Archives for posts with tag: Oona Grimes

Visit to UCL’s Astronomical Observatory in Mill Hill.

1912 UCL observatory 3

Thanks to knowledgeable hosts Mark Fuller and Thomas Schlichter for a wonderful tour of the UCL observatory and to Lumen London for organising.

1912 UCL observatory 1

Shame it was cloudy but I enjoyed seeing the telescopes and hearing the history of this beautiful site. Looking forward to future collaborations.

We didn’t see the stars outside but an archive image and a loop lens proved fascinating.

1912 UCL observatory 71912 UCL observatory 8

In the studio back after a busy year I have been tidying up, building mezzanine storage shelves and planning new work looking at cosmic planes, thinking about star HD70642 – a possible home from home and what lies beyond the horizon that I can never reach.

 

New Doggerland at Thames-side Gallery presents a future imagining of physical and cultural re-connection between Britain and the European mainland.

Doggerland was an area of land that once connected Britain to continental Europe. At the end of the last ice age a warming climate exposed land for habitation but gradually the lowlands were flooded as temperatures rose further then about 8,200 years ago, a combined melting of a glacial lake and a tsunami submerged Doggerland beneath the southern North Sea. Great work including these from Jane Millar, Oona Grimes and Sarah Sparkes.

It was the place to be on 31/01/2020.

Nam June Paik at Tate Modern. Amazing pioneer of technology in art. Colliding nature, entanglement, connectedness, meditation, transmission.


Trevor Paglin From ‘Apple’ to ‘Anomaly’ (Pictures and Labels) at The Barbican Curve.

The long wall is filled with thousands of pinned photographs taken from ImageNet, a publicly available data set of images, which is also used to train artificial intelligence networks. ImageNet contains more than fourteen-million images grouped into labelled categories which include the unambiguous ‘apple’ along with such terms as ‘debtors’, ‘alcoholics’ and ‘bad persons’. These definitions applied to humans by AI algorithms present an uncomfortable future of machine induced judgement.

 ‘Machine-seeing-for-machines is a ubiquitous phenomenon, encompassing everything from facial-recognition systems conducting automated biometric surveillance at airports to department stores intercepting customers’ mobile phone pings to create intricate maps of movements through the aisles. But all this seeing, all of these images, are essentially invisible to human eyes. These images aren’t meant for us; they’re meant to do things in the world; human eyes aren’t in the loop.’ Trevor Paglen

Interestingly there was no photography allowed in the Trevor Paglen show. So I tried Image net for an image to post. I searched for ‘artist’ but ImageNet is under maintenance so I tried Google and this is the first image I got.

2001 artist

Another great show from Kathleen Herbert, A Study of Shadows at Danielle Arnaud. Using the cyanotype to interrogate the history and science of Prussian Blue and discover what emerges from the shadows through process and research. We learn – ‘Prussian Blue has a unique chemical structure and was originally created through the cyanotype process. It was the colour used to measure the blueness of the sky and was also used in the UK during the Chernobyl disaster as an antidote to radiation poisoning, preventing Caesium 137 from entering the food chain. Prussian Blue also has the ability to heal itself; if the intensity of its colour is lost through light-induced fading, it can be recovered by being placed in the dark.’

2001 Kathleen Herbert 4

The sound and video work Everything is Fleeing to its Presence relates a narrative of impressions and scientific facts while the visuals of varying tones of blue appear and disappear in hypnotic succession. Together the effect is of immersion, like the chemically coated paper, in a pool of blue.

Mary Yacoob Schema at Five Years Gallery. Also using cyanotypes, but here exploring the architectural roots of this process through precise silhouettes, detailed drawing, structure and form which is then exposed to the unpredictable chemistry to produce beautiful outcomes.

2001 Mary Yacoob (1)

Anselm Keifer at White Cube Bermondsey.  Superstrings, Runes, The Norns, Gordian Knot all tied together in characteristically monumental paintings thick with stuff in an attempt to connect complex scientific theory with ancient mythology.

2001 Anselm Keifer 12001 Anselm Keifer 2

William Blake at Tate Britain. What visions, such torment. So much mortal flesh.

Anne Hardy The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light winter commission for Tate Britain, a sort of after party dystopia with an impressive soundscape of rain, thunder, birds and insects inspired by pagan descriptions of the winter solstice – the darkest moment of the year.

2001 Tate Britain Anne Hardy

We sit together for a minute at Thames-side Gallery. Alex Simpson and Alice Hartley share a similar sensibility making dynamic and intuitive works. The gallery is alive with gestural forms, captured fragments and movement held momentarily in stasis, both fragile and immediate.

2001 Alex Simpson2001 Alice Hartley

The Computer Arts Society, The Lumen Prize and Art in Flux join London Group members at The Cello Factory for a second In The Dark curated mash up of light and technology artworks that overlap and collide in Even darker. Curated by clever duo interactive filmmakers Genetic Moo, artists include Carol Wyss and Sumi Perera.

 

Bridget Riley at Hayward Gallery. Messing with perception; undulations and vibrations.

2001 Bridget Riley (1)

Mark Leckey O’ Magic Power Of Bleakness at Tate Britain. Sense of bleakness achieved in synthetic bridge recreation which gave gallery awkward angles. Voyeuristic social commentary, old rave footage. Magic found interspersed in otherworldly images contrast to dank underworld.

2001 Mark Leckey

Some beautiful artefacts in The Moon exhibition at Royal Maritime Museum Greenwich celebrating 50 years since the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Astronomicum Caesarean 1540 – rotating paper discs are used to track the moon’s position which the physician would then interpret to predict if the patient might improve or relapse.

1912 Moon Exhibition volvelle

Orrery 1823-27 by John Addison includes a special geared section to show the rise and fall of the moon and mimicking the tilt of its orbit.

1912 Moon Exhibition orrery

Selenographia 1797 by John Russell. It models the slight wobble or libration of the moon meaning that over time a little more than half of the side of the moon is visible from Earth.1912 Moon Exhibition selenographia

Moon rocks, encased.

1912 Moon Exhibition rocks

A Distant View III by United Visual Artists. A 3D rendering in wood of original NASA data imaging of the moon’s surface from the Orbiter mission 1966/7

1912 Moon Exhibition UVA

Very lucky to be invited by Rachael Allain for a tour of The Queen’s House at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich led by curator Matilda Pye. We saw the Susan Derges commission Mortal Moon inspired by the Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1 and a celestial globe, dating from 1551.

1912 susan derges-mortal-moon

The fractal elegance of the Tulip staircase.

1912 Queen's House Tulip Staircase

Which is also where the Queen’s House ghosts were inadvertently photographed by retired Canadian Reverend R.W Hardy on his visit in 1966. Recreated in situ by Matty with mobile. Apparently photographic experts examined the original negative and found no signs of tampering.

1912 Queen's House Ghosts

Ending the tour with Tacita Dean’s poignant photos of the desolate shell of the Teignmouth Electron, the yacht that bore Donald Crowhurst to his miserable and solitary death. It looks so small.

1912 Tacita Dean

Immersive installations inviting a change of consciousness at TRANSFORMER: A Rebirth Of Wonder presented by The Store X The Vinyl Factory. Including Doug Aitken NEW ERA dramatic video-scape looking at the first phone call and future communication highway.

1911 Doug Aitken 21911 Doug Aitken

Mark Bradford’s paintings in Cerberus at Hauser & Wirth London recall the vibrant matter of creation, the splitting of the earth in molten rivulets to expose the dark underbelly.

1911 Mark Bradford

I am reading W. G. Sebald’s rambling Rings of Saturn. Revisiting my home county and local haunts through his eyes. He set off in 1992 but it feels like a journey back further in time as there are so many reminiscences and anecdotes from the past. Among the vaguely defined histories is the story of the demise of the estate of Henstead Hall under guardianship of the eccentric Major Wyndham Le Strange who shunned the outside world and took to a literally underground existence.

These images from 2014 when I visited the abandoned walled garden at Henstead became fragments for my work titled Pairi Daêza, an ancient Iranian word meaning ‘around’ and ‘wall’; the origin of ‘paradise’.

1705 Open Studios Pairi Daeza

A tenuous link but I discovered Henstead Hall subsequently become home to Douglas Farmiloe a self-described “Mayfair playboy” who had found himself in the scandal pages of the News of the World during the 1930s, after an indiscretion with a hostess from the West End ‘Paradise Club’.

Lots of interesting things are happening urging us to cast our eyes and thoughts skyward. A Blood Moon Lunar eclipse. Salty water on Mars.

I have to include this image of the dark side of the moon captured by a NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite  showing a view of the moon we don’t get to see from earth.

1509 dark side of the moon

I went to see the London Premiere of Disaster Playground – Nelly Ben Hayoun’s wonderful investigation into who is watching the skies for us.

1509 Disaster playground

Through a series of talking heads and re-enactments we meet the real scientists from NASA and SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) whose daily job is to scan the skies for possible objects that might collide with earth.

Nelly Ben Hayoun Disaster Playground

Nelly Ben Hayoun Disaster Playground

The difficulty is not so much spotting the object but negotiating the appropriate response in time to avert disaster. Through this documentary we come to understand that technology is way ahead of the machinations of the committees who tread the delicate path of ultimate responsibility.

Nelly Ben Hayoun Disaster Playground

Nelly Ben Hayoun Disaster Playground

Which nations are actually accurately capable of blasting an asteroid  off its course. A minute error could mean one nation is obliterated instead of another. We leave the film feeling a little anxious that for all the good intentions of these scientists the safety net has not been properly hoisted just yet.

Bas Jan Ader Falling

Bas Jan Ader Fall

The Whitechapel Gallery hosted a touching tribute to Bas Jan Ader marking the 40th anniversary of his disappearance at sea.

In 1973 Bas Jan Ader took a solitary walk through the city of Los Angeles towards the ocean. The journey was documented in a series of 18 indistinct black and white photos subtitled with the lyrics from a trashy 50’s pop song ‘Searchin’.

Bas Jan Ader In search of the Miraculous

Bas Jan Ader In Search of the Miraculous

Ader borrowed the title of this work ‘In Search of The Miraculous’ from Ouspensky’s book on occult theory which promotes self improvement as the destiny of man. He uses this epithet as subtext for man’s eternally unsatisfied desire for some unknown missing element. He intended the work to have three parts, planning to continue his search across the ocean, to leave the limits of society and go beyond into the unknown. The solitary journey over the sea was to culminate with another night time walk, this time across Amsterdam. It would be a homecoming. In his preparations and framing of the work he deliberately used the iconography of the romantic quest and chose signifiers which denoted a prefabricated romanticism, one that has been commoditized and packaged. He appeared to be searching for the sublime in its very opposite; the banal. Throughout his practise Ader interrogated conditions of pain and endurance; the prerequisites to experience ecstasy.

 Bas Jan Ader I'm too sad to tell you

Bas Jan Ader I’m too sad to tell you

The tragic elements in Ader’s work are presented in a way to highlight pure emotion and offer no explanation for the scenarios he performs. As in reality when we experience grief there is no explanation able to comfort us.

On 9 July 1975, Bas Jan Ader set sail in a 12 foot dinghy called Ocean Wave. He was shipwrecked and his body never found.

Bas Jan Ader In Search of the Miraculous

Bas Jan Ader In Search of the Miraculous

On the evening before his departure, a student choir sang sea shanties in the gallery of his Los Angeles dealer.  He was to be received by a shanty choir in Falmouth.

Forty years later this Whitechapel event celebrated his all too short life and extraordinary work. Poet Stephen Watts read beautifully on the discovery of Ouspensky before we watched a poignant interview with Jan Bas Ader’s widow followed by  a rare 16mm screening of six of his films: Fall I; Fall II; I’m Too Sad to Tell You; Broken Fall (Geometric); Broken Fall (Organic) and Nightfall. As the horizon faded on the screen we quietly filed out to be met by the stirring songs from the London Trad Academy Sea Shanty Choir.

Celebrating current artists The Whitechapel Gallery was packed and buzzing for the Private View of the London Open.  I had to return another day to be able see the works. As a cross section of what is going on in London studios you expect diversity, yet themes do emerge, though selection and curation. So good our RCA classmate Julie Roch- Cuerrier was selected for this exciting show.

Julie Roche-

Julie Roche-Cuerrier

Her subtle intervention of sanding away the detail from every page of a world atlas, just leaving the titles and borders pulls on the strings of displacement and loss while her carefully capturing the dust from each page brings an alchemical magic to the work.

Julie

Julie Roche-Cuerrier

Displayed in little plastic bags are the ingredients of the oceans or the universe. The delicate blue and green powders speaking of matter and its transformation, precious and mysterious.

Having lost access to the print facilities at the RCA its time to start thinking about where I can continue making work. I paid a visit to Thames Barrier Print Studios. It all looks wonderful here, loads of space, etching presses and screen-beds, digital printing, exposure units and an aquatint box.  First I need to get some new work started. I am looking at Obelisks and Standing Stones, ritual places and also thinking about ideas of the multi-verse. Brain loading.

1509 Glitch

Called in to see Delta at Five Years, Regents Studios where RCA tutor Oona Grimes was showing alongside Mark Jackson, James Lowne, Clare Mitten and Mia Taylor.

Oona Grimes Slightly Foxed

Oona Grimes Slightly Foxed

‘Worlds collide, meet, touch, overlap and become absorbed. Worlds become world; expanded, inconsistent and multi faceted. Some don’t stop, don’t crash, they keep moving, a sign in space, until they are singular and alone. No matter, we are only concerned with what remains. We built this world top down and outside-in, we chose the planets and engineered the collision; a shared universe intended to be used by many authors.’

1509 Delta

1509 Delta 2

James Lowne’s very funny video, a kind of in joke for artists explores the constant lure of the prize – the open call – scrubbing around for the opportunity. It has an air of subjugation I think. As artists we have to play a game we’d rather not, putting ourselves up for a fall, laying ourselves bare, in competition with our peers, the fear of missing out is BIG, do we know about the next opportunity will someone else get there first, we don’t want to be played like this, we want to opt out but we can’t. It’s a bit addictive.

The owners of  a stripped and soon to be refurbished Victorian house in Brockley gave their premises over to host Bread and Jam I an exhibition of site specific work by 11 artists.

Joby Williamson

Joby Williamson

Each artist was given free rein of their chosen space in the house to make new work in response to the dilapidated surroundings.  The concept of Bread and Jam is to take basic staple ingredients and make a meal that transports you somewhere else, that can be shared at any time of day and continues to sustain after consumption.

Fritha Jenkins

Fritha Jenkins Reception

Fritha Jenkin’s work Reception looking like a meteorite storm  frozen in free fall turns the living room into a site of physical negotiation with hundreds of carefully balanced glasses topped with lumps of clay dug from the basement foundations of the house.

Kate Murdoch

Kate Murdoch Poor Lamb

Kate Murdoch creates an unsettling atmosphere with carefully chosen objects that act as signifiers for trauma and vulnerability.

I attended the Material Environments Symposium : Sensing Time and Matter in Digital and Visual Culture at The University of Greenwich.  It felt good to be in an academic environment again and wonderful to know there is free access opportunities to high quality events like this. I enjoyed Sarah Cefai’s references to primordial time and the affect sensation that arises from rain, earth, heat and light experienced though landscape. Her concerns are about how these sensations are mediated and politicised particularly in relation to indigenous as opposed to colonial Australia.

1509 ten canoes

She uses the films of Rolf de Heer (Charlie’s Country, The Tracker, Ten Canoes) as examples of truth to materials, the rain must be real rain. Made me want to see Ten Canoes again.

Tom Jackson also spoke about mediated sensation. His use of environment as archive demonstrated at Temple Works Leeds offers a 360º enplaced experience of space in high resolution with pioneering new design binaural audio recordings.

Temple Works

Temple Works

Not only does this combination of technology offer a haptic experience of a removed space, but also a temporal, one as searches can be made through the palimpsest of activities, interventions and architectural changes that have occurred in a given location. Using this method, virtual access to privileged spaces can be offered to the public.

Blythe House Archive

Blythe House Archive

The physical archive such as that of the Victoria and Albert Museum stored at Blythe House can be archived and viewed remotely and there is the opportunity of archiving objects without having to remove them from the context of their original environment thereby retaining a layer of history usually destroyed as objects are moved to storage facilities or museums.

Luci Eldridge found comparisons between the analogue and the digital in the material decay of  archived images she has viewed and the disrupting imperfection of the digital glitch. Analysing the composite landscape images of Mars patchworked together from data retrieved by non human space explorers she draws awareness to the construction of landscapes that are only ever viewed remotely via technology that does not relay a sense of scale and perspective that we naturally relate to.

Mars Stereo View from 'John Klein' to Mount Sharp

Mars Stereo View from ‘John Klein’ to Mount Sharp

Seams have been eliminated from the sky portion of the mosaic to better simulate the vista a person standing on Mars would see.

Laurel Johannesson makes work that does not conform to the current passion for speed and instantaneous gratification.

Laurel Johannesson

Laurel Johannesson

Her generative digital images coalless slowly and in reaction to her audience. The viewer that spends time with her work is rewarded, the swift passer by misses out. She is interested in how we perceive time and the visualization of time. She cites Joseph Priestley who published A Chart of Biography in 1765 and has had a profound influence on our visualization of time as linear, travelling along a horizontal line, ever moving forward.

1509 Joseph Priestley

She also talked about other visualisations of time as being circular and represented by the ouroboros, the ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail in perpetual motion of renewal and destruction signifying eternal return.

1509 Theodoros Pelecanos 1478 copy

Using Nobuhiro Nakaishi as an example of an artist who mediates the temporal experience through his work she reflects on how the understanding of time is challenged by new technology and the ways artists are exploiting technology to create work but also the need for a direct interaction with materials.

Nobuhiro Nakanishi

Nobuhiro Nakanishi

In his layer drawings Nobuhiro Nakanishi captures the passage of time in a series of still photographs which he then layers in series on acrylic sheets so the movement of time passes through the images. He is looking to evoke a common sensation in his audience. The acknowledgement of the passage of time is universal, it is one of the primordial senses and also personal as we see our own entropy come to pass.

Nobuhiro Nakanishi

Nobuhiro Nakanishi

Laurel Johannesson is interested in art that offers a multiplicity of possible orders and disturbs the accepted time based narrative. Another of her examples is the collective AES+F a group of four Russian artists: Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladimir Fridkes working with video and digital generation.

AES+F

AES+F

Their films have a balletic quality that create a hypnotic rhythm as time is slowed, drawing you in to a world of beautiful people with smooth supple bodies moving trance like though exaggerated motions. It is like being gently suffocated with silk having been given the most delicious sleeping draught. Willingly falling into the embrace of this clean and perfect world as into a dream before realising there is an unsettling undercurrent that drags you under and it is too late to swim to the surface and escape. Mesmerizing.

AES+F

AES+F

A link here to a trailer for Trimalchio.

Other interesting speakers were Marisa Gomez who is interested in the re-presentation of time and the new technologies that facilitate new approaches to temporality such as the Khronos Projector which allows the user to sculpt time through a screen interface. By touching the screen the user can send parts of an image backwards or forwards in time.

Alvaro Cassinelli Khronos Projector

Alvaro Cassinelli Khronos Projector

Joanna Zylinska’s paper Sensing Deep Time: Photography after Extinction drew parallels between photography and fossils as recording mechanisms of time. She recommended the book The Sixth Extinction; an unnatural history by Elizabeth Kolbert which documents the past five mass extinctions of species on earth turning the spotlight on us humans as we watch the sixth mass extinction unfold before us, unable to act.  Transfixed by affective facts, those overwhelming concepts that are so huge to comprehend that we ignore them.

1509 Sixth-extinction

She is interested in how time is recorded through natural phenomenon such as the deep time of geology. Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology (1830-33)  was an early radical attempt to explain the geological state of modern Earth by considering the effects of observable natural phenomena over time. By exploring the evidence for changes in climate and geography across the ages  Lyell speculated on the progressive development of life, transforming science with depictions of the powerful forces that shape the natural world.

1509 Lyell

Light, energy from the sun is used in the photographic process. Our perceptions and familiarity with recording phenomenon changes with each new technology. When Photography first appeared and Henry Fox Talbot published the first  wholly photographically illustrated book The Pencil of Nature in 1844 he felt it necessary  to insert the following notice into his book: The plates of the present work are impressed by the agency of Light alone, without any aid whatever from the artist’s pencil. They are the sun-pictures themselves, and not, as some persons have imagined, engravings in imitation

Henry Fox Talbot The Pencil of Nature

Henry Fox Talbot  The Ladder  in The Pencil of Nature

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Lost Human Genetic Archive at Palais de Tokyo was a poignant look at what remains after devastation.  Over thirty notices, all beginning ‘Today, the world died’, offered explanations by characters from all walks of life as to why everything ended, and these relate to the otherwise random objects beside them. An astronaut, for example, tells of how Earth had become encircled by orbiting human shit, next to a display containing the cosmonaut’s space-food and urine collector.

Hiroshi Sugimoto Lost Human Genetic Archive

Hiroshi Sugimoto Lost Human Genetic Archive

The exhibition Club Disminución (“Club of Diminishing Returns”) was instigated by Alexa Horochowski’s artist residency at Casa Poli, Coliumo, Chile, 2012/2013. Designed by architects Maurizio Pezo and Sofía Von Ellrichshausen, Casa Poli, a minimalist, cement cube, functions as a cultural art center/artist studio.  In this environment the separation between landscape and architecture is indistinct.

Horochowski aims to depict the struggle between the human drive to create lasting symbols of culture, and Nature’s indifferent, persistent erasure of these symbols. His work explores entropy and the passing of time by imitating the natural processes of accretion and aggregation found in caves or the persistent impression left by fauna and water on architecture and the landscape.

Alexa Horochowski: Club Disminución

Alexa Horochowski: Club Disminución

“Horochowski suggests a posthuman future, where assorted beach debris attests to the former glory of human civilization. In enlarged black-and-white digital scans of barnacles, minerals, and wasp nests, a quasi-organic architecture takes shape, poised to outlast us all. A Gothic sensibility reverberates throughout: evocative, sinister, and auguring the fall of the Anthropocene.” — Christina Schmid

Penelope Umbrico found 541,795 pictures of sunsets when searching the word “sunset” on Flickr. This became the basis for her installations Flickr suns.

Penelope Umbrico Flickr Suns

Penelope Umbrico Flickr Suns

Another body of work by Penelope Umbrico is her Sun/Screen series.

Penelope Umbrico Sunscreen

Penelope Umbrico Sunscreen

She uses an iPhone to re-photograph images of the sun she has cropped from thousands of sunset images shared on the web.  The process of photographing images directly from the computer screen creates a moiré pattern – an optical illusion, which is the consequence of the pixel grids, meshes or dot patterns being superimposed. They draw attention to the materiality of the screen and further distance us from the natural sunlight source of the original images.