Monday, July 30, 2012

Computers are bad for you

I have been a rather absent blogger of late. Perhaps as I have overwhelmed with writing 9000 words for various magazines in a 3 week interval... However as my online slowness continues I thought I'd share something I picked up in Kensington Market in Toronto from a junk shop run by a rather kooky seeming man (who I was told was a functioning schizophrenic) about how bad technology is.

I am increasingly fascinated about the effect of technology on myself let alone the rest of humanity. Tom Chatfield's writing around the subject is a less insane starting point. Geert Lovink's brilliant 'Networks Without A Cause' is equally interesting. My love hate love relationship with technology continues.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Top 10 from Documenta 13

The trouble with Documenta is the best things were completely impossible for me to share in any way but words. Totally experiential. This is art you have to be there to be in not just see.

1 Janet Cardiff and George Miller
Their video walk in the old Hauptbanhopf (pictured above) was so good I could barely speak afterwards. You are given an iPod touch and some damn good headphones in exchange for your passport. The piece is a video work which takes you around a functioning railway station - you're looking at the screen and comparing it where you are the whole time. Layers of sound, history, meaning, experience and amazing dance elements thrown in and the horrifying realisation you are standing on the platform where Jews were transported to concentration camps. Art does not get better than this. (Equally as amazing was sitting on tree stumps in the woods listening to their environmental audio installation 'for a thousand years' where war seems to take place around ever physical corner.)

2 Pierre Huyghe's Untitled
Totally unique. You stumble into a swamp in the middle of an art filled garden. There are piles of concrete bricks around. Some plants amongst them - which smell and look like weed...Around the corner beyond some muddy ditches, a small brown puppy and an older dog with one pink leg are basking in the sun playing with whoever comes by. In the centre of the space is a place you can't reach surrounded by muddy hills. In the centre is a reclining nude sculpture with a swarm of live bees on its head. And that's it. The plants turned out to be psychoactive. The result was one of the strangest, most memorable, weird takes on the cycle of life I have ever seen. Can't get the thing out of my head.

3 Tino Sehgal
So good I had to go twice. You stumble into a complete black shed. You cannot see a thing. There are human voices around but you can't work out if they are live or recorded. You are literally frozen unaware how close people are. After about five minutes I realised they were real then left. Hours later someone says to me - did you see the dancing?? I went back the next day - after about 15 minutes your eyes finally adjust to the blackness and you can see! People are doing this strange voice and jagged dance routine. It was insane and pushed all the boundaries of your senses.

4 Haris Epaminonda
A whole house turned into an architectural installation filled with her neo-classicist framed found images, atmospheric film works and a dose of architecture. I wanted to move in.

5 Shinro Ohtake: MON CHERI: A Self Portrait
A 3D collage work. Boast went all the way up to the top of the tree next door - like the Japanese earthquake in art form. The building was amazing - filled with paper collage, video pieces, kinetic instruments. And the letter F. (below)

Sanja Ivekovic's The Disobediant installation
Inspired by a vile image of a nazi illustrating the relationship between Jews and lazy asses, Ivekovic reinvents the idea of the ass as a symbol for political dissonance and rebellion. Fascinating in particular was the biographical texts of the these rebels to accompany the room (below)

7 Rabih Moure
Lebanese artist with an inspired depiction of war included flip books of film clips of gunfire and some really interesting stills and video pieces about the relationship between cellphones and war (below)

8 Masood Kamandy
Artist working with photography and computer programmer who set up courses to teach people art skills in Kabul's University. A collaborative and political project with beautiful results. (below)

9 Wael Shawky 'Cabaret Crusades:The Horror Show File'
A puppet show version of middle Eastern moments in history. Wish I had had time to watch it all. (still below) but there's a great feature in Kaleidoscope about the artist

10 Erkki Kurenniermi 
Apart from his experimental musical devices, a wall of TVs showing his collected lifelong archive of images, films, computer animations and god knows what else (below)

Jankowski at Petzel Gallery

I contributed to Christian Jankowski's current show at Friedrich Petzel in New York. Lots of art writers and critics were asked to write reviews about the show and process and place them in bottle we chose. The bottles were all sealed with red wax and stamped with a “CJ 2012” steal. Prior to being placed around the gallery, Christian photographed each one in the river. Writing the text was a delightfully futile process where the words become messages floating in a cultural sea. 

My bottle is in the picture above! I recognise the string I tied it with and the spotted green Sprite bottle I got from my mini bar at The Standard...


God what a month. Documenta (which I'll discuss after this... finally) then raced to Toronto with a dose of NYC in the middle. Then 3 days in Berlin and installing in the countryside. I am now FINALLY still for a little bit. These are the highlights from the past 5 weeks:

Seeing the Massacre of the Innocents by Rubens at the AGO in Toronto (above) : piles of greying dead baby flesh. Wow. Insanely good composition. Changed my mind from thinking he was dull.

Buying and reading a sea of books. Amongst the piles highlights were: the oh so lovely Scott Treleavan's black vinyl zine compulation 'THE SALiVATION ARMY BLACK BOOK'; Miranda July's It Chooses You (which I cried down the street after reading in 90 minutes straight); Laurent Binet's inspired HhhH

an incredibly interesting pamphlet book On Acid : A Field Guide (which was compiled by a reakAcid-Age; Michael Peppiatt's Interviews with Artists 1966-2012; Ultraviolet 69 Blacklight Posters from the Aquarian Age

A plethora of my articles are out at the moment. Issue 6 of Twin!!! With my interviews on Sara VanderBeek, Haroon Mirza (as well as pieces I commissioned on Javier Peres, SSION, a curated section by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel); The Trip issue of Sleek with an 8 page interview I did with Rashid Johnson; a hilarious Q&A with Wim Delvoye in Dazed etc etc