V-A-C is launching its future home at Moscow’s GES-2 with the Geometry of Now project, opening February 20 and running to February 27.
The V-A-C foundation is dedicated to the “international presentation, production and development of Russian contemporary art” and will be opening a new headquarters at the former power station. Built in 1907, the building sits along the banks of the Moskva River, and will be revived and re-constructed to house new interventions by artists.
Commissioned by non-profit publishing house Book Works, prolific footwork producer Jlin — who released her first album Dark Energy in 2015 — and London-based artist Sawtell will perform live at 32 Ormside St. The event will also be broadcast online with the London’s NTS radio.
The project will be a launch for the ‘#ACCUMULATOR_PLUS’ issue of printed journal The Happy Hypocrite, guest edited by Sawtell, and will act as an aural transmission and a space for the artists to explore “notions of speed, progress, and relationships between local and global space.” There will also be other sound samples by contributors of issue 9.
Following on from the success of the inaugural Artist Self-Publishers’ Fair in 2015, this year brings over seventy UK and international independent artist self-publishers for the one-day fair. The second incarnation is bigger, features artist self-publishers only, and “continues to avoid the restrictions and market dominance of much contemporary arts culture”.
The publications are considered art works, however, affordable and available, with “the ideas, images and text produced and published by artists who understand the restrictions and freedoms of the printed page”.
The lottery has been runs online here and here and at the train platform itself until December 4 and is being used to help fund some of the art space’s costs, including rent and running costs, new artworks, publications and commissions, on-going reading groups, and development of the Digital Archive of Artists’ Publishing: BookBlast.
The lottery tickets (priced at £5 each, while a membership of £30 comes with 7 free tickets) bring a chance to win various prints, publications and items from the Banner Repeater portfolio, including works by Hannah Sawtell, Jesse Darling, and Erica Scourti.
Everyone shows up on a bus from London – all genteel with takeout coffees and good manners, though they say it’s a different story at midnight when the party bus leaves Wysing Space-Time Festival for the city. The sun’s out, which is perfect and fortunate, and the setting’s idyllic: a proper modern-architectural art space in the middle of the Cambridge countryside. The program starts on the dot of 12 and I miss the first band because I’m sitting on a grass verge squinting in the sun and eating plums that fell out of a tree. It’s surreal and beautiful, and the various sculptural artworks scattered around the wooded space add to the sense of otherworldliness: a good level. People seem in the mood to get receptive – cider before lunch and avant-garde art feelings.
I make it on time for Ravioli Me Away, whose theatrical costumes, post-ironic 3D estate agent porn and smoke machine camp make me think I’m in for some knowingly artsy music hall moment until they start playing. They’re hard. And tight. And funny, and angry – though I can’t hear the lyrics very well, but what I make out sounds like pissed-off parafeminism with a dose of fuckit-whatever. Smashing out a hard beat on the tom and snare, Sian Dorrer – dressed in a silver hentai jumpsuit – can really sing, and does, all while holding down the rhythm with such a fierce energy it’s impossible to stay unmoved. Alice Theobald, a performance artist in her own right, is on the keyboard synth and second vocal, sardonically intoning half-spoken ripostes that provide a sort of affective texture to the narrative of the beat. Rosie Ridgway smacks out throbbing basslines like a frenetic punctuation of glottal stops, simultaneously soft and hard and round at the edges. Dance? I nearly died.
The day is blurred in places and the program was more or less constant, even relentless; if you wanted you could spend the whole day immersed in music of various kinds, but I didn’t have the stamina. There was Yola Fatoush – ostensibly an electroclash band of the post-punk persuasion, but perhaps also an alter-ego or some kind of performance art hologram? I’m confused by the Ken Burns effect photo experience playing in the background, which looks like a pretty white girl running around some late-summer idyll in a nightie thing and you can see her bum. Two people on stage walk around in printed t-shirts and one of them sings in a mic. It was okay.
Lucy Railton sat alone in a colored spotlight with a cello and some kind of mixing device while the audience, who started out standing, sank literally to their knees, one by one. A low bow across a single note and the sound was starkly eloquent; it seemed to go on and on. One didn’t watch this performance so much as feel it; there were many closed eyes and bowed heads in the room, among them, eventually, mine. The silence in between, a sound like thunder.
Elsewhere, in an art work reimagined as a tiny wooden theatre in the round, Sue Tompkins, best known for her stint in Life Without Buildings but now an artist working mainly in textual forms, performed a set-length poem, if poem is the right word. Her words were so juicy in her mouth that we all ate them up, kids in the front row and all, as she jumped around the stage like a child. It was an extraordinary performance, verging on the mediumistic – utterly affected and entirely authentic at once, like a religious rite.
Later on, Hannah Sawtell’s performance was an immersive and disorientating experience. Lit only by a powerful strobe light, she filled the room with dark synths and distorted drum hits, layering harsh waveforms to staggering effect. At times it was a dense attack on the senses, the sharp highs cutting through the rolling bass sequences. The modulators seemed to be running at multiples of the tempo of the strobe, making the performance encompassing and physical. As it ended after a brutal 30 minutes, one staff member muttered “thank fuck”. Long after the performance I was still mentally emerging from the experience – the outside world seemed to move with more fluidity, and to be a little quieter.
Later still, there was Nik Colk Void, who has been making noise in different forms for a while now (certain nerds might remember her from KaitO), but is possibly best known for being one third of Factory Floor. For the past few years she’s also been working with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle to form Carter Tutti Void, as well as putting out solo releases. Her type of electronic industrialism, infiltrated by techno and ambient, set the evening’s dancers into motion. It was a hard driving set, minimal and effective, punctuated by moments of thundering noise. In front of a degraded video loop of an electric guitar she played her own, bowing the thing to add texture to an already robust sound. Some of the noise textures felt physically painful so close to the speaker. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I left before the night bus, and before Holly Herndon, whose cerebral, sensual soundscapes I was sad to miss. An all-female lineup in a festival subtitled The Future feels like a bold and necessary move right now, and the whole day was infused with this spirit of engagement and experimentation, subverting the hedonic festival spirit in all the right ways. **
Following up on the recent Medium: Formatat the space in March, Professors Wendy Chun and Boris Groys, as well as London-based artists Paul Kneale and Hannah Sawtell will examine how the invisible infrastructures of the digital world “compose and condition the platforms, devices and applications we use daily”, modifying our perception and engagement with information.
From April 23 to June 22, UK artist Hannah Sawtell will enjoy her first solo museum presentation, “Accumulator”, in the Lobby Gallery of NYC’s The New Museum.
The multimedia artist—often working through installation, video, print, sound, as well as performance—explores the relationship between the surfaces of objects and images and their multifaceted underlying structures. As The New Museum describes the artist as “render[ing] the fluidity of digital images with spatial, physical, and temporal qualities, and critically point[ing] to their function as decoy indicators for larger and dominating systems of production, access, surplus, and consumption”. The vaguely industrial aesthetic of Sawtell’s work is a further allusion to the repetitive systems of production, and the artist’s previous work as a DJ and part of Detroit’s Plant E Label lends to her art the grating and dynamic rhythm and noise that bolsters her video work and performances.
For her New Museum showcase, Sawtell will present a new sculptural installation and sound work as well as a subsequent edition of her “Broadsheets” publication series. To read more about the event, visit The New Museum’s event page, and for specific event details such as location and timing, visit the aqnbevent listing.**
There’s been much talk around aesthetics and the slick image in art lately and speaking out for the ‘pro’ camp will be the Shimmering World: gloss, sheen and the politics of production values in contemporary culture conference in Manchester on April 25, 2014.
The venue is still yet to be announced but confirmed speakers include Ed Atkins, David Panos, Hannah Sawtell and Tamara Trodd. In the meantime, organisers Paul Clinton and Luke Healey are calling for papers exploring the possibilities of “highly polished modes of production”. Carrying on from Jan Verwoert’s claim of “the dead elegance of the cibachrome print”, they’re welcoming abstracts on the subject, with and from the position of the art object, until close of submissions, January 7.
There’ll be a reading of Hannah Sawtell-led project and publication, RE PETITIONER, at at Banner Repeater, December 20.
In response to the rising pressures of realtime and rapid turnarounds, Sawtell’s itinerant Foundling Court imprint published The ‘RE PETITIONER’ Broadsheet Number 4, co-designed by the Morning Star’s Michal Boncza. It’s a four page tabloid-style paper featuring texts by the likes of Rachal Bradley, John Russell, Robert Garnett and Empty Set‘s Paul Purgas, across titles like ‘Sediment and Seduction’ and ‘The Capitalisation of Death’. Invited readers include artist Alan Michael and No Bra founding memberPaul Clinton.