Jeremy Deller: Social Surrealism, by Brigade Commerz, Audio Arts Archives.
Publisher Verlag für moderne Kunst writes: In 2004 Jeremy Deller was awarded the Turner Prize for his multimedia installation 'Memory Bucket'. His signature work 'The Battle of orgreave' (2001) focuses on a critical moment of the international trade union movement, inviting us to a subtly differentiated examination of history. It forms only one part of a growing catalogue of projects that can be read as an ongoing processional body of work which examines, reflects upon and influences our society. Since his 'Manchester Procession' Deller uses the Term 'Social Surrealism' to describe his practise: 'It's going back to the original idea of carnival and procession, which is about inverting reality and changing reality if only for a day or a week and changing how you look at the world.'
Verlag für moderne Kunst has launched a collection of art audio CDs. I'm coveting the Jake and Dinos Chapman, the David Lynch one and crying my eyes out because the Jonathan Meese is in german only (although i did enjoy listening to the audio snippet in which he talks about stuff that are metabolisch and pornografisch.)
The one i had to get right here right now is the audio CD of conversation excerpts with Jeremy Deller. This is basically an audio book with extracts of conversations with Jeremy Deller and it is charming and fascinating. He has a good voice, a clear accent. He is passionate, at times provocative and he sounds like a fun guy to be around.
The files are fairly short, from 1 to 6 minutes. Each one is dedicated to a theme (political art, glam rock) or a particular work. The information and anecdotes come fast: organizing a procession of blind people with blind dogs that refuse to walk on the road, showing folk archives inside a museum and being misunderstood by art critics in the process, the art funding in Britain, the art world as a 'very middle class place', Jordan aka Katie Price, the annual "wanker of the year" contest, making art without making products, his meeting with Andy Warhol, his dealings with the 'image controlling' music industry while filming his documentary about the fans of Depeche Mode, bats eating moths, Acid Brass, etc. My favourite moment was when Deller talks about a project he had of making a poster for the Labour party that would say "Vote Conservative" and show the face of Rupert Murdoch.
Jeremy Deller: Social Surrealism! Best 45 minutes i've spent this year.
Now i hadn't held an audio CD in my hands for ages. it did feel weird and already retro. It does however have advantages over an MP3 file: the CD comes in a hard paper that you can keep as if it were a book on your library shelf. And there's always the possibility to transfer the files on your MP3 player if you wish.
Just because i love that work so much, i'm going to end with a video of Jeremy Deller talking about Acid Brass, the raves, the connections with 1987 minors strike, and taking a trip to Manchester where we witness the brass band getting to grips to a musical genre they are not used to play.
Another work i discovered at the GAMERZ festival in Aix en Provence a few days ago. And just like yesterday's this one give sound a visual presence. So visual actually that artist Cécile Babiole defines her work as a 'sound sculpture.'
Bzzz! The sound of electricity brings us back to the pre-digital sound, to a time when electric energy was so raw and new, that it buzzed, sparkled and vibrated. The work renders the sound of electricity audible and spread it over the ambient space. Six frequency generators comprising basic electronic components allow the electrical current to be modulated so as to generate slightly amplified sound vibrations.
The soundscape is best experience when walking inside the sculpture, going from one sound to another, seeing how the cables and loudspeakers slightly vibrate as if the electrical current was waking them to an organic life. The sound wave generator itself is at the centre of the circular structure. It was amusing to see how male visitors felt entitled to turn the buttons to control the sound. I guess any artwork that uses electronics is now regarded as being automatically 'interactive.' But this piece wasn't. Cécile Babiole did however use Bzzz! as an instrument for a performance she gave during the opening of the festival
By reinventing an obsolete low-tech sound wave generator in this all-digital age, Bzzz ! serves as a commentary on the history of technology and a tribute to unprocessed, unsampled analog sound : in a word, the raw sound of electricity.
Video showing the installation in action, along with a short interview with the artist (in french):
Also at the last edition of GAMERZ: Macro-videos for musicians in action.
I got back yesterday from another edition of the Gamerz festival in Aix-en-Provence. I don't think there's a festival anywhere in the world i visit with more enthusiasm. First of all, it takes place in Aix-en-Provence which is always a bonus. But more importantly, the festival has a strong, unique personality. Gamerz, the organizers would tell you, is only a pretext to invite artists, designers, researchers whose work they admire. And they even have to do game art. The opening performance, for example, wasn't the compulsory electronic music performance, it was an astonishing concert given by Choeur Itineris, professional choir singers interpreting a repertoire of mobile phone ringtones. The rest of the festival programme involves robots, dipterous experiences, video art, food artists, a 'half ship, half woman' DJ and other surprising works. And game art too.
What makes the festival worth the trip for me is that Gamerz always manages to scout young, talented artists i had never heard about. Before i get back to you with a proper report, here's a brief entry about Geraud Soulhiol's extraordinary drawings. His Arena series portrays existing football stadium that are not only decaying and crumbling but have also been colonized by more traditional icons of architectures such as cathedrals, local monuments, skyscrapers designed by starchitects, fortresses, factories, etc. The feeling of desolation is increased by the fact that the hybrid structures are presented in the middle of an empty white page, like carcasses abandoned in the desert.
The images on this blog post are quite miserable but the large scale ones are spectacular and it takes a few minutes to uncover all the details.
What brings us back to the world of game art is that Geraud Soulhiol was inspired by the spirit and aesthetics of strategy video games, in particular the isometric perspective many of them adopt.
This one is for Zoe:
Video interview of the artist (in french.)
Gamerz festival is free and is open throughout the city of Aix-en-Provence until Sunday, November 27 2011.
Felice Varini named the work he made for the Cardiff Bay "Three Ellispes for Three Locks" but everyone there calls it "The Barrage Circles."
Like most of Varini's works, this one is an anamorphosis, a distorted projection or perspective requiring you to occupy a precise vantage point to reconstitute the image. Think of the skull in Hans Holbein painting, The Ambassadors, the most famous example of anamorphic perspective in art.
You need to stand at a precise point to be able to the three bright yellow ellipses that have been painted onto the working locks, on the ground, the gates, the outer sea wall, etc. The interesting thing is that i had to ask my way to passersby and most of them had passed by the artwork without ever realizing that the splashes of yellow paint they had seen while walking the dogs or cycling to the other end of the bay could form three perfect ellipses. Most of them told me "There's some yellow stuff over there but it looks nothing like that image you have on your guide, love!" But it does. You just have to be patient and find the ideal spot to see the ellipses form. My photo camera didn't agree much though:
From really up-close it looks nothing like circles:
I wouldn't recommend walking to the Barrage Circles. I did it, it's ridiculously long when you're not geared for a long walk by the sea. Take the water taxi, it's charming. Or even better, hire a bike.
The rest of Cardiff's dockland district is all family fun with exhibition spaces, cafes, a Norwegian church but i only had eyes for the carousel with the horses and the red dragons.
And then there is this Pink Hut on the eastern breakwater, originally designed for use by local yacht clubs.
More images on BBC.
Yesterday i was going through the press images of the 11th Biennale de Lyon which will open on September 15 and stumbled upon a work by Marina De Caro. I know nothing about it, except what Frieze magazine writes: Marina de Caro's work 4 Ojos (4 Eyes, 2007) is a video that portrays the artist wandering through Buenos Aires as a comical yet oddly poignant two-headed being. This four-eyed creature purports to have two consciousnesses, owing to the fact that its second head, which exhibits the will of a helium balloon, floats any which way it pleases while tethered to its twin only by a lengthy, limber neck.
That's it, now i just want to see the video.
More images in the project flickr set.
One of the partner events of the STRP festival in Eindhoven (reports coming this way soon-ish) is the Funware show, open until mid January at one of my favourite art centers in Europe, MU. Exhibition after exhibition, the art space gives a generous overview of what contemporary creativity means by showcasing indiscriminately design, fashion, music, architecture, and new media.
Some people might believe that software is a thing of austerity, tedium, abstruseness and long nights sustained with cup noodles. Funware demonstrates with an array of interactive installations, games, hacks and rebellious applications that developing, twitching and using software can be fun. In fact, while visiting the show, you could almost forget that software is at the core of the works.
However improbable it might sound for today's all encompassing dullness of forms, databases, schedules and processors, "fun" has informed and guided the development of software from its very inception. The rise of net art and the changes the Internet and desktop computers brought to culture gave rise to software art at the turn of the millennia.
Discretionary selection of the goods on show:
In 1952, one of the first programmers, Christopher Strachey, who was working with Alan Turing at Manchester University, created the first text-generating algorithms: a Mark I program that delivered combinatory love letters. LoveLetters Redux, by David Link, is a functional replica of the Ferranti Mark I. If the visitor employs the right switches of the reconstructed user interface console, it executes the original code of Strachey's software. A loveletter is then created and projected on the other side of the wall.
Link worked from just two archival photographs to reconstruct the machinery LoveLetters_1.0 is modeled on. He also managed to source some of the original working components, like the 1931 teleprinter shown in the exhibition space. Once a day, at a randomly selected moment, the machine automatically prints a love letter on the Creed 7 teleprinter.
OSK - Offener Schaltkreis (open circuit), by Christoph Haag, Martin Rumori, Franziska Windisch and Ludwig Zeller, is a silent labyrinth made of open copper tracks that turns into a giant noisy machine as visitors place speaker cylinders on its tracks. The open copper trails -similar to the ones you'd find should you open the insides of a computer- that snake on the floor and walls carry the electrical signals of a multichannel sound repository. Displacing the speaker-cylinders increases the speed, pitch and velocity of the repository of sounds recorded by the artists in Eindhoven.
SimCopter Hack, by RTMark, is a legendary prank played on SimCopter, a computer game that put the player in the role of a helicopter pilot flying through 3D cities.
While he was working as a programmer for Maxis Inc., a RTMark member slipped into the game a few 'unauthorised images' of semi-dressed men walking around in trunks and kissing each other (bringing thus some variety from the usual 'buxom babes'), a couple of Elvis impersonators, the Loch Ness monster and a flying superhero. The feature would be activated and become visible on Friday the 13th, as well as on a few other days of the year - a classic Easter Egg snuck into over 70,000 copies of the game shipped to customers.
The designer was fired and the release of the game was delayed. A few months later, a group named RTMark claimed responsibility for the himbos (male bimbos) being inserted into the game along with 16 other acts of "creative subversion."
Satromizer aka "the world's first multi-touch glitch tool", by Jon Satrom and Ben Syverson, is an application for iPhone, iPod and iPad that reconciles the glitch culture of the 1980s and 1990s with the spic-and-span aesthetics and closed interface of Apple products: glitches grow and the interface falls apart as you touch the screen.
Satromizer also reflects on the role that software art can play in destabilising the 'boredom' of software.
I/O/D/ 4: The Web Stalker, by I/O/D.((Matthew Fuller, Colin Green and Simon Pope)), is a software application that re-visualises data-space. It allows web users to navigate WWW, except that all the information displayed is exactly what a normal browser conceals: a stream of html code, the progress of connection, maps of the links from the website, relations between the URLs within it and automatic records of the site. The aesthetics is extremely appealing with hyperlinks that appears as graphics. I/O/D challenges our usual notion of interactivity' and questions the material and structure of the network.
A few images.