“Welcome, Visitors”, a kind of game between text (performed as a live reading) and video, explores themes related to landscape, painting, and the evolution of visual language, as well as the role of technology and science in artistic developments.
From Dutch landscape painting in the 1600s to classical Chinese landscape painting, “Welcome, Visitors” examines Western and Eastern philosophical concepts of space and how we position ourselves in relation to our environment. It also explores astrobiology and the possibility of humans surviving away from Planet Earth, while looking at how the mind constructs and interprets our environment. The writings of William S. Burroughs and Russian science fiction authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are invoked, in addition to French philosopher François Jullien, among others. The video features altered and cut-up images from various sources, including the launch of Apollo 11 in 1969, drone footage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, sequences from the Soviet space programme, and images from Chinese and Japanese cinema.
First presented with a live reading at Paratext 15 at Hangar, Centre for Research and Production of Visual Arts, Barcelona, 22 March 2017.
Text written and presented by David Franklin.
Text includes extracts by William S. Burroughs and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
Video processing and editing by David Franklin.
— Burroughs, William S. Cities of the Red Night, Viking Press, 1981.
— Burroughs, William S. The Western Lands, Viking Press, 1987.
— Council of Europe, Council of Europe Landscape Convention (ETS No. 176), 2016.
— Gehring, Ulrike and Peter Weibel, editors. Mapping Spaces. Networks of Knowledge in 17th Century Landscape Painting, ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe / Hirmer, 2014.
— Hume, Kathryn. “William S. Burroughs’s Phantasmic Geography”, Contemporary Literature, Vol. 40, No. 1, University of Wisconsin Press, 1999. pp. 111- 135
— Jullien, François. The Great Image Has No Form, or On the Nonobject through Painting, The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
— Shimizu, Hiroyuki and Akito Murayama, editors. “Basic and Clinical Environmental Approaches in Landscape Planning”, Urban and Landscape Perspectives, Vol. 17, Springer Japan, 2014.
— Strugatsky, Arkady and Boris. Roadside Picnic, MacMillan, 1977.
— Vrbančić, Mario. “Burroughs’s Phantasmic Maps”, New Literary History, Vol. 36 No. 2, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. pp. 313-326
— Asia Strikes Back. Directed by Ishii Sogo. Japan, 1983.
— Dong / East and Sānxiá hǎorén / Still Life. Directed by Jia Zhangke. China, 2006.
— Kasei no unga / Canals of Mars from Ranpo Jigoku / Rampo Noir. Directed by Takeuchi Suguru. Japan, 2005.
— Kyua / Cure. Directed by Kurosawa Kiyoshi. Japan, 1997.
— Rinjin 13-gô / The Neighbor No. Thirteen. Directed by Inoue Yasuo. Japan, 2005.
— Stan nieważkości / State of Weightlessness. Directed by Maciej Drygas. Poland, 1994.
— Wild China. BBC Worldwide, 2008.
— Launch of Apollo 11, Kennedy Space Centre Florida, July 16 1969.
— Various drone footage of conflicts during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 2015 – 2016.
— Footage of Baotou, Inner Mongolia, “the most polluted place on Earth”, wasteland for electronic sludge.
I turned around without being noticed and spat over my shoulder. I saw that the rescue squad had climbed into their helicopter, the firemen were standing at attention out of respect, the lieutenant at the door of the passage was saluting us, the jerk, and above all of them fluttered the huge, faded banner: “Welcome, Visitors.”
(Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky)