Dr Sara Andersdotter
Editor’s Letter: A Rhetoric of Movement – from the refugee experience to intergalactic space travels
Dr Sara Andersdotter is the Editor of Corrupted Files, and Course Director of Contextual Studies at Ravensbourne
This third issue of Corrupted Files centres on research based on movement; angles on and fascinations, preoccupations, obsessions, fixations with [various interpretations of] this term and its different meanings. In many ways, movement has come to characterise 21st century human existence in an era of ‘unprecedented globalization’ (Suderberg 2000 32); shifts and turns in politics, changing borders and relationships, migration, flight and displacement, fluid identities, new emerging beliefs, and not to forget the impact of the ever-increasing speed at which data and communication travel. That is, continuously shifting conditions – life nomadic; literally, conceptually and metaphorically.
In philosophy, we find the term nomad to signify free and hybrid states of movement; an ultimate navigator in the mapping of a terra incognita, the unknown (Deleuze and Guattari 2004 25). Rather than describing an actual character, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari introduce a concept of the nomad as a supreme mode of exploration, what they refer to as nomad thought. This form of thought travels without constraints or limits, disregarding territories of ‘representation, subject, concept, and being’ replacing ‘restrictive analogy with a conductivity that knows no bounds’; it ‘rides difference’ (Deleuze and Guattari 2004 xii). What nomad thought facilitates, or makes possible, is a fluid ‘nomad space’, what Deleuze and Guattari also term ‘smooth space’, where thought can move without limits or boundaries (ibid xiii). And movement is really what is at the crux of the matter here; as Henri Bergson states in Matter and Memory, not only is movement vital to thought; even better, ‘thought is movement’ (Bergson 1988 125).
By approaching movement from a variety of lenses, this issue of Corrupted Files presents a multiplicity of diverse meanings and uses of the term; from the physical movement of the body, to migration and the refugee, to cultural movements, to generating emotion [being moved],to intergalactic space travel.
In this issue of Corrupted Files, photographer and artist Vera Zurbrügg’s participatory photographic project Status, directly reflects forced movement and 21st century displacement. Zurbrügg collaborated with refugees residing in Zurich, who produced series of photographs representing their transitory existence away from a home, to which they cannot – for now – return. So to protect their identity, we only know the first name of the refugee participants, who are in the midst of navigating complex territories of asylum seeking processes, integration, homesickness, language and culture.
The term movement takes on a very different meaning in Dr Annebella Pollen’s paper on interwar cultural reforms and social movements. Pollen introduces a number of movements initially relating to concepts of ‘woodcraft’ – a term relating to outdoor lifestyle and drives, such as camping and hiking – to radical organisations such as Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, the associated Men’s Dress Reform Party, and nudist groups, where clothing [or a lack of] came to form a site of resistance.
Cultural movements are considered in two of the contributions to this issue of Corrupted Files; Tamara Richard investigates relationships between contemporary cinema and German Expressionism, while Arron McCormack explores postmodernity in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey.
David Hunter looks directly at the movement of the body in his cartographic Data Walking project, where Hunter and his participants generate data that is used to create a range of different visualisations and representations of the North Greenwich peninsula. The movement of the body is also reflected in Angelique de Raffaele’s Practice-based Dissertation on how performance art may enable 21st century human subjects to re-connect with their bodies in an ever-increasingly digital environment. In her video, de Raffaele’s participants are asked to make a cup of tea, and then roll a cigarette, whilst wearing thick gloves, severely limiting their movement.
Shaquilla Alexander’s Dissertation – which was awarded the Distinguished Dissertation Award last academic year – concerns yet another interpretation of the theme of the journal; to be emotionally moved. This research explores the affects of first-person VR documentaries, and questions whether these can generate genuine empathy.
And then to intergalactic space travel. Recent MA Wearable Futures graduate Farid Akmal Karim created a body of work, as part of his fashion practice, entitled Soujourner. The work plays with ideas of fiction and the creation of possible worlds on other planets. The designs were part of the fashion show Couture in Orbit at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Corrupted Files is proud to share not only the final designs, but also the concept work in the developmental stages.
As in the previous two issues, themes are approached from a wide range of angles – drawing attention to multiplicities of meanings and intriguing connections between very varied research projects. And as usual, we encourage you – the reader, the viewer – to enter and explore Corrupted Files.
Bergson, H. (1988) Matter and Memory, New York: Zone Books.
Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (2004) A Thousand Plateaus, London: Continuum.
Suderburg, E., ed. (2000) Space, Site, Intervention: Situating Installation Art, Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.