Cultural Hijack explores the role of art and the artist in contemporary society and offers the opportunity to rethink the growing field of intervention in relation to cultural activism and social change
Today is the last day to witness the week-long performance from Liberate Tate at the Tate Modern gallery. Filming devices strapped on to their bodies, performers are reading aloud sections of the transcripts of the trial which started in February in New Orleans and sees BP stand accused of gross negligence over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry
More than 2 years ago, i was interviewing Marguerite Humeau about her attempt to bring back to life the voice of extinct creatures by reconstructing their voice box. She started by giving her voice back to Lucy (aka Australopithecus Afarensis), one of the first hominids. Since then, the resuscitation endeavour has expanded to more extinct animals. A mammoth, the Walking Whale and the Terminator Pig have now joined the loud party. The prehistoric creatures where recently in Eindhoven for the STRP biennial where they performed live for the first time together with Dutch musician and DJ Jameszoo. Sadly, i missed the performance. But that gave me a good excuse to contact Marguerite and get more details about her work
The Art of Walking: a field guide is the first extensive survey of walking in contemporary art. Combining short texts on the subject with a variety of artists work, The Art of Walking provides a new way of looking at this everyday subject
Kira is a performer whose work i’ve encountered a number of times in biotech art context. I’ve been particularly drawn to the works that address the ethics of human/animal interactions and more generally our complex relationships with animals. The most discussed of her work is probably inthewrongplaceness, an intimate performance that Kira developed on her return from a residency at SymbioticA in 2004. Realizing the similarities between the pig’s skin and her own, Kira danced skin to skin with a dead pig and invited members of the audience to touch both her own and the skin of the nonhuman animal,
A few years later, Kira presented the performance, Falling Asleep With a Pig in which she cohabited with a live pig called Deliah in a specially constructed sty
The theme of this year’s exhibition is City of Cyborgs. Not the city of androids, clunky clones and man/machines contraptions but the city we are already walking through, smartphones in our pockets, implants in our bodies for some and ready to get our hands on Google glasses. City of Cyborgs in STRP speak means animatronics, opera for prehistoric creatures, a forest of interactive lasers, tapas made from edible solar cells, absurd mega machines and lots of dance. The high tech, the low tech, the digital, the organic and everything in between and beyond.
‘What does performance have to do with architecture?’ and ‘How can a building perform, and how can we perform a building?’ Call me an ignorant but i had never heard about Performing Architecture so i’m gathering here a few notes i wrote down during the Late at Tate night
Charlotte has donated parts of her body to stem cell research. Her tissue and blood samples are now in a lab where they will be transformed into induced pluripotent stem cells and from there into a range of completely different substances. A second self of Charlotte will be created, made from a collage of in vitro body parts.
The project is called Ergo Sum and it recently received the Designers and Artist’s for Genomics Award. It will be exhibited this Summer in The Netherlands. But until then, Charlotte is in the studio to tell us more about this work.
This week i’m talking with Ollie Palmer is a designer, artist, a tutor at Bartlett but he is also the guy who’s so interested in dancing insects that he’s embarked on a 6 year project to choreograph and stage an Ant Ballet.
During the interview, Ollie talks ants and more precisely Argentine ants, a particularly invasive species that the UK wants nowhere near its shores. We also learn about the best way to collect ants, to synthesize pheromones and end the show with a few words about the Godot Machine, a device built for the sole purpose of preventing a single ant to move around
London Fieldworks asked avant-garde artist Gustav Metzger to sit on a chair for 20 minutes thinking of nothing. Meanwhile, readings were taken of the electrical activity taking place inside his brain. The resulting electroencephalograms were then analyzed and turned into instructions for a factory robot to drill a hole inside a bloc of stone
This week we are talking with Nelly Ben Hayoun about space science technologies, aliens and music. The designer spent a whole Summer in California to direct the International Space Orchestra. The cast of the opera is pretty spectacular. It is performed by space scientists from NASA Ames, Singularity University, International Space University and the SETI Institute. The music was composed by Damon Albarn, Bobby Womack, Maywa Denki and Arthur Jeffes. The lyrics are by Bruce Sterling & Jasmina Tesanovic. Finally, Grammy-Award winner Evan Price was in charge of the musical direction
LABoral’s latest show is all about performance and installation art but they are never dissociated from the role that the public takes in the exhibition space. Implicitly or explicitly. Physically or psychologically
The works exhibited by the 9 participating artists are extremely strong. As much as i admire Ai Weiwei and his opinion of the show, i do believe that artists can create meaningful, valid works even if they are not openly criticizing their country’s politics. Besides, some of the works exhibited did comment on political issues such as censorship and international relationships. Ai Weiwei is probably right though when he writes that “The Chinese art world does not exist.” At least probably not in a uniformed, self-conscious fashion
Blighted by Kenning is a bioart work that Charlotte Jarvis developed in close collaboration with The Netherlands Proteomics Centre (NPC), a research center located in Utrecht that studies proteome, the ‘set of proteins expressed by a genome, cell, tissue or organism’.
Together they bio-engineered a bacteria so that its DNA encodes for the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Sebastian Stumpf’s photo documentation of his performances in the ‘gaps’ of Tokyo architecture. The artist is literally filling in the hiatus in the dense architectural structure of the city, squeezing himself in the overlooked spaces between the buildings. The action makes us suddenly aware of this ‘urbanism interrupted’, and calls our attention to what is in-between, behind, or beyond
A speech recognition algorithm searches radio waves for conversations about money. As an ongoing investigation of the Viterbi algorithm, this project seeks to understand the agency of a mathematical entity that operates as structural thread within the fabric of contemporary society.
Interview express with Chris Salter about n-Polytope. The light and sound environment combining cutting edge lighting, lasers, sound, sensing and artificial intelligence software technologies was inspired by composer Iannis Xenakis’s radical 1960s-1970s works named “Polytopes”. As large scale, immersive architectural environments that made the indeterminate and chaotic patterns and behavior of natural phenomena experiential through the temporal dynamics of light and the spatial dynamics of sound, the polytopes still to this day are relatively unknown but were far ahead of their time: a major landmark in the history of the audio-visual arts and performative architectural practice
The film that inspires you to google your name again….
My name is Janez Janša is a documentary film about names and name changes, focusing on one particular and rather unique name change that took place 5 years ago, when three artists officially changed their names into the name of the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša
Guido van der Werve spent 24 hours in almost complete immobility on the axis of the world at the geographic North Pole. His only movements consisted in turning slowly clockwise as the planet under his feet turned counterclockwise.
This means that in these 24 hours, he didn’t indeed “turn with the world” but let the Earth rotate around him
The work of Kris Verdonck focuses on the confusion of man in an estranged world due to technological development. The tension between man and machine, between living species and dead materials creates an atmosphere of Unheimlichkeit or eeriness. This ‘current state of the world’ – with its environmental problems, ecological disasters and wars – is the central theme through his oeuvre
In a bold self-experiment aimed at blurring the boundaries between species, Marion Laval-Jeantet was injected with horse blood plasma. Over the course of several months, the artist prepared her body by gradually introducing into her bloodstream horse immunoglobulins, the glycoproteins that circulate in the blood serum, and which, for example, can function as antibodies in immune response. The artist called the process “mithridatization”, after Mithridates VI of Pontus who cultivated an immunity to poisons by regularly ingesting sub-lethal doses of the same
The latest project by Demitrios Kargotis and Dash Macdonald is inspired by the exercises performed by members of Casualties Union, a charity organisation funded during the Second World War as a course where acting, made-up casualties were recreated to provide added ‘realism’ to civil defense and rescue training exercises. For over 60 years, their methodologies and exercises have been showing actors how to simulate ‘authentically’ both the emotional shock of disaster and physical trauma
One of the artists i was most happy to discover at the exhibition Alter Nature: We Can in Hasselt a few days ago was Antti Laitinen. The finish artist fills one room of the art space with a video triptych and a series of photos from It’s My Island. The work documents Laitinen’s sisyphean attempt to build his own island (and therefore micro-nation) in the Baltic Sea. The artist accepted to answer my questions for a short interview
Raketenbaum is a performance and a diptych showing how Michael Sailstorfer had a fruit tree catapulted into the air by compressed-air cylinders attached to its root balls
Using their heartbeats, the musicians control a computer composition and visualization environment. The musical score is generated in real time by the heartbeats of the musicians. They read and play this score from a computer screen placed in front of them
Loosely defined as a long-term project initiated between architecture and performance presenting work in several cultural contexts, IF keeps coming up with projects and ideas that could not be more diversified: videos, perfumes, arabic courses inside Copenhagen’s Temporary National Theater, TV-programs, a mini Mobile Disco. The even shot a remake 1949 musical film On The Town as an alternative way to explore the social and spatial geographies of New York City
The Nomadic Sound Systems is a wireless wearable sound system that frees electronic music from the restraints of immovable equipment, opening up possibilities for mobile performance and new forms of audience participation
An Elvis themed workshop hosted at primary schools throughout the UK with the purpose of addressing questions concerning the legal definition of impersonation and authenticity
The term ‘hacking’ refers to the guerrilla-like nature of some actions on the internet and at the same time to equally clandestine ‘squatting’ in the physical public space
Performing space extends the theme of the exhibition to architecture. Architects are indeed increasingly interested in activating the spaces they are designing. Lawrence Malstaf and Laurent Liefooghe’s works interact with the gallery space and the visitors
The ongoing exhibition at Z33 puts the spotlight on performative trends in contemporary design. In Design by Performance the production process that leads to a product matters as much as -if not more than- the final product itself
I’m taking the solemn oath that for the next edition of the Transmediale festival i will spend less time talking nonsense to everyone i meet at the bar and follow much more closely the video screenings as well as the performances. Because this year’s the programme was stunning
Artist Sascha Huber symbolically renames “Rentyhorn” a mountain currently named Agassizhorn, after Swiss natural scientist Louis Agassiz. Renty was a slave from the Congo whose picture Agassiz had taken in the United States in the 1850s as a proof of the inferiority of the black race. The performance is part of a campaign that attempts to make the legacy of colonialism visible
The “Tropospheric Laboratory” allows insights into cloud cores and other matter of the apogee. The installation narrates the synthesis of clouds and shows varying conditions and combinations of art and science in the absence of weight. The “laboratory” is the gravimetric document of “Cloud Core Scanner” – an experiment and artistic project by Agnes Meyer-Brandis, carried out on board a German Aerospace Center research plane
Wafaa Bilal’s latest project addresses the issue of the invisibility of Iraqi civilian deaths during the war. The artist will submit his body to a 24-hour live performance. His back will be tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq covered with one dot for each Iraqi and American casualty near the cities where they fell
Nelly Ben Hayoun’s installation/performance attempted to demonstrate the visual equivalent of one of those massive sonic booms that take place inside Super K each time a neutrino meets an electron of extremely pure water. As ultra-pure water doesn’t exactly abound in London night clubs, the designer used the water from the nearest fire hydrant and turned the place into a 15 by 5m long swimming pool
Together with the inhabitants of Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh, two artists staged collective performances and actions on the day the Google Car drove through the neighbourhood: a 17th-century sword fight, a dramatic escape using bedlinen, a parade with a brass band and majorettes. These actions now form part of the digital maps of Sampsonia Way made available online by Google Maps
No one dons the moustache like Fernando Llanos. He’s a video artist, a musician, a writer, a blogger, a curator, he makes drawings, he’s the über macho-looking Mexican guy who walks around the city with a chihuahua in his bag. He also produces tv shows, a competition of animation movies, and the moto of his own radio programme is “There’s no need to talk about art in order to talk about art”. When he’s not performing Llanos is always impeccably dressed. He’s probably the one and only media artist whose sense of style i admire
In what has come to be called Gravity Art by some, there is actually a couple of artists who have chosen to use gravity it as their medium, often in somewhat beautiful yet futile actions, heroic failures.
Knowbotic Research is looking for new zones of intransparency in which people can fully experiment and circulate, where one is neither representable nor identifiable. What would happen if we fight surveillance society with transparency?