Thursday, 19 March 2009

Chilled Funk

I have posted a new episode of my podcast. It is a mixtape called Chilled Funk and is a chilled out funky soul mix featuring hippy, folky, country and jazzy flavours featuring mainly records I picked up and played out while DJing in New York around 2003. Enjoy!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Three Exhibitions

This week I saw Altermodern curated by Nicolas Bourriaud at Tate Britain, and Annette Messager's retrospective Messengers and Mark Wallinger's The Russian Linesman both at the Hayward.

Altermodern's premise is fairly vague based around a state of post-post-modernity being defined by globalisation, increased communication, travel, migration, multiculturalism and identity which is all, to be honest, pretty much a given. It is hard to think of any contemporary artist who's work doesn't in some way touch on one or more of these topics. So despite claims to the contrary there really is no 'Big Idea' here from the man who brought us 'Relational Aesthetics'. So what of the actual show and the actual work? Its layout is, somewhat surprisingly, a bit of jumble not that dissimilar to a good degree show despite themed sections which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Thus we have lots of jarring juxtapositions between the slick and minimal such as Walead Beshty's glass cubes and the hand painted folksiness of Bob and Roberta Smith's texts. In general I was very surprised by how Sensation!(sic) a lot of the work was being, in essence, empty spectacle. There was quite a bit of the kind of tack you would expect to see in a Damien Hirst or Charles Saatchi curated show. I am though being a little harsh here as there is some very good stuff such as Loris Gréaud vibrating floor based on his brain waves and some fun to be had with such works as a nuclear mushroom cloud made of kitchen utensals and a giant accordion! In short there was a lot, and I mean a lot, of stuff. All of it was, to deploy Douglas Huebler's phrase, more or less interesting. Does this 'Altermodern' world of ours really call out for most of it? Probably not...

Annette Messager's show is great fun - the highlights being large scale kinetic installations using air to inflate and deflate organic shapes that evoke, either implicitly or explicitly, the sexual organs, and the pieces using stuffed animals, sometimes de-stuffed, often coming to mechanical (half)life. It made me smile evoking a slightly soiled and sinister version of Sesame Street - and everyone loves Sesame Street! Tip: Don't read the small texts next to the works they turn the actual pieces into nothing more than literal illustrations of very pedestrian ideas - closing off the work and killing the joke.

Wallinger's The Russian Linesman's premise is almost as all encompassing as Bourriad's but the extreme diversity of the works selected, ranging from a William Blake painting to Aernouts Mik's video installation of unused footage from the then conflict ridden former Yugoslavia, does reflect Wallengers eclecticaly catholic tastes . My three favourite pieces, Monika Sosnowska's Corridor, Fred Sandback's string arrangements and Sturtavents door ajar, are all minimal/conceptual (as one might expect) and play in the space between phenomenology and metaphysics - the gap between how we experience the world and the world as it is. In the spirit of Wallinger's sporting allusion in the title of the exhibition the final scores are:

Bourriaud - 6 out of 10
Messager - 8 out of 10
Wallinger - 8 out of 10

My First Podcast

Here is a link to my first audio podcast. It is a short funky, dubby, house mix produced on the fly in Ableton live. It uses a lot of brass instrumentation (hence the name) processed through the expansive use of a delay filter. Though house/disco this mix is primarily influenced by the early Dub pioneers King Tubby, Prince Jammy and particularly, Scientist. The artwork I am *appropriating* here is by Tim Rollins and KOS and is from the Amerika series. Enjoy...