Video in Common

‘Staying Present’: an AQNB x Video in Common screening rundown

26 October 2016

What happens to the present when we’re stuck in the future? AQNB editor Jean Kay, and Video in Common (ViC) presented the ‘Staying Present’ screening, reading and discussion at Berlin’s Vierte Welt, as part of the Creamcake-organised 3hd Festival, on Wednesday October 12.

In referring to the title of this year’s festival topic ‘There is nothing left but the future?’ AQNB x ViC focussed on the question mark, interrogating what is actually meant by ‘the future’ and whether the past has a role in determining it. The programme presented artists, musicians and ideas drawing on convention and tradition to comment on the contemporary condition by integrating old aesthetics, formats, media, practices and logics into producing new work.

‘Act I, Scene II’ of Jaakko Pallasvuo‘s The Hunchback of South Bermondsey sound piece — originally produced for quarterly podcast Status Effect — opened the event with a glimpse into a near neofeudal future. Armed with an “iPod Shuffle, your Master’s degree, the keys to your apartment”, a character called Lancelot navigated a play and a scene full of “wizadry, alchemy, allurement, sorcery”, while London-based producer Klein talked about the influence of Gospel music and the internet on her visceral vocal ambient project in an AQNB x ViC editorial video production.

 

Meanwhile, Gary Fembot and Easter combined and conflated contemporary issues and ideas with traditionally transgressive queer-punk aesthetics and outdated filming techniques in excerpts of their respective ‘Scream of the Mandrake’ and Sadness is an Evil Gas Inside of Me videos. Maxwell Sterling laid fielded footage of Los Angeles’ surreal landscapes over his ‘Hollywood Medieval’ music production, while Institute for New Feeling looked into the oracle of the online in a custom massage chair and screen experience in ‘seek: a self-fulfilling prophesy’. Finally, writer, artist and witch Martha Windahl of MW Tarotscopes drew up an astrological chart prediction and joined the Berlin event from her base in Los Angeles to predict the future of Europe, live and via Skype.

‘Staying Present’ follows a series of previous events organised by AQNB and video production partner ViC in Berlin, London, and Los Angeles –all key cultural centres in the collaboration’s network. Titled ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’, ‘At the Backend’ and ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ together these programmes interrogated the systems and infrastructures embedded in networked communication, and how this affects distribution, flows of information and power, as well as language, community-building, identity formation and assimilation.

Below is the full programme of video, audio and stills of the works presented in their running order:

Jaakko Pallasvuo: The Hunchback of South Bermondsey, ‘Act I, Scene II’ (2015) [27:17 min]

Helsinki-based artist Jaakko Pallasvuo explores a dystopic future with a view of the contemporary, as well as the past, in a co-production with Roy Boswell. The sound piece, drawing from three years of three different eras — 2555AD, 1677 AD, and 2015 AD — presents a narrated play that mixes and confuses historical signifiers, only to draw parallels between systems of power and hierarchy across ages.

Klein: ‘Key Changes’ (2016) [6:54 min]

London-based producer and performer Klein talks about her influences spanning the breadth of the internet, from Kim Burrell to Pavarotti, and how it feels to be a self-taught musician and artist being embraced by the greater “electronic realm”. Klein released her first EP Lagata on September 1, where she produces a unique blend of athletic vocal exercises that clash and combine with noisy ambience.

Gary Fembot: ‘Scream of the Mandrake’ (2015) [16:00 min]

San Francisco-based musician, director and zine-maker Gary ‘Fembot’ Gregerson bids farewell to the old days of his Bay Area city’s liberal activism and queer counter-culture, now overrun by Silicon Valley tech employees and bourgeois boutique lifestyles. Using blanched Super 8mm film, Sta-Prest and Puce Moment band member Fembot draws on a specific aesthetic tradition of San Francisco’s radical punk past, while revealing the hollow corporate sprawl left at its disemboweled core.

Easter: Sadness is an Evil Gas Inside of Me, Episode 4, ‘The Age of Corn’ (2015) [17:06 min]

Berlin-based art and music duo Stine Omar and Max Boss of Easter present what their press release, written by Vika Kirchenbauer, calls a “soap opera in the guise of an essay film”. The four-episode series produced between 2014 and 2015 stages a world described as being in “absence of present”, one where multiple pasts emerge through the subconscious and internal worlds of its characters. Filmed with a camcorder and narrated by queer icon Vaginal DavisSadness is an Evil Gas Inside of Me contrasts high quality sound with the low resolution video material to construct its own “ambiguous future”.   

Maxwell Sterling: ‘Hollywood Medieval’ (2016) [7:32 min]

LA-based, Manchester-born musician and producer Maxwell Sterling takes his classical training in double-bass and experience in scoring film to produce live renditions of cult-producer James Ferraro‘s ‘Burning Prius’, as well as releasing his own music in recent album Hollywood Medieval on Los Angeles Memory No. 36 Recordings on August 6. Through cut-up and collaged images, and layered and augmented synthesiser samples and recordings, Sterling develops an audio-visual experience at the point where nature and the city collide.

Institute for New Feeling: ‘seek: a self-fulfilling prophesy’ (2016) [3:48 min]

Pittsburgh- and LA-based art collective Institute for New Feeling echo humanity’s age-old obsession with future-telling via the dystopian narrative of modern clairvoyance and its corporate co-option. A live personal session in a massage chair VR that uses personal internet search histories and online surveillance to produce a future reading, ‘seek: a self-fulfilling prophesy’ presents an oracle that offers a false sense of calm in the face of uncertainty.

Martha Windahl: Live Skype psychic Reading

LA-based artist, writer and witch Martha Windahl uses alternative logics and practices to make sense of a universe in chaos. Her ongoing performance and clairvoyant work emerged in the grip of the 2008 Global Economic Crisis, not only as a practical solution to fiscal insecurity but also in response to a growing demand for a new source of reason in an increasingly complex world.**

Martha Windahl, 'Staying Present chart, Oct 12, 2016, 6:00PM CEDT'. Courtesy the artist.
Martha Windahl, ‘Staying Present chart, Oct 12, 2016, 6:00PM CEDT’. Courtesy the artist.

aqnb x Video in Common’s screening ‘Staying Present’ was on at Berlin’s Vierte Welt as part of 3hd Festival, October 12, 2016.

Header image: Maxwell Sterling, ‘Hollywood Medieval’ (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artist.

‘Accessing Economies’: an AQNB x Video in Common screening rundown

22 July 2016

With the accelerated pace of commodification and consumption of marginal identities (and spaces) globally, comes the question of, and tension between complicity and resistance in political art and social critique. Discourse is developing beyond ideas of visibility and representation to notions of assimilation into existing cultural paradigms, which is why AQNB was in Los Angeles to present the ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ screening and reading at Club Pro LA on July 17 to interrogate the politics of identity within commercial or institutional spheres. 

It’s part of an ongoing series of screening, reading, performance and discussion events lead by editor Jean Kay and organised in collaboration with video production partners Video in Common, and follows similar events already held in London and Berlin –two key cultural centres in the art editorial platform’s network. Titled ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’ and ‘At the Backend’, together these earlier programmes interrogated the systems and infrastructures embedded in networked communication, and how this affects distribution, flows of information and power, as well as language, community-building and identity formation.

Meanwhile, ‘Accessing Economies’ carries on that conversation into the consequences of structural affiliations as both inspiring and influencing critical art practice, and creating new markets. Maria Gorodeckaya, for example, inverts the gaze through the lens of female sexual desire in ‘do it for me’, while Vika Kirchenbauer‘s queer subjects confront the high art voyeur with ‘YOU ARE BORING!’: “I mean, who wouldn’t want to fuck a work of conceptual art?”

Evan Ifekoya talks marginality as a lived position for AQNB/ViC editorial video commission ‘Genuine. Original. Authentic.’ and Sarah Boulton‘s poetry, read by  Ulijona Odišarija, passively lingers in the margins, outside of valuation, by dealing with what the artist describes as “what you don’t need to say, and not saying it”. Imran Perretta‘s ‘Untitled (work in progress)’ explores the privilege of apprehension and self-analysis for a work in progress video, while Ann Hirsch and Cristine Brache present two videos that concisely and consciously apply for access to systems of power and control, only to complicate and disrupt them when awarded it.  

Below is the full programme of video, audio and stills of the works presented in their running order:

Maria Gorodeckaya: ‘do it for me’ (2016) [5:11]

Moscow-born, London-based artist Maria Gorodeckaya explores the nature of women’s objectification,
reclaiming the gaze through the lens of the camera and re-directing it onto the male body. Inverting sexual power dynamics, Gorodeckaya’s work expands into poetry, sculpture and installation, building on her interests in desire and its suppression by religious, economic and institutional means.

Evan Ifekoya: ‘Genuine. Original. Authentic.’ (2015) [8:21 min]

London-based artist Evan Ifekoya discusses their ongoing music video series, questioning the notion of cultural or personal authenticity and what it means to be entertaining. Also working with collage, knitting and drawing, Ifekoya talks about deconstructing pervasive gender binaries, expressing the banality and importance of physical ‘making’.

Vika Kirchenbauer: ‘YOU ARE BORING!’ (2015) [13:44], ‘COOL FOR YOU – GIVEN YOUR CONVENIENT ABSENCE’ (2016) [2:25]

Berlin-based artist Vika Kirchenbauer looks at the transference of (certain) bodies and politics from subcultural to high art spaces and the new dynamics that emerge. In complicating ideas of performance and shifting the spectator’s perspective back on themselves, Kirchenbauer questions how power and self-understanding is renegotiated within an institutional framework.

Sarah Boulton: Poetry read by Ulijona Odišarija [2:59 min]

London-based artist and poet Sarah Boulton presents moments of inclusivity, engaging and implicating its audience directly or with distance, or both. Friend and fellow artist Ulijona Odišarija reads as a single clear voice without embellishment, expressing a certain creative ambience around perceptions and consciousness in relation to objects that refuse signification and thus capital value.

Imran Perretta: ‘Untitled (work in progress)’ (2016) [5:00 min]

London-based artist Imran Perretta explores the liminal space between socially and culturally constructed spaces, as well as the role of the body within that. Inscribed as they are with external assumptions, prejudices and, above all, concerns, Perretta’s film is an interrogation of white-washed narratives of privilege and their ideologies of self-actualisation, described in an aqnb review of his performance work as, “the over analyzed body in stark contrast to the under analyzed body”.

Imran Perretta, 'Untitled (work in progress)' (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artist.
Imran Perretta, ‘Untitled (work in progress)’ (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artist.

Ann Hirsch: ‘Here For You (Or my Brief Love Affair with Frank Maresca)’ (2011) [14:06]

LA-based artist Ann Hirsch interrogates (networked) media and its false assumptions of personal freedom. Placing herself in the externally constructed environment of a reality TV programme and its culture of constant surveillance, Hirsch surrenders to the mechanism of production, where she and 14 other contestants vie for the affections of ‘Frank the Bachelor’ on camera with no control on how they’re viewed, edited or represented.

Cristine Brache:, ‘Sequence 02 1’ (2016) [15:56 min], ‘finally people are reading about me’ [00:14 min] (2016)
[00:14 min]

Toronto-based artist and poet Cristine Brache shows marginal women’s bodies and their reproduction as objects in circulation. In complicating and questioning economic, political and sexual power relations as both oppressed and empowered, Brache’s at times fetishistic work expresses a tension between aspiring for access and visibility, and the means by which one achieves it.



aqnb x Video in Common’s screening ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ was on at Club Pro Los Angeles, July 17, 2016.

Header image: Vika Kirchenbauer, ‘YOU ARE BORING!’ (2016) @ Club Pro Los Angeles. Screening view.

‘At the Backend’: an AQNB x Video in Common screening rundown

16 May 2016

With new systems and infrastructures come new ways of organising information, new ways of thinking, of coming together. In light of this notion, AQNB editor Jean Kay, and Video in Common (ViC) founder Caroline Heron visited London’s Assembly Point, with an event called ‘At the Backend’, last Friday, May 6, to contemplate the theme of the Peckham gallery’s three-week Tableaux programme, in a very literal interpretation of its dictionary.com definition being, “a picture, as of a scene.”

‘At the Backend’ followed on from the ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’ screening at Berlin’s Import Projects in March by considering AQNB‘s forthcoming website upgrade, and the questions and developments that emerge when reformulating the categories, formats and frameworks for presenting information to an international audience. We examined the work of some artists within our global network that somehow addressed or embodied these semiotic shifts that come with networked communication, and its influence on community-building and identity-formation.

These included AQNB/ViC editorial video commissions by two Berlin-based artists —’ASMR-tist’ Claire Tolan discussing her practice born from the YouTube community concerned with the Auto Sensory Meridian Response phenomenon, and Anna Zett talking about constructing and editing narratives around an initial claim into video. Helsinki-based artist Kimmo Modig contributed a  video—consisting of outtakes from sessions leading up to a work presented as part of curator Valentina Fois‘  The Utopia Internet Dystopia pavilion at last year’s The Wrong biennale —especially for AQNB, as a response to the affective labour and techniques of YouTube celebrities.

Encyclopedia Inc., ‘Yellowcake’ (2015). Courtesy the artists.
Encyclopedia Inc., ‘Yellowcake’ (2015). Installation detail. Courtesy the artists.

Los Angeles-based collective Encyclopedia Inc. shared two videos that illustrate a widely varied approach to their ongoing interest in uranium. The symbolic and physical properties of radiation becomes the sole anchor of a responsive, research-based practice that eschews any drive towards a single identifiable aesthetic or mode of working.

Ashley Angelus Ashley presented a live reading of her religious poetry via Skype from her base in Philadelphia. That was followed by a Q&A where she discussed her shapeshifting practice and still-evolving sense of self in an often oppressive digital regime that has negatively exposed her as an artist, writer and person too young. Ashley continues to actively evade identification while exploring the parallels between, and ritual practice of institutionalised religion and popular culture. Meanwhile, collectives like Johannesburg’s CUSS Group passively confuse and elude classification within global (see: western) internet convention, by promoting misinformation through inaction when it comes to readings and representations of their work outside of their own self-presentation. Taking footage appropriated from artist-musician Dean Blunt‘s 2014 ‘DEF Freestyle‘ single and re-presenting it in a pop-up exhibition from the back of a car as part of their Video Party series in Johannesburg, Geneva-based co-founder Ravi Govender discussed the groups disinterest in regulating the distribution of their work and identity outside of their own context, in opposition to the hyper-constructed artistic identity of an artist like Dean Blunt. Rather than try to be understood within a proscribed informational system, CUSS Group dismiss its authority entirely.

Below are the full videos, excerpts (and video stills) of the films and readings presented in their running order:

Claire Tolan: ‘Thinking Systems (ASMR)’ (2016) video. [6:55 min]

Berlin-based artist Claire Tolan discusses YouTube-born phenomenon ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) and how it informs her art practice. From mixing ASMR sounds on the radio to organising live ASMR Karaoke events, Tolan’s work and interests are centred on how strangers come together online and communities are formed alongside new technologies.

Anna Zett: ‘Theory of Everything’, p.1 (2016) video. [7:02 min]

Berlin-based artist Anna Zett talks about gathering empirical evidence of the attitudes and perspectives surrounding her chosen subjects, including dinosaurs, boxing and the brain. Prior to her most recent video work, ‘Circuit Training’ (2015), Zett’s impressive “modern research drama” ‘This Unwieldy Object’ (2014) saw her dealing in the construction of raw data into meaningful narratives along existing ideological lines.

Ashley Angelus Ashley, ‘BITCH/BITCH’ (2016) poetry reading

Philadelphia-based artist Ashley Angelus Ashley seeks to reconcile her religious poetry with the social experience of exploitation and oppression. Taken from the position of what she calls a “sexually androgynous Catholic woman”, Ashley presents a live poetry reading via Skype, covering the stigmatization of gender nonconformity, ritualized humiliation, the sex industry, internalized misogyny, and biological control.

Encyclopedia Inc.: ‘Yellowcake’ (2015) [1:25 min], ‘Fukushima, Mon Amour’ (2016) [3:34]

LA-based collective Encyclopedia Inc. –Carlye Packer, Googie Karrass and Nicholas Korody –is a research-based project that interrogates the inherited western idea of an object in isolation. In a continually evolving, process-driven practice that questions notions of art and information as self-evident, the group has produced publications, videos and installations reflecting a conceptual approach to the lived reality of ecological enmeshment, with uranium at its core.

Encyclopedia Inc., ‘Fukushima, Mon Amour’ (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artists.
Encyclopedia Inc., ‘Fukushima, Mon Amour’ (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artists.

Kimmo Modig: ‘KIMMOTALKS’ (2016) [9:26]

Helsinki-based artist Kimmo Modig deconstructs the languages and systems surrounding labour and production by both mimicking and destabilising an audience’s conception of capital flows in its various forms. Modig performs his own anxieties and sense of precarity in relation to the existing lexicons of communication media –like video, marketing and sound design –thus laying bare the oppression and authority implicit in the restrictive social paradigms they reinforce.

Cuss Group: ‘Video Party #4’ (2014) [8:22 min]

Johannesburg and Geneva-based collective Cuss Group –Ravi Govender, Jamal Nxedlana Zamani Xolo, Lex Trickett, Bogosi Sekhukhuni and Chris Mc Michael  –have been working as a dispersed group of artists and practitioners on the margins of not only a South African art market indifferent to video as a medium, but a globalised online network of artists still focussed on traditional Western economic centres. But instead of applying for impossible access to these systems and flows of information, Cuss Group passively evade legibility within existing colonial structures surrounding art and aesthetics.

AQNB x Video in Common’s ‘At the Backend’ event was on at London’s Assembly Point, May 6, 2016.

 

Tableaux @ Assembly Point, May 4 – 31

2 May 2016

London’s Assembly Point is presenting a programme of interactive screenings, performances and discussions called Tableaux, running May 4 to 31.

Focusing on artists’ moving image in relation to the open interpretation of its title, the season will present events curated by invited artists and organisations —including aqnb and video partner Video in Common on May 6— in twelve events over three weeks.

Those presenting include the art space itself to open, as well as Slow Bounce, aqnb and George Mellor/Sister Arrow with Rosalind Wilson in the first week. There will be screenings and performances coordinated by Europa and Åbäke, Nicholas Brooks, Charles Richardson, and Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) in week two, as well as programmes from FriezeLea Collet & Marios Stamatis, Eva Papamargariti, and a rather Joseph Townshend and Ruaidhri Ryan to finish.

See the Assembly Point website for the full programme.**

Lea Collet & Marios Stamatis, KPIs [Key Performance Interludes] 2016. Courtesy the artists and Green Ray
Lea Collet & Marios Stamatis, ‘KPIs [Key Performance Interludes]’ (2016). Courtesy the artists + Green Ray, London.

Kimmo Modig @ The White Building, Apr 29

28 April 2016

Kimmo Modig is presenting Listen to Yourself: Sound Design Tutorial with Pappa Modig at London’s The White Building on April 29.

The Helsinki-based artist opened his SPACE residency with a “show-and-tell shop talk performance anxiety q&q event”, Living with Money in December of last year. It began with a “group therapy session”-cum-live sound design demo that culminated in a collaborative sound piece being produced in collaboration with his audience —specifically in response to The White Building’s location in the Hackney Wick art hub —called ‘RADIO PLAY CREATIVE INDUSTRY’ (2015), embedded below.

For this closing event, ‘Pappa Modig‘ will look at what the press release calls “key questions concerning the use of sound effects with moving objects & subjects”, such as “Does a lot of reverb always equal wealth?”, accompanied by video cameras peopled by Video in Common and an open letter exploring notions of affective labour and art production.

See Space website for details.**

Anna Zett: ‘Theory of Everything’, p.2

26 April 2016

“In the boxing ring I practice a language that was already there”, writes Anna Zett in her piece, ‘Fist to Brain’, published in The New Inquiry in 2015. In the second of two videos exploring the Berlin-based artist’s work for aqnb’s ongoing video series made in collaboration with Video in Common, Zett shares her thoughts on the symbolic language of boxing in relation to the brain. Expressing a keen interest and dedication to the martial art independent of her creative practice, Zett discusses how the two traditions became intertwined, ultimately informing each other and culminating in video and performance, ‘Circuit Training‘ (2015), showing at London’s Banner Repeater between November 2015 and January 2016.


Zett’s ‘This Unwieldy Object’ video essay debuted at London’s Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future at Serpentine galleries in 2014, a 47-minute film tracking the artist on a research-driven road trip through the United States, and her encounters with the fossil traders, sculptors and scientists who have a hand in constructing its primordial history in the image of the country’s pro-colonial scientific ideology.

Often working with text and language as an imperial tool, the Leipzig-born artist is also responsible for the ‘DINOSAUR.GIF’ (2014) video lecture, which draws connections between a history of blockbuster film with capitalism, as well as spoken word presentations featured at London’s General Fine Arts ‘Values’ issue launch and Berlin’s After the Eclipse readings. Zett’s writing has also appeared in the The New Inquiry and Arcadia Missa’s How To Sleep Faster 5.**

Watch the video embedded above and see here for Part One.

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Produced in partnership with Video in Common. This project has been made possible through the generous support of Arts Council England.

Claire Tolan: ‘Thinking Systems (ASMR)’, p.2

2 February 2016

“I really expected it to kind of drown itself in a while”, says artist Claire Tolan about her ongoing research, interest and interaction with the YouTube-born practice and neologism ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response).

In the second of two videos exploring the Berlin-based artist’s work –as part of our ongoing video series made in collaboration with Video in Common aqnb joins Tolan in talking about developing her work, from mixing ASMR sounds live on air for a regular show at Berlin Community Radio called ‘You’re Worth It’ to applying a growing archive to her ringtone database Shush Systems and live ASMR Karaoke events. 

 Spending three-months in London last year on the Perlin Noise Residency, Tolan not only developed Shush Systems but teamed up with fellow SPACE residency artist Kei Kreutler to develop Second Foundation – a reading group and events series that explores practices of cybernetic pedagogy. It’s loosely based on a shared interest in veteran media artist Roy Ascott’s Groundcourse programme and precipitated in two major live performances –one by Tolan supporting Holly Herndon at Oval Space and another with Kreutler launching Second Foundation at Goethe-Institut.

The latter Tolan describes as a sort of “social evening” or “ice breaker” in a physical space that models itself on interactions on the internet. It explores how strangers come together and communities are formed alongside new technologies: “it’s powerful to think about how we can use the potential of different kinds of communication”.**

Watch the video embedded above and see here for Part One.

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Produced in partnership with Video in Common. This project has been made possible through the generous support of Arts Council England.