Beg, Steal and Borrow 25/2-7/3/20

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Beg, Steal and Borrow opens Tuesday (25th) at Bermondsey Project Space, 183 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW. Artists in the show:

Andreas Schmidt, Birgitta Hosea, Gavin Turk, Haley Morris Cafiero, Jessica Voorsanger, John Stezaker, Melinda Gibson, Ori Gersht, Philip Colbert, Simon Patterson, Steffi Klenz, Stuart Hilton, Yinka Shonibare.
Curated by Jean Wainwright

The artists in Beg, Steal and Borrow, remix and inventively recreate, they use what is already out there to fashion new work and raise questions.  Interconnected in their dynamic engagement their work is multi-layered, mining references to other art works or contemporary issues, from art history to archival material, colonial history to online bullying.


Works by Birgitta Hosea that will be showing in the exhibition and include snippets of sound appropriated from classic films:

OutThereintheDark_LethabyGallery-2008Out There in the Dark (2008) Video documentation of my first live performance of this work at Lethaby Gallery, old Central Saint Martins. Possessed by the spirit of Gloria Swanson’s performance in Sunset Boulevard (1950), I become half animator and half animated.

Medium_CarolineKerslake
Medium (2010) Video documentation of my second series of live performances of this work curated by Sarah Sparkes at St John’s Church in which I channel mediated spirits and electronic ectoplasm.


As part of the exhibition  there will be two round table discussions with some of the artists to discuss their work in the show:

29.02.20  2pm to 3pm Followed by drinks

  • Jessica Voorsanger
  • Jean Wainwright
  • Birgitta Hosea
  • Simon Patterson

07.02.20

  • Melinda Gibson
  • Haley Morris-Cafiero
  • Stuart Hilton
  • Philip Colbert
  • Jean Wainwright

Catalogue essay: Performing the memetic’, Birgitta Hosea, 2020

All through Camera Lucida, the French writer Roland Barthes, writing in 1980 in his influential book on photography mourns for his recently departed mother. After her death, alone in the apartment they shared together, he studies all the old photographs of her that he can find – trying to find a particular image that will recapture her for him, trying to find out about the life she led, trying to know her. How disappointing the images seem to him as he searches, how incomplete, for how could these photographs re-animate the dead. These fleeting images preserve a mere shadow of time that has passed. The photograph contains a ‘defeat of time’ (Barthes 2000, p.96) – we see once living beings, but we are reminded that they are mortal, impermanent and that one day they will die. They are removed from their living, breathing, evolving context and embalmed in one pose, mortified for one brief moment of time.

Barthes argues that a photograph is indexical. It is defined through being a trace of that which once was. A photograph is a historical document, a ‘certificate of presence’ (Barthes 2000, p.87) a testament that something once existed. The correlation between truth and the visual has deep seated roots in our culture. Tom Gunning notes the original visual meaning of Eidos, the Greek word for idea (Gunning 1995, p.42), whereas Marina Warner points out that underpinning Western thought comes the deep rooted Christian notion that while magic and illusion are the work of the devil , the truth needs to be witnessed, to be seen with the naked eye. (Warner 2006, p.54) However, because something was once present in front of the camera and now appears in the photographic image, we are reminded that, although it was once true, it is from the past. Now the subject is absent and that time is no longer here.

Contrary to this idea of the documentary ‘truth’ of photography, the photographs and films included in Beg, Steal and Borrow certificate no presence. Rather they are testament and witness to borrowing, to stealing, to fakery. They do not attempt to present historical authenticity. In their re-presentation and re-performance of appropriated images and sounds, these works defy the logic of the indexical. Their reference is not to nature but to culture, not to self but to Other: to the ghosts of pervasive media that saturate our waking lives.

Interviewed in ‘Ghost Dance’ (dir. Ken McMullen, 1983, UK / West Germany, Channel 4 Films), Jacques Derrida is asked if he believes in ghosts. He replies that in the film in which he appears he is the ghost. Furthermore, he says he himself is haunted by ghosts – haunted by the ghost of Marx, the ghost of Freud, the ghost of Kafka, the dematerialised body of their ideas, the disembodied representations of who they once were. The works gathered together in Beg, Steal and Borrow show artists haunted by images and sounds from the mediated networks that surround them. From popular culture – the image of the rock star, the celebrity artist, the cartoon alter-ego, the classic Hollywood movie; from social media – the internet troll, the amateur adventurer; from history – the traumatic archival image, national or colonial symbol; from art history – the canonical work of art, these contemporary memes from Western consumer culture are echoed through the distorting mirror of the artists’ perspective and transmitted to the viewer.

The term ‘meme’ comes from Richard Dawkins book The Selfish Gene (1970) and is taken to mean a ‘unit of culture’ that behaves like a virus. A meme could be a visual symbol, a gesture, an idea, a belief, etc. It is a construct, not a truth and may have little basis in fact or evidence. The meme is hosted in the mind of an individual and then replicated and spread through culture until it is propagated in the minds of others as if it were a plague with a life force of its own. Transmitted via culture, the meme is, therefore, culturally (and historically) specific. Constantly infiltrating our consciousness, memes infect us to the extent that we internalise and embody them through repetitive rituals until they become real and idea becomes flesh.

The repetitive processes by which we form our gender identity from the cultural context we are part of has been theorised by Judith Butler as ‘performativity’. For Butler, performance is an act that defines our very being. The concept comes from her reading of linguistics in which a performative speech act is a phrase that has an audience and performs the act it describes, e.g. “I apologize”, “I bet you”, “I thee wed”, “I come out to you”. Butler develops this idea further. A performative act, in Butler’s terms, is an existential act in which one seeks to be­come that which one enacts. Butler further argues that our sense of self is a fragile construct that must be constantly performed as a role in order to be maintained.

Becoming celebrity, becoming artist, becoming imposter, becoming bully, becoming female, becoming cartoon – many of the works in this show directly engage with the physical re-performance of memes. The artist’s body becomes possessed by the meme: performatively embodying it rather than externalising it as representation.

References

Barthes, R., 2000. Camera Lucida, London: Vintage Classics.

Butler, J., 1995. “Burning Acts, Injurious Speech”. In A. Parker & E. Kosofsky Sedgwick , eds. Performativity and Performance,  London; New York: Routledge, 1995.

Gunning, T., 1995. “Phantom Images and Modern Manifestations: Spirit Photography, Magic Theater, Trick Films, and Photography’s Uncanny.” In P. Petro, ed. Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video. Bloomington and Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Warner, M., 2006. Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media in the Twenty-first Century, Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.


Selected shots from the Show

Curator Jean Wainwright setting up

Carriage Clock, Yinka Shonibare, 2019
Carriage Clock, Yinka Shonibare, 2019
Fake Fake Art, Andreas Schmidt, 2012-20
Fake Fake Art, Andreas Schmidt, 2012-20
Photomontage, Melinda Gibson, 2012-20
Mikrokosmos, Simon Patterson, 2019
Whale Watching, Haley Morris-Cafiero, 2018
Gavin Turk with his Pop Head, 2011 (image by Jean Wainwright)
Untitled from the Series Beun, Steffi Klenz, 2015-6

 

 

Andy Warhol (Amanda Root), Jessica Voorsanger, 2010
Video works by Birgitta Hosea and Stuart Hilton
Video works by Birgitta Hosea and Stuart Hilton
Injured Expert (still), Stuart Hilton, 2020
Injured Expert (still), Stuart Hilton, 2020
Injured Expert (still), Stuart Hilton, 2020
Birgitta Hosea with Medium and Out There in the Dark (image by Sandra Louison)

Erasure, Hanmi Gallery 30/08-19/10/18

Exhibition by Birgitta Hosea at Hanmi Gallery Seoul
608-12 Sinsadong Gangnamgu, Seoul, South Korea
http://www.hanmigallery.co.uk

Private View: Thursday 30th August 2018
Artist’s Talk: 6 – 6.30 pm
Performance: 6.30 – 7 pm
Reception: 7 – 8 pm

Erasure brings together a body of work from the last three years that addresses the erasure of women’s voices in society and visualises the invisibility of labour. The exhibition is named after my short film in which dirt, ink, bleach and other cleaning products are animated. It includes sequential drawings, performance and animated installation. Here are some of the plans that I have done in Sketchup.

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Information in Korean on Art & Tok

I have many people to thank – Heashin Kwak and Soo Yeon Kim from Hanmi Gallery have done so much to make this happen; Sandra Nutmeg, Anne Pietsch and Maryclare Foa have given me so much support; very grateful to Calum F. Kerr for allowing me to share his studio; thanks to Lilly Husbands for writing the catalogue essay; a number of curators included pieces from this series in group shows or screenings which allowed me to develop the ideas further – Vanya Balogh, Tianran Duan, Rebecca Feiner, Lu Tingting, Gerben Schermer, Zhang Xiaotao; I was also supported by going on a number of residencies that enabled me space to progress at a time when I had no studio thanks to Susan Allen, Regine Bartsch, Rose Bond and Rekha Sameer; and finally I am so thankful to my employer, the University for the Creative Arts, for supporting the exhibition catalogue and my trip to Korea.

Some images from the show:

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A video overview of the final exhibition filmed by Soo Yeon Kim:

Tallinn Art Week

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EMPIRE II opened on the 12th June in Estonia for Tallin Arts Week. The latest version of this touring show of artists’ films, that has travelled from Brussels Art week to the Venice Biennale as well as as Berlin, London and Madrid, features a new installation Playing God – stills from imaginary films dreamt up by 100 artists. Curated by Vanya Balogh and on till 30th June at Haus Gallery, Tallin, this exhibition will also go to Zagreb, Paris and Hastings.

The exhibition features Erasure (2017, mixed media animation, 3 mins) and Untitled Hitchcock Still#1 (2018) by Birgitta Hosea.Bird4_flattened_webClick here to download the PRESS RELEASE.

‘Medium'(2012) in Karachi Biennale

Thrilled that a video of my 2012 performance Medium was selected for the Karachi Biennale in Pakistan this year. Curated by Amin Gulgee, this is the first ever Biennale to take place in Karachi and had the theme of ‘Witness’. My work was installed in a building that formerly housed a branch of the Theosophical Society.

The Biennale launch:

Thanks to Sandra Louison for all her assistance in installing and promoting this work for me. Here are some of her photos of my work and where it was situated:

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Here is a snippet from the first dress rehearsal of Medium in the cells of a former workshouse underneath Shoreditch Town. Curated by Jane Webb for Illumini.

Links to previous posts about this project: Medium and ‘Medium’ mark II.

More about the Karachi Biennale:

Karachi Biennale 2017 from Karachi Biennale on Vimeo.

Boundary Crossings: Performing Identity

PerformingIdentity_CARD

Boundary Crossings is a biennial institute for contemporary animated arts that was established in 2009 by artist, Rose Bond, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, USA. The two-week studio programme includes a hands-on exploration of experimental animation as spatial experience, interdisciplinary moving image practice, kinetic sculpture and expanded cinema. This is complimented by readings of related critical theory, a programme of artists talks and screenings and culminates in an exhibition. Participants include working professionals as well as graduate and upper-level undergraduate students with an interest in time-based arts and a desire for an immersive studio experience on the cutting edge of animation and fine art.

Professor and Department Chair of Animated Arts at PNCA, Rose Bond‘s personal practice builds on her experience of frame-by-frame direct animation to create spectacular, site-specific, architectural animation projections in public spaces. Each Boundary Crossings is also co-curated and co-taught by a different international practitioner, who defines the theme and conceptual direction. This year’s theme, Performing Identity was chosen by visiting artist, Birgitta Hosea (myself), Head of Animation at the Royal College of Art in London. In addition, it was supported by guest artist, Carl Diehl, with Studio Manager, Maxwell Brown, and assisted by Sarah Hickey.

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The work produced during Boundary Crossings goes beyond the short film format in investigating in what ways the concepts behind the films can expand out of the screen and be presented to others in an exhibition context. All of these works were conceived of and produced in their entirety over a period of two weeks. Each artist has considered the context of the way in which their animation is displayed to create a unique experience in sound, image and space.

Exhibition:

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PNCA, Portland, Oregon, USA. Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Entrance Hall. Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

IMG_0420.JPGOverview. Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

2017.PNCA.BOUNDARY CROSSING-30Overview. Photo: Ali Gradisher, 2017

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Overview. Photo: Ali Gradisher, 2017

IMG_0405Overview. Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

Individual Works

Ran Sheng: From My Family Album
Double projection on sculpture. Soundtrack: appropriated Chinese pop music.

“A mixed-media memoir generated by childhood memories through the lens of current circumstances. Using the family photo as a carrier, I explore how childhood experiences have affected the development of my personality – who made me what I am?”

IMG_0413Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017.

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Nicole Baker: The Width of a Circle
Black card, sequential prints on acetate, motor, stroboscope. Silent.

“A magic machine made of light and myth, this kinetic sculpture emits visions of a creation tale eminating from primordial history. Contemporary visual storytelling technologies contrast with early animation mechanics to highlight how the power of myth perforates the human mind.”

2017.PNCA.BOUNDARY CROSSING-642017.PNCA.BOUNDARY CROSSING-652017.PNCA.BOUNDARY CROSSING-73Photos: Ali Gradisher, 2017

Terese Cuff: Complains and Concerns
Extended animation split between two projectors on papier mȃché relief. Soundtrack: recreated voice recordings inspired by complaints made by children in the classroom.

“Exploring the disconnect between conflicted internal and external voices, from the petty to the disturbing.”

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Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017.

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Jacob Houseman: A Very, Very Exclusive Performance
Live performance with interactive database of animation. Silent.

“All the fair ladies and gentlemen of polite society have tonight in their planners for this very, very exclusive performance, which is a very, very anticipated one. If you mean to secure your place among the rich and famous, you absolutely must view the very, very exclusive performance.”

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Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Sol Fantasma: Shapeshifter
Rear projection of metamorphosing animals on tissue paper. Silent.

“You aren’t the same person twice. Who you’re with influences how you act. Who are you really?”

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Briar Parks: The Eyes of Izangi
Interactive animation with sculptural objects as controllers. Silent.

“This interactive installation is inspired by animal mimicry, exploring how imitation blurs the line between Self and Other.”

2017.PNCA.BOUNDARY CROSSING-512017.PNCA.BOUNDARY CROSSING-502017.PNCA.BOUNDARY CROSSING-452017.PNCA.BOUNDARY CROSSING-26Photos: Ali Gradisher, 2017

IMG_0414IMG_0421IMG_0391Photos: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

Amy Love: Shalom
Cut out animation on TV monitor with associated objects. Soundtrack: unaccompanied personal recording of traditional song

“The Artist shares her lived experience of trauma and recovery.”

IMG_0417Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Ari Gabriel: Summer of the Yellow-Dry End
Stop motion video, associated objects, cabinet. Soundtrack: Spoken word poetry.

“Memories were left as dreams and fled into folklore, leaving something like an afterimage on the other side of an eyelid. The dry trees calling fire, the smell of hot stone, the dust stirred by crows, dreams of a gleam of a knife or scissors on a distant hill. In the hush of the summer night, the changeling was born of the Grain Mother.”

IMG_0419Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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Mike Nixon: Ocean – Sea of Faith
Animations on three monitors. Soundtrack: various foley recordings of water and rowing,

“Water can give or take away, as it is in life or death. The cycles of nature, day and night, season to season. The swimmer moves through water, clearing space and releasing it as they progress. There is the possibility of transformation through the most traumatic of experiences by the rhythms of life. We are water and water is us.”

IMG_0407Photo: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

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T.J. Orlowski: KINET-X
Pre-recorded and user-generated animation. Silent.

“This work explores the kinetic signature of an individual person’s specific motion through active participation.”

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The Process

At this year’s Boundary Crossings we started with the idea of how to convey subjective experience. Can animation can be used to express private, inner worlds? Can our personal identities be expressed without using verbal language? And if so, what makes an audience interested in another’s personal experience? The very notion of how personal identity is constituted and expressed was examined through Judith Butler’s idea that our identities are so fragile that they need to be constantly reaffirmed through repetitive personal rituals that confirm who we are. For example, in order to be a man, you make sure that you walk like a man. Animation is the perfect art to look at the personal and the subjective, because it is not limited to what can be photographed and can express thoughts direct from the imagination. Through animation, gesture and ritual can be analysed and reflected upon. This was further developed by discussions around glitch feminism – that gender may in itself be a faulty machine.

The workshops included Isadora and physical computing by Carl Diehl, animated installation: expressing ideas through spatial context by Rose Bond and myself, projection techniques by Rose Bond and practice-based research and development of concepts by myself. I also gave a talk on my own practice that had been informed by extensive research into Victorian spirit mediums and screened a programme of experimental animations from the Royal College of Art. Participants were encouraged to be mutually supportive through peer review and connected reading sessions. To develop the theme of performing identity as well as to serve as a warm-up and possible starting point, I conducted a drawing workshop inspired by performance theory in which the choreographic principles of Rudolph Laban were used to build a vocabulary of emotional mark making and Method acting techniques were used to engage with affective and muscle memories.

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Photos: Birgitta Hosea, 2017

Patrick Tresset’s ‘Machine Studies’

I recently had a fascinating evening with Maryclare Foa getting our portraits drawn by Patrick Tresset‘s robots at Platform Southwark, part of the Merge Festival.

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A camera looks at you then down at the drawing.

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The programming is based on Patrick Tresset’s own left-handed drawing style. Interesting to see the variations. The angle of the pen makes a difference, so do light levels. The lines are gestural because of being drawn by robot arms. The signatures are taken from a random, unintended mark that one of his robots once made.

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Me and Maryclare Foa drawn by the same robot. We both look very suspicious!

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Maryclare Foa confronts the robot and draws it back!

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In the installation upstairs, Human Study #4, there is a classroom of performing robots. A camera at the front desk seems to communicate to the robot arms at the desks in morse code.

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The robot arms mark time along with the instructions on the video blackboard.

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Finally, all but two start scribbling over their previous marks. The sound of the servo motors and the bleeps of morse code sound incredible. The whole set up brought back uncanny memories of my primary school.

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