Pop-up Show

With the restricted nature of the group show once again meaning I’m not able to test out a work in an immersive environment, rather than opt out as before, I’ve used the opportunity to take a closer look at an experiment I did a year ago – an extension of my ongoing habit of recording the audio of noise shows and sound performances – where I wore a go-pro camera clipped to the inside of my jacket to record the entirety of a live show (or until the battery died) by noise/power electronics artist Pharmakon.

The video is played in two channels to allow moments of action, which are slowed down, to sit alongside moments of inaction, which are sped through at 1000x the actual pace,  and for those moments of inaction and of action to sit together for comparison. Other than this the video is relatively untouched in terms of editing.

Reflection

The process and result were both quite interesting. Looking back, I realised recording in this way enabled me to fully experience what is meant to be at least partly an immersive show, rooted in the exchange between the audience and performer because there was no point at which I broke from this exchange to take a photo or video. What did break the experience, though, was observing others doing so – the glare of phone screens and camera flashes. The video did, however, allow me to take note of some of the subtle goings-on of the performance; where eyes and attention normally fall on the performer, I was able to see the other side of the exchange, the awkwardness, discomfort, amusement, etc. felt by those viewing the performance, as well as other things like the stillness of the crowd – largely awkward white men and some women in denim jackets and band tees – as well as how strangely bright the room seems.

This reminds me of research into the work of Bill Viola, that many aspects of his work and the nature of video are closely related to that of performance, and how my own intentions reflect those same connections – that the exchange with an audience are at the forefront, rather than necessarily the subject matter, which I’m realising more and more can be secondary, non-linear, and even the opposite, a littering of ideas through a central structure.

Planning

I think Vignette 4 / GIG, which I’m fast realising is very much paired with Vignette 1 / IWBYD in its lo-fi approach and live-performed presentation, would benefit from including this kind of footage – footage that explicitly focuses on the viewer – because the way in which they differ is the presence of the audience. My initial plan for this section was various viewpoints of the performer at almost ground-level in direct contact with the audience, and encourage more fluid interaction and actually enter the crowd, and capture this from numerous angles. I think what might be more useful, interesting and provoking in a way is to quite intentionally jump between focus on the performer and the audience. Not necessarily two-sided, but literally moments where audience are in focus and an out-of-focus performer breaks into the frame.

The observation of how the actions of the audience, for instance photo-taking, or even the light from checking a phone, seem like something to note here, though the inclination to attempt to control it with a ban seems counter-productive. Perhaps instead, it would be more interesting to do a subtle play of the viewer, in the way I identified with Elizabeth Price’s The Woolworths Choir of 1979 at Tate Britain, which made you aware via a countdown clock the duration of the video. By allowing you to come in at the beginning if you choose to, an informing you of how much time you’re dedicating, this set up seemed to have the potential to overcome what Neumeir states as our  “relationship to the exhibition of pictures,” which “induces us to assume that can be grasped just by ‘glancing at it’.” My thought it a playful nod at a ban that acts as an entry point making the viewer aware of this exchange.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Concrete Monstrosity

As I’m drowning a little in the great mass of what I have to complete for my final project – 11 vignettes that I’ve realised will involve 11 different production set ups yo complete – I thought it would be useful to try and tackle something a little more manageable and less overwhelming.

For the physical takeaways part of my project I’d planned to dismantle the album object in a number of ways including a series of sculptural manifestations of the shape itself in various materials – 3D printed, concrete, etc. – digital audio in the form of a download and the paper artwork, which will take the shape of a square zine. I’m going to begin researching and collecting references for the visual nature of this, which I presume will go hand in hand with the video production, but also thought it might be useful to continue some practice-based research using an existing project.

Two years ago I went to photograph – just using my iPhone – Birmingham Central library as it was being demolished. The building was an interesting example of, and my first exposure to, brutalist architecture. Never meant to fall into that category, the original designs saw the building clad in marble, but after the council refused to foot the bill the building was finished in concrete. Described by Clive Dutton, the city’s then director of planning and regeneration, as a “Concrete Monstrosity”, the building has always been a contentious issue in the city, deemed by so many as something ugly to the point that no real effort was made to save it.

I’m going to put together a zine of the photographs I took whilst it was being torn down.

The Tourist

I recently won a competition to make artwork for The Unfilmables, a project that saw unrealised film projects brought to life through soundtracks by artists Mica Levi and Wrangler. I designed a poster for The Tourist, a brutalist vision of a dystopian future metropolis, viewed through the multi-dimensional perspective of a non-anthropomorophic alien entity, below.

The Tourist Artwork-1

Project Proposal Edit 1

Working Title: How can a work of art penetrate an environment outside of the institutional art context as a means of successfully provoking action for change?

Aims: 

  • To find a way for a work – and its implied meaning – to extend beyond the gallery setting and penetrate the life of the viewer
  • To make uncomfortable ideas or niche subject matter more accessible as a means of communicating them to a wider audience
  • Create a through-provoking work that can act as a catalyst for positive change

Objectives:

  • Create a familiar system of introduction to ease people into thinking about uncomfortable subject matter
  • Create a physically (enclosed installation) and conceptually (cover varying media and ideas) immersive environment
  • Find a ‘language’ in which to communicate a universal idea – translate to make accessible 
  • Use narrative elements to help the digestion of ideas and element of translation 

Context: 

  • Documentary film and docufiction beginning, with music documentary focusing on socially and politically driven musical movements
  • Music and the history of specific musical genres: Industrial Music, Noise, Experimental, etc.
  • Video Installation: Bill Viola, Saron Hayes, Stuart Marshall, Bruce Conner, Nam June Paik; Music Videos
  • Photography theory: Susan Sontag, John Berger, Walter Benjamin,
  • Performance: COUM Transmissions, Viennese Actionism
  • Word Art: Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger
  • ‘Object’ Sculpture: Duchamp, Daniel Arsham, Paul Coldwell, etc.
  • Existential philosophy (and philosophical movements that spawned from this)

Methodology:

  • Video merging narrative story and documentary footage, both primary and secondary source
  • Written word, in the form of narrative subtitles, scripted speech, written word on print media (poster art)
  • Physical space, either built or dressed, to act as immersive experience presenting each of the varied media in the best possible way (Soundproofing? Lit?)
  • Sound, specifically creating cover songs using “gradient of intensity” built into video installation and material takeaways (below)
  • ‘Takeaways’ in the form of various 3D objects and print media: CD-style “album”, 3D artefacts, rendered objects referenced in music and film cast in cement, 3D printed, etc., digital design, photography and print binding in book (zine) and fold-out poster art.  

Outcomes:

  • Multi-channel (4-screen?) video installation showing a docufiction narrative interspersed with music (created cover songs) 
  • A built, self-contained space to provide ‘inside/outside’ spaces (the former for immersive installation, the latter for additional material takeaways)
  •  Material ‘takeaway’ elements presented in adjacent ‘store’ or merch stand containing all purchasable artefacts: 
  • An ‘album’ of  cover songs (1 hour continuous play) with bound artwork (zine) and fold-out poster translating the narrative depicted in the video installation in print form (photography, graphic design and text) 
  • Artefacts rendered in 3D – cement, 3D printed, etc. – to replicate physical things from story (narrative touchstones) 

Bibliography:

Film: The Punk Singer (Riot Grrrl), The Decline of Western Civilisation (American hardcore punk); onto docufiction: Interior, Leather Bar, A Crackup At The Race Riots (Leo Gabin)

Books (Philosophy): Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil; Anton Szandor Lavey, The Satanic Bible; Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Thee Psychick Bible : Thee Apocryphal Sciptures ov Genesis Breyer P-Orrige and Thee Third Mind ov Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth

Books (art theory): Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction; John Berger, Ways of Seeing; Susan Sontag, On Photography; Barbara Kruger, Remote Control: Power, Cultures and the World of Appearances

Books (misc): Simon Ford, Wreckers of Civilisation: The Story of COUM Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle; Alexander Reed, A Critical History of Industrial Music

SORT Zine 2 Teasers