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Excerpts & Objects of Interest


French Polynesia, on a boat, and you’re filming a friend of yours and he’s standing on the edge looking out, looking out to the islands that we’re sailing past. And you call him and he turns around, and momentarily... you don’t recognise him. It’s almost as if the place that he was staring at had momentarily come and—either taken him away—or come to be him, for a moment. Now, I know all of this sounds like complete bullshit, and it probably is, but that’s what it felt like.... It felt as if going past an island in French Polynesia, which rarely sees people—humanoids, let’s say; a really old part of the world. Very rarely has humanoid encounters. [It] May have developed a kind of inquisitiveness; powerful and palpable enough to acquire a form. To acquire ambition. And the ambition is to know a humanoid—that’s what it felt like. Now, of course, these are poetic, metaphorical ruminations on place and location and so on. But its only sometimes in those ways that place, locations, identities, make sense. You know? So, Gysin is right to want a Dreammachine, ‘cause sometimes that’s the only way you can know certain sorts of spaces. Sometimes that’s the only way in which one’s true to relation—to quote Althusser—to the real can be accessed, you know? Because I certainly felt it.  

Lost property comes into being when the rightful owner accidentally or inadvertently forgets where they have placed the belonging. Under common law, the individual who finds the lost property in a public place is allowed to keep it unless the rightful owner returns to claim it.  [The finder] has a legal obligation to make a reasonable effort to locate the rightful owner of both lost and mislaid property.”

Hotel Bardo is an effort to convey something of the artist Brion Gysin in present time. Resisting biography—refusing historicism—and instead attempting to harness the narrative borne by Gysin himself, Hotel Bardo is a transcendent un-biography and ultra-travelogue that traverses a vision of the public domain in which the living and the dead pass freely to make fun of the idea of origin and mock our ideation of cultural posterity. 

The film iteration of Hotel Bardo is various, liberated and endless—shot primarily on 16mm—and is distributed by Light Cone.

A book is in the post—in the offing—& will be completed in 2019.

The video is excerpted from the Hotel Bardo offcuts; the text is excerpted from a recording made by S. Schtinter and transcribed by R. Woodhouse.

This page was published on the occassion of what would’ve been Gysin’s 103rd birthday: January 20th 2019. The working definition of  “lost property” is lifted from Stephen C. Barth and David K. Hayes primer, Hospitality Law: Managing Legal Issues in the Hospitality Industry (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006). 

John Akomfrah is an artist and filmmaker.  

Stanley Schtinter is a filmmaker and artist.



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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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