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

Judy Adam
John Adams
Jane Ainscough
David Ainley
Joan Ainley
Sam Ainsley
Amanda Airey
Rob Airey
Michele Allen
William Allen
Delphine Allier
Francisca Alsua
Glenn Alteen
Craig Ames
Jane Anderson
Danielle Arnaud
Martina Aschbacher
Conrad Atkinson
Cat Auburn
Simon Bainbridge
Matt Baker
Andy Balman
Deasy Bamford
Fiona Banner
Peter Baren
Chloe Barker
Christian Barnes
Anna Barriball
Ryan Bartaby
Jordan Baseman
Stuart Bastik
Beth Bate
Katriona Beales
Anne Bean
Kate Beard
Oliver Beck
Oliver Bennett
Caroline Bergvall
Josephine Berry
Catherine Bertola
Anna Best
David Bethell
Patricia Bickers
Jeelan Bilal-Gore
Sutapa Biswas
David Blazey
Graham Bolam
Bryony Bond
Monica Bonvicini
Christine Borland
Dawn Bothwell
Ann Böttcher
Martin Boyce
Sonia Boyce
Louise Bradley
Alex Breeze
Ruth Brenner
Pauline van Broekman
Andrew Brown
Irene Brown
Katrina Brown
Paul Brown
Jenny Brownrigg
Jason Brumby
Celia Bryce
Pavel Buchler
Louisa Buck
Effie Laura Burns
Andrew Burton
David Butler
Bev Bytheway
Helen Cadwallader
Martin John Callanan
Stuart Cameron
Vicky Caplin
Roger Cardinal
Judith Carlton
Lucy Carolan
Ele Carpenter
Glynis Carr
John Carson
Catherine Cary-Elwes
Maude Casey
Adrienne Cassidy
Edward Charlton
Mike Chavez-Dawson
Rebecca Chesney
Steve Chettle
Adam Chodzko
Clymene Christoforou
Rachael Clewlow
Val Close
James Cockerill
Sarah Coles
Nathan Coley
Helen Collard
Mike Collier
Stephen Collins
Susan Collins
Rowena Comrie
Benjamin Conisbee Baer
Steve Conlan
Liadin Cooke
Elizabeth Anne Cookson
Mathieu Copeland
David Cotton
Cynthia Cousens
Marion Coutts
Kate Craddock
Stuart Craig
Fiona Crisp
Phoebe Cummings
David Cunningham
Layla Curtis
Simon Cutts
Tom Dale
Jareh Das
Bruce Davies
Peter Davies
Rhodri Davies
Rashida Davison
Colin Davison
Julian Day
Juliet Dean
Joanna Deans
Regine Debatty
Katy Deepwell
Graham Denman
Tess Denman-Cleaver
India Dickinson
Malcolm Dickson
Mark Dion
Cecilia Divizia
Tim Dixon
Graham Dolphin
Katherine Dowson
Mary Doyle
Tim Dunbar
Jenna Duncan
Gair Dunlop
Steven Durland
Theresa Easton
Tim Eastop
Darren Edwards
Ken Edwards
Helena Eflerová
Cerith Wyn Evans
Peter J. Evans
Jeff Farrell
Russell Ferguson
Alec Finlay
Joel Fisher
Leo Fitzmaurice
David Foggo
Peter Foolen
Louise Forshaw
Fiona Foster
Rose Frain
Karen Di Franco
Adrian Friedli
Anya Gallaccio
Shona Galletly
Noah Garson
Stefan Gec
Ron Geesin
Jochen Gerz
Lloyd Gibson
Emma Gifford-Mead
Sharon Gill
David Girdlestone
Rebecca Glover
Mike Golding
Katie Goodwin
Christopher J Gordon
Douglas Gordon
Karim Goury
Dominic Gray
Richard Grayson
Richard Green
Chris Greenwood
Shauna Gregg
Sophie Greig
Hilary Gresty
Glynn Griffiths
Mary Griffiths
Simon Groom
Aaron Guy
Rob Hadrill
Lyn Hagan
Samm Haillay
Dick James Hall
Luke Hall
Stella Hall
Michael Hampton
Kerry Harker
Rachel Harkness
Theodore Harper-Davis
Laura Harrington
Bryony Harris
Gareth Harris
Richard Harris
Laura M R Harrison
Margaret Harrison
Nicky Harrison
Mona Hatoum
Ruth Haycock
Mark Haywood
Tim Head
Amanda Heagre
Suzanne Heath
Adrian Heathfield
Gill Hedley
Daniel Herrmann
Emily Hesse
Cornelia Hesse-Honegger
Susan Hiller
John Hilliard
Antonia Hirsch
Peter Holden
Stewart Home
Charlie Hooker
Duane Hopkins
Alasdair Hopwood
Toine Horvers
Catrin Huber
James Hugonin
Ian Hunt
Andrew Hunt
Barbara Hunt McLanahan
Mark Hursty
Jack Hutchinson
James Hutchinson
Helena Hutchinson
Richard Ingleby
Florence Ingleby
Jaki Irvine
Nevena Ivanova
Matthias Jackisch
Clive Jackson
Tessa Jackson
Mary Jane Jacob
Matthew Jarratt
Neil Jenkings
Lucy Jenkins
Lawrence Johnson
Sandra Johnston
Su Jones
Diane Jones
Yva Jung
Diana Kalimullina
Mikhail Karikis
Martin Kay
Nick Kaye
Cath Keay
Georgia Keeling
Lois Keidan
Brian Kennedy
Nick Kennedy
Dean Kenning
Paddy Killer
Wendy Kirkup
Julia Klaniczay
Robin Klassnik
Monira Kleineidam
Paula Knox
Uta Kogelsberger
Patricia Kohl
Bridget Konior
Rob La Frenais
Yana Lande
Petra Lange-Berndt
Lars Bang Larsen
Claudia Lastra
Wendy Law
Michael Lawler
Eloise Lawson
Mark Leahy
Rowan Lear
Patrick Lears
Kwong Lee
Rona Lee
Mike Leggett
Bridget de León
Mie Letager Kjeldsen
Linda Levinson
Lanis Levy
Liliane Lijn
James Lingwood
Joe Lloyd
Mo Lovatt
Rachel Lowe
Jack Lowe
David Mabb
Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith
Sabina Mac Mahon
Keely Macarow
Tom MacFarlane
Elizabeth Macgregor
Alastair MacLennan
Ruth Maclennan
Katy Macleod
Sally Madge
Gary Malkin
Melanie Manchot
Matthew Marland
Gordon Massie
Sally Matthews
Martin McAloon
Bogna M. McAvera
Declan G McGonagle
Andy McGregor
Mary McIntyre
Carol McKay
Francis Mckee
Jordan McKenzie
John Mcmanus
Carlo Menon
Shaheen Merali
Peter Merrington
Linn Meyers
Norman Miller
Andrew Miller
Russell Mills
Louise Milne
Evan Mirapaul
Cathy de Monchaux
Jonathan Monk
Robert Montgomery
Jade Montserrat
Jeyun Moon
Elinor Morgan
Rebecca Morrill
Michael Morris
Susan Morris
William Morrison-Bell
Anne Vibeke Mou
Fraser Muggeridge
Johanne Mullan
Michael Mulvihill
Shane Munro
Alex Murdin
Simon Murray
Daniel Muzyczuk
Scott Myles
Andrew Nairne
Pat Naldi
Mohammad Namazi
Philip Napier
Mike Nelson
Hayley Newman
Cat Newton-Groves
Sam Nightingale
Brian Ord
Uriel Orlow
Chris Osburn
Jonathan Owen
Roger Palmer
Irini Papadimitriou
Jenny Papassotiriou
Gill Park
Cornelia Parker
Stephen Partridge
Katie Paterson
Toby Paterson
Andrew Patrizio
Simon Patterson
Claire Pencak
Roxane Permar
Oliver Perry
Lyndall Phelps
Sarah Pickering
Aga Pindera
Arabella Plouviez
Maeve Polkinhorn
Arto Polus
Aliasgar Poonawala
Charlie Poulson
David Powell
Robert Powell
Gary Power
Martin Prekop
Charles Quick
Neville Rae
Nick Raven
Sophie Raven
Christopher Redgate
Peter Reid
Anthony Reynolds
Grainne Rice
Kate Rich
Susan Richardson
Joanna Riddell
Graeme Rigby
Richard Rigg
Aldo Rinaldi
Amanda Ritson
Paul Robertson
Deborah Robinson
Jane Rolo
Donna Romano
Lisa Rosendahl
Bert Ross
Janet Ross
Janina Sabaliauskaite
Esther Salamon
Jeffrey Sarmiento
Kelda Savage
Ekaterina Savchenko
Alida Sayer
Helen Schell
Jonathan Schipper
Ronald Schwartz
Jeanie Scott
Peter Seddon
Mark Segal
Rebecca Shatwell
Tim Shaw
Diana Sherlock
Laurie Short
Naomi Siderfin
Rachel Simmons
Mark Simpkins
Joy Sleeman
Caroline Smith
James Smith
John Smith
Paula Smithard
Stephen Snoddy
Alastair Snow
Allyson Spellacy
Jonathan Spencer
Paul St George
Arthur Stafford
Peter Stark
Bernhard Starkmann
Diana Stevenson
Nick Stewart
Andre Stitt
Kate Stoddart
Paul Stone
Caroline Stummel
Peter Suchin
Ingrid Swenson
Alan Sykes
Jennie Syson
Richard Talbot
Anne Tallentire
Gary Thomas
Mark Thomson
Tanja Thorjussen
Jeremy Till
Mike Tilley
Sabine Tilly
Amy Tobin
Mike Tooby
Nathan Tregarvan
Suzanne Treister
Nicola Triscott
Henry Tsang
Jon Tupper
Gavin Turk
Lee Turner
Etienne Turpin
Simon Tyszko
Paul Usherwood
Jacquie Utley
Alejandro Valencia-Tobon
Erica Van Van Horn
Adinda van’t Klooster
Isabel F. Vasseur
Laura Vickerson
Marina Vishmidt
Samantha Waddilove
Jan Wade
Chris Wainwright
Una Walker
Mark Wallinger
Claire Walsh
Alice Walters
Amynta Warde-Aldam
Digby Warde-Aldam
Grace Warde-Aldam
Olle Wärnbäck
Marina Warner
Gary Waterston
Lynn Watson
Paul Watson
Mark Waugh
Julia Weber
Carl von Weiler
Jeremy Welsh
Mo White
Liz Whitehead
Thomas Whittle
Emily Wilczek
Patrick Wildgust
Alison Wilding
Sally Williams
Sophie Williamson
Cathy Wills
Evelyn Wilson
Jane and Louise Wilson
Louise K Wilson
Mark Wilson
Richard Wilson
Paul Wong
Geoff Wood
Orlagh Woods
Alice Woods
Greville Worthington
Richard Wright
Tim Wright
Catherine Yass
Chris Yates
Zeynep Yucel
Silvia Ziranek
Ελένη Παπαιωάννου
AND Association
Art Circuit
Art Solutions
Art Zone

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 RealitiesProtest, 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

Im Dialog mit Amazon – Mallorca Zeitung – Nr. 882 – 30. März 2017

Der britische Künstler Martin John Callanan zeigt bei Horrach Moyà das Wechselspiel von System und Mensch, Von Brigitte Kramer

Download PDF

Eigentlich müssten wir alle unter Atemnot oder Platzangst leiden. Denn immer dichter legen sich die Fäden des weltweiten digitalen Netzes um uns. Immer mehr Stun- den verbringen wir vor kleinen oder großen Bildschirmen, geben Daten ein, hinterlassen Spuren. Einen Teil der Zeit im Internet verbringen wir mit Dingen, die nicht unbedingt lebensnotwendig sind. Martin John Callanan geht es nicht anders. Nur verbringt er sei- ne Zeit im Netz mit Sinnvollem. Er macht Kunst. Derzeit zeigt er sie in der Galerie Horrach Moyà an der Plaça de la Drassana.

„Martin has been alive +12858 days“, schreibt er auf seiner Web- site. Für alle Leser, die das Spiel mit Zahlen weniger lieben als Callanan: Er wurde 1982 in einer Kleinstadt bei Birmingham gebo- ren. Seit mehr als fünf Jahren lebt er in Berlin und wird als Künst- ler von der ehrwürdigen Royal Society of Arts gefördert. Damit steht er in einer Reihe mit Charles Dickens, Karl Marx oder Benja- min Franklin. Nach Palma hat ihn der Kunsthistoriker Pau Waelder gebracht. Es ist die vierte Ausstel- lung des Briten auf der Insel.

Callanan interessiert das Thema Individuum und System. In seinen Installationen unter- sucht er die Interaktion zwischen Mensch und Netz, zeichnet die Interaktion nach. Oft übernimmt oder verändert er die Funktions- weise von Programmen, Syste- men oder Anwendungen und deu- tet sie neu. Damit hinterfragt er die Zustände, demontiert unsere Gewohnheiten und sorgt auch noch für Witz und Überraschung. Der Effekt sitzt auch deshalb, weil seine Arbeiten so clean, so zurückhaltend und unterkühlt wir- ken: Bildschirme, Kleingedruck- tes, ordentlich Aufgereihtes. Im Gespräch mit ihm wird schnell die Tragweite seiner Arbeit deutlich. Dem uninformierten Besucher der Ausstellung „Actions“ entgeht sie aber, ist zu befürchten.


Drei Arbeiten, alle schon ein- mal ausgestellt, bilden die Schau. Da ist „I Cannot Not Communica- te“ von 2015: Eine Reihe von hun- dert Büchern auf einem blanken Holztisch. Daneben liegt eine Lis- te mit allen ausgestellten Titeln. „Das sind die Bücher, die Amazon mir zum Lesen empfiehlt“, sagt er mit einem leichten Lächeln in den Mundwinkeln. Er hat tatsächlich den Spruch „Kunden, die Artikel in Ihrem Einkaufswagen gekauft haben, haben auch Folgendes ge- kauft“ ernst genommen und die hundert ersten Empfehlungen in den Einkaufswagen gelegt. Da- runter sind Fantasy-Romane oder ein Buch auf Französisch, „dabei kann ich gar kein Französisch!“, sagt Callanan. Andere Empfeh- lungen sind einleuchtender: Bü- cher über Kunst, Soziologie, Phi- losophie, von Zygmunt Bauman, Ulrich Beck oder John Berger.


Seitdem er im Mai 2015 auf Amazon gehört hat, ist Callanan nicht mehr normaler Kunde des Online-Geschäfts. „Ich bin mit dem System in Beziehung getre- ten“, sagt er mit leiser Stimme, „vielleicht lüfte ich irgendwann das Geheimnis seines Algorith- mus.“ Callanan wird weiterhin auf Amazon hören, immer wieder Empfehlungen kaufen und dabei versuchen, das System zu ent- schlüsseln. Das Ziel dieser Spie- lerei wäre in dem unwahrscheinli- chen Fall erreicht, wenn Callanan schon vorher wüsste, was Ama- zon ihm empfehlen wird. Es wird immer schwieriger, den Beweis zu liefern, dass der Mensch dem Computer überlegen ist.


Noch mehr witzige Tüfteleien gibt’s im zentralen, mit gepfleg- ten, alten Bodenfliesen ausge- legten Raum. „Each and Every Command“ heißt die Arbeit von 2016. Sie zeigt auf sechs hellen Tischen elf dicke, graue Ordner. In ihnen sind auf hellgrauem Re- cyclingpapier „4.144.676 Wör- ter in 198.605 Zeilen“ gedruckt, wie Callanan sagt. Inhaltlich sa- gen sie gar nichts: Es ist die vom Programm Adobe Photoshop ge- speicherte Chronik der Arbeit, die Callanan in den vergangenen zwölf Jahren geleistet hat. Das Programm hat jeden Schritt bei seiner Bearbeitung von Fotos für die Nachwelt aufbewahrt: Callanan zeigt dieses Bemü- hen nun der Welt. Fast schon rührend sind die unsinnig vie- len Seiten, „acht Mal so viel wie Shakespeares Gesamtwerk“, sagt Callanan wieder mit diesem leich- ten Grinsen.


Die exponierte Emsigkeit des Programms wirft Fragen auf, zu Sinn und Unsinn von Archiven, von Erinnerung, von Lernen. Und die Installation hinterfragt auch den Mythos vom kreativen Prozess, dem Work in Progress: Wie wichtig ist es, die Arbeitsschritte eines Künstlers zu dokumentieren?

Trotz aller Ironie und Selbstre- ferenz gibt es „Each and Every Command“ als digitale Version in der British Library, und im Ama- zon Kindle Store kann man das Werk für zwei Pfund zum Lesen auf einem E-Reader kaufen: Nicht ganz so spannend wie die Lektüre eines Telefonbuchs.


Die dritte Arbeit „Departure of All“ aus dem Jahr 2013 schließ- lich stimuliert die Fantasie des Betrachters ungemein – wenn man weiß oder intuitiv erfasst, worum es geht. Callanan hat eine Anzeigetafel mit Abflugzeiten an die Wand montiert. Bei längerer Betrachtung bemerkt man, dass es sich um einen fiktiven Flughafen handeln muss. Nein, es ist die An- zeige aller Flüge, die in Echtzeit von einem internationalen Flugha- fen abheben. Die Anzeige scrollt immer weiter oben, immer neue Flüge rutschen von unten nach, sie sind alle real und die Maschinen rollen im Moment des Betrachtens irgendwo über eine Startbahn. „Man bemerkt, wie eng alles ver- knüpft ist am Himmel“, sagt Pau Waelder, „und dabei kann einem schnell ein bisschen schwinde- lig werden.“ Der blaue Himmel taucht vor dem inneren Auge auf, durchzogen von weißen Kondens- streifen, immer dichter werden sie, irgendwann ist das Netz so dicht, dass man kaum noch das Blau des Himmels sieht. Man könnte Atemnot oder Platzangst bekommen: Das Netz ist überall, nicht nur hinter einem Bildschirm.

Actions, Galería Horrach Moyà

Galería Horrach Moyà
25/3 – 7/5/2017

The work of Martin John Callanan focuses on the relationship between individuals and the systems that determine their existence, whether natural, economic, social, political, or that invisible and omnipresent data network in which we all participate. Placing himself at the centre of this research, not as a protagonist, but as a simple individual who is affected by the same systems that dominate us all, the artist elaborates patient and laborious processes with the data that he collects from his interaction with the world. The result of these processes are works that refer to both a personal experience and a condition shared by a large part of the inhabitants of the planet.

As Robert Musil states in The Man Without Qualities (1930), “living permanently in a well-ordered State has an out-an-out spectral aspect: one cannot step into the street or drink a glass of water or get into a tram without touching the perfectly balanced levers of a gigantic apparatus of laws and relations…” This apparatus, which according to Musil becomes so invisible that we deny its existence “as the common man denies the existence of the air,” is what Callanan explores in his work: each action of an individual is recorded by the system and produces some reaction, which becomes visible in the artworks selected for this exhibition.

Horrach-Moyà presents in this, Callanan’s second solo show in the gallery, a selection of recent works that explore diverse forms of representing the relation between the individual and the data that he generates, either through what he consumes, produces, or even where he goes. The works move fluidly between the intimate and the impersonal, between the analog and the digital, capturing a small part of a set processes that will not stop until the individual that generates them or the systems that sustain them cease to exist.

Pau WaelderCurator



I Cannot Not Communicate

In this work, the artist has collected the first 100 books recommended to him by Amazon, based on everything he read and bought since the online retail giant first launched its recommendation algorithm over 15 years ago.

The title refers to the condition of the user of any service on the Web as an involuntary transmitter of information: since the data concerning the actions of the user (day and time of access, duration, contents browsed and so forth) are registered automatically, it is no longer possible to be a mere receiver of information. Rahter, one constantly participates in a data exchange that leads to modifying the same contents that one is accessing. This reflection is not presented as a complex technological installation but as something as simple as a library, which becomes a record of the subject that have interested the artist, although this record was not created by him but has been elaborated by Amazon’s algorithm. These books are not necessarily those that Martin John Callanan has read, but those that he supposedly wants to read.


Each and Every Command

This piece shows all edits done by the artist on the photo editing software Adobe Photoshop during twelve years, from December 23, 2003 to February 7, 2016. Registered automatically by the program, they are presented as a long list on 15,873 pages in DIN A4 gray paper, bound in 11 volumes. There are altogether 4,144,676 words in 198,605 lines of text, which corresponds to eight times the complete works of William Shakespeare. A record of this file is preserved in digital format at the British Library.

With this work, Martin John Callanan suggests the possibility of recording each of the actions performed in a computer, while exploring the romantic myth of artistic creation: the fascination for the creative process of the artist and the conception of the studio as a magical and intimate place where his inspiration is gleaned, translate into a sober file that methodically collects every action carried out by the artist on an image editing software. Reading this register, it is possible (if one can take an amount of time that perhaps exceeds human capacities) to follow the steps of the artist’s working process, both in the elaboration of a work and when editing his website or retouching a holiday photo. The deep knowledge of his work can be found here, buried among thousands of banal data, in a diary as comprehensive as it is, paradoxically, absurd.


Departure of All

Displayed as an airport information panel, a screen shows all flights that are taking off from all international airports in the world, in real time. The time of departure, flight number, city of origin and destination are displayed in a sober list. Every five seconds, two or three new flights appear on the screen, as the list continues to slowly scroll upwards. The global air traffic is summed up in a small set of data that invite us to reflect on the fact that, at all times, there are approximately 500,000 people flying at forty thousand feet.

The speed with which the list is updated indicates an incessant need to move that forms a picture of our globalized society and the impact that our restless lifestyle (particularly nomadic in the art world) has on the environment. The relatively daily act of catching an airplane is actually an action that is part of a precise machinery that works on a global scale: as passengers, we participate in a flow of coordinated activities whose effects are transmitted from one hemisphere to the other. Altering this flow (as occurred, for example, with the eruptions of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010) is chaotic, and therefore it can not be stopped, as the endless list on the screen never stops.

Designing The One Minute, Het Nieuwe Instituut

Het Nieuwe Instituut presents Designing The One Minute

From 16 until 23 March 2017, Designing The One Minute, curated by Yin Aiwen will be exhibited at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Yin Aiwen started a design investigation of The One Minutes chronicle 1998-2016. The series consists of 36 One Minutes by designers and artists revealing how technology changes aesthetics, perception and reflection; an experiment where technology becomes poetry.

In March, the series tours museums and cultural organisations with a subscription to The One Minutes Series.

Participating artists:

Joris Nouwens
Hendrik Niefeld
Antonis Pittas
Persijn Broersen
Margit Lukács
Dario Bardic
Heerko van der Kooij
Bart Stolle
Su Tomesen
Matthias Hederer
Ryan Oduber
Mitsuharu Nakagawa
Patrick Doan
Gijs van der Lelij
Thijs Geritz
Sagi Groner
Gaston Slaets
Vassilis Noulas and Manolis Tsipos
Lauren Alexander
Eng Chuen Chuah
Omar Ahmed Awad
Martin John Callanan
Arno Coenen
Alisha Frijters
Lauren Grusenmeyer
Donna Verheijden
Stëfan Schäfer
Persijn Broersen, Margit Lukács and Zahid Jaffar
Fons Schiedon
Kevin Bray
Maartje Smits
Andrea Karch
Minhong Yu
Arthur Röing Baer
Cyanne van den Houten
Agnieszka Zimolag

Yin Aiwen is a designer and researcher based in Amsterdam. She graduated from Design Department of Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam in 2013. Her work focuses on new possibilities of design practice in the ever-changing technological and political environment. Her recent research on ‘designer films’ investigates the new position of design thinking in filmmaking, resulting in a series of writings and events.

The One Minutes is a global network devoted to moving image.

Every month, a different artist is asked to put together a new series of 60-second films that investigate how we perceive and engage with moving image. Museums and cultural organisations around the world subscribe to the series.

Press Release PDF

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Overschiestraat 188
1062 XK Amsterdam NL

Real time. Art en temps real

Lo Pati – Centre d’Art
del 27 de gener al 19 de març de 2017

En la nostra societat accelerada, lo temps esdevé una preocupació principal a mesura que intentem mantenir-nos al corrent dels grans esdeveniments que tenen lloc a escala global, intentem ser competitius fent més en menys temps, i vivim en un estat de connexió permanent. Lo terme “realtime” (temps real) s’ha convertit en un terme d’ús comú que fa referència a qualsevol procés que es produix de forma sincronitzada amb lo temps de l’usuari, al fer de “ser allà” i “ser present” en una era que no permet lo més mínim retard en la reacció.

Lo terme “realtime” (temps real), provinent de la informàtica, s’ha convertit en un terme d’ús comú: sovint fa referència, no només a la computació reactiva, sinó també a qualsevol procés que es produix de forma sincronitzada amb lo temps de l’usuari, al fer de “ser allà” i “ser present” en una era que no permet lo més mínim retard en la reacció.

En lo món de l’art, lo temps és un element crucial en un fet sovint ignorat: la duració de la contemplació de l’obra d’art per part de l’espectador. Com indica Boris Groys, mentre que en los mitjans tradicionals lo temps necessari per a la contemplació és determinat per l’usuari, l’art basat en processos temporals (nous mitjans i performance) passa este control a l’obra. Hi ha, així, un temps de l’obra al qual l’espectador ha d’adaptar el seu propi temps. En la majoria de les obres de cinema i video, lo temps de la ficció se comprimix per a permetre a l’espectador observar els esdeveniments que tindrien lloc durant un llarg període de temps en uns pocs minuts. Però, què succeix quan una obra d’art té lloc en “temps real”, desenvolupant la seua història al llarg de diverses hores, mesos o dècades?

Comissariada per Pau Waelder, Real time. Art en temps real és una exposició col·lectiva que explora l’ús del temps en l’art contemporani presentant una selecció d’obres d’art en les quals lo concepte de “temps real” té un paper principal, ja sigue pel qüestionament de la relativitat del temps, l’ús de dades extretes en temps real d’Internet o per la seua intenció de crear una visió actual, “realista” i sempre canviant del temps en què vivim. Amb obres de Guillem Bayo, Clara Boj i Diego Díaz, Martin John Callanan, Thierry Fournier, Nicolas Maigret, Antoine Schmitt, Thomson and Craighead, Addie Wagenknecht i Carlo Zanni, algunes de les peces seleccionades se nodrixen de la informació que apareix constantment als mitjans de comunicació, mentre altres extreuen dades de diferents fonts, establixen un procés de producció en temps real o bé proposen un qüestionament de la nostra manera de mesurar el temps i relacionar-nos amb lo present. Les tecnologies que utilitzem actualment en la nostra vida quotidiana tenen un paper principal en estes peces, portant estes reflexions sobre el temps a un àmbit molt proper al públic, que en alguns casos pot interactuar amb l’obra i en d’altres ho fa sense saber-ho.
La inauguració de l’exposició serà el divendres 27 de gener a les 20:00h.

Berlin Art Prize 2016

Berlin Art Prize, photo Anastasia Muna

The Berlin Art Prize is pleased to announce the list of nominated artists for the Berlin Art Prize 2016. Chosen from a pool of over 600 Berlin-based applicants through a multi-stage selection process, the nine nominees selected by the jury are:


Martin John Callanan
Regina de Miguel
Stine Marie Jacobsen
Lindsay Lawson
Lotte Meret
Benedikt Partenheimer
Aurora Sander
Raul Walch
Lauryn Youden

Of the nine nominated artists selected by the jury (Karen Archey, Kito Nedo, Emeka Ogboh, Ahmet Öğüt and Susanne Winterling) and presented in the exhibition and catalog, three will be selected as winners of the Berlin Art Prize. The three winning artists will be awarded a trophy created for the occasion by Berlin-based artist Tomás Saraceno, prize money and a four-week residency in Georgia.

The exhibition will present a broad spectrum of artistic positions – including sculpture, installation, photography, performance and conceptual art. In contrast to previous years, the exhibition will focus on the nominee’s individual artistic positions, with multiple works from each artist.

The exhibition opening on November 11, 2016 will be followed by a special program of events, performances and lectures during the exhibition. All nine positions will also be documented in a publication which will be released on the occasion of the opening. The winners will be announced live for the first time at the awards ceremony at Kühlhaus Berlin on the evening of December 10, 2016 followed by an after party.

( Opening )
Friday, November 11, 2016, 7pm
After Party starting at 10pm

( Award Ceremony )
Saturday, December 10, 2016
8:30 p.m.
After Party starting at 10pm

( Location )
Kühlhaus Berlin
Luckenwalder Straße 3
10963 Berlin

The exhibition will be open November 12 – December 10, Tuesday through Saturday, 1 – 6pm.