Curated by Vincent Honoré and Nicoletta Lambertucci, the premise of Networked Flesh moves beyond human corporeity in the digital era and is more concerned with empowered bodies that operate through networks to “perform, transform, transcribe, reconfigure or reinvent” and brings works together that view fluidity within a context of positive potential.
Exploring a condition of sublimation, the exhibition includes paintings, sculptures and drawings and includes work by both established, historical and emerging artists.
The BRONDE. It’s not blonde. It’s not brunette. It’s somewhere (really pretty) in between group exhibition was on in Milan on the ground floor of a beauty Salon called Orea Malià,running February 11 to March 3, 2016. Curated by UTTER Collective, the show featured works by Ann Hirsch, Molly Soda and Tabita Rezaire. It is the first project supported by Fiori; a soon to be launched platform that seeks to create occasions of dialogue and confrontation between art, research and activism.
Analysing the social and political implications that new technologies have on gender, representation and mass culture, the exhibition guided the viewer through a journey by sharing common aesthetics and sensitivities.
Using Tablets and TV screens, the group of young artists reflected on the possibilities of equal representation of minorities and marginalised groups and interrogated the way digital infrastructures alter the organisation and perception of human relationships.**
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 LAon 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 Brachepresent 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.
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”.
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)
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 and Video in Common (ViC) are presenting screening, performance and discussion event, ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ at Los Angeles’ Club Pro LA on July 17.
As discourse develops beyond ideas of visibility and representation to notions of assimilation into existing cultural paradigms, aqnb editor Jean Kay will be presenting a selection of artists’ works that considers the consequences of structural affiliations and institutionalisation as both inspiring and influencing critical art practice.
‘Accessing Economies’ follows similar events organised by the art editorial platform and video production partner ViC in London and Berlin –two key cultural centres in the aqnb network. Titled ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’ and ‘At the Backend’, 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 and identity formation.
Artist Aram Bartholl will present a Speed Show in Los Angeles, the first of the series to be held in the City on the evening of February 18.
In 2010Bartholl initiated the series of Speed Showsin Berlin. Its set up is an exhibition that can take place anywhere in an internet cafe displaying for a moment (or evening) works that already exist online, leaving the job of the curator simply to find a good harmony of things to channel into the cafe space.
“A lot has happened since 2010”, as Bartholl, who aqnbinterviewed in 2013, states in the press release. He talks about how manifestos work and interestingly seems to be writing one as a press release that undoes a worded relationship between screens, the internet and artists.
In a bid to start 2016 with a big show, the Whitechapel gallery has put together a survey of over 100 artworks by more than 70 artists working with computer and internet technologies during the last 50 years. It’s called Electronic Superhighway (2016 – 1966), which sounds new and exciting, because it’s ‘about technology’. But the name also has a retro feel about it. Superhighway sounds a bit 70s. Indeed, the term was coined in 1974, by the artist Nam June Paik as a metaphor for the potentialities in a globalised world connected through technology. By choosing to name the show in such a way it allows the curators to situate today’s current state of affairs as one driven by technology, but also to situate the show historically, implying a previous state of affairs. This is made explicit in the exhibition layout, which splits the show into two distinct sections. Downstairs, where you enter the gallery, the work on show is from 2000 to 2016, and upstairs the work dates from 1966 to 1999.
This split between two states of affairs is one riven, simply, by the internet –not in relation to any specific point of origin, but in terms of the everyday colloquialism in which it is understood today. And herein lies the question that, for me, the exhibition poses. If this show is ‘about technology’ then are the technologies of the recent past homologous with today’s technologies? Or maybe even, what is technology?
The exhibition is arranged in reverse chronological order, but I thought that I’d reverse this reverse, as it were, and start with the earlier work. Upstairs is carpeted and peaceful. There’s lots of work up here – Ulla Wiggen’s paintings of electronic circuits (1967), Vera Molnar’s computer drawings (1974), E.A.T’s modified objects for performance (1966), to name just a fraction but to also illustrate the diversity of material. There is plenty of moving image –video and early computer generated works.
In Judith Barry’s film ‘Space Invaders’ (1981-1982) a voice muses over a night sky “we don’t know what’s really out there, just more stars, I guess”. The film continues into scenes of discos and video arcade games. A boy lies on his bed watching TV, dreaming, while the word ‘escapism’ intercuts. Dreaming toward the TV is echoed in Lynn Hershman Leeson’s interactive installation ‘Lorna’ (1979-1982). The work is styled like a 1970s apartment. A TV on a dresser plays an interactive film of the agoraphobic Lorna trapped in her apartment with her own TV, the only channel to the world outside. Nam June Paik’s ‘Internet Dream’ (1994), is a large video wall sculpture consisting of 52 screens displaying snippets of broadcast and electronically processed images. Is this heavy machine dreaming of the internet; that maybe more screens can break the single channel-induced stupor?
Allan Kaprow’s ‘Hello’ (1969), documents experiments with closed circuit video systems, in which participants would communicate via the artist’s instructions when they see each other on the screen, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s ‘Surface Tension’ (1992), where a huge eye tracks your movement around the room, both anticipate communication through the screen and surveillance systems.
With so many works on display it seems pointless, impossible even, to find particular threads or analogies to bind this work together, even though they have been grouped under the banner of technology. And also in a kind of ‘history zone’, which we may as well call ‘pre-internet’, because this is what the show suggests.
So in historicising these works into a group, I start to wonder. To think about technology as a category by which to group something seems to chime with present-day thinking. After a while it becomes difficult to understand what these works have in common. Perhaps nothing at all. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Here, technology is understood as electric, computerised, modern and medium-oriented. The show itself starts to define the boundaries and parameters of technology.
Going back downstairs, back to where you enter the exhibition, you are in the present. It is bright and full of work. “What is it that makes the present so different?” asksJayson Musson in ‘ART THOUGHTZ’ (2010-12), originally a show on YouTube, in which he endearingly greets his audience as ‘Internet’. “Well,” he continues, “it’s the internet”. Musson’s film, a compilation of all his previous shows, is full of humour and satire, but it strikes with resonance a needed simplicity with which we can regard the internet. Maybe the internet is better understood as a process and not something that can be represented. It’s more like a practice. “This is the best time for the Layman to get into performance art”, says Musson, half joking, “the performative nature of the ritual of the everyday.”
But what kinds of performance might we get into? Musson jokes about the mundane, but maybe it’s also something else, like taking the neoliberal subject of excessive self-governance, faux autonomy and pseudo flexibility, and warping them into something more heightened, intensified, performed, pleasured, ephemeral –something like a technology of the person. Something like the characters in Ryan Trecartin’s film ‘A Family Finds Entertainment’ (2004). Trecartin hasstated about his films that he sees personality traits, behaviours, genders and identities as tools or applications rather than ways of existing: Tools that allow for a state of inventiveness and do not depend on labels.
So maybe this Superhighway is no longer electric but performative, with that category also being variable. Zach Blas’ ‘Queer Technologies’ (2007-2012), is a mixed-media installation that displays an array of consumer products –computer components, coding manuals and software operating systems –‘Queer tech’. On a screen a film speaks of ‘anti language’ and ‘Transborder immigrant tools’ – “walking equals true if you are born in the wrong place”, says the narrator. Here the highway need not be electric. This highway is about keeping moving, perhaps until you disappear out of sight completely, and escape.
Another kind of escape is echoed in Thomas Ruff’s ‘Substrat 34 1’ (2007), a chromogenic print that through technical process applied to found images abstracts the picture into a spectral play of colours that ripple into each other. The work has a fluid motion, edges that dissolve and also the feeling of detachment inherent in that there is only a notional connection to its founding body, the index image.
The ‘Net Art’ room shows works selected in collaboration with online organization Rhizome. Here, biographies are incorporated. In Ann Hirsch’s ‘Twelve’ (2013) as the artists chat room dialogues, and in Martine Syms’ ‘Reading Trayvon Martin’ (2013), an ongoing work that tracks Syms’ archiving and bookmarking of web pages relating to the case.
These notions of performativity, escape, modification and ephemerality suggest another way of thinking about technology, as any kind of tool or process between two states of affairs. So the technologies that are actually not electric –languages and orders of signification–seem to be the ones under scrutiny by the artists in the 2000-2016 part of this exhibition. The internet may be electric but the things now trying to be crashed and failed are not electrical systems but systems of information, representation and control.
I get the sense that the composition of this exhibition comes from viewing the previous state of affairs through the lens of today’s state of affairs –that in a time of digitally networked global computer systems, which are possibly beyond representation themselves, there is the overwhelming urge to call all electrical systems ‘technology’, but not apply the term to other systems and applications.
Maybe artists now don’t even see the internet as a technology, but just a commonplace. Artists have been working on the internet since its inception and continue to do so. How can the gallery represent what is actually happening online? It can’t. And that’s fine. The show was good, in the sense that if you didn’t know any of the artists before then you can go away and look them up –or do it in the gallery on your smartphone. **
Most striking upon first entering the rather intimate space of LA’s Smart Objects is the bright orange-red carpet which now covers the customary gallery-white walls. As part of the LA-based artist Ann Hirsch’s Dr. Guttman’s Office, running October 23 to November 27, the cube is subverted and we’re off to a great start. This is a show that bends perceptions of time, maturity and femininity, as much as it does the art space. The press release describes an experience in childhood psychology and the show itself depicts the transition from the unaware preteen into the self-aware adult artist.
By blending these two personae together we get a successful amalgam of uninhibited creation and hyper-aware, selfie-culture works. The carpet emphasizes this warped reality of drawing the way through their inner child, as the viewer faces the wall-as-pile-floor-covering, evoking a feeling of being belly-down while standing up in a psychologist’s office. The shade of the carpet, too, is a vibrant blood orange. It feels nostalgic and evokes a simultaneous feeling of crawling through the entrails of the artist’s past.
Hirsch seems to hold nothing back as she invites the viewer into her mentally and physically intimate spaces. The press release takes the form of a narrative that draws us in immediately and offers supplementary context for where the work has come from and where it could go. The show consists of recent video pieces and pencil portraits alongside large-scale reproductions of drawings made during the artist’s sessions with psychologist Dr. Guttman during childhood. The exhibition title alludes to this private region inside the doctor’s office, but could easily be taken as a metaphor for being inside the most secluded depths of the artist’s process of growth and self-awareness.
The curatorial set-up of Dr. Guttman’s Office compliments Smart Object’s limited wall space and carefully guides the viewer between the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of Hirsch’s work. A semi-freestanding column is installed in the center of the smaller second room. Four video monitors are built in, flush with the carpeted walls. These films present the classic moral dilemmas and experiences of being a woman and being an artist. In ‘conclusion: the real ann hirsch’, through several video diary entries, Hirsch considers the simultaneously empowering and competitive nature of making art around her feminism and femininity. This process is illustrated as Hirsch cuts between clips of her expressing her anxiety over putting her vagina on the internet, to being naked on camera and rationalizing, “the older I get the the more I realize I’m not gonna look this good for much longer, so I might as well get naked now”. In one clip she explains that art between feminists is about “seeing who can be the most honest, or self-aware and boundary-pushing”. She ends by adding, “I just have to pull out all the stops in an honest way, in a real way”.
Hirsch succeeds in bringing together works made in a number of periods of her life and levels of awareness, ultimately creating a reflection on the identity of the artist not often seen or explored. The progression between her repetitive childhood drawings of women to her more fantastical and androgynous portraits and self-aware video pieces, is immediately engrossing as the viewer plays voyeur. At the same time, Inside Dr. Guttman’s Office quickly falls into the realm of the relatable and the profound, as we find ourselves reflecting on the changes in our own lives, from childhood till now. **
If you wait for something long enough it’ll come back in style, and dinosaurs are coming back with a vengeance of all things though extinct. Jurassic Paint, the second online show by New Scenario, went live on their website in early June. The group exhibition, shot in the forest of Saurierpark Kleinwelka, a dinosaur park filled with life-size dinosaur models, combines “two prehistoric yet resilient species” for a collection of canvas works from eleven visual artists.
New Scenario, founded by artists Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig in late 2014, is a dynamic platform for conceptual, time-based and performative exhibition formats “that happen outside the real of the white cube”. With Jurassic Paint, Barsch and Hornig invite the participants to combine painting as a “creative act of the imagination” with the construction of the dinosaurs, whose likeness “emerges from fanciful and narrative processes of the human and scientific mind”. The canvas works and the dinosaurs share, as the exhibition’s press release identifies, the same ‘Lebensraum’ or living space, creating a new scenario.
The eleven visual artists have all been asked to create a dinosaur likeness, with Zoe Barcza creating a Plateosaurus titled ‘Shred IV’, Ann Hirsch offering an Anatosaurus titled ‘My Starving Public 1998’, and Tom Davis creating a Campsognathus titled ‘Ovid-Acteaon’. The remaining artists include Scott Gelber with a Diplodocus hallorum titled ‘RothkoNetflix1’, Sayre Gomez with a Antrodemus titled ‘Thief Painting in Violet’, Martin Mannig with a Heterodontosaurus tucki titled ‘Psycho’ and Jaakko Pallasvuo with a Ornitholestes hermanni titled ‘Amusement Park’. There’s also Anselm Ruderisch‘s Polacanthus titled ‘Voyager1’, Joshua Abelow with a Triceratops prorsus titled ‘Untitled (Witch)’, and Iain Ball with a Triceratops horridus titled ‘(res) terbium series 3’. Hornig and Barsch also contributed pieces to the exhibition with, respectively, a Ceratosaurus nasicornis titled ‘Stop Aids redux’ and a Tyrannosaurus rex titled ‘O. K.’s Time Travels (Back to the Future)’, accompanied by written contributions from Johannes Thumfart and Hendrik Niefeld. **
The art show brings together a stacked list of local curatorial voices—including artist-run galleries, collectives, project spaces, and nonprofits—and some experimental programming, including talks focusing on modern economics of the art world.
London’s Vilma Gold gallery is bringing two simultaneous exhibitions to its Minerva St. space, running consecutively from February 13 to March 21.
First is Berlin-based artist Marlie Mul and her solo exhibition, Arbeidsvitaminen. As the press image for the show hints, Mul’s show will bring more of her found object-like installations, physical materials disrupted, punctured, and repurposed, and left to do a silent striking, like her sand, resin and plastic puddles, or the spilled popcorn of her ‘Poppin’ Pollock’ installation with Morag Keil.