What a busy year! I think compared to previous years 2018 was filled with more (Algorave) performances and projects and less exhibitions and gifs. 2018 was also the year that Vivid Projects became one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, which basically means that the gallery has funding for the next four years. Because of this my workload there increased and so, unlike previous year-in-review blog posts I’ll be including an overview of my work there 🙂
This month started off really busy with the opening of two exhibitions in London. The first was Basquiat’s Brain at Barbican. The exhibition in the foyer (near the exit of the curve gallery) was the culmination of the work I’d been doing with the Barbican’s youth group and imagines what Basquiat’s take on art could’ve been if he were alive today and working digitally.
It was only supposed to be on display for a weekend but went on to be exhibited for a few months!
Only a week later Transformative Use had another showing at the Granular exhibition at the University of Greenwich (which, btw, is liek really far from many things).
My first Algorave performance of the year took place at the National Video Game Arcade’s All Your Bass Algorave event.
Elsewhere I started an Instagram account just for my art. I always felt a bit weird forcing my friends to see promotional posts about my art and exhibitions alongside personal family/friends stuff, so this kinda solves that.
For February I was mostly ill and preparing for the launch of Black Hole Club in March. Elsewhere stills from Basquiat’s Brain went on display on the Shoreditch Digital Canvas. Cue lots of friends sending messages asking if my big face is on a billboard!
At the beginning of the year I started doing workshops with the Barber Collective, which is Barber Institute of Fine Arts youth group. Over a few sessions we made animations by remixing images from the Barber’s collection. For University of Birmingham’s Arts and Science Festival we projected the finished animations on the Old Joe clock tower for one night.
Black Hole Club was supposed to have its launch exhibition on 2nd March but the snow, cold weather, and the absence of insulation and heating in warehouse spaces that art galleries tend to occupy forced us to reschedule. On 30th March the cohort finally had their first exhibition.
A few days later couple of my videos were on display at Late at Tate Britain: Echoes.
Later in the month my commission for Spon Spun’s 2017 Art Trail was on show in the CET Building.
The dark industrial building was certainly a much more effective venue for the LED infinity mirrors.
I spent a little over 48 hours in Karlsruhe for an Algorave at ZKM.
I got back on a plane this time to Seveille, Spain, to deliver a presentation about No Copyright Infringement Intended at Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM). I’d previously presented about glitch at at LGM in Toronto in 2015, so it was good to be back around my peers and see how the libre graphics community has developed over the years. Y’all can watch my presentation below.
Being in the room with like-minded people allowed me to go into more of the nuances of the exhibition’s theme and spend less time on educating people about what copyright is. You can hear some of the questions at the end of that video.
It’s a good video to watch if you’re curious about my still ongoing research.
Cheltenham Science Festival invited myself, Joanne Armitage, Alex McLean, and Joseph Wilk to do a mini Algorave. Having a team of technicians at hand who could install projectors and move screens at a moment’s notice was a welcome change to the usual DIY warehouse events.
Still in June myself and Aly Grimes teamed up to bring Living Room Light Exchange (LRLX) to Birmingham. I had first come across it when I was invited to talk at one in Paris by Benjamin Gaulon in 2016. I really liked the relaxed and personal nature of it and so, with their permission, worked with Aly to bring it to Birmingham. For the first LRLX we had presentations from Duncan Poulton and Emily Roderick.
The biggest event of June was Assembly Birmingham. The Assembly events, organised by the (impossible to Google) a-n aim to “support artists to lead debate on and open up discussion about the things they need for a sustainable career”. I organised the Birmingham evnt in the newly reopened Eastside Projects which invited loads of new(ish) organisations to talk about their experiences of being based in Birmingham and the West Midlands and what their hopes and fears were for the future.
To round off the month Black Hole Club launch the Another Dimension exhibition, which looked at optical illusions.
If you needed a condensed version of my New Now research an “Insight Film” was uploaded this month.
This month was really quiet for my own work. I did a few small events and workshops for Vivid Projects and then went to Green Man Festival to talk about my artwork. This is the closest I have been to having a month off!
I organised the Visualists Meetup for the Livecode festival. We had a couple of visuals workshops but what was most important was the discussion around the role of visuals at Algoraves. A feeling that is shared amongst people doing visuals across all music genres is the feeling of being an afterthought or second best to the the musicians. We all shared our experiences but also how we can move forward to a more collaborative environment. There will be a fuller discussion at ICLC in Madrid in 2019.
Later that night I performed a huuuge Algorave at DINA.
A few days later Black Hole Club had its first online exhibition.
In my experience of working with artists and institutions many of them see the internet as a promotional tool. Through this exhibition I wanted to see how the cohort’s practice could be translated to the internet where many of the IRL restrictions of space and time either don’t exist or are transformed. For example, in IRL land there’s a logical way to navigate a space and work can be viewed without distractions. On the internet we’re often fighting for attention from ads, 100 other tabs and, well, each other. This was Black Hole Club’s first online exhibition, so not all these issues were explored but I think we made a good start! View the exhibition here: https://blackholeclub.hotglue.me/
Over in Finland the “Glitch Art” exhibition opened at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art. It features my work What is your glitch? 1bitgifavibmpbmpcmykbmprgbjpgmpgpcxpixpngppmsgisvgtgawebp and Unstable Mediums alongside works by Rosa Menkman and JODI . Go see it before it closes on 13th January 2019 (or pay for my flight and I’ll come with you 😉 ).
I was in planes for what like felt like forever to play at an Algorave in Odense, Denmark.
I did a public discussion with Eyal Gruss at Near Now in Nottingham. He was one of the folks who heavily influenced my Curating the Machine project. Video will be online soon I hope.
More performances this month, the first being at databit.me in Arles, France. I first performed at databit.me back in 2012 as artist in residence, and then again in 2013. There’s so many things I like about this festival, but above everything I love the people (and the food) and the sense of community (and the food).
For databit.me I did my first ever live coded music performance! This took place in a barn in Tarascon on a horse-drawn carriage:
I went on to do another two performances in the festival in similarly weird places. Y’all can listen to a bit here.
In a surprise to many, including myself, the next week I took all the flights to perform at the opening event of Piksel in Bergen, Norway. Can I just state the obvious and say that Norway is dope af. Everything’s just so clean and tidy. It’s also cold and, like, there are lots of hills everywhere but whatever idc. I wish I as there for more than two days.
I think I’m now going to make it a requirement that when I perform it needs to be in as unconventional a space as possible. For my Piksel performance I did visuals in a band stand in the city centre.
It’s supposed to be a month to wind down but instead in December I was doing lots of preparatory work for things happening in 2019. The only public event was the last Black Hole Club exhibition of the year and the launch of their publication.
2018 was certainly one of my favourite years for Black Hole Club. Part of this was due to having funding which allowed me to focus more on building and delivering the programme but also the cohort was 🔥. Y’all can still apply to be part of Black Hole Club in 2019.
And so, 2018 is now over. A big thanks to all those who have helped make things possible 🙂 I feel like I’m at a turning point in my career and so next year I will be exploring some other things. Not a massive depature from my usual artwork or curatorial stuff but perhaps more narrowly focused. Until then, happy new year!