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Abyss of Reflections

Forum > Reviews


Peter Trevelyan at High Street Project
19 Jan 2006 - 18 Jan 2006

by Shannon OBrien
Article of the Month January 2006

Abortion town. Dormant cranes, sine prole in dioramas of detritus petrified. OUR ferule streets, inanimate chasms of Moloch. Contorted steel limbs and tangled lapidary erasures. Sisyphean scree of shamble. Extant retail space as domains filled with effluvium sequacious. Mouldy bagel arcades, polymath debonairz of the cabals of exclusions of the caconyms of pauperised ligature and the quack dermatoglyphics of local disjecta membra poetae. The Damoclean amusement parks, the acropolis of Rattrays straddling Lichfield/Tuam, gutted department defunct: the archaic smile of the hustling mendicants fleeing Bedford/Cashel. Cadaver edifice as big road apple [read between the lines of MY 'dimeblog' pasquinade]. Passages: phalanstery decay. Contiguous mangers street sumps, Aegean Fissures, Oedipal Rex. Snare, Girl. Chch as Augean fissure: Stable, baby. Avon as specious Herculean panacea diluted. Rivulets dryasdust hamadryads in the Garden City of a perennial rampike. Hereby fashioned latchkey Golem, invoked by bibulous scrum as institution sacerdotal. Their gospel swagger of enjambment as incantation. Congregation due hither, the gentrified entropy of Poplar Mews! Capital! Hep milieus, elusive precincts the nooks and crannies of some panachronistic erosion. Our Swale. Morass. Lacuna. Our spectacula geomancy subdued. Ambspace divination in a trough. And the tattletale gray of HSP's vacancy. Sullied albescence typified. Our sleepover. Hubris of the dweller's thespian startle colour. Synthetic plumage of its resident predation.

Tetragrammatron is all disgust of its achromatic bricolage. Pensile, hanged up, it has barely enough time to swing into unsettling stasis before it's pulled down in the morning. The event itself has all the lugubriousness of its hangover. The carousal of New Years festivities and hebdomadal art openings is dead and our listless coterie stand round in wan domestic ennui, while Trevelyan's piece flickers like some dystopian light fixture dangling inert in the centre of a deconstruction site. There's none of the incandescence of Pattern Recognition. No prima facie delight of the viewers seeing themselves cloned illuminated in the earlier work's prismatic frame. Just a passive mingling here: Party stasis, heads bowed. Trevelyan's modus operandi of the interactive is given a cool new context. The terpsichorean: of dancing. Here a shuffling pas seul, a somnambulant danse macabre.

Conflation of subjectivity/objectivity: people organising themselves in penance. A Philip K. Dick novel called Eye in the Sky (1957). Protagonist becomes vicarious God with a hostile, cyclopean eye. Numinous surveillance. And fall myth is conflated with creation myth. The docile body in theocracy. Cosmic Big Brother. (Tetragrammaton is God revealed to Moses in Exodus chapter three.) So is the addition of an R an affirmation of a technological pantheism, from which we can't extricate ourselves, or is it a profane transference of technological fallibility onto the divine, a kitsch altar built in quotidian mode of reproducibility? It's the former. Dystopia of the tyrannical theurgy. Trevelyan knows human error triggers computer error and that is the crux of his work's horror. The political leaders are relying on desktop scripts for our theatre of operations.

Graffitted houses on Real estate billboards… Family Firsts. The banality of our provincial nuptialism is the banality of our nuclear winter:


malignant wombs.

albumen jaundice

eternal anestrus.

Symptoms enjoyed. But Trevyalan's logical terminus ad quem is utter absence. Nothing beheld. Catoptric redundancy. Extinction's infinite reflection.

Anyway, Trevelyan's now doing his own little exodus.

(All our parties are leaving parties).

Stillborn town.

(Many thanks to Peter and HSP for the brilliant pics - AB)

tetragrammartron-029 tetragrammartron-020

1 to 13 of 13
5 articles & 165 comments since 24 Nov 2005
I cant wait.

for AW to read this review.
8 articles & 55 comments since 25 Jan 2006
Need I say anything?

This article proves my point, one way or the other. Either this "review" is the most pompous thing I've ever read, or it's a parody on the onanists who dominate this website. Of course it's possible that all those words who's meaning I haven't the foggiest are necessary to express Mr OBrien's opinion. Maybe he's talking to people on a higher plane. Or maybe he's not really trying to communicate at all and he's just another wanker. Of course he could be just playing and not taking anything half as seriously as most artists generally do.
John Hurrell
122 articles & 1507 comments since 2 Dec 2005
Clumsy parody like the above is so obvious I am shocked that

any Artbash reader would take it to be a serious review. OBrien's energetic but unsophisicated prank is in the spirit of Duchamp in that it tests the limits of this website as a forum for debate. [After all Artbasher could have been a Nazi and removed it.] It has revealed a great deal about some of the site's audience and for that we should applaud it.
Now did this HSP exhibition actually exist? Did anybody else see it? Was it really on for only one day?
5 articles & 165 comments since 24 Nov 2005
so true john

and that takes us all the way back to issue of identity here :) after it could even have been you that wrote the piece mr hurrell!

just a thought, but some intelligent conversation on art especially NZ art would be nice for a change...with or without big words.
John Hurrell
122 articles & 1507 comments since 2 Dec 2005
I think it is too unfocussed and shambolic a text to have

an easily identifiable target. The fact that it contains a lot of Latin-based language remotely suggests a certain prolific Canterbury writer we all know. His latest piece in the Listener on the Korean show, by the way, is superb. Lovely writing. He got me thinking, gee maybe a trip down to Christchurch is in order, to see it.
5 articles & 165 comments since 24 Nov 2005

I havn't read the article yet, but the show is fantastic! if you ever needed a reason to visit Christchurch this is a good one. I think the show works on so many levels. One thing I noticed at the exhibition, with it being rather conceptual and contemporary, was the lack of people not understanding-enjoying it. It is a feast of ideas and craft, and has a strange freedom that I would normally not associate with a show from Korea, having no great knowledge of Korean art, I don't really know why I think that to be honest. there is an underlying Nam Jun Paik influence I feel. It left me wanting more. Combined with the beautifully crafted contemplative photographs of Ansel Adam's the gallery is well worth a visit right now.
7 articles & 27 comments since 30 Jul 2005
Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the

dear shannon

spot on. lovely.


John Hurrell
122 articles & 1507 comments since 2 Dec 2005
So Dollyhaze tell me, I gather the OBrien 'review' is computer generated but

spliced in with other sources as well? Perhaps something akin to the work of contemporary poets like Jackson MacLow or artists like Bill Seaman? Or a much wilder and industrial version of the innovative systems of Oulipo novelist Georges Perec?

Perhaps Mr OBrien himself might contribute some thoughts? Even if it is nothing to do with satire at all....
Hey even if it does....?
17 comments since 18 Sep 2005
abysmal deflections

how precious the museum of the obtuse art-geek in-joke may come to be in hindsight, as vile lifestyle ad campaigns for an overgroomed 'student body', appearing popped fresh from the plastic packaging of a generic fashion mag, replace more charmingly individualistic, head-in-the-clouds-or-eyes-to-the-ground, exploratory, imagination-driven educational discriminations; as the era of earnest, head-down, thoughts-to-the-paper, user-pays education sweeps (whimper, not bang) over us.

from where, for instance, will we now find an audience for the words of someone who wants, in fact, to write about art like he dances about architecture (all gangle-grace, c.1979 frenetics, situationist derivee-ing, elbows and quotations...)?

perhaps we must merely concede : such a tongue as his will never be the (billy) apple cudding this one-cow-town's cheek.

x ms supercilious
6 articles & 50 comments since 19 Oct 2005

Gobbledegook, literally. A blend of structuralism and modernism with copious serving of postmodernism to add a bit of spice, and just a hint of femminist theory to make it all incomprehensible. Does this serve any real purpose except self gratification? But hey, isn't what this sight is really about?

More importantly, could someone please provide a literal translation, I really can't be bothered sitting here for an hour with a dictionary, if I wanted to read some superfluous, incomprehensible garbage I'd read a bit of Nietzsche or Derrida.

P.S. Did this review make anyone else feel amazingly stupid?
137 articles & 705 comments since 12 Feb 2005
Computer Generated?

I doubt it. I called the author's attention to the Postmodern Generator and he was intrigued, but hadn't seen it before.
John Hurrell
122 articles & 1507 comments since 2 Dec 2005
Tattler, I think you do various poststructuralist philosophers a disservice.

comparing them with this text. They take writing seriously, this doesn't. It is playful in a solipsistic sense, deliberately ungrammatical and uses a 'mixing' programme in its construction. That is why it is collagelike and fragmented. It is made by a visual artist who doesn't know how to write or verbalise confidently. But who does love playing with texts as raw materials, and who wets himself over the fact that it is incomprehensible.

I think this site is worth a lot more than what you imply. Whether contributing prolonged, carefuly considered conversation or flippant provocative banter, people only get out of it what they put in, and they'll usually get out a lot more than just self-gratification. What is said by a variety of artlovers is actually pretty interesting. If it had lots of contributors from up and down the country Artbash would be really amazing.

It is only spoiled by the crud that Artbasher is constantly trying to hock off all the time. That is why Billy Apple/Wystan Curnow's dictum:
THE GIVEN AS AN ART-POLITICAL STATEMENT is particularly relevant here. Artbasher badly compromises this forum with his commercial preoccupations. For example, he trying to sell Shannon O'Brien's work and the 'review' is helping generate interest in that.
7 articles & 27 comments since 30 Jul 2005
riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus o

A transference of the opening and the show into the vernacular. Yeah you got it, pattern recognition was all about presence absence and peter’s moved on to the logical step of absence but there is still that flickering of stale imagery where we are no longer reflected in the work but outside the work and only able to be reflected thus far in the review. the passage about bricolage was excellent its like trevelyn uses neoteric materials and crafts them into a retro form of technology that acts as a predestined comment on our modern condition. Its no longer about intersubjectivity or being compounded by a socio historical formation like cyberpunk in pattern recognition. He’s found a way to move out of logocentrism which nobody thought that we could do but given! Peter’s done it and he’s done it in his work and we are out, my friends into the morning light after a night of disco, stale-mouthed, awkward, uncomfortably blinking our eyes in the natural light, still born town indeed.

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