Stephen Murray is the first recipient of our new MAstars Film Prize. In January 2014 we caught up with Stephen and Andrea Kusel, the curator who selected him for MAstars, to find out what he’s been up to in the six months following his degree.
The text that follows is a remix of Robert Smithson’s 1967 essay, A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey.
The piece is written by Alexander Storey Gordon, Sarah Rose, Valerie Norris, Guo-Liang Tan, Laura Campbell and Neil Mulholland, and features neologisms created by the writers.
A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey
September 30, 1967, Port Authority 41st Street 8th Avenue. 10:50
New York Times Signet paperback Thudlacker Brain W. Aldiss. September 30, 1967, Port Authority 41st Street 8th Avenue cash payment Ticket booth 21 Port Authority 41st Street 8th Avenue cash payment Passaic one way 11:00. the number 30 bus Inter-City Transportation Co. September 30, 11:08. It’s important to note that I am an artist.
Walter Schatzki Prints, Drawings, Watercolors 33 1/3%
XVIII—XIX Century English Furniture Parke-Bernet, “New Directions in German Graphics” Goethe House. 11:45 Times Page 29 was John Canaday’ Themes and the Usual Variations. Samuel F. B. Morse’ Allegorical Landscape 12:00.
Times Seasonal Up-swing, “A Shuffle Service,” 15:05 “Moving a 1,000 Pound Sculpture Can Be a Fine Work of Art, Too” 12:06
“Realistic wax-works of raw meat beset by vermin,” (Paul Thek), 12:08 “Mr. Bush and his colleagues are wasting their time,” (Jack Bush) 12:13, “a book, an apple on a saucer, a rumpled cloth,” (Thyra Davidson) 12:14. Times page 31 THE EMERGING POLICE STATE IN AMERICA SPY GOVERNMENT. 12:20 Highway 2, Orient Way in Rutherford. 12:55 Corner of Union Avenue and River Drive. 13:00 bridge over the Passaic River that con-nected Bergen County with Passaic County. Instamatic 400 13:02
The sun became a monstrous light bulb that projected a detached series of stills - gutshafts through the copper into my head. When conductivity came to the gaze, it was as though I held together an enormous photograph which included my small and forgotten self and the two humans I was connected to, one a prostitute the other a black woman, and underneath the image existed many codes that showed nothing but a continuous greened patina. A kind of psychomasgoria.
I witnessed the codes in part an open grating flanked by a side axis in order to allow an inert objective view interover its unknown cargo. The Passaic end of the gaze rotated to the subject, while the object of the gaze rotated back: such rotations suggested the limited movements of an outmoded world. Subject and object hung over the static coding in a bi-polar manner. One would refer to this gaze as the ‘Monument of dislocated directions’.
My shelter beckoned. A little anenome had been hit with a piece of flotsam across the bay in Rutherford. As I swam further into my chambers, I could hear the faint voice of a P.A. system drifting down from the beach and the weak cheers of a crowd of Thudlacker seaweed. Actually, the seabed was no psychomasagoria, but a “particular kind of consurface”, a kind of self-destroying iconoscendental pool of failed draftpoise and oppressive grandeur.
I had been drifting in a swirling quotidian-circuit tide that I couldn’t quite fathom, but just as I became perplexed, I saw an ecoptic sign that explained everything: YOUR DREAMSCHEME WORKS. That metacaust scene seemed to contain ruins in reverse, this is – all the new interspective coral reefs that would eventually be built. This is the opposite of the “romantic ruin” because the corals don’t fall into the sea after they are built but rather rise into ruin before they are ecoptic. This is anti-romantic.
Mise-en-scene brings back to mind, though I have none of my own to speak of, the forgotten element of time. The existence of suburbs is often punctuated with occasional mythologies. Pieces of fragments that don’t necessarily add up to any grand narratives. Embryonic or broken shells.
If New York seems hard boiled, then Passaic is scrabbled. Spread out and formless. The gaps in the city are, in some sense, the invisible monuments of its abandoned future. Suburbanites re-imagine this grade B utopian future as their own. The windows of City Motors auto sales is perhaps iconoscendental of this.
I descend into a set of used car lots. Am I broken?
Was this descending an advance into an imagined future? Like Homer, I’ve left the reality as I know it behind.
Passaic center is a gutshaft. I’m empty. So is my camera.
Actually, Passaic center is a void, desperately waiting to be filled like me.
At the Golden Coach Diner, me and my camera got reloaded. On the box of Kodak Verichrome Pan, it read:
Or any subsequent handling of this film is without other warranty or liability. After that I returned to the buro - for all I know that gutshaft could have been a carbon copy from the original city. But what am I to entertain such thoughts?
I passed by the monumental cathedral that dominated nearby, it was both a mirror and a reflection, but the reflection kept changing places with the mirror. There was nothing interesting or even strange about it, and yet it was ecoptic of the old clichés and ideas about infinity. I feel at home in the St Ignazio, its grand halls remind me of my former glory as a marble goddess, the most famous of Greek statues. Now a lowly wooden spatula, I feel an overriding sense of shame gazing up at the other-worldy ceiling. Perhaps the answer to my unfortunate predicament lies in the interspective secrets of our universe.
All sense of reality had gone, in its place had have it skateboard hundreds of times clockwise in a Quotidian-circuituntil the wips topsy-turvy turn seul-anise; after that the bone-handled knives force it to echo these traces left in the mash by its tiny wooden prongs, but the result will not be a restoration of the consurface but a greater degree of seul-anise and an increase of cutlery apartheid.
Of course, if our handlers could embrace such an ecoptic experience we could feel the reversibility of the crescendo by playing the cook putting the cous back into the cous-cous, but then sooner or later granolas themselves would drop through the our toothy gaps towards a more hollitical state of cous-cousosity, a state welcomed in hushed discussions of the introduction of chopsticks overheard by the water cooler.
Somehow this suggests that forkatics four-pronged attack on the anthropcene’s inevitable metacaust is in vain. The false immortality of our wooden gutshafts gives an illusion of control over the cous - but the Thudlackers are fading.
In November 2013 we made a film for The Tetley, a new centre for contemporary art located in the former Tetley Brewery in Leeds
We interview Co-Founders and Directors Kerry Harker and Pippa Hale, who talk about their inaugural exhibition A New Reality and the transformation of this former brewery into Leeds’s newest centre for contemporary art.
Meg Anthony from Oriel Myrddin Gallery selects the ‘playful & enchanting’ ceramics of Élodie Alexandre from Cardiff School of Art & Design for MAstars.
Our latest MAstar is Hayley Danaher selected from Cardiff School of Art & Design by Holly Davey.
Axisweb Director Sheila McGregor responds to the latest report about the London bias of arts funding on the Guardian Culture Professionals.
Our latest MAstar is Bridget Harvey selected from Camberwell College of Arts by Louise Taylor.
Axisweb at Harewood House on Flickr.
Our latest MAstar is Bethe Bronson selected from Wimbledon College of Art by Helen Carnac.
Our latest MAstar is Cadi Froehlich selected from Chelsea College of Art by Jeni Walwin: