Essay – Ghost In The Machine

by Angelique L. Jenkins

Research Methods and “Processors” -Essay

Ghost- The human element (or its trace) + Machine- (or anything that equates to this)= The spaces, or gaps in between!!

My work is an experiment- Dictionary definition-

A test under controlled conditions that is made to demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something previously untried.

The process of conducting such a test; experimentation.

# An innovative act or procedure: “Democracy is only an experiment in government” (William Ralph Inge).

# The result of experimentation: “We are not [nature’s] only experiment” (R. Buckminster Fuller). [1]

How do we view things? What is it that happens in the surveillance of subjects/objects that we observe? Why do we need to be watched, or watch for that matter? In this theatre of engagement has our mortality been dethroned, as we become spectator and performer all at once…

Are we not now so transparent that our essence is lost? Philosophically speaking! Living in the now…

Is the ‘aesthetic’ of how we feel/view this kind of art an afterthought?

Post modernity and sociology: Problems and Possibilities

There is now an increasing recognition that complex contemporary socio-economic, cultural, political, and technological transformations, and parallel aesthetic, intellectual, and epistemological developments do not merely represent a temporary interruption of longer-term s of the development of a late, disorganised, consumer, industrial capitalism bearing hyper-modern cultural formation, or the emergence of a post-industrial society embodying a ‘postmodern’ sensibility there appears to be a considerable degree of concordance that things are no longer quite as they might once have seemed to be.[2]

Excuse my venting of words/questions I am in romance with the ‘word’ so in this project I will combine my feelings, in the ‘words’ I express. And later in the video work! It will connect the understandings with misunderstandings. Since a contemporary artist has a duty to justify their work to their audience, or paying subjects.

I am a product of the ‘now’. My understandings and development of ‘my’ world will be seen from a lively disposition, and in the artificial nuance of ‘me’ that has been made from being a preteen and teenager in the 70’and 80’s.

The ‘glitch’!! J

What I will create can be made of many things. Moving onwards never resting in totality in this one space entirely. I live in many zones- in suburbia- public and private. And I visit heterotopia via the shopping mall, the beach, the home (domesticity), architecture, construction sites, driving on the freeways/roads passing graveyards, churches, urban life etc >>> and so on…

These can be fabrications, or fractures from what was actually my ‘reality’ at any given time. But also from the conscious, and un/subconscious zones that live inside me. Perhaps in the dreamscapes and in the surreal/ unreal…

I have viewed many Hollywood movies in my time?

I am made up of so many ideals it is hard to find true location, and it is in a dislocation…I can transmit this picture. And in seeds of the dysfunction that the irony is made…this can be made in a display of images and sounds that I can collect in the ‘real-time’ and in those kinds of places, of a heterotopia I have described.

This could be considered rhizhomic, as I make foundations then set off in new paths, and my theoretical support will then be put together in the style of bricolage.

Bricolage- My theoretical approach is that of a bricoleur, as I am in a convergence of discovering new meanings, selecting and deselecting, choosing different qualities of idea.

Something made or put together using whatever materials happen to be available: “Even the decor is a bricolage, a mix of this and that”[3]

As I meander between scenes/places/spaces. Maybe in montage in a filmic way…Not only in active state but also by the ‘actual’, making of it -but also in the ‘being’ in it, and as a ‘virtual’ participant.

This can be seen as I engage with the computer and Internet to reproduce my work. This is empowering as a female subject as I can be wherever, whatever and whomever I want in that space. That may be considered a collective anarchy?

As the visitors to those places are becoming more prolific as the global culture creates in the ‘now’ a post-future. Could this not replace the common neural network? What I want to import with out fear is the freedom in knowing it is ok…

It is just ‘is’!

‘Isness’ business…

Scaring, lulling and finally making mock…

Ha ha ha…

What does this freedom sound like, what does it look like? How does it make you feel? Can it ever possibly be created?

Well, I can only attempt to represent, and make a platform.

What elements I will import may be affected by recent understandings; therefore the ‘fixing’ of my work may not be so secure. In where it sits I mean. It will contain femininist qualities, as I try to make sense of the world I which I have been produced. And in that zone an expression/impression will be made…

Perhaps making a mark, or a pointilism that I wish to share. Is it in the pixelated vision, and the vibration reflected off the ‘machine’?

Scanning what I see as I become the ‘machine’ or ‘existence’ outside myself. When ‘we’ as a collective become the ‘whole’ including the blur…

Beyond the camera lens maybe finding the spaces we neglect to focus on…

Or have been trained to ignore?

Perhaps the ‘need’ for me to do this is felt in the final product, as the observer/receiver will find a trace of my information. This is perhaps maternal as I am trying to aid the receiver in reaching an utmost ‘potential’. Like a good m‘other’ should.

But this kind of talk also offers up a ‘machine of thought’. Inside our already programmed ‘thought’ process. This is then decoded by the machine of or new existence (of what it is to exist in the ‘now’), inside and outside our ‘head’, and later in the ‘silence’ that its whole virtue maybe found…

I would like us to abort our current thinking about anything, and just live in that space between on/off, oscillating and discover new pathways, and in this way posthumans could be in a type of enlightenment continually, and find new possibilities of what it means to be ‘human’.

Inside the after thoughts, in those moments that the thought processors that are linked in that of new understanding/s…

My work often contains ‘myself’. As narrator, conductor or director? In that way I mean by being seen, heard and /or felt from all angles. And since my thoughts are ‘ephemeral’- fleeting parts of my imagination will be seen, felt and heard. As I try to make a cognitive and contemplative structure from the anti-structure.

This philosophical experiment may describe what I mean?

Roger-Pol Droit 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life

83 Fix the ephemeral

Duration stopped

Props a recording system

Effect contemplative

In the past, the fleeting detail was lost forever. A movement of the hand, a furtive look, the shadow of a smile, an inflection of the voice, a certain light- everything sank without a trace, along with a thousand other such tiny realities- into an ocean from which nothing could be recovered by anyone.

We have invented detail-machines, that can capture such instants. Fix the tiniest spot. Preserve sounds and profiles. They made their appearance not so long ago, but we have got used to them so quickly that now we take their power for granted. Or nearly.

The experiment consists in rediscovering the power of these techniques. In fact we do so everyday without thinking about it: by listening to the radio or to discs, watching television or videos, photographing, recording voices, faces, in their very special way, can snatch ephemeral moments from the march of time.

A piano key lightly caressed by Scott Joplin in 1902, a single flutter of Louise Brook’s eyelids in 1934, a jack-boot hitting a paving stone on the Champs- Elysees in 1940, the chaotic arrival of a train in Calcutta yesterday

…We are surrounded by tens of thousands of captures living instants, of movements seized in photos or on film, of every type of music recorded on film, of every type of music recorded on disc. Try and remember this when you next look at a photograph or listen to a CD. And the next time you yourself record a snatch of life, remind yourself that you yourself are a tiny sliver of existence from time. Think of a paradoxical hourglass that sieves the dust of hours into a kind of eternity. Instant after instant, what would have disappeared forever is now available and can be replayed any number of times. The fugitive and the ephemeral are flowing permanently towards the eternal.

Ask yourself how all this will end. The answer doesn’t matter. [4]

So what is she on about, what is she trying to express you may ask?

Fixing the ephemeral- Using this ‘experiment’ I am able to share the idea of capturing the moments in my video that could be fleeting, and non-fixed. By using a recording system such as the video I can capture or fix these living instants, and record to view any number of times as described. This can then become contemplative, and in this way I too wish for the receiver to left considering what it was they might have experienced in my work without finding an answer.

It is a simple process in a complex kind of way. Liminal zones are the places in which I like to observe situations, conditions and happenings. The moment’s in-between, and that are concealed at the edge. These are frequently visited by the post-modern subject, a human of the western world is more than ever been thrust into situations at an ever increasing speed, in the time sense, we may not notice the gaps. How do I make an understanding into my reasons for needing to demonstrate this and into the realm in which it can be found?

Spacio-temporal transitions acquire value by virtue of being unordered, ‘marking-free’ zones beyond spatiotemporally fixed orders. This is where new things can take shape. In the In-Between- In the Already-Left-Behind and the Not-Yet-Arrived- much is possible. (Hofmeister, 2002, p. 114)

History, biology, philosophy and science have influenced my understandings. And despite that of the Western knowledge/cultural perspectives that have been largely directed at me in my education, I see things in a circular sense, so therefore my work repeats and loops.

But from the ‘eagles’ perspective (the full picture?), or the in white space (the backdrop for text/language), and the image, a timeline may be more of a way that depicts what it is I am trying to achieve…in sequence at least!

Or like in the story telling. That is linear and does have an end?

So am I in contradiction all the time. We need to feel both at once so we can ‘feel’ the middle. If that makes sense…

This is demonstrated when working with video/film, as there is always a time line, and in each of the time lines/zones exists a frame, a container of time if you will. What happens when we receive these sounds and images?

Since the television is part of my reality, this could be seen as ‘white’ noise.

White noise-Sample [?] is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal’s power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any centre frequency, having a given bandwidth.

An infinite-bandwidth white noise signal is purely a theoretical construct. By having power at all frequencies, the total power of such a signal is infinite. In practice, a signal can be “white” with a flat spectrum over a defined frequency band.[5]

And of Perception perhaps…

Technological Constructions of Space-Time

Aspects of Perception- Heike Helfert

With the development of technical media of representation, these media also simultaneously moved into the scope of artistic debates. The use of audiovisual media and new communication technologies has introduced numerous new aspects to the conceptual and aesthetic engagement with questions of perception. In this fashion, new possibilities are opened up in particular for the use of temporal-spatial contexts, which are artistically explored in many new ways and forms. Using selected examples, the author describes various aspects of the engagement with questions of perception in connection with the technical media of reproduction in the twentieth century.[6]

What I am more interested in is the sense of realisation that may be made as the receiver may link neurons at that given moment.



I am experimenting with those sensations/feelings that can be made there. I want to discover an unfixedness and discover alienation. ‘Otherness…’

On post-futurism: Vivian Sobach

The shift in sensibility toward the alien and Other [in contemporary SF films] seems also a function of what new technology which has transformed the spatial and temporal shape of our world and our world view. The popularisation and pervasiveness of electronic technology in the last decade has reformulated the experience of space and time as expansive and inclusive. It recast the human being into a myriad of visible and active simulacra, and has generated a semantic equivalency among various formulations and representations of space, time and being. A space perceived and represented as superficial and shallow, as all surface, does not conceal things: it displays them. When space is no longer lived and represented as “deep” and three dimensional, the ‘50’s concept of “invasion” loses much of its meaning and force. The new electronic space we live and figure cannot be invaded. It is open only to “pervasion”- a condition of kinetic accommodation and dispersal associated with the experience and representations of television, video games, and computer terminals. Further more, in a culture where nearly everyone is regularly alien-ated from a direct sense of self (lived experience commonly mediated by electronic technology that dominates both domestic sphere and the “private” or “personal” realm of the Unconscious), when everyone is less conscious of existence than of its image, the once threatening SF “alien” and Other become our familiars- our close relations if not our selves[7]

So I become a Cyborg, or a tool not only in the thought process but also in the creation of this idea…

I want to be a machine…

Where all things can become blurred, in the conventional sense? In a place that goes beyond those constraints, this may end up as a meditation. If instinct is the description here, I am inquiring into the depths of origin, of how we interpret our natural world.

What is to not be labelled? What does this tell of my methodology, that it follows a path of least resistance, on some levels yes, and in other ways no!

What will result is not so much what I want it is more about the exposure to the actual event moving into boundaries that we are all ‘connected’ in some way, and that is perhaps about the ‘spirit’ of humanness.


If a result was possible the outcome could be so powerful, that time, and the universe would cease to exist, and we are then to remain in the perpetual motion created there. A void made the by the process itself!!

Well this is a performance after all!

And I’m the humanoid?

Argh… Spooky eh!

Self-Portrait- ‘Cyborg’- Angelique L.Jenkins- s2096605

‘Ghost in the Machine’

An afterthought: On Cyborgs

All such utopian dreams must be countered by the fact that ’man’ has always been present with everything in him that should be avoided and all that cannot be surpassed. From this we become aware of what it is worthwhile in man, that there is something worthwhile about him and our existence is worthy of a future- of an always new chance to develop or potentiality for the Good. And we can attempt to assure that this potentiality continues to exist.[8]

Bibliography/Reading list

Droit, Roger-Pol (2002) 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life, London: Faber and Faber. (Droit, Roger-Pol, p.167)

Reading List

Bowring, Finn (2003) Science, Seeds and Cyborgs Biotechnology and the Appropriation of Life, London: Finn Bowring. 277

Botton, Alain De (2000) The Consolations of Philosophy, London: Hamish Hamilton. 167

Deleuze, Gilles (1985) Cinema 2 the Time-Image, USA: University of Minnesota Press.

Droit, Roger-Pol (2002) 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life, London: Faber and Faber. (Droit, Roger-Pol, p.165)

Hetherington, Kevin (1997) The Badlands of Modernity- Heterotopia and Social Ordering, New York: Routledge.

Heywood, Andrew (1992) Political Ideologies an Introduction, Hong Kong: Macmillan

Hovenden Fiona, Janes Linda, Kirkup Gill, Woodward Kath (2000) The Gendered Cyborg: A Reader, London : Routledge

McNay, Lois (1992) Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self, UK : Polity Press

Silver, Lee M. (1998) Remaking Eden Cloning, Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humankind? USA: Pheonix Giant.

Smart, Barry (1993) Postmodernity, USA : Routledge

Umbach, Maiken (2002) Classicism, Enlightenment and the ‘Other’: thoughts on decoding eighteenth century visual culture. Art History 25 (3), 319-340.doi: 10.1111/1467-8365.00324

Magazine Article-

Hofmeister, Sabine (2002) Intermediate ‘Time-spaces’ The rediscovery of transition in spatial planning and environmental planning. Time and Society. Vol.11 No.1, 114. Los Angeles Times).


[2] Smart, Barry- Postmodernity_ Key Ideas, p 62.

[3] (Los Angeles Times).

[4] (Droit, Roger-Pol, p.167)



[7] The Gendered Cyborg: A Reader- Chapter 2.4 Vivian Sobach- Postfuturism p136

[8] Bowring, Finn Science, Seeds and Cyborgs. Hans Jonas- xi Preface

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