Drück nur auf die Klinke


 – a new contemporary art gallery – 

Opening Event – 1pm – 6pm,  8 May 2022

We are proud to announce the opening of Jägerschere, located in Wiepersdorf, Niederer-Fläming, which will be presenting a programme of contemporary art exhibitions through summer 2022. 

The first exhibition, “Drück nur auf die Klinke”, features the work of Laura Bruce, Martin Callanan, Loreum and Sophio Medoidze as well as gallery organiser Nick Crowe and his regular collaborator Ian Rawlinson. 

Crowe explains “The title of the first show, like the name of the gallery itself, is drawn from The Brothers’ Grimm retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.  The village of Wiepersdorf has a longstanding and multifaceted relationship to the fairy tale and we wanted to reflect that in the name and identity of the gallery.”  In the fairy tale the phrase “Drück nur auf die Klinke” (just press on the handle…) is the wolf’s deceitful invitation to enter Grandmother’s House.  Here it serves as a catch-all invitation to experience an exhibition about about site and community and the double bind of exchange and social borders. 

Berlin-based artist Laura Bruce’s raw ceramic figures form themselves into itinerant social groups as they gather together on a low platform in the main space.  They seem to form a world all unto themselves.  Beside them we present Sophio Medoidze’s 2019 work “Xitana.”  Medoidze works between London and her native Tiblisi and is showing a film portraying the social and ritual lives of the Tush People, a group living in Eastern Georgia.  British critic Mike Sperlinger writes of the work; “We hear the snorts of the horse, the gentle hubbub of other people talking and laughing in the background. Everything changes, slightly. A spell is lifted, or rather a set of expectations is dispelled; the fairytale gives way to something funnier and stranger.”  In the projection space we screen a work by American artist Loreum, in which dance and an exhibition in a collapsing house becomes the lensing for poverty and social decline in California.  The house had belonged to a childhood friend but later fell into disuse, became a crack den and got burnt out.  Amongst these ruins Loreum present his paintings, an act that is simultaneously one of healing and of mourning.  Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson are showing their 2022 work “Partition.”  Created from straw and waste paper briquettes, the work acts as a barrier between two spaces, an invitation to encounter consider the entanglements of place and history.  Completing the show we are proud to present the latest iteration of Scottish artist Martin John Callanan’s “Wars During My Lifetime” an ongoing publication project which recently had to be updated.

Gallery Jägerschere, Dorfstr. 17, 14913 Wiepersdorf bei Jüterbog

Exhibition Drück nur auf die Klinke

08 May 2022 – 05 June 2002, Sundays 1pm – 6pm


The Opening is part of Land Brandenburg’s Offene Ateliers Programme 

Selphish, Mécènes du sud Montpellier-Sète

An exhibition of self

With Martin John Callanan, Alix Desaubliaux, Lauren Lee McCarthy
Curators Thierry Fournier et Pau Waelder

Participants Franck Ancel, Flora Bousquet, Flore Baudry, Aina Coca, Alexandra Ehrlich Speiser, Sophie Fontanel, Will Fredo, Raquel Herrera, Azahara Juaneda, Margot Saint-Réal and Claire Valageas

Selphish addresses the exhibition of oneself on the internet, with works that change every week to form the portrait of a new person. The exhibition consists of four works (two of which are generative), created for the exhibition by the four artists.

Eleven international participants agreed to have their Instagram profiles read (sometimes live) by the works in the exhibition.Each work interprets them in the form of images, texts, screens, objects, prints, etc.The four works change automatically: each week, the entire exhibition is dedicated simultaneously to a single participant.

Martin John Callanan, A new artwork for the exhibition: We Wanted to Mean Something, 2020, Mac mini and computer program, screens, colour laser printer, paper, wood and acrylic paint, variable dimensions. Creation of the installation by Thierry Fournier and Pau Waelder. Exhibition view, Selphish, Mécènes du sud Montpellier-Sète, 2020.

We Wanted to Mean Something, the artwork displays a succession of Instagram posts from the participant, next to images taken from news outlets at the exact time that the post was published.

Mécènes du sud Montpellier-Sète
13 rue des Balances 34000 Montpellier, France
Exhibition from 12 March to 22 August 2020, Wed-Sat 10am-6pm, free entry

Opening on March 11th, 6-9 pm
Informations: www.selphish.me | www.mecenesdusud.fr

Production: Mécènes du Sud Montpellier-Sète
Coordination : Marine Lang, coordinator, assisted by Mélia Berreur-Gély
Programming Maxime Foisseau, Alexandre Dechosal, Louis Rouffineau
With support from DICRéAM, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication / CNC

Tots els canvis s’han desat (All Changes Saved)

Aram Bartholl, Clara Boj + Diego Díaz, Martin John Callanan, Olia Lialina, Kyle McDonald, Román Torre + Ángeles Angulo, Carlo Zanni

Curated by Pau Waelder

Casal Solleric, Palma (Spain)
September 21, 2018 – January 6, 2019

“The internet is, in its essence, a machine of surveillance. It divides the flow of data into small, traceable, and reversible operations, thus exposing every user to surveillance—real or potential. The internet creates a field of total visibility, accessibility, and transparency.”
Boris Groys

When writing a document using the text editor on Google Drive, every few seconds a discrete notification appears on the toolbar: “all changes saved in Drive”. The software confirms that the document contents have been automatically saved on one of Google’s servers. It is not necessary to save the document, the platform does it on its own. This automatic save function is a comfort, as it prevents us from losing data through computer failure or carelessness. However, it also reminds us that everything we do on the internet is stored automatically, whether we like it or not. As Boris Groys points out, the internet is a network where data packets circulate that are constantly tracked, labelled and stored. Everything we do when we use a digital device connected to the internet is registered and stored on a remote server. And increasingly we are using connected devices for many of our daily activities, from the moment we get up in the morning to when we go to bed at night and even whilst we are sleeping. The data that is automatically gathered by the devices that surround us is added to the information we voluntarily provide by publishing contents on social networks, writing lists of things to remember on digital notes, using password managers or deciding to wear an activity tracker.

All Changes Saved is a collective exhibition with the Google Drive notification as its title, alluding to the way in which our lives are affected by the automatic save function. We trust our data to large companies and we write our biography in real time, but we are unable to control these files or what others do with them. The artworks of various national and international artists pose questions as to the construction of our personal history through the data we share, the use made of that data and the strategies to recover some sort of intimacy.

Pau Waelder


Aram Bartholl

Forgot Your Password? (2013)
8 books, bound in hard back
21 x 27 cm, 800 pages each

In the summer of 2012, the social network LinkedIn was attacked by hackers who managed to copy its entire user database. A few months later, part of the complete list of user passwords began to circulate on the internet. Bartholl has copied this list of 4.7 million passwords, arranged in alphabetical order, into eight printed volumes. Visitors can consult these books and find out if their password is among them. This work reveals the vulnerability of our data on the internet, as well as the ease with which information circulates that has been taken from the databases of companies that have been attacked. The volumes created by Aram Bartholl play with the concept of telephone directory and give files that are usually hidden a physical form that is easy to understand. By only including the passwords, these books do not violate the privacy of the users but show them that the combination of letters and numbers they so zealously guard and think no one knows is within everybody’s reach.


Captura de pantalla 2017-09-28 a las 13.22.56
Clara Boj and Diego Díaz

Data Biography (2017)
365 books, shelf, tablet, screen

Artists Clara Boj and Diego Díaz decided to automatically gather, in real time, all the data generated by using their mobile telephones during 2017, coinciding with the last few months of pregnancy and the birth of their second child. Data Biography is a library of 365 volumes that reflects on paper the artists’ digital footprint over the period of a year. These books contain their emails, text messages, browsing history, location and even photos shared on social networks. The intimate life of this young family is thus exposed in detail. The piece reveals the amount of data gathered daily by the devices we use every day and how these data originate from the user, by sending texts, sharing photos or publishing on social networks, and from the smartphone itself, as it constantly communicates the user’s position and provides other information whilst it is switched on, even though it is not being used. Data Biography addresses the need to write our own biography in real time and the enormous amount of data we provide almost without realising.


Martin John Callanan

I Cannot Not Communicate (2015)
100 books, table, sheets of A3 paper
Courtesy of Galería Horrach Moya, Palma

In this work, Martin John Callanan has gathered together the first 100 books recommended by Amazon, based on everything he has read and bought since the company launched its recommendation algorithm more than 15 years ago. The title refers to how users of any internet service are involuntary transmitters of information, given that the data relative to their actions is registered automatically. It is no longer possible to be a mere receiver of information. There is a constant exchange of data that modifies the actual contents being accessed. This reflection is not presented as a complex technological installation but as something as simple as a library, that has become a register of the subjects the artist is interested in, even though this register was not created by him but by an Amazon algorithm. These books are not necessarily ones that Martin John Callanan has read but ones which he would supposedly like to read.

Olia Lialina

Hyves Body Class Pimp (2013-2017)
Six digital prints on plexiglas, 150 x 84 cm

Between 2010 and 2011, Olia Lialina explored the public profiles of Hyves users. Created in 2004 and active until 2013, this social network was very popular in Holland, particularly among young immigrants, and even competed with Facebook. The artist was particularly interested in the way this platform allowed its users to personalise their pages and how codes were established as to how to present themselves to the world through the images they chose for their profile picture and wallpaper. Using these elements, she created a series of compositions that contrast the wallpaper image and the profile picture, selecting ones where the person cannot be recognised. Presented as a series of digital prints, Hyves Body Class Pimp reveals a creative use of the contents published by these young users and tries to create a portrait of them. In these compositions, the observer can see themselves reflected and consider how they project their own image on the internet and how the elements they use to do so can be gathered and manipulated.

Kyle McDonald

Exhausting a Crowd (2015)
Installation, projector, computer

In 1974, author Georges Perec, a patient observer of daily life, decided to describe everything that occurred in a square in Paris over a period of three days. The resulting text, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1974), inspired Kyle McDonald to create this piece, which includes a recording of a public space and software that allows the people found there to be labelled and comments about them to be published. The work is stored on a website, allowing users to try out this method of surveillance and create short narratives and dialogues about an everyday scene. Nowadays Perec’s literary experiment would be perceived as an act of surveillance and could even be considered suspicious by the authorities who, monitoring the square, detect the presence of an individual observing the place and systematically taking notes. An attempt at exhausting a place can now be carried out automatically thanks to computer vision and artificial intelligence, whilst the possibility of labelling other people reminds us that we are always exposed to the eye and comments of other people, even those who observe us without being seen.

Captura de pantalla 2017-09-28 a las 13.23.17
Román Torre and Ángeles Angulo

THERO (2016)
Custom devices and software

THERO is a device in the form of a sculpture, a router, open-source software and a freely-replicable 3D printed object. Inside a casing in the form of a truncated cuboctahedron is a Raspberri Pi 3 processor that manages the internet connection of any device connected to one of its ports or accessing a wireless network created by the sculpture. On the front, a mobile part allows the user to decide, at any time, the type of connection to the internet they want: secure (encrypted), without access to social networks or completely disconnected from any internet access. Using this device, the artists suggest a reflection on the conditions of privacy of our internet access and promote solutions that users could freely use thanks to the development of open-source software and an object that can be made using a 3D printer. At the same time, the intriguing presence of this sculpture, which the artists describe as a talisman, leads us to think about how we trust technology and glorify its products almost to the level of cult objects.

Carlo Zanni

Hunp1ng (2018)
Sculpture, clay, incense and sweets, 26x40x40 cm
With support from Marsèll

Carlo Zanni finds inspiration in an accessory that allows the web cam or any computer to be covered, creating a sculpture that leads us to reflect on user privacy and the way that computers store a tiny piece of our lives. Hunping (soul jar) is a ceramic urn found in the tombs of the Han dynasty. The urn is placed in the tomb, next to the deceased’s belongings to hold their soul, which would enter it through one of the openings, and supposedly contained fruit. Zanni’s sculpture evokes this urn with its complex shape and fragile but heavy materiality, making it difficult to use. Like the Hunping urn, this piece becomes a ritual object, destined to preserve the user’s intimacy as if it were storing their soul.


All Changes Saved, Casal Solleric

Data Cinema, Niio Art

Artcast // Autumn 2018
Martin John Callanan (UK), Gregory Chatonsky (FR), Ben Grosser (US), Thorsten Knaub (UK), Antoine Schmitt and Delphine Doukhan (FR), Carlo Zanni (IT)

Curator: Pau Waelder

In his influential book Expanded Cinema (1970), Gene Youngblood stated that, while cinema had been, until then, created with all sorts of technological devices, these were no more than tools under the control of the artist. But computers are able to go beyond such passive participation: images and sounds are introduced in the computer or created with software and therefore converted into data, that can be endlessly processed, copied, reconfigured, mixed and displayed according to fixed parameters or algorithms. The computer becomes an active participant. Inspired by the term “data cinema”, coined by Carlo Zanni to refer to the use of cinematic language to create a fiction based on the data obtained in real-time from the Internet, this selection of video and digital artworks explores the possibilities of using the content of a film as raw data that feeds a process partly or fully controlled by a computer, as well as new forms of understanding cinema in the digital age.


In Pursuit of Elusive Horizons

Martin John Callanan, Simon Faithfull,
Rebecca Partridge, Katie Paterson, Richard T Walker

20 July – 15 September 2018

Parafin is delighted to announce a group exhibition, curated​ ​by Rebecca Partridge. ‘In Pursuit of Elusive Horizons’ continues a series of exhibitions featuring the same core group of artists, curated by Partridge with various co-curators, including ‘Scaling the Sublime: Art at the Limits of Landscape’, Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham (2018), ‘Reason and Emotion: Landscape and the Contemporary Romantic’, Kunstverein Springhornhof, Germany (2013) and ‘Reason and Emotion: Landscape and the Contemporary​ ​Romantic’, Baroniet Rosendal, Denmark (2012).

Pursuing an elusive horizon conjures an image of the romantic​ ​figure in a lone and distant landscape, both longing for and​ ​questioning the existential relationship between self and nature. A decade ago, to describe an artwork, or an artist, as ‘romantic’ would be to suggest the absurdity of this scene, the romantic​ ​hero lost in his own subjective illusion. However, despite the​ ​dismissal of subjective states as serious subject for artistic enquiry, the impulse towards feeling and imagination remain. As one​ ​of the artists in this exhibition recently remarked, ‘I am, I guess,​ ​a wonder junkie’, one of a generation of artists who are increasingly​ ​returning to grand narratives and timeless themes, though​ ​embraced with a simultaneous sense of distance, critique and irony.

This exhibition brings together five artists whose practice is​ ​expressive of this emergent sensibility, all of whom use landscape as a platform for exploring larger ideas. Each of the artists, in​ ​their own way, occupies the border between emotional experience​ ​and objective reasoning, often fluctuating between multiple and contradictory positions, drawing on a wealth of art historical​ ​languages. In 2010, cultural theorists, Robin van den Akker​ ​and Timotheus Vermeulen defined this emerging cultural climate​ ​as Metamodern, describing a pervading shift in contemporary culture from detached irony to a desire for sincerity, to wanting to believe in something, to ‘resignify the present’. This re-engagement with feeling and meta-narratives manifests through juxtapositions, collaboration, interdiscliplarity and a pervading sense of simultaneity and flux. Romanticism, they propose, be defined by a sense of oscillation; between projection and perception, and attempts at transcendence which ultimately, can never fully be​ ​realised. Contemporary romanticism functions in full awareness​ ​of it’s failures, yet carries on ‘as if’ there is a possibility for alternative futures, investing, to quote Novalis, ‘the commonplace​ ​with significance, the ordinary with mystery and the finite with​ ​the semblance of the infinite’.

Through shared concerns for meta-narratives of scale, time and perceptual relationships to landscape, the artists here have found ways of combining languages, from the scientific to the sublime, that generate both ambiguity and intellectual clarity. ‘In Pursuit of Elusive Horizons’ articulates a sense of exploration and curiosity, demonstrating that ultimately, our need for wonder is part of the human condition and affective experiences cannot be dismissed​ ​as being mutually exclusive to critical rigour. Instead these artists,​ ​through a variety of strategies and a diverse range of media,​ ​incorporate and embrace the contradictions and uncertainties of our time.

Artist Biographies

Martin John Callanan
b. 1982, UK; lives and works in Scotland.
Martin John Callanan’s artwork has been exhibited and published internationally. He has recently been awarded the prestigious​ ​triennial Philip Leverhulme Prize in Visual Art 2014-17 for​ ​outstanding research, and in September 2015 he was awarded Alumnus of the Year for Excellence in the Arts by Birmingham City University. His was the first artist-in-residence at the Bank​ ​of England from 2015-16. Recent solo exhibitions include:​ ​Noshowspace, London, Horrach Moya, Palma de Mallorca,​ ​Baltic 39, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Or Gallery, Berlin. Recent group exhibitions include Es Baluard Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Mallorca, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany; Ars Electronic Centre, Austria, Kunstverein Springhornhof, Neuenkirchen, Germany, Riga Centre for New Media Culture, Latvia and Imperial War Museum North.

Simon Faithfull
b. 1966, UK; lives and works in London and Berlin.
Simon Faithfull is Reader in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London. His wide-ranging practice is well known​ ​internationally and his works are represented in many public​ ​collections including the Pompidou Centre in France and the​ ​Government Art Collection, UK. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Musée Des Beaux Arts, Calais, Fabrica, Brighton​ ​and Kunstverein Sprinhornhof, Germany. His practice, combining​ ​video, digital-drawing, writing and performing, has been described​ ​as an attempt to understand and explore the planet as a sculptural​ ​object-to test its limits and report back from its extremities.​ ​Recent projects include a journey across Africa tracing the Greenwich Meridian and the deliberate sinking of a ship to create an artificial reef.

Rebecca Partridge
b. 1976, UK; lives and works in Berlin and London.
Rebecca Partridge studied at the Royal Academy Schools, and is currently a Lecturer in Fine Art at West Dean College, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include In The Meantime at CCA Andratx,​ ​Mallorca, and Notations at Kunstverein in Springhornhof,​ ​Neuenkirchen, Germany. Recent international group exhibitions including ‘Inorganic Landscape’, GIG, Munich (2017), Nature​ ​Art Biennale, Gongu, South Korea (2016), ‘A Planetary Order’, Galerie Christian Ehrentruat, Berlin (2014). Grants awarded​ ​include Terra Foundation for American Art Summer Fellowship and residencies from Kunsthalle CCA Andratx and The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. In 2017 she was awarded a residency from the Nordic Artists’ Centre where she made the works for this exhibition. She writes for several contemporary art journals including Berlin Art Link, Hyperallergic and Sculptorvox.

Katie Paterson
b. 1981, UK; lives and works in Scotland.
Katie Paterson studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Paterson’s work is known internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Utah Museum of Fine Art, USA, Somerset House, London, Cenbtre PasqArt, Biel, The Lowry, Salford, FRAC Franche Comte Besançon, France; Kunstverein Springhornhof, Germany, Mead Art Gallery, University of Warwick, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge,​ ​and BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna. Her works have been​ ​exhibited in major exhibitions including ‘Light Show’, Hayward Gallery, London and tour (2013-15), ‘Dissident Futures’, Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, San Francisco (2013), ‘Light and Landscape’ at Storm King Art Centre, New York (2012), ‘Marking Time’ at MCA, Sydney (2012), and ‘Altermodern’ at Tate Britain (2009). Her work is included in important international collections​ ​including the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York,​ ​Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Arts Council Collection, London, Arts Institute of Chicago and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Richard T. Walker
b. 1977, UK; lives and works in San Francisco.
Richard T Walker studied at Goldsmith College, London. He has exhibited and performed world-wide, including solo and group exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yerba​ ​Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, The Contemporary​ ​Austin, Austin, Texas, Times Museum Guangzhou, China,​ ​Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeir, Hiroshima City of​ ​Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan, Witte De With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands. His work is held in collections including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Kadist Foundation, San Francisco/Paris, and the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf.

press release (PDF)


Interactions, EU House of European History, Brussels

Across the centuries, what has brought people in Europe together?

What traces can we find of these past interactions in our lives today?

“INTERACTIONS” reveals stories about people moving and meeting, about travelling ideas and goods, about encounters and exchange, into a kaleidoscopic view of Europe’s cultural history.

“INTERACTIONS” is a meeting place: It invites you to interact in different ways, just as previous Europeans did, when they were trading, fighting, or negotiating. Come and interact with the exhibition, play games with other visitors!

“INTERACTIONS” invites you to discover using all senses: You will see beautiful objects, play musical records, listen to stories of people meeting, smell perfumes, touch cloths and discover the history of pizza and croissant!


V&A The Future Starts Here

From smart appliances to satellites, artificial intelligence to internet culture, this exhibition brings together more than 100 objects as a landscape of possibilities for the near future.

This exhibition displays emerging technologies, the ways in which they will affect our lives in the near future, and what choices we have, as citizens, to influence their development.

The world of tomorrow is shaped by the designs and technologies emerging today. From smart appliances to satellites, this exhibition brings together more than 100 objects either newly released or in development that point towards where society might be headed. Although some may seem straight out of science fiction, they are all real, produced by research labs, universities, designers’ studios, governments and corporations.

Guided by ethical and speculative questions, we invite you to step into four scenarios – self, public, planet and afterlife – each evoking increasing scales of technological impact. How might these objects affect the way you live, learn and even love?

The undeniable physical reality of these objects may give the impression that the future is already fixed. But new things contain unpredictable potentials and possibilities, often unanticipated even by their creators. It is up to us – as individuals, as citizens and even as a species – to determine what happens next. While the objects here suggest a certain future, it is not yet determined. The future we get is up to us. The future starts here.

Are cities still for everyone? This section explores the public realms of cities, politics and networks, the places where we come together to collectively make decisions. People get together to crowdfund everything from bicycles to bridges, or to leak governmental secrets and generate new currencies. In face of this, Does democracy still work? The future of public and civic spaces lies between two competing forces: the top-down strategies of an increasingly small number of companies and governments, and the bottom-up tactics of an increasingly large number of people. Which will thrive?

Exhibition includes my Estonian E-Residency ID card.

More https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/the-future-starts-here

12 May – 4 November 2018

Press about the exhibition:

Video Art Panorama, International Selection, Balkan Can Kino 2018

Παρασκευή / Friday
Balkan Can Kino
Kerameikou 28

Video Art Panorama | International Selection

Διεθνής επιλογή από τις σύγχρονες τάσεις του video art.

International selecion focused on contemporary approaches of video-art.

Σκην. / Dir. Florencia Levy / Argentina
2017 – video art
5 min.

The camera gets as close as possible to capture the repetition of a gesture. While a hand replicates a movement, the faces illuminated by the light of a screen are anchored at a fixed point, and even when they are asleep, a reflex movement continues to recur. The danger is imminent.

Serge Bulat: Walker
Σκην. / Dir. Michael Rfdshir / Moldova
2015 – video art
4:30 min.

“Queuelbum” is a 2-part experience project by NYC music artist Serge Bulat. The time-inspired album is an experiment in instrumental music, visuals, philosophy and conceptual art. “Walker” – is the first experience piece from “Queuelbum” and serves as an introduction to the darker side of the project, entitled “Q25”. The creators of the music video unveiled “Walker’s” code name “IIWABOYS”, which stands for “If I Were A Bug On Your Shoulder” and hints at the message of the video.

Σκην. / Dir. Rakel Jonsdottir / Iceland
2016 – video art
9 min.

A mesmerizing voyage into the realm of the psyche. Silently flowing movements due to alternating attractive and repulsive forces, generated by a periodic magnetic field originated from within. Resonating between two extremes.

Σκην. / Dir. Ryan Wicks / United States
2017 – video art
1 min.

A network of circuitry and geography oppose one another as the boundaries between symbols and co-existence.

Watch by being watched
Σκην. / Dir. Sangwon Lee / South Korea
2017 – video art
2:30 min.

The film is told self-identity in a digitalised modern era. Through the character, it tells about a lost of balance between everyday life and confused reality with cyber space. In terms of digital totalitarianism, traces in digital platforms are recorded and collected. It links to analysis of behavior and life pattern of human even thoughts. Actually, government or governmental organisations have used to specific purposes such as big data, face recognition, location detection and mass surveillance. Unconsciously, these silent imbalance and invasion to privacy of human could contribute to shape self-identity. Intentionally, it can be fabricated arbitrarily or by others.

Journeys through Space and Time
Σκην. / Dir. Ankita Panda / United States
2017 – video art
1:50 min.

Journeys always involve some form of change, be it physical journeys involving change in location or appearance; or spiritual journeys that affect and change state of mind. Irrespective of the kind of journey, there is a literal and figurative association with change in space and time.
My animated short film explores change in direction, perspective, and repeating patterns nature by placing the viewer in the center of a virtual 3D kaleidoscope.

Banknote Reconstructed: Bank of England G Series Five Pounds
Σκην. / Dir. Martin John Callanan / United States
2017 – video art
11 min.

A Bank of England five pound note reconstructed from shredded production waste. Am animation made form the security shredded remnants of misprinted new polymer Five Pound banknotes (G series), which never made it into circulation. Made possible with the support of the Leverhumle Trust and the Bank of England.

Strnager in the City
Σκην. / Dir. Himanshu Kamble / India
4:16 min.

A stranger wanders around in an unfamiliar city.

I’m going where I am (Je vais où je suis)
Σκην. / Dir. Muriel Montini / France
2014 – video art
2 min.

A football field seen from different angles. A man who watches the game, who will watch it or who watched it?

songs of fortune
Σκην. / Dir. Veronika Burger / Austria
2015 – video art
8:30 min.

In the course of a planed solo exhibition at the Artists Unlimited gallery in Germany I consulted three different fortune tellers instead to tell me my artistic fortune. Every fortune teller got the same three questions: What is the vocational fortune going to be? What is the financial future going to be? Is the exhibition going to fail? The collected material is the textual base of my video ’songs of fortune’. It operates with the structure of an opera and was re-arranged and re-sung. On the visual layer I analyze the white cube situation of the Artists Unlimited gallery and question power structures. The Artists Unlimited Gallery replaced by a venue of a Greek tragedy/comedy.

My Internal and External world
Σκην. / Dir. Ananth krishnan / India
2016 – video art
3 min.

Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of digital chaos, places and things from around India. From chaotic cities to Lumiere brother’s theatre in France, the movie takes viewers around the globe to witness a variety of spectacles in both natural and technological realms. , the production doesn’t shy away from the dark side of surveillance, and ultimately shows how much of the world is interconnected by the camera the creativity and the vibrancy of image.

Indicios / Inkling
Σκην. / Dir. Laura Cabrera Díaz / Spain
2017 – video art
7 min.

Someone wanders through space and time looking for a new way of relating to the world. It is a woman with automaton movements, multiplied, divided and ubiquitous, walking without progress, in a broken time and impossible, contrasting and opposing spaces. All synchronized by a music that directs the events. Signs of something that is going to happen? It suggests to us to look for a new role for the human being within the universe. Stop exploding and destroying life on the planet, to empathize and immerse ourselves in Nature as one among all beings.

Hell Test 7
Σκην. / Dir. Alex Lanau-Atkinson / Australia
2017 – video art
3 min.

A visual interpretation and journey through the upper layers of hell where reality and an eternal inferno merge and flow into each other.

Σκην. / Dir. Lena Moustaka / Greece
2017 – video art
3 min.

The reality and its degradation reveals the reflection of its authenticity within us. Shredding the image by removing it from temporal and logical continuous. The viewer-recipient follows the memory of his memory and eventually surrenders to a fragmented perception that corresponds to the neat modern environment. This is how the title of the “FrACTals” Audiovisual Works, fragments.
All images result from the simple approach of objects we use everyday. Α simple approach transforms them.

Scaling the Sublime

art at the limits of landscape

Saturday 24 March – Sunday 17 June 2018
Djanogly Gallery

This exhibition explores affinities with Romanticism in contemporary art practice, and the continuing fascination of the Landscape Sublime. Drawn to subjects such as mountains, glaciers, the icecaps, forests, the ocean, the moon and the remotest stars, the artists included have found new ways of reflecting on our relationship with the unimaginable forces of nature, even in our age of technological advance and the unprecedented expansion of knowledge.

Working across a variety of media and often drawing on expertise from other disciplines through collaboration, these artists embrace the newest processes and techniques as well as traditional methods of image making. The resulting works move through registers of wonder, melancholy, futility and absurdity.

Scaling the Sublime includes work by: Martin John Callanan, Simon Faithfull, Tim Knowles, Mariele Neudecker, Rebecca Partridge, Katie Paterson, and Richard T Walker. Curated by Nicholas Alfrey and Rebecca Partridge.


Failed States Journal

Failed States is a journal of new writing about place, helmed by MagCulture’s very own Jamie Atherton. Born out of frustration with borders, walls, and the UK’s departure from the EU, Failed States’ first issue, recently launched via Kickstarter, considers the notion of islands.

The compact magazine begins with a note from Jamie (above), who comments on the impact of the deteriorating environment on low-lying islands, and also speaks of the issue’s limitations, which lie in its western bias. He states that as the journal emerged organically, most of its writers have hailed from the UK and the US. It is refreshing to read a magazine that is aware of its limited perspective, and that in turn roots the reader in the fact that each of our worlds are so small; we are all, in effect, islands.

Starting with ambitions for a 64-page volume, the standard of submissions saw it grow to be a more significant 114 pages. The issue includes a carefully paced mix of poetry, photo journals, artworks, lists and personal essays. Everything is brief and to the point. Excerpts from Joseph Curran’s ‘On the subject of creating a film on a remote island’ crop up at several points; vague and intriguing diary entries about his time working on a film for the National Trust.

Elsewhere, Martin John Callanan presents a table of statistics from some of the world’s many islands, which include population size and data rate per person. More conceptually, Paul Clinton imagines islands and otherness in his essay ‘TGI Friday’, which responds to Michel Tournier’s 1967 novel Vendredi in relation to Brexit. The ‘other’ comes up as a recurring theme throughout the issue.

Failed States is presented as a scrapbook of ideas, its pacing and large text size making it easily dipped in and out of. It muses on its theme imaginatively, offering a glimmer of hope, creativity and clarity in adverse times.

Contributors to the first issue include Anh Do, Beth Bramich, Bryony Quinn, Cally Spooner, Calvin Seibert, Carrie Friese, Doris Ho-Kane, Eli Diner, Euan Macdonald, Fi Churchman, Gabriella Beckhurst, Isabel Taube, Jasleen Kaur, Jay Simpson, Jeremy Atherton Lin, Jesse Hewit, Joseph Curran, Joyce Dixon, Julie Lindow, Lucy Watson, Luke O’Sullivan, Martin John Callanan, Mary Hannity, Mary Manning, Matt Connors, Matt Wolf, Monique Mouton, Niki Ford, Nina Schack Kock, Olivia Laing, Oscar Gaynor, Paul Clinton, Richard Dodwell, Sam Ashby, Sam Williams and Thea Smith.

ISSN 2515-5997

Failed States #1, Island

Save Locus+

Dear Sir Nicholas Serota CH,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Trustees, staff and the many artists, individuals and
institutions who have been supporters of the visual arts organisation Locus+ over many years.
As you know on June 27 Arts Council England announced it would no longer support Locus+
as a National Portfolio Organisation. This is despite the application being marked ‘met’ or
‘strongly met’ in all required areas. The reasons for this disappointing decision to withdraw
support have still not been fully explained to us by the regional office.

Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, and established in 1993, Locus+ is a small and robust
organisation of just two full time members of staff operating on modest resources, yet its
reach is global. The organisation has an enviable track record and reputation for the quality
of its commissioning of new works by artists at various stages of their careers, regionally,
nationally and internationally. To date it has commissioned 145 works that have toured
nationally and internationally and published over 37 artists’ monographs and publications.
The organisation has consistently doubled Arts Council investment year on year since its
inception and commands a reputation for sound financial planning and project management,
with a strong, supportive, yet critical Board of Trustees and active International Advisory Panel.

In addition, Locus+ has established and continues to maintain the largest archive of time-
based work in Europe. It forms a comprehensive overview of contemporary art practice from the ‘70s to the present, covering artists’ projects from a variety of British and International
contexts. This significant and valuable collection continues to grow.

The company took an unexpected (and unexplained) 42% cut in its revenue grant at the
previous round of NPO applications (2015/16). This resulted in the loss of one member of staff
and a major restructured plan for the immediate future. This plan has proven successful
with strategic partnerships (public and private) formed in the North East, nationally and
internationally resulting in over £300K of committed project funding for the next two years.
This confirmed programme, which includes new commissions by Douglas Gordon, Anya
Gallaccio and Richard Wright, is now in jeopardy as the company will not be able to continue
without Arts Council support. Furthermore and of particular urgency is the strategic welfare
of the contents of the Archive.

Much has been made of an increase in support for organisations outside London with
investment in artists, international ambitions and partnerships. We are at a loss to explain the Arts Council decision to artists, our advisors and the many supporters who have contacted us and feel we have no option but to request clarity from your office regarding this matter and
positive guidance regarding future of the Archive.

If you require any further information on this matter please do not hesitate to contact me.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Faithfully

John Kippin
Chair of Trustees, Locus+ Ltd.

Kay Pallister, Jamie Warde-Aldam, Judith Winter
Jon Bewley, Jonty Tarbuck, Enid Rogers

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Virtualities and Realities, RIXC Art Science Festival

Riga, 19 – 21 October 2017


VIRTUALITIES AND REALITIES is the theme of this year’s RIXC Art Science festival in Riga, Latvia, that aims to establish a space for artistic interventions and conversations about the complex implications of immersive technologies.

RIXC Festival is internationally renowned gathering for artists and scholars working at the intersection of arts, digital humanities and science. This year’s festival programme features Public Keynotes, the 2nd Open Fields Conference, Exhibitions, Performances and AR/VR Showcases.

The main festival events will take place from October 19–21, 2017, in some of Riga’s most visible art venues – the Conference will take place in the Art Academy of Latvia, and the Latvian National Museum of Art, while the exhibitions – in kim? Contemporary Art Centre and RIXC Gallery spaces.

October 19 – November 28, 2017
Venue: kim? Contemporary Art Center, Sporta iela 2, Riga

The main festival exhibition will feature the most innovative artworks that experiment with augmented and virtual reality, create immersive environments, and explore complex relations between the “virtualities” and “realities” of our post-media society with its networked communities and migrating cultures.

VIRTUALITIES AND REALITIES exhibition artists: Marc LEE (Switzerland), Jacques PERCONTE (France), Juuke SCHOORL (the Netherlands), Brenna MURPHY (USA), Hans BREDER (USA), Clement VALLA (USA), Matteo ZAMAGNI (United Kingdom), Zane ZELMENE (Latvia), The Swan Collective (Germany), Annie BERMAN (USA), Felipe CUCKER and Hector RODRIGUEZ (Hong Kong), Gunta DOMBROVSKA (Latvia), Martin John CALLANAN (United Kingdom), Nina FISCHER and Maroan EL SANI (Germany), Santa FRANCE (Latvia), Greta HAUER (United Kingdom), Martin HESSELMEIER and Andreas MUXEL (Germany), Raphael KIM (United Kingdom), Michal KINDERNAY (Czech Republic), Christopher MANZIONE and Seth CLUETT (USA), Andrew MCWILLIAMS (USA), Melodie MOUSSET and Naem BARON (Switzerland), Martin REICHE (Germany), Hanns Holger RUTZ (Austria), Julia SOKOLNICKA (Poland/the Netherlands), Danielle ZORBAS (Australia).

Curator: Raitis SMITS / RIXC


Review of Shades of Truth, Candice Nembhard

Candice Nembhard writes:

Intense political climates such as Trump’s Administration and Brexit negotiations often mobilise visual, performative and conceptual responses among artists an. In an age of the closely documented and widely circulated, consumers are often inundated with updates and headlines, discussing a breadth of facts and fiction. Centrum’s group exhibition ‘Shades of Today: Picking Up the Pieces Post Truth’ not only addresses this either/or dynamic but looks to physical and online spaces that seek to keep specific narratives hidden from public consumption. The small interactive project space, through smell, image and sound, calls into question our own understanding of agency and accountability.


Curated by Kate J Davis, the exhibition consists of six standout artists directly and excitingly dealing with the unreported and the unspoken. Martin John Callanan​’s ‘Wars During My Lifetime’ (1982-2013) is a prime example regarding tone and intent of the exhibition space. His small newspaper publication lists a number of wars across 30 years, without footnote or commentary. Although this piece could easily be disregarded in terms of it size and aesthetic appeal, arguably, its purpose is to point out media bias and media accountability when reporting incidents are often supported if not enforced by state and media groups. Its simple and accessible form allows readers to impart their own experience, or lack thereof with the content and as a result come to term with their own moral agency and consciousness.


Quite often we desire the headline and not the story.


Callanan’s use of the printed format as opposed to online sources such as the internet or smartphones subtly addresses the shift in news consumption. Production of the broadsheet has depleted in favour of being first to report the headline, even if this means neglecting the truth. The simple nature of the work is a direct response to the simple ways in which wish to digest news; quite often we desire the headline and not the story. The publication in itself does prompt the questions, what do we desire from the media? Furthermore, are we willing to look beyond? In effect, Callanan’s piece is a nod towards the uncertainty or responsibility in so-called ‘honest journalism’, moreover, whether or not we as consumers actually desire the truth.


In a similar style of presentation, Benedikt Partenheimer​’s ‘Business As Usual’ (2016) looks into issues of clarity among bureaucratic powers regarding issues of pollution and climate change. Spanning across the space of a wall are printouts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change overseeing picture frame of smog. Stacked next to the backdrop are a pile of papers representing the extensive report and research gone into investigating climate change. In a sense, this work is a representation of fact versus fiction. Evidence of climate change surrounds us; unpredictable weather patterns, migrations and deaths of species, even unexpected natural disasters; both visually and physically we are victim to these changes.


Partenheimer’s work, much like Callanan’s piece focuses on addressing why we give precedence to bureaucratic officials when evidence of their findings are lived experiences for many communities.


It seems only darkly funny, that a picture of smog covers the factual information gone into investigating climate change. Partenheimer’s work, much like Callanan’s piece focuses on addressing why we give precedence to bureaucratic officials when evidence of their findings are lived experiences for many communities. Much like the pieced backdrop, we as global citizens should not be clouded by jargon smog or ‘official findings’. Again, without providing, additional criticism, I would argue that both artists are asking us to reclaim our own investigative interests. In doing so, we put the destiny of our futures back into our own hands and into the hands of the generations to follow.


Continuing on with the theme of agency, Jae Jyung Kim’s piece extending from her ‘2+2=5’ (2016) project focuses on transparency versus privacy. Upon entry, viewers are greeted with three stereoscopes showing carefully collaged images of houses blurred on Google Street View. Each stereoscope is attached to a pulley system, next to which are three words pertaining to different states of time, being and remembering.


For most, Google is a one-stop-shop for answering all our inquisitive needs, often at the expense of our right to privacy. What’s most intriguing about Kim’s piece is the link between image, representation and memory. How much is constructed about our identity beyond our control? Furthermore, when we deny digital access to personal images, do we in some ways cease to exist? Living outside of Facebook, Youtube and Instagram almost seems like an alien concept in a society where’s it possible to stay connected and even make a living by simply being on the internet.


With that as a backdrop, refusing to contribute to the monetisation of images that aren’t self-curated is very much a radical idea. Of course, we rely on images to tell a story, but so often these images are manipulated or purposefully constructed to support biased narratives. Much like the smog of climate change, or the monstrosities of war, the truth is always evident somehow. Kim’s work so expertly challenges the idea that self-curation is beyond our control and moreover, asks that we take pride in who we are and what we choose to display or even hide.


As a whole, ‘Shades of Today’ is a poignant example of future possibilities that allows us to call out law enforcements, media spaces and biased narratives to uncover the simple, often messy truth of societies and communities today. It means coming to terms with both sides of the coin and using that balance to move onwards and upwards.



Review of Shades of Today, William Kherbek

William Kherbek writes:

It has become almost something of a cliche to reference the 1992 Francis Fukuyama book, The End of History and the Last Man, which argues that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the communist dictatorships that ruled Eastern Europe during the Cold War signaled the triumph of liberal democracy and vindication of market-orientated capitalism, as a supreme moment of hubristic punditry. In some ways this is unfair to Fukuyama, the book is essentially an exercise in the art of the political subjunctive, but the basic critique holds. History did anything but end in the winter of 1989; indeed, as some of Fukuyama’s critics have subsequently suggested, it is perhaps the period of the Cold War itself that represented a pause in history and pre-Bretton Woods business-as-usual returned to the geopolitical discourse as a result of the fall of the Soviet Empire. These kinds of heady thoughts came to mind reading Martin John Callanan’s work “Wars During My Lifetime” at the group exhibition, Shades of Today: Picking up the Pieces of Post Truth, at Centrum in Berlin. Callanan is a youthful 35 and his adult life more or less tracks the post-Cold War period of global political conflict. The wars of Callanan’s lifetime are recorded on a largish booklet of newsprint listing the dates of the conflicts and the names by which they are known. If one turns to the year of the publication of Fukuyama’s book, one can find armed conflicts in South Ossetia, Bosnia, Croatia, Somalia, Transdniestria, Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Chad, Algeria, Sierra Leone, and a region of Russia known as Prigorodnij just to name a few. If this is what the end of history looks like, one is tempted to grab Paul Klee’s wonky angel — postulated as “The Angel of History” by Walter Benjamin — by the wings and drag him toward the ground to intervene. There are a number of striking aspects to Callanan’s work, not least the choice to use his own lifetime as the baseline metric from which the work originates. Could the vaunted solipsism of the millennial outlook be more neatly satirised? Probably, but I want to see it when it happens. More somberly, Panglossean books and articles are constantly appearing telling us how much safer, less violent and more pleasant life is becoming, even in these ostensibly troubled times, Callanan’s work serves as a riposte to such macro-reasoning about concepts as intimate as violence: the world may be getting statistically more peaceful, but many sins can be hidden behind the smooth bell curve of a normal distribution.


Talking of “business-as-usual”, I also found myself caught by the grimly precise language of the International Panel on Climate Change’s report, sections of which were posted on Centrum’s back wall as part of Benedikt Partenheim’s work bearing that exact title. The work is obviously too big to take in, a babel tower of reams of packages of printer paper stand at the right of the work representing the number of pages in the complete report. The fragmentary presentation of the report’s content, scattered over printed A4 pages overlain with a photograph of a smogged up landscape, drives home the implications of the scale of the crisis faced by humanity. Reading the words of the panel, I was struck by its odd moments of poetry, not least in the description of the correction process contemporary researchers use for accounting for antiquated methods of measuring temperature in earlier ages which used less precise tools. It is, in part, a biography of our epistemology. Jae Kyung Kim’s “2+2=5” was another engaging aspect of a wide ranging and crowded show—in addition to the in situ works, the show also included performances, a discussion on the gallery’s tumblr page, and screenings of two films by Louis Henderson at the forthcoming finissage. “2+2=5” consists of a set of stereoscopes dangling on cables in the gallery’s front window. The viewer holds the object and flips through a series of landscapes and urban images obscured behind hazy geometric shapes. The claustrophobia of our heavily surveilled world is palpable, and the visual disruption feels like a meagre, but potent expression of resistance. The work is a reminder that while more of what will become “history” is being recorded than ever before, this is no guarantee that future histories will be any more true or complete than those of the past.


Shades of Today / Centrum, Berlin

Shades of Today, Picking up the Pieces Post-Truth, Centrum, Berlin

Exhibition opening: Friday, 30 June, 7pm

with a performance by Kirstin Burckhardt, 8pm

The concept of distorted representations and perceptions of reality may date as far back as Plato’s allegory of the cave. However, in light of Brexit and Trump’s election, the manipulation of information seems to have reached new heights (Oxford Dictionaries dubbed ‘post-truth’ as 2016’s word of the year). Amidst the confusion between true facts and fake news, heightened by 24-hour news cycles, social media and a populist rhetoric, artists play a pivotal role in warning and reminding of reality’s different shades and how they can be exploited by those in power. For Shades of Today: Picking up the Pieces Post-Truth, Centrum have invited ten artists to shed light on this issue through a series of sound, scent, text-based, and video installations, and a suite of events.

The group exhibition Shades of Today: Picking up the Pieces Post-Truth will open on the 30th of June with a performance by Kirstin Burckhardt: Grow a Body (2017) centres around a rhythmic, pulsating reading of a text which poses the question: When is your body complete? This question is echoed in the feeling of some people who disidentify so strongly with a ligament that they self-amputate (‘Body Integrity Identity Disorder’). In the performance, this feeling is carefully embedded within the sensation of completely dissociating from your body when in a traumatic situation, raising questions about subjective and alternative truths, the relationship between alienation and violence, and the prevalence of emotion over reason – questions considered to be at the core of our post-truth era. Included in the exhibition will be Archaeology of a Smell (2008), a scent installation by Erkan Öznur which uses ‘Wofasept’, a cleaning liquid produced by a former GDR company which until today was primarily used in the former East. The persistent smell makes the city’s former division apparent today. As an alternative to the iconic Berlin wall Archaeology of a Smell offers a symbol for the reality of the slow, on-going process of reunification. Martin John Callanan’s Wars During My Lifetime (1982-2013) is a newspaper that lists all of the wars fought during the artist’s lifetime (up until 2013). Listed without comment, the newspaper acts as a potent reminder of media bias and sensationalisation. With her sound sculpture Ram-tam-tam! Rat-a-tat-tat! (2014), Emma Waltraud Howes utilises a resonating cast iron pot as a symbol of resistance, both acknowledging historical protests by recalling the ‘Cacerolazo’, a cacophony of banging pots and pans, while humorously evoking the feeling of help- and speechlessness in the face of recent political developments and the impossibility and lack of rational debate. In a similarly ironic gesture Benedikt Partenheimer’s Business As Usual (2016) draws attention to one of the most debated yet controversial topics in politics: pollution and climate change. Printouts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change line the wall and act as backdrop to a dramatic photograph of an urban landscape concealed by smog. Covering the factual information on climate change, the picture itself fails to serve as photographic evidence with the pollution having rendered the photograph illegible. As part of the exhibition Jae Kyung Kim will show a set of three stereoscopes showing pictures of houses blurred on Google Street View related to her project 2+2=5 (2016) in which the artist explores questions of privacy, transparency, visibility and social control, and also speculates about the effect the blurred images have on our collective imagination, emphasising that it relies on what we think we know and what we imagine we see.

To support and expand on the exhibition in Centrum’s physical space, our Tumblr is a virtual space to further develop and explore notions of post-truth and for six weeks we will post starting points for further research here. The material will be grouped into themes and will show how people, including artists and thinkers, are experiencing the world right now and communicating their most pressing concerns. The themes will include the subjectivity inherent Information Systems, Alternative Realities, Protest, Sensory Experience, and acute insights into How we Live Now.

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies
11th May – 10th June 2017

This exhibition comprises a trilogy of interconnected works that examines the role of technology and data and how it relates to the human condition in an age of hyper information. In a world dominated by digital media and the instant accessibility of information, his practice crosses the boundary between art and science to reveal the paradox of the promise of infinite knowledge and an absolute vision against its impossibility due to the transient nature of human perception.

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

The Fundamental Units: The lowest denomination coin from each of the world’s 166 active currencies are photographed to vast scale using an infinite focus, optical 3D microscope. Printed to a size of 1.2 x 1.2 metres from files with over 400 million pixels, the hyper-real level of detail, beyond normal vision, reveals the material construction and make-up of the coin together with the marks and traces from their circulation and use as tokens of exchange.

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

A Planetary Order: This is a 3D scale model of the earth showing cloud cover from one single moment in time. Raw information from one second’s worth of readings from all six cloud monitoring satellites overseen by NASA and ESA is transformed into a physical visualisation of real-time scientific data that delicately outlines and profiles the clouds emerging across the sphere. The sphere, or globe, has no added colour, only the sculpted whiteness of the raw material that throws a maze of faint shadows across the structure.

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Text Trends: This looks at our perception of words and data when displayed in graphical form. Through animation, it uses Google data to explore the content generated by search queries and reduces this process to its essential elements: search terms -vs- frequency searched over time, presented in the form of a graph. The viewer watches the animation plot out the ebb and flow of search terms generated by internet users around the world. Pairs of words such as ‘now and later’ and ‘summer and winter’ play out matter-of-factly, with all the passion of a market index. Originally an animation, it has also been commissioned as a series of prints.

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

I Wanted to See All of the News From Today: collects everyday over 600 front covers of newspapers from around the world.

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Data Soliloquies, solo exhibition at Argentea Gallery, Birmingham

Argentea Gallery

Data Soliloquies, exhibition. Essay by Thierry Fournier

Data Soliloquies, exposition. Essai par Thierry Fournier

Opening invite

Argentea Gallery
28 St Paul’s SquareBirmingham B3 1RB
United Kingdom

Data Soliloquies, exhibition. Essay by Thierry Fournier

Martin John Callanan, Data Soliloquies

en français

In his short story “The Library of Babel”, published in 1944, the Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges imagines the whole of human culture brought together in a labyrinthine library. The books it contains represent the obsessive organisation of all conceivable human thought, in every language and from its beginnings. The concept harks back to the idea that knowledge could ultimately be grasped in its entirety, leading to mastery and omnipotence.

The artwork of Martin John Callanan (Birmingham, 1982) inevitably recalls this literary allusion, but it is immediately clear that it illustrates the way in which our relationship with technology has exactly reversed the terms of its argument. In contrast to Borges, who imagined that all knowledge could be made visible in one place, Callanan acknowledges that today we live in a decentralised information network that irrevocably determines the way we live. When he describes himself as “an artist researching an individual’s place within systems”, the “place” he refers to does not describe an aesthetic relationship in the traditional sense, in which the observer is dissociated from the things observed; it assumes that we are inextricably connected with them.

The exhibition Data Soliloquies establishes a relationship between three works that are clearly complementary in this way. The sculpture A Planetary Order features a 3D scale model of the earth, on which a series of satellite data is combined to show the exact state of the Earth’s cloud cover on a given date. It stands on the floor, making it seem vulnerable, and demonstrates that a phenomenon that is so transitory, while at the same time represented by “hard” data, is fundamentally impossible to grasp, and always beyond complete human perception: technology has not overridden what is incommensurable. The printed series Text Trends is a statistical comparison of Google searches for pairs of words, from 2004 to the present. The self-referential nature of the relationships between the chosen words (winter/summer, buy/sell, etc.) and the fierce humour that emerges from them, reflect the expectations embodied in these statistics: they represent actual searches of users. Something that might be taken as a single measurement reveals itself to be also an oracle, whose performativity determines our behaviour. Lastly, The Fundamental Units is a series of images each of which shows the smallest value coin used in various national currencies, photographed using a 3D optical microscope at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, UK. These images are then expanded and printed in extra-large formats, so that they show the all traces of the handling they have undergone, and thus the paradoxical physicality of money, whose exchange is now entirely dematerialised.

Despite their power and clear visual precision, these objects sometimes appear cold, as if placed at a distance: the white earth, statistics, coins. They are the product of a conceptual, minimalist approach that emphasises protocol. In addition, they contain no trace of the artist: unlike other recent conceptual works which compare human physicality with repetitive systems, as in the case of Roman Opalka or On Kawara, Martin John Callanan does not introduce his own actions into his work, or only very rarely. Moreover and strictly speaking, it hardly matters if we know the positions of the clouds on a given date, the development of Google searches or the way in which the coins in our pockets have aged: in themselves these facts and these objects include nothing that would give them the status of an artwork. In that case, where do we get the feeling that these works speak so profoundly about ourselves?

It is at once clear that what these artworks have in common is that they talk about value, and its direct connection with the way generalised quantification has become the dominant paradigm and the universal criterion for representing and evaluating human affairs. Callanan also addresses the idea of value from a very specific point of view, namely an almost deliberate focus on representing totalities. An overview of his work reveals the consistency of that approach, seen even in their titles: every flight departure, every internet search, every war waged during the artist’s lifetime, all his actions when using software, every telephone number, the number of people who have ever lived, the number of days of his life, every newspaper front-page, every cloud present above the earth at a given moment, to visit the whole of London, and so on. This approach may seem simplistic but it selects precisely those phenomena to which our sensory experience never gives us complete access. Given that the world of data is characterised by the very fact that the global calculations performed by systems are beyond human perception, can artworks reverse that relationship?

We then see that each of these artworks takes a specific physical form, which reflects a profound knowledge of coding, networks and computing, applied to a wide range of forms: sculptures, prints, artists’ books, objects or performances. Using this vocabulary, Callanan offers a parallel set of “aiming devices” that connect the various totalities in order to show more clearly that we can never have complete control over them: having departure times appear briefly on a screen or a town crier proclaim the dates of wars; printing the clouds on a 3D sculpture that cannot be seen as a whole; demonstrating the performative nature of statistics and opinion polls and the physicality of money, or creating a publication that cannot be read due to its enormous scale. Each of these situations creates a paradox: they open up a divide between, on the one hand, the promise of omniscience and a totalising vision, and on the other, its impossibility, due to the inevitably fugitive and local nature of human perception. It is in this gap, this falling-short, that the agency of Callanan’s works resides.

In this way, by creating a very specific relationship between these successive stages –value, totality, promise and falling-short – Callanan reveals what we expect from these representations. It is a question not so much of value itself, than the desire for value; less one of totality than the dream of totality, less one of control than of what eludes it. All of these issues bring us back to the human condition, its desires and its limitations. This is where we find the poetic but also the profoundly critical aspects of a body of work that brings us face to face with the multiple manifestations of the infinite, only to assert our inability to embrace it. The artwork also emphasises the radically futile nature of all approaches that place an excessive emphasis on technology. What differentiates us from the “systems” invoked by the artist is that we also find meaning in things we do not understand.

This brings to mind the writer and critic John Berger, who showed that one of the specific characteristics of art is not to represent things in themselves but to identify the way we see them, enabling us to interrogate the ways in which that experience is formed and determined, including politically. At a time when many projects facing the issues raised by digital cultures fall into the trap of the figuration (of data, artificial intelligence, surveillance and so on), Martin John Callanan assumes the vain character of such an approach and positions himself at a point where his research leads us to a vertigo. With his characteristic modesty, with his works, their “data soliloquies” and the way they suggest that we would never seize them, he illuminates the specificity of the human’s condition vis-à-vis the immensity of the world.

Thierry Fournier
Aubervilliers, April 2017

Thierry Fournier is a French artist and curator. He also co-directs the curatorial research group Ensad Lab Displays. He lives and works in Aubervilliers.

Translation Imogen Forster

en français

Data Soliloquies, exposition. Essai par Thierry Fournier

in English

Dans sa nouvelle La Bibliothèque de Babel publiée en 1944, l’écrivain argentin Jorge Luis Borges imagine la totalité de la culture humaine exposée dans une bibliothèque à l’architecture labyrinthique. Les livres qu’elle rassemble contiennent toute la pensée imaginable, dans toutes les langues et depuis les origines, obsessionnellement mis en ordre. L’ensemble évoque la promesse d’accéder enfin à la totalité de la connaissance, à travers le rêve d’une maîtrise et d’une toute-puissance du savoir.

Si le travail de Martin John Callanan (Birmingham, 1982) évoque immanquablement cette image littéraire, c’est pour constater aussitôt qu’il témoigne de la manière dont nos relations à la technologie en ont précisément renversé les termes. À l’inverse de Borges qui imaginait que l’ensemble du savoir puisse être visible en un seul lieu, Callanan prend acte que l’humain contemporain est pris dans un réseau d’informations décentralisées qui conditionnent en permanence son existence. Lorsqu’il se décrit comme « an artist researching an individual’s place within systems » (un artiste explorant la place de l’individu parmi des systèmes), la « place » qu’évoque l’artiste ne décrit pas une relation esthétique au sens classique qui dissocierait l’observateur des objets observés : elle prend acte que nous sommes pris dans leurs logiques.

L’exposition Data Soliloquies met ainsi en relation trois œuvres dont les propos sont particulièrement complémentaires à cet égard. La sculpture A Temporary Order figure le globe terrestre en impression 3D à petite échelle, sur lequel est gravé l’état exact des nuages à une date donnée, obtenue par la combinaison de séries d’images par satellite. Posée au sol, comme vulnérable, elle met en évidence qu’un phénomène aussi fugitif, même figé et représenté par ses données, demeure radicalement insaisissable et continue à échapper à notre perception : la technique n’a pas désactivé l’incommensurable. La série d’impressions Text Trends montre quant à elle des statistiques comparées de paires de mots issues des requêtes sur Google de 2004 à nos jours. Le caractère tautologique des associations de mots choisis et l’humour féroce qui s’en dégage (été-hiver, acheter-vendre, etc.) témoigne des attentes que reflètent ces statistiques : il s’agit bien de requêtes formulées par des utilisateurs. Ce que l’on pourrait prendre comme une seule mesure est aussi un oracle, dont la dimension performative conditionne nos comportements. Enfin, The Fondamental Units est une série d’images montrant chaque fois les plus petites unités de pièces de monnaies internationales, photographiées au microscope électronique au National Physical Laboratory de Teddington (Royaume-Uni). Ces images sont ensuite démesurément agrandies et imprimées sur de très grands formats, révélant alors toutes les traces des échanges dont elles ont été l’objet – et, par la même, la physicalité paradoxale d’une monnaie dont les échanges sont aujourd’hui entièrement dématérialisés.

Malgré leur force et leur précision plastique évidente, ces objets sont parfois froids, comme mis à distance : globe blanc, statistiques, pièces de monnaie. Ils héritent d’une approche conceptuelle et minimaliste qui privilégie les protocoles. En outre, toute trace de l’artiste en est absente : par opposition à des démarches qui, dans l’histoire de l’art récente, ont confronté l’humain et sa corporéité à des systèmes répétititifs, comme celles de Roman Opalka ou de On Kawara, Martin John Callanan – à de très rares exceptions – ne met pas en jeu ses propres actions. En outre, à strictement parler, peu nous importe de savoir quelles étaient les positions des nuages à une date donnée, de connaître l’évolution de requêtes sur Google ou encore comment vieillit la petite monnaie : ces faits ou ces objets en eux-mêmes n’évoquent rien qui les rapprocheraient du statut d’une œuvre. Comme extraits du monde, ils semblent être des objets trouvés dans un champ de données. D’où nous vient alors le sentiment que ces œuvres nous parlent aussi profondément de nous-mêmes ?

Le premier constat qui émerge alors est que ces œuvres ont toutes en commun de parler de la valeur, qui interroge directement la manière dont la quantification généralisée s’est imposée aujourd’hui comme paradigme dominant et comme critère omniprésent de représentation et d’évaluation de l’humain. Callanan convoque en outre cette notion de valeur à travers une perspective très spécifique, qui est de viser presque systématiquement la représentation de totalités. Un regard sur l’ensemble de ses œuvres témoigne de la constance de cette démarche, que l’on retrouve même dans leurs titres : toutes les partances de vols, toutes les recherches sur internet, toutes les guerres pendant ma vie, toutes mes commandes sur un logiciel, tous les numéros de téléphone, le nombre de tous ceux qui ont jamais vécu, le compte de tous les jours de ma vie, toutes les unes de la presse, tous les nuages présents en un instant au-dessus de la Terre, voir tout Londres, etc. Cette démarche de all-everything pourrait sembler simpliste mais elle sélectionne justement des phénomènes auquel notre expérience sensible ne nous donne jamais totalement accès. Alors que le régime des données se caractérise justement par le fait que des totalités calculées par des systèmes échappent à la perception humaine, des œuvres peuvent-elle renverser cette relation ?

On voit alors que ces projets déploient chaque fois une matérialité spécifique, qui témoigne d’une connaissance approfondie du code, du réseau et du numérique tout en embrassant un très large répertoire de formes : sculptures, impressions, livres d’artiste, objets, performances… À travers ce vocabulaire, Callanan propose autant de dispositifs de « visée », qui relatent des totalités pour mieux mettre en évidence l’impossibilité de leur maîtrise : faire fugitivement défiler les horaires de vols sur un écran, faire déclamer les dates des guerres par un crieur, imprimer les nuages sur une sculpture en 3D dont la perception globale est impossible, démontrer le caractère performatif des statistiques et des sondages, mettre en évidence la matérialité de la monnaie, créer une publication devenant illisible par son échelle gigantesque, etc. Chacune de ces situations crée alors un paradoxe : elle ouvre un gouffre entre d’une part la promesse d’une omniscience ou d’une vision totalisante, et d’autre part son impossibilité même, due au caractère irrémédiablement fugitif et local de notre perception. C’est dans cet écart, dans ce manque, que réside fondamentalement l’agentivité de ses œuvres.

Ainsi, par la relation très spécifique que Martin John Callanan élabore entre ces paliers successifs – la valeur, la totalité, la promesse et le manque – il met en évidence ce que nous attendons de ces représentations. Il ne s’agit pas tant de la valeur, que du désir de la valeur ; de la totalité, que du rêve de la totalité ; de la maîtrise, que de ce qui lui échappe. L’ensemble nous ramène à la condition humaine, à son désir et et à ses limites. Ici se revèle la dimension à la fois poétique et fondamentalement critique d’un travail qui nous place face à de multiples manifestations de l’infini pour pointer immédiatement notre impossibilité à l’embrasser, en même temps que le caractère radicalement vain à cet égard de toute démarche techniciste. Ce qui nous différencie des « systèmes » qu’évoque l’artiste est que nous trouvons aussi du sens dans ce que nous ne comprenons pas.

On peut penser ici enfin à l’auteur et critique John Berger, qui relevait qu’une des spécificités de l’art est de ne pas représenter les choses en elles-mêmes mais bien le regard que nous portons sur elles et, par la même, de pouvoir questionner les enjeux de sa formation et de sa détermination (y compris politique). Au moment où, en prise avec les questions ouvertes par la culture numérique, de nombreuses démarches tombent dans le piège de la figuration (des données, de l’intelligence artificielle, de la surveillance…), Martin John Callanan assume ici l’impossibilité radicale d’en venir à bout et s’installe là où cette recherche ouvre sur un vertige. Avec la pudeur qui le caractérise, par ses œuvres, leurs monologues de données et l’incapacité qu’elles évoquent de nous en emparer complètement, il éclaire ainsi la spécificité de la position humaine face à l’infini du monde.

Thierry Fournier
Aubervilliers, avril 2017

Thierry Fournier est un artiste et curateur français. Il co-dirige également le groupe de recherche curatorial EnsadLab Displays. Il vit et travaille à Aubervilliers.

in English