PREVIEW Continuum 001
Glasgow: CCA, Sat 19 Feb-Sat 18 Mar.
There is a subtle, yet forceful shift in thinking underway with more and more artists and designers exploring new media. Recent practice has demonstrated that designers can make art, architects can produce film and artists can apply themselves to science and technology.
Now Glasgow's CCA presents Continuum 001, a compelling exhibition that places this kind of creative thinking alongside the cultural transformations brought about by digital technology. Curated by Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt. from the London-based agency Salon 3, the show is an overview of these activities, and the changes they make to how we perceive visual culture.
'Initially the exhibition came out of discussions about society and a growing sense of geographic dislocation; about the phenomenon of the urban dissolve,‘ Nesbitt explains. 'It is about expressions of social exchange, action, reinvention. The exhibition actively explores the way these technologies set up possibilities, permitting ideas to be tested out, dismantled and realised.’
Having assembled sixteen artists and collectives from across the world, the focus of Continuum 001 is on how we communicate and share knowledge across geographic, political and cultural divides. This international dimension, therefore, is crucial to the exhibition, with the artists exploring the sense that location has become immaterial. ’National or individual identities are no longer so significant,’ believes Nesbitt. ‘What is significant is the ability to merge ideas and instigate new potential which, in turn, allows technology to be seen, understood and used more creatively.’
Among a list of international work from Eastern Europe to Korea, Scotland is represented by Nathan Coley, with a work raising issues about sanctuary, and Stephen Hurrel, who considers the vacant cityscape.
Getting technical at the CCA
Other works include Lee Bul’s highly-crafted cyborg sculptures, internet pioneer Vuk Cosic with the antiquated computer language used as an animation device, Julia Scher's analysis of privacy, and Liam Gillick, whose work considers the domination of bureaucratic global corporations. Elsewhere, Darij Kreuh explores the limitations of the body and, in an elaborate take on architecture, Marcos Novak integrates the real with the virtual on ’liquid trans—architecture'.
From PlayStations to internet projects, virtual environments to computer animation, the exhibition will explore how visual culture and creativity are evolved, reshaped and rethought. We can no longer trust autonomous terms like designer, artist, architect, filmmaker. (Alex Hetherington)
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Up close and personal: Gate 2 Men's Penitentiary, Berlin
a repressive state. In 1985, before he had even finished high school in East Germany, Thiel was arrested for political activrty and then imprisoned. Subsequently released into West Berlin, he trained in photography almost by chance.
In the early 90s, Thiel returned to East Berlin to confront the ghosts with his camera. The result is a series of images which, although they visit many of the symbols of state power — the Wall, the public statues of the communist era, the prisons and correction centres — are conspicuously muted in tone yet are somehow more powerful than the more familiar documentary images.
A series of colour prints show large doors which, like Eugene Atget's prints of the doorways of Paris, could be recording architecture, with a nostalgia
REVIEW Frank Thiel
Glasgow: Street Level until Sat 26 Feb * it i *-
In Britain we tend to think of the Berlin Wall as coming in paperweight-sized chunks. A wee slice of history chewed
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up and spat out. But as Germany struggles with the political implications of reunification, the Wall remains a social and cultural force in the lives of those who grew up restrained by its presence.
Frank Thiel's early life was shaped by the big forces of politics and history in
for texture and detail. But read the label and it becomes clear that they are prison gates; this is the texture of totalitarianism up close and personal. There are almost banal images, the drama of real lives turned into a set of formal concerns. But somehow, that is their strength. (Moira Jeffrey)
Become Like Me
Edinburgh: Stills Gallery until Sat 25 Mm*k**
Video may or may not have killed the radio star, but the VHS revolution that took place in the 805 was about more than cheap porn and driller-killer flicks. This let century model of video art curated by Rob Hunter pulls together an interactive potpourri of influences and kindred spirits that offers cheap access to a world that's part performance art, part feng shui installation and part home movie show and tell.
So, where Vito Acconci's Conversions series is literal hippy nonsense, and Paul Gray’s Prototype For A Magician ’s Servant recalls a windswept Michael Bentine's Potty Time, fun and games are had by the children talking out of school in Andy Kennedy's Alphabetti Spaghetti.
The great outdoors features again in Sarah McFadyen's Life Boat, but most appealing of all is Derek Ogbourne’s Hit. Here, viewers hoist up a swing to the rafters before allowing it to fall, guillotine-fashion, to the tip of their nose. The response is monitored, and there’s nothing scarier than seeing one's life flash by before the crash. (Neil Cooper)
REVIEW River Deep/Mountain Deep
Dundee: Cooper Gallery until Sat 18
Mar shit-mt Landscape art is clearly not the aged
aunt of contemporary art. True, the word landscape can quickly bring a vision of hill and the obligatory and picturesquely-placed cow. Think again.
In this show of work by ten artists, the landscape is a somewhat moody, but nonetheless intriguing territory. In David Blandy's video, a forest offers up menace; the sort of place where goblins lurk or some character out of Brothers Grimm hangs out. Things get more technicolour in the work of Henry Krokatsis. A solitary girl in a summer dress stands by a flowerbed. It is reminiscent of a still from a home cinefilm, aching with poignancy.
There is a touch of German Romanticism in Sophy Rickett's photographs, all of which are black save for a horizontal thread of light. Look closely and you spot a figure, one almost lost in the landscape. Yet the landscape can be bitten into. In Carol Rhodes's painting, the land has been conquered by an airport and a hotel.
It is clear that the great outdoors is still a place deluged with both our fantasies and fears.
High art: Mountain 0 by Masakatsu Kondo