neil cummings

Speculative shards

25 Nov 2016


I was invited by Verina Gfader to contribute to Echo. This is from the introduction...

Echo is a reverberation of an original sound after this sound has stopped or is in the moment of evaporating. Not a background noise, it resonates and doubles a tonality, pitch, vocation. I am thinking about the experience of echoing in a particular mountain landscape, something to do with a sound being thrown, trashed towards a wall or large rock–and returning in a ghostly and consuming fashion.

How did Echo the project come about?

The materiality of Echo project serves as a hint to what happened during a visit of the Los Angeles Art Book fair in January 2014. It was on the occasion of a prior book project, titled Prospectus, that the editorial team had been invited by the LAABF team to both present the printed matter in the format of running a book stall, and stage a discursive event at the Classroom. Out of curiosity of exploring a ‘present LA,’ that is the very surroundings and stage of the fair, we–three Londoners at the time–accepted.


Echo project charts encounters with voices and questions, some out of synch, some in dialogues; musical, conversational confrontational, and in dis/agreement. Content-wise one finds a phantom meeting around a failed or missed art book fair deal . . .

a sort of surplus of a fair (or affair)?

You could say so. An essay on the General Intellect and Financialization sets a conceptual ground for rethinking subjective freedom; an encounter with Another LA opens out a multitude of cartographies - revealing more discreet and politically dynamic movements in the urban grid; there are glimpses of Machine Project’s events, a visual story around mothers and demonology (Kathy Acker’s property deals in the UK), and more; and future materials formalized as poster texts . . .  and possible scenarios.....

Mariana Santiago & Verina Gfader, 2016

Read the complete introduction...


My contribution was

Speculative Shards extracts from the V&A Bicentenary 2057 first performed at Utopography: Imaging, representing and critiquing imagined worlds organised by the Arts and Science Fiction research group at Baltic 39, Newcastle, in September 2013.

Composite performs a human performing a live-thread recall.

[start shard transcript]

Well its great to be here with you, really great to be here with you, as part of the V&A’s bicentenary celebrations.

I’ve really enjoyed the day so-far

Thanks so much for Dan and Adam for inviting me.

Dan suggested, given my age and prosthesis, that I perform a live-thread recall……
I’m a little out of practice,…….. but I’ll do my best.     

So, I’m going to disconnect from Composite now………

OK. I’m present

And, in keeping with the ‘old-school’ nostalgia of this face-2-face conference, I’d like to invite you to do the same too.

Could you all just, also disconnect…………

Well, you’ll appreciate as with all live-thread recalls, this will be partial and flawed.

The thread I’ll be re-running, is something like institutional subjectivity,
 or, how the V&A became conscious of itself……………….a sort-of-self portrait.

I don’t have time or energy to begin in 1857,
 I thought a good place to start, would be 2013, with the foundation of the multitude



[End shard transcript 1/24]

 Read the assembled Speculative Shards,


CompDoc TrC19vY09rP57a



Related speculations include More things can happen........... and IndustrialTownFuturism


Submitted by neil on 28 November, 2016 - 15:13