Archives for posts with tag: spooky action

Delighted to announce At a Distance has been selected for The Anxiety of Interdisciplinarity exhibition at the Island Venue, Bridewell St, Bristol.

The Anxiety of Interdisciplinarity is an exhibition which seeks to reframe printmaking as a site of interdisciplinarity – a testing ground for ‘The important work…done at the surfaces between adjacent disciplines’ (Carter, 1998). Motivated by the International Multidisciplinary Printmaking Conference IMPACT 12’s theme ‘Merging and Metamorphosis’, the exhibition aims to trace the metamorphosis of conversations between disciplines. Installed at a former police station in Bristol, the Island Venue hosts art works in an outdoor courtyard, police cells and subterranean motor vehicle storage area.  The hybrid exhibition includes works of differing materials, scale and dimensions across installation, sculpture, sound, moving image, digital and post-digital media.  Curated by Sarah Strachan and Ayeshah Zolghadr.

At a Distance looks at remote methods of communication and 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 expanses. Einstein famously called this phenomenon ‘spooky action at a distance’. Filmed in Cornwall on 29th March 2019 (the first date when Brexit was supposed to happen) as the iconic Lizard Lighthouse powers up its lamp, solitary figures using semaphore flags sign ‘We Are One’ out across the ocean in the hope the message will be echoed back. Drawing on the physical language of print that embodies touch, separation and mirroring the flags have been printed using hand painted dye sublimation inks applied via a heat press. This process transfers the ink from a paper matrix onto the substrate textile. The image passes momentarily across space in a dematerialized state as vapour before being reformed as its mirror opposite.

In the studio I have been performing some more test etchings of the directional magnetic steel samples. Copper sulphate seems to give a better result than Nitric Acid. I have managed to gently polish the surface with Brasso without losing the crystal pattern and I gave it a coat of clear lacquer as it seems to rust easily. I am enjoying the excavation process.

The pattern comes from rolling single crystals of an iron silicon alloy into thin sheets to minimise magnetic losses for use in transformers.

There is a link here to quite a cool video showing magnetic wall domain movement with a magneto-optical sensor.

Back in the belly of a rock video editing the footage of iron filings movement over rock like surfaces.

Magnetic field reversals are stored in ancient volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The North and South Pole flip at irregular intervals but average about every 300,000 years. The last one was around 780,000 years ago. During a magnetic field reversal, which can take thousands of years, the magnetic field becomes twisted and tangled, and magnetic poles may appear in unexpected places.

Today the Earth is divided into the super hot inner core, the molten outer core, the mantle, and the thin crust.

When the Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago from the collision, accretion and compression of matter it was rock all the way through. Heat from the massive violence of formation and radioactive decay caused the planet to get hotter and hotter. After about 500 million years of heating up it finally reached the melting point of iron. Known as the iron catastrophe this liquifying caused planetary differentiation to occur as lighter material rose to the surface becoming the mantle and crust whereas the heavy metals like iron and nickel fell towards the centre becoming the core. This molten mass also contains elements that dissolve in iron such as gold, platinum, and cobalt along with around 90% of the Earth’s sulphur.

Earth’s main geomagnetic field is constantly changing due to convection flows and waves in the Earth’s core. As this change cannot entirely be predicted, uncertainty slowly increases over time. This fluctuation is monitored using The World Magnetic Model jointly developed by the National Centres for Environmental Information and the British Geological Survey. This is the standard model used by the U.S. and U.K. governments and international organizations for navigation, attitude and heading referencing systems using the geomagnetic field.

Took an early morning drive out to Wilder’s Folly. Built in 1769 by Reverend Henry Wilder as a love token for his fiancée Joan Thoyts – it could be seen from both their residencies. First drone flight over a building and over trees. White doves are now resident and thankfully didn’t seem bothered by the drone.

Such a brilliant day meeting and trying to photograph the beautiful birds of prey at Coda Falconry under the expert guidance of Elliot. Lots of advice on hand just need faster reflexes and possibly a mirrorless camera.

Birds appear to be able to “see” Earth’s magnetic field lines and use that information for navigation. Their compass ability comes from a quantum effect in radical pairs, formed photochemically in the eyes.

Gallery Visits

The extraordinary Joe Banks Disinformation The Rapture Live optokinetic video and sound installation at Cable Depot. A special experience to witness this work which has a heady mix of spirituality and mortality. The human voice stretched to primordial sounds as the flesh transcends its halo of fire.

Wellcome Collection Rooted Beings

A look at the symbiotic relationship between plants, fungi and humans. The exhibition takes on the entanglement of colonial violence, indigenous knowledge and wildness. How different the world would be if we were also autotrophic. Patricia Domínguez holographic sculptures were fascinating – these are four blades of programmable LED lights spinning at speed to create an image. It was very effective. I was also intrigued by the material construction of the Vegetal Matrix exhibition stands which did look a bit like volcanic stone in the low light though they were listed as MDF with acrylic, so a sort of textured paint.

Wellcome Collection Being Human

Yinka Shonibare’s Refugee Astronaut“The refugee astronaut is the reverse of the colonial instinct of the astronaut – someone who is going out to conquer the world. What you have here is a nomadic astronaut just trying to find somewhere that’s still habitable.” 

Wellcome Collection In the Air

The exhibition explores the relationship between the air and earth, from 3.5-billion-year-old fossilised bacteria that first introduced oxygen into the atmosphere to delicate porcelain sculptures of the glaciers that provide a record of the air and our impact on it. 

Stromatolites 350m years old – these are fossilised microbial reefs formed in shallow waters from blue-green algae. These cyanobacteria were some of the earliest life forms and their photosynthesis helped produce the oxygen to support the development of other life forms.

International Airspace David Rickard 2019

This work marks the 100 year anniversary of the signing of the Paris Convention which extended land rights upwards to create international airspaces. The vessel contains air collected from the 27 participating countries alongside photographs of where the air was captured.

Panoramic film installation Air Morphologies investigates the materiality and composition of air pollution particles, their causes, effects and morphological agency. The project addresses how art and aesthetics interact with toxic materials; what kind of stories might be deployed through digital technologies; and how geopolitics are located in atmospheric thinking and being. Air Morphologies was initiated during Matterlurgy’s residency on the Science Technology Society program at Delfina Foundation, London funded by Gaia Art Foundation.

Rachael Allain introduced me to the work of Perla Krauze at Cadogan Contemporary. Earthy work presented simply allowing the natural materials to resonate with their own history and materiality. Real volcanic rock rather than a simulation.

“Using graphite frottages from stones and pavements and engraved volcanic rocks from El Pedregal, her paintings are abstract topographies and mappings. Stone is a fundamental material in her practice; linked to memory and durability, it can also be transformed and eroded. The crosshatch patterns in her paintings derive from the lines made in stone cutting, emphasising the transformation of stone from raw material to art object. Described as ‘grayscale tone poems’, Krauze alters and arranges stones to make miniature landscapes, complete in themselves but still referencing their origins.”

Future shock reimagining our near future at 180 The Strand. An immersive dive into a fairground world of light and motion, entertaining with one or two that stood out beyond technical prowess.

My favourite has its roots in the fashion world. Ib Kamara’s stylish film The Queen is Coming, a collaboration with Abdel El Tayeb grabs attention with its sense of transfixing unease created by the film’s characters via their direct expressions and heightened breathing. Anxiety levels are high. Fantastic.

In Neo Surf a collaborative project between filmmaker Romain Gavras and music producer Surkin the sheer scale of the marble quarry landscape emphasised by lanky teens dancing on the cut blocks is extraordinary and brings home a kind of wild abandonment.

Vigil is an installation collaboration between Ruben Spini and musician Caterina Barbieri. A sunset projected onto suspended melting ice creates a fragmented mirror image across the floor while videos with slow-motion footage of levitating bodies, transcendent synths and haunting vocals add to the sense of a slow death drugged on beauty.

Vortex puffs out a smoke ring every so often which is quite fun. Created by Pablo Barquin and Anna Diaz.

Row by Tundra uses the same holographic projectors as I recently saw used by Patricia Domínguez in Rooted Beings. Here they are interpreting generative data from the 12 notes of the chromatic scale.

Other work at Future Shock includes Weirdcore’s lucid dreaming colourscape Subconscious, Lawrence Lek’s self-driving car animation Theta, Actual Objects mildly interactive installation Vicky, NonoTak’s Daydream V6, Ibby Njoya’s colour box experience named after his influential father Mustafa, Vanishing Point from UVA, Object Blue and Natalia Podgorska’s installation of a future where astrologically predicted personality traits are true in What Melissa Said, Ryoichi Kurokawa and the shifting planes of light Topologies by UVA,

In The Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery. New narratives of Black possibility embracing the fantastical not as escapism but as bursting from the constraints of a restrictive society.

The Soundsuits of Nick Cave made as a response to racist violence confer anonymity along with a shamanic power. What a great use of the lace doily. Inspiration for the many doilies I have inherited from my Mum.

Wangechi Mutu collages, Sentinel sculptures and film The End of Eating Everything (featuring Santigold) are drawn from folklore steeped in the grotesque and spectacular. Time to turn from gluttony to restoration.

Lina Iris Viktor sumptuous paintings and Diviner sculptures heavy with gold acting as a conduit between heaven and earth inspired by ancient Egyptian funerary traditions. Her dramatic use of rich glossy black signifies the ‘materia prima’ – from which all creation was formed. Fabulous to see The Watcher, The Listener, The Orator sculptures are hewn from volcanic rock. Black gold of the sun.

Hew Locke’s The Ambassadors, a procession in search of future lands carrying their precious history with them echoing down the ages to Hans Holbein the Younger’s painting of the same name made in times when colonial foundations were being laid.

Cauleen Smith created an intriguing installation Epistrophy which refers to a phrase in literature or music repeated for emphasis. Her archive of associations are elevated into cinematic stardom by a series of live feed CCTV cameras which relay the objects onto the big screens becoming larger than life.

Other vibrant works include those of Rashaad Newsome, Tabita Rezaire and Chris Offili.

Directed to The Swimmers Limb by an attendant who said rather harshly ‘there’s not much to see’ I visited Gallery 31 dedicated to the Somerset House Studio artists where Mani Kambo has designed a ‘psychedelic’ wallpaper on which hang prints by Tai Shani from her feminist mythology series. Pattern, symbols and ritual. Plenty to see.

Carol Wyss The Mind Has Mountains at The Swiss Church. Having seen this powerful work at Ruskin’s House on Coniston Water last year in a very different space – very like the inside of a skull, it was rewarding to be able to see it in a larger space with a little distance which brought alive the mountainscapes within us. A film of the very physical etching, printing and installation process made by Peter Bromley entitled  Carol Wyss – In Situ was screened to an amazed captivated audience.

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.

1910 at a distance sculpture

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).

1910 At a distance semaphore

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

1910 At a distance echo

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.

1910 At a distance lamp 1

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

1910 At a distance lamp 2

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.

1910 The Pleiades.jpg

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.

1910 ACA solstice sunset.jpg

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.

1910 UVA (1)1910 UVA (2)

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.

1910 UVA Bernie Krause

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.

1910 GAADA.jpg

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

1910 Lisa Pettibone

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.

1910 star survey workshop

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.

1910 workshop

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.

1910 Scaffold

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.