Since the late s, Stan Douglas has been creating films, photographs, and installations, as well as recently venturing into theater productions and other multidisciplinary projects, exploring the parameters of their respective mediums. The artist queries the past in his works, breaking through traditional narrative structures to blur fact and fiction. The works on display reconstruct and reimagine the s and 70s, centering on de colonization, migration, jazz, underground disco, and Afrobeat.
On view are the early two-channel video installation Hors-champs , the six-hour video Luanda-Kinshasa , as well as large-format photographs from the series Disco Angola The artist shot Luanda-Kinshasa in a space modelled on the legendary New York recording studio The Church, while Hors-champs was filmed in a Parisian television studio. It is not only the meticulous staging during the filming and photography process, but above all rigorous construction in the editing room, which effortlessly transports the viewer through space and time.
Stan Douglas is widely regarded as one of the most important representatives of time-based media art. His works are again being shown in a solo exhibition in Berlin for the first time since Clad as a sci-fi documentary about daily life on the Caps, an island in the middle of the Atlantic where illegal migrants are detained, the work amplifies reality through magical realism and humor.
The Siblings Compendium is a collective research document inspired by writers and thinkers including Ursula K.
In SUBTEXT, Self presents an imaginary stage beneath the opera of Siblings, having agents perform and recount the research in simultaneity, through recitation, song, and games. By including various stages and objects from their films in the gallery, the boundaries between the representational space of the film and the actual space of the gallery begin to dissolve.
These on- and off-screen human and non-human encounters examine the limits of musical and filmic forms as protest and resistance, calling for an urgently desired future. The piece comprises two parallel videos that use allegory and animation to think about progress. Through intricate drawings in ink and pencil, speckled clay, and encrusted plasticine, Crewe reflects upon the evolution of mythic narratives, inter- personal change, and collective political time. In its double telling, Pastoral Drama envisions the collapse of mythic pasts with the dangerous after-world of the present.
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The filmmaker tersely distills material shot on the eve of the 45th presidential inauguration in January and blends moments of perilous public authority with more intimate scenes and tender portraits. The film uses poetry as a means to reckon with the present, and casts the figure of the poet as a guide in times of chaos. Ian Cheng creates live simulations that explore the nature of mutation and our capacity to relate to change. Drawing on principles of video game design and cognitive science, the simulations are populated with characters programmed with behavioral drives, but left to self-evolve amidst otherworldly environmental conditions.
It is composed of three interconnected episodes, each centered on the life of a narrative agent — the Emissary — who attempts to achieve a series of narrative goals, only to be disrupted by the underlying simulation and deviate into new directions. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic, multidisciplinary practice ranging from films and installations to lecture-performances and happenings that tackle, challenge and question prevailing cultural assumptions about identity and race.
By re-performing these narratives in the present, Jafa imagines and constructs new possibilities for making them visible. Jafa creates work that approximates the radical alienation of Black life in the West while seeking to make visible — or emancipate — the power embedded in modes of African expression.
Texts by Fred Moten, Tina M. The artist has been collecting and working from a set of source books since the s, seeking to trace and map unwritten histories and narratives relating to black life. Between and a young naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt — , visited the American continent for the first time, making two expeditions. The most adventurous section of his journey was the trip down the Orinoco to the Rio Negro in Venezuela.
At the time, his report on this journey laid the foundations for a holistic way of looking at nature — one that was way ahead of its time. Von Humboldt was the first researcher to point out how the forces of nature, both animate and inanimate, work together. Starting with the idea of the kind of ecology that focuses not only on natural circumstances but also on the economic and socio-political situation, as well as on technological progress, the exhibition investigated an alternative interpretation of anthropology and zoology.
Accordingly, the selection of works evidenced the search for our evolutionary roots, looking into questions of indigeneity, of hybrids and synthetic forms of life, the migration of the species, and that of our constantly changing perceptions of reality due to all kinds of different influences.
The different complexes of subjects move within that intermediate space between nature and art, their various systems offering new approaches to interpretation and methods of classification. A free magazine accompanied the exhibition, which is here as download available. Nothing is left to chance at the Institute for Cybernetics and Future Research. Ostensibly for research purposes, a private corporation uses a mainframe to create a computer-animated world where economic and social developments can be simulated in order to make forecasts and thus lay the basis for decision-making.
This mainframe goes by the name of Simulacron 1 and is capable of perfectly simulating a section of reality with all the respective inhabitants. All the simulated persons have their own minds, but no idea that they are part of a virtual reality.
By means of the virtual animated real-time simulations that arise through the 3D videogame design Cheng enables viewers to experience the microscopic but essential mechanisms of the complex, multi- millennia-long process of evolution. The structure of consumer and product experiences in capitalist societies and the creative industries become the main theme of art.
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The narratives overlap with one another, reveal different angles on death, and morph into a kind of deja-vu in the viewer. The works in the exhibition shared in common a critical thrust that asks how digital technology should be limited and justified. In this regard, the individual art forms oscillate between the different genres.
They radically cast into question traditional notions of the artwork and the original creation of pictures as the main task of art. A free exhibition magazine accompanied the exhibition with an essay by Hannah Black and introductory texts on the individual works, which can be downloaded here. The exhibition brings together works in film and video by seventeen artists, spanning over six decades of audiovisual production focused on themes such as cultural history, race, gender identity, circulation of images in the media, and the role of artists in contemporary society.
Self-representation and its strategies, such as self-portrait and the fictionalization of life, emerge in various works, functioning as a potential guiding thread and uniting productions in the exhibition, as well as appropriation, collection, and montage of images from other sources.
These are two possible thematic trends running through the exhibit, serving as useful conceptual cores to navigate it, but which do not exhaust the possibilities of interpreting the works displayed and the relationships between them. Time kills simply by passing, and there is nothing we can do about that or the veracity of the phrase. Nevertheless, it serves to activate other senses in the context of the exhibition.
Time-based art relates to works of art produced in video, film, audio, or computerized technologies that unfold to viewers over time, with duration rather than space as their main dimension, unlike painting and sculpture although duration is also an element of those two- or three-dimensional art forms. To collect time-based artworks, one must compress time in analog and digital media. Therefore, exhibiting them requires decompressing those time frames and creating different forms of spatialization, generating displaysof different lengths occurring simultaneously in a group show.
In the case of this exhibit, adding up to ten hours, thirty-one and forty seconds which viewers break down and recombine at will.
Historically, the development of video as an art form occurs in tandem with the spread of the electronic image and its interlacing with everyday life, irreversibly altering our perception of time and space. Even more so in a context in which it is continuously changing, making us anxious to keep up and directly influencing the way capitalism affects our consumer desires and drives. The virtualization of our world experience and increasing temporal hence subjective compression are the context the artists must deal with to create their work. Thus, time not only kills passively, it kills a little more every second.
The exhibition comprises three halls for large-scale installations on the fifth floor displaying works by Arthur Jafa, Rachel Rose, and Monica Bonvicini, immersive spaces that offer time-based experiences isolated from their surroundings.
Around these spaces, in the circulation areas, other works establish new relationships with one another. In twin rooms, Hito Steyerl and Ryan Gander investigate the potential of their own images as material for the creation of their works. The works by Ulay and Lutz Bacher deal respectively with stolen paintings and appropriated photographs, lending new meaning to icons of art history and mass culture.
On the sixth floor, works by Douglas Gordon and Cyprien Gaillard are screened in a kind of diptych, referring to the landscape of corporate architecture around the building and revisiting the narcissistic role of images in the construction of urban icons. Manipulation of time is one of the features used by the artists to deal with images, from recording to screening, including, naturally, editing. The curator who exhibits these works enjoys the same prerogative when positioning them in space — and in time.
The exhibition constituted the largest presentation of time-based media works in Israel. As a whole, the collection centers contemporaneity as an active engagement with the here and now. True to this emphasis, this exhibition focuses on the contemporary part of the collection. The works featured in TURN ON were created in the last decade, in which technology-based media have developed at a dizzying speed.
This is reflected in an astonishing variety of media-based art, showcased in the exhibition via 22 works by 17 artists.
These range from performative and theatrical elements in the works to different means of narration. More than half of the artists featured in the exhibition are women.