The Screen Shot Issue 01 launch is on at Mother London is taking place on November 3.
London-based editorial project Screen Shottimelines events, topics, reflections and visual culture through a humorous, critical and political lens. Every six months the online platform will take to hosting IRL events, bringing together contributions from writers and artists.
A collaboration with Auc.Art, their first event will kick off with free drinks, a light installation, exhibition and a performance by Baby Moroccothat will transform the space into a “hyper-digital dance floor, filled with selfies, belfies and memes turned IRL”.
The We’re having a great time 🙂 group exhibition is on at Berlin’s ROCKELMANN &, opening July 29 running through September 3.
The exhibition kicks off the start of the gallery’s new Summer CAMP Project, a month-long curatorial program that offers emerging artists the opportunity to develop and produce their own show. Its inauguration is with London- and Berlin-based collective ::MK-DOS::, comprised of Mattia Giussani and Kat Rickard, and features work from six London-based artists.
The works conceptually express the translation of life from “URL to IRL” by producing a collection of soft sculptures, performances, video and laser projections, and mixed media installations. The artists have “sought to re-appropriate and expose just how all of the time spent URL is affecting us IRL”.
The project takes its name from an ancient allegory describing the ascension to Knowledge, as it continues the quest for the “spiritual dimensions of data consumption”. Curatorial duo Francesco Urbano Ragazzi started in organising The Internet Saga with Jonas Mekas, which (below) featured a phone call by Amalia Ulman.
Interestingly, the project also alludes to the rotations of our point of view on moving images, what the press release describes as a “silent revolution which is happening on our devices. The possibility of writing a new vertical cinema”.
Organised by Ben Coonley, this group show screens the first ever 3D project from a range of new and experienced artists. Coined as ‘”idiosyncratic, playful, raw and personal”, the films range in length – from the instant to over 10 minutes. Central to the works is artistic playfulness and development in light of new technologies – learning new software and developing “new relationships to space”.
I like Eva Papamargariti’s re-tweets. One is by artist Sara Ludy and it says: “wonder whose art objects will float when the world ends in a big flood”. Another is by Petra Cortright who writes: “Every time I’m asked for a high res image of a low res work an angel loses its wings”. The London-based artist and I meet very briefly at the opening of Assembly Point’s group exhibition, Faith Dollars, Tax Free Imagination and Uptown Bliss–also running as part of Art Licks Weekend October 2 to 4 –in which she has two new pieces, before she becomes too busy rendering and editing work for several upcoming shows and production gigs to speak again in person.
The amount of production as well as the content produced within Papamargariti’s practice is staggering. It makes you wonder what it must be like psychologically to spend so much time contributing objects and landscapes to computer generated scenes, or “scenarios”, as she describes them. Computer generated metallic spheres, bleak landscapes, and a pair of tongues; Caravaggio’s horses, white linen bedrooms, and people turned into musical instruments playing themselves. These are just a small (non-)example of the things that make up Eva’s image making. They’re non-examples because, as one finds during a Skype chat with Papamargariti, there’s not much use in calling upon a speakable narrative of materiality or any content-based themes.
I ask Papamargariti, who’s also making work for new DAM Gallery show, Porn to Pizza: Domestic Clichés during our brief encounter whether or not she finds the feeling of infinity overwhelming. “No”, she says, “it soothes me”. It makes one think about vast panes of smooth glass. She sends images by 60s Architecture groups, Superstudio and Haus-Rucker-Co who pulled into question the tacit dominant optimism and surplus that ran throughout Modernist Architecture and its surrounding Design by stretching and multiplying perspectives in their images. It recalls a sketch on Papamargariti’s Animal New York profile, where Kanye West is pictured dissing an interior of a Modernist Le Corbusier house that has the largest pane of glass ever made in it. Glass is breakable, and when it’s that large a pane, you can hardly carry it anywhere, it can’t move. In her own videos, Papamargariti’s vast surfaces and images are also endless, but eerily floaty, proposed, uncomfortable, stretched and strangely real –or perhaps that feeling is pessimism. When considering the artist’s aforementioned re-tweet of Sara Ludy’s “big flood” comment, there’s an echo of Superstudio’s proposed flood of the Italian city of Florence.
A 2014 video work, ‘New Nosthetics’ presents shiny balls moving around and becoming attracted to each other in a sparse desert-scape, an automated voice mutters out loud over the video, its corresponding actions being undertaken in a 3D modelling programme. Papamargariti tells me she likes to “inform the viewer of the characteristics of the file [she is] rendering”. Some of the visuals in this work, too, occasionally, intentionally break down and you see what could be an X-ray view of the work. You can see everything. The outcome is an art practice that feels like being in a dream. You can see everything unfold in front of you, not only because you are inside it, but also because you’re the one doing the dreaming.
Eva Papamargariti, ‘Someday I will Buy an Ikea Chair with Bitcoins’ (2015). Courtesy the artist.
Eva Papamargariti: I always dream of rooms, buildings.
Are you always inside the buildings?
EP: Ninety-percent [of the time], yeah. Today I saw a weird dream. I was in a huge building. At some points it appeared in my dream like an old asylum. Then suddenly, inside my dream, I saw myself sleeping inside one of these rooms. I woke up (in the dream) and when I got out of my bed all the furniture in the room disappeared. Then I ran outside and suddenly the building appeared more luxurious and there were screens that were playing art and old movies.
Watching your work makes me focus on my eyes and how I am looking. Is there an attraction to being able to see everything?
EP: My previous studies were in architecture, so an important part of my work has to do with trying to create compositions that can all be viewed as individual frames.
Maybe then better wording would be, ‘to see everything at once’…
EP: Well, at the beginning of the videos you always have an eye that supervises everything, like a Panopticon approach. I got very affected by thinking about things through a bird’s eye view. But then I also want to consider what happens to that view and also the knowledge gained by it when you tip [it] horizontally. So that you see the same sense of everything but on a human scale.
Can you clarify that?
EP: Yeah… I’m thinking of a silent [Samuel] Beckett film called ‘Film’, which is about (and of) a person who is trying to escape being filmed. Watching, you sense that he senses the camera and the viewer behind him, following him. There is always something that has to maintain this contact with the real element. That is one of my intentions.
You mean to keep the scenario unfolding close to the viewer’s eye? With your work there are hardly any people depicted inside. It’s like the filmmaker is the viewer and also the person being followed. ‘Trainroom3.0‘ is interesting in this respect.
EP: Yes, and to keep the virtual object coming so close that you (the viewer) can touch it and kind of make it act. But then there occurs, for example, a violent camera movement that interrupts the video’s normal pace.
What you wrote there really reminds me of your cat / IKEA piece that you made alongside the film, ‘Someday I will Buy an Ikea Chair with Bitcoins’ for the Faith Dollars… show.
EP: Yes, totally. I saw a post on Reddit that was asking: “does anyone have a VITTSJO and a cat?” And I thought that was strange, so I Googled it and it appears cats and IKEA are more connected than I thought. I suppose it has to do with the increasing domesticity and intertwining of consumerism into domestic lives. Like how IKEA also sells things for cats, and I thought, ‘I don’t have a cat’. So I wanted to print the words onto the fabric on top of the outline of a cat that says: ‘I didn’t buy my cat anything from IKEA because I don’t have a cat’. I felt like it inverts this whole system of representation by bringing on this fabric surface all at once (including: cat/ IKEA/ image of non-specific cat/ buying something). It obviously also has a humorous aspect to it, which also somehow subverts the meaning from IKEA adverts. You know, they always try to say something serious but in a cute way.
So are you talking about a productive kind of over-representation?
EP: Yes, but also how easily things can be symbolised now, and how they can produce meanings that are building one inside another. I hope I’m becoming clearer. One of my favourite things to do on Instagram or Twitter is to put hashtags that are completely irrelevant to the actual post I am doing. It feels like a game of defining but also deviating from a dominant statement sometimes.
I’m interested in the pessimism of this. I was thinking about the process of rendering and the idea that maybe you are rendering nothing into everything, and also somehow everything into nothing, especially in relation to objects/ things. Is this what you’re calling ‘Nosthetics’?
EP: Yeh, so the title, ‘Nosthetics’ is No + aesthetics. On art sites, on tumblr, on magazines, on fashion editorials, everything was full of digitally rendered objects, very abstract, blobs, geometrical fragments. And they all had a similar atmosphere, shiny and polished and hyperreal (I must say I also make objects like that a lot) but I don’t know at this point… It feels like there is a factory, that creates massive quantities of these digital objects and disseminates them on the net. They are so distant from reality. Maybe this is why they are so appealing to the eye. Everything becomes a bit flattened.
Like your horizontal perspective that you’ve ‘dragged down’ from the bird’s eye view?
EP: Yeah, and when your eye gets used to something it starts to lose its magic. **
“Search and destroy becomes the much less culpable search, point and click”, says the New(Hu)man exhibition booklet, the visual art supplement to the Newman Festival(see photos top right), which is a three-day music and new media event, running in the Lithuanian spa town of Druskininkai from July 3 to 6.
Rivers, lakes, hills, forests; the Baltic town at the centre of an historic tug-o-war between German, Polish, Russian empires and kingdoms has long been, and continues to be a coveted hotspot for its natural resources. It was once a summer getaway for Tsar Nicholas I, now it’s a health resort for the Baltic and Eastern European elderly. There’s a Catholic Church, an Orthodox Church and an indoor ski slope called the Snow Arena, all evidence of eras laying claim to their own post in Druskininkai’s colonial history. Right now its hostels and hotels are occupied by an international array of artists, curators, musicians, producers and enthusiasts come to engage with a world wide event revolving around its Soviet Summer Amphitheatre, restored especially for the occasion.
Nguzunguzu, Dean Blunt, Lucrecia Dalt andAmnesia Scannerare a few of the overseas acts imported in an impeccable music programme curated by Lithuanian producer J.G. Biberkopf. London-based Lithuanian Ulijona Odišarija, here DJ-ing as Sweatlana, performs a mix made for Newman, the still light Friday opening slot meaning the intended projection (see video below) of hand tricks and green wheat fields plays from a laptop screen facing out to a still sparse audience. London’s Micachu & the Shapes perform, then Biberkopf himself, whose physical body dissolves into a background projection of moving images in manmade constructions, GoPro videos and footage of natural phenomena.
“I wish this bed had wings,/ I wish a lot of things”, croons Berlin-based French-Canadian Dan Bodan, holding his stomach, bent over in a Broadway-like musical delivery while dressed in sports gear and swathed with a pastel pink jumper like it’s a scarf. His soulful voice that sings of romance in the so-called Web 2.0 era is flawless, harmonising with a pre-recorded choral sample about making love long-distance in what he’s announced as a new song.
Bodan’s elegant elegies to the Network are followed by the insulated attack of Lars Holdus’ TCFsoundtrack where musical phrasing is abandoned in favour of what sounds like hundreds of sonic conversations running angrily and aimlessly at once. It evokes a similar sense of dread that Conor McGarrigle’s ‘24hr Social’ (2014), a generative video installed in a dim room of an old wooden building where the New(Hu)man exhibition is housed, does. A projection of six-second looping videos, collected six at a time, at every second of a twenty-four hour cycle, are played one on top of the other in a chaotic layering of personalised perspectives become an oppressive insight into the awful Sublime of social media.
Mitch Posada’s 3D graphic gif animations of human forms glitching out and in to a certain cyberspace play through a screen next door. It’s a perspective that shifts to the the beings those forms have made in Freyja Van Den BoomWeareautonomous’ ‘Robot Party’. The walls of a room set up like a cyberpunk campaign room, wooden chairs and tables flanked by paper printouts of code and manifestos that read “WE ARE AUTONOMOUS. WE ARE ROBOT PARTY. JOIN#03072015” are pinned to its walls.
Another room upstairs, with floorboards and windows darkened by black tarpaulin, shows shifting viewpoints as visualised by landscapes fragmented and mirroring themselves in Baden Pailthorpe’s ‘MQ-9 Reaper’ (2014). The HD video animates a silver drone that looks like it’s made from mercury, a quicksilver image of an object that refracts and is fractured by its own reflection. A sea container suspended in the sky rotates above a scene of arid mountains. A lone bald man in trousers and a work shirt punches at the air.
The heat throughout the weekend is overwhelming and the programme of conversations with artists –including Conor McGarrigle, Freyja Van Den Boom and a laptop projection of ‘artist-avatar’ Laturbo Avedon –is casual. The curator of this year’s ‘Capture All’ transmediale exhibition Robert Sakrowski and Vilnius’ Contemporary Art Centre curator Monika Lipschitz speak without microphones. Claudia Maté makes a rare in-person appearance to talk about the freedom of the personalised avatar (“we can be whoever we want to be”) and presents a work of potentially greater conceptual importance than she cares to articulate herself. ‘The globalmood’ (2014) is a visualisation of corporate equity in the stock market, represented in real-time via the reptilian faces of corresponding male avatars. Their expressions shift along a spectrum from ‘happy’ to ‘sad’ depending on their market price, but always look evil. Sakrowski makes the misguided comparison of Maté’s work to the likes of other woman artists like Amalia Ulman and Molly Soda with the rather tired trope of the ‘Young Girl’, revealing the seemingly inherent sexualisation and objectification of embodied work by women, as viewed by men.
Sakrowski’s comment comes as part of a reductive trend that echoes writer Elvia Wilk’s suggestion that “the posthuman era became a girl”. That’s especially in light of Constant Dullaart’s 2013 video essay invective against Facebook and the narcissistic tendencies social media perpetuates in ‘Crystal Pillars’. Here, the Berlin-based artist’s baffling appropriation of a feminised voice, not Dullaart’s own, delivers the personalised polemic on the “perpetual high school with ever weakening rewards” of Facebook, presented by the artist-man as woman. In the same room, Lithuanian new media and street artist AWK takes 3D scans of New(Hu)Man exhibition visitor’s body’s to be redistributed via their images on the internet.
Artist flags from the Kim Asendorfand Ole Fachconceived Long Distance Gallery are hoisted outside the New(Hu)Man exhibition building, in view of the Druskonis lake. It’s a symbol of the the ideal and idyllic location of Druskininkai, Lithuania, for a programme concerned with the Anthropocene epoch, its name taken from a direct translation of the Greek ‘ἄνθρωπος’ meaning literally ‘man’ (as in ‘human’) along with ‘new’. It’s an unavoidably gendered word that conversely does not evade the attention of Polish-born, cloud-based collective Pussykrewwhose slideshow presents a programme for the “newman / newwoman/ newkind” in work surrounding bodies reformed and rematerialised via 3D renderings and post-industrial aesthetics. It’s as if what these artists aim to achieve,Eva Papamargariti takes further by exploring what happens when and if they do. ‘No boredom, no pain, no routine’ (2014) is a video on the bottom floor of the New(hu)man exhibition, where an avatar of a CGI head on wheels guides its viewer through a digital dystopia explaining, “We just wanted to have everything.” The three-minute film runs in a loop, beginning where it ends and inescapable in its endlessness. **
SWEATLANA, ‘NEWMAN MIX’ (2015) TRACK LISTING:
‘Aussie crow aaaaaaaaaaa’ (Youtube rip) Kelly – ‘What Am I Saying (Make sense)’ Sweatlana – ‘Grandpa Breath’ ‘Field Recording Sweatlana – ‘Burnout’ Klusht Musket Dntel – ‘Paparazzi (Lady Gaga)’ Frank Ocean – ‘Pyramids’ (Sweatlana Transition edit) Capital Children’s Choir – ‘Untrust Us’ (Crystal Castles cover) James K – ‘Drunktrack’ (Florian Kupfer Remix) The Field – ‘No. No…’ Jonathan Dunn – ‘Robocop Title Theme’