Duchamp Film -
Here is the digital piece I recently wrote and presented for the exhibition ‘Tell Me Whom You Haunt: Marcel Duchamp and the Contemporary Readymade’, featuring my interviews with artists David Bachelor and Valentin Ruhry.
I recently interviewed David Metcalfe, Artistic Director of the creative production agency Forma, for This is Tomorrow.
Forma work with British and International artists to develop interdisciplinary art projects, and have collaborated with Jane and Louise Wilson, Cerith Wyn Evans and Carsten Nicolai, among others, over the past decade.
‘This content was transmitted to this date in 1987’ is designed to be an interruption of a broadcast which then turns into a musical composition. It is partly based on a broadcast which the artist saw as a child, and which appeared to be a transmission from the future. The artist asked Channel 4 to broadcast the film in the past, in the hope that this is what Haroon saw as a child, and therefore somehow influencing what he does now.
Commissioned by JACQUI DAVIES and FACT
Curated by Jacqui Davies and Mike Stubbs
Produced by Jacqui Davies
…I’m the woman from the future!
Here is my review of the ICA exhibition ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2012’, for This is Tomorrow: http://www.thisistomorrow.info/viewArticle.aspx?artId=1615&Title=Bloomberg%20New%20Contemporaries%202012
My article about artist Amelia Newton Whitelaw, ‘Life and Death, Dough and Flesh: Amelia Newton Whitelaw’s Cannibalistic Treats’, has just been published in the food and culture journal The Gourmand. To buy a copy of the magazine, please visit this link: http://thegourmand.co.uk/issues/show/issue-01.
Here is my review of the Memory Marathon at the Serpentine Gallery for website This is Tomorrow (October 2012): http://www.thisistomorrow.info/viewArticle.aspx?artId=1548&Title=Memory%20Marathon
During the festival season, Edinburgh buzzes consumed by a cacophony of sound. It is noisy, it is loud; it overwhelms the senses, sweeping you up into the eye of its storm. Yet this year, it too was characterised by a notable silence, a purposeful withdrawal of sound that cut through the din. From the visual arts to theatre and comedy, the silent shows were the ones that received the loudest accolade.
One of the most highly affective pieces of performance was Theatre Ad Infinitum’s production at the Pleasance Dome, Translunar Paradise, which shunned all speech and dialogue in a spell-binding show characterised by movement and dance. It tells the story of William who regresses into a paradisiacal world of memories and fantasy when his wife passes away. We experience their wistful highs – their first meeting, full of play, excitement and romance – as well as their tragic lows – his traumatic experience of war and her nursing him through the shock in its aftermath. The piece’s poignancy is in the actors’ ability to harness and communicate emotion through movement; the conveyance of a spectrum of raw feelings through the poetics of gesture.
At the Fruitmarket Gallery, Dieter Roth Diaries (open until 14th October) presents the personal diaries that the Swiss artist Dieter Roth kept throughout his life and which often directly informed his work. He is perhaps best known for his use of found or ephemeral materials in the 1960s and 70s, including food stuffs which would then decay and degrade over time. This exhibition explores the importance of the idea of diary-keeping to the artist’s oeuvre. Each of his books reflects the extent to which art and life were blurred for Roth – he did not know where one began and the other stopped – with appointments, addresses, drawings, doodles, photographs, poems and lists coexisting within these pages, and being given equal importance.
The artist archived everyday ephemeral materials and in the mid 1970s, with the work Flat Waste, he recorded a year of his life by preserving all of the rubbish that he amassed which was less than 5mm in thickness. In the upper space of the gallery, row upon row of files are ordered, almost sterile in appearance, within which this waste is presented. Torn pages, tickets, cigarette butts, empty drink cartons and food packets lie flattened beneath the waxy surface of translucent plastic sleeves; a clear window into the artist’s past, into days lost. This is an ordered memory bank that a draws into question what a human life might be reduced to. The warmth of a person’s touch perhaps remains within the objects that they leave behind; here, somehow the artist’s tactile encounter with these items can still be felt and builds up a mesmerising portrait of who he once was. This is loaded rubbish: the installation presents a personal encounter with Roth, rather than one of merely looking at a taxonomically ordered mass of waste.
Perhaps the most impressive piece in the exhibition is Solo Scenes (1997-98), a large-scale video diary installation which occupies the entirety of the first exhibition room. This documents the last year of Roth’s life – he died in 1998 – on 135 video monitors, each solo scene relating to its neighbour to build up an overall time-based picture of the artist. It is an intimate portrayal of his daily activities: working at his desk, showering, washing up, sleeping, going to the bathroom. We observe the mundanity of the everyday, and a silently powerful view is conveyed of the artist’s later existence. His son, Björn Roth, describes how Dieter ‘could not look at himself’ in these videos, that ‘he was ashamed … this miserable old man, this miserable old life. But he had the discipline to do it … it is no beauty, it is no fun life … In my opinion, it was him filming himself dying.’ It is an incredibly honest portrayal of the self, and viewing the piece is as if observing the most intimate CCTV footage made all the more valuable by the fact that these would be the last views of this important artist that we would see. Here we have a silent and honest portrayal of the self, no words to distract us, but instead a Big Brother style observation that reveals a poignant and truthful portrait.
How might the rejection of sound heighten a viewer’s experience within these contexts? Does it make us look outwards or inwards; towards others, or into our own embodied presence? Even the most successful comedy at the festival this year ignored speech, and the winner of the overall Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award was Doctor Brown – who trained at the École Philippe Gaulier, the prestigious clown school just outside of Paris. His silent show was praised for its absurd visual humour, where the audience become intrinsically involved in each unique performance.
Perhaps without sound we not only focus our vision, but we also turn to the other senses beyond the ocular to engage the body more holistically. It might be that the unexpectedness of withdrawing one sense serves to heighten the affectivity of our overall sensory experience. In an environment where we are so often showered with commercially driven sensory overloads, surrounded by contrived stimuli, it is perhaps in these moments of silence that our senses become properly attuned and distilled.
Dieter Roth ‘Diaries’ at Fruitmarket Gallery - memory, archive, documenting the ephemeral.
Saw two beautiful Lynda Benglis works at MoMA last week:
Great article on Karla Black in Modern Painters this month
(Source: gabulombardi, via bbook)