dust and so on, I don't manipulate or add to photos.
It's the surreal-ness of the reality I encounter that fascinates me, and the interaction taking place that I photograph.
The paint was actually everywhere, splattered onto the glass from the inside, and it made a Pollack look polite .. it's incredible, and a true work of "performance" art. Incredible beautiful energy, I thought.
I don't personally view mannequins in any special way, apart from a idealised sculptural representation of ourselves.
Of course the industrial production of objects that look like us, made us look at our biological reproduction from an industrial perspective. A la "Brave new world" … which I quote a lot on the "Collective and Impromptu" series.
But then any new technology makes us look at life anew through the prism of that technology.
Looking at a mannequin in the information age, is I guess different .. the discussion nowadays is not about cloning , but more about the information contained in the body image, the body shape, size and so on ..
For all the "compression of meaning" in the photos, and the "juxtaposition act" from the quotes, my wish is for the viewer to become aware of his involvement in what he see.
I hope i am also referencing the amazing amount of talent in this great city of ours, and I hope to celebrate and illustrate it's diversity, and dynamic, it's movements and social structures …
This project keeps me on looking, and I hope it will do the same to others ….
and yes, I was quite involved with music for many years ..

All the best.