Daniel Swan

INFO PURA @ The Residence Gallery reviewed

22 June 2016

There’s a lot happening in the rather small space of London’s The Residence Gallery. With video work and wearable sculptures, colourful engraved acrylic and an Oculus Rift that holds almost pride of place in the centre of the floorspace, the INFO PURA group exhibition, running June 3 to 26, presents an overlaying of media that sit comfortably with the show’s theme. Curated by Ed Leezon, it’s one prompted by an engagement with psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who is quoted in the press release suggesting that “nothing that has once come into existence will have passed away and all the earlier phases of development continue to exist alongside the last one”.

Ideas of temporality and its relationship to space permeate the exhibition. A screen shows a hyper-realistic yet fantastical video game-like character, designed by Daniel Swan, seemingly trapped within its frame, wearing chains and perpetually on the point of action that never comes in a space where time is both suspended and ever-present. Jala Wahid’s sculptures appear as time congealed into amorphous forms. From the highly rendered bodily realism of Swan’s figure to the physicality of Wahid’s sculptures, the labour of the artist is inescapable in both sets of works.

Daniel Swan, 'He Will Think I am There & Then I Am Not There (II + III)' (2016). Installation view. Courtesy the artist + The Residence Gallery, London.
Daniel Swan, ‘He Will Think I am There & Then I Am Not There (II + III)’ (2016). Installation view. Courtesy the artist + The Residence Gallery, London.

Yet for all the suggestion of simultaneity, floods of information/data and technological salvation, it is the materiality of the works that is perhaps the shows most striking feature, or indeed the relationship between the two. Wandering around the desert wasteland of Kitty Clark’s ‘Everyone is Gone’ virtual reality environment, the heat and clunkiness of the Oculus Rift technology inevitably draws you back into the physical space of the gallery. The computer, sitting in an acrylic box, powering the VR sits like a reliquary, reminding us that these imaginings still have a physical beginning and perhaps ongoing physical traces.  

Similarly, Ruth Angel Edwards’s video ‘HIGH LIFE/PETRIFICATION’, a 17-and-a-half-minute video moving through the streets of Los Angeles acts as an alternative catalogue, detailing the commodification of California’s counter-cultures into material objects. Her accompanying wearable sculptures (‘Untitled I’ and ‘Untitled II’) appear as hybrid clothing and accessories —a purse/chain as well as two t-shirts combined as a form of dress. This set of works undoubtedly plays on the commodification inherent in fashion design and tourism.

It may not be that we are at the end of linearity but rather in a moment of overlapping and multiple circulations, each with their own timeframes: the labour of the artist, the exhibition moment, video, fashion, the market, etc.. These multiple and overlapping circulations are not without points, beginnings and endings, as many of these works in fact attest and bring to light in interesting ways. It is in this intersection of the material and the virtual that perhaps yields the most interesting insights.**

Exhibition photos, top right.

The INFO PURA group exhibition is running at London’s The Residence Gallery, running June 3 to 26, 2016.

Header image: Kitty Clark, ‘Everything You Want is Here’ (2016). Detail. Courtesy the artist + The Residence Gallery London.

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Mould Map 4: ‘EuroZone SpeZial’ reviewed

7 January 2016

“haha TAXPAYERS! lol!” Mould Map 4 ends as it opens. Its inside cover within a cover depicts Uncle Sam in the form of a talking bird and a shady GMO cartoon conspiring on the subject of the TTIP; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that a blob-like civilian is too bored and confused to understand. It’s a pending agreement between the Eurozone and the US essentially abdicating political autonomy to corporate interests. By the end of this edition’s ‘EuroZone SpeZial’ said civilian is less naïve but by then it’s much too late. Such is the very serious imperative of the new comic and narrative art publication, presenting an at times bleak, often funny insight into the European Union’s present via a broad range of representations of its projected future.

Published by Landfill Editions and co-edited by Hugh Frost and Leon Sadler, the superbly designed text features work from over 30 artists, writers, designers, illustrators and their collaborators from across the Eurozone. There are newly commissioned comics, art and graphics from the likes of Daniel SwanHanna K, Gilbert & George and Ed Fornieles, as well as essays tracking a history of European countercultural movements, including the inflatable art of the UK’s Action Space in the 60s and Frigidaire Magazine of Italy’s Radical Left in the 70s. David Rudnick contributes the text’s Popula typeface. Dynamic, performative and often online exhibition space New Scenario provide the oily, dark and synthetic undercover artwork beneath graphic designer Frost’s fluoro and multilingual cover jacket.

Mound Map 4: ‘EuroZone SpeZial’ (2015). Courtesy Landfill Editions, Nottingham.
Mould Map 4: ‘EuroZone SpeZial’ (2015). Courtesy Landfill Editions, Nottingham.

Inside, each artist is defined by the ISO code of their respective countries. There’s ‘SE’ for Patrick Crotty and his “people positive and motivational” trophies, awards and ribbons (“Remind me DON’T WORRY :)”), a ‘GB’ for Will Sweeney‘s reconfigured airline safety cards, FR for Jonathan Djob Nkondo’s illustrated utopian underbelly, and so on. “PROTECT EUROPE WITH POISON SPIDERS” announces the cover page featuring the EU’s circle of stars tied together by a web. This web stands in for the virtual one that provides for a paradox of freedom and entanglement. The faceless critic of Pierre Vanni’s ‘Google raconte — How techno-giants approach the architecture issue’ questions the very  “hyperlink” organisational structure said techno-giants is peddling in place of a hierarchical one. A box is still a box regardless of its shape. In the case of Sadler’s bright yellow and verbose comic strip tracking the interview process for a talkative and ethically questionable bee, that box is one generated by jargon-laden language and “Bee Keeper Employee Electronic Surveillance (BKEES)” systems in justifying outright exploitation: “It is also gratifying I have had a hand in maintaining and impermeable and immutable hive caste system.”

This language of subjection is something that Amalia Ulman expresses in a satirical newspaper that’s written, edited and visualized by herself as artist-monopoly. Neoliberal market values and economic rhetoric is reflected in editorial pieces, readers opinions and advertorial covering the political influence of Carla Bruni and the UK’s first croissant/muffin hybrid: “add cruffins to the table and you will have an economy dusted with cinnamon sugar”. Meanwhile, the privilege of choice and new market generation is undermined by a two-page spread and scan of three counterfeit Euro coins by Yuri Pattison. It explains said black market is growing in the so-called ‘PIIGS’ nations (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain), were once produced in Southern Italy, now China, and are available to purchase online at alibaba.com.

Michael Willis for Mould Map 4: ‘EuroZone SpeZial’ (2015). Courtesy Landfill Editions, Nottingham.
Michael Willis for Mould Map 4: ‘EuroZone SpeZial’ (2015). Courtesy Landfill Editions, Nottingham.

Sternberg Press Matilda Tjader interviews editor and writer Ingo Niermann, discussing contemporary alternatives to present-day problems in his Solution Series. There’s Martti Kalliala‘s “Winter Garden City” and the notion of public space in colder climates, the concept of love as its own competitive currency in a post-capitalist projection and the potential of rethinking ‘everything’ when it comes to the United States of Palestine-Israel. Because beyond the highly critical, sometimes cynical, even pessimistic, approach to the State of Things that a publication like Mould Map offers, there’s also a strong awareness of how those things are and how things could be, for the better. As Niermann describes a need for a “new science fiction” to replace an old one that has already invented everything to the point of Singularity, it would appear that ‘EuroZone SpeZial’ might just have done as much, providing for a reason for hope in the meantime: “You don’t need that many people to change the world”. **

Mould Map 4: ‘EuroZone SpeZial’, edited by Hugh Frost and Leon Sadler, was published by Landfill Editions in Autumn, 2015.

Header image: Roope Eronen for Mould Map 4: ‘EuroZone SpeZial’ (2015). Courtesy Landfill Editions, Nottingham.

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Ilja Karilampi @ Marbiers 4, Apr 24 – May 17

24 April 2014

Ilja Karilampi is presenting solo exhibition SweSh Xpress at Geneva’s Marbiers 4, opening April 24 and running to May 17.

Following up Renaud Jerez’ Lucky Strike, running March 29 to April 19 at the same space, the announcement comes with an extended trailer originally animated by Daniel Swan as ‘RENAUD JEREZ / ILJA KARILAMPI *** GENEVA’ and featuring the familiar hyper-hip hop tropes of the Karilampi oeuvre.

Hence, as the global protagonist of last year’s The Hunter in the Armchair, published via Motto, Karilampi’s “countries almost making out”, as seen from high-speed cross-border trains meets the “Prada, Gucci, Young Thug, Napalm Death, Jean-Paul Gautier” of Jerez’ previous press release prose –all while cycling around the unified European countryside and listening to Juicy J.

See the Marbiers 4 website for details. **

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‘OPEN_NETWORK’ @ Primitive London tonight

13 November 2013

East London gallery Primitive London is hosting a collaborative exhibition, OPEN_NETWORK, on Shacklewell Lane tonight, November 13.

Describing it as a “visual, auditory and visceral event” it will include work by international new media artists Aaron Chan, Emilio Gomariz, Felipe Narvaez, Natalia Stuyk, Daniel Swan, Simon Whybray and Luke Clayton Thompson. Curated by London-based collective Don’t Watch That TV, the event will also include performances by Yuri Suzuki and Siobhan Bell, plus other things and an after party with Throwing Shade +more.

See the Primitive London website for more details. **

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Sonic Architecture @ Penthouse 4C

22 August 2013

So Public Assembly have inhabited pop-up space and installation Penthouse 4C at Hack the Barbican for nearly two weeks now and to celebrate, they’ll be hosting Sonic Architecture tomorrow, Friday, August 23.

Featuring two collaborations by Lawrence Lek and Chris King,  as well as Patchfinder and Daniel Swan. Promising an “immersive live experience” the artists concerned all work with an audiovisual scope, particularly King, whom we interviewed not long ago.

See the Public Assembly Facebook page for details. **

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