Week 7 - Wilson Road and Flat Time House
La Cabina, Damien Hirst, John Latha

La Cabina

La Cabina, Antonio Mercero, 1972, 35 mins, Spanish

Thanks to Serden for bringing in the La Cabina film (Antonio Mercero, 1972). It would be very unusual now for such a film to be screened on mainstream television. The reasons for this would be very interesting to explore further perhaps.

Interpretations of the La Cabina were many. An allegory for the isolation of the individual in modern society. The confrontation of the human and the machine, the way the human exists within the rectilinear modernism, relationships to the Holocaust? The visual relationships between the phone booth, the glass walled coffin, the glass walled skyscrapers. It was an inspiring discussion

Damien Hirst - No love lost. The Wallace Collection

Thanks also to Lerryn’s group for the presentation on Damien Hirst.

The debate around Damien Hirst was very interesting for highlighting the issue as to whether work can be met solely in its own terms – within its frame if you like – or whether we look at the way work is received into the world. Does Damien Hirst know that his paintings will inevitably be compared in a negative way with Rembrandt? Is this part of the complex ‘game’ he plays with the art world and the media? Does this matter? Should we just judge the paintings themselves? It brought to mind Donald Kuspit’s (2004) call for a return to the ‘New Old Masters’. Is the enfant terrible, Hirst, attaching himself to this conservative notion, or trying to subvert it in some way?

Flat Time House
Lisa Kay, the curator of Flat Time Houseuse looks after this home that was John Latham’s – taking care of the body aspect of the house, as she put it. She gave a lovely introduction to the building, which greets us with its ‘face’ out on the street and leads us through the mind - with Latham's science inspired artworks, the brain with computers and bookshelves, to John Latham’s studio – the hand. She also explained the way that John Latham’s work connected with science – particularly quantum physics... with its inclusion of the human observer in the system [so destroying the ‘subject’/’object’ dualism we have inherited from Descartes...].

There is something so powerful about these buildings that have such a particular connection to a person. I have had a similar feeling at the Sir John Soane museum – you can almost feel the ghost of the great architect, and at Kettles Yard in Cambridge – the home of Jim and Helen Ede (Jim Ede was a curator at the Tate Gallery in London).

The Face, Flat Time House, Camberwell (c) Adrian Holme 2009. All rights reserved

The mind, Flat Time House, (c) Adrian Holme 2009, All rights reserved

The Hand, Elisa Kay talks to Camberwell elective students, Flat Time House. (c) Adrian Holme 2009, All rights reserved.

The Hand, John Latham's chair, Flat Time House. (c) Adrian Holme 2009, All rights reserved

The Hand, Flat Time House. (c) Adrian Holme, 2009. All rights reserved

Books, The Brain, Flat Time House. (c) Adrian Holme 2009, All rights reserved

Books, The Brain, Flat Time House. (c) Adrian Holme 2009. All rights reserved.

Books in The Brain, Flat Time House.
Is it a contradiction that John Latham, famous for his destruction of certain kinds of books in his artworks, had books in The Brain at the centre of his house? The scientific and philosophical influence is clear. Note the presence of David Bohm's 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order'. Latham cites Bohm's works in his own books, and David Bohm's ideas had a clear influence upon his artworks, such as 'Time-Base Roller with Graphic Score' (1987).

The Brain, Flat Time House. (c) Adrian Holme 2009. All rights reserved

Bohm D (1980) Wholeness and the implicate order. London: Ark
Kuspit D (2004) The end of art. Cambridge UK: Cambridge Univ Press

La Cabina (1972). Antonio Mercero, director. 35 mins. Spanish