Stephen Cornford – Constant Linear Velocity


CD – Consumer Waste

Constant Linear Velocity by Stephen Conford is a project made in 2016 for Color Out of Space, an unconventional art and sound experimental festival that has taken place in Brighton for the past ten years. It consists of an installation of more than a hundred cabinets for computer, some empty and some with customized, automatized and amplified DVD units. In the following two years, the installation was also shown in Croydon, Oxford and Rennes, but the most powerful version took place in 2018 in Athens at Detritus Festival, in the Onassis Cultural Centre, where old computers from the Greek capital were used. Apparently the idea behind this kind of process is to create a new music from degraded media, with a melting of click and glitch, mechanical and hypnotic loops and any sort of hisses and tickings. Regarding the emphasis on junk and trash, it seems ironic that what is left from the work is now just recordings. Due to a misunderstanding in the transportation between France and United Kingdom the original hardware was confiscated. From being an art fetish, it turned again to its original condition as electronic waste. The album edition, produced by Consumer Waste, at first looks like a 7” hardback, similar to old single record vinyl packages. Probably this choice is deliberately reminiscent of outdated, neglected formats. The artwork is integrated into a 16-page booklet printed with a digital duplicator produced by the Riso Kagaku Corporation. In the 1980s, this was a cutting-edge technology, one largely reserved for large print volumes, but here we are looking at an edition of 150 copies. The photos of the “sculpture” show the magnificence of the operation and essays by Danae Stefanou and Stephen Cornford develop the theoretical and aesthetic inspiration behind the project. The act of opening and closing a CD or DVD slot works as a difficult border between the physical and the digital space; this mechanical obsolescence is then amplified on purpose and almost becomes an ode to the lost physicality of our multimedia formats, a reminder of the persistent material presence of some technologies that are often perceived in a more ethereal way.


Stephen Conford – Constant Linear Velocity