Tag Archives: Video art

THE WEIRD GIRLS PROJECT

Net stroll: 7th of June 2012

“The Weird Girls Project” is an Icelandic art collective that brings girls together to participate in an unknown conceptual multimedia mission known as an “episode.” Each episode consists of a video set to music and a photo shoot, which can be seen on the net. Since 2007, the project has birthed fifteen episodes, including three “specials.” The project is a brain child of Kitty Von Sometime, a DJ and a concept artist, originally from the UK.

EPISODE 15: BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP (2012)

… The performance was much harder and more brutal for the participating women and for Kitty herself as a director. The cast and crew consisted of 60 people and the location was an old fishmeal factory, extremely cold, foul smelling and damp. The women’s boundaries and self acceptance were pushed until they were raw so that the element of the piece could be accurately captured …

— Read the full description here

SPECIAL EPISODE: UN WOMAN (2011)

… UNIFEM Iceland approached Kitty to produce a piece to celebrate the organisation joining forces with other institutions to become UN Women. After discussing the issues encompassed in this work this special episode drew its visual focus from the themes ‘Women supporting women’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Giving women a stronger voice’…

— Read the full description here

EPISODE 1: NEON FAME AND THE LAST SUPPER (2007)

… The first episode of The Weird Girls Project was somewhat of an experiment. At this stage there was no plan to make this into a series, it was concentrating on the event itself and the media produced was a record of the event …

— Read the full description here

About the project:

The Weird Girls Project is an ongoing art experiment created and produced concept artist Kitty Von-Sometime. It evolves ‘Episode’ by ‘Episode’ and the participants mix between those involved from the beginning and new members increasing with every event. Each Episode is planned for about three months with the participants knowing as little as possible. The main element of the project is ‘release to the unknown’.

Media is produced from each Episode but the project also focuses on the event itself and how the women react, improvise and morph within costume learning about their power of self combined with the strength of coming together as a group. The women are varying in ages, backgrounds and experience, and do not necessarily know each other before the day. The Project involves ordinary women rather than professional actresses or models and part of the inspiration was to encourage a gain in self confidence within women, especially focusing around body issues and a release of inhibitions.


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Filed under Art, Konsthopp, Net stroll, Reykjavík, Uncategorized, Video Art

“ART IS AN AMAZING WAY TO DEAL WITH LIFE”

– Interview with Tessa Praun (Sweden)

When did you start curating? Tell us something about your educational background and curatorial experience?

Curator Tessa Praun with Ai Wei Wei at his ateljé in 2010/ Photo by Magasin 3

 I started curating for real on my current job, the private art foundation Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall. My background is in the Humanities Study Program and Art History at Stockholm University. I did my final internship at IASPIS (International Artists Studio Program in Sweden), an artist in residency program that really got me interested in contemporary art. From there I moved on to shorter experiences at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and as assistant curator at Kunstverein München, amongst others. In 2004 I started as assistant curator at Magasin 3 and became curator two years later. Since then I have curated exhibitions with artists such as Miroslav Tichy, Christian Boltanski, Annika von Hausswolff, Marijke van Warmerdam, Ai Weiwei, etc. and have done collaborative projects with other art institutions in Europe and been working with Magasin 3:s own collection.

What is your personal relationship with Ai Wei Wei and his work? How did it come about that you got to curate his show at Magasin 3?

I was very taken by Ai Weiwei’s project “Fairytale” that he did for Documenta XII, this impressive idea to invite 1001 Chinese people to come with him to Kassel in Germany in the summer of 2007. It is a fantastic social multi layered project that lives on through stories that are being told as well as through physical remaining parts with an amazing visual strength. Experiencing this work in Kassel made me read more about Ai Weiwei and follow the work he did after.

In 2010 I was in China and had the chance to visit Ai Weiwei in his combined home and studio in Beijing. This was in a time when he was already very pressed by the Chinese authorities and he had just been under a three days house arrest when we met. Meeting him in his own environment and under these pressing circumstances effected me strongly and coming back to Stockholm I invited him to have the exhibition here at Magasin 3 this spring.

Fairytale (dormitory) by Ai Wei Wei 

Tell us more about the Ai Wei Wei exhibition. What has been your main role as a curator of the show?

From the beginning I knew that I did not want to make a retrospective exhibition, instead I wanted a selection of works that focuses on China as synonymous to mass production and Ai Weiwei’s concern for the individual as a necessary part of the big mass. Ai Weiwei did the first selection of works that he and I then discussed and added to. Only a few months into working together, in the beginning of April 2011, he suddenly was arrested and kept detained on no legal grounds in an undisclosed location. Not knowing what was going to happen, if and when he would be released, me and my colleagues had to decide how to move on. Together with Ai Weiwei’s assistants we came to the conclusion that the best thing that we could do in that situation was to continue the preparations of the exhibition, it felt even more so important to show his work and make his voice heard. Despite my deep concerns for Ai Weiwei’s situation I had to focus as much as I could on completing the exhibition and do so in the most respectful way.

World Map by Ai Wei Wei

Can you explain the importance of the reading room being a part of the Ai Wei Wei exhibition? Why emphasize on all that information?

At the point when Ai Weiwei was detained and couldn’t be part of the preparations of the exhibition anymore, I felt it was important to give our visitors a deeper insight into Ai Weiwei’s situation, why he is on a collision course with the regime and consequently has become so known also outside the art world. So I developed a reading room. A physical one in the actual exhibition space, side by side with the artworks. It includes reading material, a sound archive where various people contributed with their stories and reflections on Ai Weiwei, interviews and documentaries on and by Ai Weiwei. But also a digital one, a special homepage gathering articles, documentaries, the sound archive, filmed documentation of all panel discussions that we have arranged in connection to the exhibition etc. in order for people to explore his work both as an artist, activist, blogger, architect. He himself does not really distinguish these roles. I found it interesting to bring this up through the reading room. Both the physical and digital reading room have proven very useful and much appreciated.

Video work by Ai Wei Wei 

Do you think new and digital media used in contemporary art has brought new aspects to arts and curating? Yes or no, explain why.

Well yes, I think since these new media are part of society today it is only a natural development that also artists explore them and art institutions adapt them in communicating with the audience. In some cases art can be brought closer to the viewer through various new media and attract those who are hard to reach in a more traditional manner. In our part of the world we live in a time with a tremendous fast pace. It is important that art can both adapt to these new circumstances but also offer a brake from just that. The content has to be the driving force otherwise the experience will be lost completely. It is a challenge for both artist and curator to find the right balance.

Stool by Ai Wei Wei

Photographs by Konsthopp

What qualities do you think a good curator should have?  

A good curator knows how to both support and challenge an artist, is curious and open minded, dedicated to the project and flexible to deal with different characters and situations under time pressure : )

From your point of view, how does the future of professional curating look like? What are your personal wishes, hopes and perspectives on your future curatorial plans?

My main motivation for being a curator is to learn more about life. Being close to art is an amazing way to deal with life, to explore notions of the present, history and future, to be inspired to thoughts and feelings. If I can transmit this also to other people then I think I am doing something good.

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Filed under Ceramic Art, Conversation, Curator, Curator Talk, Documentary, Fine Art, Installation, Political Art, Sculptures, Sociopolitical art, Stockholm, Textile Art, Uncategorized, Video Art, Visual Art

KONSTFACK SPRING EXHIBITION ’12

Vernissage: 16th of May 2012, Konstfack (Stockholm)

A glimpse in photographs from the opening of the spring exhibition at Konstfack last Wednesday. The exhibition is open until Sunday 27th of May. Stay tuned for more photographs and interviews!

 Live show & performance by Dyke Hard

“The ceremony” by Tobias Larsson

“I wasn’t allowed to wear black” by Liv Pettersson

“Lugnt, Stillsamt, Vackert” by Julia Dalgren

“PATTERN ATTACK” by Lisa Dalenius

“Smara” by Emma Persson

“Girls Club” by Karin Kakan Hermansson

“Happy meal” by Supawan Sihapoompichit

Work by Ida Bentinger

“Extensions, retractions, and missing parts” by Bianca Niabuco

“Ramené” by Emilie Florin

Work by Yusi-Chen

Work by Jonna Fransson

Photographs by Konsthopp

You can check out Konstfack´s 2011 exhibition here and here!

Artists: Newly graduates with Bachelor and Master degrees from Konstfack

Date: 16th – 27th of May 2012

Place: Konstfack, Telefonplan, Stockholm

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THE HIGH SPIRITS OF COLLABORATING

— Interview with Jonatan Habib Engqvist (Sweden)

Photograph taken from OCA

Photograph taken from OCA

Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012 had its kick off at Harpa (Reykjavík Concert and Conference Hall) on Friday night. Since 2004 the festival has been held annually in the capital city of Iceland, each year concentrating specifically on different fields of arts. Last year it was music — this year it’s visual arts. As we mentioned in the post (I)ndependent People, the large-scale exhibition is a collaborative visual arts project that involves many of Reykjavík’s various exhibition spaces during the festival and throughout the summer. Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet up with the curator of (I)ndependent people, Jonatan Habib Engqvist, in his time-intervals between answering e-mails and preparing last-minute actions. Over a long cup of coffee Jonatan told me all about the exhibition, his personal speculations about the project and his own role as a curator.

From the opening at Harpa Friday night

ONE BIG EXPERIMENT

The idea of (I)ndependent people came after a seminar called Alternative North that was hold in Reykjavík in 2011, concerning the economical crises and artists initiatives. The last two biennial formats at Reykjavík Arts Festival (curated by Jessica Morgan in 2005 & Ólafur Elíasson in 2008) were some “big deals” with big budgets. In between there were the financial crisis — and now it’s Jonatan’s turn to curate a biennale with artist-run initiatives.

“The brief I got from Reykajvík Arts Festival (Alternative power station of the North) was strong, even though it seemed like a quite job with compound co-operation between different institutions. But there was something exciting about it in terms of curating and I thought that maybe this complex co-operation might be an interesting focus for the whole biennale.”

Jonatan tells me genuinely how he never thought it would actually work out. He already had his job and gave a radical counter-proposal to the organizers of the festival.

“I thought that maybe this could be the concept itself — the collaboration — to make the biennale to an experiment and see if it holds. I received 100% support. When they said yes to the unbelievable there was no going back. And this whole support makes it a pretty radical exhibition in terms of an international biennale. The conglomerate of art galleries, artist-driven initiatives and artists groups (and their will to co-operate) is what will make this possible. You could say that the entire exhibition is like a one big experiment. Why? Cause it’s fun!”

A SINGLE SIMPLE RULE

“I have received so much support, incredibly much freedom — the organizers are satisfied as long as I keep the budget. Which is incredible and actually pretty cool.”

And from there — the collaboration — the idea starts growing. Jonatan tells me about the idea and how he really wants to take it as far as it goes. There are no solo artists, only groups and collaborations between artists — which is something opposite to the whole biennale logic.

“Normally biennales are based on superstars. And for me the curatorial process is exciting, even though I’ve had to say no to artists that are “big” and which work I like. But I have been very tough — holding hard to a one simple rule. NO solo artists. This is what the whole thing is based on. Everyone work on the same terms, there are no solo exhibitions and beside that there has to be a genuine exchange between partners, a negotiation and artwork that influences the theme.”

HOW MANY CURATORS TO SCREW A LIGHT BULB?

We discuss further the collaboration and I ask Jonatan about his role as a curator. He throws me an insider joke and asks me if I know how many curators I need to screw a light bulb?

“It depends on the budget! Everything will work out (or as they say in Iceland “þetta reddast”) as long as you keep budget. Do it yourself if you can’t afford it … So what I am trying to do is just to take some of the on-going happenings and gather them at one place. That’s what you do as a curator. To gather stuff and see what happens if you put this stuff in the same room. I see one thing there and another thing there — and wander what happens if I put them together. It’s not really that complicated.”

But I’m not sure I can buy that from him. The whole process seems complicated — a hard work. Having a dialogue, sharing visual perspectives, finding the artists right places in the context of the whole …

LIKE A HOUSE OF CARDS

… the whole of which is the collaboration. That is — NO SOLOS. And for Jonatan, being the only curator, makes it a bit bissare.

“It is an exhibition of collaboration, but I’m the only curator — which might create some sort of hirarki. But there is a dialogue, support and a concept that holds and helps working it all out. Still I’m there at the top. But maybe that’s ok. I think that there must be someone in charge, so if there is a disaster they can blame it on me. I might be the one that builds the infrastructure and context but I absolutely see the process as collective. It’s impossible otherwise. But it’s an experiment — bit like a house of cards — and if one cards falls it’s important to have someone who can point out and remind, as a part of the experiment.”

WHERE IS THE ART?

An experiment which is really exciting!The whole concept seems to be a lot about structures, experiments and dialoges — but will there be any art?

“Of course that’s a question that’s popped up in my mind. Working with group of artists is incredibly fun and interesting yet also complicated. The concept of infrastructures, research and experiments is a big part of the exhibition — but at the same time we just want to express art. It’s a framework for the art which is exhibited but not a scale of what you like and what you see. It’s challenging to let the art stand on its own — to see if it holds — and bring to the point both the visual as well as its intuition.”

Photographs taken from Reykjavík Arts Festival facebook page

And that might be an experiment on its own. Be sure to experience you own (I)ndependent people, which was opened yesterday. And if you’re not in Reykjavík, follow the festival with us, we’ll be reporting as much as we can!

xox

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Filed under Art festival, Curator, Curator Talk, Konsthopp, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Stockholm, Uncategorized, Visual Art

(I)NDEPENDENT PEOPLE

Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012

We are counting down to Reykjavík Arts Festival grand opening …

The focus this year will be on contemporary visual art collaborates from the Nordic and Baltic countries, under the name (I)ndependent People. The project will involve many of Reykjavík’s exhibition spaces, museums, galleries and public space during the festival season and throughout the summer.

We got an opportunity to peek behind the scenes in Reykjavik´s Art Museum earlier this week.  Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir told us about her teamwork with Hlynur Hallson but they will present large-ranging and very exciting project on Saturday. Jóna Hlíf was kind enough to let us in and take a few shoot from the set up.

Photographs by Konsthopp

(I)ndependent People is an extensive project which brings together 29 artist-collectives with the collaboration of over 100 participants. It´s curated by the Swedish curator and theorist Jonatan Habib Engqvist but we will be publishing an interview with him on the opening day.

The festival announcement says:

(I)ndependent People asks if and how collaboration can operate in continual negotiation between contesting ideas and desires, yet allowing unplanned and transformative action.

Saturday 19th of May will be dedicated to openings of the exhibitions. Here is the schedule to our alternative art stroll and you are — of course — welcome to join us:

13.00 – Listasafn Íslands, Laufásvegur 2
14.00 – Myndhöggvaarfélagið, Nýlendugata 15 and i8 gallerí, Tryggvagata 16
15.00 – Listasafn Reykjavíkur, Hafnarhús, Tryggvagata 17
16.00 – Listasafn ASÍ, Freyjugata 41
17.00 – Kling & Bang gallerí, Hverfisgata 42
18.00 – Nýló and Artíma gallerí, Skúlagata 23

And don´t miss the international seminar in the Nordic House on Sunday 20th of May at 13.00.

Have a nice and sunny art weekend!

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IMAGINATION WITHOUT BORDERS

Closed: 21st of April – 6th of May 2012, Hafnarhúsið (Reykjavik)

Students from the departments of Fine Arts, Design and Architecture at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, exhibited their graduate projects at Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús, earlier this month. The exhibition is usually impressive and this year was no exception.

Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Photographs by Konsthopp

Washing machine, washing the Icelandic flag ; super-sized swing ; cloud machine ; gramophone (Jónófón) in new costume — the imagination was prevailing at every turn at Hafnarhúsið and wholly without any borders.

Cheers everyone!

Date: 21st of April – 6th of April 2012

Artists: Graduation students from Fine Arts, Design and Architecture Department

Place: Hafnarhúsið, Tryggvagötu 27, Reykjavik

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CURATING IS AN INTUITIVE & MAGICAL PROCESS

— Interview with Thale Fastvold and Tanja Thorjussen, LOCUS (Norway)

When did you start curating? Tell us something about your educational background?

LOCUS: We met while studying curating at Telemark University College in 2006, and seeing as we both are artists, we discovered that we had a many common denominators in our views on curating as well. Thale is trained in photography/text from Rome and Oslo, and Tanja in drawing/painting from Bergen and New York. We decided to work together, and founded LOCUS art and curator group. The first thing we curated was a series of video art events in Oslo and Trondheim. Since then we have curated and collaborated on smaller and bigger art shows in Oslo, Voss, Nissedal and New York. We work as curators, artists, art consultants (for KORO/Public Art Norway) and writers. In 2009 LOCUS published the book “Kurator?” an anthology of interviews with, and texts by curators working in Norway.

What is the artistic field of your curatorial practice?

LOCUS: The most important aspect of curating is threefold, 1) the theme 2) the artwork and 3) how it is conveyed/contextualized within the given space.

We normally have a clear vision and focus regarding the theme of the exhibitions. Often it has been inspired by political, scientific or spiritual events. Developing a theme, we work very intuitively, and in some respects almost scientifically. We do a lot of research on the topic; we attempt to explore and excavate the theme, and we do not have all the answers until the exhibition/project is over. For example, in our book project “Kurator?”, we investigated how curators work in Norway today, and we didn’t know from the outset what we were going to find. When we curate, we invite artists we believe will respond to, and create an interesting dialogue based on the given theme. We look at a lot of artists and follow their work, so when we invite somebody to participate in a project we trust them and their process of working.

How an artwork or the theme is conveyed is also an important part of our work. For instance, for the video art events we curated, we decided to make the screening of the videos a “one time only”-event, over the course of one evening. Our intention was that the audience should view the entire work in a focused setting, not see the work broken up in parts, which often happen when video is showed in a loop and you walk in on a work in progress.

As to the artistic field of curating, we will always bring with us our background as artists. When we work with art projects, whether the outcome is a curated show, our own exhibition, or a book, the process will always be colored by our background/experience.

Yonder” in Galleri 69, Oslo (2008)

Yonder” in Galleri 69, Oslo (2008)

Is there a difference in curating different field of arts, etc. paintings, videos, interactive works or a piece of net art?

LOCUS: Yes, and no! We started curating video art since the media is easy to transport, and we could easily make pop up video art exhibitions in borrowed spaces.

It requires much more preparation organizing a bigger exhibition space with large paintings and installations, and it can be more expensive to produce, but in essence the process is the same. We are a nomadic curator group, we do not have our own gallery space and we never know in advance if we will get public funding for a project, so we are used to finding creative solutions to different obstacles. Other elements in preparing a show – the planning, applying for funding, writing project outlines, press releases, shipping and installation – are not very different from show to show, everything needs to be done. After 6 years of collaboration we have experienced that being two does not just double our capacity, it quadruples it and often makes us more efficient than working solo. We discuss, plan and organize, and the project never suffers since one of us can always fill in and back up if the other is preoccupied. We trust each other, communicate easily and are very much in unison with the projects we work on.

What kind of qualities do you think a curator should have?

Thale: A curator needs to be open minded, flexible and good with editing, both when it comes to artworks and text!

Tanja: And be a good mediator and have a functional toolbox.

Blackening.” Galleri 69, Oslo (2008)

Blackening.” Galleri 69, Oslo (2008)

Do you think that new and digital media used in contemporary art has brought new aspects to arts and curating? Yes or no, explain why?

LOCUS: It has opened up a wider area in which to explore and experience art. Artists always question the status quo, and now digital media is just that. But it is important to create the best way to present an artwork, as everything surrounding the work has a context, now video has established the black box, painting the white cube etc. so it will be interesting to see how digital media art will best be conveyed. Experiencing artwork is really very private, it is you and the work, and so is our interaction with our computer. It is especially interesting with the new Google art project, which makes museums and art available to the public through the computer, but for a curator it is also a great tool for studying curatorial decisions.

In times of “You Tube” and the Internet, do you think a curator is still needed?

LOCUS: Yes, definitely. The curator is often the conveyor of meaning, the translator and the person who can help both audience and artists in forming a closer and better relationship with one another. The curator is also of great help to the artists; many artists want to focus solely on creating the work and don’t always wish to spend valuable time conveying their art to the audience.

What are your curatorial plans for the future? What are your personal wishes, hopes and perspectives in curating?

LOCUS: Right now we are working on a show presenting our own work at the project space at Tegneforbundet in Oslo (which opens Sept. 27, 2012) where we through drawing, photo and installation investigate what happens to the soul after death, before next life cycle. We are very conscious about the space, lighting, sound etc, and want to create a very specific mood in the room. When we create a show with our own art we can be freer or more immediate in how we alter the room. When we work with presenting other people’s art, we have to work with the artist to find out what they want to achieve, and how the essence in their artwork can be most adeptly expressed. Placing meaningful objects like art in a room is very hands-on and instinctual, and as curators we try to be true to the artworks.

It is easy to discuss curating in an academic way, but it is very much an intuitive process, and a magical process, and we hope that these aspects of curating will be explored further in the future.

Thale: I started a window box gallery in Oslo last year, within the Pushwagner gallery, where each month I curate smaller shows with emerging artists, and I will continue that project. When I curate shows or work as an art consultant, I aim at including 50% male and female artists, and I also wish to showcase younger artists. Of course, the most important thing for me is to curate interesting shows, which to me are shows that arouse something in its viewers, and give the audience a new perspective, whether this is on society, contemporary art or both.

Tanja: Through art projects and curatorial projects alike I explore something I don’t know, but which stirs my interest.

Now I am working on a Performance Laboratorium (co-curated with Gudrun Flatebø), which will be held at the cultural space Galleri 69 & Kafe MIR at Lufthavna in Oslo this fall. Initially I thought it would be interesting to create a performance lab because I did not know much about performance, I did not think I fully understood the history of performance and what performance is, it is a very mysterious art form as it is so hard to define.

Kurator?” A book by Thale Fastvold and Tanja Thorjussen / LOCUS (2009)

PHOTOGRAPHS BELONG TO LOCUS

What is the future of professional curating from your point of view?

LOCUS: In 2004 two curatorial study programs were established in Norway, and since then we have seen an escalating professionalization of the Norwegian curator. Before there where mostly artists or art historians who did this job. Last year the Norwegian Association of Curators was founded, which is an important step in professionalization, and we think the society and the art world in particular is increasingly starting to see the value of the curator. There is a great interest in contemporary art, but with conceptualism, postmodernism and all the other —isms of the last 40 years, the audience sometimes depends on someone to convey the art. Curators can have this and many other functions. There are so many ways of curating and so many venues of discussing curating, like Konsthopp, so we think the future of curating is very positive and exciting!

LOCUS is an art and curator group established in 2006 by Thale Fastvold and Tanja Thorjussen.Both educated as artists and curators we have exhibited in New York, Oslo, Trondheim, Reykjavik and Zurich. LOCUS have curated video-art events, exhibitions and are collaborators on various art projects in Norway and abroad.

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