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packet_switching research description

Kate Southworth
Patrick Simons


research description
artwork description
review by Furtherfield


screengrab of the artwork installation at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre; photograph © Takeo screengrab of the artwork

Focusing on liminality as a quality of the second-stage of ritual (Victor Turner, Arnold Van Gennep), packet_switching specifically explores relationships between organisational frames and liminality. Made over a year, and drawing on the situationists’ use of derive the work involved either or both of the artists taking numerous 37 minute walks through different seasons and at various times of day and night.

Proposing a link between liminality and walking, the work uses a process of collecting data whilst walking to trace the transformation from one psychic state to another. packet_switching consists of two aural-visual pieces; one made for gallery installation and the other for the Internet, and uses the site specifics of each to investigate how their respective organisational frames (gallery and web browser) effects liminality.

The work extends the visual and aural language developed in earlier algorithmic-based work, to create a counter-narrative constructed through tempo. The research undertaken into this notion of counter-narrative led directly to the conceptualisation of one aspect of the Disrupting Narratives symposium held at Tate Modern in July 2007.

This commissioned work was exhibited in the NET:REALITY (http:www.net-reality.org) new media art exhibition that toured five UK galleries through 2005/6. Funded by Arts Council England, the exhibition was curated by Michael Takeo Magruder in partnership with 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe and Q Arts, Derby. Six artists (including Simon Biggs and Stanza) each produced two works that explored the relationship between the tangible gallery and the transitory internet.

A critical commentary on Packet-Switching was written by Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett, co-directors of internationally-recognised media organisation Furtherfield, and media arts gallery http (http://www.furtherfield.org) and was featured in the net:reality catalogue.