Spookers: repression to expression

In Florian Habicht’s new documentary we are introduced to the cast of Spookers, a New Zealand live action thrill-experience set in a decommissioned psychiatric hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. The cast or ‘family’ address the camera and divulge their experiences of mental illness, religion, sexuality, social cohesion.

The building that once held and managed the psyche, often under duress and against the will of the patients, is now a site for the expression of psycho-sexual extremes under controlled conditions. The site operates as a space that connects both the unconscious drives of the players in the current day and the repression and enforced compliance that was common in Psychiatric hospitals until the opening of institutions following the social upheavals of the 1960’s.

Titicut Follies…

Limmy’s Homemade Show

Limmy is Glaswegian. He came from the web, born of early YouTube. Compressed domestic tales from the compressed cloud cover of a pishy wet city.

Between 2010-13 he produced Limmy’s Show, a BBC Scotland sketch show. Ecstasy jokes at funerals. Junkie internal monologues in airless living rooms. Anti-moral tales from the housing estate. A wet surrealism born from desperation, seratonin-depletion and workplace demoralisation.

Limmy faces the camera. He has his location. His battery is charged. He hits record.

He found a niche in Vine, the short-video sharing social network subsumed into Twitter in 2016. Working in such concision his gestures are witnessed in flashes; a gnarl of teeth, a glance, the snatch of a gesture that transmits directly to our reptilian stem. Before we can react we see, and what we see is Limmy’s primordial state. Often in bed, without clothing or the presence of others, Limmy gags for the camera. A slithering tongue followed by a kitchen knife followed by a loving stare to camera. These are the masks of persona trying itself on. A face cycling through numerous emotional states and energies. The additional impact from their cataloguing into 600 Vine Supercompilations on YouTube makes suffocation inevitable.

Limmy will now create his ‘Homemade show’ in 2017. Between cheap high-resolution video cameras and the infinite potential of his apartment. A new form born from hand-held video devices, social sharing and the home.

Hello World

I’m pleased to announce in February I will be embarking on PhD study at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.

A 3.5 year practice-based research period to study lens-based performance on video sharing networks, gesture and interface online and the influence of algorithmic cultures on the social body.

DERC focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out.

DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in our applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors.

DERC approaches this world and how we experience it through innovative, reflexive and ethical ethnographic approaches, developed through anthropology, media and cultural studies, design, arts and documentary practice and games research.

Our research is incisive, interventional and internationally leading. Going beyond the call of pure academia we combine academic scholarship with applied practice to produce research, analysis and dissemination projects that are innovative and based on ethnographic insights.

DERC partners and collaborates with a range of institutions in Australia and globally, including other universities, companies and other organisations. This includes collaborative research projects, conferences, symposia and workshops, and international visits, fellowships and publications.

The Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) was established in December 2012 by Larissa Hjorth and Heather Horst with the aim of consolidating and further developing RMIT’s strength in international digital innovation. The Centre is now Directed by Sarah Pink who will be taking it into its second stage of development from 2016.

DERC members are aligned into Labs to represent their research interests, DERC Labs include:

Data Ethnographies Lab
Design+Ethnography+Futures (D+E+F) Lab
Bio Inspired Digital Sensing-Lab (BIDS-Lab)
Digital Transformations Lab
Visual Impact
Migration and Digital Media Lab