The show is presented by King Kai, a wise-wacky oriental lady who runs this mysterious-mythical Yorkshire village.
Running rules Runswick. We follow inhabitants marathon-inventor Pheidippides and cult-novelist Haruki Murakami as they run about.
However, bloodshed ensues when the King attempts to convert a new immigrant, anti-running-monger-ranter Slavoj Žižek, into a lycra-donning don. And, in a showdown with flyer-dreamer Icarus, hashish-laden-walker Baudelaire and hole-jumper Alice, can the runner triumph?
‘Runswick’: Played by Runswick Bay, a remote, ‘tiny one-pub-cum-village-cum-beach’ 5 miles north of Whitby (Rough Guide 2011). Such a site is crying for wacky art, overdue attention. And a new ruler.
‘King Kai’: Played by Slade School PhD graduate and award-winning-artist-academic-performer-filmmaker Kai Syng Tan (Documenta, Sydney Biennale, MOMA, ICA, SFIFF Golden Gate Merit Award) . Kai uproots from London to become Runner-In-Residency in Runswick Bay for 5 months. Fully-immersed and functioning as director, presenter, researcher and writer, Kai works with a BBC or Channel 4 production house that employs local crew, artists, actors and the community to produce a 25-minute TV episode each month. This series is based on Kai’s 4-years of Rather Serious Doctorate Research which re-imagines the popular sport of running as a creative mode of expression. For Artangel, Kai unleashes her Far Eastern sage-ness specially blended with hardcore hard-earned Wild Western wisdom, to invent a mindblowing TV series that explores running through its histories, stories, forerunners, movers and shakers, and spotlights its playfulness, potential for philosophical meditation and political subversion, boundless poetic possibilities, power to heal and to enable us to ‘run’ our world. It explores how when we run, we can see our city anew, dodge CCTV cameras, play hide-and-seek with the Big Bosses online, as well as take a cue from the ‘runner’s high’ and think in an exuberant manner free from logic, hierarchy and convention.
‘Inhabitants’ and ‘New Immigrants’: Murakami, Phedippides and Zizek (who disses running as a ‘New Age myth’) aside, other inhabitants of Runswick Bay include a wide range of running-related people, real and imaginary, past and present. They include: secret-runner-Turner-Prize-Winner Keith Tyson; Angry Young Man ‘Colin’ of ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’, the foot-lover-cum-Chinese-sage Lao Tzu; our 2-million-year-old runner-ancestors of the Homo Erectus; runner-curator Marilyn McCully, fate-and-game-changer Lola of ‘Run Lola Run’, runner-politician Boris Johnson and code-breaker Alan Turing who invented the computer mid-run. Some of these characters play themselves, while others are played by local actors, or drawn by local school children. Renowned Singaporean composer Philip Tan can also be flown/roped-in as a short-term new immigrant to create haunting Runswick-Bay inspired soundscapes broadcast on Radio 4. King Kai interviews and conducts discourses with these characters about running while running through the beautiful landscape of Runswick. It is just as well that the Latin etymology of the word ‘discourse’ refers to ‘running from place to place’. With local runners and artists, King Kai generates GPS drawings, animation, and music inspired by running. Along the way, King Kai dispenses running tips, gets her head MRI-scanned before and after a workout, summons the Taoist gods to learn about the human body’s role as a centre of knowledge and a map of the cosmos, as well as hang out with techies to develop running apps, and offers herself as guinea pig to test-drive them.
‘Audiences’: Played by people of Runswick Bay as well as ‘the ordinary British person’. Watching the drama, tears and action set in the exotic Runswick Bay in their living rooms, people may be inspired to rethink the creative possibilities of running, and to even leave their couch and run (to Runswick Bay). The series runs the gamut of aesthetic approaches, including point-of-view shots taken with devices worn by runners. Resembling a reality-show cum arty cine-essay cum tongue-in-cheek ‘how-to’ series chock-ful of practical advice, philosophical ponderings, wordplay and riotous images and sounds, the series will appeal to artists, reality-show-bingers, runners, coach potatoes, art-lovers, consumers of health and documentaries, academics, sinologists, sport scientists, sports-haters alike. (See enclosed video clip for an example of the look and feel of the show). Apart from the TV series, there are by-products and spinoffs, including training app, games, and publication, which can get the viewers to be even more involved.
Move over, Richard Long and Francis Alÿs – running can give walking a run for its money!
The cultural tradition of walking has long dominated the art world. We are familiar with the works of the Situationists, Richard Long, Janet Cardiff and Francis Alys, just to name a few. Since the 1970’s, the world has experienced a running boom. For the past decade, neuroscientists, urbanists philosophers and novelists are already harnessing running in their research (Murakami 2008; Mattson 2012; Latham and McCormack 2004; Austin 2007). Yet, the art world is slow to capitalise on running as subject matter and/or a creative approach.
There are gaps in the ‘TV world’ too. 5 million viewers watch the ‘live’ broadcast of the London Marathon on BBC, and many more catch up with it later when it is beamed across 150 countries (The London Marathon Limited 2013; London Town 2013). Yet, we have not seen any TV show that properly investigates the arts, history and science of running. Of late, we have welcomed Brian Cox, Mary Beard and Grayson Perry into our living rooms. Could there be room today for a non-white female artist-academic mobilising non-Western sources to share cutting-edge research on the piping-hot topic of running in a fun manner that’s simply bonkers?
‘Let Your Imagination Run Riot in Runswick!’, which synthesises rigorous research with dynamic art practice, can be the first steps to fill in the lacunae.
This proposal is based on Kai’s PhD research. Kai picked up running in 2009 to investigate first-hand – and first-feet – about running, for her Fine Art PhD work at UCL. Combining art practice and research, Kai’s study was an exuberant and expansive exploration of the physical and poetic processes of running as a playful means for us to re-imagine our internet-mediated world, as well as the way we think. Kai’s research not only investigated running as a subject, but self-reflexively activated running as an approach. Like a running-ambassador herself, Kai ‘ran’ from discourse to discourse across disciplines and cultures to assemble trans-running, including Taoism, the Chinese philosophy of correlative thinking, neuroscience, digital aesthetics, and the genre of the travelogue. Kai’s studio practice featured a large body of artworks collectively entitled Kaidie’s 1000-Day Trans-Run: 12.12.2009-09.09.2012. It starred ‘Kaidie’, who ran physically and poetically everywhere, including the fictitious city of ‘Nondon’, in search of a Monty-Pythonesque ‘Meaning Of Life’. The artworks ran the gamut of media and genres, including films, GPS drawings, texts, installation, actual and imaginary proposals and Do-It-With-Others collaborative ventures on social media platforms. Her blog generated more than 1.3 million unique visitors, and variations of the artworks have been exhibited/performed in 63 shows, conferences and so on.
As an architect I’m interested in how space is re-appropriated, how the same space can be used for many different things, and how the same space has many different values to the occupants. I’m interested in how spaces change over time; seconds, minutes, hours, days and decades. I’m interested in how the same space at one point in history can mean something entirely different moments later. I'm interested in space not just as a volume confined by a few walls, but also on a larger scale, a street, or a neighbourhood.
As a film-maker I’m interested in the narratives that are captured within the walls of that space, or the boundaries of that space. The stories that are told there and how people remember that, and more interestingly how people think they remember that, how they mis-remember things. I’m interested in how different people remember different things about the same space, different details, even though the experience may be similar.
As an artist I’m interested in using my experience and my tools, to recreate this mis-remembered space. I’m interested in using the stories that have been gathered, and the memories that have been left behind to create a visual, narrative and cinematic representation of that space.
The space I wish to explore is the reason that I’m here as a Black Briton. I’m interested in the birth of multiculturalism in the UK, and what it felt like for my relatives when they landed upon these shores. I want to explore a series of spaces in South London, starting in an air-raid shelter (or hostel) where many of the first West Indian immigrants lodged before finding their own residences. I want explore where these guys worked, and played, but I don’t want to represent this accurately; I want to use the testimonies, interviews, writings, to redefine what those spaces look like, their energy and how they feel.
I want to use a childlike lens to represent this by exaggerating, stretching, pulling and playing with these stories, and finding a visual language that represents them in the space. I want to create an artistic, immersive and theatrical experience, using a mix of techniques to execute this idea from the latest technology in projection mapping, to pure narrative performances fused with elaborate production design. I would like to take the audience on a journey, both physically and emotionally, as they travel and become the protagonist of the piece. I would like this ‘protagonist’ to feel the stories and to feel the culture shock and become 'The other'.
I’d like to take the protagonist through a series of rooms. Starting in an air raid shelter, the protagonist enters into darkness to sit, lie, or whatever they choose on some of the bunk beds. I would then project images, of stock footage, or falsified and exaggerate stock footage into the space. This would be mixed with stock sound, and falsified stock sound of stories of the place, and time. The projection would click on and click off, as would the sound, often leaving the protagonist in silence. The aim is disassociate them from everyday reality. The reason for the falsified information is to start feeding the idea that their experience will not be factual. Real actors will begin to come into the space, and start replacing some of the projections and the performance begins, they act as a guide to begin to move our protagonists through the space.
The second space would be a typical West Indian South London home in the early 1950's, except it would be designed based on how many of the West Indian immigrants remember their home. Scales will be pushed to give the audience a more childlike perspective, certain details exaggerated, a scene plays out, again based on research, and our protagonist maybe voyeuristic in this case or part of the actual narrative.
The third space will be industrial, where people work, mostly factories. The space will be enhanced by huge projections exaggerating the scale of the machinery. After this the protagonist will be plunged into their final space of their experience, a small basement style party that was common in South London.
The protagonist will be ejected from the party onto the street, where they will be faced with huge interactive projection (or screen), on the adjacent side of the street. The image will be a mirror image of the street except it will be distorted, fractured, mis-remembered based on the stories that we gather about that space. It will be interactive; people, buildings and vehicles will be reflected in their misremembered 1950's versions as they pass the screen. Our protagonist will also finally see their mirror image - this would be the character we have assigned to them throughout the process. There is an un-ceremonious end to the piece and the protagonist is now back in their reality, expected to go and carry on with their day. The projection screen will also act as a standalone piece. Passers by, people that don’t even know about the experience can be a part of it, giving a heightened level of accessibility.
The experience will be timed almost like a ride, and performances, projections, sound reset as the various protagonists pass through in intervals. Ideally I’d like to find a location in which some of the spaces we are using are real. For example starting in Clapham Common deep-level air-raid shelter. It depends how the axillary spaces are configured, alternatively the whole space could be curated in a much larger space in South London, with a bigger emphasis on the production design.
I will collaborate with production partner Nexus Interactive Arts. Nexus provides technical, logistic and production support. It gives access to exciting talent in interactivity, film, and animation, backed by 15 years of experience in partnering with clients such as Tate, V&A, Google, Intel, and the Cultural Olympiad. Recent accolades include Webbys, Oscar nominations, D&AD black pencils, and Prix Ars Electronica’s highest prize for digital art, the ‘Golden Nica’.
But on your tiny planet, my little prince, all you need do is move your chair a few steps. You can see the day end and the twilight falling whenever you like... – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
My idea is to film a continuous sunset as the earth revolves. The smallest distance required to travel in order to achieve this would be approximately 10,500 miles, at a latitude of around 65 degrees N. At latitudes higher than 66 degrees 30' N, on the summer solstice, there is 24 hours of daylight, and therefore no sunset, so the filming must be done at a slightly lower latitude to capture a continuous sunset for a day. At lower latitudes the circumference becomes too large requiring supersonic speeds to stay with the sunset.
At the latitude of about 65 degrees, with a flight from east to west, the aircraft will travel against the rotation of the earth. The ground and sea distance covered by the flight will be about 10,500 miles. Concerns – such as, are there aircraft which could achieve the distance and flight time without refueling? How would the jet-stream affect the air speed? – would be exciting to research.
The filming would take place around June 21st, or the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, when the rays of the sun will be perpendicular to the Tropic of Cancer at 23 degrees 30' N latitude.
This venture will not be entirely weather dependent. At sufficient height, the sun setting over clouds would still be beautiful, but ideally I want to film the land and sea as much as possible whilst flying as low as safety considerations, weather and air law allow.
This idea only came to me a day ago and as the submission deadline approaches I don't have time to investigate and calculate the various aspects of the project. I see it as an opportunity to bring sciences together with art in one huge world-wide project. The romantic nature of sunsets would give it an emotional charge that everybody could respond to.
This longlisted idea is not publicly available for the moment.
Killingworth Towers was a Brutalist estate of 27 tower-blocks linked by walkways or ‘streets-in-the-sky’. It formed the centerpiece of Killingworth Township, a 1960s ‘new town’ built twelve miles northeast of Newcastle.
The Towers were completed in 1971 but survived only until 1987. 734 structurally sound council-owned dwellings were destroyed and replaced with 340 private houses, meaning an entire generation of young people on the point of leaving home were forced to move away from the town, the population scattered. John grew up in the Towers and this loss has had a deep impact on our artistic practice.
After the Towers were demolished, in the nineties it was the shops, Communicare, and the dramatic ‘refurbishment’ of Merz & McLellan’s Amberley Building (now unrecognisable after a receiving a multiple storey haircut and re-cladding in white PVC). Ryder & Yates incredible Norgas House, Northern Gas Training College, and Stephenson House are significant recent losses from the last 18 months. Although a twentieth-century town, Killingworth today is like an archaeological ruin, with only traces of the original 1960s ‘new town’ remaining.
Despite this wholesale destruction of their original environment however, the community of Killingworth has prevailed. The Killingworth Facebook group has 2,500 active members, all still enthusiastically sharing photos and stories to this day. Digital technology and new social media has enabled the community to reform even though people have physically moved away, sometimes even to different countries, and we want to celebrate that ‘virtual’ community by rebuilding their old homes and providing an online space for interaction:
I think this whole towers thing has been not just about the towers and garths, it’s been about taking people back to their youth and rekindling old friendships that have been long gone. If so the Killingworth Towers have been very worthwhile, and then some…
The Towers were said to be a failure in design, however it seems they were a success in building a close knit community that never forgot what they had
Very true Dawn… Our community will not be demolished!
– Steven Harle / Dawn Kerrison / Jacqui Marshall, Facebook, 26 - 28 Feb 2010
People would be able to interact ‘in world’, talking using headsets or exploring together a remarkable environment that’s long since been destroyed. It’s a poignant fact to note that the people who lived in the Towers, and in countless other hastily demolished Modernist architecture (Ashfield Valley/Rochdale, Hyde Park and Kelvin flats/Sheffield, The Crescents/Manchester) can’t ever take people back to show them where there grew up… The closest experience you can get is the remaining un-refurbished decks of Park Hill, Sheffield (Grade II*). We are rapidly losing our Brutalist heritage, particularly in the North East of England. Recent demolitions of remarkable Modernist architecture such as Luder’s Trinity Centre (Get Carter car park) and Dunston Rocket, ABK’s Redcar Library, and of course in Killingworth make our proposed work even more relevant, and we would seek to develop it further in the future by exploring other lost architecture.
We will build a digital 3D model of Killingworth Towers using architectural drawings, archive photography and resident’s memories. We plan to use Autodesk 3DS Max modelling software which we used for Realtimelapse (2012). Whereas we used the digital model to create two animations for Realtimelapse however, with The New Technopolis, we intend to go further and create a 3D digital copy of Killingworth Towers that the audience could explore virtually as avatars, like in a computer game. The ‘game’ would be simple, allowing people autonomy, for example, to once again walk the streets-in-the-sky in the evening sun. People could even theoretically rent back their old flats!
We’ve previously experimented with placing Brutalist buildings in 3D online social/gaming platform Second Life, and intend to develop this concept much further by placing the fully explorable virtual replica of Killingworth Towers online. Using a platform such as Second Life would also allow us to develop one or more bespoke avatars that the audience can use to explore with (young kid with parka, teenage punk, elderly lady with tartan shopping trolley etc.)
‘Real World' Element:
Although the audience could download Second Life, or watch HD videos on YouTube themselves at home, we want the work to be inclusive and so we will set up a ‘terminal’/PC within Killingworth where people can access the work. It’ll be located centrally, an appropriate place being the White Swan Centre (the local Council’s customer service office that happens to be sited in the PVC clad Amberley Building), and would give the general community the chance audience to explore the virtual representation of Killingworth’s past. We could also stream ‘live’ footage of the Towers, like CCTV of a parallel universe, onto screens located centrally in the town…
To link the proposed digital work more closely to the community and the original site of the Towers we will also physically recreate small versions of the metal service-hole covers that were placed at the foot of each lift-shaft in Killingworth Towers, and are fondly remembered by the community for cleverly incorporated a map of the estate (see Concrete City map, attached).
We’d aim to insert small etched brass/steel reproductions of these metal maps into the pavement exactly where they used to be, thus re-mapping the old ‘new town’ and the footplate of the Towers. This may present certain artistic challenges, however, as some locations could well now be underneath the foundations of the new housing built on the site!
We’ll also incorporate a small etched QR code into the design that, if scanned with a smartphone, will take the audience to the homepage of the work, or to videos on YouTube showing animations made from the digital model. We’re currently using exactly this etched QR code technique to make brass plaques for a commission for the Durham International Brass Festival 2014.
The Longest Echo in the World was recorded in Inchindown oil tanks in Scotland in January 2014. I got overwhelmed to read about it, as it sounded just like a space for my one-on-one performance. I have been in touch with the founders of the Longest Echo in the World, Prof. Trevor Cox, and Mr. Alan Kilpatrick from RCAHMS since then, finding out specifications for the place and possible ways of creating and performing site-specific music project in this isolated location.
Something Personal is the project that I have been developing for the last two years. It is a site-specific music composition, that’s been re-composed for particular performance space, and performed by me (playing classical instruments like violin, piano, percussions, also some hand-made instruments, hand-made synthesisers, amplified by hand-made contact microphones), for only one listener at the time, him/her staying with closed eyes during the whole performance. The idea of this project is focused on ‘opening’ people’s ears for the sounds around them, and on the creation of a very special aural experience through acoustic phenomena of surround music composition. The reaction after this personal performance becomes also very personal – usually lots of hugs, very personal feedback about listener’s emotional experience.
As a composer and music researcher (PhD in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London at the moment), I was developing projects that involved music performance in non-traditional spaces (fields, forests, sea-sides), acoustically unusual spaces in Nordbeg, Sweden; or the round hall of the Lithuanian Professional Communities building with place of loop echo right in the middle of it; with spatial placement of performers (numerous works for instrument placement in and around the audiences, including quite unusual composition for hot air balloon, where air-baloon’er is a performer that flies out into the sky); with an acoustic surround in the dark (since 2009, I am a member of Spatial Opera Company in Sweden, where we develop idea of spatial acoustic surround in mono-opera in the dark).
Something Personal is the project that connects all my experiences and develops the idea of music personalisation through music spatialization.
Oil tanks with the Longest Echo in the World have many specific access issues. However, they only complement the idea of Something Personal:
Restricted access, darkness, isolated location - all these issues described above (by both Prof. Trevor Cox and Alan Kilpatrick in our communication through emails), made me think as if these tanks were created for Something Personal. Site-specific composition for Inchindown Oil Tanks can only be created within the space, specifically for the space, and heard only in that one space, by one (or, as they said, maximum 4) listener at the time, in the dark. Hard access to the place will make the project even more personal for the listener that will put all that effort to attend magical musical event in the most acoustically unusual space in the World. Again, as Mr. Kilpatrick says:
The tanks are a marvel of engineering and I have described them as cathedrals of oil. The sound is amazing and lasts for so long. Each tank is massive. 237m x 9m x 14.5m. The roof is arched. It is the most incredible space.
Technically speaking, my project schedule would look like this:
I get down to the tank for a few hours a day (4-6 hours) within week. I bring my violin, a couple of very small hand made synthesisers ran on batteries, bunch of small music instruments from my music instrument collection, and a torch. I spend some time in the oil tank musically researching acoustics though playing and improvising with my instruments and there-found objects. Then, I write a composition (to be performed by myself for one listener at the time), specifically using the echo of oil tanks.
Developing the audience – spreading the word about the project, inviting people to sign as listeners for the one-on-one performance. Organizing travels on performance days. From my previous experience, I can perform up to 8 hours in a row (with short breaks every hour), so there would be a queue of maximum eight people in one day. There could be very many days in a row of one-on-one performance.
Performing Something Personal in Inchindown Oil Tanks.
Being organiser of many events and festivals in previous years (see my CV), I would spend some time working out logistics of the complicated, but, I believe, for the listeners, probably the most specific and memorable performance they can ever hear.
Dissident Domesticity is an immersive installation replicating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s quarters within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, with objects and sound recordings from the site. Secondly, a film, ‘The Making of Dissident Domesticity’, is screened in a space adjacent to the installation. It is envisioned as a means of estrangement in the form of a ‘pre-enactment’: a performance that collapses plausible past and future scenarios of dissident domesticity. Yael Bartana would mentor the making of this film, made on a set constructed from the actual material objects from the room Julian Assange has taken diplomatic asylum in. It places the viewer within a virtual space of domestic incarceration in a documentary-fiction film. A doubling of rooms that switches between the authenticity of the recreation and the construction of a film set brings the visitor into the lives that mediate Britain’s fear of the enemy within, and thereby questions the effect of surveillance and state coercion within the highly unusual and tenuous domestic space.
To heighten the fiction of the proposed replica, Dissident Domesticity is built as a durational installation open to visitors. The psychological and temporal experience of confinement, surveillance, and uncertainty – both political and personal – are treated theatrically. The following elements exaggerate and abstract these effects within the installation.
The room is dominated by a thick green damask curtain (think Holbein’s Ambassadors). Assange’s curtain is the axis and pivot of his domestic world, the only direct separation between the intimate domain of the sanctuary-cum-home and the macro-political whirlwind of the outside world.
A heavy wooden desk is populated by several objects of significance:
The air is stagnant inside and it is almost completely dark, with just a glimmer of light coming through a gap in a tightly-drawn curtain. The tiny gap in the curtain reveals a small balcony beyond the window, with an Ecuadorian flag eerily still, cast in resin. There is the menacing sense of being watched. As your eyes adjust to the light the presences of one very large man standing and watching can be made out. His presence is that of the surveillance. His gaze is unwaveringly on you. He does not respond to anything, he watches in order to make you feel watched.
As you enter, you set off a sensor with an alarm, the very same that sounds when an electronic manacle-wearer moves out of their curfew zone. This ear-piercing sound stops as suddenly as it starts. It is irritating, frightening, confusing. Several soundtracks – each recorded within Assange’s actual Embassy quarters – play in succession, before merging into a cacophony: loud bangs and footsteps coming from Harrods’ loading bay, just beyond the window; the banter of boorish male police officers talking to each other and passers-by; loud recorded noises of rainfall, played to cover conversation from surveillance.
Over the course of time inside the room, fact and fiction become further entangled. What appears domestic about this space soon gives way to a sense of the ultimate artificiality of the environment, drained of light and therefore of time. A laptop screen flickers on: you can make out the contours of the vast wooden desk on which the laptop is standing, and of the other objects of significance. You notice the elaborate pattern and texture of the floor: the Cosmati Pavement from Westminster Abbey printed on lino. The initial sense of authenticity gives rise to a suspicion of inauthenticity.
As a visitor, you find your way to where ‘The Making of Dissident Domesticity’ is being screened. You come to the realization that you were in the set for the pre-enactment film you are watching. Actors are used to heighten the slippage between documentary and fiction – they contribute to the video installation in the neighboring room. Interactions with the set and the making-of this mediated production is filmed as a way of reflecting the ways inmates deploy representations of their confinement for publicity, propaganda, and creative purposes.
Towards the end of the exhibition’s running period a roundtable will be held which may include contributions from the artists, scholars, activists, lawyers and psychiatrists who have given evidence of the effects of house arrest, and those who have been interviewed, whose work appears, has influenced or been referenced within the installation. These include: Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma), Thomas Demand (LA/Berlin), Gareth Pierce (London), Mike Korzinski (London), Elmgreen and Dragset (Berlin), Ai WeiWei (Beijing), Nicholas and Olga Grospierre (Warsaw), Annie Coombes (Birkbeck), Leslie Topp (Birkbeck), Beatriz Colomina (Princeton University), Angela Richter (Cologne), Elizabeth Newman (Melbourne), Elfie Semotan (Vienna), David Crowley (Royal College of Art), Victor Buchli (University College London), Stefan Muthesius (University of East Anglia), Gustav Duesing (Berlin) Daniel Miller (University College London), David Wilson (Museum of Jurassic Technology), and Jesse Shipley (Haverford College).
The Peltz Gallery and cinema at Birkbeck College, University of London is a potential venue for the first iteration of the Dissident Domesticity.
A second part that installs Edmund Clark’s Control Order House in a semi-detached house could run as a parallel exhibition.
Dissident Domesticity is a collaborative project between artist Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and anthropologist Michal Murawski (University College London). According to the methodological parameters of ‘ethnographic conceptualism’, the installation and film emerge directly from long-term ethnographic fieldwork.
Dissident Domesticity is structured on the same principles as Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll’s body of work in East Berlin’s former diplomatic buildings, Embassy Embassy, (Homebase V Berlin, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin). These off-site Embassies are her sites for historical re-enactments, based on archives, interviews, and scripts she writes. As in other works, the limitations on movement set by the house arrest and the performances within Dissident Domesticity are developed through improvisation. The collateral of Khadija’s performances accrue during the months over which they are played out. She negotiates and dramatizes the bureaucratic process, protection against surveillance, legal status, or act of giving evidence. Her performances, films, and installations have been shown 52nd Venice Biennale, the 4th Marrakech Biennale, Extracity Kunstal Antwerp, and the Institute of Contemporary Art London.
Modern politics, tax payer funded and democratically elected, are meant to be both open and transparent. Often, this is taken on board architecturally and the contemporary government buildings play with the idea of transparency, from Reichstag in Berlin to the GLA building in London. Transparency is not real though, there is just an idea of it. My project is a challenge to the transparency of the political establishment using a different visual medium to that of architecture: photography.
I have been developing the idea of the sectional photograph in the last few years. Perspective and hierarchy are removed from a collection of snapshots to build a huge composite, but accurate representation of a cross section of a building.
The removal of perspective within the photograph is important, as it removes perspectival hierarchy and we can see the whole of the inside 'objectively'. As it has been discussed within the dialog of painting, perspective is a lie. It has remained unchallenged within photography for far too long. Our view of the world is a lie, corrupted by perspective, emphasized by photography. Objects further away are not smaller than objects close to us, but our eyes tell us otherwise.
How can we escape this perspectival view ?What does the world look like without perspective? What does the world really look like?
My photographs are an attempt to answer those questions. I want to revisit the world with orthographic eyes. I want to represent the world truthfully, not how my eyes see it, but how it really is.
The section is a way of seeing relationships between spaces. Relationships between main rooms and service spaces, between inside and out, between roof and basement, between people and space, between permanent and temporary, between formal and informal.The section is a portrait of place. I want to take a portrait of a government building, to see 'the guts' of it.
I am proposing to take a sectional photograph of a central government building, capturing the inner workings of government, both the formal and informal, the opulent and the mundane. Once created, this sectional portrait is then reprojected with video projectors back onto the original building where the photographs were taken. The final work can be viewed from the street by any citizen and goes a little way to answering the question “what goes on behind closed doors?”
I am assuming that the civil servants of Whitehall will refuse permission for this project, as it requires almost unfettered access to the building in question to create a sectional photograph. I intend to turn this failure into an alternative work of art , The Opaque Map. This map will chart the refusal of each central or local government body to have a building portrait taken. The making of the map will stop if one of two things happens, a council agrees to have a building portrait of a council building or all the government bodies refuse with the M25 boundary.
The permanent part of the project will become The Opaque Map: a c-print of denial and rejection, the ephemeral part will be the representation of openness, the projection.
My proposal looks at ways of organizing and presenting individual and groups of objects. I am interested in exploring different ways to contextualize, organize and display objects, and to re-think the way we view, judge and understand them. Choosing the category of ‘weight,’ a definition that is non-visual in its literal terms, but is used to evaluate items in all manner of situations, such as precious materials, foodstuff, atmosphere, atoms and other object/material/matter. By selecting and organizing objects by a mechanism that to attain usually requires some physical interaction encourages the viewer to imagine how it might feel to hold/touch these object, and in doing so opens up an exploration of materiality, texture and temperature through looking - a haptic experience, where there is a physical relationship struck up with the objects being viewed. It is a sense of touch or one that is imagined that is particularly pertinent in a society that prioritizes experience through screens (computers and phones etc) over direct physical encounters.
To remove individual items from their familiar context and location (home, shop, gallery, museum) and their interpretive context and the story they tell i.e. to separate them from others of the same type, labeling and categorization, and to reform them in a new group (weight group) they quickly become less familiar, leaving open unexplored space for imagination and playful speculation.
I am interested in encouraging the viewer to engage visually with objects, to look and investigate their material qualities, such as the texture - gloss, perforation of a surface without feeling an intellectual responsibility and sometimes inadequacy around its accurate historical, scientific and social context. It is not that this is not interesting, the contrary, I feel there is so much room to explore objects in different ways and to open up different encounters, relationships and conversations with objects in order to discover knowledge about an object through a different entry point.
Grouping objects together by a precise category (weight) frees up the viewer to explore the objects with openness undirected by any other labeling. Guided by visual connections and personal experience creating all kinds of dialogue – such as a cultural or social awakening of the objects, by their displacement and questions around the different values we give to these objects - value of craftsmanship, labor, usage and the entangled connections between objects, that are not always apparent at first glance. By placing objects in proximity to one another that would not usually be seen together explores how we might judge a personal or public object, decorative or functional object differently. For example, a large blown glass jar sitting next to a pile of plastic beads, sitting next to a miniature bronze figurine, promotes narratives and connections both formal and intellectual.
Once the objects have been selected, they would be ordered/grouped by their weight and labeled only with their weight. Up to 5 rooms of different weight categories from 500 grammes to 20 kilogrammes, (500g, 2kg, 5kg, 10kg and 20kg weight titled rooms.) Objects will be placed together that have the same weight, and then organized/placed to make further formal connections to deepen a visual response, such as juxtapositions of size, colour and texture. E.g. objects of the same weight but of very different sizes that show aspects of the colour green in their make-up forming a cluster when displayed together. The outcome of this ordering may be that some objects are grouped in expected and familiar ways. E.g. two metal components from an aeroplane engine while other objects from very different contexts, such as a plastic mug and pile of agricultural wheat grain sit side by side.
I am interested in the process of gathering and weighing objects and how accessible or not some weights are to others. Defining rooms by different weight categories, some rooms may house many objects and others only a few. For example, acquiring objects of 2kg is easier than ones of 10kg, as handle able objects are more accessible than heavier ones. We acquire more objects that we can pick up physically without assistance than heavier objects, which we have to plan to move. Also it is easier to weigh a 2kg object than a 10kg one. The process of collecting will be reflected in the amounts of objects in each space, and the perception of a weight defined room. For example, the weight of the total amount of objects in the room of 2 kg objects may amount to more than the total weight of the room of 10kg objects, as there maybe only 2 objects in this space apposed to 15 objects in the 2kg room. All these outcomes further explore what it means to gather and display things by weight.
The site for this project would be in a building previously associated with the old ports/docks of London, trading outposts that were once situated along the River Thames in London. These ports include Greenwich, Hackney off the River Lea and Battersea. Most of these areas are now converted to housing, however there are buildings in the area that could be used and a domestic environment could be interesting! Locating the work in relation to the old ports of London roots the work in a historical process of gathering, weighing and the categorization of products for redistribution. It also highlights the eclectic objects on display that have been produced all over the world and exported and sold in the UK, and the shift in trade links, such as the dominance of Chinese imports today.
The process of sourcing and gathering objects requires assistance and accessibility. From working with retail outlets, museums, private and domestic collections, to organizing systems to do this, such as providing portable weighing machines to weigh things on location using teams of people to do this. The process of gathering these objects is at the heart of this project, and will be reflected in their display.