Weekly Summary: 30.5.16 – 5.6.16

by Beauchamp Art

A priority for this week has been remaking the Andy Warhol RGB video for the Circuit event at the Junction in Cambridge as part of the Digital Residency; as a means of extending the work from one fixed position to produce a Post-Media piece that could be seen as a Post-location art work that is not tied to a single locations, space or place; a film that cannot (easily) be commodified and is neither moving nor stationary, but in a perpetually altering digital flux. However, the resulting video is potentially too lengthy for the environment in which it is to be exhibited. At around 30 mins, the ‘screen saver aesthetic’ may be taken too far, and the screen-test like video elements may not induce a positive audience experience.

Nevertheless, where as previous pieces have often been difficult to watch due to the rapidity of imagery violently assaulting the retina and sound irritating the ear drums, the A/V drone produce a equal but conversely unwatchable experience. This does not necessarily undermine the piece, but has resulted in not small amount of consideration as to the purpose of the piece and particularly its length; as it could effectively be made considerably shorter by removing the connection to the original rotating head’s 300 frame/6 second cycle, and having each phase being 30 frames/1 second (or move to 24 fps for the sake of divisibility). The problem there would be the severing of the connecting (besides the aesthetic continuation) between the Firstsite installation and the Junction event, potentially undermining the multi-faceted aspect of the work. Therefore, other experiments in reworking the existing materials I have already produced have been undertaken, such as using the ‘tween’ frames created by stretching out the frame-film documenting the exhibition.

Following watching the recent Grayson Perry series on Masculinity, this revitalised the motivation to make work not exclusively for the middle classes. Given the approach being dispplayed; both in terms of content and (televisual) format, one area that appears to be relevant is the consideration of free public events as a positive way of introducing ‘the arts’, particularly ‘fine art’ into contemporary culture, without necessarily becoming pop or commercial in the process.

With some recent works, particularly ones at Firstsite, the pieces themselves have effectively been worthless (in and of themselves) but have functioned (effectively) as a means of advertising the gallery and the main Warhol exhibition, not just to increase the the footfall, but ensure the funding for the institution is maintained and (to a lesser or greater extent) that the café sees more regular customers. However, this is still catering (literally and figuratively) to an already privileged audience; either one that has previous interest or involvement in arts events (through participation, attention, or donation).

Nevertheless, as has been previously stated, there is a deliberate effort on behalf of Firstsite to produce a more inclusive space, particularly targeting young groups, such as the skaters who socialise around the location of the gallery. As those of whom should fall into that schizoid culture/counter-culture void; those whom are outside of mainstream culture tend to be the most effectively poised to critique and subvert it; whether through artist output, or alternative modes of cultural consumption/production; fashion, other means of social interaction and activities: the figures from outside the utopian high-rise who may reside in the too-real tower-blocks of the epic suburban sprawl that extends from the Capital to the surrounding areas; even as far as Colchester in Essex. These citizens of post-social-housing may look down upon their towns and cities, but they are never to be looked up to, they are never idealised; though possibly romanticised and misunderstood, with the problems they face failing to be tackled, or patronisingly addressed – ergo David Cameron’s ‘Hug a Hoodie’ policy that has all but been forgotten.

Moreover, I also attended the opening of the BA Degree show, documenting two students’ works upon their request, and examined the exhibition in full, visiting the Fine Art section multiple terms with various other individuals. The quality of the work and curation is the usual mixed-bag, with some pieces standing out in particular; though not that many films pieces in the FA section drew me in, there were a few decent examples in various media dotted about, with two films in Illustration shown back-to-back being an appealing example, and some of the environments in the Games Art section being of particularly professional quality. Overall it is a reasonable show, though there further one moves away from being an Art student, the greater distance at which one can view the works on show, and so with a widened perspective, perhaps one may view things more bleakly than they deserve. Still, of those students I know whom are graduating this year, there works seemed to be of a decent calibre, evidently they are an actively engaged bunch.

As a footnote, whilst trying to develop ideas for the Junction show, I revisited some old works, and found a number of the EchoReFlex films from the third year of my degree had not been uploaded (due to copyright considerations, which are no longer problematic). There are various projects, half-completed work and half-formed ideas that need attending to; with a sense of resolve becoming a scarce thing, the conclusion of the residency next week may result in an interesting shift in my working practice. Hopefully what momentum I have built up over the past 3 months will result in a sustained level of creative output, particularly with the abundance of time available to me over the summer period (and my avoidance of temporary employment in the mean time).