This is a space we would usually dedicate to news and updates from Matt’s Gallery and our represented and associated artists over a two-month period. With the temporary closure of arts spaces across the globe, artists, galleries and institutions are generously making a huge variety of resources publicly available online.
This month, we have put together a selection of works, projects and content from us and our artists that can be screened, viewed and interacted with digitally.
This is the first in a series of digital works, viewable online for two weeks only as part of MattFlix, a fortnightly series of online projects at mattsgallery.org.
Variations on a Ballistic Theme is a video trilogy and sculptural installation by Paul Eachus & Nooshin Farhid, with improvised incidental music by David Ben White. This is an online presentation drawn from the installation presented at Matt’s Gallery in March.
Central to the installation was a ninety-minute cycle of three video works, which are presented here.
Full details of the work can be found here.
Jordan Baseman’s ambitious digital commission, Radio Influenza, which marked the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic known as ‘Spanish Flu’, could hardly seem more prescient than today. Radio Influenza was delivered in the form of a daily broadcast over the full course of a year, beginning on 1 November 2018, and endeavoured to capture the everyday experience of how news, rumour and health information and disinformation was shared and experienced through newspaper accounts at the time.
The 1918 influenza pandemic was one of the most significant and wide-reaching international health crises of the twentieth century, which killed at least 50 million people worldwide. Radio Influenza was commissioned by Wellcome, who marked the centenary by funding a wealth of projects exploring local, national and international responses to the reality and devastation of the Spanish Flu.
Baseman’s work draws on original source materials from 1918-19 and follows the patterns and rhythms of everyday life over the course of a year. From individual, local stories to national and international responses, the project will represent the devastation of the epidemic through the everyday, exploring how information about it filtered into every aspect of life. Using contemporary reporting from the British Newspaper Archive held by the British Library, it tracks scientific developments and failures, the public’s hopes and fears, and governments’ action and inaction.
Above are excerpts from Channel 4’s “Inside Art” series, first televised in 1996. Nicola Bealing talks through the painting processes used in creating work made following her travels in North Vietnam.
Anne Bean’s 2015 work Night Chant is a short video completed as part of a residency in the Foyle Reading Room at Whitechapel Gallery and was subsequently screened in the gallery’s Zikha Auditorium as part of a symposium on Performance and Politics in the 1970s. It contemplates the open arena and shared communication that performance practice offered, particularly to women artists in the 1970s. During 2013-14, five contemporaries of Bean’s, Monica Ross, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Alexis Hunter, Sue Arrowsmith and Rita Harris, women artists she had known since the 1970s, died. All of them had used performance as a vehicle in their practice and all appear in the archives in the Foyle Reading Rooms.
Brian Catling and David Tolley’s collaborative film COINER includes a score written and performed by Catling on the Growler, an electric Hurdy-Cello built by the artist. ‘Coiner’ is the old street name for a confidence trickster, thief or forger. The video is a spontaneous performance made for still camera. It ‘of course talks about the brutality of finance and the Charon of possession’.
You can hear more Growler here.
Material Sight: Re-presenting the Spaces of Fundamental Science was a practice-based research project evolved by artist and academic, Fiona Crisp, and hosted by Arts Catalyst, London. The project examined the use of visualisation in fundamental science and explored how non-documentary photography and film might be used to embody a sense of material encounter at three world-leading research facilities for particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. Funded by The Leverhulme Trust under their Research Fellowship scheme, the project ran from October 2016 to July 2018.
Michael Curran’s 2007 work, Look What They Done To My Song, conceived, recorded and exhibited at Matt’s Gallery, will be viewable in full for a limited period of time.
Look What They Done To My Song explores the themes of spectacle, performance, narrative order and the dynamic that is created between sculptural composition and film. Three songs – The Devil is Afraid of Music, What have they done to my song, Ma and How does it Feel to Feel? – were performed, recorded and filmed in the gallery, creating an open recording session and film set for three days.
More information about the exhibition can be found here.
Love in a Cold Climate, Michael Currran’s first feature-length video, takes the form of a fractured journey, exploring notions of coldness, the act of storytelling and loneliness, all haunted by the spectre of Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen. Whilst seeking the actress Natayla Klimova, who played the role of the Snow Queen in Grennadi Kazinski’s 1966 LENFILM production, the artist drifts through a series of episodic encounters which all strangely reflect upon his concerns. Comprised of telephone recitations, fairy story, chance meetings and weather changes, Love in a Cold Climate emerges as an essay in love and longing.
An essay on Love in a Cold Climate by Louisa Minkin can be found here.
Michael Curran’s 2018 album The Nine Lives of Muriel Spark was made on the centenary year of the Scottish writer Muriel Spark’s birth as part of his tribute to the author: the participatory exhibition THE PUBLIC IMAGE – Scottish Lady Tiger at Generator Projects, Dundee.
The exhibition explored some of the ambiguities concerning Spark, the exile, the émigré and the enigma. As part of the project, the LP The Nine Lives of Muriel Spark was produced featuring sound artists: Viralux (Trish Lyons & Gordon Dawson) [BOX] aka Neil McIntee, UrbanFarmHand (Ben Seal) Somerset Moan (Emil Thompson), Ana Cavic, AD Crawforth and New Root Canal (Rufus Mich). The artists, chosen by Curran and the exhibition curator Hari MacMillan, all performed at the exhibition’s closing event.
Curran makes all tracks from the album and others sounds from his performance work here.
More of Michael Curran’s video works have been made publicly viewable and can be found here.
Benedict Drew has been creating daily mixtapes for the isolated masses to enjoy since mid-March. The mixtapes traverse myriad genres, plus found and collaged sounds, and can be found on Drew’s Mixcloud and Twitter accounts.
Recently exhibited in group exhibition Hippo Campus: Where We Learn at The Exchange, Penzance, Spelunking is a collaborative film made by Benedict Drew and Open School East associates in 2017. Taking Margate’s caves and tunnels as a starting point, Spelunking took the form of 8 thematic public workshops organised by OSE associates, which led the participants on a metaphorical journey around caves, tunnels, smugglers’ paths, cavities, stalactites, cryptocurrency and subterranean myths.
Find out more about the project here.
Possessions_inc. is a video project by Richard Grayson for Matt’s Gallery, with each of the 36 episodes uploaded monthly between 2016-2019. The project touches on ideas of value, the agency of objects, robotics, techno animism, ecstatic states, ventriloquism, the operations of the internet, money, codes, the art-market, secret knowledge and mytho-mania. It is part t.v. series, part blog and part extended essay.
All of the episodes can be viewed on the Possessions_inc. website. Two commissioned texts on Possessions_inc. can also be found online:
To Be Spoken Like A Thing Possessed On Richard Grayson’s Possessions_inc. by writer and curator Lars Bang Larsen can be found here.
Whispers of the Demon by author, podcaster and journalist Erik Davis can be found here.
The God in Hackney’s forthcoming LP, ‘Small Country Eclipse’ (Junior Aspirin Records) reflects on the perils of nationalism, eschatological cannibalism and experimental popular music. You can find a special preview of the brand new album Small Country Eclipse by The God In Hackney on SoundCloud.
Buy the digital album or pre-order limited orange & black eclipse vinyl edition here.
1. Queen’s Disco – recasts Kate Middleton as Yoko Ono, i.e. do what thou wilt but NEVER EVER EAT MY CRISPS.
2. The Pub Machine – Neo-pagan SUN_WORSHIP in advance of neo-terrorism during a post-Brexit all-nighter following a good old-fashioned lock-in preceding a revisionist hangover (3 days).
3. Hello Boys – Sugar for the avant-garde… prooop!
4. The Adjoiner – depicts a cannibal restaurant at the end of the western socio-economic structure.
5. Proxima – dying stars and how to work from home during the apocalypse.
6. Side of a Square – imploding sovereignty; the geometry of INDEPENDENCE.
7. 3 Recordings – drunken teenage snoggery leading directly to SATAN.
8. 7 – 11 Car Park. The pathetic modern; a car-park in which to weep.
9. Crumble & Collapse – building beats body.
All tracks written and produced by The God In Hackney – Andy Cooke, Dan Fox, Ashley Marlowe & Nathaniel Mellors. Copyright Junior Aspirin Records 2020
Seven contemporary art commissions highlight the progression towards equality through the stories of women who have contributed to the spirit & history of Knole, a 15th century country house in Kent. Lindsay Seers’ commission involves an online work to be viewed after a visit to Knole. Cards in Knole visitor’s centre lead visitors to the website address where chapters of the work are hosted.
Knole holds the handwritten manuscript of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, dedicated to Vita-Sackville West, who grew up at Knole. The Orlando text is an encoded and mythical biography of Vita and is referred to as a love letter to Vita. There are many descriptions of Knole in the novel.
Seers draws on this text and the biographies of Virginia and Vita, passing them through a living protagonist – the actor Sara Sugarman. The lives of all three (and Seers) entwine and divide in a layered work which takes a notion (which Virginia expounds in Orlando) that in a lifetime we embody two thousand and fifty- two versions of our selves – and thoughts are layered in the mind seventy-six times at any given moment.
Using text, sound and image, this work takes on the form of a book-film hybrid.
Chapters I – IV can be viewed online at www.2052selves.com
Heterochromia is a condition that can arise from a non-identical twin being absorbed in the womb. This trope of eyes of differing colours formed from two people is an embodiment of a divided self that goes beyond psychology to biology, from mind to matter. The fact that consciousness itself is not singular but is fragmentary brings into question how reliable we are as witnesses – peopled by a constantly oscillating self that adjusts to each given situation. The traditional form of narrative, of clear causes and effects, is a necessary fiction that creates an illusion of stability in the mind that does not exist.
In Vanishing Twin, Lindsay Seers was driven by the presence of the lens as a catalyst for confession, facilitating an evocation of secret-telling. This constitutes a truth which is essentially embedded at the moment of capture; the technology itself evokes it.
More information about this work can be found here.
Lindsay Seers focuses on the relationship between subject and object in photography in this 2018 edition of TateShots.
Seers’ 2009 work Extramission 6 (Black Maria) is a video projection installation that was acquired by the Tate Collection. It is a seemingly autobiographical work about the artist in which her photographic memory leads her to become too consumed with the visual world and withdraws from family and society. The projection is screened within a reconstruction of the inventor Thomas Edison’s famous ‘Black Maria’, purportedly the world’s first movie studio.
A text on Extramission 6 (Black Maria) by writer and art historian Michael Newman can be found here.
Marianna Simnett was the first contributor to Home Cooking, a community digest of new artworks, scores, recipes, and events initiated by Asad Razar in March 2020. Simnett’s project consisted of a wing-making workshop. Look out for future projects from Stéphanie Saadé, Dora Budor, Prem Krishnamurthy, Precious Okoyomon, Philippe Parreno, Sahra Motalebi, Moriah Evans, and Carsten Holler. Anybody who wants to contribute is very welcome. You can follow Home Cooking on Instagram for regular updates.
The Unspeakable Freedom Device is a darkly comic Sci-Fi Folk-tale with an apocalyptic take on neoliberal future. Two women are on pilgrimage – an old warrior and a young mother- through a dystopian world of collapsing signs and imploding meanings, on a quest to cure their green baby. On the journey, our characters become entangled in a cult that worships Margaret Thatcher and buy a ‘Maggie doll’ which spouts her quotations when they pull its string. Commissioned by The Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool with an original score by Leo Chadburn.