Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival Report

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Image: Abandon Normal Devices logo

The debut Abandon Normal Devices (AND) launched in the North West of England, 23rd -27th September 2009. The inaugural festival was centred in the city of Liverpool with satellite events taking place in Manchester. AND, a collaboration between FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool, folly in Lancaster and Cornerhouse in Manchester positions itself as a mixture of new cinema, digital culture and media art, showcasing work in partnership with galleries, venues and public spaces around the city. Over five days, the festival featured a broad array of conferences, talks, exhibitions, screenings, performances and online works, with artists and practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds including, The Yes Men, MARIN (Media Art Research Interdisciplinary Network), Blast Theory, DJ Spooky and Michael Connor. FACT acted as the central hub for the festival and hosted the majority of screenings, talks and events; it also celebrated its 20-year anniversary on the opening night.

In line with its snappy title, the festival set out to discard all that is typical, regular or average, seeking to question normality in an array of forms. There was a particular focus on exploring disruption to traditional methods of production and distribution in cinema and media art. Interfering and interrupting the familiar and ordinary were played out in public space, on screen and through performance.

The festival opened with a new performance/lecture by Carolee Schneemann, renowned for her performance work of the 60’s and 70’s that challenged the normalised perceptions of the body, sexuality and gender. In a work which took the format of a lecture, titled Mysteries of the Iconographies, Schneemann went on a journey through the creative products of her life from early childhood drawings, through painting, to performance and video installation. The performance was accompanied ...

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Bootyclipse (2007) - Dennis Knopf

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Nowadays, those who want to display themselves do it on YouTube in the YouTube video format. What does this format offer to amateur dancers, strippers or porn actors? Several minutes of do-it-yourself footage, untouched by an editor or a camera operator. This last thing is even more important to us voyeurs than the feeling of authenticity that comes from the lack of editing: it gives us several seconds to look around in someone else’s room, a moment or two when the camera is already switched on, but the actor (who also doubles as a camera operator) hasn’t entered the frame yet. These are the sweetest moments.

In the summer of 2007, a German rapper and a debutant net artist Dennis Knopf opened a channel on YouTube that he named Bootyclipse. Every video broadcasted on that channel consists of those candid moments, prolonged to 40-60 seconds. Dennis has collected fragments from more than twenty videos where a girl who is going to shake her booty in front of a camera has not appeared in the frame yet, and looped these moments, leaving the music to play in real time.

-- EXCERPT FROM "An Infinite Séance 2" BY OLIA LIALINA

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2 Shows 4 U

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Two online exhibitions from ongoing curatorial initiatives Why + Wherefore and Club Internet opened within the last week. See below for a quick summary of each, plus a few highlights.



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Image: "Sound" Logo

"Sound" Curated by Bozidar Brazda (part of the 7 x 7 series) for Why + Wherefore

For the first installment of 7 x 7, Why + Wherefore (Summer Guthery, Lumi Tan, and Nicholas Weist) invited 7 organizations to produce an exhibition composed of 7 items around a theme. Rhizome was one contributor, and staff writer Brian Droitcour put together an exhibition of 7 vertical works that exceeded the browser frame. (Other guests included Sundays, iheartphotograph, Triple Canopy, The Highlights, VVORK, and Humble Arts Foundation.) Continuing with the 7 guests, 7 items format is the second round of 7 x 7, where individual curators were asked to contribute an exhibition. So far, João Ribas, Kate McNamara, Josh Kline and Mark Beasley have chimed in with exhibitions ranging from items made in Photoshop to men modeling the durability of their outerwear in advertisements from 1969. The second (the first was VVORK's) sound-specific theme in the 7 x 7 series went live this week, curated by artist Bozidar Brazda. Simply titled "Sound," the show's logo (above) resembles a CAPTCHA, and the works operate in a similar fashion, being both comprehensible and somewhat obscured. Ryan Foerster's Untitled (2009) assembles roughly 15 separate clips of (what I presume) is the Ramones counting off, "1,2,3,4" before launching into a song. The song is omitted, thus the listener is simply left with the lead up. Rich Alrdich's (The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts (2009) is an acapella version of the Bee Gees' 1967 song and on first listen, it sounds like a late night, drunken recording of a group of ...

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Camera Ready

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Image: Sharon Lockhart, Goshogaoka, 1998. Courtesy of Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

"You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that fleeting moment when you feel alive." Those are the words of Merce Cunningham, whose death this summer—a month after the passing of Pina Bausch—provoked a wave of public musing on the difficulties of dance’s notation and preservation, as critics expressed a bleak resignation about the medium’s supposed transience. So it’s a fortunate coincidence that the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia is starting the new season with an exhibition that demonstrates what dance has “given back” to photography, film, and video. “Dance with Camera” encompasses fifty years of art—from classics like Eleanor Antin, Bruce Nauman, and Mike Kelley to emerging artists—and all the works are rooted in choreography and modernist approaches to movement. Several of the artists make work for both theaters and galleries, and their use of the camera builds on live performance rather than serving as a record of it. Choreographer Kelly Nipper considers motion’s relation to stillness by bringing dancers to her photography studio to isolate moments, while Flora Wiegmann adapts dance phrases to places outside the theater and the camera’s lens. Elad Lassry’s 16mm films exploit the metaphoric potential of the dancer’s disciplined severity, her unity of mind and body. These artists make their camera an active agent in the work, rather than a documentary device. Their concern isn’t extending a dance’s duration in memory, but expanding the capabilities of the camera through the associative and compositional possibilities of dance. The exhibition opens Friday and runs through ...

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