Friday night, 7th Jun 2019, London. We were at Somerset House, an artistic space in a monumental building in the heart of the British capital. Thanks to the big columns after the gate and its neoclassical architecture we suddenly had the impression to be in Italy in some royal “piazza”. A sort of spatial disorientation and romantic nostalgia, an almost touchable sensation especially when we recognized that we didn’t know where to go and the directions given were a bit confusing.
Finally, after a great stone arch here It was, the entrance.
We entered to discover the project (Inter-), a 2 day program of installations, presentations, panel discussions and live performances exploring image, sound and digital art with highlights: an array of talented female and NB artists as part of Mutek‘s new initiative as well as talks exploring radical spaces, VR and queer art – all taking place at Somerset House Studios.
The main focus of the exhibition was on how the technology has changed in the way we create, communicate and relate to each other, an unusual concept for that kind of space, maintaining in this way the same sensation of good disorientation already quoted above that didn’t allow to us to understand completely how the performances were going to be, with the result of a mix of childish curiosity and interesting excitement.
Pushed by the sounds we overcame the guys that were checking the guest list, and we found ourselves in front of three doors on our left.
In the first room the dark was the main element and a screen in the center showed to us the short film and installation of Sabrina Ratte’, Canadian artist whose work, called “Inscape” focuses on the creation of architectures, abstract compositions, and surreal landscapes and explore the fine line between the virtual and the physical realm; In the queue there was also “SIREN”, a collective’s Associate Artist whom products RKSS, where the artists show the ways in which their electronic musical practice interacts with their surroundings and “Afro Cyber Resistance” a Tabita Rezaire’s work envisions network sciences which explore organic, electronic and spiritual visions of connection and emancipation. Three artworks without breaks between them, with different contents and messages for the visitor, but all with the same common result: technology used as a medium of expression to express human and social messages.
We went over, in the second room where the silence welcomed us.
Smaller and longer than the first room, enlighted by a window we noticed a pair of earphones on the floor, the medium between us and the artwork. It created a sort of isolation where the mind lost itself on rhythmic sounds and female voices of Ale Hop’s “Migration Data” a narrative radio work built on the basis of testimonies of immigrants who crossed the European borders seeking asylum. In this particular case, the technology gives the possibility to listen to something connected to humanity and fragile themes.
In the end, the third room: a big space and projection on the left wall. The center of the room was free from obstacles to allow everybody to interact with the Andalucìa Roeder’s artwork “Inside A” a site-specific VR experience which submerges users into different states of mind to witness how they cohabit in the author head where movements and actions represents our inability of quietness, peace of mind and silence. A journey in another dimension where the technology was the main hub of this immersive experience.
Positively involved in the concept of the exhibition and pushed by sounds and smell of dry ice which didn’t allow a clear vision, we entered the main multisensory experience of the night: the performances.
Really well organized in different hours of the night, they were respectively the result of the artistic researches of different artists. Marija Bozinovska Jones with her “On Selfhood” a surreal and anxious surreal reality in which artificial intelligence devices constantly interact with it and assist humans, the breaking down of the human body into its effect by platform capitalism have turned the self into an open field in a constant process of becoming; Veron Xio with her project “x/o” in which she explores themes of healing and identity through butterfly evolution allegories. Visuals have a vaguely 90s aesthetic aftertaste and they were mixed with an intense but delicate percussion before and after with a more cathartic and violent music providing an aggressive contrast, thus creating a suggestive result in which the visitors were fully engaged; Last but not least, Push 1 Stop & Wiklow with “Membrane” an artwork done with audio-visual performance with installation art that brings digital forms into physical space, that catches the attention of the viewers. For full videos, check our instastories @nofuturemagazine
“Afro Cyber Resistance” Tabita Rezaire
“SIREN”, a collective’s Associate Artist whom products RKSS, where the artists show the ways in which their electronic musical practice interacts with their surrounding.
Veron Xio with her project “x/o” in which she explores themes of healing and identity through butterfly evolution allegories.