The third annual Peckham Artist Moving Image, aka PAMI, is running exhibitions and events in South London, over four days, from September 19 to 22.
Previews start on Wednesday September 18, followed by a special screening at Peckham Multiplex coordinated by Bold Tendencies‘ Harriet Blaise Mitchell and Joe Balfour. Works featured have been selected by associates of Lucky PDF, Flat Time House, Arcadia Missa, SLG, The Sunday Painter and recent aqnb intervieweeAttilia Fattori Franchini of bubblebyte.org, and include those by Cécile B Evans, Jon Rafman and Jesse Wine among others.
Across Goldsmiths’ various venues, this year’s roster of artists at Degree Shows 2013have constructed passenger jet cabins, smoke-filled bathrooms and holistic waiting rooms scattered with everything from snakes to ultra-violet drawings. Each space is a result of a battle between students to bag a place in which to exhibit; all of them a showcase of where this generation’s interests lie. Undoubtedly the shadow of yesteryear’s alumni, such as the Young British Artists, still hangs over the south London College but the younger ones have also had their say into how their imaginations have been shaped.
In particular there are threads to be woven between Lucky PDF and graduates who play with pop-culture and post-internet theory, choosing to group themselves under the banner of Consensual Hallucinations. A term borrowed from science fiction author William Gibson’s book Neuromancer, they express a wish to engage with the ideal of individual ownership over a virtual reality, the power to connect or disconnect others and surf pleasurably with no physical threat.
Rebecca Cooper has the same poetry for titles as Damien Hirst. ‘The Simultaneous Death and Birth of my Social Self: Part One: Preliminary’ cleverly uses a water cooler as a readymade. On its own, it’s a simple “one liner” of an artwork but, as part of an installation, it’s a key to a larger narrative focused on social networking. A built-in iPad links those who type out messages onto its screen to a larger chat room and wireless headphones hooked up to a soundtrack of Hip Hop and Dance music clips. They’re in turn linked to a mapped projection across a series of plains that garnered many laughs, and even a few people dancing.
Billy Howard also has a water cooler in his space, but this time as a prop to set the scene for a waiting room where spectators sit before being invited in for the main event. It turns out to be a high-octane music video filled with green screens, analogue effects and a knowledgeable character, (taken from a 1970s science show) whose dialogue informs us on mass-media theory, reveals the process behind the work’s construction and speaks on the importance of energy, as particles on the screen break up.
In contrast, Racheal Crowther uses a small television screen with a video of a snake sliding across the white tiled floor where the viewer is standing to create a hallucinatory effect, in which grapes are dipped in pink clay, synthetic fur creates a pool of dirt and a sense of past and present is disrupted.
Across Goldsmiths’ BA Fine Art show a host of strong students experimented with performance art, aural and visual crossover and even computer binary as language. Nevertheless, it’s here in particular that three individuals found a shared interdisciplinary interest, with a clear debt to predecessors but also a fresh eye on the future. **
A suggestion: check Google Street View before attempting a visit to Angelo Plessas’ The Twilight of the Idols at Cell Project Space in person. Set back from Cambridge Heath Road, Cell has one of those typically understated, slightly obscured East London gallery façades that requires a bit of pluck to find and access. Once across that threshold though, you will find yourself thoroughly rewarded but, given the nature of internet art, don’t expect the challenge to be over just yet.
As part of his ongoing Every Website is a Monument series, Plessas himself began this project by navigating the city’s major landmarks via Google Street View. Using virtual landscapes as a starting point for his interactive web based works, Plessas creates alternative worlds where the audience is invited to play using just a mouse and a screen. In ‘SheIsMadeOfTheTruth.com‘ the movements of our protagonist, who looks like someone born of a marriage between ClipArt and a Miro painting, corresponds to the pace and location of the cursor. The website is also a musical instrument; each part of the screen releasing a series of percussive sounds, creating a unique composition of bells and whistles as our glyph of a woman dances.
Plessas’ websites stop short at being animated games because there is no point system and no end goal. Instead, they feel a bit like the off-road nothing spaces of Grand Theft Auto, where you abandon the game in search of hidden features and glitches (referred to by gamers as ‘Easter Eggs’) at the edge of the program. This is exciting territory. The promise of these secret encounters elicits a kind of feverish, compulsive state in the player, where they can spend ages wandering and clicking aimlessly. Inspired by idleness, Plessas’ websites masterfully unlock this absurd urgency within us by using a language we intuitively understand whilst leaving us wondering why we spend our time doing it.
Friends and contemporaries of Lucky PDF, Raphael Rozendaal, and Miltos Manetas (fellow Greek and founder of the Neen Art Movement) Plessas is part of a generation of artists using the Internet to explore the interplay between viewer and maker. In this exhibition, four websites have been projected from elaborate housing; large white architectural shapes that function as sculptural objects and as giant mouse mats.
The gallery is immaculately finished too. Every surface is pristine white and reflects the moving light from the projectors, taking the online works and transforming them into a completely immersive experience. You could access all of these works online now, their URLs are live, but what the gallery exhibition offers is an opportunity to take our intimate computer worlds, splash them across four walls and step inside.
Angelo Plessas Every Website is a Monument: Twilight of the Idols at Cell Project Space runs until July 22, 2012.