I have been invited to participate in a fascinating international interactive screening of the film “The World Before Your Feet” and conference event. It was organised by ATÖLYE, Dubai’s Creative Hub, in partnership with Palmwood, American Film Showcase and the US Consulate in Dubai.
There are 8,000 miles of roads and paths in New York City and for the past six years Matt Green has been walking them all—every street, park, cemetery, beach, and bridge.
Executive produced by Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg and directed by Jeremy Workman, “The World Before Your Feet” is a tribute to an endlessly fascinating city and the freedom to be found, wherever you live, in simply taking a walk.
The team of filmmaker experts were presents:
I am very excited to take part in this amazing venture, which was attended by filmmaker Jeremy Workman, executive producer Jesse Eisenberg and the wanderer himself Matt Green. All live conversations were moderated by Emirati filmmaker Amal Al Agroobi.
DUBAI, 15th April, 2020 (WAM) — The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Art Dubai Group have concluded the Dubai Ideathon.
The workshop sessions, held recently, brought together international experts from different fields, all working collectively to find solutions.
Beginning on the 22nd of March, the initiative began with online workshops where 70 members of Dubai’s cultural SME’s and freelancers came together to identify the primary challenges facing the local creative community, from which list of challenges was put together.
I was astonished that my comment was used in a press release of this event. The organisers have selected my words to support the value and meaning of the entire undertaking. A link to the article is below.
Day 2 was also extended to most of day 3. My team – 11B got very passionate about crating a holistic and xcohesive platform. Our concept was to bring people together in a time of crisis, social distancing and isolation.
We produced a very comprehernsive proposal for a range of ideas and supporting online platforms. I was selected by the team to present our proposal to the forum of 174 observes via Zoom videoconference. Our proposal was very well received and the team and I are awaiting further news on a range of possible developments.
I have recently come across the work of a Taiwanese artist – Tehching Hsieh (1950). He is best known for his five One Year Performances: between 1978 and 1986.
Marina Abramović described him as a “master of performance”., when commenting on his video documenting the whole year of being locked inside a cage and, another one, punching a time clock every hour. His other pieces include an attempt to live solely outdoors for the period of 365 days. In another famous piece he tied himself to another person. Finally, he struggled to avoid any art related activity for another year.
His fascinating pieces shed a completely new light on a new understanding of the emerging concept of self isolation and waiting. This thinking is of significant relevance to my own visual investigation. Although his thinking is very similar to my project, there is one crucial difference – his work is time bound. I have researched people, who are entrapped and suspended in the vacuum of hypnotic repetition in definitively. It is impossible to predict, when their daily struggle will be over. They also do not know, when they will be allowed to return to their former life ‘cages’.
Friday, 20th March 2020 at 9.30 with Jonathan Kearney.
This was a very unusual tutorial. It was a very personal and untypically long deep conversation in definitely extraordinary circumstances. We were both deeply concerned about a continuously expanding pandemic and all its brutal implications on all contexts of our life.
The current situation is unprecedented and overwhelming. It has an enormous impact on all aspects of our existence. Therefore, it would be at least arrogant to assume that I had no radical influence on my creative intentions and the direction of my visual interrogation.
I have explained to Jonathan the sensitivities involved in my research journey so far. Subsequently, we discussed the sudden and unexpected turn in my project, which is deeply routed in the power of the Coronavirus.
All previously taken for granted status quo had to be refined and re-evaluated. This process continues and builds up on speed. The certainty of the past has become the opposite, possibly the most uncertain. Right has changed to wrong and vice versa. The world as we know it has been turned upside down and brutally destroyed. This overpowering situation has a pivotal impact on the way, in which we live and perceive the surrounding Universe. This radical change has vulgarly and violently twisted every context and area of our inhabitation of the Earth.
My current observation is that people around the world are anxiously waiting for the return to their old hypnotic routines. They beg for entrapment and look forward to going back to their previous existence.
Subsequently, we have focused on discussing the impact of this global crisis on our final show and the arts in general. The main issue is to rethink how to display the work in a virtual environment. The idea is to try to reinforce the meaning of the project. My biggest worry was to avoid diluting my intentions and messages.
I explained to Jonathan that I would not like for the form to unnecessarily overgrow the broader meaning of my visual investigation. We continued to elaborate on a number of possibilities. Jonathan suggested that I should consider editing my films together to create an entirely new piece. Therefore, I would take my current work to a completely new level. I argued that I was attempting to avoid producing a media film, rather than a video artefact. This part of our debate was very stimulating and thought provoking. I made a number of notes – a photograph of this page in my sketchbook is included at the top of this post.
Finally, I pointed out at an exhibition of work by Emily Prince, which I saw at the Saatchi Gallery. She dealt with a visual portrayal and organisation of a large sample of data. Her drawings were colour coded, structured and displayed in two separate formats: daily columns of deaths and the map of the USA indicating the origin of killed soldiers.
I could employ a similar approach and continue filming the process of washing of my paintings. This would result in a large projection split into a large number of individual screens.
I also referred to the painstaking and methodical approach employed by Roman Opalka. He photographed himself every day for 45 years, while wearing the same shirt and and holding identical facial expression. This was in addition to the series of his Counted Paintings, from 0 to infinity. I included his quote as his words are of a special significance today.
Roman Opalka (1931-2011)
“Time as we live it and as we create it embodies our progressive disappearance; we are at the same time alive and in the face of death–that is the mystery of all living beings. The consciousness of this inevitable disappearance broadens our experiences without diminishing our joy. There is always the omnipresent idea of nature, of its ebb and flow of life. This essence of reality can be universally understood; it is not only mine but can be commonly shared in our unus mundus.”
Roman Opalka – “Rencontre par la séparation”, AFAA, Paris, 1987
My ultimate plan is to project three videos. Additionally, I would also like to restreatch the washed paintings onto their original frames and include them in my exhibition.
However, in response to the rapidly evolving and changing global crisis, I have decided to continue to evolve my ideas. My ultimate creative intention is to formulate a response, which is the most current, insightful and communicate the intrinsic qualities of my work and thinking.
I am focusing on the development of work with a strong feel of the zeitgeist. This is to elevate my role as an artist and to respond to the current issues, which affect our society in a dramatic and powerful way. I would like for my work to be an intelligent, though provoking and erudite comment. My pieces are the leader of critical analysis of reality. They point at and identify new ways of embracing our fragile lives in the context of devastating change. I am an observer of our history being made out there, here and now!
After all, we are travelling through space on a piece of rock; simultaneously spinning around and rotating at a great speed. Our existence is bizarre and impossible to imagine for an outsider.
Let’s hope that our journey is allowed to continue, develop, prosper and flourish!
The first exhibition contained a range a highly commercial and very large scale photographs printed on dibond. The detail portrayed was truly and surrounded by a dusk of space. The use of chiaroscuro was absolutely impressive and drew references to the masters of the Renaissance. The show was accompanied by a 20 minute film projected on dual screens. The narrative was set in the context of futuristic space travel and science fiction concepts.
The second gallery – Parasol Unit
This exhibition displayed a range of drawings, illustrations and animations. The underpinning themes range from a dream like macabre to dealing with post dramatic stress disorder and the Eastern practice of meditation.
The third gallery – Beers.
This is a joint show between three artists covering a range of fascinating paintings, which question the artist’s identity. There are also intriguing sculptures made from screwed cardboard portraying the human form in great detail and sensitive etchings on paper.
The fourth gallery – Art Book Shop.
This little book shop sells a range of artists’ and limited edition books. It is very small but stylish and well stocked with original and value items.
The fifth gallery – Kate MacGarry
A solo exhibition by Rose Finn-Kelcey portraying her key pieces from the 70’s and 80’s.
Her works comment on different forms of social activism and staged performances.
The sixth gallery – Chisenhale
The gallery promotes cutting edge artists from the UK and international. They work very close with artists and offer four commissions per year.
Current exhibition is a 23 minutes film by Imran, a London and Bangladeshi artist. The piece is split into three chapters was shot quite close to the gallery and is supported with a personal narrative.
This a second projection, which I saw today. Both have used a dual screen approach. The idea is that both are projections are separate yet they work together and make a contribution to the holistic image. This allows for the use of mirroring and opens up totally new possibilities in terms of juxtapositioning of exciting angles and viewpoints, frequently contradicting the screens and switching one off.
The seventh and last gallery – AreByte exhibition was based on four, large-scale projections.
Each one was a recording from a different type of art auction. The first was based on prisoners bidding for their time, the second was filmed in a market for the poor, their fire one was recorded during an auction for the wealthy and the last for the upper classes. All projections were triggered by inserting a pound coin into a slot, which was than converted into a cryptocurrency.
The exhibition commented through contrast and compare activity, on uneven money and wealth distribution in the contemporary society.
The filming was focused on the backhand shoes of people in each group category.
Overall, an excellent and thought provoking visualisation of divisions in a capitalist and market driven world.
I came across the first series of spin paintings by Damien Hirst in the early 90s. I learned about this experiments, when he first started to explore a range of possibilities using this technique in 1992 and extending on alternatives by employing the idea of a stencil.
In addition to their powerful colours, patterns and textures, they were frequently composed on circular formats. I was touched by a great similarity between the look and feel of these works and my ideas concerned with recording the spinning cycle through a bullseye circular window of a washing machine.
On reflection, I came to a conclusion that his famous spin paintings were very influential in forming my new ideas for a series of images.
The spinning motion is monotonous, repetitive and echoes the nature of what I am trying to portray and question in my project.
I include a collage based on his various work below:
Life tends to deal with these problems naturally through repetition and obsessive engagement in distractions.
An excellent interpretation of this concept was developed by Zbigniew Rybczynski(1981) and his Oscar winning piece titled ‘Tango’.
and his subsequent 1987 animation called ‘Imagine’
Both are characterised by identical starting points and their destinations.
This would imply that there is no room for progress in hypnotic repetition?
Roman Opalka, seems to be a master of this phenomenon in his ‘Counted Paintings’ series, which consumed his life.
He began painting numbers from one to infinity in 1965, in his studio in Warsaw and continued until his death in 2011.
Daily rituals, work and religion.
Time, procedures and commuting.
Breathing, heartbeat, sustenance and sleep.
Everything is done to order.
Retirement, loss of purpose and death.
Entrapment in hypnotic repetition.
Suspension in the vacuum of life.
Charlie Chaplin questioning industrial repetition as a lifestyle:
We live in an industrialised society and are compelled to take part in this repetition.
Points for discussion:
• What is your entrapment?
• Do you find it comforting and reassuring that tomorrow is going to be there?
There appears to be a sense of cohesion between life and science.
When one considers my visual responses in my project, it becomes clear that the predicament is universal.
In some small way, we are all trapped in the cycle of work, life, and existence; oscillating between certainty and uncertainty.
This can be, perhaps, best interpreted by Bruce Nauman in his ‘One Hundred Live and Die’, 1984. He boils down the essence of our being to the basic activities of life, without location or possessions.
When analysing my primary sources, I made some exciting observations:
– The less you have got the more certain your life appears.
– Contemporary life in a western society superficially looks certain.
– In reality, it is full of surprises and the most certain things become a nightmare.
– The more you have the more you want, and the less satisfied you are in life.
Points for discussion:
• Can uncertainty become inspirational?
• If the future was predictable would you have less motivation?