Sunday, 5 February 2017

Moana, Passengers and Rehab Island

This week involved lots of planning for the future, alongside some new work being generated, films being watched, games being played, going to artist talks and an exhibition or two…

The work involving the idea of Facebook Live is slowly forming, with the installation nearly built and my ideas for the video manifesting as I type. In terms of install, I purchased a tripod like stand, which then will attach to a selfie stick, where an iPhone displaying the video will be being shown. Slotted into the tripod will be disused MacBook motherboards, creating a tower like structure. Motherboards are usually built into computers, providing electrical connections so that other components of the computer can communicate with one another. In this sense, all the data moving through our computers is routed through the motherboard; it’s a crucial part of the system. Coming back to the idea of Facebook manipulating our data/the news articles we see, when Facebook employees first arrive at Facebook, they’re given a MacBook which they will use for the majority of their time there. In some cases, they will use said MacBook to ‘manipulate’ the news, creating coding that will modify the individual users experience.
I’m still unsure of what the video will be due to other things happening this week, although I’ve been messing around with using the emoji scroll a little. One of my early experiments has been to harness a recording from a drone flying over Facebook HQ in California, overlaying the ‘wow’ emoji scroll and having corporate music play over the top. I enjoy this simply experience, especially as you’re looking up at the phone dangling from the selfie stick, reflecting on your own experiences with Facebook, but it’s a little basic. I think I need to start over, make it less obvious. People immediately recognise the emoji scroll from Facebook, so I don’t think I need to have Facebook HQ in the video to push the point further… I also thought about other obvious things, like taking the whole of Friends and going through it with the emoji overlay or something, but, yet again, obvious and maybe slightly dull. Whatever it is, there will definitely be a loop involved, where you see the same thing again, but with a different set of emoji’s, coming back to the left/right divide on social media, people staying in their ‘bubble’, etc…
Another thing that arrived this week was my GTA5 banner, which can now be seen on my website, hung up in Chelsea. I think it was important to have it photographed in situ in a public space, although having it at Chelsea is slightly annoying, as it marks me as someone who has/is at Chelsea College. I’ll probably re-photograph it soon in a different setting. I think it turned out well, transforming the virtual into the real in a very obvious way whilst speaking about the content of the advert, the utopian landscape being presented within a video game where you’re already in this utopian space. Anyway, go here for some pictures of the piece: http://www.bobbicknell-knight.com/rehab-island I called it Rehab Island, an obvious name, but one that encompasses the ideas within it.
I finally got around to documenting the print, alongside building two other images to create a series of works that can be easily shown. It’s a ‘nice’ set, with the actual print being shown later this week in the Sacred 419 show, which is actually quite good, as I wasn't sure whether that would go in a show or not any time soon. Yet again, go here to see the documentation of the piece, titled Simple Human. Irony isn’t dead: http://www.bobbicknell-knight.com/simple-human
I think that might be all the generated work this week, slowly moving forward and making new things about ‘stuff’ that interests me. Things with isthisit? are going well, the first online resident has been making some really good work, a series of cards created by vaguely random processes whilst harnessing images from a Flickr album that’s attempting to document everything and anything. I’m a big fan of the amount of effort that’s being put in, setting a benchmark for future residents alongside simply making a strong start to the isthisit? residency, which is incredibly important I feel. Check out the progress here, on a pc not a phone: http://www.isthisitisthisit.com/echoes-from-the-internet
In terms of uni, we’re slowly moving into groups for offsite shows. We have a small group of four right now, looking to put on some sort of events evening, straying away from the usual exhibition format. It should be fun, something I haven’t done before. We’re currently looking for venues, like a community centre or church, somewhere with that kind of ‘vibe’, something a lot more interesting than simply hiring out a normal gallery space...

I’ve been gaining submissions for the magazine, alongside contacting various individuals to write essays for the publication as well as interviews with specific artists. The document is going to revolve around the internet, and now has 10 days to go until the deadline. Go here to submit if you want to - http://www.curatorspace.com/opportunities/detail/isthisit-magazine--open-call/1035
I curated this week’s exhibition on the site, showcasing work from Madeleine Andersson and Soohyun Choi. Identity, romance on the internet, etc, etc. Go read the curatorial notes which I’ll be writing in a few days if you’re interested in knowing more about my thinking behind the show. For now – here’s the show: http://www.isthisitisthisit.com/romanticism-the-2k17-edition
A guest curator wanted to delay their week to a later date from the 17th of this month, so I’m currently planning on curating a solo show for the site, featuring work by Roxanne Gatt, a very exciting artist who’s also having some work in the Sacred 419 show on Tuesday. See her work here: http://roxmangatt.com/ I’m excited for this to happen, the first 'proper' solo show on the site.
With A217 we have the first show of 2017 coming up this Thursday with work from three artists: Dominique Baron-Bonarjee, Andrei Costache and Ben Mosher. It’s a bit of a shame, as it’s been incredibly rushed, but I think it’ll turn out well, if a little simple, two video works and three huge sculptures. The event is here if anyone is interested: https://www.facebook.com/events/1821815794725064/ Zoe Forster took the head curator job this month, with my turn next month. I’ve already chosen a bunch of artists to create a show surrounding the speed up of technology and time. I’ll be sending out emails today so that it isn’t as rushed as this show has been, which I feel is fairly important…
What else? I went to the open call exhibition that had my work in it. It was okay, kind of badly curated but you know, whatever. An exhibition for the CV more than anything. I was slightly disappointed that they didn't release a list of the artists on their website, or hand out press releases, so I was basically going to this event blind, not knowing what I’d see when I got there. This also means no real exposure for the artists involved, which is kind of disappointing, on top of making me pay however much money for what? A free beer?

Anymore things I should mention? Probably not? The Sacred 419 exhibition is opening on Tuesday this week and is actually going to be really good. My new VR piece is going to be on show as well as the aluminium print and a few of my old video works. A bunch of stuff really, which is great. I’m definitely looking forward to it all. Here’s the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/215239435606235/
Other stuff that happened this week? I went to a great artist talk at the Zabludowicz being given by Heather Phillipson. I didn’t quite realise how ‘DIY’ all her work seems to be, or maybe that’s because she was giving us a view of fairly old works. There was a lot of ‘hey look I’m using a green screen’ and precariously balanced cardboard looking cut outs. I enjoyed the apocalyptic undertones of the work, alongside her general ideas/talking points which she discussed. Yeah, it was a solid talk. Some of the work I liked, others not so much. I definitely valued the ideas behind some of the pieces more than the finished outcomes, although that’s probably just the work that I like. It’s not as clean cut as I usually prefer professional works to be… I dunno? Definitely enjoyed the video installations, and how much thoughts went into each thing, legitimising the video within itself.
We've also been having these professional practice talks at uni, last week we had the people who run Beaconsfield Gallery come in and talk to us about the value of having a relationship with the artists you curate, etc (something I already know), and this week we had an amazing lecture by a man named Tirdad Zolghadr, a freelance curator and writer. It was maybe the best talk I’ve been to at Chelsea, which is always surprising… Lots of politics, lots of interesting insights.
I went to the private view for the two new exhibitions at the ICA, featuring work from Helen Johnson, which I didn't really understand nor wanted to, and Sonia Boyce. Although I do like Boyce’s work usually, this time the exhibition amounted to the same video being shown on 6/7 screens, of a performance that had been created at the ICA. It was fine, featuring masked individuals dancing around in a non-conforming way. I was very bored and left very quickly.
Did I visit any other exhibitions? I don’t think so, other than my own, due to pre-made plans. There’s definitely a few on my list I’m yet to cross off, the Urs Fischer at Sadie Coles and teamLab at Pace London.
Is that everything art based? It doesn't seem like a lot unfortunately, but I think it was something at least?

I managed to watch a few films, the first being iBoy, a Netflix original film that sees a teenager gain the ability to essentially fuck with any and all types of technology. It was fun, but basic in the wide scheme of things. It passes the time, is that enough?
I then watched Moana, a beautiful animation about a young girl attempting to save her small island in ancient Polynesia from dying out. Yeah, it was lovely and fulfilling, with good voice acting and stunning animation.
I also watched Passengers, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence trapped on a spaceship in the middle of a very long voyage to another planet. It was fun, a medium amount of filler but a satisfying experience nonetheless. A fair amount of controversy was levelled at the film when it came out, due to the fact that Pratt’s character effectively kills Lawrence's by artificially waking her up, condemning her to the same fate as his own. All the articles say that this is a minor plot point, and says that the film is shit because of it. Umm no? It’s a big deal in the film and continues to be throughout, pretty much the whole plot revolves around this moment, effecting the entirety of the film with this bastard move that Pratt’s character makes. Also, it takes him over a year to make that move, give the guy a fucking break…
Another film was The Founder, telling the tale of McDonalds and the terrible man behind its vast expansion, Ray Kroc. It’s a fun film, not really going into the seriousness of what McDonalds has done to the entire planet, with the terrible kid’s meals, food crop changes, etc, but fun nonetheless. A light-hearted biopic basically, taken at face value.
Manchester by the Sea was crushing, continually hammering home how depressing everything else. It’s just consistently unhappy, with the main character being repeatedly fucked over by life. Watch it, it’s great, but just painful overall…
Finishing on a high note with 3 Idiots, a hilarious Bollywood film that is very uplifting and bizarre. Why is it nearly three hours long? I don’t know, nor do I need to. It was great.
I think that’s it for films… Is less actually more?

I’m still making my way through Shameless, although that is just depressing and not nice at times. I do enjoy how it’s an over 17 tv show though, allowing for real things to happen, even if it is distressing.
A few weeks ago Regular Show ended, one of my favourite cartoons that I’ve been watching for probably around 5 years or so now. It will be sorely missed…
In better news however, Adventure Time: Islands was released, a mini-series branching out from Adventure Time which revealed many aspects of Finn’s backstory. This series is also coming to an end, yet another cartoon that I love. How depressing...
I’ve been playing a few interesting games too, working my way through the newest iteration of Doom again, which is as satisfying as ever…
Broforce is a fun 2D cooperative experience that sees players embody various American film heroes, from Rambo to Mad Max, in order to destroy entire levels with massive guns. It’s fun and nothing to think too hard about.
Another is Octodad: Dadliest Catch, a game that involves you embodying an octopus who’s posing as a human with a wife and two kids. The control system is basically fucked, making it incredibly hard for you to manoeuvre through levels, which is what makes the experience enjoyable, even more so when two or more people operate separate parts of the octopus’ body. It's light hearted with a surprisingly humorous story going on behind it.
I think that’s it? Tomorrow I’m installing for the 419 show, alongside a lecture and then prepping the A217 space for the exhibition later in the week. Tuesday will involve more curating of A217, as well as 2 more artist talk events and the private view for the Sacred 419 that eve. Wednesday will hopefully be dedicated to my own work generation, whilst Thursday will involve lots of rushing around for the private view, then Friday I’m assuming more of my own work as well as isthisit? exhibition things. Seize Projects is curating a minimal show on the site this week, which should be good, straying away from the usual format of packing everything in. So yeah, a busy week ahead, ish…

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