Harry Sanderson

Tainted Love: Surface, image + display in modernist architecture encouraging exhibitionism in bad faith for the Soft Sell group show

2 November 2017

The Soft Sell group exhibition is on at Berlin’s ROOM E-10 27 at Center, opening November 2 and running to December 2.

Featuring Aline Bouvy, Clémence de la Tour du Pin, Julius Heinemann, Harry Sanderson, Maximilian Schmoetzer, and Omsk Social Club, the show explores the role of architecture in terms of asserting and determining a subject position.

It’s title is a reference to the idea of soft power, as well as the 80s British New Wave band Soft Cell, while suggesting “a padded cell and by extension the panoptic gaze of the state or the institution.” Also referencing Benjamin H. Bratton‘s reverse panopticon effect as ‘exhibitionism in bad faith,’ where one understands they’re being watched but acts as if they’re not, the show looks at architecture, as it is employed within commercial and museum settings. It thus places emphasis on ‘surface, image and display,’ while rendering us “passive consumers and impotent political agents.”

See the FB event page for details.**

Maximilian Schmoetzer, And then masses of detached stones and other accessories common to the genre. (2017). Installation detail. Courtesy the artist + Room E-10 27, Berlin.
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Harry Sanderson, ‘Solid State: Sunlight’ (2016) exhibition photos

18 July 2016

Solid State: Sunlight, a solo show by Harry Sanderson ran at Levy Delval in Brussels between January 21 and March 12, 2016. The exhibition was curated by Arcadia Missa director, Rozsa Zita Farkas and was the outcome of a research period in which the London-Berlin based artist spent time working out how to materialise digital images in physical and sculptural space.

The works in Solid State: Sunlight comprised of hanging sculptures that act as lenses through which an image is created and brought to life on the gallery wall in front with the help of the beam of a torchlight, producing “a new level of actuality” for the image in question.

Harry Sanderson, ’Solid State: Sunlight (2016). Install detail. Courtesy the artist and Levy.Delval, Brussels
Harry Sanderson, ‘Solid State: Sunlight’ (2016). Install detail. Courtesy the artist and Levy.Delval, Brussels.

Also projected in the space was a video showing Sanderson’s making process behind each piece, or lens, touching upon the inherent archival nature that the exhibition and installation itself alludes to by housing these small-scale ‘devices’. They share an aesthetic with similar image-making objects used in early cinema, or with early projection techniques.**

Harry Sanderson’s Solid State: Sunlight was on at Levy Delval, running January 21 – March 12, 2016.

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Exponential Anything @ Museum für Fotografie, Nov 26 – Jan 10

26 November 2015

The Exponential Anything group exhibition is on at Berlin’s Museum für Fotografie, opening November 26 and running to January 10, 2016.

The show is the fifth of a series from a collaborative project between the Staatliche Museen’s Kunstbibliothek and the Universität der Künste Berlin titled SEEN BY, inviting guest curators to exhibit the work of students at the UdK Berlin.

Curated by Vera Tollmann, Exponential Anything reflects on an IBM brochure from 1979 called ‘The Information Machine’ and its notion of computers. “Are the ‘intelligent machines’ we know as A.I. and robots again being assigned uncanny properties?” it asks, pre-empting the radical development of intelligent technology into the out of control ‘monsters’ of classic robot stories through the opaque mechanisms of the internet.

Exploring the complexity of virtual networks and the misguided ‘solutionism’ of Silicon Valley, participating artists Alex Chalmers/Bob van der Wal, Alice Dalgalarrondo, Petja Ivanova, BMC, Pauline Niedermayer, Harry Sanderson, Maximilian Schmoetzer, Andres Villarreal and Dan Ward aim to demystify the mechanisms leading to a destructive trajectory creating “more users, more computers – more raw materials, more electronic waste”.

See the Museum für Fotografie website for details.**

Harry Sanderson, ‘F_R (flexibledisplay)’ (2013.) Still from documentation. Video installation.
Harry Sanderson, ‘F_R (flexibledisplay)’ (2013.) Still from documentation. Video installation.

Header image: Maximilian Schmoetzer, ‘Preliminary Material for 2022’ (2015). Video Still. 

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Jaakko Pallasvuo @ Jupiter Woods, Jul 24

24 July 2015

Jupiter Woods has launched its sixth artist-in-residence with Jaakko Pallasvuo, hosting the Helsinki-based artist for a month both in the physical gallery and on Instagram from July 5 to August 7, with an exhibition of his work on July 24.

Jupiter Woods’ residency programme, which has in previous cycles included Viktor TimofeevHarry Sanderson, and Saemundur Thor Helgason, invites artists and other “cultural agents” to their space, providing them with the opportunity to live and work on the platform’s premises, engaging in research or producing new work.

The works created by Pallasvuo during the first half of his residency will be exhibited this Friday, July 4 under the title Song, while the artist continues to work and inhabit the gallery as a studio space. While in London, Pallasvuo will also present his work at the ICA on August 7 as part of the discussion programme ‘Culture Now’.

See the Jupiter Woods website for details. **


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Distances @ Jupiter Woods, Mar 13 – 28

11 March 2015

Jupiter Woods is bringing a new group exhibition to its London space, titled Distances and running from March 13 to March 28.

The show features the works of five different artists. There is Andrew Normal Wilson, with whom we did an interview a while back, as well as Harry Sanderson, and Susan Schuppli and Tom Tlalim, with artist Cory Scozzari curating.

The exhibition will run concurrently with Max Stocklosa’s permanent installation, ‘More World Material: Coyote’, seeking to reveal the “layers of disproportionality and invisibility that are made more complex through the use of technology”. In specific, the show concentrates on the use of drones and overhead surveillance: the hidden labour of fragmented technological production, as well as their ethical repercussions.

See the FB event page for details. **

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Harry Sanderson @ Cell Project Space, Jan 15

13 January 2015

Cell Project Space is hosting an ongoing live screening of Harry Sanderson’s ‘We Are The Human Network (smoke rare-earth-petal)’ for one weekend only, beginning on January 15.

The event consists of a 3-channel video interwoven with matter and processes underpinning ‘καυστός’, a new series of “caustic light sculptures” in which software is used to form digital images from natural light, accompanied by sound used as a “sculptural element”.

This video installation functions much as Sanderson’s other work does, images produced and reproduced “in differing contexts, formats, and layers of detail until the images themselves start to function as a language of their own”. 

See the screening FB page for details. **


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Mobile Life Seminar w/ Harry Sanderson @ KTH, Aug 28

27 August 2014

Harry Sanderson will be speaking at the Mobile Life Seminar at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology on August 28.

The artist’s oeuvre includes everything from sound performances to interactive software sculptures and online commissions (such as a recent one Sanderson did with Yuri Pattison at Migrating Origins), using his work to investigate labour’s embeddedness in the language of visual cultures.

For the seminar, Sanderson’s focus falls on the relationships between technology and capitalism, exploring the artistic and cultural potentials of using weaponized surveillance technology, as well as its ethical implications. He does this through several strands of research, examining, among other things, the commodification of attention, neuro-marketing, and the “technologization of the body and the corresponding ‘humanization’ of technology”, as well as the connection between the Cartesian mind-body split and the society’s entrenched division between manual and intellectual labour.

The talk will be broadcast through Bambuser here.

See the KTH event page for details. **

Harry Sanderson & Arcadia Missa from aqnb.com on Vimeo.


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Migrating Origins @ TAP, Apr 7-Jun 14

4 April 2014

Migrating Origins, an online project by Temporary Art Project and curated by Warren Harper & James Ravinet in association with SoSLUG, will run from April 7 to June 14.

Through the course of the month+, TAP will feature the works of two dynamic artists, showcasing the work of Yuri Pattison from April 7 to June 7 and that of Harry Sanderson from April 14 to June 14. Exploring  the ubiquitous engagement with digital media in the developed world and its problematic consequences, ranging from that of its broad effects on human cognition to more specific problems such as authorship, Migrating Origins investigates how the moving image is embedded into “the fabric of our everyday lives” and how it, in turn, relates to the power structures of its reception and production.

To find out more about Yuri Pattison, you read his interview with aqnb, and likewise for Harry Sanderson.

Visit the official TAP event page here or get details on he event on our aqnb event listing.**

"Ashiato" by Harry Sanderson. Image courtesy TAP.
“Ashiato” by Harry Sanderson. Image courtesy TAP.
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Medium: Format @ ICA, Mar 22

21 March 2014

The first edition of Lunch Bytes, Medium:Format, is happening at London’s ICA on March 22.

One of of four annual public discussions led by Lunch Bytes‘ European edition and examining the repercussions of an increasingly ubiquitous digital world on artistic practices, the event will focus on how artistic output has been affected by changes to social and creative media and whether the distinctions between them are even relevant.

This installment will feature artist and writer Hito Steyerl, curator and writer Inke Arns, artist and writer Huw Lemmey, and artist Harry Sanderson.

Read a review of Hito Steyerl’s current exhibition in London and see the ICA website for details. **

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Near Now 2014-2015 Fellowships announced

11 February 2014

Dejan MitrovicHarry Sanderson and Ben Vickers have been announced as fellows for 15-month artistic and professional development placement with Nottingham’s Near Now.

As part of the programme’s efforts to critically explore the place and impact of technology in everyday life the three practitioners -including Digital curator at Serpentine Gallery and LimaZulu co-founder Vickers, RCA graduate and creative entrepreneur Mitrovic and Sanderson, who recently worked with led the Unified Fabric exhibition at Arcadia Missa, will be developing their work with Near Now’s support from January 2014 to March 2015.

Watch an interview with Harry Sanderson and see the Near Now website for details. **

Header image by Harry Sanderson

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An interview with Harry Sanderson & Arcadia Missa

14 October 2013

As part of South London gallery Arcadia Missa‘s ‘(networked) every whisper is a crash on my ears’ programme, artist Harry Sanderson‘s Unified Fabric exposes the violence of the digital image. Based around his 2013 essay, ‘Human Resolution’ published in Mute Magazine in April this year, he explores the labour required to produce the technology that generates immaterial art and our complicity in perpetuating these exploitative working conditions in a globalised, post-Fordist economic context.

The exhibition is an extension on Sanderson’s ideas in ‘Human Resolutions’, as well as last month’s Mining the Object panel discussion, and sees Sanderson construct his own render farm -a high powered super-computer typically used for rendering animation film -to be exhibited with work by Hito Steyerl, Clunie Reid, Melika Ngombe Kolongo & Daniella Russo, Maja Cule and Takeshi Shiomitsu, as well as writing by Eleanor Weber and Michael Runyan.

For this interview we joined Sanderson, along with Arcadia Missa founders Rozsa Farkas and Tom Clark, in Farkas’ bedroom to talk about the Unified Fabric exhibition, opening October 15, along with the violence of the image, art-as-political and extending discourse beyond their own four walls. **

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How to Sleep Faster #4 reviewed

28 September 2013

Between Paul Kneale’s intermittent “tweets” in ‘UNTHESIS’ and Harry Sanderson’s detailed exposition on the violence of the immaterial in ‘Human Resolution’, Arcadia Missa’s fourth edition of bi-annual journal How to Sleep Faster has the current art world covered. It goes without saying that we’re living in strange times and, in a networked collaborative discussion spanning art aesthetics, materiality and politics, this collection of essays, artworks, creative writing and ‘other’ illustrates that. For some, it might be hard to care about feminism and queer theory in the face of PRISM, economic crisis and global exploitation but its all discourse that emerges as central to the ultimate problem of Capital.

From Julian Molina’s critique of claims that “social justice could be achieved through markets” to Jesse Darling’s “phallic modernity”, its clear that myriad oppressions and exploitations are key in the Patriarchal despotism of Western neo-liberalism. Maja Malou Lyse’s (Boothbitch) two-page colour spread selfie –reclining, armpits au naturale, complete with an unfilled tag box begging “type any name” –expresses liberated pubes as still the exception and not the rule amidst Hannah Black’s “sexy but not sexual” ‘Hot Babes’. That in turn echoes Ann Hirsch’s praise of the selfie in ‘Bitching and Whining’ while expounding on the productive and political power of online “bitching”. That’s in as much as the selfie helps propagate images in opposition to the unfair ideals of traditional media, and public whining can do the same.

The power of those mediated conventions in shaping the public consciousness is explored by John Bloomfield in ‘Lessons in Becoming Heterosexual’ where film establishes and normalises sexual behaviour as being heterosexual. Huw Lemmey’s ‘Isherwood’s Gay Cinema’ goes on to investigate the effect of that resultant “orthodoxy of default heterosexuality”. Both pieces explicitly politicise their subject, where Bloomfield’s “heterosexual behaviour” is inextricably linked to Capitalism through work, Lemmey’s “gay subjectivity” as a means towards anarchy. Inherently radical by its very ‘deviance’, its a way towards dismantling those precarious establishments, which Darling defines later as “all things even big things”.

A call for resistance then. ‘FEMININE//FEMINIST’ and Arcadia Missa co-founder and co-curator Rózsa Zita Farkas makes claims to resisting commodification and total subsumption by “owning the feminine in a feminist context” because “they themselves have incorporated the object image”, not big business. Harry Burke and Metahaven propose to “strike at the level of discourse” by uniting people in dissent “in the space of a LOL or a raised eyebrow”, ridiculing authority and encouraging “collective disobedience, while revealing structural injustice” in ‘Metahaven, visibility and the joke’. William Kherbek too, stopped looking for love and “started looking for lulz” by settling for online bi-curious sex with a “dude cybergremlin” in ‘Tomorrow, the New Earth’. Because, as Eleanor Ivory Weber points out in ‘Anno Domini but add another D’, feminine love-pleasure and the masculine (or Patriarchal) envy of it equates to Franco ‘Bifo’ Beraldi’s “acquisition, possession and containment” and the acceptance of the “finite (male) version” of universal truth. The role of ‘love’ as just one system of control carries on into Weber’s citation of art critic Jan Verwoert’s essay, ‘Faith Money Love’, where economics replaces religion as Divine Sovereign at the “amorphous altar known as the stock exchange”.

Jesse Darling, 'Britney Spears' (2013). Image courtesy of Arcadia Missa.
Jesse Darling, ‘Britney Spears’ (2013). Image courtesy of Arcadia Missa.

Our complicity in these systems of control is also given an accusatory glance inwards. Rosa Aiello’s Alien Logic’ explores her own acceptance of the “blank ‘terror’ space” propagated by Soft Horror TV and “the couch of dramatic irony”. Holly White recognises the role she plays in globalisation by eating Snickers and listening to Lana Del Rey every day, at home and abroad: “my love of brands was part of the problem”. Consumption as cause of exploitation is nowhere more explicit than in Sanderson’s ‘Human Resolution’, illustrating the ubiquity of the digital commodity and the physical labour required to produce it.

It’s a focus on these realities and their very human effects that Georgina Miller and Felix Petty demonstrate in ‘Clean Sheets’ and ‘Welcome to Vukovar’, respectively. One, her regrettable relations with a male admirer “because you feel grateful” (“that flaccid pile of pulp should pay for my sheets”). The other, the potential for proletariat resistance in football culture and its fragile position balanced between “the disorganised violence of the mob” and “the organised violence of the State”.

Finally, Kneale heralds the ‘TUMBLR DARK AGE’ under the “totally, vertically integrated, end-user-system” of a New Christendom, which you could easily identify as the Metahaven-defined “new type of US imperialism”. But, perhaps there’s still hope, or at least potential, in a final footnote by Darling in ‘Precarious Architectures and the Slippage of the Phallic Modern’: “You know there’s a hole in the ozone the size of North America? That isn’t so big.” **

Acardia Missa’s How to Sleep Faster is a bi-annual journal of critical collaborative discourse.

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