TRANSCENTRIC is a collection of works across a range of media by artists associated with RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia and the University of the Arts London. The works in the exhibition move across, beyond, between, and within city centres. As such they are concerned with phenomena that we might think of as 'urban', however this is interpreted not only in terms of spatial relationship, but also considers how the urban centre resonates with overlapping themes arising from social, environmental, geographical, political and other forces. Many of the works are concerned with the particularities of the aesthetics of writing and re-writing urban space, while others reflect on associations emanating from and within the centre such as the symbolism of architecture, the structures of belief systems, mortality in the modern world, the relationship of the centre to the periphery, the spaces in-between, and the weather.
Steven Ball (Central St Martins), Irene Barberis (RMIT), Daniel Crooks (RMIT), Catherine Elwes (Camberwell), Riccardo Iacono (London College of Communication), Tina Keane (CSM), Mark Lewis (CSM), Andre Liew (RMIT), William Raban (LCC), Philip Samartzis (RMIT), Andy Stiff (Camberwell), Wilma Tabacco (RMIT), Anne Tallentire (CSM), Jennet Thomas (Wimbledon), Chris Wainwright (Chelsea), Shaun Wilson (RMIT), John Wynne and Denise Hawrysio (LCC).
Exhibition Open: 17 November – 16 December 2008
Monday–Friday 10 – 6, Saturday 10 – 4
Private View: Tuesday 18 November 2008, 6–8 pm
Transcentric Artists' Presentation: Thursday 20 November, 6pm
Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design
London WC1B 4AP
17 November - 29 December 2008
The Window Gallery
Central Saint Martins of Art & Design
107–109 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0DU
Curated by Steven Ball (British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection, UAL) and Irene Barberis (Metasenta Projects, RMIT University) for The Centres Project
THE CENTRES PROJECT is a practice-based research exhibition and publication project exploring the Urban Centre, bringing together two centres of Fine Art research: one in central London, UK and the other in central Melbourne, Australia. Situated within the complex flow of forces of an urban hub, each institution simultaneously responds and contributes to their cities' stimuli. TRANSCENTRIC is the first manifestation of THE CENTRES PROJECT in London.
Works in the exhibition:
4 min (loop), video, 2006
On the edge of a city is common ground where paths are worn from convenience and desire as the directional crosses the whimsical. While many of the paths have resisted being mapped, most are used with as much determination and direction as their planned and paved versions in the town, as they bypass a copse, head across a field, along a fence, around a tree...
Steven Ball has worked in film, video, sound and installation since the early 1980s. In the late 1980s he accidentally migrated to Melbourne, Australia. Since returning in 2000 he has predominantly worked with digital video, particularly concerned with digital material processes and spatial representation. He is Research Fellow at the British Artists' Film and Video Study Collection at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, UK.
Silicone and light, 2008
Amalgams of processes, formations, systems and patterns, shape city centres. Myriads of uncharted choreographies melt together and build the profile of these dense and highly charged locations. In midst of this, situated somewhere near the middle, is generally a place of worship, a place where congregations slow the pace and move together in united ritual, or where one goes knowing that the rush stays at the door and the strongest force inside is silence.
As one looks into these architectural spaces, nearly all can be found to have apocalypse references embedded into the structure in some way; in windows, doors, floors or ceilings. This is common globally.
The Apocalypse Wall, a fragment of a larger work, Apocalypse Chapel, is a tectonic spatialized drawing constructed from silicone. Silicone is basic to current building in fact urban centres would be in danger of severe decay if it were to disintegrate. Silicates are also found in cosmic dusts, planetoids and planets, including the natural and built worlds; these factors were significant for this work, as the idea of space dust and distant realities resonated with visions of temporal and intersecting fragilities found in the Apocalypse.
The content of the translucent handwritten texts from the Book of the Apocalypse, or Revelation as it is also known, describe a futuristic celestial city of light and its architecture. (IB)
Tapestry of light: History into futures, the apocalypse and the Angers Tapestry, 2007 – 8
Working pieces A,B,C. Woven by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop. Weavers: Milly Formby and Pamela Joyce.
Dr Irene Barberis is a painter, installation and new media artist, curator, researcher, gallery director, and lecturer in drawing and director of Metasenta at RMIT School of Art. She was born in London and now resides in Melbourne, Australia.
Travelling Shots: Transitions Down Under
7 min, video, 2008
I went to Australia as a tourist, a stranger peering at another culture, through a series of preconceptions that, one by one, crumbled into obsolescence. I became aware that I too was being viewed through the prism of received ideas about Englishness laced with suspicion that I had come to impose upon the locals my ‘colonial’ superiority, following a history of cultural imperialism emanating from the small island on which I live. When I got back to the UK, I began to edit my video footage through the enframed processes of Premiere software and, initially by way of a diversion, applied to my sequences all the transitions that are available within the software itself. The constructed nature of both vision and what is captured in the frame of the touristic gaze perhaps needs a less heavy-handed reiteration than I have given it. However, if one reads between the lines, it becomes apparent that an underlying denial of difference is lurking in the recognition of familiar social and cultural behaviours including a national posturing that simply reminds me of home. (CE)
Catherine Elwes is Professor of Moving Image Art at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, UK. She is an artist, writer, and curator, and author of Video Loupe (KT press, 2000) and Video Art, a guided tour (I.B.Tauris, 2005). She is currently researching Landscape and the Moving Image for Wallflower Press.
4 min, video, 2007
Missing involves throwing objects in public space and is concerned with the correspondences of eye and camera motion; how physical and psychological disturbances and irregularities are filtered, amplified and suppressed. Repetitive throwing is used as a coping mechanism, a way of negotiating time, space and memory and testing the boundaries between imaginary and real-world order. The video was shot on the pedestrian underpass at Elephant and Castle, and is one of several works produced through an Animate Residency at London College of Communication. (RI)
Riccardo Iacono is a London-based artist working with film, video, performance, painting, and installation. Screenings and exhibitions include Channel 4; A Century of Artists Film in Britain, Tate Britain; European Media Art Festival, Osnabrueck; and solo shows in Madrid, Toronto, Manchester and Prague.
A Train of Thought
19min, video, 2007
Originated on 8mm film, the images are treated through a digital process, like a musical score through a synthesiser, that taps into our memory and brings with it keys to emotions associated with absence, loss and decay.
The work is an abstract composition compressed into a narrow horizontal band, a ribbon of ever changing scenes glide from one to the other in a mercurial river of light.
A journey towards ideas of mortality and immortality; going beyond the physicality of the body to the landscape of the mind. It doesn’t have a goal; the images merge into abstraction. (TK)
Neon Light and Light Box, 2007
The Dangers of the Sublime… (TK)
Tina Keane is an internationally respected artist working in installation, film, video and the digital media. Her work has appeared in galleries and festivals world-wide, including one-person British Council tours of Australia and Japan, as well as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Hayward, Tate, Serpentine and ICA Galleries in London. She is a Professor of Fine Art, Film and Video at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and is a leading researcher within the College through her work on Digital Creativity.
Children’s Games, Heygate Estate
8 min, Super 35mm/video, 2002
The whole of Mark Lewis’s cinema is an exploration of the conventions of the cinematographic medium. Since the early 90s, when he switched from photography to working with moving images, the filmmaker has developed an analytical process of Kantian inspiration, through which he seeks to throw light on the nature of the cinematic image and describe how it is formed by isolating each of its properties and formal components. This project is an examination of the possibilities of the filmic image in which distinctions between language and metalanguage, between invention of form and critical device, are no longer valid. In reducing the filmic image to scenic devices he challenges traditional cinema’s laws of narrative and syntax. He frees the elements of the cinematographic medium from their narrative function, giving them the independence to take on purely aesthetic values. Mark Lewis’ cinema draws up a map of these movements. (Philippe-Alain Michaud, chief curator of film, Pompidou Paris)
Mark Lewis is Professor of Art, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and co-Editor of Afterall Journal and Afterall Books. His work uses film as gallery installation medium to reflect and form critique of dominant cultural forms as they are reflected in cinema. He has exhibited internationally in galleries and film festivals.
i. fur in the eye
ii. stargate in the eye of Baghdad
iii. gentle pointless motion (industrial optimism coming out m’eye)
C Type prints, 2008
Baghdad wants one, Chicago wants a bigger one, London has one, we’re building one – having been around since the late 18th century these immense machines dedicated to a motion of pleasure continue to be built in cities around the world.
In 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the Americas, the World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago. This was to be the first world’s fair to have a dedicated area for amusements, which included the first Ferris wheel, conceived and designed by George Washington Ferris.
Since then the Ferris wheel has almost doubled in size and even been made portable to travel with and centrepiece at carnivals and festivities, moving from city to city town to town filling vacant lots, often by water.
The Ferris wheel has become a civic positivity trinket, a charm generator. A skyscraper sized water feature construction, dedicated to the pleasure of traveling in circles and observing the city. (AL)
Andre Liew is a Melbourne based artist. He completed B. A. Fine Art at RMIT in 2005. He has exhibited at Esa Jaske Gallery (Sydney), Span and Area Contemporary Art Space and First Site Gallery. He is Project Manager of Metasenta Projects and drawing technician in School of Art, RMIT University.
12min, 16mm/video, 1994
Part of the 'Under the Tower' trilogy. Winter twilight on the A13 and the dawn traffic moves slowly into London. An illuminated roadside display flashes the latest FTSE index to the residents of the high rise council flats in Balfron Tower. Through the plate glass walls of the Financial Times building, giant rolls of pink newsprint are lying amongst the printing machines. Ahead the dark superstructure of the Canary Wharf complex looms over the western horizon. It is blacked out, save for the pulsing strobe of the air navigation lights, making it look like a ship adrift in the ocean. (WR)
William Raban has been working as an artist filmmaker since 1970. For the last 20 years, his research has been partly concerned with documenting East London. These films adopt an experimental method combined with a documentary approach to the subject. He is Reader in Film at London College of Communication.
surround sound installation, 2008
Captured Space is a site-specific multi-channel sound installation in the foyer of the Lethaby Building. The installation is located in an active public space and interferes with the site’s natural acoustics and sound phenomena. Discretely placed multiple loudspeakers play a specially composed work comprised of sound effects, atmospheres, abstract sounds and musical phrases, contrary to those normally found in the location, rendered with various spatial effects to afford a new and complex sense of space.
Captured Space is constructed to interact with the sounds of location to render new and complex readings of the environment as different states, densities and intensities of matter. (PS)
Philip Samartzis is a sound artist and academic based in Melbourne with a particular interest in field recording, musique concrete and surround sound spatialisation. He has exhibited and performed internationally. He is co-ordinator and lecturer in Sound within the Media Arts course area of the School of Art & Culture, RMIT University, where he is engaged in research into surround sound and immersive environments for installation art.
2 min, video, 2008
This short moving image sequence, Rain 1, explores the visual structure and temporal attributes of a nondescript housing development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The treatment of the footage, a reconstruction of the spatial elements by cropping and reordering, has been informed by suggested grids within the building’s themselves. The implementation of the grids [a typical tool used by architects to impose an order on a structure] has come about by identifying patterns found with the structure, such as a grill, or the roof tiles, or stone steps. The re-ordering of the spatial elements, reconstructs the building, allowing the viewers focus to be on the temporal differences within the footage. There are three temporal zones, which I have interpreted from traditional landscape, namely foreground, middle ground and horizon. In an urban context this represents, street level, the wall, and the roofscape. (AS)
Andy Stiff is an independent digital artist using his experience of working within the architectural environment to explore the multiplicities of perception in our built environment. He has shown video installations in Rome, Seoul and recently as part of the London Architecture Biennale. He is Subject Leader for MA Digital Arts / MA Digital Arts Online at Camberwell College of Arts
Hand cut foil, 2008
Postscript is a text generated series of nine works on paper constructed using the cutout letters of the written alphabet that spell the words ‘London, Melbourne’. Words are decipherable abstract linguistic codes denoting the known, the imaginative or the speculative. In this case they have been rendered unreadable and unrecognizable as alphabet by being cut into fragments. The resulting shard like abstract shapes made from reflective ribbon tape are arranged to create a map-like image that recalls a conglomerate of city blocks or buildings and the mirror surfaces used in contemporary building construction.
Whether on foot or in a vehicle, (with or without the aid of a map or electronic equivalent) navigating through urban spaces means to be aware of concreteness and openness. This ought to be straight forward enough. However the fracturing and refractive events that occur in urban spaces packed with hundreds of office, residential and retail towers glistening with glass, polished metals and high-gloss paint surfaces can, for a pedestrian at least, generate physical spatial unease. Such spatial disorientation can just as easily be experienced in parts of Melbourne, London, Beijing, Hong Kong or any other metropolis undergoing architectural renewal. (WT)
Wilma Tabacco lives and works in Melbourne. Her work is included the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria and other important collections both in Australia and overseas. She is Lecturer in Fine Art in the School of Art at RMIT University.
19 min (loop),16mm/video, 2006
Anne Tallentire's 16mm film shot in real time on a car journey from her home in Camden to Bloomberg SPACE shows the changing sky at dawn. This rectangle of altering light is occasionally interrupted by the edges of buildings and trees, which give a sense of the changing urban landscape as the move is made from North London to the City. Concentrating on something so vast for this duration of time brings about a change in the subject matter; as the image is unflinching, the openess and undesignated field of vision becomes a single point and the viewer is taken on a journey with just one visual reference, registering gradual change rather than landmarks or signs that mark the way. When we look straight up we negotiate a distance, measure our scale against the immeasurable and come up against that point where space and time cross over and fuse. It is this feeling that is at the centre of the film; knowing that there is a process or journey undertaken but not knowing how to measure it, what scale or depth is or where we are within that bracket of time and space. (‘To Here’, Bloomberg SPACE, 4 August -23 September, 2006)
Anne Tallentire works across a wide range of media including film, installation, performance, photography, sound and video. She is Professor in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and co-founder of Double agents. Tallentire was the sole representative for Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and has recently been invited to stage a major exhibition of her work at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin in 2010.
Return of the Black Tower
15 min, video, 2007
Jennet Thomas takes as her starting point a work by structuralist filmmaker John Smith called The Black Tower, made in 1987. Although there is a similarly dark absurdist tone and a sense of the power and fragility of the imagination that resonates in both, Smith’s protagonist is menaced by a quotidian and tangible object - the black tower near his home in east London - whereas Thomas’s characters are afflicted by an unnameable though not unwelcome controlling force. This piece was presented as a solo video installation at PEER in 2007.
Jennet Thomas was a co-founder of the Exploding Cinema collective. For the past 9 years she has been screening extensively in international Film festivals, with recent solo retrospectives at Anthology Film Archives in New York and Rencontres Video Art Plastique in France. Her works also take the form of video installations with a forthcoming solo show at MATT's Gallery in January 2010. She is Pathway leader BA Fine Art: Time Based Media, Wimbledon College of Art.
i. Floodlights at the Brandenberg Gate Berlin
ii. Underpass Las Vegas
iii. Underground Car Park Los Angeles
C Type Prints on Aluminum, 2004
Some Cities is a continuing series of photographic nightscapes made in the cities of Berlin, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. It is a series of images that reveal little of the physical detail of these cities and yet alludes to a set of common or even transferable characteristics disguised by the lack of illumination and focus. The work is partly inspired by Italo Calvino's book Invisible Cities, where descriptions of the cities visited on the travels of Marco Polo, are recalled by him on his return to the Kubla Khan. It is only later revealed that they all are in fact different facets and descriptions of the same city, Venice. Some Cities plays on the ubiquitous aspects of the modern capital city at the same time as attempting to reveal the specific identities and characteristics of each city. It is a body of work that relies on belief in the information being provided about the images and the viewer’s own mental image, experience or recollection. (CW)
Chris Wainwright is an artist, curator and Head of Colleges of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon, University of the Arts London. He is also President of ELIA. His photographic work is held in many public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: Arts Council of England: Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris and the Polaroid Corporation, Boston, USA.
John Wynne and Denise Hawrysio
Push Comes to Shove
Video and sound installation
Push Comes to Shove is a collaborative installation between sound artist John Wynne and visual artist Denise Hawrysio. It superimposes a Super-8 film and a taped phone call of precisely the same length between two ‘business’ partners. The film was part of a series made by attaching the camera to various machines or devices including a jackhammer, a snow plough and, in this case, a shovel. The operator of the device thus becomes a participant in the making of the film, the framing and movements of which are entirely determined by their working activity. The soundtrack, found on a cassette tape bought for 25 cents from a street vendor in New York City, slowly rises up tall columns of found loudspeakers as the conversation becomes more heated.
John Wynne has a PhD in Sound Art from Goldsmiths College. He has created large-scale multi-channel installations in galleries and public sites in Germany, Denmark, Finland, the UK and Canada. He makes work based on endangered languages and was recently artist-in-residence at a transplant hospital: these projects have resulted in award-winning works for BBC Radio as well as installations shown in Botswana, Namibia, London and Vancouver. He is a Senior Lecturer and a member of CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice) at LCC.
Denise Hawrysio was born in Toronto and currently lives in London, UK. She received her BFA from Queen’s University, Canada, and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work deals with issues of displacement, hybridism, transience and mutation, utopia and dystopia, memory and identity. She works in a variety of media including site-specific installation and print, and has exhibited her work throughout Europe, the United States and Canada.
The Window Gallery
6 min, video, 2005
In Train No. 8, Daniel Crooks uses his signature 'Time Slice' technique to offer an unexpected ride through a London urban landscape. In his experiments, Crooks divides digital footage into segments of time; when reconstructed the segments offer a distorted version of reality where time, space and motion appear on the same plane. (FACT)
‘Time Slice’ is a series of videos and digital prints. Thin slices are extracted from a moving image stream and then recombined using temporal and spatial displacement. It triggers a perceptual shift in our viewing of the space/time continuum, graphically revealing the underlying rhythms and patterns of the physical world and tracing the rhythm of our navigation through it. (DC)
Daniel Crooks works across a range of time–based media including video, photography and installation. His work has been widely exhibited both in Australia and internationally. He researched motion control and lectured at RMIT University and is Motion Graphics Designer at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. He received an Australia Council Art and Technology Fellowship and between 2004 and 2005 undertook residencies at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and the London studio of the Australia Council.
Uber Memoria 11, 13 and 14
3 min each, video, 2007
The Uber Memoria project is an ongoing exploration of the relationships forged between memory, places and identity through the guise of video paintings. Series 1-5 are comprised of artworks filmed in locations of historical significance throughout Germany, London and Australia. These artworks re-appropriated various character-based paintings - located in German Romanticism traditions and also in early medieval religious paintings housed at St Michaels Church in Schwaebisch Hall (the first Lutheran outpost in Southern Germany during the early Reformation) - and thus recreated through performative video as a ‘memory’ of the original painting contained in another, create a pretext for false memory and ruptured narratives. (SW)
Shaun Wilson is an Australian artist, filmmaker, academic and curator working with themes of memory, place and scale through painting, miniatures and video art. He teaches Video Production, Experimental Video and Media Theory in the School of Creative Media at RMIT University and exhibits inter/nationally at artist run spaces, university galleries, contemporary art centres and art/moving image museums.