Archives for posts with tag: Joan Jonas

BEYOND – Midsummer Events at Allenheads Contemporary Arts kicked off with Far From Daylight -Outstation #1. This involved lying in candlelit rows, blindfolded, on inflatable beds subjected to a pulsating tone while a disembodied voice gave an account of cosmonaut training in the 1960’s and the interrogation of the minds of the cosmonauts. 1806 outstation 1

Fact and fiction overlapped or merged as documented experiences of cosmonauts were read from texts by group participants. Later small groups of participants plucked word cards from a bag, the words signified archetypes or directives to inspire images that would be used as thought cards for future floatation tank experiences.

1806 outstation 1 discussion

‘The Illuminated Woman’ became the all encompassing and much more open ‘The Illuminated’.

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The Pilgrimage; a non-linear spiral, borders were permeable or herbaceous, the map dissolved leaving no points of reference in space only the depths of the mind to navigate. This was preceded by skimming stones on the cosmic pond and followed by conversations around the fire with artists Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman who had devised and led this affecting event.

The next night was a test run for the scheduled live streaming of the sunset and sunrise from the top of the fell…

1806 ACA BEYOND

1806 BEYOND

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…situated between borders.

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The Midsummer’s Night droning began just as the sun dipped the horizon and continued until it appeared again on the other side of the earth. It seemed to get around very quickly.

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It never got dark. The earth orbits the sun in about 365.25 days. Up 31 octaves this is 69.05Hz, a slightly flat C sharp. This midsummer the earth will rotate on its own axis in 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59.9998932 seconds. Up 21 octaves this is 24.269Hz, a slightly flat G.

Open Weekend Events up at the school house included seeing comic particle trails in my cloud chamber.

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Also a little hologram film I made of the trails set in a dodecahedron (motif for the universe)

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Exoplanet exploration

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The gallery in the village with work from other BEYOND residency artists

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Earlier visit to Allenheads – circling ideas, segmenting, focusing

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The density of the forest is overwhelming – no space to enter – yet imagine being able to pass unheeded through this entanglement

1806 Allendale Impenetrable forest

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Had a preview screening of edited soft borders (video with dance artist Paola Napolitano) and installation of Duodecimens (etched aluminium. screen print) in my studio space for the annual Open Weekend at Thames-side Studios.

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Using the dodecahedron as motif, the boundaries of the universe are brought within reach; pliant and permeable as the body bathed in cosmic particles that do not recognise borders but pass unseen through spacetime and matter. 1806 soft borders still.jpg

There was some interesting use of materials in New Relics sculpture show in Thames- side Gallery.

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The Echoing Space exhibition is a sensitive response to the history of Leith Hill Place from artists Julie Hoyle, Mary Branson and Penny Green. Combining traditional and contemporary materials and processes the past and present are drawn together reigniting the passions of past inhabitants for a new generation.

1806 Leith Hill Place Mary Branson

1806 Leith Hill Place Julie Hoyle

The austere façade and darkened windows can give an initial impression of a sinister past and ghosts best left to rest but inside reveals a palimpsest of family life steeped in the arts and scientific discovery.

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In 1847 it became the home of Josiah Wedgwood III who was married to Caroline Darwin. Her brother Charles Darwin often visited and the wormstone he used for research into how stones and ancient ruins become buried over time is still in the grounds. He studied the action of earthworms excavating soil from beneath the stone and depositing it above the surface. It has been estimated that a 25cm thick stone might take approximately 250 years to fall to the level of the ground. What was under becomes surface.

Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things by Jane Bennett has an interesting chapter on the earthworm and Darwin’s studies which conclude that earthworms ‘make history’ and augment human culture through the accumulated effects of ‘small agencies’.

Darwin’s niece Margaret married Arthur Vaughan Williams and their youngest son, Ralph went on to become the composer best known for The Lark Ascending. He was also an avid collector of folk songs hoping to save them from being buried in time.

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I didn’t get to see any of the live performances but did go to the Joan Jonas ‘in conversation’ with Marina Warner.  Denying any pretentions of being a shaman herself Joan denotes how the shaman enters an unconscious state and makes clear her performances are highly structured, rehearsed conscious episodes though both performances may appear to invoke the use of objects in ritual the intention is quite different. She draws on influences such as the documentation of Aby Warburg who was captivated by the rituals, masks, architecture, art and culture of native Americans he met on his travels in 1895. She has been to experience remote cultures for herself drawing on both real events and mythologies to feed her performances, creating an alternative space to preside in.1806 Joan Jonas (1)

The viewer watches. We are gathered at the fire.

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To follow the tale

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saw this pattern recently in Valencia on a 15th century floor

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Flooring Consulat del Mar at La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia (The Silk Exchange)

 

Communication between trees came up during the talk as discussed in The Hidden Life of Trees a book by Peter Wohlleben who describes a forest as a superorganism of unique individuals. He is writing about processes going on unseen beneath the soil, chemical languages, networks and relationships. We fail to understand trees because “they live on a different time scale” from us.

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In Material Sight at Arts Catalyst Fiona Crisp presents a series of photographs and films within a structure of scaffolding and invasive noise echoing the utilitarian sites from which the images are taken. She has spent the last few years stalking spaces of scientific research deep underground and beyond public accessibility to pluck out small nuggets of suggestibility that bring a sense of these remote locations to an audience who will never physically experience these unique spaces. We are not invited to comprehend the activities and processes of the laboratories shown any more than we can grasp the mysteries of the universe that these sites are endeavouring to solve.  The images aim to engage through a visual intimacy to counteract the distances crossed in bringing the images to the surface.

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The programme of events continued with Kosmica Ethereal Things at Iklectik which turned out to be in ‘Old Paradise Yard’ (one I have missed on my paradise trail.) Chamkaur Ghag was speaking about dark matter, current research, what we don’t know, physics in culture and the need for a more holistic approach to scientific investigations. Annie Carpenter who is also participating in the BEYOND residency was there to demonstrate black hole accretion using dry ice and household items to create a spinning contraption with a hobbyist aesthetic bringing scientific endeavour into the everyday.

Coming up is the final weekend of events for BEYOND at ACA when I will be screening soft borders video. A research trip to Grizedale Forest as prelude to making new work for an exhibition there. Further research for the weather balloon project – in the meantime having fun running the tracking predictor to see how likely it might be to retrieve any video footage depending on where the camera might land.

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Today would have been a good day for a flight.

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Time is one thing we can all agree on to call supernatural. It is at least neither energy nor matter, not dimension either, let alone function; and yet it is the beginning and end of the creation of the world.  – Halldór Laxness, Under the Glacier, 1968

I loved the Joan Jonas exhibition They Come To Us Without a Word at the Venice Biennale 2105, it was a space that encouraged wonder and a dialogue with the spiritual aspects of nature and the rhythms of ritual.

Inspired by the writing of Halldór Laxness she interweaves ghost stories from Novia Scotia with images of a fragile landscape and the enactment of ritual by sombre children.

Glasstress is a collateral event of the Venice Biennale, the theme for 2015 was how the gothic and medievalism has crept into modern consciousness.

1601 Venice glassstress Matt Collishaw

Matt Collishaw Jewel Slot Empire

Invited artists made work referring to ideas ranging across mythology, religion, medicine and alchemy. Flamboyant and emotional, the gothic explored by Petah Coyne’s The Feminine and Mirror Mirror installation.

The Gothic style, born in Europe, was the first international language that spoke across  many nations for at least four centuries.

1601 Venice Glasstress Qiu Zhije

Qiu Zhijie Even More Mythical Animals Are Still On There Way

Today contemporary art has taken on that mantle of communication across borders. The interesting thing is we still ask the same questions and are fascinated by the same metaphysics as we were in medieval times.

1601 Glasstress Kate MccGuire Maelstrom

Kate MccGwire Maelstrom

Performing a ritual out of its designated season is jarring to the senses. Making work that only feels appropriate to bring out at Christmas limits its accessibility. Not really made as Christmas decorations my light boxes ‘Bar of Wonder’ and ‘Bearing Gifts’ do tend to perform that function. It was therefore quite nice for them to have an outing at a Winter Show – Giving curated by Trident and Triangle at Gallery 98 Tower Bridge Road.

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‘Bar of wonder’ places characters from the nativity story into a contemporary Christmas setting, infiltrating a prosaic reality with peripheral and ethereal images that are evoked by the traditions that surround this annual ritual. Is this dated by the number of people outside smoking? A declining ritual.

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‘Bearing gifts’ introduces the Magi of the nativity story to the burden of the present day seasonal shopping experience.  Queuing for gifts in Fortnum and Mason.1601 Bearing GiftsSeen through the haze of romantic delusion the figures of the wise men appear as elusive as the purchase of the perfect Christmas.

Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa’s mash up of religion, folklore and conspiracy theories in God’s Reptilian Finger at Gasworks was a step into the world of YouTube paranoia and fantasy. Using similarly cheap inauthentic materials as those used to make the videos that inspire him his polystyrene sculptures are unapologetic colourful embodiments of a wry look at how a belief takes hold and spreads.

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Gold painted geometric shapes are full of worms, the progeny of an alien race hidden beneath a shiny veneer. David Icke’s theory of a reptilian race dispersed amongst us gains traction from low resolution video footage of celebrities caught off-guard blinking sideways.

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Mormons in need of direction to their own land receive guidance from god’s hand pointing the way amongst the glowing rocks.

The seductive nature of myth and the willingness to believe in absurd fantasies is demonstrated when entering the darkened room at Gasworks to find oneself in the midst of a fluorescent meteorite storm and a giant disembodied finger. Pure joy.