Thursday, March 31, 2022

Dave Dyment | Untitled (Hello Hello)

Dave Dyment
Untitled [Hello Hello]
Sackville, Canada: Self-published, 2022
Sizes vary
Edition of 5, each unique

The second of a planned series of three telephone works, where the earpiece speaker has been connected to an MP3 player which plays an arrangement of clips from cinema and television. Rather than play out a supercut of simple cinematic conversations, both works make the gallery-goer complicit.

In Untitled [Eavesdrop] - produced in collaboration with Stephanie Cormier - the conversations are all between two parties who are being wiretapped or otherwise listened in on, or believe they are. They are speaking hesitantly, or in code, or outright acknowledge that they "can't talk right now". Their stilted and awkward cadence gives a kind of rhythm to the work and the gallery viewer becomes implicated in the call. The (often paranoid) callers believe that they are being listened in on, and the viewer completes the work by becoming that third party. 

In Untitled [Hello Hello], the gallery goer becomes the second party in a series of one-sided conversations made up entirely of the word Hello, each time repeated. The second utterance is either more urgent or more confused than the first, and this doubling up provides the work with its distinct rhythm. The audio clips are from TV and movies where the conversations is one-sided. There is either due to bad reception, a dropped call, a hang-up, or a person paralyzed with fear on the other end. 

The work is part of Hello Hello, an exhibition which continues at MKG127 in Toronto until April 16th.

[Just got notification that Artforum has listed the show as "must see"] 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Responses To Derek Jarman's Blue [1993]

[Various Artists]
Responses To Derek Jarman's Blue [1993]
London, UK: Pilot Press, 2022
[unpaginated], 20 x 15 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

I remember reading about Derek Jarman's final film Blue at the time of its release, but if it played in Toronto it came and went quickly, unbeknownst to me. I had seen Edward II in cinemas* and I was a fan of the videos he made for the Smiths, but mostly it was the idea of an all-blue screen for 79 minutes that appealed to me. 

The same way I enjoy camera-less photography, I'm a fan of cinema-less cinema. Works like Tony Conrad's Yellow Movie, for example, or Yoko Ono's film scripts, Jackson Mac Low's Tree Movie, Louise Lawler's A Movie Will Be Shown Without The Picture, etc. etc. 

A few years later a friend who worked at the CFI sent me a bootleg on VHS, but in the meantime I settled for the soundtrack on CD, which more or less provided the bulk of the film, if you stared at its blue cover while listening. 

I suspect more people have experienced the work this way than in cinemas, and I'm just now learning that BBC radio broadcast Blue as an audio piece, and distributed postcards with International Klein Blue, to also approximate the experience of the film. 

The work has become a classic crossover from Arthouse cinema to Artist's Cinema, sitting comfortably alongside structuralist filmmaking like Michael Snow's Wavelength and durational works like Andy Warhol's Sleep or Douglas Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho. But Blue is also deeply moving as a portrait of a man living with, and eventually dying from AIDs. 

Jarman publicly declared himself HIV positive in 1987, and referred to a forthcoming response within his practice. “I left it as long as possible, because making a film about illness is jolly difficult,” he later remarked. He began to go blind shortly afterwards, seeing only a hazy dark blue, and would succumb to the illness only a few months after the film's premiere. 

Responses to Derek Jarman’s Blue is the third publication in a series of anthologies from Pilot Press seeking contemporary responses to works of art made during the AIDS crisis.

Contributors include Roelof Bakker, Jared Davis, Becca Albee, Linda Kemp, Ashleigh A. Allen, David Nash, Sam Moore, Anton Stuebner, Gonçalo Lamas, Olivia Laing, Nate Lippens, Jason Lipeles, JP Seabright, Andrew Cummings, Sig Olson, Maria Sledmere, Cleo Henry, Jessie McClaughlin, Lars Meijer, Scott Treleaven, Declan Wiffen, Caitlin Merrett King, Harry Agius, António Manso Preto, Adriana Lazarova, Brooke Palmieri, D Mortimer, Mary Manning and Aaron James Murphy. 

*I mostly remember that it includes a joke borrowed from Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, where the camera pans away from the action to reveals that the soundtrack (in this case an Annie Lennox song) is in fact diegetic. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Laurie Anderson | Hearring

Laurie Anderson
Zurich, Switzerland: Parkett Editions, 1997
10.2 x 4.5 x 2 cm.
Edition of 150 signed and numbered copies

Produced for Parkett issue #49 (which featured Anderson, Jeff Wall and Douglas Gordon), this single earring consists of a brass, copper, circuit board, loudspeaker, lithium battery, Plexiglas and wires. It features a playable sound message of approximately twenty seconds.

Anderson recently stated that the work "sings into your ear and also yells various instructions". These include phrases like “Hey You! I’m right behind you!” and "Hello! It’s me. I’m right behind you”. 

The jewelry is by Josiah Dearborn, and the 'engineering design' is by Bob Bielecki, who previously collaborated with Anderson on works such as her signature magnetic tape violin.

Above are images of Anderson presenting the piece, wearing the work, the work being worn by her husband Lou Reed, and in an exhibition of Parkett Multiples 

Hear Anderson discuss various self-designed instruments in a 23 minute video produced for the Hirshhorn, here

Monday, March 28, 2022

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Hito Steyerl | I Will Survive

Hito Steyerl
I Will Survive
Leipzig, Germany: Spector Books, 2020
448 pp., 20 x 28.5 cm, softcover
Edition size unknown

I had the privilege of exhibiting alongside Steyerl once, years ago at the Montreal Biennale. Early in the morning the day after the opening party (which went late) she appeared on a panel discussion, which I dragged myself out of bed for mostly because the curators were also speaking. Hito sat at the table with the others with her head in her hand, either frustrated or hung-over, or both. I was not expecting a good presentation when she rose to speak. But she instantly shook off her obvious fatigue and gave one of the most original and captivating artist talks I've ever seen. 

I tend to enjoy her theory more than I connect with her works. Her writing is consistently strong, and she has penned some texts that became instant classics (In Defense of the Poor Image, for example). Her reputation as one the leading theorists in contemporary art today is well-founded. 

This book was published in conjunction with Steyerl’s survey show at the Pompidou in Paris and the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf. The exhibition includes her early documentary works from the nineties and her architectural video installations of the last decade. 

The show is currently on display at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, running until June 6, 2022.


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Eduardo Kac | Movimento de Arte Pornô

Eduardo Kac
Movimento de Arte Pornô Praia de Ipanema
Self-published, 1982
DVD, 4:43
Edition of 10 signed and numbered copies

A short black & white 16mm film transferred to video (the original film is lost) featuring documentation of the performance Interversão

“On February 1982, I presented with the Gang a multi-hour event in Ipanema Beach’s Posto Nove [Lifeguard Post 9], “the place to be”—the well-known, crowded epicenter of the beach. This location held a specific significance for the movement, since it was the same location where it started two years before. The 1982 event mobilized 9 performers, explored the entire repertoire of the preceding two years, included a wide array of props and publications, climaxed with a nude demonstration along the beach (which is still forbidden by law), instigated public participation, and culminated with a collective dive in the ocean—a symbolic act meant to signify self-renewal, the beginning of a better path forward. Equal-parts perversion of the Brazilian Catholic tradition of ritualistic public processionals and guerilla-like echo of organized labor demonstrations, this beach uprising was at once the epitome and the terminus of the movement. Dubbed “Interversão” (a neologism, a contraction of the words intervention and subversion, which also suggests “a version in between”), the event layered poetic, performative, social, political, and personal agendas into one radical and exuberant manifestation. Such was the impact that it was featured on national media, including television. Comme il faut, the movement started with the Gang and ended with a bang.”
- Eduardo Kac

Friday, March 25, 2022

Daniel Buren

Daniel Buren turns 84 today. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Roula Partheniou | Untethered

Roula Partheniou
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 2017 - 
30.5 × 22.9 × 22.9 cm
Open Edition (each unique)

This foam and cast resin replica of a balloon features an embedded screw allowing it to be securely affixed to the ceiling. The edition is unlimited, with the buyer selecting an available colour of automotive paint; no two works share the same colour. Production shots below. 

To purchase, click here.

Partheniou's work can currently be seen in a solo exhibition at Marta in Los Angeles. Titled Two and Two Together, the show runs until April 23rd. For more information, click here

"Partheniou’s research and material reconnaissance engages a vocabulary of replication which stutters across her process—but not in reference to static originals. Rather, she attends to the learned reflections of objects housed in our embodied understandings of language, signification, and meaning-production. We come to know objects in and with time, as the detritus of everyday associations pile atop our understandings of form. In a shifted context, what lesson do we encounter from an object that refuses to satiate our assumptive expectation for its use? Works like ‘Untitled (Post-Its)’ and ‘Untitled (White Square with Colour Bar)’ stare plainly outward, eliciting the subjective palimpsest of a viewer’s memories to roar forward and barrage these surfaces like projected light upon a screen. The symphonic openness which saturates “Two and Two Together” seemingly culminates its deadpan delivery in the wall-work ‘Untitled (Brush Lines),’ a jittering grid of striped felt forms that looms at the edge of optical illusion, like a regime of chalkboard erasers stacking themselves en masse. ‘Untitled (Brush Lines)’ names its own contingency to painting within the title, a strategic departure from other works in the exhibition that further dislodges familiarity and function and asks a different question about how we got here in the first place."
- Marta Press Release