Kate Hepworth

Hi, I’m Kate. And very belatedly introducing myself to the rest of the group. I’m based in Sydney (at the moment, for awhile, possibly a long time). I was once an architect, and am still immensely fascinated by the urban. At this point in time I work around citizenship, migration and borders – but always through the city and how they are reworked in place. I’m also working on logistics, and how logistics is redefining spatio-temporal relations and producing new forms of governance. To that end, I’ve been starting to flirt with the topological. This workshop, and the emphasis on relations and diagrams seemed like a good deviation from this other work, and a way of coming back to ongoing conversations that I’ve been having about the space between representation and invocation. I’ve spent a lot of time working with sound and video artists, thinking through ways of conveying place.

The reason that I am so late in posting is that I’ve been trying to acquire a diagram. My intention was to reimagine a piece of sound recorded somewhere else by someone else as a diagram of “a life”. I have permission to repurpose this friend’s sound as a diagram, but the sound is yet to arrive. It might arrive in the next few days, or not, depending on the vagaries of internet connections and disjunctive skype connections across time zones. So instead, I have a description of a recording that I had hoped would become a diagram.

Earlier this year I was in Calcutta for a research project. In the midst of our wanderings to get to know the city, Sophea switched from recording the sounds that we could all hear to recording the electro-magnetic radiation that we (mostly) couldn’t. As she moved through the streets, her equipment made audible the intersecting fields of radiation that we couldn’t otherwise hear. The sonification of silent fields was a surreal representation of a particular place and a particular body that moved within it.

Thinking about “a life” as relations and forces, I remembered how Sophea became a central point in those fields through the act of recording. And I wondering if her literal recording fields and forces could be reimagined as a diagram of abstract fields and forces – the diagram of “a life”.

So instead of a diagram, I present something that isn’t quite yet a diagram. The not-yet diagram exists somewhere else as a representation of a moment in time and place. Would embedding it here have been enough to make it a diagram, or would it have remained a representation of a specificity? And either way, could the process of trying to obtain the recording and the brief emails and conversations be considered a process of diagramming, even if the recording was untranslatable, and the diagram is still absent? Or is the diagram of “a life”, as Scott so nicely pointed out, really just the absent-diagram?