Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Capitalist Realism

Maybe it's been a quiet week in Sydney, or maybe i really have fallen off the edge of the earth.

Mayhem was off-line for a week in the wilds of finland and forgot to poste the great stuff like the graf battle at May's, or Diablo's latest show of curly organic things at the botanic gardens, or... or...

anyway - I've received notices of only 3 things of interest - and all mostly next week. Loose has an artists talk on Saturday 24th March and Addison Road Gallery has a sound art installation opening next wednesday 28th March. (details below)

In blogland, I just read the artswipe's latest posting on the artlife - about video art which made me think of Tacita Dean's recent installation at the Guggenheim. Dean had a single screen projection in a room with comfy chairs - showing the last days of manufacture of celluloid film..... (I've cut and pasted the Guggenheim blurb coz i'm too lazy to type it up).

After discovering that the Kodak factory in Chalon-sur-SaĆ“ne, France, was closing its film production facility, Dean obtained permission to document the manufacture of film at the factory with the soon-to-be obsolete medium itself. The resulting rear-screen projection Noir et Blanc, filmed on the final five rolls Dean acquired, turns the medium on itself. The 44-minute-long work Kodak constitutes a meditative elegy for the approaching demise of a medium specific to Dean’s own practice. Kodak’s narrative follows the making of the celluloid as it runs through several miles of machinery. On the day of filming, the factory also ran a test through the system with brown paper, providing a rare opportunity to see the facilities fully illuminated, without the darkness needed to prevent exposure. Also on view is Found Obsolescence, a strip of unexposed 16mm negative that Dean found in the factory’s sprocket machine, the holes abruptly stopping before its production was completed.

the above worked for me. I sat on my arse, right through the 45 minutes on a single screen. And watching it was tedius and strangely compelling. Maybe i'd just been frightened by the guggenheim's architecture and way too many spooky spanish paintings but it was really nice to watch vivid colours, and weird slow murky dreamy quality of every day life refractorised.

Anyway - technology moves on. Some frogs are organising a "Pocket Film Festival" of mobile phone film clips! Deadline is 30th March.

The Pocket Films Festival is calling for artists developing video creations using the humble mobile phone. Selected films will be presented at the international festival June 8 - 10 in Paris baby. For more info contact

Meanwhile in the land of snow, I wandered out to the
Tampere Artists Union
with my friend, where they had an exhibition of works by
"Kalle Lampela"

Some of the texts were in English and the link to Kalle's Website has more english text about his work. the image above is probably the strongest piece. Most of them looked like rerun's of Sigmar Polke's vintage Capitalist Realism pieces citing photoshop or illustrator instead of ye olde screen printe thang that Polke liekd to play with.

And some of the grande statement manifestos - substituting christianity, communism and capitalism with iconic images of Marx, Mao, Jesus, Bill gates, thatcher etc. were a bit too art express for me. All that earnest angst and messaging. I know Berecht's comment "Art should not be a mirror held up to society but a hammer to shape it with" is a moving testament to the social responsibility of the A R T - but i reckon being bludgeoned over the head just brings on a migraine.

ho hum. Maybe it's just a slow week.

Back to video channel installations (artswipe - why did you skip this one?) Riszart Dabek is giving a talk this saturday at Loose projects
Saturday 24th March, 4-5.30pm
level 2, 168 Day St, Sydney CBD.

The talk will be informal or conversational and aims to foster discussion
and the opportunity for dialogue between the artist and the audience.

Fervent fans of this blog may remember me discussing this insallation as a new space of intimate architecture - not that i've been able to see it - but it sounds great!

Meanwhile Don't Look Denizon greg shapley has an aural instalation with Kylie McKendry opening on Wednesday March 28, 6pm at Addison Rd Gallery, Addison Rd Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville

Being Not Becoming: Aspirational longing in everyday life
is a new multi-media installation that creatively
mashes together snippets of Beckett, Beethoven, Goethe and original
material to illustrate the concept of the 'Deferred Happiness

According to Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute, in this modern
disease we "persist with life situations that are difficult, stressful
and exhausting in the belief that the sacrifice will pay off in the
longer term". A number of factors have led to this situation,
including "growing aspirations for more expensive lifestyles",
"preparation for retirement" and fear of job loss.

Just like victims of the 'deferred happiness syndrome', romantic
literature, music and art often harbour pent-up tension - holding back
gratification so that the release - the climax - is more fulfilling
(this was particularly so with the movement that Goethe is most linked
to - 'Sturn und drang' - or 'Storm and stress'). By taking a number of
works and removing this tension, thus making a state of 'being' from
'becoming', we will be metaphorically illustrating the subversion of
the deferment of happiness.

Our visuals consist of detourned romantic imagery. The humble storm
cloud, for instance, instead of being a mere symbol of brooding menace
on its way to reap havoc, becomes an object in its own right. It
becomes playful and ever-present, offering no threat of precipitation.

For the sound we have 'crunched' Beethoven's Fifth into a series of
elongated four-channel super chords. By doing this we have removed the
implicit direction, the impending release of the flood gates so
associated with nineteenth century Western music. Text from Goethe's
'Faust' (the classic tale of a soul sold to the devil) is also
incorporated seamlessly into the work as well as contrasting snippets
from Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot' (the ultimate arrival deferred).

'Being Not Becoming' is the result of a year of work and we would just
like to take the opportunity to thank Marrickville Council and Reverse
Garbage for their enormous support.


1 comment:

Artswipe said...

Hey Mayhem

Thanks for plugging Artswipe's Art Life rant here... The Guggenheim video sounds great.

And for your comments on Artswipe's blog. You make my day babe.

Arty x