Exhibition title: Mirror
by Fiona Banner/Mohamed Bourouissa/Victor Man/Margaux Williamson
Dates: 4 July -16 August 2014
At: Frith Street Gallery, 17-18 Golden Square London
This was an exhibition by a group of artists. Each artist responded to the word ‘Mirror’ or more specifically to Fiona Banner’s Mirror (2007). How can other artists interpret the meaning of the word ‘mirror’ in relation to Banner’s Mirror? According to the press release, the Mirror presented alternatives of identity, reinterpreting the importance of identity by means of a reflection as the way to recognise ourselves. Four artists (including Banner) individually represented ‘identity’ by going beyond traditional portraiture – transcendence of some sort in the modernist sense. These were all fine, but is it meaningful now to say ‘beyond the traditional’, since there have been examples of the traditional that have been presented and recognised. It is probably not necessary to repeat that these artifacts are unique, original or beyond the boundary of portraiture. Perhaps it is better to say ‘of course’ they have been – they are all portraiture in a variety of media. It would be clearer if the condition was set as not ‘beyond’ but that we are already there – beyond the traditional boundary. ‘There’ became ‘here’ in contemporary Art.
Whether explored clockwise or anti-clockwise, the exhibition room was airy and spacious, shutting out exterior noise and perspective distraction, and was free to be explored. The first artifact by the entrance was Fiona Banner’s video installation, Mirror. A small TV monitor was on a plinth facing the entrance. The screen size was very small. Anyone used to watching HD in widescreen might have the impression of being rejected by the artifact and skip to the next one. This gesture could be an acknowledgement of other three artists’ work sharing the space or it could be an expression of work context, having a hidden, private or intimate character, as if conveying secretiveness in the society we live in. In the video an actor and a life model, Morton, was reading Banner’s words as a nude performance at a gallery. The words were describing the life model instead of picturing explicitly in the manner of prose. Use of text is perhaps Banner’s most focussed area of art, although the text might change its appearance into an unrecognizable form, in this case her words transformed into the sound of someone else’s voice and had become a speech – a ghost speaker. The artifact would be the artist herself and it speaks after parting from the artist. Banner’s other pieces The Vanity Press (ISBN 978-1-907631-21-4) and Life Drawing Drawings, were sculptural presentations. One was arranged in the middle of the room and the other was facing towards the large gallery window, which would explain that these and Banner’s Mirror were major pieces of work in this exhibition – and they certainly were. All of her works resembled idioms in terms of their structure – accuracy and precision, conveying a system of some sort. The smartness with a twisted wit appeals to viewers and was accessible, for example in the use of neon, borrowing from the new art of the 60s, and the use of a display case recalling early conceptual art. An ISBN number in a neon sign is a familiar format in a street, and we would notice ‘Ah, it is a book registration number, this must be registered then!’ Somehow we might be satisfied for one moment. In Life Drawing Drawings, drawing manuals were sealed inside the display case – where we cannot see them! Three of her artworks perhaps suggest disclosure but in fact do not at all, only the surface. Consequently viewers would consider the depth of the meaning – how we consider ourselves as being, our recognition of identity. Each artist reinterpreted ‘identity’ in a quite different way: Banner’s humor was immersed into her inventiveness, Bourouissa’s post-conceptual approach amused in assembled snap shots, Man’s expression in a form of abstract painting and Williamson’s illustrative gestures on the surface of paintings. Together they composed a new kind of phrase conceptually led by Banner. In a spacious but greyish space, the artifacts were united by Mirror, engaging in their discussions. The exhibition space could be one corner of a warehouse, as the pipes and the floor were exposed, which gave a feeling of rawness to the artifacts – like before being manufactured. While responding sensibly to the space, each artwork communicated subtly with the others and with the viewers. Mirror was thoroughly presented and its strength was hidden in its elegance.
Gartner is predicting a 30 per cent jump in the number of connected objects in use in the wild from this year to next as sensing connected devices proliferate in an Internet of Things (IoT). In a forecast put out today, the analyst predicts there will be 4.9 billion connected things in use in 2015, up from 3.8 billion this year.
The boom in connected sensing devices will gather pace, with the analyst predicting some 25 billion smart devices in circulation come 2020. In other words, hold onto your breath-sensing seats.
For a little comparative context on the figures, annual smartphone shipments topped 1 billion for the first time at the start of this year, based on IDC’s numbers. Connected things can of course scale much faster than smartphones, being far less complex and having a fraction of the per unit cost.
Gartner expects the automotive sector to see the highest growth rate of…
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Information technology has recently developed significantly by means of the World Wide Web network system. Smartphone, tablet, console and laptop computers are available and manageable for people; the communication using the network system has become a part of our everyday life. A further important matter in this is the increasing connectivity between people and places despite differences in time and their practices in living. In such a digitised computer age, what artefacts do contemporary artists bring to society both locally and globally?
I am interested in the idea that the virtual and the physical space co-exist. I have experimented with the issue in the framework of new media art in which I discovered an interrelation between art, science and philosophy. I perused major media theorists in terms of the role of new media in society: Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media – medium is expressed as extensions of man, ‘All media are active metaphors in their power to translate experience into new forms.’ (1964, 1994 p.57), Jean Baudrillard’s view on the postmodern culture – “the original can be copied by new technology and the copy can be a original in postmodern culture.” (1983, p. 83), (this could mean that a digital image can be viewed as the physical reality in digitalised culture), William J. Mitchell’s examination of the relationship between cyber space and physical space in Me++, ‘It is all very Platonic, in a way; digitally encoded ideas exist somewhere in cyberspace, and physical artifacts are their imperfect, material realizations.’ (2003, p.142), Lev Manovich’s investigation into the structure of New and Old media in the language of new media (2001, p.49) – a number of studies in new media were written. However, art that uses new media has been categorised as commercial art. If the physical and the virtual space co-exist in concept and reality, then new media art should be seen as no less valuable than physical, material-based art. This has not been the case and would be a new idea.
Manuel Castells pointed out in The rise of the network society that, ‘It is a system in which reality itself (that is, people’s material/symbolic existence) is entirely captured, fully immersed in a virtual image setting, in the world of make believe, in which appearances are not just on the screen through which experience is communicated, but they become the experience.’ (2010, p.404) This suggests the reality is perceived through symbolic experiences; therefore the virtual experiences can be said to be the same as experiences in the physical reality. Furthermore, according to Castell, the new communication system characterises “diversification, multimodality and versatility: diversity in interests, values and imaginations” (2010, p.405). This suggests the possibilities of multi-viewpoints in culture and society. An example for practice artists, Anja Kirschner & David Panos’s film work investigates historical perspectives in contrast to popular images. Using recent technology their work depicts contemporary dimensions, such as their use of computer-generated imageries, which appears not to be in a straightforward way but showing rather the process of and an awkwardness of unbalance. (2012) This could be questioning the balance of physical and virtual space and materials. In his talk David Panos described ‘digital’ as a question and used a green screen as an abstract space in terms of the interrelationship between reality and fiction. (2014)
My work reflects on such current debate concerning how people acknowledge the real and the virtual in everyday life. While investigating new media art in the post-digital culture, I use digital materials as having equal value in art to physical materials. I have attempted to prove the context within Fine Art discipline and have been intrigued by the frame of experimental practices in new media art. In my practice I visualise the physical and the virtual space in a combination of several artefacts: digital photographs, moving images, physical materials, and drawings in a form of installation art. Regarding phenomenology, I depict objects and people from my direct experience in the immediate environment in order to explore the materials as undisguised beings. My digital images are highly edited using software to create meta-narratives. In a series of short moving images, a sequence of photographs and drawings I translate my experience of encounters of people and objects into a story.
My final outcome in practice is a depiction of a construction site. I captured stills and moving images of raw materials: dust, earth, cement, etc. I observed and communicated with people who were working at the site. I recorded the footage with digital video camera and sound recorder then edited footage to be a series of visual prose poems; photographs were interwoven into my moving images rather than being one single frozen shot. I used text in a sense of typography and explored that as audio-visual communication language. For instance, I decided how the texts would appear and disappear on the screen by the beat of the soundtrack. There are 3 sets of moving images: Blue Hat, Move Earth, Spoken Words, fig.3, Blue Hat depicts the organization of the site, Move Earth shows the physical materiality and Spoken Words interprets the whole imageries. The videos are shown between steel structures as parallel imageries. My drawing images are a re-enactment of the construction site map in a manner of assemblage, fig.1. The setting is derived from the map. The site-specific installation, fig. 2, Blueprint – it is a dream team, which consists of 3 sets of digital video projections together with the material structures and the set of drawings. I assembled them in a space of concealment so that the space would be immersed in a condition of physical and virtual space. I explored new media in my art, which has come to the point that was not reveal what objects actually are but the realisation of and acceptance of reality – in which physical and virtual space co-exist in contemporary society.
Audio Visual source:
Kirschner, A., Panos, D. (2012) Ausstellungsansicht: Ultimate Substance, [Vimeo] Available form: https://vimeo.com/60541590 [Accessed 13 August 2014]
Cairns, S., Clinton, P., Panos, D., Reid, C. (2014) How is the 21st Century Different? ICA: London. [Visited 5 July 2014]
Baudrillard, J. (1983) Simulations: the MIT Press, p. 83
Castells, M. (2010) The rise of the network society, Chichestre: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 404-405
Manovich, L. (2001) The Language of New Media, Cambridge: The MIT Press, p. 49
McLuhan, M. (1964, 1994) Understanding Media the Extension of Man, 8th ed. Massachusetts: The MIT Press, p.57
Mitchell, William J. (2003) ME++ The cyborg self and the networked city, London: The MIT Press, p. 142
For the Commons launch event at the Newton Park Campus Bath Spa University
Our project was
Project: Water – in its ability to change its own form
Contributors: Michie Lyne & Rupert Brakspear
An installation that explores sounds, vision and tactility in art, with an exploration of where arts and sciences meet, investigating the relationship between water and clay.
This project examines water’s ability to change its own form, and its use as a metaphor, using the disciplines of art, design and environmental science. Michie Lyne from MA Fine Art and Rupert Brakspear from MA Ceramics integrate their different skills into the artwork: the artistry in raw materials; the physical components of water and earth; and the discoveries and understandings of natural systems. The students translate from the languages of their various disciplines; then together exhibit a coherent diagram as a systematic research project.
The resulting installation includes films as visual poems, the transformation of clay and earth in a display of ceramics, and a dialogue of map, field-work samples and tests.
Visitors will be able to see, touch and feel the samples of clay from across Newton Park Campus and witness the changes that occur as water and clay / ceramic interact over the few hours the event runs.
With thanks to our mentor Robert Fearns, the Sion Hill Audio-visual room and the Sion Hill Ceramic workshop.
‘Creative Sparks is a platform for students and staff from different disciplines to come together and demonstrate their creative thinking across traditional subject boundaries by responding to individual briefs. Here, students and staff have responded to the brief of ‘water’ to show how their individual skills and subject knowledge can combine to create stunning results.’
Permanent Exhibition – Atmosphere
Visited 27th December 2013
• Understand an installation art in a different media
• Responding the architectural space
• An immersive and interactive space
• Function – ecology, an effect on climate change
What significant about the room, to me, was the use of ceiling space; a star like images were projected onto the transparent curved mesh sheets. The room was meant to be an immersive space as if being in an atmosphere. The interactive screens were in a wide range of activities – games, interviews and historical references.