On Tuesday, 17 July, a presentation entitled Commentary will conclude the five-part series of events curated by Shumon Basar at London's Architectural Association. The Format series was conceived as a "live magazine", each event exploring a different formal mode that discourse takes. The events took a number of formats, in a flexible, responsive set of circumstances, providing a survey of some of the various ways information is "formatted", and what these representational typologies might mean. Video screenings, songs, interviews, and roundtables are mixed and remixed, blending "anecdote and analysis".
The first part of the 2012 "second issue" of the "live magazine" — following 2011's "first issue", a similar series of events — featured Sam Jacob of FAT, discussing Chat Show formatting and its psychological nature. The night featured guest video appearances from Parkinson, Oprah, Donohue, Wogan and Charlie Rose. The second event was centered around the Protest format, with writer and film-historian Michael Brooke and political-theatre-maker and poet Harry Giles. Here anti-war movements and the Arab Spring of 2011 were examined for what might be embedded in these means of political expression.
The third event, Spam, reunited art writer Cressida Kocienski, AA graphic designer Wayne Daly, filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl, looking at information that takes the format of spam: telling us things we didn't notice about ourselves — how fat we are, how unhappy we are, how puny we are —, and then offering to sell us something in order to make it all better.
The fourth event looked at Cover Versions through the works of Susan Boyle and others who appropriate songs, using existing embedded information, while repositioning it as quasi-distinctly their own. London-based vocalist, songwriter and performer Tamara Barnett-Herrin, singer and composer Sophie Bernhard, and author and screenwriter Mark Fisher joined in this conversation.
Format takes place in the Architectural Association's Soft Room, and will conclude 17 July at 18:30. Commentary features writer and editor Victoria Camblin, Belgian-American artist Cécile B Evans, and curator Paul Pieroni. It will include musings on commentators far and wide, including MTV's dynamic pop-video commentating duo Beavis and Butt-head.
17 July, 18:30