Fervent Osculation

Knee Play 5 (live) – Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass

Published on YouTube by Jonathan Pillow

Published on Nov 1, 2012

Recorded live at The Green Space in NYC
(prior to recent revival of Einstein on the Beach at Brooklyn Academy of Music):
Saturday, September 8, 2012 3:00 PM


Dialogue 2

Some really great responses to the question, “What is this change in Repetition doing to us?” Several other great responses were highlighted on Art Pie, our media sponsor. Click here to see the full discussion and add your own views…


All that has been written here resonates with my experience. I moved to the UK about a year ago and have relied almost solely on the Internet and non-co-located experiences/communication for connection, work, everything. Until recently, I experienced isolation, vulnerability (to the point that I found it almost impossible to share any more on FB), a strange almost addiction (repetition) to checking FB (making sure I liked and got liked) enough. I found that relying on FB interactions fed into my need to control and by giving me predictable feedback, kept me coming back over and over again for validation and to ease my sense of loneliness but it also left me feeling creepy (sharing without social cues and meaningful interaction). However, this need to control (a response to the chaos of changing everything) has manifested in all sorts of repetitive behaviors (cleaning routines for example). So, I think it is a very human action/reaction to repeat behaviors that give us a sense of control. I think we start to repress (or stop the repetition) when they no longer give us what we want or when we see the meaninglessness in them or when we have weakened the meaning through repetition. This asks the questions does repetition destroy something that once had meaning? Does this always happen? (I don’t think so)? Can repetition create new meaning (I think so)?

As an aside…yesterday, I participated in a workshop where 5 people, including myself walked around Newcastle chatting, gathering GPS and sensory data, taking pictures and recording sounds. We had tea, told stories, found connections. We remarked later how nice it was to spend an entire afternoon with relative strangers in person, outside.



I don’t feel quite the same way. I think, this is because I have been involved with the ‘paradigm shift’ right from the start. I worked with people across multiple geographic locations as far back as the mid 1980s (using dial up directly connected computers to transfer data). Then in the mid ’90s I was already part of team using a WiKi type information base to manage complex software projects, where the development team and customers were spread across the UK. I was part of the team behind the design and build of the WiKi tool. So, working isolated from co-workers has been the norm for me for a long time. Despite all of that experience, I do find it all too easy to become absorbed in the virtual space while neglecting to balance this with real-world experiences and contacts. It is a balance that has to be attended to on a regular basis. The need to look after relationships is nothing new and the technology just gives us a more complex set to manage. Maybe this is exasperated by the misuse of familiar terms. ‘Friends’ is a much over used word. I challenge anyone to prove to me they have 1000+ real friends. If we begin to describe these new relationships in more appropriate terms, them maybe they will become easier to manage. Another thing we can do is manage the use of each available system. Clearly defined use and don’t use cases can help us make better connections. All of these tasks are repetitive and the outcomes suffer if the repetitions are broken for some reason.



Repetition is so absolutely pervasive to life itself it seems impossible to stand back and view it objectively or to distance ourselves from it in anything we do. Nature is riddled with repetitive patterns (great Fibonacci video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXIMUkSXX0) suggesting perhaps why we are drawn to the safety of repetition and yet this is constantly frustrated with the fact that the smallest of aspects must inevitably change if only the time involved itself. Repetition is incredibly important to lots of stages of life I have had experience of. Babies adore repetition, (I had one that insisted on throwing the spoon away after every single mouthful of a meal and watch me pick it up again, eventually I tied it to the high chair with string) but it is an essential part of development. Working with people with dementia or younger adults with significant learning disabilities and repetition was often essential to communication. In mental health wards repetition is often displayed especially in times of stress and anxiety. Can it simultaneously be both positive and negative?. I guess perhaps it depends on whether the repetition is an end in itself or a vehicle for change. We all know meditative repetative acts are often used to move towards a certain experience of enlightenment.

Some years ago my work was much more practically process based and involved a lot of repetitive making skills. A lot of the work involved wire and the repetitive techniques I had developed were constantly hoaned through the process until I was able to make increasingly complex structures. Looking back I feel this was counter-productive as the work lost the immediacy of earlier pieces. Like many artists I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. Operations on my wrists were unsuccessful and resulted in further damage to other parts of my hands. As a result I had to set aside many of the materials my practice rested on and explore new media. Whenever I do use repetitive processes now, they must be spread over significant amounts of time and carefully planned and interspersed with other activities. Initially I found the change incredibly hard and quite daunting. Ultimately though, it has been hugely positive and I’m glad in many ways that it was forced upon me. Repetition still permeates much of my work but in a less restrictive sense, conceptually more than practically.

Some of you will know that I’m a major user of social media so your question of a ‘changed’ relationship with repetition is interesting but I think our drive for repetition is so strong that patterns will emerge in everything we do and will inevitably be used both as an endpoint in themselves and as a springboard to new ground.

Susan Francis at Fringe Arts Bath

ImageProxy_Fringe Arts Bath flyerSusan will be taking part in the upcoming Fringe Arts Bath festival, 23 May to 8 June 2014. Her work, ‘Night Vision’ will be part of the exhibition Nocturne, curated by Anna and Tim Holsgrove.

Fringe Arts Bath (FaB) is a small not-for-profit organisation that arranges a two-week programme of contemporary art exhibitions, events and workshops during Bath Fringe Festival in May/June each year.

Night Vision by Susan Francis:

‘Let the night teach us what we are, and the day what we should be’ – Thomas Tryon 1691

ACE funded work drawn from interviews with women of all ages on their experience of night. This piece was a true privilege to make as it contains many experiences that, until the videos making, had remained within the night alone. I am deeply grateful to the women who brought these into the day and shared them with me and for the many experiences that we chose to leave as the property of the night.

night vision 2 Night Vision (c) Susan Francis, still from video


Art Pie is our Media Sponsor

Art Pie logoI’m so pleased to announce that Art Pie is once again Media Sponsor for one of my projects. You may remember, Art Pie was media sponsor for This ‘Me’ of Mine last year. The Art Pie site had a redesign late in 2013 and the new site is very slick! If you enjoy street art, then you will want to know about Art Pie – they cover some of the best street art and artists in London. Pierrick and his team also review some of London’s best alternative art exhibitions and feature some exciting emerging artists in their shop. If you want to find what’s beyond the mainstream, Art Pie is your source!

‘Melted Moon’ at Hatched Gallery

Hitomi Kammai (c)2014 at The Other Art FairAfter a successful show at The Other Art Fair, Hitomi is having a solo exhibition at Hatched Gallery in London called MELTED MOON.

Melted Moon explores our relationship to the destructive within creativity. Her ‘dented’ or ‘crater’ paintings are the result of simultaneous destruction in her creative acts. For each stroke and gesture of her brush, the ground is bitten into and eaten away by the paint. These works are a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster she witnessed from a distance, not knowing at the time, the fate of her family and friends in Japan.

Hitomi will also give a performance from 4pm on 18th May.

Performance: Rain, 15 mins
The combination of a live painting by Hitomi Kammai and a video by Yuko Yama. The painting is connected to a computer through sensors in order to produce sounds upon each drop of paint. The show will continue till 1st June.


Private View Sun 18th May, 2-6pm
18 May to 1 June

Hatched Gallery
Address: Southwark Studios
Rich House, 4th Floor,
40 Crimscott St, London, SE1 5TE

Please visit the Hatched Gallery website for more details:


A Different Repetition

Repetition isn’t what it used to be. Repetition was mechanisation, production lines and printing presses; the stuff of modernity. It was meant to simplify our lives, make life easier and more enjoyable, it was meant to give us comfort and make us happy. At least, that was the message we were given. The truth of what mechanised repetition was for is a far more complex truth and I think we’ve begun to understand more fully by living in the Western reality of Late Capitalism. Of course, that reality most definitely is not limited to the west, but as a westerner, I write from that point of view. The utopian fantasy of a better life through mechanisation has given us our dystopian reality of global warming, environmental destruction, over population and globalisation.

Now repetition is multiplicity; a profusion of selves projected into the vast network of digital connections. “Many of us don’t like this, however…We think the technology is replacing us at work, diluting our communities, stealing away our children, upending morality, taking control of our lives. We read about online cults and internet extremism, about cyber-infidelity and computer addiction, about fraud, identity theft and antisocial behaviour. We are afraid this new worldwide order is taking something essentially human away from us. At the same time, we are bombarded with headlines that claim this communication technology is a panacea. We see stories of how the web has been harnessed to topple corrupt governments, to transform media empires, to empower people just like us to do exceptional things.”[1]

This quote from the introduction of Aleks Krotosky’s book, Untangling the Web, leads to this question: “what is the web doing to us, to our kids, to society?”[2]

And my question to you is…

What is this change in repetition doing to us?


[1] Krotosky, Aleks, Untangling the Web: What the Internet Is Doing to You, London, Faber and Faber, 2013, pp 1-2.

[2] Ibid.