Archives for posts with tag: United Visual Artists

Visit to UCL’s Astronomical Observatory in Mill Hill.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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The fractal elegance of the Tulip staircase.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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’.

Lizard Point Residency Exhibition travelled from the rambling halls of The Museum of Cornish Life in Helston to the subterranean curves of Lumen Studios Crypt at St. John on Bethnal Green London. A squeeze for eighteen artists but helped by the crossovers in work created responding to the communication heritage and dark skies of the Cornish Coast experienced during the early spring residency.

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My contribution to this exhibition At a distance (click for video link) 

Solitary figures using semaphore flags sign ‘We Are One’ out across the ocean; filmed on 29th March 2019 (the first date the UK was supposed to leave the EU).

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As in entanglement theory where two paired electrons mirror each other at a distance it is hoped the message will be echoed back.

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The work looks at methods of communication across space. It relates this to the mysterious twinning of electrons in quantum entanglement where particles link in a way that they instantly affect each other, even over vast distances, and which Einstein famously called ‘spooky action at a distance’. The resulting video is back projected onto a Fresnel lens, the type found in lighthouses to increase luminosity of the lamps beam, another form of messaging over distance.

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The semaphore sequences interplay with mirrored imagery of the lizard lighthouse lamp as it powers up gaining brilliance as darkness falls.

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Astro-archaeologist Carolyn Kennet gave a very interesting talk at the exhibition private view. We often think about how long it takes light to travel from the stars to us but as she pointed out, this year sees the 400 year anniversary of Lizard Lighthouse and if you were looking back towards Earth from the Pleiades which are around 400 lightyears away you would just be seeing the photons of light arriving from the lighthouse as the first fires were lit to guide the ships navigating the treacherous rocky seas.

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A short video documenting Continuum has been released by Allenheads Contemporary Arts. An inspiring season of art, science and speculative fiction ending in a midsummer’s weekend of extraordinary events.

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Out of Studio…

Other Spaces at 180 The Strand

Light and Sound Installations from London-based United Visual Artists founded by Matt Clark who integrate new technologies with traditional media such as painting, sculpture, performance, and site-specific installation.

Vanishing Point is inspired by Renaissance drawings by Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo Da Vinci and Albrecht Durer.

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The Great Animal Orchestra –  a soundscape of animal recordings, captured in their natural habitats around the world by sound ecologist Bernie Krause visualised by UVA into abstract spectrogram landscapes of the environments where the animals live.

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ERRATA (Extreme Remote Rural Artist Travel Agency) Gaada hosted by Creekside Artists for Artlicks Weekend 2019.

Ever wished to leave the city for a far away place + a new island life? Shetland artist-led initiative Gaada critically explore the barriers and benefits of contemporary art practice in extreme, remote, rural contexts. What does an art ecology look like without buyers / galleries / studios / making facilities / public transport links ?

London visitors were invited to answer questions posed by the artists and consider how an art practice might be sustained outside of the city.

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Emerging Cosmic Landscapes Symposium at University College London.

An event exploring the benefits of art/science relationships at the culmination of Lisa Pettibone’s year-long residency at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL) along with collaborator Dr Tom Kitching, science lead on MSSL’s Euclid Mission and Ben Murray (Kings College London and co-director of Phenotypica). What came across was the shared benefit of cross discipline collaboration. The artist enjoying access to question the motivations of the scientists and observe their operations while opening up a more sensory approach for the scientists to engage with materials and use hands on ‘play’ to explore ideas.

‘The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained’ David Bohm

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The Star Survey Workshop at Guest Projects created by Niccolò Moronato.

‘We base our knowledge of the universe on science and scientific exactitude, but at the same time, we can’t help but use exotic drawings in the sky to orient our searching and predict future events. So what would happen if we moved to an entirely new context?’

Through a scientific collaboration with Chicago’s Adler Planetarium Niccolò Moronato was able to obtain the first photographic view of the sky from Trappist-1, a ‘twin’ planet of Earth located 40 light years away and make an attempt to become familiar with the new sky.

In the workshop we were invited to draw upon random patterns taken from the Trappist sky. Our interpretations were then looked at by the group to tell a story from the collective imagination which would become the mythology of this alien constellation.

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Artist Workshops at The Bomb Factory with Kate Fahey and curator Séamus McCormack as part of  ‘Scaffold’

We were invited to bring along an object / text / image, which has been key in the development of a recent work or has been sitting in the studio and is in someway relevant to a project you are working on or your wider artistic practice. We each wrote our thoughts about one of the items brought and then discussed our responses as a group. This led to wider conversations about work methods and outcomes which helped analyse the process of creating to give us shared insights into the creative process. This was followed by a discussion on support structures an artist relies on and a closer look at how an artists time and energy is divided between creativity and practice maintenance such as social media, open calls, galleries and finance.

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The exhibition Scaffold looks at the structures we may encounter in our daily and digital lives and the anxiety we feel when those structures break down. Situations are posed of an overload of information, loss of a wi-fi signal, loss of memory, incomprehensible data, the inability to access information. The fallibility of how information is stored and communicated whether in the mind, on a data stick, a book, in radio waves, remotely via drone and digital signals is considered. The overall effect leaves the viewer on unstable ground looking for that scaffolding to hold onto to, a return to the body and the physically known.

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Kate Fahey’s practice explores embodied experiences with contemporary screen-based, techno-scientific images, reimagining bodily presence in the military’s highly mediated representation of warfare online. Adam Gibney’s works highlight the relationship between scientific uncertainties and the anxious state we sometimes occupy. Jonathan Mayhew is interested in moments when edges blur and ideas of ourselves along with the world around us are ruptured.