A note

I’m making some subtle adjustments to smoke signals. ‘Notebook’ (previously ‘Photography’) better reflects the substance of this part of the website, that’s a combination of images and text. More importantly, it highlights the experimental nature of these combinations. Keeping this in mind, I want to further explore how creative research in itself is a work of art—I must credit McKittrick & Yanick Hunter here—and as such will now be posting drawings, archive images, music, and other stuff I’ve made or that inspires me.

176

It was 6th July 2020

“In Isaac Julien’s short film Lessons of the Hour, there’s a shot of black hands picking cotton, overlayed with the sound of a cracking whip. In Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea, the recorded distress calls of drowning migrants is played over a shot of a blinking radio tower.

These particular audio-visual combinations were chilling, almost terrifying, for the very fact that they don’t show the act of torture. The viewer/listener is forced to hone in on the audio: the wailed words, the gasps of desperation, the sound of cruelty, rather than get lost in the familiar excess of visual suffering. The image is instead created in the mind, circumventing suffering as spectacle.”

175

It was 18th May 2020

“In a video discussion between two Harvard professors, they quote a survey that says serendipitous meetings are one of the things people miss most about campus life during lockdown. This is our collective loneliness.”

Yes, and I feel that too, but what we forget is that serendipitous meetings are not just between people.

174

It was 3rd May 2020:

“Two concepts—normalcy bias and positivity bias—have frequently been on my mind after I read Hudson’s article about them in the FT. The former suggests that we act ‘normal’ during a crisis to mitigate stress caused by the event. It’s part of our human propensity for herd thinking, or aversion to social exclusion. Hudson gives the classic example of a room slowly filling with smoke, but no-one wanting to be the first person to react to it. Some call this negative panic: being too scared to do anything before it’s too late.

Positivity bias posits that (most) humans err on the side of positivity. ‘Bad things happen all the time, everywhere and to everyone, but they won’t happen to me’. Without this, we’d be constantly gripped by fear.

Hudson is, of course, discussing Covid. Or is he referring to the climate emergency? Or the economy? Or neofascism?”