Topological Atlas of migration routes (March-April 2016)

I'm currently in Istanbul -- the first city of a two month journey from Istanbul > Edirne > Bucharest > Moldova > Transnistria > Odessa. 

I'm travelling as artist-filmmaker supporting the research of Dr Nishat Awan in the Western Black Sea part of her Topological Atlas. She is mapping migration routes into Europe, and complex border topologies, from the perspective of those who inhabit the EU's edges, those who are in transit, and those hoping to enter.


Critical Juncture cross-cultural collaboration conference in Kalady, India

I was invited to speak to the negotiation of voice in the speaking of spaces, with regards to residencies and cultural exchanges. The conference took place at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, on 15.12.2014. The exhibition Critical Juncture is an independents project as a part of the Kochi Biennale.

Visible Evidence 21 - conference in New Delhi

I was invited to respond to the work of Decolonizing Architecture at Visible Evidence in New Delhi, on 13.12.2014.


Screening: Centralia at South Kiosk


On the 19th of August I'll be screening Unorganized North Algoma in Centralia -- one of the Summer Screen series at South Kiosk gallery, London.



I am currently a UK Associate at The Delfina Foundation summer open studio, working with the Public Domain.

Image: a common assembly that I recently re-edited for DAAR, on display in the studio.



^ Renderings of the work in installation

I am finally working on the edits for my Diyarbakir project from my British Council/Anadolu Kültür residency in SE Turkey the summer - more soon.


DAAR: common assembly at M HKA, Antwerp

I have just finished a re-edit of the 2011 DAAR collective film common assembly for the group show Meeting Points at Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, in Belgium:


Meeting Points is a multidisciplinary contemporary arts festival focusing on the contextualised presentation of art from the Arab World. The 7th edition of Meeting Points is a series of successive exhibitions, taking place from September 2013 to June 2014 in several cities of Europe, Asia and the Arab world: ZagrebAntwerpHong KongMoscowBeirutCairo and Vienna.The current sequence of exhibitions takes a step out of the Arab world in terms of the cities where they take place, the list of participating artists and the general stance to refrain from national or regional representation. This gesture is to do with the timing of Meeting Points 7. It has been organised during the often ambiguous aftermath of the popular rebellions that reverberated across the Arab world in 2011, during a period that also saw various social movements across the world sparking public discussion about the existing social and economic order.

The artists are: Lawrence Abu HamdanMarwa ArsaniosKianoush AyariFilipa CésarCéline CondorelliAlice CreischerDAARPaul De VreeSimone FattalRobert FilliouSimohammed FettakaKarpo Aćimović GodinaSharon HayesAdelita Husni-BeySanja IvekovićIman Issa,Maryam JafriRajkamal KahlonAnton KannemeyerKayfa ta & Haytham El-WardanyRuno LagomarsinoMaha MaamounJumana MannaAzzeddine MeddourTom NicholsonAnatoly OsmolovskyArtavazd PeleshianMarta PopivodaKerim RagimovC K RajanAlexander RodchenkoEdgar Morin & Jean Rouch, Luc TuymansMona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor

The title Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks is a quote from the revolutionary philosopher Franz Fanon’s book Wretched of the Earth (1961). His book illuminates the reality of colonial power and violence in a historical and political persepctive and has not lost its relevance half a century later.

Calibrating degrees of identity and difference between the past and the present, Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks adjusts to the specific geographies and histories in which it will be realised. It juxtaposes recent works by contemporary artists and filmmakers with historical positions. At M HKA both these aspects of the exhibition are illuminated by a selection of works from the museum’s collection. Presenting artworks within an exhibition format imagined as a possible forum for critical pedagogy, Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks believes in the explanatory power of images across cultures and times, and understands the realm of images as a social location capable of mobilising ideas.

Meeting Points is a multidisciplinary contemporary art event organized by the Young Arab Theatre Fund (YATF) in collaboration with regional and international partners. The event usually takes place in several cities of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The cities previously involved are Amman, Athens, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Cairo, Damascus, Ramallah, Tangiers and Tunis.
Meeting Points is neither purely an art or performance event, nor an academic or theoretical forum. Each edition is an invitation to artists, other cultural producers and thinkers across all fields of culture to reflect on and present visions and works engaging with a social and political context.

For each edition a curator is appointed to create the conceptual framework of the event. The 5th edition was curated by Frie Leysen and the 6th edition by Okwui Enwezor, under the title Locus Agonistes: Practices and Logics of the Civic. The event is organised in collaboration with a local partner in each city, where the curators also work closely with independent spaces, artists and a network of organisations. The 7th edition will be curated by WHW. What, How & for Whom/WHW is a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb and Berlin. Its members are curators Ivet ĆurlinAna DevićNataša Ilić andSabina Sabolović and, in addition, designer and publicist Dejan Kršić. WHW organises a range of production, exhibition and publishing projects and directs Gallery Nova in Zagreb.
- - -
Untitled Stills from common assembly, produced by DAAR, edited by Cressida Kocienski, 2013:


Notes from Diyarbakir

I'm currently in residence in Diyarbakir, SE Turkey, with Anadolu Kültür and the British Council in Turkey. More information and blog on link below:




Exhibition: FUTURE RUINS: Obsolescence & Inoperativity

FUTURE RUINS: Obsolescence & Inoperativity from May 23-25, 2013 at the Bergen Arkitektskole (BAS) in Bergen, Norway.

Curated by Alison Hugill and Dan Dorocic


*Cough* and *Sniff* FM - April 6th + 7th 2013



Radio conversations conceived and curated by Lucy Pawlak. An audio file of my live work Planetaria will be broadcast.


The Institute of Immaterialism // Lucy Pawlayk

Lucy Pawlak and The Institute of Immaterialism present: Arriving Without Leaving (Guaranteed Happy Ending)

Researching critical distance in augmented reality, a live videoconference event co-hosted by Fogo Island Arts and Art Metropole, Toronto.

Wednesday March 27, 2013
6:30pm - 9.00pm Toronto // 8.00pm - 10.00pm Fogo

Art Metropole, 1490 Dundas Street West

Fogo Island Arts, The Film House, Highway 334 - Suite 100

Augmented reality has a special kind of darkness, for (as with consciousness itself), how can we see it if we see right through it?

Arriving Without Leaving explores strategies for collectively breaking down and reconstructing the architectures of transmission, the production of space and the scripting of experience. Working with the apparatus, this event combines audiovisual technologies with the concept of transception (transmission and reception) to create a Brechtian Verfremdungseffekt / distancing effect - "Being" at one remove) from the immersive technologies themselves. An arrangement of reflexive critical discussion will swing between immersion and estrangement to produce a "Third Space" beyond the screen.



Basil AlZeri
Golboo Amani
Cressida Kocienski
Maryam Taghavi

.sight.specific. proposes performance art as the staging of sight as site: observation as contour, terrain, and architecture for modes of aesthetic embodiment. The project consists of four commissioned live works in search for situated perspectives on the possibilities of performance as a contextual spatial practice. The works situate artists and audience by trading knowledge on the streets, tracing trans-planetary sight-lines, creating home and hospitality in real time through cyberspace, and staging variations on absurdity. The shapes of these relationships brings into focus questions of knowledge and memory, contact and distance, longing and belonging.

Co-presented by Xpace Cultural Centre

Every Friday and Saturday in March, 2-6pm
Performance: The School of Bartered Knowledge by Golboo Amani

Friday March 8, 8pm
Performance: Planetaria by Cressida Kocienski

Friday March 15, 8pm
Performance (and dinner): T.M.K.L Presents: beit Suad by Basil AlZeri
Co-presented by FUSE Magazine and Israeli Apartheid Week Toronto

[[FUSE Magazine 36-2: Palestine-Palestine, featuring a project by Basil AlZeri, will be available for purchase.]]

Saturday and Sunday March 16-17, 1pm (FREE)
Workshop (and lunch): T.M.K.L Presents: beit Suad by Basil AlZeri

Friday March 22, 8pm
Performance: Variations on Absurdity by Maryam Taghavi

Thursday March 28, 7-11pm (FREE)
Opening: .sight.specific exhibition of residue/ephemera
Closing: Xpace exhibitions

Saturday March 30, 2pm (FREE)
Panel Discussion: Viewing .sight.specific.
With: Basil AlZeri, Golboo Amani, Cressida Kocienski, Maryam Taghavi
Moderated by Johanna Householder with Francisco-Fernando Granados




All The Things That Burned Were Made Of Wood

I am very grateful the Toronto Arts Council for funding my forthcoming film work in Unorganized North Algoma district.

Produced with O[S]R Toronto.




Left Behind in the Golden Age? Stuffed inside a bee larva pavilion, sterile piles of language culled from the hive mind are going to help us harness your subvocalisation and bombard you with therapeutic radiation.
Long Winter Program || 11.01.2013 The Great Hall || 1087 Queen St. West || Toronto
The Institute of Immaterialism is an experimental publishing project co-edited by Cressida Kocienski and Erik Martinson



I'll be teaching an undergraduate Architecture design lab in the University of Sheffield next week.

The Institute of Immaterialism, and experimental publishing platform, was launched with Erik Martinson, and featured a screening and Cyranoids Acting Masterclass from Lucy Pawlak. More things will happen soon.

March 2013 I'll be performing as part of FADO's emerging artist series.

I'll be curating New Toronto Works next summer, with Francisco-Fernando Granados





Six Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation
Curated by Justin Morin
Frac Lorraine -  49 Nord 6 Est



Publication: Points in Line Issue #1 on Linear Movement


‘Points in Line’
Issue 1 on Linear Movement, 2012
Edited by Laura McLardy
Contributions by Vilém Flusser, Laura McLardy, Dora Maurer, Tina Gebler and Pia Bruer,
Julia Müller, Alexandre Achour, Cressida Kocienski, Konstantin Sergiou, Heine Thorhauge Mathiasen, Daniel Fernandez Pascual, Rodrigo Maltez Novaes, Tanaz Modabber, Pedro Wirz.
Graphic design by Santiago da Silva


SPAM Format, Architecture Association

On Wednesday 11th July I was in an evening dedicated to the format of spam, in the New Soft Room at the Architecture Association in London.

Below are three short fictions using the format of spam, and three characters from The Names by Wayne Daly:

SPAM: Roosevelt E. Akers from Circumstantial Avalanche on Vimeo.

SPAM: Pam and Stan Owens from Circumstantial Avalanche on Vimeo.

SPAM: Wanda Landers from Circumstantial Avalanche on Vimeo.

SPAM: Misty Pugh from Circumstantial Avalanche on Vimeo.


Severed, Reversed: Notes Towards Soda Brücke

In 1735 Leonard Euler translated the Seven Bridges of Königsberg into an abstracted series of lines. The land masses they connected were contracted down to small black points, and so the physical matter of the city was transformed into a pliable matrix that looked like a drawn bow. It now referred only to its lack of ability to connect to itself, to traverse itself completely, in an even unbroken line, and so graph theory, an early version of topology, came into being.

When a landscape or a piece of architecture is travelled through and documented with a lens, the topographies of the surface are lifted and flattened into the condition of the image. The physical space is discarded as a material husk, and the collected images form their own topological model of the site from which they are extracted. This rudimentary model of a topological model is of course a metaphor — the matter involved is now held wobbling in the field of language, a placeless abstraction as much as a graph is, or does. To reverse the pole again metaphor itself is a form of topology, as language mimics and deforms objects to model and affect perceptions of real space.

 < > < >

On September 20th 1967 Robert Smithson traced a soft line of footfalls through the topography of Passaic, documenting the now familiar landscape-in-waiting which fizzed with forms for him to fetishise into monuments. The landscape is cast as a written narration that eschews transcendental objectivity, collecting instead a series of perceptual moments as eccentric traces of temporal, cultural and geological time frames writhing in the terrain.

Prefaced by the chance encounters between traditional landscapes, contemporary cultural landscapes, and pulp fiction, the first structure invoked as he steps from the bus ride is an active bridge that spans the river, proposed uncertainly as The Monument of Dislocated Directions. Heidegger writes of spaces emerging, or coming into new purpose as two sides, only with the construction of a bridge. Each span splits the ground. Banks emerge as banks only as the bridge crosses the stream. The location is not already there before the bridge is. As a starting point for an encounter with a landscape, how does this bridge begin to gather this landscape about itself?

Noon-day sunshine cinema-ized the site, turning the bridge and the river into an over-exposed picture. Photographing it with my Instamatic 400 was like photographing a photograph. The sun became a monstrous light-bulb that projected a detached series of "stills" through my Instamatic into my eye.

The bridge, baptised immediately as a monument, is by the same gesture elevated from its material function into the symbolic order. It becomes an image-architecture. Not only is Smithson's first monument an image-architecture, but it is immediately encountered in the text as immaterial: made doubly an image by the fact that it is viewed through the frame of a viewfinder, it is framed as an image of an image.

The monument is customarily the marker that both stands and stands in for something else. It holds a place with the perlocutionary desire to imprint a stilling of time: a lugubrious gape in the present that recalls a located historical event, and a desire that this stilling should be iterative. This monument doesn't do this. It is a severed dead thing, for all the shutter clicks.

If the image is the state of the mortal remains of architectural elements in a landscape, then here we encounter the production of images of remains. Sontag writes: To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt. Smithson's works often depict or enact signs of the relentless melt, but his desire to stamp down a foot on the uncoiling rope produces a conscious stilling of entropy which monumentalises it, and produces it as a narrative function. The effects of time on surfaces are ossified in the form of language-as-surface, in that he does not grind down the matter to nothing, but freezes it, shatters it, and rolls it around the tongue. In the mean time, during the life span of a photograph it will collect surface data, gradually change colour, and noise will be amplified in generational degradation, so entropy also switches medium.

Monuments unearthed from Smithson's route to appear in his text are printed as small square ink-dotted photographs that span the tops of the pages, all flat snapshots. The text is more libidinously photographic than the images are – they do not concern themselves with the landscape outside the immediate and indifferent framing of each monument, like blank-bodied diagnostic photographs of the blooms of surface-borne diseases. They are documentary, and they are the least of the document, floating in a sea of text that overwrites and outstrips them.

This is the photograph as gesture, as place-holder, as tenuous proof of the objecthood of source materials, as fall guy. Part of the gesture is the unfurling of a landscape veined with hyperbolic fictions, and its compression back into strung points in space through modes of contemporary image capture.

But if time can be symbolically compressed in a shutter click, in the words shutter click, it is unravelled again through the transfer of the medium back into the mode of text.

< > < >

How does the image act, and what is its origin? If we listen to Blanchot, the form of the image borrows the image of the cadaver, inasmuch as the cadaver's strangeness is perhaps also that of the image. He writes of fresh death as the state in which the mourned deceased begins to resemble himself when the deceased is no longer situated in his own being, the image takes over. Similarly, Heidegger describes a damaged tool, which no longer disappearing into its use, appears... Only that which is abandoned to the image appears, and everything that appears is, in this sense, imaginary.

We can move from death to the imagined or imaginary image, and from the image back to death. Tschumi observes a fathomless schism between the dematerialized architectural image, and architecture as the sensual experience of space and as a spatial praxis, nevertheless placing written text and images within the field of architectural representation. He likens their state to the mythological world of Death: that is, it benefits from the privilege of extraterritoriality; it is outside architecture; it is outside the reality of spaces.

For both Blanchot and Tschumi the metaphor of death appears as a noun, but not a verb – as if the image and the thing are always already held apart. The noun is atemporal. But a cadaver is not a static entity, it is not sealed in the freshness of the newly birthed image, unless it is somehow preserved. When left to its own devices it is an object that re-writes its own materiality in a rapid exchange as it cools, stiffens, cycles through an array of colours, swells, bursts, blackens and collapses. This is a rigorously documented chain of events, both orderly in sequence and highly variable in time frame.

A forensic pathologist will meticulously excavate and examine the surfaces, fluids, and organs in a cadaver to discover the cause of death, but is also intimately concerned with the time of death. When people die unseen, away from hospital monitors, on the floors of locked rooms, or in remote accidents, the corporeal remains must be picked through to discover both cause and moment. The body forms an uneasy chronometer, wavering against temperature, air currents, bacterial action, and carrion-eating insect life. The degree to which the body has replaced itself materially marks the time elapsed, and can be traced backwards more or less to the moment of death – the blind spot, the split.

Blanchot's detemporalisation of the cadaver as trace, his arrest of decay in service of the image, resonates with Smithson's production of the extraterratorial entropic image. Blanchot writes: The corpse is not in its place. Where is it? It is not here, and yet it is not anywhere else. Nowhere? But then nowhere is here. The cadaverous presence establishes a relation between here and nowhere. Fixed in the condition of the image, as Smithson's monuments are, its fixity, like that of the corpse, is the position of what stays with us because it has no place.

< > < >

Krauss writes: entropy was less a condition of boundaries surmounted within a visualist space mastered by a transcendental subject than a function of a structural blindness brought on by a kind of simulacral riddle that perplexingly has no place in space at all.

For Smithson a ground plan or a topographic map, a logical picture, differs from a natural or realistic picture in that it rarely looks like the thing it stands in for, but functions analogically or metaphorically. In his works Non-Sites he presents geological fragments of landscapes within the frame of crisp-edged abstract sculptures, creating, as he explains, a dimensional metaphor... To understand this language of sites is to appreciate the metaphor between the syntactical construct and the complex of ideas.

Because metaphor never exists by itself but always works by establishing linkages, Knoespel draws several parallels between the metaphor and the diagram. Much like in the metaphor, the meanings in diagrams are not transferred from one agent to another but are constituted in the interaction between the agents […] meanings are formed and transformed interactively.

These works are diagrammatic, demanding a reciprocity with the original Site. They carefully perform the expansion and collapse of the geographical spaces, and processes of engagement with the spaces, within the rarefied spacelessness of the text and the gallery. The works are not, and cannot be, designed to lead an audience back to direct experience, but Knoespel identifies a linguistic orientation within diagrams in which the visual field is shaped from the vantage point of grammatical or lexical structures… where something that is embodied reaches language. Diagrams may mark a way to follow the body into language and even more a way to follow language into the spatial experience of the body.

However, Smithson is often more interested in shifting and expanding the temporal information attached to a site than the spatial. For him the intellectual challenge of thinking about entropy was temporal rather than spatial, which is why he liked the geological metaphor, the idea of a spatial site ravaged by billions of years of upheaval that results in the stratifications of the geological "clock" appearing to have been submitted to the mercy of a gigantic cocktail shaker. By stratifying his observations and abstracted extractions with anecdote, historical and scientific data, he produces the temporal turn of the encountered environment as journey, in a discontinuous fragmentary movement. This leads not towards rewriting specific moments of the past, present, or future, but towards a sense of duration implicit in all things, that can only be spoken of indirectly.

In fact, time is a semantic lacuna that cannot be spoken of directly, but can only be modelled through metaphors and the observation of changes to things. Merleau-Ponty writes: Time is […] not a real process, not an actual succession that I am content to record. It arises from my relation to things. Within things themselves, the future and the past are in a kind of eternal of pre-existence and survival… It is often said that, within things themselves, the future is not yet, the past is no longer, while the present, strictly speaking, is infinitesimal, so that time collapses.

Ricoeur cites temporary bridges created between material associations within metaphors, and then subsequently dissolved as the stream of words advances, between here and elsewhere, in the pair of terms or relationships between which the transposition operates. Objects in landscapes can become a series of discrete manifestations of substituted words. Pointing elsewhere, towards an absence, and an extension of meaning, the metaphorical word takes the place of a non-metaphorical word that one could have used… so it is doubly alien, as a present but borrowed word and as substitute for an absent word. These sites of transfer, of the convergence of modes of the material and immaterial, are also fundamentally reliant on a linguistic interpretation for their uncoding.

< > < >

Soda Brücke, or 'just-there' bridges, appear dotted throughout in the landscape in Germany. Unconnected to any of their intended infrastructures, they stand as points pushed into the cadastre, abandoned by the roads or rail lines which failed to connect to them. Like Smithson's monuments, the Soda Brücke are Ruins in reverse, and so they stand spanning roads, pathways, or sometimes nothing, with severed sides sliced out and testifying to time's relentless melt. Their arrested function begins to attack the forms, slowly at first, to erode them by gently weathering their skin, to erode the possibility of completing their connection, and to erode the language with which they may be thought. They are no longer capable of freely occupying a specific place, or time, and, unable to disappear into their function they have entered the same visibility as Heidegger's broken tool. If a bridge summons a place into being, as he insists, then the land that surrounds these incomplete and functionless bodies is returned to placelessness. Flusser writes: Like all mediations, images suffer from an inner dialectic. They are intended to mediate between human beings and the objective world (to bridge the abyss of alienation), but thus they also block the path between the world and human beings. But where does the abyss or the bridge lie if the image is the world?

The bridge-as-image, like The Monument of Dislocated Directions, provides us with a topological model of the metaphor, which is not a single unit undergoing substitution, but takes place between here and elsewhere – in the pair of terms or relationships between which the transposition operates. These are not real spaces, but exist as a model of time – and time itself must borrow from, and create links with space if it is to appear.

Time turns metaphors into things, and stacks them up in cold rooms, or places them in the celestial playgrounds of the suburbs.

< > || < >


Maurice Blanchot, Two Versions of the Imaginary
Yve-Alain Bois & Rosalind Krauss, A User's Guide to Entropy
Martin Heidegger, Building Dwelling Thinking
Kenneth Knoespel Diagrammatic Transformation of Architectural Space
Rosalind Krauss, Sculpture in the Expanded Field
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception
Paul Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor
Robert Smithson, A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey
Robert Smithson, Strata, A Geophotographic Fiction
Susan Sontag, On Photography
Bernard Tschumi, Architecture and Transgression



Pleasure Dome presents: Immanent Space; New Toronto Works 2012

Programmed by Alexis Mitchell, Sharlene Bamboat & Zoe Heyn-Jones

Saturday, March 31, 8pm @ Tallulah's Cabaret, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St. $8/ 5 Members + Students

It is an auspicious time for moving images in our city. 2012 has had an air of the monumental thus far; anniversarial milestones for the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto and the Images Festival, for instance, contribute to a heightened sense that it is a propitious moment for image-making communities here in Toronto.

It is with this sentiment, that we have considered the film and video work generated by our local community. Inherent in these ‘New Toronto Works’ are notions of positionality, temporality and a meditation on the spatial properties of the corporeal and the community. Invoking French philosopher Giles Deleuze, we can accept that durational aesthetics are at play in all film and video work. However, the pieces that we highlight here work together to foreground some particularly fascinating and salient spatial and temporal concerns, forcing us to re-think our engagement with the space around us as we move towards the hype created by apocalyptic uncertainty.


La Revue, Coral Aiken & Eve Majzels, 2010, 4:44
Choke, Michelle Latimer & Terril Calder, 2010, 5:31
BA Chamber, Cressida Kocienski, 2010, 6:20
Memory Worked by Mirrors, Stephen Broomer, 2011, 3:00
Jameson Avenue, Mary Porter, 2011, 3:06
Ecoleidoscope, Britt Wray, 2011, 2:14
Manholes (Brian), Wrik Mead, 2011, 3:47
Birth of Alseides, Erin Buelow, 2011, 7:00
Cooling Reactors, soJin Chun & Alexandra Gelis, 2010, 2:00
Left To Eat Cake, Ananya Ohri, 2011, 4:17
to be veiled, Faye Mullen, 2011, 5:00
Plane of Immanence, Jordan Tannahill & Nina Arsenault, 2011, 14:00
Little Fires, Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea, 2011, 1:24
[Untitled], Mark Kasumovic, 2010, 4:00
Lying in Wait, Ambereen Siddiqui, 2011, 3:51

Sponsored by Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, CFMDC & Vtape



Performance @ Tenderpixel



Presentations by antepress (Julia Calver, Patrick Coyle, Cressida Kocienski, Claire Nichols and Tamarin Norwood) and invited guests demonstrating their own individual practices from scratch and from memory.

1) Balloon
2) Pair of black tights
3) String
4) Pin
5) Scissors
6) Black electrical tape