'you only have a lifetime to escape', londonunderlondon
On Saturday 14 December 2019 The Showroom presented the first combined playback of audio-essay works by Justin Barton and the late Mark Fisher, followed by a discussion with Justin Barton, Dalia Neis and Pete Wiseman.
Between 2002 and 2013, Mark Fisher and Justin Barton made two audio-essays, londonunderlondon and On Vanishing Land. londonunderlondon was broadcast on Resonance FM in 2005 and On Vanishing Land was premiered at The Showroom in 2013, as part of an exhibition co-commissioned and produced by The Otolith Collective and The Showroom.
Although these audio-essays are very different from each other, they are like two stages of a single process of thought and composition. Each simultaneously consists of the abstract in the form of music and philosophy, and both set out their spoken-word philosophical views using a range of expressive forms which includes narrative and fiction. They also share radical perspectives concerning the planet, time, capitalism, micropolitics and – not least – the waking of human faculties.
This was the first occasion an audience were able to collectively listen to both audio-essays: londonunderlondon (85 mins), followed by On Vanishing Land (45 mins). After an introduction by Justin Barton, the event culminated in a conversation between Barton, Dalia Neis (voice in londonunderlondon) and Pete Wiseman (musician on On Vanishing Land), and a Q&A and general discussion. This was an opportunity to think collectively about the ideas and techniques involved in the composition of these works – as Barton describes, a chance ‘to explore what might exist beyond the flood barrier of ordinary capitalist reality’.
This event also marked the release of On Vanishing Land as an LP by Hyperdub in July 2019.
12pm Opening comments by Justin Barton
2pm On Vanishing Land
3.30pm Introduction by Justin Barton
4.15pm In conversation between Justin Barton, Dalia Neis and Pete Wiseman
Image: Album cover of On Vanishing Land (2013) by Mark Fisher and Justin Barton. Photos: Mark Fisher. Courtesy the artists.
A recording of this event can be found here
A review of this event by William Rees for this is tomorrow Magazine can be found here
Justin Barton’s work starts from the view that philosophy can provide substantive accounts of the world (so that it is only secondarily critique and analysis), and that in a different way fiction can also provide accounts of this kind. Consisting of both philosophy and fiction his work is a metaphysics of immanence, and is both a pragmatics and a micropolitics of departures from attenuated forms of reality. His book Hidden Valleys was published in 2015 (Zer0 Books), and with Mark Fisher he made the audio-essays londonunderlondon (2005) and On Vanishing Land (2013). He has published articles in books and journals, most recently 'Beyond Plato’s Cave’ in Fiction as Method (Sternberg Press, 2017), and he is currently completing a sequence of three philosophy books whose overall title is Explorations.
Dalia Neis is a writer, filmmaker and musician. She is co-founder of Wanda Portal, an imprint and radio show that traverses the literary, cinematic, and musical spheres, and is a member of the musical/poetry group, FITH. Her first book Zephyrian Spools (An Essay, a Wind) has just been published by the Knives, Forks, and Spoons poetry press.
Pete Wiseman is a Science Technician by day, and an artist and musician who enjoys the clashes of design and randomness. He is currently working on a beginner's guide to advanced music theory.
Below Images: Documentation of Incursions, Departures: 'londonunderlondon' and 'On Vanishing Land' event at The Showroom featuring audio-essay works by Mark Fisher and Justin Barton, and a discussion with Justin Barton, Dalia Neis & Pete Wiseman 14 December 2019. Courtesy of The Showroom.