With over 2,000 online visitors every month, The Projection Room at The Unstitute is a place for creative experiments and self-empowerment over archaic creative institutions.
See the incredibly diverse range of what was selected in past months by our machines, and visit the creators' websites to find out more about our Participants, and apply to the Participation programme.
15th August -15th September 2016
INSTALGIA: feeling of restlessness and insatiability for attractions ecloses to be nothing more than general indifference, which the protagonists of the movie experience as boredom. They go sightseeing, eat fast food, fight, take pictures and get lost in the tumult of the city. They move through streets and alleys with gardens and statues, museums and galleries with a more or less lethargic lack of interest. Their fingers never leave the camera thus to periodically create a digital impression of reality. Equipped with a smartphone they prey upon predictable pictures. The apparatus – situated between subject and object – insidiously becomes part of their perception. The human pursuit of 'self-actualisation' is on of the fundamental considerations of Carl Roger's personality theory. The movie traces nuances of the tendency to actualize within the contemporary urban space and embodied in the gestures and actions of two tourists.
VICTOR BRIM: is a filmmaker and media artist, mainly concerned with the medium film. His works are equally infused with strategies and aesthetics of the fictional and the documentary. They focus on glances, gestures and actions in regard to urban and transitory spaces. In Viktor Brim's films, space appears as a metaphor-creating process due to its liminal status between subject and object.
15th July - 15th August 2016
AfterVal is something like an advertisement for something like an after-life, the product of my compulsively distracted downloading; a journey through my collection of save-as junk, pirated from various online digital model archives, washed in the rhetorical infinity of deep-space desktop backgrounds and the infinite zoom of the mouse wheel. As digital objects multiply in perpetual copies of an irrelevant original, divorced both material scarcity and the labor of their production, they approach a condition of post-value. Through an exclusive, limited trial release, AfterVal is offering you a personalized ascension into this post-value realm, where too much, or not enough, dissolves into the rejuvenating permanence of maybe.
Curtis Roth (b. 1986, Portland) is an Assistant Professor at the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University and a 2015-2017 resident fellow of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was previously a partner of OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion during the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. He investigates architecture’s processes of cultural, economic and juridical valuation post-internet through diverse media productions including movies, video games, internet micro-economies, drawings, texts and irl stuff.
15th June - 15th July 2016
My work exposes the sliver of magic that can be found in the everyday and turning it into a fantastical and raucous journey through symbolism. Informed by an interest in cinema and theater, these multimedia narratives are told through video, sculpture, drawing, and impromptu performance. A television becomes a portal, a wig becomes a curse, and a queer youth becomes a zebra as unnamed characters navigate from reality into fictional landscapes. The sculptures I make are almost exclusively interactive and based in the language of craft, utilizing fibers, cardboard constructions and copious amounts of glitter glue. The objects invite viewers to become part of a story, breaking the wall that cinema or theater sets up between the audience and the microcosm presented. The end goal is to prove that maybe we are not so alone after all, that the human experience is in fact a shared one.
In 2015 Zach curated one of The Unstitute's projects:
THE OMELET MANIFESTO
15th May - 15th June 2016
Curated in conjunction with [dis]Corporate Bodies 14
The Omelet Manifesto Synopsis: presented video is the result of our (poor) attempt to articulate a contemporary socialist manifesto starting from which we could coagulate the productive forces of humankind and change the world.
“We, Silvia Amancei and Bogdan Armanu, are an artistic couple living and activating in the city of Iasi, Romania.
We were born in 1991, after the fall of Romanian Communism, therefore we have never had a direct relation with the communist ideology and way of organization. During our childhood, like many others, we have been exposed to diverse forms of nostalgia triggered by the precarious condition of life during the so called transition towards the complete democratic / free market.
When we developed a political identity we already knew that the promises of capitalism are unfounded and that the future of too many is darkened by instability and minimal subsistence.
Both unemployed, at least not in the form that we would like to be, we activate as independent artists, working with the issues triggered by the new paradigm of life exploitation. We feel the need of change and would like to put a shoulder to the materialization of this much needed movement, at least through the means available for us, i.e. questioning, underlining, sharing, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, most of the time we come to a negative conclusion regarding our future, both as individuals and society / community.”
15th April - 15th May 2016
On April 9th 2009, maverick video-maker and self-professed ‘outsider’ Arkhip Ippolitov failed in his bid to commit suicide. The investigation that followed revealed a man on the fringes of sanity who had all but erased his identity in favour of living out his life as a fictional character; a character doomed from the outset. Most curious however is that the process of his breakdown was documented and released in the form of the award-winning motion picture ‘Goliadkin’.
This documentary, produced in association with The Institute of Film and Video Studies, Copenhagen, attempts to discern fact from myth and make sensible the question: ‘Who is Arkhip Ippolitov?’
“It is ironic that he [Ippolitov] chose to appropriate the character of Dostoevsky’s Goliadkin as his own, for this is a character driven to desperation by the strange and sudden appearance of his Doppelganger. It is doubly curious when we consider the circumstances of his suicide, his towering resentment toward the success of his movie and the tragic codicil he sought to execute against himself. But what is by far most uncanny is that this movie is a record of his self-destruction and that we, the audience, are capable of taking pleasure in the spectacle.”
15th March - 15th April 2016
The Projection Room at the Unstitute is pleased to present the fast paced, steam powered 'Iron Horse of the Studio' (2015) video by UK artist Tim Neath. Forming a part of an ongoing exploration of the Western genre of cinema, its tropes, conventions and cliches, Tim expertly and wittily manipulates found footage with handmade balsa model miniatures and sets created in his studio at Two Queens, Leicester, UK.
These new digitised hybrid environments, where narrative and linear coincidences and surreal juxtapositions, remythologised in the video frame, create an uncanny clash of visual/narrative fields and cinematic symbols on this Wild West journey of the artist's studio.
15th February - 15th March 2016
DADALOOP is a a surrealist wedding cake, a futurist banquet, a baroque orgy of colors and flavors, a ratatouille of images in which food becomes a dream - or nightmare - and the reflection of schizophrenic diets in the claustrophobic frame of a self-portrait.
Francesca Fini is an interdisciplinary artist mainly focused on video art projects and performance art. With a deep training as a digital artist, she worked for 15 years in the field of television authoring and production.
In 2000 she met American artist Kristin Jones and they started a very long collaboration on the project “Tevereterno”, creating installations for the city of Rome. With Kristin Jones, Kiki Smith and other artists she attended the 2008 River to River Festival in New York, projecting her animation “Moon Loop” on the trees of the Hudson River.
In 2014 she has been selected for the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition, organized by the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. She was also invited in Kolkata, India, where she lectured and performed at the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute.
15th January - 15th February 2016
"After Mental Wealth 2013" takes as its launching point Chris Cunningham's 1999 Playstation commercial, "Mental Wealth." The artist becomes an analogue Fi-Fi, distorted and reconstituted through a decade of internet and social media normalization. The future of Cunningham's technological futurism has become our present, and it is not what we had expected. Nu-goths, Chun Li, space lazers, Pokemon, Grimes and Ben Lerner make their appearance in a melange of Tumblr earnestness and net- and 90s- nostalgia. Cunningham's Fi-Fi told us to land on our own moon. The artist as Fi-Fi tells you to do it in a skylit room, surrounded by your friends.
Catalina Ouyang is the recipient of the 2011 Esther & Arthur Proetz Scholarship, the 2011 Elizabeth Greenshields Grant and the 2014 Caroline Risque Janis Prize in Sculpture. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Annapolis, Baltimore, Florence and St. Louis, including at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Contemporary Art Museum. In 2011, her work was included in Manifest Gallery's International Drawing Annual 6. Ouyang received her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2015.
15th December 2015- 15th January 2016
Peter Wilman Modulate a Thousand Times More (video)
Peter Wildman is a media artist who has been messing around with technology ever since he was 12 and he successfully wired up a telephone line in his bedroom using sticky tape and al-foil. Since then he has been building interactive installations, teaching others to mess with technology and hacking his way around the world in code.
Modulate A Thousand Times More is a natural expression of coded language where imagination tangles with constraints of syntactical possibility and limitation to create a moment of poetry. The process of writing is just as much about exploring the possibilities of computer programming as it is about conveying a meaning through words and imagery. There are many layers to code that hide beneath desktops and web browsers. Layers of potential space and meaning that can be explored through subverting the functionality of coded language and the perspective of how it is written, viewed and read.
Zach Kurth-Nelson nothings_nomeanings (video)
nothings_nomeanings is a collage of found media, video and sound. I harvest media, extracting snippets / clips to use as part of a collage. I collect tens of thousands of these clips, which I refer to as samples following in the tradition of pop music and hip-hop sampling. I meld these samples together to create new and unique multimedia entities - gestalts. I am bewitched by the inherent beauty of each found-object, and in their potential for existing together in synthesis, so I do not distort or pervert them. Hundreds or thousands of samples are churned together, each providing their own distinct identity. The exact quality of every recording - the hiss, the static, the color - is kept intact. The samples represent exactly themselves, snippets of recorded media, no more and no less. A video sample is not a directreference to the subject material. It contains within it the subject material, but it also contains all of the minutia of recording - the perspective (physical and cultural) of the author, the equipment, and the uniqueness of the conditions of the recording, with the arm positioned exactly thus, or the singer holding the note for an extra 1/100th of a second. All of these details comprise the character of the sample, and the amalgamation of these characters can be startling and beautiful. Yet, at the same time, they also often overwhelm me with nostalgia that I have trouble explaining.
15th November - 15th December 2015
Kayle Karbowski is a human being, artist, writer, curator, Scorpio and self-informed cultural critic that was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and currently lives and works in Milwaukee, WI. She actively traverses the line between DIY and institutional art scenes through participating in and organizing a diverse set of exhibitions and events.
In her personal practice, Karbowski utilizes the language and tools of film, video and theater to highlight the value placed upon masking, refining and performing as a way of existing in mainstream American culture. Sculptures present themselves as performance props or surrogates for a portal into another world, characters are always seen as avatars or actors (no matter how sincere they may be), and familiar places become foreign as they take the shape and feel of a digital landscape or dream. Science fiction, queerness and satire take center stage as she navigates these malleable modes of representation. “It is only through happening upon the parallel of your homeland, meeting your doppelgänger, or knowingly engaging with déjà vu, that we can really confront who we are and where we come from.
From Inside a Beehive and Back Again invites us as viewers to peer in through a piece of garden décor to bare witness to a possibly female alien humanoid's experience in an undefined moment in time. Each environment she exists in holds its own sense of artificiality and malleability, almost like going deeper into a virtual subconscious. Who holds the power over these spaces, these things? Where did she come from and where is she going? Is she an abstraction of the contemporary suburban woman or just a figment of our imagination?
You can watch Kayle Karbowski's videos 'Rainbow Road'and 'Zagreenoboofia'at The Unstitute's [dis]Corporate Bodies Project
15th October - 15th November 2015
#### was made in collaboration between contemporary artist Mark Tholander (1988 -), and former film producer Sam Lomberg (1920–2014). They made this video as a reflection on how the world has changed into a hybrid reality where the space between the physical and the virtual is fluid..
Mark Tholander is a contemporary artist who works and lives in Denmark, and has studied in St. Petersburg, Russia. His video art explores how we perceive the world, and how this perception has changed with the advent of the digital. He has exhibited his videos in various countries, including USA, England, Egypt, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland. Today he is a student at the Jutland Art Academy, Denmark.
If travel is defined as being disconnected from a place, how exactly can we represent it? Set against today’s age of ephemeral network flows, travel (or from the Western perspective, cosmopolitanism) becomes even more difficult to map. More than ever we are set between the infinite images of places and the quest to find our personal experience within that. The Bourgeois Agony of Travel is both a critique of postmodern cosmopolitanism and a testament to travel as a philosophical and emotional state of exploration.
The work “Filament”, 2014, explores temporality and phenomena within moving image and sound. Central to the work is an engagement with subjectivity and mediation to approach notions of the sublime. This processed work combines responses to passages within Lacan's IX Seminar (1961 - 62) that question amongst other things, interiority and exteriority.
Grant Petrey is a Senior Lecturer at the University for the Creative Arts, UK, teaching theory and practice on a range of Fine Art and Media programmes. He has worked extensively with Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK, and as a visiting consultant lecturer at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, USA. He has presented his research and work internationally, with early work being part of the National Collection of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. His fine art practice explores temporality via the triangulation of the still and moving image with the sonic. Recent screenings include L’Alternativa at the Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Art, Spain; Crane Arts Projects Space Philadelphia, USA and SIGGRAPH, Los Angeles Convention Centre, USA.
15th September - 15th October 2015
UN Reality presents video works by 6 international artists selected to represent the first major group screening at the Projection Room to celebrate 5 years since The Unstitute dug its first hole underground.
Selected from many unspecified open submissions, (and starting with Harold Charre's video 'In between',) over time a distinct body of work evolved that independently render existential subject matter rich in symbolism, dream imagery and innovative videography techniques.
This group presentation seeks to invite some of the less conscious recesses of the human psyche to the fore in this screening with a selection of excellent works that make this subject area so paradoxical and complex. We hope there are areas of resonance within our group of loyal followers...YOU!
VHS | GLASS | METAL | PLASTIC | PAPER
15th August - 15th September 2015
Mongo n. slang. object thrown away and then recovered
Cape Mongo follows the stories of five characters as they journey through the city of Cape Town. Each Mongo character is made from the city’s discarded waste – mythical ‘trash creatures’ which have emerged from the growing dumps of consumer culture. In five short films, the creatures revisit the spaces of their imagined pasts – the locations associated with their material existence and the constitution of their social relations – as if walking against the consumer-driven currents of city. From postmodern shopping malls to the bustling streets of the Bo Kaap to leafy suburbia and desolate shipping-container yards, these characters’ journeys conjure up imagery that touches on some of the historical trajectories that have lead up to the endemic inequality and social alienation which characterises present day Cape Town.
Artist Francois Knoetze has constructed six wearable sculptures entirely out of waste. Rather than merely disposable items which are purged from our lives as soon as the garbage truck disappears around the bend or which lie dormant in an ever-widening layer in the crust of the earth for future archaeologists to marvel at; Cape Mongo imagines trash objects – specifically, the packaging of domestic consumables and the electronic devices used to record every-day life – as mnemonic vestiges of the activities that shaped them. Performing all over the city of Cape Town for a period of two years, Cape Mongo is the documentation of these performances but also pulls together found footage relating to various issues around housing, food security, inequality and racial segregation.
Francois Knoetze is a Cape Town based artist. He obtained a BFA at Rhodes University in 2012 and recently completed his MFA at Michaelis School of Fine Art. He has participated at a number of group shows, some including the 2014 Cape Town Art Fair, The Big Hole (Art Week Cape Town 2014), the National Arts Festival Main Program (‘Analogue Eye’ in 2014 and ‘Discharge’ in 2012), the Absa L’Atelier exhibition (2011), and the Sasol New Signatures exhibition (2011 & 2013).
Knoetze's work investigates the relationship between the aesthetics of waste and the glossy facade of consumerism. Through public performance, sculpture and film, his practice explores the nuanced lives of discarded objects and the powerful scope that the indeterminacy of trash allows for reorganisation and redefinition.
15th July - 15th August 2015
"High-resolution photographs of low-resolution encounters, offer a surprisingly intimate reading of a contemporary loneliness. Live streaming video projections of the one-shot-per-second progression of web cameras result in a fireworks-display of light signals as if trying to communicate in some unknown code, some unknown message. Voyeurism and self-induced surveillance through constant online exposure are the desperate desires of participation in the online world, which fails in the colloquial boredom of chat-rooms. News photographs turn the faces of individuals into abstract dots, and the identities of witnesses to wonders are erased through censorship.
My work explores subjective themes as they are experienced in the age of information. I examine the anxiety of alienation, the desires of communication and a sense of be-longing in a virtual world. These traits, attributed to Romanticism, are dealt with in my work through the lenses of contemporary communication technology, the media and historical preconceptions. I am particularly interested in the depiction of the individual and individuality through media technology, with its resulting misrepresentations and miscommunications. Through this juxtaposition of technology and Romanticism I attempt to challenge the image of the Internet as the “global village,” objectivism in the news and the ideology of science." J.Vogel
You can view Jenny Vogel's Everything Must Be In Flames' at The Unstitute's [dis]Corporate Bodies Project
15th June - 15th July 2015
Oskar Johanson: On Thames is a short film that follows Sergei Rudenko, a Ukrainian national who believes the City of London Corporation has been secretly transforming the entire Square Mile into a vehicle capable of intercontinental flight.
Oskar Johanson is an artist and writer based in London. He graduated from Goldsmiths with a BA in Fine Art & the History of Art (Dual Honours) in 2013. He is currently studying architecture at the Architectural Association, and is co-editor of the weekly periodical PNYX.
15th May 2014 - 15th June 2015
Eden Mitsenmacher: Born 1987 in the USA; works in London and Tel Aviv. Combining performance, video and installation to take a critical yet engaging view of social, political and cultural issues. Embracing the desire to do what you love and occasionally getting embarrassed by it. Finding a form for vulnerability and blurring the lines between sincerity and ambiguity. Using pop culture as a frame of reference for social and personal critique but also as a way to create familiarity and accessibility. Sharing and connecting experiences between an I and a You.
Personal experiences such as love, loneliness and longing are taken at face value but are immediately turned into points of systematic general inquiry. The banal becomes serious, and vice versa. Presenting hyper-worlds, built from cultural stereotypes and clichés, then pushed to the brink of emotional overload. Kitsch is a conscious strategy in my research and practice. My inspirations often come from the observation in daily life and especially the firsthand experiences. As one of the many individuals who are experiencing the confusion and struggles in the current macro environment I am interested in the doubts, curiosity and cognition for the potential new value orientations and its unpredictable future possibilities.
Patrik Moser: Lives and works in St Augustine, Florida.
"I make paintings, drawings and experimental performance videos. I am excited by physical and emotional spaces that are simultaneously heavy and light, something like the experience of one’s own child, a conflation of deep love and profound fear. I find the intentional misuse of tools thrilling, seeding new outcomes, shaping fantasy, melancholy and futility.
A former neighbor inspired the yellow mask I wear in this video. I invented it to perform ceremonial physical actions in his stead as he struggled with a life ending sickness. The character is an avatar exploring a contrived personal mythology flavored with gratuitous violence. The form is an inverted mask, a cover to wear when you are alone, a mask only revealed in isolation. I live and work in Florida, a fully realized material and conceptual wilderness wonderland."
I believe that my film CIRCUMstance (2014) resonates quite deeply with visualising and thinking through everyday images of protest. In that the film is an attempt to understand the digital platforms which dominate our popular and common modes of communication. This can be seen by it’s narrative tactic of using GOOGLE’s programmes to demonstrate their truly global spread and influence. I guess that I created this work to express annoyance toward the fact that technology can accurately map and portray this world so accurately. However, this does seemingly not aid in affective changes in our daily attempt’s to understand why the system’s we live by often fail us as individuals.
I have been more sensitive recently to the ways in which external influences are consumed, digested, and incorporated into my demeanor and personal affectations. If I spend time with someone over the course of days or weeks, I start to notice that I selectively, yet inadvertently, begin to adopt their mannerisms, modes of expression, particular colloquialisms, even their distinctive gait… vestiges of their person which can and do reverberate through time, and which start to exist independently of the individual which set them in motion. They are ripples in the fabric of my personality where it has been touched by another. Some of them last for a time and fade away, others take root and change shape as they find a permanent nest in that thing which constitutes the affectable and effectible me.
This piece is an attempt to localize this phenomenon of change within the irreducible immediacy of physical being. By extracting my own blood, exposing it to external action and substance - making it into a blood sausage - and then consuming it, this process of change is run from start to finish in a closed system. How will this action change the blood itself? Will it alter the constitution of my physical or personal body? Will this be a product of the action, the physical substance, or both? Where, exactly, does the change occur? Or, phrased differently, will this particular series of events have any real consequence outside of its abstraction via critical thought?
Film and performance by Paul Remund and Hollie Miller.Sound by Paul Remund.
Locations include: Hill of Crosses, Siauliai, Lithuania; Patarei Prison, Tallinn, Estonia and Linnahall, Tallinn, Estonia.
Hill of Crosses is film that blindly guides you through a space between solitude and the feverish discovery of the self. Two wanderers imprisoned by their silence discover movement as a means of finding their voice.
It is a trans-Atlantic collaboration meeting at an in between place. This experimental film documents a journey through the Baltic's discovering abandoned and sacred places and delving into the freedom of loneliness. A series of performance rituals of the body in response to space are played out to a dreamlike and eerie sound score.
Paul works out of Brooklyn, New York in a variety of media including film, sound, sculpture, performance and paint. Hollie is a performance artist from London, UK interested in the moving body and creating site specific work for film.
‘Flabzilla’ was being shown as part of a site-wide feminist takeover at The Unstitute. To explore more works in the series - including essays, videos and images - please also visit Page 3 of [dis]Corporate Bodies Project. Visit Page 3
Kayleigh O'Keefe is a contemporary artist engaging with themes of body confidence, identity and alienation through performance and film. She has collaborated with artists, filmmakers and non-performers, produced and directed immersive live art events for the Pink Bear Club and distributed her performance art videos to an online audience.
'Flabzilla subverts the concept of the monstrous fatty and plays with common perceptions of an ‘othered’ physique. A morbidly obese behemoth rises from the sea and uses her body mass to attack the city of London, which is built entirely from cardboard and packaging tape. Treading a fine line between grotesque and sex, weighty flesh and physical power clash with intricately crafted landmarks until all is destroyed.'
"Taped around 'La Vega Central' (open market. Santiago, Chile) About how dance invisible is this reality, how wander in circles…" Director, camera work, editing, original sound/music - Jorge Catoni
'Developing Nation' presents a montage of living vignettes, of pasted-together subworlds and rejects, derelicts and conflagrations, as though an irruption/flourishing in the southern heart of Santiago had engulfed this modern, high-tech city, accelerated the rate of entropy in the interconnecting neighbourhoods. Catoni's observations are highly sensitive, both everyday and unimpressive like the bulk of our everyday lives, yet they inflict resonant images on the retina - a sort of video-graffiti or poetic economy of means.
‘Duty to Act’ shows a hobbyist’s response to the world of broadcast television and past cinematic techniques married with a domesticated DIY pursuit that reflects on today’s implosion of socially mediated news casting. We are witness to a confused interpretation of the production and consumption of personal and mass media, forming a cyclical and closed system in an anonymous living room. The historically loaded script becomes a document that examines the role of rhetoric and political speeches as a form of linguistic technology, something which aids the design of ideologies, emotions and culture.
With our changing relationship to a media environment that sees art imitate life, and vice versa, our understanding of reality is in reference to a vast array of fictional scenarios, persuasive techniques and the careful translation of real world events.
‘Duty to Act’ is a layered approach to representing the ambivalence found in real life news events and their fictional counterparts. By constructing a character who presents an elaborate set of simulations, an overloaded environment emerges that questions our relationship to the projections of fact and fiction, in addition to interpretations of current issues surrounding the politics of terror attacks and their management in all media.
Tim Miller's work explores a process of re-scripting and commodification of reality. Through analysing and re-performing behavioural systems, he aims to highlight multiple possibilities, informing, contributing towards and reflecting upon the construction of individual realities.
'Interview in Progress' is the first part of a larger project 'Professional Practice' that explores the creation and use of narrative in professional environments. Through a forum theatre role-play event, narrative is explored to construct effective personal narratives as a response to standard job interview questions. Through a process of re-scripting, individuals are aided by a panel of screen-writers, each narrative developed being acted out on stage by two actors allowing participants the opportunity to reflect upon possible professional performances. The methodology of 're-scripting' presented may also be utilised by the participants to re-construct their own narratives in a variety of other professional or social scenarios.
The Chance of Resurrection.
In the spring of 1998, Christ Church – Saint James, an historic black church in Toronto’s Little Italy, was destroyed by arson. All that remained were walls and a pit, and over subsequent years, the site was overtaken with graffiti. This film has taken on the layered form of the site itself, the space and its surfaces becoming tangled and multiple, the grid of a stone-filled window giving geometric form to simultaneously occurring images of concrete, nature, waste, paint, and sky.
This is the statement that I have used to introduce this film since its completion in late 2011. It is a mysterious statement, in a sense; it suggests a deeper narrative of the ruins, but it primarily describes the film by surface terms, its central aesthetic one of simultaneous perspective.
The church was discovered ablaze at 4:40 a.m. on the morning of April 16, 1998. The ensuing arson investigation led to the scene of a murder at the University of Toronto medical science lab. An employee, Bob Ivens, had been beaten to death, stuffed inside of a body bag, and left among the other cadavers. Absent from the scene was his coworker of twenty-seven years, Stephen Toussaint. Police had come seeking Toussaint because of his key access to the church. Toussaint was a middle-aged family man with no history of violence, with considerable personal devotion to the Caribbean-Canadian congregation of Christ Church – Saint James, a British Methodist Episcopalian (BME) church with its roots in the African Methodist Episcopal ministries.(1) There, Toussaint was a trustee, treasurer, and board member. He would later be described as “a pillar of the church.”(2) Limited information was released about the case, partly out of respect for the privacy of the families involved, but also to preserve the course of justice should the suspect have been apprehended and tried. Later, an article detailing the case would recount interviews with Toussaint’s coworkers who revealed his final months on the job as a descent into Inferno, corpses piled up like a scene from Bosch’s hell. Toussaint’s erratic behaviour and disorganization, arising from an implied alcoholism and mental deterioration, gave way to formal reprimands; counter to this, his family and friends spoke to the press of his good character.(3) Stephen Toussaint’s guilt or innocence was never debated in court, for after a year-long manhunt, his skeletal remains were discovered at the Scarborough Bluffs in the city’s east end.(4) Whether Toussaint did or did not commit the arson has come under speculation; on the same night, two other fires were started in Toronto churches, albeit at Catholic churches, and in those cases the suspect was identified as a white male.(5) But if Toussaint did commit both the murder and the arson, in a sudden and total decline into madness, then his actions on the night of April 15 were of profound annihilation, directed at all that defined him.
I was fourteen years old when these events took place. When I turned to them a few years later as source material for a novel (yet unfinished), I was stunned by the modulations that this story had undergone. One particularly dramatic retelling characterized Stephen Toussaint as a professor, rather than a lab technician, a practitioner of Voodoo rather than a Protestant, and claimed that he had absconded with research funding intended for a study of the scientific possibilities of resurrection.(6) A similar account claimed that rather than steal research funding, it was the treasury holdings of the church that he had stolen, and that the fire was to conceal his crime.(7) Almost all of these stories concluded that a fictional criminal partner had murdered Toussaint, though the press had implied suicide. The story’s propensity for mystery had inspired tall tales aimed at enhancing that mystery by their own constructions. But most storytellers simply mistook facts, swapping seasons, changing minor details, offering motives whose only basis in reality was the dreamer who imagined them.
It was at this time, in 2005, that I videotaped the site with the intention of making a film. I assembled the material together into the crude form of long static takes joined by hard cuts. Soon after I would begin to layer the footage digitally. At the core of this work was that simultaneity of perspective, of figurative perspective that would allow for the coexistence of Toussaint’s unresolved dualities, as family man and monster, but also, of literal perspective, layering images as a means of expressing the fragmented experience of being there. A later modulation of the film would screen at the Diagonal Film Archive in Seoul, South Korea, in 2010, and in short order, from that point through to 2011, the materials would be reshaped and finally take on their present form. In this form, the film bears explicit debts to Stan Brakhage, in particular, his Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde (1989). Brakhage had written of that film as an act of coming to see Mesa Verde “as a Time rather than any such solidity as Place.”(8) This was the impetus for the final version of Christ Church – Saint James. It helped me realize that the instant of the ruin was a path to its history, and considered would be a truer representation than any record of the place. I could no longer see the subject in strictly architectural terms. I began to interfere with the image in more aggressive ways, to build rhythms and superimpositions that subverted its architectural, spatial reality, and to construct mattes that would obscure and give violent expression to the images. The shape of the place became only a base, an undercurrent, a giver of geometric form, and this film, now breathing, could finally reflect the instant of the ruin’s becoming. It ultimately became through several generations of rephotography, from digital video to film, back and forth, finally settling as a 16mm film.
The film’s soundtrack originates on John Butcher’s album The Geometry of Sentiment (Emanem, 2007). The piece is entitled “A Short Time to Sing,” with Butcher on soprano saxophone, manipulating his amplified signal, here crediting his instrument as ‘feedback soprano saxophone’. Butcher’s percussive fingerings resonate, cycling and varying, his performance stretching to the tremulous heights of a shakuhachi’s pitch. But it is always filtered through the electric, in a balance between sustained tones and sudden percussive caesura. The image, manipulated by both photographic and digital means, comes to echo Butcher’s process. And like Butcher’s music, the film is structured as breathing, drifting from respiration to a sudden gasp. The music, as a point of inspiration, helped the work to finally bear its own time. In its final form, Christ Church – Saint James is a record of the decimation of the physical church and, in a sense, the fragmentation of its community. It is also a tribute to the ambiguities surrounding its ruin. But its aesthetics come from felt improvisation, from an impression gathered from the space itself and its own sense of time, and from actions upon actions summoning the moment of its ruin, gathered slowly by a long interval.
Because my films do not bear thanks, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge those without whose support I would not have been able to complete this film: Karl Reinsalu, Gareth Jasper, and Ben Donoghue of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto; Sebastjan Henrickson of Niagara Custom Lab; Lianna Hillerup of Frame Discreet; Ray Cook and Dean Allen of Skylight Studios; and Adam Jackson, a friend not seen now for many years who accompanied me when I first filmed the ruins nine years ago. My thanks are also owed to Andréa Picard, who premiered the film at the TIFF Cinematheque; to John Butcher, whose enthusiasm for the work was and remains a point of tremendous pride for me; and to R. Bruce Elder and Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof, who encouraged me to not abandon the film too soon.
Stephen Broomer, April 15, 2014
1. In Canada, the British Methodist Episcopal movement played a role in the Underground Railroad, their churches serving as a haven for freed slaves.
2. “Morgue colleague killed, suspect nowhere to be found,” Toronto Star, January 2, 1998, A8.
3. Dale Brazao, “What ever happened to Steve Toussaint?” Toronto Star, October 18, 1998, A1.
4. Dale Brazao, “Murder suspect’s remains identified.” Toronto Star, July 23, 1999, A1.
5. Despite the strangeness of these circumstances, it is worth noting that the Toronto Police did believe in Toussaint’s guilt enough to name him as a person of interest, that either something unannounced or the circumstantial evidence of the murder had caused them to distinguish this arson from the others. The other fires had also failed to consume the churches, but had caused considerable damage at St. Nicola di Bari and St. Clare’s Catholic Church.
6. Surely his family name – Toussaint, for the Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture – furthered this association between Grenadian émigré Stephen Toussaint and Haitian voodoo.
7. The Reverend Maurice Hicks reassured the congregation in the days following the fire that Toussaint had committed no financial fraud against the church. Michelle Shephard and Jim Rankin, “Hundreds mourn lab worker while hunt for colleague continues,” Toronto Star, April 21, 1998, C5.
8. Brakhage’s remarks, which continue as a discussion of the resonance of terror at Mesa Verde, and that terror as something that lingered for Brakhage in the days that followed filming, were published in distributor’s catalogs, for example, that of Canyon Cinema, from which P. Adams Sitney cites it as such: Canyon Cinema Film/Video Catalog 7, p. 57.
Sandra Fruebing’s work involves the development of narration to explore and reflect upon the relation between individual politics and contemporary society. Mostly her work involves deeper research within the fields of film, literature and the everyday social interaction. The outcomes are presented in various media from objects that are involved in the storytelling till the creation of a filmed spectacle. Sandra Fruebing is currently based in London and just finished her MA Design Products at the Royal College of Art.
"The Individual’s Pursuit by Sandra Fruebing is the creation of a narrative based on a character whose quest is to inhabit an in--‐between space as an exploration of borders and boundaries. The personal desire to walk along the edge of water and earth, where both elements meet, is becoming a strong desire- almost an obsession. Specially designed apparatus and physical training exercises will be employed in an attempt to fulfil the desire. The project challenges our perception of what is accepted as normal and questions common sense. It looks at how borders in a physical and philosophical way create our definition of identity and reality.
Within the process of creating the storytelling around this rather odd quest the questions of the relationship between the individual belief and society will be explored as well as the longing for a creation of a personal space where one is almost attempting to disconnect oneself from reality and therefore add another layer to the “real real”.
Partly it is about questioning common sense all the time and designing the moment of unlocking normality as well as trigger situation in which you explore the in- between. On the one hand I investigate into the relationship between the individual and society to see how one person is still able to fulfil what he or she is aiming for. On the other hand the inhabitation of new spaces plays a key role. Looking at examples of exploration in all their variety (climbing, artic exploration, space travel) I wonder where the culture of exploration will take us. Basically, we are creating very specialized Super–Humans and skills.
“One characteristic of Western Society is to develop systems, which run perfectly for everybody. But with the elimination of failure will there be place for the odds? Will there be the ambition to go beyond what is here? Will this still be possible or will the individual investigation be destroyed?” (quote from the voice over) Or will we interpret everything as grey zones and use it in odd ways? How much standardization is good and not stopping us from going further and challenge reality?
Sometimes it is necessary to create space for individuality, to find the possibility to set yourself aside the normal and not be normal. It is about defining yourself through a search that is driven by your own quest.
The narration of the film follows the Individual in its preparation for the walk at various stages. The training of one leg to become stronger, the training for a possible failure, the rearrangement of the bedroom for training purposes – are all layers that are woven together to create the reality of the character but also discuss wider themes like failure and what does it mean to fail?
As a designer I do not just look at the in-between or one individual’s desire, I also design and craft the culture around it as carefully."
A Diamond Forms Under Pressure, is an anomaly existing somewhere between experimental film and music video. An improvised electronic soundtrack drives proprietary software, which analyses the audio’s frequency content and generates a cogent synchronous image in real-time. Frequencies push and pull against each other stabilising or agitating the central image.
Paul O'Donoghue aka Ocusonic is an Irish composer/ audio visual artist based in Dublin, Ireland. He has released music under a number of pseudonyms for a variety of labels and produced music for television and radio. To date his audio visual work has screened internationally at more than 200 festivals and galleries in 45 countries. His current work is entirely audio visual and explores a disparate collection of methods and techniques for the creation of visual music. Underpinning all of these disciplines is Ocusonics, the real-time generation of synchronous audio and visual material.
TOUCH-Auto-Glitch is a part of a series that explore an automatic/machinic corruption of a film frame - in the video a singular gesture of a finger pressing down is looped, lifted from the original context of the film narrative; isolated, it becomes a gesture of a mechanic destruction, a corruption of its own image. Manipulated by another gesture of the artist pressing down a pause button on a remote control, this mirroring effect of a mechanic and a manual gesture renders the image unrecognizable, in a sense cancelling them both by transforming figurative into abstract which perverts its own image to completely alter its figurative nature. This ends up becoming something unrecognizable.
Described once as "epiphanic", Matthew Williamson makes work about the cohesion between the internet and the stuff that used to be called 'real life'. While working mostly with video and animation gifs, his work is focused on the humorous relationships we forge with our machines. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design and Syracuse University, his work has appeared online and offline at various galleries and websites.
"By blurring lines between reality and illusion, my work examines natural phenomena through the lens of material, landscape, and language. Elements, creatures, and molecules morph into playful and otherworldly scenes of sentience through narratives I create with accessible technology. Taking form in video, photography, and sculptural installation, my work constructs an experience that ponders the collapse of psychic distance between living beings. Working with diverse objects, such as laser prints, borrowed microscopes, and discarded houseplants, I find visual methods to invoke the intelligence of intuition, the infinite in the banal, and the ability to understand things on different terms. My inspiration for making this kind of work began as a child, when I would talk to overlooked plants and animals and feel strangely connected to them. Specifically, I remember chatting with the rows of potted plants at Walmart and the unwanted cats at the Humane Society. I felt all of them to be perceptive beings with rich personalities. I felt how supernatural their presences seemed and simultaneously, how ethereal my own presence was. I remember feeling I wasn’t that different from them in some fundamental way."
Dakota Gearhart, also known as Tiffany Peters and Tiff Mich, is an artist working in video, performance, sculpture, and multi-media installation. Dakota has exhibited work both nationally and internationally in venues such as Interstitial Theater, Seattle; Elsewhere Studios, Greensboro; Launchpad Gallery, Portland; Core Art Space, Denver; Artgrease, Buffalo; Purdue University Gallery, West Lafayette; Universitat de Barcelona, Spain; and Taiyuan University Gallery, China. Her work has been published in Trifecta Magazine, Carpaccio Magazine, and Open to Interpretation Books. She is the recipient of the Julaine Martin Scholarship, the Jane & David Davis Fellowship, and the Cultural Ambassador Scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Education. She is the organizer of the experimental garage space, The Royal Box, which showcases artists, writers, and musicians of the Pacific Northwest. Dakota was born in Arizona, raised in Florida and lives and works in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, where she recently graduated with her MFA from the University of Washington.
"In the Berlin city everyone is going crazy for a viral new app. Anyone with a smartphone can play a sort of Super Mario Bros arcade game in Augmented Reality and win Bitcoins by playing. One coin corresponds to 0.01 Bitcoins. Citizens' habits are tainted by the game. Coins are hidden all over the city, you can spot them just scanning around with your device, not always they are easy to grab. People started to leave their jobs in order to collect Coins in the streets. All over the city people are jumping and running around with their smartphones, trying to grab as many virtual coins as they can, while the App developers identity remain covered. The 14 minutes movie is divided in chapters or "levels" which follows the 8bit vintage graphic and introduce to the following events with a small 8 bit animations. Peculiar elements of the Berlin city become part the Super Mario Land landscape, see those pink or blue tubes that run everywhere in the city, those climber plants popping out from wild abandoned place like old factories, longlines, gardens, those those east side building made with old red bricks, and the brige Oberbaumbrucke on the Spree river which seem the exact copy of the Super Mario's final boss castle. In these scenery there are now people chasing coins by jumping around the city, people sailing on small boats on rivers, people losing their job and falling from bridges… and so on, while nobody knows who is giving them all that money and why. During the movie, acknowledged bloggers, hackers, game developers, financial expert are interviewed. The shooting itself appear to be a game in the game: all the interviewees are asked to imagine the city as the app release happened for real and to answer thereby, sometimes they are even asked to play with it, but their skills and knowledge in the field allows to raise important questions on the actual use of internet, social networks and virtual currencies. Part of the work is dedicated to the Bitcoinkiez, a small Berlin district where local owners started to sell their products in Bitcoins through the Bitcoin Wallet App, which would be the "real" app to whom the Super Mario app is corresponding and who holds a world record: no other neighborhood in the world is so densely populated with commercial activities that accept the Bitcoin as a valid currency. Once that the film was completed, it was uploaded on the internet where it become a proper social experiment. There were collected chats and comments about the movie and of the people reaction to this mockery: in Poland, Portugal and Japan the news about the 1 Up Fever app was posted as this was a real app, now in commerce. On reddit, blogs and BTC chats there were discussions about the feasibility of the app, and about the conspiracy behind the movie. Many where writing from all over the world to get this new phantomatic application which kind of awakened the old Klondike Gold Rush. German, French and American magazines, blogs or tvchannels were finally dismantled the mock, and bringing the readers to a more qualitative consideration: to this day, most of the Internet's users have no idea about the huge earnings that big search engines and social networks make out of their private informations, data roaming, from the tracking of their buying, selling, talking. For those users, the usage of apps, social networks and so on is nothing more than a game."
Toby Tatum is an artist living and working in Hastings on the English south-coast, who makes films.
"I basically make films on my own, shooting digitally and editing at home. For the last few years I’ve worked with a composer, Abi Fry from the band British Sea Power. The films cost almost nothing to make. Each film, for me, addresses a series of ideas that I’d have been mulling over for several months, although not all of those may come over to the viewer. Central to the whole practice is the idea of an artist being able to create worlds of their own, self contained universes that abide by their own limits and rules, that exist to some degree independent from the wider world."
'The Lost World Of Toby Tatum' Video Statement
Part of an ongoing collaboration between artists Dawn Nye and Katrazyna Randall, this is a true story told from memory and visually investigated through the lens of one very far removed. Looking through the idyllic frame of the rural American landscape, the narrator leads tells the story of a culture where death is the mundane thread of daily existence and comfort food marks the limited boundaries of hope. Throughout the centuries the landscape has been imbued with the hope, fear, honor, righteousness, delicacy, power and the faith of man. This video investigates that history through a contemporary lens and seeks to find a relationship between the romantic, the tragic and the everyday.
FUTURE DEATH TOLL (F-DT) is a multidisciplinary collective creating work that circumvent the normal bounds that geographic locations and physical media impose on an art form. In a society where choice and personal privacy are increasingly under attack, the struggle for personal empowerment has become the pulled lynchpin to the derailment of human evolution. By confronting and harnessing technology we hope to create tools to orientate our post-evolutionary selves. F-DT is a throbbing mess of noise.
2002 Square, Velenje Gallery, Velenje, SLO
2002 2+1 exhibition, Mladinski center Velenje, Velenje, SLO
2003 Open Art 2003, Galerie Jaspers, München, GER
2003 Tab, Atelje 2050, Ljubljana, SLO
2004 e.g., phase 4, München, GER
2006 Persone, P74 Gallery, Ljubljana, SLO
2009 Fuckin' Hanging, Galerija Gregor Podnar, Ljubljana, SLO
2012 SOFA, International Center of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, SLO
2013 Galerija Gregor Podnar, LET GO, Ljubljana, Slovenija
Based on your experience, how does it feel to become one, or more than two?
Rebecca La Marre with Jaakko Pallasvuo: When I think of two becoming one I am at first reminded of my early love of the Spice Girls, with the Biblical sense of the phrase floating around in the background.
The process of becoming one—as part of Full Disclosure—required a great deal of trust and negotiation; it was an experiment that was mutually entered into with, on my part, little thought about where it might take us both.* It also took a certain amount of commitment to sharing my experience of the process, and having to accept and stay with the parts that were uncomfortable. The project has probably been more successful than most of my romantic relationships in this sense. It also felt oddly sexual in the way the phrase “two become one” intimates, odd in a queer sense that involved my body but only to the extent that it was working and work can be pleasurable, and also odd because it was completely a-romantic.
The sexual component and the religious component are linked for me, and recently when Jaakko and I gave a lecture at Kingston University, without consulting each other we somehow both ended up talking about the way language interferes with communicating love—a theme that is very bound up with religious and mystic traditions, and more recently, linguistic theory.
I apprenticed under a shaman in Vancouver. I can say with the benefit of hindsight that even though the project was framed as a critical investigation or experiment, effectively Jaakko was asking me to use his energy. When this kind of exchange is unethical, or imbalanced in some way, it can be called a possession, so I was somewhat aware of the level of risk involved in his request. A shamanic view is that all relations are founded on some kind of agreement that in turn produces material conditions.
This is matched by the questions I was inquiring into about the way the Internet is talked about as something immaterial with no supposed connection to bodies. I also wanted to interrogate exactly how writing produces value for artists: what the relation is between a name, or a word, and the material existence of what that name is attached to, and how manipulating that relation produces effects.
The unfortunate outcome of our experiment, or game, is that we both applied to a residency that I was accepted to and Jaakko was not. I didn’t find out that the selectors didn’t believe in Jaakko’s existence until I arrived, and it was too late to address the situation.
In effect, I was using Jaakko as a material in my practice and to extend my capabilities to exist in multiple places at once. I would make jokes about omnipotence and omnipresence, and the project conveniently made it look as though I was able to produce work at the speed of the Internet, which is physically impossible for one person who barely gets paid to do. I deeply suspect that our appetite for images on the Internet comes from the same impulse as the worship of religious icons and images.
"My artistic practice encompasses photography, video, installation and performance. I use photographs of objects and people to question issues of artificiality and idealisation.
The artwork forms an enquiry into the act of looking and being looked at. Referring to psychoanalysis, phenomenology and feminism I examine my own experience of becoming an object of sight and also consider the experience the viewer has when looking at me as a female, and a photographic object. Voyeurism and exhibitionism intertwine as I attempt to disrupt relationships of power in purposefully provocative scenes."
'Radical Atheism' is a virtual lecture series which constitutes a coordinated effort to dispense with the metaphysics underpinned by the existence of God. In this video, which is addressed to the atheist, three impediments to traditional atheism are highlighted which are essential to address in an approach to the position and the new necessity of a radical atheism.