[25.11.05] [Andrew Gallix]
GREENWICH DEGREE ZERO
Tom McCarthy of the International Necronautical Society whose first novel, Remainder, has just been published by Metronome Press (and which, incidentally, is 3:AM's Book of the Year), will give a talk tomorrow at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver (2 pm, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island, Vancouver BC V6H 3R9, Room 260). Tom and Rod Dickinson will hold forth on their Greenwich Degree Zero exhibition: "In the exhibition Greenwich Degree Zero, Rod Dickinson, working with writer Tom McCarthy, presents a restaging of an event from 1894 in which an out-of-work French tailor named Martial Bourdin blew himself to pieces in front of the Greenwich Observatory. Found in his pockets were a membership card for the Autonomie Club in London, two tickets to a masked ball in aid of the Revolutionary Party and several recipes for explosives. Best known through the Joseph Conrad novel The Secret Agent, Greenwich Degree Zero re-imagines this attempt to 'blow up time' as a success, with the Observatory and the meridian line damaged or destroyed." Vancouver-based artist Antonia Hirsch will also be taking part.
Tom McCarthy recently told 3:AM: "We've done this piece together in which we re-imagine the anarchist bomb attempt on which Conrad based The Secret Agent, in which an anarchist blew himself to pieces while trying (probably) to blow up the Greenwich Observatory, as a success. So we've made a film which shows the Observatory burning in 1894 (we used an old hand-turned camera plus post-production software for the flames), and doctored a whole set of old newspaper articles about the event to reflect our version of it. But it's not really a 'What-if?' exercise: it's more about how history is always mediated, and raising questions about 'the event' -- plus, of course, Time itself, as represented by the zero meridian. We're making this non-event 'have happened', while still keeping it in some negative space of non-event-hood, a degree zero".