Afternoon Dust

Making time is hard these days

Finally got myself organised and got out of the house in time to see some exhibitions. Guy Tillim’s ‘Second Nature’ at Huis Marseille was an odd experience – his photos of São Paolo and Polynesian islands looked as if they could have been taken pretty much anywhere, which I’m not really sure was intentional. I loved Bertien van Manen’s ‘Let’s sit down before we go’ at FOAM, all intimate, off-the-cuff snapshots of friends in the former USSR, images of people eating or drinking or lounging round the house or running around in the snow. The New York Times show, also at FOAM, was nicely done, but to be honest I can’t look at any more press photos, I just don’t see anything anymore. I liked Gary Peress’ admonition to “Listen, listen, look, look”, though.

Sun, sea, sand, and sound

I spent Friday afternoon on the beach at Scheveningen with sound artists Frouke and Leon, watching them work. They are currently investigating ways of trying to generate sounds from wind currents using kites – the wind-driven movements of the kite produce vibrations in the kite’s string, which can then be picked up using a contact mic. The research at Scheveningen is facilitated by a BADGAST residency from Satellietgroep, a Den Haag-based initiative dedicated to the study of “the cultural significance of oceans and seas from the perspective of the arts and science”. We had great fun, the weather was great, and we all got a little sunburnt.

Incident Report Form

Date: 07/03/2012 Time: approx. 13:20 Location: Rosa Overbeekbrug, corner of Bloemgracht and Bloemdwarrstraat Weather: Moderate rain, low visibility

Description of Incident: A young adult male on a black scooter, travelling westwards along Bloemgracht, collided with a middle-aged woman (50-60yrs) on a bicycle as she attempted to cross Bloemgracht heading north. The woman was accompanied by a young child (2-3yrs) who was strapped in a child seat at the rear of the bicycle. All appeared to avoid serious injury, although the child was in a clear state of distress. There appeared to be some minor damage to both vehicles. Onlookers quickly arrived at the scene.

Fragments #1

Fragments #2

Window Shopping with Anna Malagrida

A couple of weekends ago I was in Cologne reviewing a music festival for Fluid Radio (you can read my coverage here). On a spare afternoon I hit the gallery trail, and came across a nice solo show at private gallery Figge von Rosen. The artist’s name was Anna Malagrida, and for her Shop Windows series (2008-09) she photographed the windows of Parisian shops, looking in from the outside. However, in her photographs the shops’ interiors are obscured by reflections, objects, and the white paint often used to cover up the windows of businesses that have closed or are being refurbished. A strong dichotomy is thus produced between outside and inside, yet at the same time the ambiguous combination of objects, window pane, and reflections casts uncertainty upon what is being viewed, and from where. Is that an object or a reflection?

The ghost that haunts is always one's own: Sven Augustijnen's Spectres

Yesterday I headed over to De Appel to see Sven Augustijnen’s solo exhibition, “Spectres”. By coincidence I happened to arrive just in time for a screening of a film made by the artist, also called “Spectres”. The exhibition contained many other items, including photographs, posters, books, display cases full of archive materials, and what looked like banana plants in big pots. However, I’m going to concentrate here on the film, mainly because my head was too full of what I’d just seen to pay attention to anything else.

Voyage Through A Room – From Rotterdam to New York and Back

ferry

If I were a moth, bookshops would be my lightbulbs. While noseying round Joot, just off Herengracht in Amsterdam, I came across what looked like an interesting collection of articles on Dutch contemporary artists, something I had been wanting to read more about for a while. Even better, the price had been reduced. Clearly the planets had aligned in such a way that I had to buy this book.

Northern Art Prize 2011-12

Richard Rigg, Some Rest on Six Occasions (February View) (2010)

On a miserably wet day in Leeds I found myself at the Leeds City Art Gallery for an exhibition of work by artists shortlisted for the Northern Art Prize 2011-12. The award, now in its fifth year, is given to a contemporary visual artist of any age or nationality living and working in the North of England. Of the four nominees exhibiting this year, two surprised and delighted me, while the remaining two made less of an impact.

Of Roads and Rollerskates

“There is an imaginary that if you move near the road life will be better.”

In between a couple of shows in Utrecht last weekend, I dropped by the BAK gallery and came across a little gem of a contemporary road movie by Patty Chang and David Kelley. Their three-channel video installation, entitled Route 3, tells the story of the construction of one of the first highways in Laos and the changes it is bringing to communities along its path. As the narrative unfolds across its roughly half-hour duration we hear about an opening ceremony conducted by an ambiguous president figure, a border town leased to the Chinese, and efforts to reform agriculture in order to boost tax revenues.

Analogue Fever: Towards a Low-Fidelity Future

holga.006

The stronger the current pushes in one direction, the harder one swims against it. The invention of the printing press almost certainly resulted in an immediate increase in the market value of handwritten manuscripts. Shellac purists were quick to denounce new-fangled vinyl records as soulless and inauthentic. But no – authenticity is a recent invention. What matters, always, is fidelity. But fidelity to what?