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Published on : 2011-09-06 01:00:00
September 6 – November 2, 2011
Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 13, 5 – 9 pm
With Super It, Blue Republic is toying with a crucial moment that is ripe with expectation. Typically, the word it refers to the designation of things/objects of lesser significance: plants, animals, children; something that's on the verge of becoming, looking for a form, denoting lack of form and being in statu nascendi. This classification is not regarded as a lack, it can represent either the escape into immaturity or a force coming from using this immaturity; transformation from being minor into mega major.
Blue Republic states: "We are interested in a situation where the old is disintegrating, but the new hasn't had a chance to appear yet, so everything looks like a piece of molten metal on a subatomic level, where atoms, in constant motion bump into each other. Super It has the dynamics of a playful child, playfulness understood not as goofing around but as a search for chance."
The economic crisis in Europe and North America, the rise of the extreme right, street demonstrations in Greece and Spain, the Arab Awakening, the riots in the U.K., and the return of the troops from Afghanistan, are symptomatic of this type of erosion of paradigms in the global situation.
Blue Republic's playful installations contend with accumulation and ephemera, and belie an exposition of crucial, ethical conundrums. Their manner confronts cynicism with an open-ended appeal to consciousness and to the responsibility to create a civil and just society.
Generously supported by the Toronto Arts Council and Manulife Financial. The artists acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Blue Republic is a critically acclaimed, multi-disciplinary collaboration by artists Anna Passakas and Radoslaw Kudlinski. Blue Republic has been involved in presentations, exhibitions and projects in Canada and internationally, including the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen; CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Galleria D'Arte Moderna in Bologna (Officina America); Galerie Julio Gonzales, Paris; Cultural Services Co-op in Siem Riep, Cambodia; Curitiba, Brazil; Tokyo, Japan; as well as Galerie René Blouin, Oakville Galleries, Koffler Gallery, Art Gallery of Sudbury and Rodman Hall in Canada. Blue Republic also collaborates with other artists, architects, urban planners and social activists in Canada, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Poland, France, Norway and Brazil. Blue Republic is based in Toronto, Canada and Krakow, Poland.
Image: Blue Republic, Ladder, digital print, 2011.
Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm; Wednesday to 8 pm; Saturday, Noon to 5 pm.
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Published on : 2011-09-06 01:00:00
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO ART CENTRE
Organized by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, an affiliate of the National Gallery of Canada
Curated by Martha Hanna
This exhibition highlights Angela Grauerholz's photographic career over the past twenty-five years. Curator, Martha Hanna particularly focuses on the way in which Grauerholz broadens our consideration of the medium of photography and explores photography in relation to time and memory, its relationship to archives and collections, to representation and to the collective imagination.
This exhibition is supported in part by Manulife Financial.
Exhibition Opening Events
Thursday 15 September 2011
4:30 pm The 15th Annual Janet E. Hutchison Lecture
5:30 pm Opening Reception / 6:00 pm Remarks
Thursday 3 November 2011 7 pm
Exhibition Hours: Tues to Fri 12-5 Sat 12-4 FREE Admission
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Published on : 2011-09-05 11:01:00
A quick post about Sowing and Weeding, Folk Culture and Contemporary Art at the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen, a short tram ride from Amsterdam.
The exhibition explores how contemporary art relates to and comments on local traditions, regional customs and symbols from folk culture. Whether the artists point the finger at the loss of traditions and the commercialization of folk culture or play with the elastic boundaries that separate 'high' from 'low', what their work made me realize is that nowadays most of my/our contacts with folk culture take place in the polished context of an art gallery or a museum.
The video Transhumanta by Aurelia Mihai illustrates this point quite clearly. The work reflects on the transumanza), a traditional method of sheep rearing that is part of the cultural identity of many European peoples. Nevertheless, the practice has been banned by new EU laws on animal transport.
The video transplants the movement of a flock of sheep to the present day. We see the sheep passing through the German town of Goch. The journey ends in the museum, referring metaphorically to the status of folk culture.
The show closed yesterday but the main reason why i wanted to get it online is that it gives me a rather flimsy excuse to post yet again Helmut Stallaerts's Es Spukt photos. Because, you know, it's my blog and i will bore you with the same stories over and over again if i want to.
So far however, i didn't know anything about the autobiographical background behind Es Spukt. In Oberstdorf, a town in the German region Stallaerts' mother comes from, young men come together every 6th of December. They wear furs, leather, animal heads and hoods with deer antlers. They come accompanied by the rattle and clatter of bells and kettles. This series of photos was created when the artist participated in the custom, which aim is to drive out evil spirits.
More images from the show:
Related: Parking Lot Hydra.
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Published on : 2011-09-03 18:37:24
At the beginning of the Summer i was in Nottingham to participate to Making Future Work. That day was only the last of a long string of events, conferences, meetings and commissions.
MFW started back in December 2010 when Broadway -a cinema we shall all salute for its programme dedicated to media arts- called for artists, designers and organisations based in East Midlands to submit proposals that would respond to four distinct areas of practice: Co creation / Online Space, Pervasive Gaming / Urban Screens, Re-imaging Redundant Systems and Live Cinema / 3D.
The winning projects were therefore very different from each other. Hopefully, their quality will put East Midlands on the digital art/interaction design map.
One of the winning proposals is Le Cadavre Exquis, a digital re-interpretation of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse and the parlour game Consequences in which participants define parts of an image or text. The next person will add a portion of text or image without having seen the previous one and the process repeats itself until a complete narrative or image is completed.
In the interactive installation designed by Brendan Oliver and Brendan Randall, members of the public are invited to record a short stop-frame animation (with a little help from a custom designed software and gesture interface) as a response piece to a previously recorded submission. The piece is uploaded online within minutes and textual narrative is then created by online participants through a narrative suggestion feature.
Le Cadavre Exquis' aims to explore how notions of co-creation and user-engagement in live/on-line spaces, within the context of digital art or digital interaction, can be used to create an ever-growing visual film generated entirely by participants.
Contemporary sources of inspiration include user-generated content projects such as Aaron Koblin's wonderful The Sheep Market and The Johnny Cash Project, a crowd-sourced music video initiated by Chris Milk. I had never seen it before Brendan Oliver and Brendan Randall screened it in Nottingham so let me copy paste the embedded code over here:
I thought i should catch up with Oliver and Randall to see how the installation had evolved and traveled since we met in Nottingham.
The call for proposals invited artists and designers to respond to "four distinct areas of current practice" in digital innovation. You chose to focus on 'Co creation.' But did you have this particular project of Le Cadavre Exquis in mind well before reading about the commissions or did you start from scratch when you read the commission guidelines? How did the project mature and evolve?
Whilst we have an interest in co-creation and user-generated content the actual concept of Le Cadavre Exquis was generated completely as a response to the call for submissions and wasn't something we were already working on. When we read the briefs we considered them all and potential responses to each before deciding to submit a proposal for "Live Cinema and Co-Creation". It was at this stage the concept of Le Cadavre Exquis was born.
Initially the concept was that participants would respond visually to a textual narrative set by the previous participants and this would serve as the basis for them to act out their own submission. Once they had completed their submission they would then set the textual narrative for the next participants (using a keyboard) and by doing so we would have an entirely user-generated linear visual and textual responsive narrative.
However, through our research and development of the installation, we realised that this approach was very restrictive for participants and by allowing participants to dictate the visual and textual narratives the quality of the final outcome would be less successful than if we allowed participants to be responsive. We came to this conclusion for two main reasons. Firstly, we felt by having participants provide a textual narrative as well as record their visual submission this was too immersive and time consuming for an installation environment. Secondly, there was also the possibility that people would feel they could not respond to the textual narrative for varying reasons such as the narrative being purposefully difficult to respond to or controversial. We also wanted the focus of the installation to be on the creativity and expression in the visual submissions and for the technology to be almost invisible to them. It was always the aim to create tools that empowered the participant in the creative or artistic process and not for them to focus on the technology.
Is there any way for the public to check out the archives of the stop frame animations done by other people in the past?
All submissions can can be viewed online on the project website at www.LeCadavreExquis.net as well as textual narratives added to each video created. Visitors to the website can become participants themselves by submitting their own textual narratives to describe scenes filmed within the installation space via the 'Participation' page at www.lecadavreexquis.net/participate/. This also introduces a competitive element where visitors can vote for submitted textual narratives. Where more than one textual narrative has been submitted for a clip the narrative with the most votes then becomes the narrative for that video submission.
"Upon completion of the animation the players provide the next line of the dialogue for future player". How is it done exactly? Do they have to type the scenario on a computer? What is this step like exactly? Does it mean that in the end, if you put the short animations side by side the public has constructed a long collaborative narrative?
This was the original idea and the collaborative narrative is still at the heart of the final installation but we decided to allow participants to respond to the previous visual narrative rather than have them respond to a dictated textual narrative.
The original concept meant that only visitors to the physical installation would be able to take part and to view the output. However, our research-based conclusions, helped us to consider opening up the installation to an online audience.
In the final installation we separated the visual and textual narrative submissions to make it easier for participants to be creative with the visual story and to include an online audience by asking them to add a textual narrative via the website developed for the project. Animations created at the installation were compiled into video files and automatically uploaded to the website where they can be viewed by visitors and textual narratives submitted online. The textual narratives were then pulled back down from the website and displayed as subtitles when the visual narrative is projected in the installation space as a playback aspect.
You probably spent a great deal of time and energy on LCE so are you not ever tempted to influence the public? To ask them to perform in a certain way? Is it not frustrating to let everything in the hands of the strangers?
We did spend a lot of time developing the installation and website, much more than we initially envisioned and was originally considered for the commission. It was always our aim to create something where the final outcome was created solely by the audience and participants. We empowered participants to do this through the technology and the concept of Le Cadavre Exquis. We very much see the installation as a tool for creativity rather than prescribing the creative aspect itself. We are very much interested in how participants respond and in particular how we can enable people who wouldn't ordinarily consider themselves creative to lose their inhibitions, get excited, have fun, enjoy the experience and become the artist. Due to these ideals its not been frustrating for us to let participants create whatever they like.
I'm quite curious about the way people use LCE. Do they feel immediately at ease with the installation? Do they find it easy to engage with it? Do they reflect a lot before using it? Are they bold? But also did they surprise you along the way? Did they find ways of using the installation you had not thought about before?
Whilst we had introduced the installation at The Nottingham Contemporary for the final commission presentation we were thrown in at the deep end to a certain degree with being invited to install the piece at the V&A some two days later. We had naturally tested the technology and had also experimented was a local Dance company but the V&A would be the first public acid test. So naturally we, whilst confident, were a little nervous as to how the installation would be received. We needn't have worried though as from the first person to the last seemed to have no problems at all interacting straight away. We had worked very hard to ensure that the technology was very easy to use and understand and this was proved to be the case. With the event being at the V&A there was lots of people from various countries all over the world attending. Even those with little or no English seemed to have no problem understanding how the installation worked and how they could be creative.
As far as installations go this is quite an immersive experience for people to be involved with as we're asking them to be creative on the spot and to try and lower their inhibitions. Some people have been reflective, a few declined but the overwhelming majority have been excited and more than happy to be involved in something creative and user-generated. Having the playback projection aspect where people entering the space could see all the previously recorded scenes definitely helped in this respect. We think feeling they are part of a larger whole, part of the creative process has been a great incentive and we have been really surprised at the variation and quality of the stories told within the ten frames of the animations they create. You'd be surprised what can be done. We even had a meeting of a couple, courting, engagement, marriage and finally the birth of a baby - all in ten frames.
The beauty of the installation is that because we haven't sought to control the output it can be used in various ways. For instance The Nottingham Contemporary, who hosted the installation after the V&A, provided a number of props and accessories for participants. This has been great for creative submissions but also influenced the public towards certain narratives by the style of the props themselves and the fact they had tied it into the on-going Jean Genet exhibition at the gallery.
The work has traveled to V&A in London and other venue since we met in Nottingham in June. Do you have plans to show it elsewhere?
It's been quite non-stop for Le Cadavre Exquis being in the V&A two days after completion and directly following that it has been running permanently in The Nottingham Contemporary over the summer. It's due to finish there on the 4th of September. Our vision is that this is an installation that, in theory at least, can keep running and running. If we can keep installing and generating submissions there's no reason this can't be the case. We've already had enquiries for installing in various other environments and alternative uses. We are very much open to propositions or proposals from anywhere & anyone.
By the very nature of how the installation is conceived we can adapt the system in many ways to different uses and environments from performance to education uses. We also have plans to develop the project using the generated content itself. One area we're looking into is a 'Director' tool aspect where online users will be able to access all the videos and textual narratives (or indeed write their own) to create their own self-directed movie. We're currently looking into funding opportunities to develop this aspect. This notion of 'Directing' has routes into performance and writing within the arts and education - all of which is very exciting for us and for the project in the future.
Thanks Brendan and Brendan!
Photo homepage: Le Cadavre Exquis at the V&A's Web Weekend programme Credit: Rain Rabbit.
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Published on : 2011-09-03 01:00:00
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
loop Gallery presents:
“We shape our dwellings and afterwards our dwellings shape us.” - Winston Churchill
This exhibition presents an exploration of the notion of habitation and homesteading.
The evocation of home in a collaborative installation, DWELLING, combines the permanence and strength of stone with the fragility and comfort of fabric. The three structures, one hovering slightly above ground, with their accompanying chimneys or silos, evoke old barns, quaint cottages, or mini-shelters. Their lack of functionality, including an absence of doors and windows, is both alarming and sad.
Individual works by Rochelle Rubinstein consist of printed, painted and carved wood panels depicting imaginary villages. Here, ideas and concerns about the home extend to the communities that shape us. Issues of privacy, alienation, and claustrophobia permeate these environments, where Sherpa villages morph into suburbia, straw bale cottages into concrete bunkers.
Lanny Shereck has created painted and collage works of architectural and building debris, referring to the materials, methods and values with which we shape our homes. This work evokes the messy processes of destruction and construction that somehow give form to our quest for habitation.
Please join the artists in celebrating the opening reception on Thursday, September 8th from 6-8 pm.
Images: Rochelle Rubinstein and Lanny Shereck, DWELLING, printed, painted and stitched sculpture, 32 x 38 x 48 inches, 2011 (photo credit: Lanny Shereck)
Find out more on the loop blog.
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Published on : 2011-09-02 02:32:49
Sorry for the long silence, i was in Amsterdam for a Fringe Critics Lab masterclass and it took far more brain energy than i had expected. From now on nothing should disrupt the blogging flow.
If you find yourself in Amsterdam too, don't miss Battered at Melkweg's photo gallery. For obvious reason, the exhibition has the support of the Finnish Institute of Culture rather than the Finnish board of tourism. The photo series by Harri Pälviranta shows men (and a few women too) in the middle of or after a physical fight in the streets of Turku. The powerful flash leaves nothing to imagination. It's bloody, messy, a few teeth have probably been lost and the subjects will wake up the day after with ecchymosis all over their face.
I had seen a couple of these portraits in another exhibition but they hadn't left such a strong mark on me. This time, seeing so many assaulted, punched, contused men one after the other, filled me with the fear that Finland might not be the perfectly lovely and idyllic city i had witnessed during my recent visits. After some 12 photos the discomfort turned to a strange fascination for the patterns the blood made on the men's face. None of them actually seemed to be much shocked or in pain. The minimal description of the scene contributed to turn a moment i regarded as dramatic (a man has just been injured) into a scene of utter banality: In a park, I don't know who hit me, Outside a bar, Second beating that night, on the Main Square (a popular place to get a good beating apparently), Outside a grill, etc. Many of the altercations involved Finns against Swedes.
In the artist's own words:
Batteries and street fights are every night activities during the weekends in Finland. People have a strong tendency of getting rather intoxicated during the partying and once drunk, people are released from their inhibitions. Aggressivity turns into physical acts, to direct violence.
There is a social awareness on this topic in Finland, the issue is recognized and it is considered to be a severe social problem. But the discussion has mainly literal dimensions, it appears in news headlines and it is discussed in seminars. There are no images from these happenings. By photographing assaults and batteries I wish show the real faces of street violence in Finland. In contrast to the stereotypic portrayals of male heroicism and the worn-out attempts at shocking people I am interested in dealing with the utmost banality inherent in violence. What I find more unsettling than any single representation of physical injuries is the everyday nature of street violence and the laissez-faire attitude towards it in the Finnish society.
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Published on : 2011-09-02 01:00:00
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 1st 2011, 6pm > 9pm
Le Laboratoire d'Art (Le Labo)
Interested in finding, highlighting and addressing the relationships between the seemingly unrelated, Patrick Thompson a.k.a Evoke, presents his latest creation THINK TENT. A think tank comprised of 10 artists, designers, writers and teachers who brainstorm with the artist on new ideas in education.
Following the artist's month-long residency in August at Le Labo, this exhibition will present multimedia works based on this research as well as recent creations made in Nanjing, China that will be presented to the public for the first time.
The works presented share tokens of Thompson's experience that continue to criss-cross and draw lines between one another, eventually coming together as physical pieces. Thompson's creation develops through a self-coined process he refers to as "mistakism", whereby the artist allows a memory, feeling, sentence, or some other bite of information to spark the beginning of a particular work. Imagery follows, inspired by the 'in-between' places found throughout the Canadian landscape, converging into dreamlike scenes. This union creates a pictorial space where imaginary characters, forms and marks can interact in a place that is whimsical as well as charged.
For Thompson, the practice of finding connections is a great way to learn, and that investigation has the potential to engage people / youth in ideas or subjects that they have otherwise ignored, because there is a way to connect it to something they already find interesting.
« The think tank is built upon the brainstorming I have been doing myself, about finding ways for education to effectively engage youth and encourage this creative exploration of making connections. » Patrick Thompson
Born in 1978, Ottawa-based artist Patrick Thompson is part of the Canadian school of street artists. His installations, paintings, wall drawings, printmaking and sculpture are investigations of the idea of information explored through mass media, architecture, history and the dynamics of culture.
Known for his large-scale mural works, some of his famous works are Mural Painting, for the Quest University, (Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, 2008), and Iqalut Cultural Mural, Qikiqtani General Hospital (Iqaluit, Nunavut). His work also featured in key exhibitions of major Canadian museums such as Housepaint project (Royal Ontario Museum, 2008) and OFFGRID (Ottawa Art Gallery).
Thompson has always valued travelling as a source of inspiration and perspective. In the past 8 months he went from living in Nanjing, China to travelling around Thailand, Myanmar and Laos and finally spending a month and a half in Canada's Arctic. Each journey is a new step in his creative process.
His work has been presented throughout North and Central America, Europe and Asia, including; The Royal Ontario Museum; Institute for Contemporary Culture in Toronto, Luminato, the Singapore Contemporary Arts Museum, Desert Generation at Artist House Gallery in Jerusalem, Lombardi Gallery in Austin Texas and INOPERABLE Gallery in Vienna, Austria. Wall painting installation work includes Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Quest University in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, SAW Gallery in Ottawa, Canada and Hualien, Taiwan.
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Published on : 2011-09-01 10:22:20
For the closing of Sympathetic Connections, Von Bark & The Zen Existential Puppet Theatre and artist Libby Hague will create within the sculpture installation a retelling of the sea battle of Dan-no-ura, a story of courage, loyalty and suicide. Andrew Paterson will be the narrator, in the role of Hoichi the Earless, the bard who sang for an audience of ghosts.
Toronto Now is generously supported by The Contemporary Circle. Contemporary programming at the AGO is supported the Canada Council for the Arts.
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