Artist Amitai Romm is bringing a new solo show titled Exfoliation to Berlin’s V4ULT, where it will open on January 22.
This show release comes accompanied by this abstract text: “So you made a bargain with that ferryman who transports substances and signs – he who deals in constant twilight: turning digits into plans, transposing networks onto contexts, grafting tissue, splicing slips of the tongue. A dissolving agent, forger, liar, patron of travellers – what better place to lay your trust?”
During the show’s opening will be an ‘INTERVENTION’ featuring Agatha Valkyrie Ice performing with Dorota Gaweda, Egle Kulbokaite, Zuzanna Ratajczyk, and Claire Tolan. The performance comes as part of V4ULT’s second episode, running between December 2014 and March 2015, and consisting of three solo shows, one group show, and two time-based interventions, created in collaboration with other artists, inserted into each exhibitions.
Exhibitions opening in the German city include one by Jaakko Pallasvuo at Future Gallery and Nicolas Ceccaldi at Mathew Gallery, while in London Monira Al Qadiri curates Jaykar: The Cheeky Video Scene of the Gulf to close the Never Never Land exhibition at EOA.Projects. Kim Asendorf and Ole Fach are showing at Carroll/Fletcher, with an opening performance by Helen Benigson, and Phoebe Collings-James has a solo exhibition at Italian Institute of Culture.
The year’s barely begun and already there’s too much to cover so we’ve compiled a list of interesting events and exhibitions from across the internet for the week beginning January 12.
A few to pay special attention to is the two-day Ambiguity Symposium at London’s Slade, including talks from Chris Kraus, Rózsa Farkas and Hannah Black, a new collaborative exhibition, Spirit Level, by Jesse Darling and Takeshi Shiomitsu and the second instalment of French Riviera’s Alternative Equinox.
Chrystal Gallery and newscenario.net are featuring new exhibitions online, while Aude Pariset, Dora Budor and Deanna Havas have shows and events across Europe. Rosa Aiello and Kari Rittenbach will be reading in New York, while in Berlin V4ULT is presenting a new exhibition (with intervention) artist Philipp Timischl has a book presentation alongside a performance by Lonely Boys and Panke is presenting an exhibition of emerging Lithuanian artists for one night only in a Katja Novitskova-inspired show-title, Survival Guide.
Collaborative platform KERNEL is hosting the Enclosures (First Attempt) exhibition at the newly opened Berlin V4ULT location, running from December 19 to January 8.
The Athens/London-based art, research and curating platform, founded by Pegy Zali, Petros Moris and Theodoros Giannakis, opens this new exhibition with an abstract text about light, darkness, wooden coils and metallic rails – “Each time that a beam hit the copper spiral, the warm light of the sharp reflections colored the crushed stone with which the ground of the tunnel was paved” – that gives away little else about the exhibition.
The location, however, is known, and taking place at V4ULT’s new Kiefholzstrasse location. Throughout the duration of the show, the curators are introducing two interventions, The first is Neïl Beloufa‘s 2011 film, titled ‘The Analyst, the researcher, the screenwriter, the CGI tech and the lawyer’ (2011) and takes place on December 19, with the second intervention yet to be announced.
A continual tug-o-war between control and resistance is seemingly built into the paradigmatic contorts of every communication system. Perhaps the most interrogated of these are online environments, particularly those that emerged in the wake of the 2.0 ‘revolution’, which replaced a (arguably) chaotic system of peer-to-peer networking with a series of rotating corporate platforms and the google “safe-search” bar. When considering the structures that facilitate not only online, but all levels of interaction, one looks at the extent of manipulation occurring at the point that a message is mediated between two, or multiple indices. What role do we, as both source and recipient of information, play in the contortions and or clarifications of that data and in what ways are these manipulations (un)available to us, for purposes of resistance? Such problematics are at the fore in discussions of interfaciality.
Taking its name, a gesture waves us on, answering our own wave, from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, this new publication release with text contributions from eight participating artists, writers, designers, architects and theorists – including Jenna Sutela‘s ‘Ill-Suited Primate’, a text expansion of the video essay ‘When You Moved’ (2014), written together with Elvia Wilk – is an undertaking by the enigmatic Berlin art project V4ULT.
It’s a curatorial platform initiated by Anna Mikkola and Hanna Nilsson. Pushing the conceptual limits of physical space, they turned a closet-sized room in their shared studio into an exhibition space, extending into virtual space by way of their website and describing the platform as “an interface of sorts, a space between us, the people we work with, and our audience.” The release of this publication “marks the end of the first episode” of their curatorial program and develops a discussion of interfaciality, beyond networking and computing, zooming “into scenarios where an entity interacts with its context.”
The publication opens with Harry Burke‘s essay, ‘InterfacialWYSIWYG :P’, a deft glimpse into the ideological reach of digital interfaces, their translation into IRL topographies, as well as the interface as a potential site of resistance. Continuing the theme of disruption, Lucy Chinen looks beyond structural contingencies of social media platforms to suggest that it may be the data and meta data – chats, likes, posts – rather than the structures themselves that could provide the necessary information for understanding the swell and quell of social movements. Analogous to linking “climate change and the increase in extreme weather conditions to human activity”, Chinen recommends making a causative link between political activity online and offline gatherings and protest as an act of empowerment.
Referencing V4ULT’s own self-identification as an interface, Benjamin Bratton‘s essay, ‘Interface Typologies on Design Strategy’, extrapolates multifarious understandings of it across a seemingly endless list of opposites – mobile/immobile, singular/plural, fast/slow, signifying/asignifying – reaching out from the digital, beyond the screen, he details the “relational measures of performance” of everything from a roadblock, to a river to a button with words on it. Offering us a condition among definitions; “For something to really become interfacial it must also somehow govern the conditions of exchange between two different systems that is mediates.”
In graceful prose, Elvia Wilk contemplates the relational functionality of ratios – for which the colon, “a membrane…inserted into the equation”, is the interface – with her closing essay, ‘Ratioratio’. She cleverly toys with the ratio as a tool of demarcation that does not fall prone to the dichotomous, reductive regressions of the binary.
Likely an inadvertent reference to the book-publication-paper-page interface, Wilk writes, “a good interface minimizes itself, fading the dots between virtualreal”, a sentiment reiterated by Bratton and elaborated through the design of the publication as an object-interface. A reference to the swipe action used to turn a page on an e-book, there is a diagonal stroke of negative space running down each left page, a book imitating an e-book imitating a book; relational layering, a design joke that simultaneously inhibits the readability of text on the page, whilst making it impossible to ignore its fixed materiality. As such, design dictates the mode of communication, of consumption. In his essay ‘100% Design, Zero Tolerance’, Martti Kalliala explores design, not only as a tool of limitation but also as an answer to intransigence; “there is another, more indirect, and likely more effective mode of struggle: more design.” He offers ‘design failures’; “incompatibility, bottlenecks, and agonism as a mode of freedom.”
What happens when a text, an idea, a concept is freed from its context and placed within a new interface? Jesse Darling‘s contribution about the “ghostmodernity of snapchat”, originally posted as a facebook status, has been transplanted into the publication. Denuded of its likes and comments, removed from its digital environment of blue, white and hapless algorithmic noise, transplanted onto a flat, fixed grey and white page, offers up the problematic of interfacial transplantation as tangible experience. So too does Rasmus Svensson‘s text, ‘Server Closet’, edited and translated from a Swedish comments thread, “When will you leave Sweden”. He collates expressions of “profound xenophobic hostility” for the printed the page and they jab, jar and confuse in a manner that such words online – by way of their prevalence across the web – have (perhaps) ceased to do.
Discussions addressing the negotiation between form and content are by no means new. Whilst it might not be exactly ‘hot topic’ right now, the relevance of the discussion has not waned; the problems are not solved and the conditions of our interactions through and with interfaces are ever changing and cannot definitively be known. This new publication that “looks at interfaces in an expanded field” – though reading it, at times, feels akin to the extraneous beatings of a dead horse – is not an unwelcome contribution to a continuing, broad-based conversation.**
In the sparsely furnished, dimly lit hall on the third floor of an enormous dilapidated house, bed frames are loosely arranged around ornate plaster columns in irregular rows. The reference to an orphanage, or a dormitory is immediate and obvious, yet the recurrence of digital printing and a wall-mounted flat screen brings your thoughts back to the Berlin art scene.
EDENunlimited/tbc.tbc is a collaborative project by artists Clémence de La Tour du Pin and Antoine Renard and the curators Elise Lammer and Emiliano Pistacchi. It pulls together sound and installation works of 19 artist from 13 contributing not-for-profit spaces. The show holds a strong aesthetic reference to Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster‘s TH.2058 show, which imagined Tate Modern 50 years into the future as a post-apocalyptic shelter, an installation housing rows of bare metal bed frames and remnants of personal effects. Despite the reference though, experiencing EDENunlimited will not be like walking through the eerily deserted isles of an abandoned ward.
Emphasising audio, each of the 13 installation pieces on show have its own aural composition. Technology varies, ranging from a pair of subwoofers, that seem to be hooked up to two-stroke engine oil, erratically amplifying dialogue from de La Tour du Pin and Renard’s ‘I Do It So It Feels Real’ (2014); to a variety of dinky portable MP3 docks; to several straggly in-ear headphone sets. At the far end of the room, a performer reinterprets Jacques Roger’s ‘Audio File’ (2014) on an acoustic guitar. His quiet strumming rises above the conglomerate noise of the show evaporating gently a moment or two later. In addition, the general sound system, a constantly changing, continuous layer in the exhibition ambience, throws a shroud over the space, at times dominating, or sublimating to, the individual pieces.
Selected by Switzerland’s SALTS, Hannah Weinberger‘s moody track featuring samples of running water, dripping pipes and hollow plumbing, ‘Hi’ (2013), evokes moisture and dankness. It lends itself to the damp old walls that house the exhibition. Occasional sound bites emerging from Andrew Birk & Ian Swanson‘s ‘Road Poets Flip Chasm’ (2014), pull and push perception in unexpected directions. A low hush of digital static in the space sounds like insects. A voice advises, “you imagine the smell of it … life feels like static … life feels like not life … like a cot in an institution”. Electric prickles run over your skin like the static ghosts of bed bugs and roaches. A digital reminiscence of this corporeal imagination of the tiny horrors that lurk in dormitories, scabies, lice, contagious skin conditions; digital pricks and burns experienced by those with electromagnetic sensitivity. “You can feel the analogue is about to break.” In this case it is the digital that is breaking, janky systems that run low on battery, or having been set in energy-saver mode are drifting off to sleep.
According to the project brief, “contributing art spaces were selected following a set of secret yet random criteria.” Though we will likely never learn the “secret criteria” on which the show is premised. This exhibition evokes intimacy, it is about revealing what is initially hidden.
Like finding a colony of holographic ants on the underside of a log, each piece in EDENunlimited must be discovered. You crouch against the wall by Aimee Heinemann‘s ‘Greek & Roman Mythology 2003: World Aquaculture & Apocalypse Narratives’ (2014), invited by UK’s Almanac, insert a pod or two into your aural orifices and tune into Heinemann’s voice. Following a lilting narrative, it transports you somewhere else, into a magical wikipedia of bodies and psychologies and smoky experimental skies, the voice tells you, “Strange Galaxies”.
From one thin bare mattress to the next, the exhibition winds through a series of simulated privacies. A text printed on silk, ‘Bind To’ (2014) by V4ULT’s Anna Mikkola and Hanna Nilsson, hangs, shower-curtain-like as an imperfect partition between pieces. Coming upon Jacent Varoym‘s ‘La Sieste (Abyssus Abyssum Invocat)’ (2014), a scene strewn with clothing, a half-drunk glass of wine and a plate of curry wurst, confronting and embarrassing you with these abject remnants of life. Visitors to the space sit on beds and talk in hushed tones. Everywhere you walk, you feel like you’re interrupting. You stop by Andrea Lukic‘s, ‘Who Will Let Her Hair Down When I Cannot Sing My Heart’ (2014) and poke the grimy nub of an earphone into your ear to discover the sound of fire crackling from the imitation flames of wood, pebbles and light bulbs. Though the intimacies are calculated, their simulated viscera is tangible.**
In a busy night of interrelated openings and events during Berlin Art Week, nebulous online/offline art project V4ULT is launching a publication, a gesture waves us on, answering our own wave, at Berlin project space Center on the afternoon of September 20.
Opening with performances and readings by V4ULT, along with Susan Ploetz (aka Pashly) and Julia Zange, between 3pm and 4pm, the publication carries on the project’s concerns with virtual and ‘real’ platforms that already exist (or existed) across an online exhibition space and a temporary location in Kreuzberg, where they last held their Breathing Kevlar, Perforated Skin show last year.
As a project run by Anna Mikkola and Hanna Nilsson, the latter of whom is also behind online “information bank” Waves of Direction, the publication appears as part of a rising swell of ideas and experiences culminating at spatial relations and how they effect the constant “move back and forth between the viewer and the artworks”.
The EDENunlimited/tbc.tbc group show is gathering up a selection of local and international not-for-profit spaces and artists for a sound-and-word exhibition taking place at one of Berlin’s run-down old buildings at Alt Stralau 4 from September 20 – 28.
The art spaces featured in the exhibition – including V4ULT, Parallel Oaxaca, M/L Artspace, Almanac and Center (withartistproject coeval.gen.in) – were selected following a secret but random set of criteria, and asked to provide a sound work accompanied by a visual element done by an artist of their choice.
The 19 contributing artists, in turn, have never physically met, instead using the “natural resilience of sound to create overlapping narratives between a variety of works”. The result is an exhibition that aims to explore the ineffable intuitive process that takes place between artists and curators in creating a show, set up in the reworked communal space of Alt Stralau 4 as one single dizzying soundscape.
Berlin-based ‘non-space’, V4ULT, has launched a video archive of last year’s exhibitions on its website.
Speaking to their precept of “URL continues IRL”, and vice versa, founders and curators Anna Mikkola and Hanna Nilsson (of PWR Studio) spent the past year exploring place and our relation to it by playing with the notion of the online and offline gallery, as well as its documentation. If you click the black square in the top right hand corner of the website, links to shows by Iain Ball, Kimmo Modig, Pamela Rosenkranzand, of course, last September’s Breathing Kevlar, Perforated Skin group exhibition, among others, present yet another experience of 2013’s Adalbertstrasse space, which is set to shift elsewhere in 2014.
The documentation of completed art works is usually a closed affair. In the case of Breathing Kevlar, Perforated Skin, the documentationwas the content of the exhibition, which led to a series of bewildering encounters and borderline perverse scenarios.
V4ULT is a project space run out of a studio on Adalbertstrasse, one of the hippest hubs near Kreuzberg’s Kottbusser Tor. Billed as a “performative group show”, the exhibition’s description was otherwise opaque. The blurb read as an ad for Screen Ops Tactical Gloves –hand wear that allows you to use touch-activated electronics while working in “tactical environments”. The relation between the gloves and the show was never explicitly illuminated but the almost poetic perversity of the their description might provide the missing link.
Photographer Mikko Gaestel documented the artworks, for the two-hour exhibition. Several people –friends or benevolent assistants of the artists –lined up in a dark, bare room with the works in hand, ready to be photographed by Gaestel. In the far corner of the room, a one person-wide, brightly-lit closet served as the backdrop for the shoot. The objects were photographed in the hand of their guardian, while visitors could peer into from over Gaestel’s shoulder. The whole thing proved a curiously voyeuristic experience.
The objects to be displayed, though largely unassuming, took on a fetishistic character in the context of their documentation. Martin Kohout’s ‘Sticks: Class A’(2011) looked like a cross between a wind instrument, a weapon and a ritualistic divining rod. The ‘Based on Memory’(2012)Euro coins by Anne de Vries were exhibited enticingly in the palm of their bearer’s cupped hands, like a semi-religious offering. All the while, Hanne Lippard’s familiar voice filled the room, as her audio narrative ‘Dings (Horrorscope 2014)’ (2013) –a series of prophetic reflections on suffocating office atmospheres mixed with astrological truisms –emanated reassuringly from a laptop on a table. It was played on V4ULT’s website (where it can still be seen), the background pattern of Naja Ankarfeldt’s accompanying video, ‘Things’ (2013), meshing seamlessly with the wallpaper itself, giving rise to the V4ULT tag line that “the URL continues IRL”. The site becoming personified –in lieu of the artists themselves –as participant among the performers in the room.
Conceptually, the exhibition was excellent, which made it almost unbearable to experience in real life (conceptual art often only being recognizably good when reflected upon in its wake). There was no indication of how to behave in this strange domestic space, no division between visitors and performers, and seemingly no one ‘in charge’. Witnessing the documentation of an event –before or in the absence of the event itself –produces a sense of fruitless anticipation. This unrequited feeling lingered beyond the one night show, a sure sign of seductive success. **
With space becoming a real concern in a densely populated, urbanised world, its galleries like new Berlin additions V4ULT that are exploring the notion of boundaries and how to transcend them. Run by Anna Mikkola and Hanna Nilsson they aim to utilise the small space by exploring networked social media and our interlinked relation to it via a combined online and offline gallery.
Opening their first show with an exhibition from UK artist Iain Ball in June, with shows by eight artists in the three months since, the title of Pamela Rosenkranz’s, Content, opening on Wednesday, September 18, marks an interesting parallel with V4ULT’s high-volume, rapid turnover of works, especially when that ‘content’ appears to consist entirely of online information on skin care. Refresh.