Here Is Information. Mobilise.

Selected Writings by Ian White

Reading Documentation
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street

Last August, a group began meeting at Artists Space to read essays by the writer, curator, teacher, and artist Ian White (1971-2013), taken from the publication of his selected writings, Here Is Information. Mobilise. (LUX, 2016).

White’s work disrupted expectations of the cinema, the auditorium, and passive viewing formats by bringing audiences into social correspondence with films, their own ideas and perceptions, other media, and each other. Interrupting images and information with situations of liveness, White might invite an artist to call in and read a text in the middle of a film program, or his own performing body and voice might be overlaid by the disruptive light and sound of Tony Conrad’s experimental film The Flicker (1966). His writing provides insight into a sustained address of the aesthetic, social, and political space of reception, and frames the auditorium, a critical site of reception, as “a productive limit or a dialectical location containing all the potential of a crumpled heap.”¹

White had a significant impact on artists and artist-filmmakers. He initiated the influential LUX Associate Artists Program in London, and his familiar presence at discursive and live events in London, Berlin and elsewhere emphasized the need for an incisive and responsive critical consciousness.

Within the fractured experience of the 24-hours news media cycle, and its construction by different parties, White's notion of precipitating a form of collapse "between art and news, between auditorium and television, information and emotion" seems a pertinent provocation.² As we move into an era of alternative facts and calculated distractions, the question of how to respond to the imperative issued in the title of his book is only further complicated: that is, how to process, verify, organize, and mobilize the often conflicting interests and sources behind the live information we are presented.

This program will offer a shared reading of White’s writings that is informed by an analysis of the present, with feeds of images and information interrupted by excerpts from his work and reflections on its meaning for us now.

Participants in the reading group included Arias Abbruzzi Davis, Lauren Bakst, Amelia Bande, Richard Birkett, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Harry Burke, Christina Chalmers, Daniel Chew, Stuart Comer, Lauren Cornell, Andrea Geyer, Emma Hedditch, Chrissie Iles, Alhena Katsof, Nicolas Linnert, Jordan Lord, Ryan M. McKelvey, Tin Nguyen, Leah Pires, Nick Relph, Carissa Rodriguez, Lise Soskolne, Valerie Tevere, and Matt Wolf.

The group would like to thank Mike Sperlinger and LUX for providing readings, Artists Space and the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center for making space available for our meetings, and the staff of Artists Space for providing administrative support for this event.

[1] White, Ian. “Performer, Audience, Mirror: Cinema, Theatre and the Idea of the Live.” Here Is Information. Mobilise., edited by Mike Sperlinger, London: LUX, 2016, pp. 261-277.
White takes the term “crumpled heap” from Lis Rhodes’ essay “Whose History?” (1979) in which she writes, “Cut the line and chronology falls in a crumpled heap. I prefer a crumpled heap, history at my feet, not stretched above my head.”
[2] White, Ian. “Palace Calls Crisis Summit.” Here Is Information. Mobilise., edited by Mike Sperlinger, London: LUX, 2016, pp. 45-51.

Leah Pires

Nicolas Linnert

Andrea Geyer

Matt Wolf

Stuart Comer

Emma Hedditch

Jordan Lord

Lauren Bakst

Richard Birkett

Valerie Tevere

Carissa Rodriguez

Lise Soskolne

Amelia Bande