In collaboration with Berlin’s Import Projects, writer Elvia Wilk will be exploring the virtual vs IRL distinction that has generally become accepted as non-existent through two discussion panels running October 23 and November 13.
Interrogating this still problematic assumption of digital dualism, while looking at the social implications of its deconstruction, the panels will feature artists and writers charged with distilling a specific project to a 10-minute presentation, with discussion to follow. The two days will also be separated into two themes, with Jenna Sutela, Nadim Samman, Jesse Darling and Luke Munn speaking on ‘Opacity’ on October 23. Beny Wagner, Olia Lialina, Ben Vickers and Asli Serbest + Mona Mahall will be covering ‘Transparency’ on November 13, to coincide with Import Projects’ launch of Wagner’s Invisible Measure.
In furthering their efforts “to reinforce and serve Gulf and Artistic causes” the recently formed art collective GCC, will be celebrating their accomplishments made during their first meeting in Morscach, Switzerland. In a corporatised global tradition, with a government sanctioned edge, the group aims represent their “official Communiqué” as “a High Level Strategic Dialogue” for their Achievement in Swiss Summit at Mayfair’s Project Native Informant, opening October 18 and running, through Frieze week, to November 16.
Forged in 2013 and featuring Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Amal Khalaf, Aziz Al Qatami, Barrak Alzaid, Fatima Al Qadiri, Khalid al Gharaballi, Monira Al Qadiri, Nanu Al-Hamad and Sophia Al Maria, there’s no doubting the delegation’s efforts to reaffirm “their common desire to enhance and diversify these strong relations in the artistic field”.
As part of the Everything Must Run exhibition curated by Mark Jackson at Brixton’s Block 336and during Frieze week Erik Nyström and Peiman Khosraviwill be presenting Ambit, an electroacoustic concert and multichannel sound installation on Friday, October 18.
Adding to the main exhibition that explores the concepts and conditions of materiality in art, running from October 12 to November 16, Ambit presents visuospatial imagery through sound as tangible object to create “a mutable world of illusory spaces”. We suspect the pair and recent aqnb intervieweeNate Boyce might have a thing or two to talk about.
Ever the artist for slightly nihilistic, self-reflexivity, Jaakko Pallasvuo has managed a fascinating practice from his so-called ‘analysis paralysis’, as reflected in one of our favourite aqnb interviews. That’s why he won’t be having a solo exhibition at Lima Zulu on October 20.
Instead, he’ll be holding a one-off, undocumented presentation called Status at the Manor House art space, as resistance to what he seems to think is the exhibition overload of the London art map. The fact it comes at the tail end of Frieze week is surely no a coincidence but we’ll let Pallasvuo speak for himself in the following statement:
“Instead of a solo show I will be holding a one-off, undocumented presentation. This talk will deal with three objects that have emerged through ‘my practice’ but have not graduated into artworks.
1. Swedish dreadlocks
2. Solid bronze ‘primitive’ bluetooth device
The format of this event reflects my understanding that London does not have a need for any more art exhibitions. That the scene could crush with discourse all the things it hasn’t already crushed.
(The alibi for all this talking can be erased. Remove the art. We can speak more freely. A carelessly cultivated personal brand trumps your oil-paint-canvas arrangements, your thoughtful dissertation, your high production value video essays, your leaning installations.)
If you’re in the creative industries, chances are you’re more than familiar with the ritual of air travel. Blinding departure boards, queerly lit hall ways, dry skin and jetlag are all part of it. During Frieze week, Martin John Callahan brings it all to bear at his Departure of All exhibition at noshowspace in East London until October 26.
Opened on September 26 and seven years in the making, Callanan explores the unobserved system of air travel in reference to his interests in international organisations and authorities.
With over sixty galleries and artist-run spaces participating, the Art Licks Weekend is one of the most consistently interesting features of London’s art calendar. By dint of its disparate nature and vast geographical stretch, though, it suffers from a problem of identity. With venues pock-marking the map of East and South London, it’s difficult to impose a unifying character on it- and there remains a question of just how far a festival that celebrates independence can go towards suppressing its constituent parts into a homogenous whole.
For sculptor LawrenceLek, the challenge was to find an imaginative solution to these dilemmas. Working in collaboration with Valentina Berardi, CliffordSage and AndiSchmied, his response was as thrillingly progressive as it was ambitious: if the galleries can’t be brought together geographically or thematically, why not unite them virtually? Working from his studio in Hackney Wick’s TheWhiteBuilding, Lek and his team sought to put the idea into practice.
Bonus Levels, a first-person computer game that brings twenty of the space’s participating in the Art Licks Weekend, is the stunning result of this brainwave. Three laptops rest on perches under a crosshatched wooden structure with images from the screens projected onto the walls of the space around it. On the screens themselves, the visitor finds themselves in a hilly landscape, rendered into the stylised visual argot of 90s Nintendo games. In the middle of a digitally undulating lake stands an enormous, angular tower, of which each floor painstakingly recreates the floor plans and layout of the galleries involved.
The tower’s appearance- accurate digital facsimiles of existing galleries piled high, one atop the other- is, as Lek explains, no accident. Its jagged, unwieldy lurch is reminiscent of some of London’s more blustering new skyscrapers- apt, given that the colossally expensive Olympic development towers are a hop and a skip to the east. Jumping from floor to floor, the player can take in a view of the idyllic virtual panorama, and, if they so wish, plummet twenty storeys to the ground. The point-of-view combined with large-scale projections make for a gloriously cinematic experience. If nothing else, it must be the only computer game ever to feature a blueprint for the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre.
The participatory aspect of the work is as refreshing as it is conceptually satisfying. Lek encourages the player to become a “digital sculptor”, pushing around gallery walls and rearranging materials. Inspired by the theories of the Metabolists, who combined architectural principles with ideas of organic biological structures, his vision is to keep the game running online in perpetuity, adding new floors and maintaining it as a ‘living’ project.
Bonus Levels’ romantic landscape- a violent contrast with the post-industrial drabness of Hackney Wick- is by no means incidental to the work either. While it may be overstating the case to call ita ‘political’ work, it functions as an intriguing comment on the plight of London’s independent galleries and artists; priced out of areas once synonymous with creative endeavour, they find themselves relegated ever further towards the city’s margins- might means one day relocate them from bricks and mortar to pixels and graphics? Brevity precludes an essay on late-stage Capitalism, but Lek articulates these worries with effortless dexterity.
Conceived as a forum for engaging in “a unique viewing experience with the excitement and vitality of a fair, while allowing moving image-based artworks to be understood and appreciated on their own terms”. The event will feature a selection of single-channel videos, single-channel projections, video sculptures, and other larger video installations from across the globe.
The Sunday Painter in South London will be seeing out the day with the Sunset group exhibition on Friday, October 11.
Featuring Jan Kiefer, Max Ruf and Yves Scherer there’s not much to go off except that it’ll be a London/Basel collective of artists that have been concerned with the image within conceptual directness in the past. How that will translate into this exhibition, you’ll have to see for yourself.
“The unstable identity of the present begs for the return of power of the mask from ancient times, when it was used as a form of protection, disguise, performance, or just plain entertainment”, states curator and artist Bogomir Doringer in the catalogue for his newly opened exhibition Faceless II at the Freiraum Quartier21 International of MuseumsQuartier Wien.
The first of the exhibition series, Faceless I, was held with success last summer, working with the theme of ‘facelessness’ in a survey of the emergence of hiding, veiling or masking the face in art and fashion following 9/11. Faceless II continues with this theme in a more interactive way, where issues of the ubiquity of the internet, fame and identity are explored through lectures, performances and workshops in a group context featuring 45 artists.
Dividing the space across “digital masks”, “mirrors”, “icons” and “invisible people” the exhibition design is the first thing to arrest your attention. The wooden construction walls, which run through the exhibition, deliberately resemble a market hall or fair, with works displayed on both sides to include the large number of artworks. There’s one downside of what is otherwise an impressive design, an uneven dispersal of visibility to all artworks, some featured more prominently than others by virtue of said wooden construction.
From the outset, ‘masks’ are the most prominent. “Famous new media artist” Jeremy Bailey, generates digital masks for video chatting, while a workshop to follow, led by the artist himself, explores online survival with out “losing face”, at the same time as using it as a tool for resistance. On the opposite is a screen showing a fashion collection aimed to protect ones privacy. Adam Harvey’s ‘Stealth Wear’ (2013), made by the artist in collaboration with fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield, consists of burqa-like thermal image protective head wear made from a metallic fabric, and the ‘OFF Pocket’ phone container that blocks all outgoing and incoming phone signals. The poignant sound scape of William Basinski‘s video work, ‘Disintegration Loop 1.1’, shot on the evening of September 11, 2001, adds a more serious and dramatic outlook to the whole exhibition.
In the ‘invisible people’ category are works like Andrew Norman Wilson‘s installation ‘Workers Leaving the Googleplex’ (2010) tracking a personal account of discovering a fourth class of yellow-badge employees in the Google HQ hierarchy, who scan books for its digital library, when he himself worked for the major tech corporation. While Jill Magid‘s ‘Article 12/The Spy Project’ (2008), follows the commission and ultimate censorship of a work for the Netherlands secret service (AIVD). She was charged with “provid[ing] the AIVD with a human face” but after meeting agents and portraying them in her way, some of the final work was censored, even confiscated . That text-based work, both blocked and otherwise, are here to view, along with a red neon light threatening, “I Can Burn Your Face” -a reference to the phrase “to burn a face”, in terms of revealing a source’s identity.
An ongoing project by Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek exposes the invisible people of Paris with ‘Exactitudes’ (1994-), an ongoing project which collates photos of individuals from across social strata and presenting similarities in appearance and character. In this case it’s a series on the macho; men dressed in hoodies of varying shades of black to white -perhaps a reference to the recent Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida -with the implication being that everyone could find their ‘type’ in these images. That need to find one self is literally reflected in Mirko Lazovic‘s mirror-based work, fulfilling that desire and then demolishing it as the viewer bends over his sculptural work ‘Narciss’(2013). Here, they can see themselves but disfigured, becoming as invisible as the rest of the creatures of the Faceless II space. **
Swiss-Austrian-American duo UBERMORGEN will be presenting their first solo exhibition, u s e r u n f r i e n d l y, at London’s Carroll / Fletcher, running October 11 to November 16. Featuring work across installations, videos, websites, actions, pixellated prints and digital-oil paintings, it promises a “hyper-active, super-enhanced exploration of censorship, surveillance, torture, democracy, e-commerce, and newspeak”.
Keeping things topical will be two new installations ‘Do You Think That’s Funny? – The Edward Snowden Files’ (2013) and ‘CCTV – A Parallel Universe’ (2013), as well as a section of UBERMORGEN’s Net.Art works curated by Berlin artist Aram Bartholl and presentedacross an offline wireless router system, in a similar fashion as his recent OFFLINE ART: HARDCORE in Germany, to which the duo also contributed and is still running until October 13.
u s e r u n f r i e n d l y also comes accompanied by a publication including an essay by curator Magda Tyżlik-Carver and conversations between UBERMORGEN and Austrian quantum physicist Dr. Tobias Noebauer, as well as NSA intelligence leaker and fugitive Edward Snowden.
There’s something decidedly austere about the Chisenhale Gallery’s main exhibition space. Part of an old print works, its bare concrete floor and strip lighting radiate what could reasonably be described as ‘Industrial asceticism’, giving the impression of a space in monkish subservience to the work displayed within. For a single night, though, the gallery’s dignified solemnity has been trumped; the cup of a large blue inflatable tent occupies the centre of the floor, as gloriously incongruous as an episode of The Sky at Night guest-hosted by the Teletubbies.
The simile is not as glib as it might appear; inside the tent, artists Julia Tcharfas and Tim Ivison have set up what they refer to as an “imaginary planetarium”, using the dome of the structure to project the images that constitute Systems Thinking from the Inside, a travelling lecture-cum-multimedia installation that seeks to explore the relationship between art, technological development and the curatorial process.
Taking as their frame of reference everything from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the oddball tycoon Dennis Tito’s $20 million holiday to the international space station, Tcharfas and Ivison (the former a curatorial assistant at the Science Museum, the latter completing a Phd) propose an intellectual continuity that runs tangentially from the writing of visionary 19th Century cosmist philosopher Nikolai Fedorov to applied virtual reality. There are countless, fascinating digressions, but the pair make a persuasive argument that the technology of space travel has been directly influenced by philosophy, art and literature.
They describe, for example, how Fedorov’s science-fiction writing directly influenced the studies of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, an early rocket scientist and hero of Wernher von Braun, who foresaw the apparatus of space travel with uncanny accuracy. As they speak, Tsiolkovsky’s delicate, Saint-Exupéry-esque drawings of humans floating in zero-gravity environments envelop the sides of the dome, revolving around the audience with the fluidity of the spacewalking they depict.
There are flaws: the operation of the projections to coincide with the lecture’s themes could be a lot tighter, neither Ivison nor Tcharfas are natural public speakers and the delivery lacks the authority needed for a truly immersive experience. Similarly, the language can veer into vagueness and generalistaion; a section on closed-off ecosystems, such as the leviathan Biosphere 2 complex in Arizona, veers off into the academically gauche proposition that a suburb is “an inversion of an ecosphere”. It is, as the artists make clear, a work in progress- and once fully realised there’s every chance it could be truly spectacular.
The academic meme that fantastical art and technological development are inextricably interlinked- with the former providing the inspiration and aesthetic for the latter- is nothing new, not even to the East London gallery archipelago (The Real Truth, Suzanne Treister’s wonderful 2012 show at Raven Row is a case in point). It is, however, a theme that a pair as imaginative as Ivison and Tcharfas can successfully stretch further.