What scholars of manuals have to say

As we finalise an article about the manual for Horror Film 1 and the potential to use DNA as a storage medium for the manual versions and additional components, we have gone looking for literature about manuals.

I’ve learnt that making procedures is called ‘procedural discourse’. David Farkas writes about this back in 1999. It is about ‘written and spoken discourse that guides people in performing a task-in other words, it is “how to” communication.’ His article aims to set out what makes a procedure a procedure, he sets out the relationships, and persistent logic in making procedures, as he describes it. Here’s a short summary – we’re in the territory of purposeful human behaviour – people wanting to get stuff done, usually around a quite clearly defined goal. He defines getting stuff done more eloquently – he calls it accomplishing tasks and he clarifies that actually means changing things.

He has desired states, prerequisite states, interim states and unwanted states. The domain in which you’re going to use the procedures influences them eg knot tying needs lots of detail because you don’t replicate it elsewhere in life so you don’t have prior knowledge you can use – this is how he puts it: ‘Procedures for tasks in which the interface is confusing including tasks (like tying knots) for which there is no human-engineered interface-will require longer, more explanatory steps to specify actions and more frequent and careful descriptions of interim states to provide feedback. ‘

Procedures are rhetorical – they must fit the user’s background and information need. They must sell themselves and establish credibility and they must sell the domain eg sewing patterns must persuade the user they can achieve this at home. They sell themselves and they dramatize and entertain. An intriguing reference from this article is to a 1993 book published in Canberra, ‘Practical Playscript, writing procedure manuals that people can use’. It looks like manual making really hotted up with the introduction of personal computers. A quick look at Robert Barnett’s book leads me to Leslie Matthies, and it looks like that might be where this all starts, back in 1977 with ‘The new playscript procedure’. These references get really intriguing – I’ll have to save this one for another day: Beverly Sauer’s  “Sense and sensibility in technical documentation: How feminist interpretation strategies can save lives in the nation’s mines.”  in the business and tech comms literature in 1993. There’s another on postmodernism and procedures.

Where did this dive into Farkas begin? With Van Der Meij and Gellavij’s article from 2004 ‘The four components of a procedure’ in the IEEE literature. They’ve been tracking manual development. This study tested 104 manuals. What they add to Farkas’s desired states, prerequisite states, interim states and unwanted states is problem solving.

Let’s talk about expanded cinema – Poster session SEAPAVAA 2023

Dr Louise Curham from Curtin University’s iSchool starts a dialogue with audiovisual archivists of South East Asia about expanded cinema.

Here’s the recording of this talk:


And here’s what I say (not quite identical but pretty close)

SEAPAVAA talk 2023 Bangkok slide 1

Hi everyone. Thanks very much for inviting me to be part of SEAPAVAA 2023. I want to begin by acknowledging I’m joining you from the lands of the Ngunawal people, the Aboriginal traditional owners of this land I’m on in Canberra.

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Artists Film Workshop comes to Canberra’s Antics Hair Microcinema Friday 17 Feb 730pm

Join us for an evening of recent and brand new work by the Artists Film Workshop, all on 16mm.
Lab members Sebastian Vaccaris and Paddy Hay have programmed a stellar line-up, it’s a first for Canberra to see works from  AFW, Australia’s most prolific contemporary artist-run film lab.
The line-up includes Anybody Coming to Dinner byAudrey Lam (2022) and Fade by Callum Ross-Thomson (2017).

Some of you saw China Not China at PhotoAccess in 2019 during The Stand-in Lab exhibition. This is a work by the internationally reknowned experimentalists Dianna BARRIE & Richard TUOHY. This work has featured in literally dozens of international festivals and screened on Mubi. Not to be missed! The knowledge and processes to produce this work are painstaking and Dianna and Richard have spent literally decades refining their craft (and they’re still quite young).

Check out the program here on Sydney experimentalists’ website, the Workshop for Potential Cinema.
Founded in Melbourne in 2009, Artist Film Workshop is an open film collective which provides access to knowledge and resources for filmmakers and artists working in sound and vision with photochemical film. When you’re next in Melbourne, visit the workshop to explore the darkroom that includes a 16mm contact printer, optical printer with custom-made electronics, 16mm and 8mm cameras, and projectors.
AFW is prolific with a 100+ Melbourne screenings in the past decade. Paddy and Sebastian are delighted to take this one on the road and voyage North up the Hume! Reserve a free spot on Eventbrite. Make a donation to AFW petrol costs while you’re there. If you like Facebook events, here it is.
Hit the road on Sunday 19 Feb to go up to Sydney to be part of the Workshop for Potential Cinema’s ‘soup boiler’ bucket colour processing day with AFW experts. Here’s the invite.

Antics Hair Microcinema

The old Antics Hair Salon in Canberra will come to life again in January and February 2023 as Canberra’s newest microcinema.

What: film screening/film performance event
Where: 8 Petrie Plaza, Civic, Canberra
When: 8-930pm Sat 14 Jan
Tickets: $10 donation

Over the past couple of years a group of Canberra artists interested in projection, reflection and moving image have gathered on and off and worked together in different constellations. Join us for screenings at 10 Petrie Plaza (opposite Ted’s Photographics) in Civic in the shop front that was Antics Hair’s final location.

On Sat 14 Jan, join Rowena Crowe from Wollongong, current lead of Sydney’s artists film lab, Workshop for Potential Cinema and local artists Caroline Huf and Louise Curham. We will screen new works originated in 16mm and super 8, some shown on these gauges, some digital.

Here’s a still from Rowena’s Dear Internet
Dear Internet

Dear Internet (and other stories)  is a performance for hand cranked 16mm projection and automated projection.

Early projectionists who hand cranked the projector were opposed to the automation of cinema. Fearing they would be brushed aside by machines they striked in protest. Rowena Crowe’s short, expanded work Dear Internet pays homage to the craft of hand cranked projection and is a critique of our digital times. When digital fatigue descends analogue film acts as antidote. Dear Internet, is an assemblage of found materials arranged in resistance to algorithms, gate keeper passwords, and big data mining.


In mid Feb, join Local Djinni lead Fiona Hooton for another film event and later in Feb, we hope to welcome Ben Taylor from Montreal’s La Lumiere Collective. 


Facebook event here

Louise Curham on Otherfilm Festivals 2006-8

Reposting here an article featuring TLC’s Louise Curham speaking about her memories of the Otherfilm festivals in Brisbane, from the REMIX website.

OtherFilm are a collective dedicated to experimental, avant-garde and expanded forms of art.

Recollecting OtherFilm in Brisbane. The first event I went to was at Queensland College of the Arts in one of the gallery spaces on the river side of the road there, the Southbank campus, I was invited by OtherFilm which was Sally Golding, Danni Zuvela and Joel Stern to come up and make some performances.

Danni had been tracking the work that I had been doing with the Sydney Moving Image Coalition (SMIC), some of it myself and quite a lot of it with Lucas, Lucas Ihlein. Lucas and I still collaborate together as Teaching and Learning Cinema. Danni had got wind of our research on Australian expanded cinema, which we had both become really independently become interested in expanded cinema. And we had an idea to try to drum up interest, I guess in an exhibition of some of this work to show some international work. Lucas really loved the work of the London Film Makers Co-op. He been over to London and met various people like Guy Sherwin and Malcolm Le Grice. He was interested in works like Malcolm’s Horror Film and I had found Corpocinema, the Jeffrey Shaw work and that was an important one in connection to a piece of art I was making at the time for my MFA. So we sort of in different ways, had gotten really interested in expanded cinema, this work that explored the performance of cinema really, and was also had a score-based element to it or at least our experience of it.

Here’s the link to the full article.

Three conjectural models for records people from ‘Tending the archive’

Three conjectural models for archives

There are three key ideas in my (Louise Curham’s) PhD thesis Tending the Archive that are relevant for the recordkeeping community. That community is broadly conceived as everyone interested in facts and how they get produced.

Conjectural model 1 – authenticity

There are three parts to my conjecture about authenticity.

1) Authenticity extends to the quality of the action that gets documented in the record. A good record of a duplicitous action is not going to support the record user.

2) Authenticity calls for a double-visioned experience. An encounter with a record needs to take into account both the event that the user seeks to reach through to, and the record that enables it. The authorship of that record will shape that access. Emphasising authorship of the record plays a role in authenticity.

3) Authenticity also calls for ethical use of the record that emphasises what remains true to the record and what varies from it in its new circulation.
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Trying out the (Wo)Man With Mirror user’s manual with Laura Hindmarsh in March & April 2016

In the last post, I explained how the time delay of almost 12 months has bought some useful thinking time. Here’s a short narrative of what we did with Laura over the weekends of 19-20 March and 6-7 April, 2016:

In suburban Canberra, Lucas and Louise are working with young artist Laura Hindmarsh who is here to try out using the user’s manual produced in 2009 for the Teaching and Learning Cinema re-enactment (Wo)Man With Mirror. The work takes place in three stages.

The first stage is to amass the resources needed for Laura to make the work which involves buying and painting a mirror, buying film stock, organising Pete Humble, our cinematographer friend to assist with filming Laura’s (Wo)Man With Mirror. There is an earlier blog post about the first meeting with Laura and measuring her up for her mirror.
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Work starts on ‘using’ the (Wo)Man With Mirror user’s manual

Subtitle: Louise’s PhD uses (Wo)Man With Mirror as a case study for performance-dependent heritage and things that need passing on from person-to-person; why we involved an anthropologist; why this blog post is/is not a record.

At the Urambi Village Community Centre, Saturday 19 March 2016. Left to right: Louise Curham (Teaching and Learning Cinema), Laura Hindmarsh (artist), Peter Humble (cinematographer), Diana Glazebrook (foreground, anthropologist), Lucas Ihlein (Teaching and Learning Cinema).

Louise’s PhD uses (Wo)Man With Mirror as a case study for performance-dependent heritage and things that need passing on from person-to-person

In this picture, Teaching and Learning Cinema and colleagues are gathered in Canberra to work with visiting artist Laura Hindmarsh to ‘use’ Teaching and Learning Cinema’s (Wo)Man With Mirror user’s manual. We will spend the next two days getting to the point where we’ve shot Laura’s film.  A few weekends later, we’ll work with Laura as she puts together a performance using the film.
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Re-enact, repeat, reiterate, re-perform – a practitioner’s chat

Join us for an afternoon’s discussion about re-enactment and related practices at Westspace, Melbourne Saturday 9 July 2-4 pm

If you make work or think about work that connects with re-enactment, repetition, reiteration and re-performance, or you’re just curious, please come along.

Last November in Brisbane a group of artists, curators and academics spent an afternoon talking re-enactment, repetition and the like as part of an art history conference (more about that in an earlier post on this blog). Several of us will be in Melbourne to listen in at PSi#22, the international performance studies conference and we plan a follow-up chat to discuss our work further, mull over new thoughts and generally reflect on these ideas as we work with them in our practices. We welcome new participants to our conversation.

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