Delocations 02: Fictional City (1996)

Explanation of the DELOCATIONS Project by Cornee Jacobs at the forum 'Digital History' at 'Lantaren/Venster' in Rotterdam, 18 September 1996


About the place of the word in the image...

Under this title, the Rotterdam Centre of the Arts organizes an intercultural manifestation about the relation between word, image and place.
First I would like to say something about the title: DELOCATIONS.
'Delocations' is not (yet) an existing word. The entry 'to delocalize' is included in several dictionairies. It means: to detach, to free from the limitations of locality.
We looked for a word with the stem locus.
Locus means: place, spot, room.

In all the discussions we had with both the artists and the theoreticians on the project which is subtitled: about the place of the word in the image, place turned out to be the most important catchword.
What we want to express also with a classical word like locality is the continuity of this undertaking.
We build on insights provided by history. This includes cultural and technical developments, but also the history of philosophy, esthetics and developments in the arts.
Our personal and professional lives have been changed by digital media.
For example, since the first computer the way we write has changed, we now write directly on the computer and post is delivered by fax or email, etc. But, how our contacts with different places in the world have been changed, we often still live in the same places. In my case that is Rotterdam.
To express this kind of continuity we chose the stem locus. Although lots of things are changing quickly, not everything does.
'De' before a in latin word can mean different things.
It can mean a negation, as in:
arma = weapons, war plunder, so
de-armo = to disarm
It can mean a reinforcement, e.g.
amo = to love
de-amo= to be terribly in love
And it can mean a change of direction as in
lego = to collect, to chose, to gather and
de-lego = to send away, to refer to.
To avoid getting involved in 'psychoanalytic' discours we consciously didn't chose the prefix 'dis'. Although dislocation is an existing word. It is used e.g. when two pieces of bones, after a fracture, have grown together, but do not fit perfectly together. Freud introduced this term to point at the two main functions of the human mind, namely: displacement and condensation (Verschiebung und Verdichtung). A trauma is displaced or condensed until the patient can live with it.
DELOCATIONS are places, of which on the one hand the locality can be denied, but on the other hand the same locality is reinforced. We open our windows to the world by means of the material and immaterial cables that run through our homes and which connect us to the networks we're building, but at the same time we stay where we have always been.
DELOCATIONS is an experiment. In a kind of laboratory setting artists and theoreticians are working together on the theme: about the place of the word in the image. This means that the project is open to new ideas and that it is unfinished, and maybe will remain so when in the coming year the different study-groups start.

DELOCATIONS is based on the results of the project of the Centre for the Arts: 'Spiraal, tien dialogen tussen kunst en filosofie'. This consisted of the collaboration between two people. It was a conversation, a dialogue between an artist and a philosopher. In this case we haven't opted for conversation, but for collaboration on a basis of competence, including a request for a show and a public debate.

How the project is organized.
The subject will be illuminated from different angles in a series of exhibitions, theoretical positions and debates. To show the diversity of the theme the following sub themes are formulated: digital history, fictional city, story-line, mores, orality, bodyscheme & performance language, visual & theoretical intelligence and virtual languages.

Eight different study groups, consisting of artists and theoreticians will explore one or more aspects of the relation between word/image/place. These study groups have a laboratory function, a field which is only provisionally demarcated in advance is investigated and each group determines its own specific angle. Only those artists and theoreticians who have elaborated more on the subject and who like this line of work have been invited. The seminars are compounded in such a way that groups of people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds are covered.

The results of each study group will be presented in the form of an exhibition in the building of the Centre for the Arts, situated on Nieuwe Binnenweg. The theoretical position and debate will also take place here.

Subsequently, an extensive publication concerning the various
elements of the manifestation will appear. It will document both the visual as well as the argumentative results of the research.

The ultimate aim of DELOCATIONS is threefold:
First, the manifestation makes the current debate on the relation between word and image, that is held both in the arts as well as in theoretical discours more profound. The compilation of the seminars models the guarantee for an interdisciplinary approach to the subject.
Second, the influence of the new technologies and media about the place of the word in the image is examined.
Further more a start is made with an exploration of the intercultural dimensions of the present debate. This, so far, disregarded dimension will be worked out by means of paying more attention to the role of cultural backgrounds in art and theory. Image and language are - also compared to its ties - profoundly dictated by the culture in which they are used.

First in the results of the working-proces the above mentioned aims become more concrete. In some of the study groups this process is already started, in others some preliminairy steps. At the moment two working groups are in operations.

DELOCATIONS 01: Digital history
This working-group presents its work in this site. Later the lecture by Timothy Druckrey and the interviews with Tony Brown, Amanda Ramos & Julia Meltzer, Daniela Plewe and Jeffrey Shaw will also be printed on a CD-ROM.

DELOCATIONS 02: Fictional city
In this study group the relation between words and images in the public space of the city is discussed. This study group invents a fictional city. Basis for this city are 90.000 photographs from the optitheek of all the houses in Rotterdam and 1800 aerial pictures that are stored in the opthitheek, an archive of the municipality. By means of an on-line connection these images can be looked at. Architects, artists and authors are invited to change/react upon/describe these buildings. The study group presents this work at the Centre for the Arts in Rotterdam.

Members of this group are: Maarten Sprenger (coordination), Egied Simons, Daniel van Velden & Frank de Bruijn, Geert Mul, Herman Verkerk. The editorial work for this group is done by Albert Wulffers, Jouke Kleerebezem and Q.S. Serafijn.

Finally, I would like to thank a number of people:
That is the Centre for the Arts in Rotterdam, who gave me the opportunity to develop the Delocations-program and especially Hans Walgenbach, director of the Centre for the Arts. Anita Velds voor the Dutch translation of the texts by Timothy Druckrey, Tony Brown and Jeffrey Shaw. Willy Stehouwer and the team of the department of Documentation and Information of the Centre for the Arts.
Felix Janssens for the design of the word-image and graphic design by the exhibition.
Edwin Janssen for his assistance in developping the concept of the Delocations-program.
Thomas Meyer zu Schlochtern who assisted in the selection of the artists.
All the artists and theoreticians who are involved in the project.
For Delocations 01: Digital History these are:
Mike Quee initiator of Digital history, he coordinates this study group.
Timothy Druckrey, media-critic.
John F. Simon jr., artist/programmer.
Andreas Broeckmann, Marc Thelosen and Pieter van Kemenade from V2_Organisation who present this evening and who assisted in the implementation of this program on the WWW.

I hope I didn't forget too many people. Such a project as Delocations only exists by the grace of many people, lots of creativity, and openess to collaboration. Finally I would like to thank the Image Factory and Martin Breuer, who sponsored our project and V2_Organisation I thank for their collaboration.

I hope you will enjoy DELOCATIONS, thank you.

Cornee Jacobs, Rotterdam

The Optibase is a database of the city of Rotterdam which provides a view of the city through a computer system. Aerial photographs, city plans and panoramic photographs can be retrieved through a pull down menu. By selecting certain locations on a detailed map, any one of the 90,000 panoramic photographs available can be called up. To this visual information other types of information are linked, for example whether a house is privately owned or rented. The panoramic photographs were taken in the streets with a purpose-built camera car, always under the same conditions - under a clouded sky at a quiet time of day with little traffic. These black and white photographs present a rather lifeless image of the city.

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