Sunday, 13 November 2016

Isthisit? AFK, Art Reveal Magazine and Joey Ryken

I’ve been so busy recently, that I haven’t actually written this blog for three weeks, which was definitely a mistake, as now this is going to take forever to document everything that I’ve done. Fuck. (Now about to start checking over the 8000 words… Oh dear)

If we rewind to two weeks ago, I had just finished making two piece of work, which were then shown during an exhibition called ‘Group Effort’ at Bones and Pearl Studios. I decided to display Autonomy 2.0, in a new video installation, as well as a completely new video work that I created over the course of a few days in the studio, which is simply titled Colleen and Joshua. This work was displayed on a deck chair I bought, or more precisely hooked onto the deck chair via a tablet mount, allowing the viewer to sit in the chair whilst watching the video, plugged in via the headphones. Luckily the printed chair sling arrived on Friday, just in time for the exhibition, so viewers were able to sit on the print of the Free Internet Act whilst watching this new video. The video utilises two YouTubers, and documents their relationship that they shared with their viewers, through videos published on the online platform. The film is made up of snippets of these videos, mostly looking at key events in their relationship; when they first met, when they got engaged, and then married, went on their honeymoon, etc. This was all footage taken by them for their followers. The bulk of the video looks at two vlogs that both Colleen and Joshua released on their separate channels on 30th September, 2016. In these videos, one called Heartbroken and the other Life Update, both Joshua and Colleen announce that they are getting a divorce, whilst explaining why as well as going into great detail about how sad they are, etc. In my piece, I’ve cropped out their heads, so that the viewer can simply concentrate on the emotions that are happening on their faces. The heads are then constantly moving on either side of the screen, playing a game of pong that never seems to end. In the background of the work, a number of short Shutterstock videos are looped, featuring a number of different people scrolling on their phones, tablets and laptops. In the middle of the screen, the viewer is educated about the lovers’ relationship, showing the different points in their relationship that I discussed earlier. Although I’m mocking these people, turning their heads into pong paddles and trivialising their break up, the ending to the work feels very sombre and (I hope) comes off as a sort of love letter to the couple, showing what they are losing, even though everything that they’ve shown their audience in the past may be completely fabricated. As you watch this digital love letter, you’re immersed in the black deck chair, ‘escaping to the beach’ whilst being cocooned by the act that allows you to browse the internet freely and cheaply. I think it works:

I decided to show Autonomy 2.0 with the ceiling mount, but not connected to the actual ceiling. As this turned out to be quite an effort, so I decided to simply have the television connected to the mount, subtly hinting at the surveillance that is occurring, rather than pushing it in your face, as it’s quite obvious that these Sims are being surveilled. The mount is then leaning onto a silicon thumb connected to a USB flash drive, hinting at that idea of autonomy, the knowledge that is downloaded into every Sim or human and the idea of a replica, ‘the double’. Although it’s a lot simpler than the previous work, I enjoy how it turned out. It was a nice experience, to actually take part in putting up a show with people, although travelling across London with a deck chair and a huge heavy bag is never fun, my shoulder was not happy:

Another piece of work that I’ve been slowly developing over the past few weeks has come to fruition. I was never really happy with simply displaying the printed blue shell as the finished piece, so I decided to think about how to utilise it within an installation. Whilst educating myself more on the blue shell, I kept seeing it being compared to a drone strike; how it hits the other players whilst travelling to its actual target of the player in 1st place, being similar to drones, and the multitude of collateral murder that has occurred in the past, killing innocent civilians with the aim of killing one evil terrorist. I’m also reading a book called Drone Theory by Gregoire Chamayou, which talks about the negative impact of drones, how they were created, etc, but in a very philosophical way, making you see the other side of these ideas. I decided to make the work more about drones, rather than simply about the idea of chaos being captured in this small object. I also wanted to think more about the moment of impact, the point at which you know something is about to happen and that you can’t do anything about it. It became obvious to use an image of a drone firing, as a companion to the image of the shell about to hit the Mario Kart player. I wanted to do something with these images, making them part of an installation rather than hanging them on the wall beside a plinth. This is when I remembered that I’d wanted to print something on aluminium for a while, utilising the very ‘clean’ and ‘professional’ aesthetic that is gained when using the material. I ordered the image of the player being hit by a blue shell, alongside a drone firing its missile, to be printed on aluminium. The drone firing (about 10cm x 10cm) will rest on top of the blue shell print (80cm x 40cm). The sculpture of the shell will then rest on top of the drone print, creating a sandwich with the drone in the middle. I then plan to elevate the bottom print from the floor slightly, making it a little more substantial than simply slabs of aluminium resting on the floor. This piece is now finished, and can be seen on my website here:

After making those three pieces, I wanted to start making something new for the end of term exhibition. I decided to revisit the ideas that I’d been having previously about the Facebook friendship anniversary system, whereby when your Facebook anniversary with someone comes up you have the ability to commemorate it by using a video template, designed by Facebook, where your tagged images with the friend in question are slotted into this template in order to create a video unique to you. Of course, the video is not unique. It has exactly the same music, exactly the same words written about your friendship, it’s all the same. You as the user also have the option to curate your friendship with the person, swapping out some pictures for others, etc. This is all in order for you to ‘share’ the video, showing off to your friends the photos that have previously been forgotten in the tidal wave of other photographs from clubs and fancy dinners. I’ve been collating these videos for a while, and finally decided to actually utilise them. Rather than simply playing them over and over again in a long, incredibly repetitive way, I decided to make something out of the videos, working with the music to choreograph a dance of some sort, not dissimilar to a TV advert of video clips, popping in and out of the picture. I’m still in the middle of making it, and it’s far from finished, but see the work in progress here:
I’m planning to show the eventual video in an installation, where one of my large TVs is mounted onto the wall in portrait, showing the short video piece, alongside two other video works being displayed on my kindle and a phone, both connected to the television via tripods, at different angles so that the viewer has to manipulate themselves in order to view them. I’m not entirely sure what these videos will be yet, but I have some time to work that out. Something to do with friendships, etc. I also want to show some sculptural forms within this tableau, either hanging from the metal rods that hold the phone and kindle, or somewhere else. These would manifest as personalised products that are easily accessible to the average consumer, like t-shirt printing or getting something on a mug, etc. This would probably involve either the people’s names featured in the video, or the individual profile pictures all printed onto one t-shirt or something. Yet again, I’m not sure.
I’m very conscious that there’s definitely been a lack of work occurring within my own practice, due to how the AFK show has slowly been consuming my life. Fuck admin. Well, not fuck admin, but I definitely have an appreciation now for people who type out emails all day. On the 1st of November submissions closed for the show, throwing me into a panic of emails and scouring the CuratorSpace submission list. After about a week of nothing but admin I had compiled a list of 23 artists (including myself) who would be in the show, these are the artists:

Peter Barnard -
Bob Bicknell-Knight –
Riley Burks -
Joseph Cotgrave -
Rado Daskalov –
Stacey Davidson –
Pippa Eason -
Camilla Edström Ödemark -
Naomi Ellis -
Taylor Ellis -
Elliot Hewgill -
Bex Ilsley –
Sid Smith and Jim Bicknell-Knight -
Lisa Kuglitsch -
Laila Bleblebleblebleblebleblebleble -
Will Marshall -
Sophie Rogers -
Aidan Strudwick -
Owen Thackeray -
Michael Wynne –
Neale Willis –

After making all the selections, I was introduced to another level of admin; working out how to get all the work to me. A lot of the physical work has been posted to me, which will then have to be posted back by me, which is painful but worth it to have some physical artwork for the show. Some dropped work off, which was great, as well as sending me digital files for sound and video works. In total, I think there’s going to be five video pieces and four sound works, all playing on the same black mp3 players alongside some big screens.

I applied for funding from the student union, which was successful. I received £100, which I have spent entirely on beer, which I think is fair. I’ve also bought a bin for it to go in with ice; how professional. A lot of the other things that I’ve bought for the show, shelving unit, mp3 players, spray paint, etc has been solely paid for by me. In retrospect, I should have probably gotten each artist to pay a minimal fee of £5.00 or something, to cover the costs of all these things. In reality, however, I did not do that.
I’ve been crafting a press release alongside a poster for the show, which solidifies the exhibition as a real, professional thing. I also wanted to create a catalogue of works and artist statements but I ran out of time and didn’t get as much funding as I’d hoped for. It’s a shame, as that would have made the show even more professional, but ultimately it’s unneeded. The press release will be double sided, and this is a work in progress.

In the past few days I also decided to have the show in my bedroom, rather than the spare room. As my room is far bigger, it will allow me to actually use the space well, focusing on minimalist ways to display the work as well as having more time to properly curate the experience. My room can also be accessed from the street very easily, which will keep all the visitors on the lower level of the house; my room, the kitchen and the garden. My room also has a nice stone floor, rather than a warped wooden one.

I’ve also bought blue lights for the show, which may or may not be used. This would effectively stain all of the pieces, colouring the works with the blue of capitalism to consider how the internet has been corrupted by corporations, etc. It would also slightly disguise the fact that all the walls are a mild shade of yellow. I’m still yet to decide if this is what I want to do however, as it will completely change everything.
What else have I done in preparation for the show? Oh I bought a pair of shelving units, which actually look really good. They’ve allowed me to display various works together, embedded within a frame which functions as a mini exhibition within itself. They will also be used to show my own work on in the future, as I’m really loving how the works look when they’re attached to the frame, enabling me to create video installations mixed with sculptural works. Basically really cool and very much inspired by Yuri Pattison.
As I previously stated, due to having to do so much preparation for the show, it’s been really hard to actually turn my head back into making artwork. It’s definitely two very different states of being, admin and art making. At times it’s felt very weird and I’ve cherished the moments when I’m actually making art and not just writing emails, etc.

The online version of isthisit? is going well, exhibition #26 was named ‘Watching, Looking, Looping’, relating to how each of the video pieces being featured utilised the mechanism, or the idea of, looping, with the films endlessly repeating until the viewer decides to close the tab of their chosen web browser. Grace Lee’s animated video work ‘Looper’ depicts a figure, not dissimilar to the artist, walking down a path, only to fall over and be ‘re-born’ due to the experience, pushing themselves out of their old cocoon like skin and continuing to walk down the same path once again. The idea of re-making or re-moulding oneself after a tragic event affects you is not an old idea, but one that feels incredibly poignant after watching Lee’s subtle video. Accompanying ‘Looper’ is Bob Bicknell-Knight’s ‘Autonomy 2.0’, a work that depicts a family of Sims going about various activities within their home, from brushing their teeth to making breakfast. The positioning of the viewpoints, simulating active CCTV cameras, makes the viewer feel almost voyeuristic, even though they’re ‘only’ virtual people, and not ‘real’. As you’re watching ‘Autonomy 2.0’, Owen Thakeray’s ‘I'm Not Phased by this Dickhead’ is silently watching you, asserting whether or not your worth it’s trouble or not. The ‘it’ I refer to is some sort of extra-terrestrial, with a bone like head and a dead, almost tired look in the space where you’d imagine it’s eyes to be. At this point during my experience of ‘Watching, Looking, Looping’, I feel slightly violated, and can now empathise with the Sims, always being watched and never watching. I almost feel bad for experiencing the simplistic beauty of Lee’s work, knowing full well that the ‘dickhead’ was watching me the whole time, or am I the dickhead in this narrative? I don’t really know anymore…
Environmental Exposure, isthisit?’s 27th online exhibition, featured two artists, Camilla Edstrom Odemark and Jack Ratcliffe. Both works consider the environmental issues that are currently affecting ‘our’ world, and the different ways people are discussing the aforementioned issues. In Odemark’s video work ‘This Happened to Us’, the viewer is continually presented with multiple layers of a screen, peering through pixelated forests and virtual domains to observe what’s happening ‘beyond the wall’. The visual metaphor of a snake eating itself, alongside consuming other snakes in its vicinity, is continuously used throughout the six-minute odyssey as a way of discussing the procrastination that occurs on the internet on a daily basis. The piece is partly covered by Ratcliffe’s ‘Digital Forest’, a continuously changing biome generated in real-time from the results of the Bing search engine. Similar to how Odemark’s film discusses procrastination on the internet, this work explores how quickly political and social movements are forgotten, with users of the web repeatedly jumping from one cause to another, never really considering what’s happening in the world around them. To me, the works are incredibly sombre, revelatory mediations on how lives are lived online and offline in the 21st century.
isthisit?’s 28th exhibition was called ‘Collab with me’, referencing the famous scene from the 1971 film ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ where Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka) sings ‘Pure Imagination’ whilst showing the golden ticket holders the first area of the factory; the chocolate room. The tour group are astonished by what is presented to them, almost immediately running off to gorge on every piece of confectionary that the room has to offer. Each of the works presented in this weeks show have a very excitable, childlike wonderment to them, as if the artists have only just begun working with the ideas that they’re presenting within the work, as if they have only just started their journey into the factory, with far more enticing delights awaiting them. D'arcy Darilmaz’s ‘Finger Painting Argument’ harnesses found footage alongside conversations collated from social media websites to question how contemporary art is perceived on the internet. Is Darilmaz looking down on these people, as someone who clearly knows about art, or simply presenting to the viewer how modern art is viewed on social media today? Another work, created by Tom Stockley titled ‘A Hideous Trend’, harnesses low quality aesthetics in order to critique their common usage in art today, becoming the problem that he seems to detest. Does Stockley not understand why this visual trend, a utopian time machine that allows people to reminisce about the beauty of the 90s, has become prominent in the 21st century, or is he simply bored of seeing films that look like they’ve been filmed on a potato? Tyler Robarge's short film '...potential to do good?' physically links all of the pieces together, considering the ethics and relationships that artists have with their subjects. The work manifests itself as a piece of found footage, a hand held experience that shows a figure moving a tortoise off of a deserted road, simply moving the animal onto the verge of the road, still in harm’s way. Is this a metaphor for how artists treat their subjects? Or more specifically, how artists treat their subject matter, with reference to the two earlier, arguably misguided, works.
The question is, when do I stop doing the weekly online things and concentrate on putting on physical shows? I definitely want to put on another, not inside my own home, next term. It’s definitely going to become a thing that goes side by side with my practice, as I’ve learned so much by going through this process already.

I’ve also begun a correspondence with a student, Catinca Malaimare, from the University for the Creative Arts, who wants me to put on an online show, to run side by side with an offline one that she is going to be curating next month. It’s quite exciting, and I’m looking forward to doing it, whatever it manifests itself as. The details are yet to be fully hashed out.

Oh and speaking of student curated spaces, a group of us from uni are slowly creating a space within Chelsea that will function as a gallery. At the moment walls are being painted and sanded down in preparation for something to happen, whatever that may be. Curating within a group should be exciting, less responsibilities and more (excuse the phrase) ‘manpower’.

I’m also currently doing an online residency, called The SketchUp Residency. ‘A residency where artists use the 3D modelling software, Google SketchUp, for the duration of their term.’ It was basically the residency that I was born to do, as its online and revolves around using the Sketchup program, one that I’m incredibly familiar with. The basic concept is that you pick a space and then create some work in it, whatever that may be, that viewers can explore when visiting the website. The location I chose was Palm Jumeirah, an artificial archipelago in United Arab Emirates. It’s a manufactured, artificial space, in the shape of a palm tree; the ultimate holiday getaway destination. I decided to return to ideas of Utopia, and the false ideas within that term. At the moment I’m creating a sort of surveillance state, which contains artefacts from the past, consumer products, alongside CCTV cameras and nods to various utopian worlds featured in video games and films. I’ve also taken over their Instagram account, posting about three pictures a day, showing progress alongside inspiration for the project. I’m actually really enjoying it. I love the idea of having Instagram as a research journal of sorts. Obvious, but still enjoyable. It’s got me thinking about starting an ‘Instagram takeover’ aspect to isthisit?, holding open calls for weekly takeovers or something? Maybe something to figure out during the Christmas holidays. Fuck, time is moving fast.
I’ve also gotten into a few things during this time. An interview that I took part in is going to be featured in issue 22 of Art Reveal Magazine, which is doing a six-page spread of my work. It’s an online magazine that can be found here: The interview is below and I’m unsure when the issue will go live. I’m excited to see.

Briefly describe the work you do 
A lot of my work manifests itself as video installations, although I do also make sculptures, net art, interactive video games and digital prints. Nearly all of the physical work that I create is ordered over the internet, readymade objects that are crafted by people I never interact with in the offline world, which directly relates to my fascination with the internet and the limitless tools it provides. A lot of my films harness found footage and machinima, as well as Google Sketchup and other animation software that I have taught myself to use.
What themes do you pursue?
My practice revolves around the internet, the various digital communities that are created there as well as the idea of Web 2.0. A lot of my work responds to how the internet has changed in the past 20 years, following the dot com boom of the late 90s and the 9/11 attack of the early 2000s, which allowed the internet to become a lot more moderated and a lot less utopian than it had been previously. I’m also incredibly interested in video games, sometimes harnessing the interactive medium to create machinimas and works that are video games within themselves.
Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist?
At this point I don’t think it’s possible to not be a conceptual artist, as the majority of artwork in the world has at least a vague meaning behind it. My work always begins with a concept. I never set out to make a video or a sculpture as this would restrict me to those specific mediums when creating the work, so I begin every new project with an open mind as to what I’m about to create.
How has your work changed in the past years?
It’s become a lot more video based and a lot less sculptural in form, stepping away from my emotions and concentrating more on ideas and concepts that influence my day to day life, like the overwhelming force of the screen and the internet.
How would you describe the art scene in your area?
As I’m currently living in London, the art scene is incredibly diverse, allowing you to go to an exhibition of abstract expressionism one day and one solely made up of internet influenced video work the next. There’s also a lot of stuff going on beyond the white cube gallery space, most of which I’m not even aware of because of how much is constantly happening in this city.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
Due to the advent of the internet, I don’t think anyone knows anymore, especially not me. The mass decentralization of information that’s occurred has made all kinds of art available to anyone who has access to a computer and an internet connection. At the moment a lot of contemporary art is mocked in contemporary culture, through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This could be because people are now seeing a lot of art through screens, arguably in the ‘wrong context’, but a lot of the time people simply bypass the amount of time, thought and effort that goes into seemingly simple things.
What are your future plans?
I’m currently creating a new immersive video installation for a show happening in December, as well as curating an offline exhibition later this month in November that’s a continuation of an online gallery that I manage called isthisit?, which has a new exhibition every week on the website. I’m also showing one of my videos in a group exhibition in Boston this month, as well as undergoing a computer based performance as part of an online exhibition program called #cam4art. In December I’m going to undergo an online residency called The Sketchup Residency, which I’m looking forward to.

I’m also going to be in a show opening this weekend called Touch Me Baby. The concept of the show is that all of the works can be touched and moved around the space. I submitted a number of works, with my baseball caps being selected. Finally they will be worn! I’m actually really happy about the amount of times the caps have been utilised now, and were definitely worth the investment. The event is here for anyone wanting to touch some art, which is a great concept:

Alongside this I’m going to be performing a work over webcam on the 26th of this month, broadcasting live over YouTube as part of #cam4art, a new website experience that brings you art over the internet. My performance will be part of 24 others, going on over a 6-day event. I’ll be performing an iteration of Watching Me, Watching You, a work that involves myself leaving my webcam on for various amounts of time. I have two hours to kill, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, what will I do? I’m not totally sure yet. Go see the website here:

I’m also going to be featured on KoProjects’ online website called Project Platform in April next year. Every month, they feature an artist on the site, containing an interview, pictures of artwork, etc. It’s something nice to look forward to. The website is here:

Now, onto seminars. I’ve been going to two at uni, one called Scale, which has now ended, and another called Reading & Writing with Context of Contemporary Art. For Scale, the tutor basically ran through the many areas of scale, from physical size to institutional ideas of scale. It was very interesting and I accumulated about 20 pages’ worth of notes during the 6-hour period. Should I post them here? Yeah, why not.

Reading & Writing with Context of Contemporary Art is still happening. It’s fun, although lots of big words that are thrown around as if they’re widely known. More discussion is needed too, more seminar and less lecture. Here are my notes for this too:

Workshops also began this week. I chose Live vs. Image-ready practices, which largely focuses on performance work, as well as how we see images online. Do you use a website, or do you purposefully not have one? It’s slowly becoming interesting, although this week was slightly tiring, which may be due to the size of the class. There’s only six of us. I was also told to put away my laptop, thus a serious lack of note taking occurred, which is kind of annoying… I know it looks like I’m not concentrating, but I am, trust me.

Artist talks. I’ve been to a few. Jo Hsiao is a curator and gave a talk that focused around a recent large scale exhibition that she put together. Although it should have been interesting, it really wasn’t. It also wasn’t helped that she spoke incredibly quietly.

Jo Hsiao – curators talk – 25/10/2016

Inspired by alicce in wonderland – theme of exhibition – everyday life – the everyday in art, the audience or the viewer in real life – 9 artists – challenging things in the museum venue – information desk is the installation within itself, about interiors – costumes designed by the artists – the viewers are themselves part of the work, considering the everyday
Difference between everyday in art and everyday for ‘normals’, becoming more visible because o the ‘dress up’ occurring.
Everyday in art vs audience in real life – sole reality – adapting clips from tv realty shows – responding to reality in tv – venue vs genres – an exhibition project is very different to an exhibition performance – is this what she’s saying? Wearing earphones being part of the exhibition
Challenging value of the work, and the specificity of the thing – exhibition itself as an integral dialectic – everyone can be there own choreographer – spontaneously happening – designed by artists, listening to instruction and designed by actions – exhibition = dialectic – related to personal interpretation and group interaction, etc. spontaneous reaction between artists and participants
Exhibition as an integral dialectic – interjecting different forms of art through exhibition perspectives – three forums, a place to discuss work – twisting the perception of what an exhibition should look like – the work is the forum and the forum is the work.
Showing the production of the work, by making the work during the exhibition – kind of interesting – joining the audience together – and the ork being about that too, kind of cool
7 door project – various doors going to different states – a bar, etc. looking at encounteres between people
Audience – viewer – becoming the material to construct the exhibition – kind of a nice idea
Collective art projects unfolding across time, artowkrs composed of people

Another artist talk by a woman named Sharron, who’s PHD is currently focused around Agnes Martin. Once again, very dull and uninformative.

Sharron – Artist Talk – 01,11,16

Agnes martin – observing the telegraph poles, etc – observing these things that occur in daily life – contemplating what’s happening etc – making your paintings on the way to the studio – oil apintings, etc
Agnes martin studio – used to be an old water inlect – built in buildings on it – making old ships – agnes martin found things – old boart parts – long nails, etc – scavenging things
Changing work – more conceptual, 2 inch square painting – ruled lines in graphite – pushing small pins/nails through the surface of the canvas – interesting to watch this change.
Projection of own practice – utilising tape – reposititongin things – idea of reconfiguring the artwork after having ‘completed’ things – that becoming central in her practice – found green line – interested in found materials, but also materials discovered within the paintings that you’re slowly uncovereing
Didn’t want to make another agnes martin – making a new version, whilst learning and understanding from her methods
Agnes martin’s use of description – using pins as a stand in for pins – basically interested in the super subtle things that occur within the sculptural works
Found packaging – work that utilises these functions

A brief glimpse of excitement occurred when Joey Ryken, a performance/installation artist took to the Chelsea theatre stage.

Joey Ryken – artist talk – 8,11,16 – On Magic Spaces

Phd = magic spaces – design of magical space – cinema, video games, jemanic cultures, etc -the effects and coordination of people around magical principles – within that – invoking interior exerienc of the magical other subjectivity
Starting off – set dressing drawing – plans for a space of continual process of negotitation – plan for ‘neuro-disco’ – satanic forms buit with sensors, etc – playing with the boyd and space – adapted
Subjects can be so narrow – loosing sight of things
Disco momo – advertised as an intereactive installation – conceit manipulated by the artist – hiding within a cave – ‘chill out cave’ – looking through a peep hole, manipulating technology as people moved through the space – based on being met by technological superiority – interested in discussing the idea of interactive technology – mirroring effect – speculative installations – lots of ques for an embodied spatial experience – more interested in the con, how the work can be questioned etc
Ignoramus – good word
Transdimensioanl histories – revolutionaising the future to meet it half way through artworks – different iterations of ideas – karaoke performances – making a catalogue of performance instructions via karaoke – framing of karaoke allows you to approach in a number of ways
Antagonistic audio visual sculpture
Audience reactive zone – two way mirror piece – more than a feeling with strobe lights going – theory that the figures will fall in love – psychological idea of the thing
Psychic energies – psychic energies being done through automatic drawing after being hooked up to images – keeping utonomy through a hallucinatory experience – creating a dialogue between the permanent complications of capitalist wester society, onto imagining the post-colonial exchanges
Academics – route of television – ocular organ – louis Bertrand – holy realm
Rods that pick up magnetic technology – organ metaphysical currents – bringing about mystical wholeness – ridiculousness, but intriguing objects – link to brion gysin dream machine – invoking hallucinatory consciousness
Exploring impossible themes – how to consider performance or artowkr in a gallery space – utilising the drawing to go beyond something somehow – antoin artaud – crating drawings that were drawn as shelves – black magic – preoccupied as to what a drawing can contain – confidence that the drawing was transending these ideas – breaking through to an alternate dimension – simplistic – similar to karaoke – building a huge allegory for an idea of an altered realm
Screeching/whaling – creating a sequential performance – voalsing the state of demon possession – then allowing the performance to work as that
New age saxophonist? Garish noise combines with increased insurgence – abominable flowman – are we on yet?
Comedic aspect of the works – pretense of magic as a red herring – humor as own form of magic
Commerciality of the screen and the difference btween the live and the real – making you closer to the thing through the idea of the other thing
Usually advertised as ‘feel good’, party orientated exhibitions – but in a haphazard way – creating something less linear – but now wanting more linearity in the thing – creating some sculptural things that people can interact with – hyperbrechtian work
Coming to these things as an authentic sense that they get it and are doing it correctly – this is wrong – but doing it incorrectly and through humor, you can work with these things that aren’t your own – is this not making fun of the thing? Or disprescting the thing? Respecting these things byt taking inspiration from them – considering differences

At one point I found myself in a graphics talk, featuring Rollo Jackson. His work, mostly commercial, is focused around making adverts and music videos. It was really interesting to go to one of these talks, as it was so much more industry focused, with the majority of questions being a different iteration of ‘how did you make it big in the industry?’. Very odd.

Rollo Jackson – artist talk – 08,11,16

Born in London – influence asa  thing – identiyy of music and about him as a person – into jungle and gagarage – late 90s – pirate radio – lots of ideas about buying their music, listening to music – visual identity is very different – only by about 5/6 years before insta – pirate radio = magical – cam from somewhere that didn’t allow their friensships
Pirate radio – magical or criminal – remembering how the music was talked about at the time
Way people talk about the music – day to day – antiquated – magical people that you can never see in the environment – ‘post franco’ – censhorship, etc. idea of visual ryhtm – not stories necessarily, but characters, pictures matching sounds, etc – showing early muic videos because of the staifaction that was found watching them – effects, but stuff happening within the camera – being there for a speciric reason
The pharcyle – satisfaction of seeing this thing – going backwards in time – simple idea but revolutionary concept
Daft punk – around the world – surreal, process, loops, change, distortion
Thinking about the music you were into – identity – way that things are addressed and considered – lots of clothes, being in a gang, dressing in groups, etc – at the time, clothes next to one post – dressing in ‘one type of music’ – unsaid thing, considered ideas, etc – into music now in terms of identity – does it need a music video to illustrate what’s happening? Getting excited about commercials whilst utilising music that he enjoys – spending time representing the music visually well, rather than simply doing amusic video for the sake of things
About images matching sounds – more commercial the work, harder to achieve, etc – directors who want to tell stories, but an idea that you have within your thing, and the song works with the idea – matching the sounds to the actual idea that the director has already – continuing with the idea of rhythm, etc
Hyke William – sound design, listening to silence rather than the thing that you’re actually going to be doing – turnin ginside out the colours, working with these things – one extreme of the thing – belly 1998
Fitzcarreldo – Herzog – dragging a steam boat up a hill – seeing someone talk – idea of compromise/lack of conmpormise – believing in yourself, etc
Herzog = unrelenting, ways in which he looks at ideas, taking at face value – taking apart the human physic
Relationship with people – getting performances out of people – being friendships with them, cagolling them, getting in with people etc
Alysssa m – flickr
Dogma 95 rules – Michel gondry videos – doing things in camera or for real – a lot more satisfying than effects, etc – going down the same routes, making it surreal, talking aboiut differences, all these things happeneing at the same time, etc – thinking about how these things were created
A portrayal of a person, little things that add to the work, naïve and honest way – not disguising anything – make a piece of work – more honest they are, more people that relate to the thing or not.

I also went to an in conversation with Ed Atkins and Brian Dillon, where Atkins was talking about his new book A Primer for Cadavers. A very dense, prose infused book, full of multifaceted vignettes that I didn’t really have the need to discover. It was good, but very complicated. I still haven’t been to a show of his, which is disappointing, as none of his work is viewable online, only little snippets to tease you into going to one of his exhibitions.

Now, onto galleries. Yet again, I haven’t really been to that many, which is stupid. I’ve just been so busy with everything recently. However, I did go to a few, which I’ll detail below.

Starting with the better ones, I went to the private view of Carroll Fletcher’s new group show, Looking at one thing and thinking of something else: An Exhibition in Four Parts. Every few weeks the space will be transformed into a new exhibition, which is pretty exciting. There was some good work, and some not so good work. One of Evan Roth’s kites was being shown, which I love, as well as a bemusing tape measure installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, that basically attacks unwary visitors.
Another private view was a group show at Kate Macgarry called SHOW WINDOW, which was quite boring. Lots of overstated paintings and a few sculptural works that felt like they just got in the way. I would not recommend.
Bartha Contemporary, a space that I used to love, had some abstract works by Kate Shepherd and Allyson Strafella. It’s not that they were dull, it’s just that they didn’t give me anything, nothing to hold onto. The paintings just turned into blocks of colour on some nice looking panels.
Fashion Space Gallery had a show on called Fordlandia, considering the town that Henry Ford created to export rubber from Brazil. A nice idea, attempting to envision what the town would look like if it were thriving today, but not executed very well. Less art and more fashion, which is always the case with the Fashion Space Gallery. Obviously.
Edel Assanti had a solo show from Babak Golkar, who seems to simply take objects, distort them slightly, and then utilise them as art. The work manifests itself as an image of the original object, placed alongside the distorted physical thing, alongside a document saying that this new object is a piece of work; making the document as important as the work itself. A nice, re-used idea.
Pilar Corrias had a ‘fun’ show on featuring a number of paintings from Tala Madani depicting figures positioning their asses to the viewer, which had light shows coming out of them. Very funny, kind of enjoyable, but not as good as the previous shows at the space.
Pi Artworks on the other hand had a really impressive group show, with the main standout being Pilvi Takala’s Workers Forum. It was a video piece showing a group message board, not unlike Facebook Messenger, where a group of people were discussing the job that they do, mainly pretending to be someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend over text messages. The conversations that occur consider the moral and ethical issues of such a service, among other ideas being posed by the artist. It was really good and I found myself experiencing one of those rare moments when I thought ‘why didn’t I do this’ and ‘now I can’t do this’ and finally ‘I wish I’d made this’. Here’s a link to the piece that I found online. Definitely worth your time!
TJ Boulting had a hilarious show called Jenga by Stephanie Quayle which involves dozens of clay monkeys, ranging from about the size of a cat to huge, life-sized orangutans. It’s a must see, simply to be astounded at the many monkeys, crowded within the confined spaces.
Alongside this I went back to The Infinite Mix, it’s still good. Something I missed last time, which is hilarious, was the bar at the ‘half way point’ of the exhibition. Fucking weird, being shuffled through a bar part way through an immersive video experience. I didn’t really know what to do.
The Photographer’s Gallery actually had a great exhibition on by Simon Fujiwara, focusing on Joanne Salley, his former secondary school teacher whose photographic nudes got her fired from her job. The video piece that’s displayed shows Joanne slowly creating a new public persona in order to change the image of her that was being circulated in the press. It’s an incredibly clever, very dark film, that documents an interesting journey. A lot of the editing is really impressive too, lots of layering alongside some really clever metaphorical moments. Definitely worth seeing.
Sadie Coles is fine, showing off a bunch of huge paintings from Laura Owens. They were okay, very digital, very big. I did like the books that were being displayed in the back, big slabs of cardboard with some nice prints inside. Definitely worth looking into, and a nice call-back to the past.
Marian Goodman had a weird show on called Animality. I’ve never seen the gallery so packed full of stuff, so much work to do with animals. Some highlights include a micro door accompanied by squeaky voices, which was clever, and a screening of the Jungle Book, where all of the different animals spoke a different language, with the artist Pierre Bismuth assigning each of the animals a birth place.
Is that all the exhibitions? It probably is, as I haven’t been to that many. After this week I will be a lot less busy, and a lot less stressed, so will have ample time for my own work alongside gallery visits.

What else is there? Oh yeah, films and tv shows. Oh dear, get ready to be overwhelmed, or underwhelmed, I’m not really sure.

So, I went to see I, Daniel Blake and wasn’t really that convinced. Although it was an incredibly distressing story, a lot of the acting felt incredibly wooden and unrealistic. Every time the child came on screen I was immediately annoyed, cursing the fact that this kid had been chosen to be in this role. I don’t know, I just wasn’t really feeling it for some reason.
Why haven’t I ever watched Enter the Dragon? How stupid of me not to have watched this film by now. That’s all I’m gonna say.
The Parent Trap, yet another great film that I’m sad to have missed out on until now. It’s just so funny and works with the whole, ‘they’re the same actress’ idea so well. I loved it.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room looked at the various distressing things that occurred whilst this corporation was active. Very dark and incredibly demonstrative of how money can corrupt and destroy everything.
I watched Max Payne, a terrible movie made from an incredible video game. A shame really.
The new Tom Ford film, Nocturnal Animals, was enrapturing. So subtle, so clean, so sharp. I was incredibly impressed, alongside the fact that Ford himself seems to have a hand in so many different things. Some incredible fascial acting from Amy Adams too, alongside Michael Shannon who is now consistently awesome.
Sound of My Voice was an intriguing experience, which left a lot of unanswered questions, which was definitely a good thing. A really interesting look at cults and disinformation; very worrying.
Crimson Peak; the perfect thriller. Really good, really worth watching with some really impressive visual scenes.
The Guest, pure B movie action. So crap but so good. Worth a watch if you want to relax and laugh for a bit, culminating in some fair gun scenes.
Arthur Christmas, a sweet animation looking at the mechanisation of Christmas and how the new always replaces the old. Clever.
Al Pacino in Cruising was quite good, although there could have been more to the film, whatever that means. A little more depth on the killer maybe? I’m not sure.
Bad Moms was surprisingly good, featuring a ton of hilarity which (for me) culminated with a scene in the supermarket. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the film and would highly recommend it, very funny, etc.
Demolition Man was interesting, a film that I hadn’t watched for some reason, with an interesting concept. The world that Sylvester Stallone encounters when he gets out of cryosleep is an intriguing one, one without crime, violence or swearing. Utopian but distinctly dystopian for Stallone.
Tomorrowland was okay, a little crap, although there’s always George Clooney to brighten your day.
Finding Dory was both lovely and sad. Dual moments in this film supposedly created for children!
The last film, Sausage Party, was quite amazing. I’m annoyed at myself for enjoying how crude the whole thing was, especially the ending montage, which goes on for about ten minutes and features the entire supermarket of products having a massive orgy. The ‘price of admission’ is worth it simply to see this fucked up scene, which left me speechless. It just keeps going seemingly forever!
In television news, I’ve been watching Westworld for a while now, which is actually great, adding a completely new layer to the universe originally created in the 1973 film. Definite recommendation from me.
I’ve been trying to get into both Extant and The Expanse, neither of which really peaked my interest, which is kind of a shame, I want a good sci-fi tv show to get into.
Is that everything? Everything that I’ve done in the past three weeks? I think so. I’m definitely not leaving it that long to write a post again, as over 8000 words is quite extortionate, even for me. If you’ve read everything up to this point, well done.

If you’re in London on the 17th, you’re definitely invited to come to isthisit? AFK, where there will be free alcohol and some high quality artwork for your eyes, here’s the event again:

The next week is going to consist of physically putting up the show as well as a seminar, a workshop, some artist talks and hopefully some work generation if I have some time. It’s going to get incredibly busy, and then hopefully not that busy. Like a wave, crashing against the rocks of a beach. Hmm…

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