#20 Morphodynamica: the clouds have cameras by Jean-Baptiste Seméprendre
#20 Morphodynamica: the clouds have cameras by Jean-Baptiste Seméprendre


It’s about creating voids of space.
You have a little detail that you can focus on,
but I want you to be washed with colour and space…
that feeling of it just sort of covering you,
you’re in that dimension.

Conceptually it’s infinite.
It goes nowhere.
It’s just magic.
And it keeps growing.

Morphodynamics. The study of events in space-time. That was the project of the Romanian historian of ideas Ioan Couliano. For his troubles, Couliano was assassinated in the dunnies of the University of Chicago Divinity School.
But that’s another story.

Of his scholarly output? This radical professor worked out that ideas are synchronous; that they form systems (ideal objects) which cross the surface of history called time in an apparently unpredictable sequence of temporal events…


Often time stands still,
there’s little movement.
Except in the videos,
where the shape of time is really soft
and malleable.
It speeds up and slows down in waves.
I’m interested in pushing and pulling the time.

There’s a tension of time,
and it’s infiniteness.
You don’t know where it starts,
and you don’t know where it ends.
It just keeps looping on top of itself.

…and that while we can recognise these systems as existing in their own logical dimension (indeed they only become understandable and recognisable in their own dimension), we also know that these systems interact with innumerable other systems from their own logical dimensions to create history…


It’s also a reflection on the situation of things.
Progress pushing forward,
how we value progress
and achievements over time,
and what they mean in the context of the rest of it

…Run binary processes seven times faster (the one to seven ratio to convert binary data into analog signals) and they will be perceived as a continuous system. Binary oppositions (subject/object) spot ideal objects in a third realm of knowing. BUT analog to digital conversion – where without altering essential content, a continuously variable analog signal is changed into a multi-level digital signal – approaches the multidimensional world where systems reside and the way they interact. Creative fusion.

That is to be in the clouds…and they’re filming.


                                                        There is a removal of all detail
                                                        and distilling to an essence.
                                                        That’s the goal,
                                                        getting down to the core of an image,
                                                        and using few parts to try
                                                        and communicate a particular emotion.

The camera is mindful – it is thinking backwards – the poetic light of Right Recollection (sammāsati), the distilled essence, the body of the garment beneath the fabric. The Ancient Egyptians couldn’t give a fuck about brains. Slushed to jelly and out through the nose. They preserved the heart.

In the gallery, your heart is being weighed against the feather of Truth beside the spinning rainbow wheel of death. In that critical moment – that critical space – you are fully present…


I really like the idea of time having a space.

The shape of my work is sort of like grabbing out at all of this time
around you,
but you do need to be present now.

For a long time, my work was about the present moment.
I wanted you to feel in the moment,
which sounds really simple,

but of course it’s not.

If you’re fully present you are in the clouds – physical and virtual, psychoid and material, in the archetype/s, in a moment of progressive immanence, transcendent of the hermeneutic circle. If you’re not, smile – you’re on candid camera! You are BURNOUT in the endless cycle of incarnation…you forgot the password.


I like the idea of personal structures.

They are definitely personal,
but I feel like it’s universal.
I let people come to the works
and make their own associations with objects
and symbols

and space.
I enjoy that they will interpret that differently than I have.

Hermeneutics – to interpret. Davern is an outlier. And he enjoys it. Only outliers can truly interpret. As John D. Caputo put it, “in radical hermeneutics, we take the point of view of the outliers, the outsiders, the ones whose views have been neglected or excluded…Hermeneutics provides our best protection against the threat of tyranny, totalitarianism and terror in politics, and of dogmatism and authoritarianism in ethics and religion.”


I want there to be two spaces,
normal life,
and then life that has been interrupted,
and we’re in limbo,
we don’t have a choice.
We’re flipping back and forth.

The first phase,
I suppose,
is reality as usual,
things are happening.
People go into work,
buying things on the internet,
and then time is interrupted by an unknown source
and we’re flipped into another world,
where we don’t have purpose
and we’re waiting
and I suppose then we can consider our other reality.

Lawrence E. Sullivan said “By altering our historically perceived perceptions of space, time and matter, we will find ourselves living creatively in an alternate world, or better, in other worlds.” Davern ‘gets it.’ Gets what? The answer to Kant’s question: “How is it that in this space, here, we can make judgments that we know with apodictic certainty will be valid in that space, there?” To take the objects of the everyday, is to take culture which is to fuse tradition and thought in the transpersonal axiom “traditio is percepti.”  To think part of a tradition is to be thought by it; cognition then assures what is thought is experienced and what is experienced feedback loops on what is thought.  This participation mystique in temporal inversion, allows us in the present to get to whatever the fuck reality we want. This is motion. What Alfred North Whitehead called the ‘subject of experience’ or ‘drop of experience’ – in the gallery chamber of moments of being present in experience, these moments include and transcend the predecessor. As a new subject comes into being, it touches (Northead uses the term ‘prehends’) the previous subject, making it an object. But it includes what you do with it – an intervention of creative novelty. Eros. Spirit.

Wittgenstein said “If we take eternity to mean not everlasting temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.” In the clouds. For Erwin Schrödinger pointed out, “the present is the only thing that has no end.”

And it has a camera.


Quoted text by Michaela Gleave (catalogue excerpt). Based on a conversation between Shotgun artist Alex Davern and program mentor Michaela Gleave that occurred on 28 February 2021. The passwords accompany the video work, BURNOUT.

Jean-Baptiste Seméprendre is a philosopher and freelance tech-consultant with a particular interest in surveillance, information retrieval and disruptive technologies. He is best known for his work on numinous data, a theoretical and practical conceptualisation of data which integrates western blockchain theories, and eastern teachings on the Akashic record. He spends his time between Sydney, Goa, Hong Kong and Lithuania.

Read more about Shotgun 9: The clouds have cameras by clicking here.

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