An evening of artist films curated by Dominic Watson and SPACE. The programme draws out themes in Watson’s SPACE commission, 'YEAST', which depicts a medieval animal trial and questions an anthropocentric worldview.
This screening is comprised of artists' films that interrogate the sovereignty of the human and the laws, rules, categories and social mores that serve to artificially elevate us from animals and the natural world.
Steve Claydon – Cluck Cluck (2005)
'Cluck Cluck' combines anthropomorphism, found footage, and The Golden Bough, John Frazer's comparative anthropological work from 1922. The movie reflects critically, but humorously, the absurdness in cultural and historical bias.
Harry Dodge & Stanya Kahn – All Together Now (2008)
Recalling recent urban horror films such as 28 Days Later or Cloverfield, All Together Now is a tale of survival in a devastated but familiar world. Feral tribes are the only inhabitants left in a decimated Los Angeles, sustaining themselves on the debris of an annihilated culture. A sense of fresh disaster is evoked through disturbing details: cars abandoned in the middle of the street, yards strewn with kitten and bird carcasses, and buzzards circling over darkened skyscrapers.
Christian Jankowski - The Hunt (1992 - 7)
'The Hunt' is Jankowski's most seminal early project. The footage captures a segment of Jankowski's weeklong quest to eat only groceries he shot in the supermarket with a bow and arrow. Jankowski visited several supermarkets and kept on filming until security guards kicked him out. The final video, 1 minute and 11 seconds long, was recorded in 1 take and shows us a successful hunt. Jankowski shoots eggs, butter, a chicken and other items. He puts them, arrows still in place, on the conveyor belt and pays an unperturbed cashier. The video, shot by a friend, has a certain Do-It-Yourself or home video quality that makes it all the more absurd and funny.
Andrew Kotting – Kingdom Protista (2000)
A few drops of pond water rich in bottom sediments, seen under a microscope can quickly confirm the existence of another world. In dimensions that fall between those of bacteria and the smallest of animals there exists a realm of life so diverse that you have to sit and wonder. This is the Kingdom of Protista and like all living things it needs to suck itself off.
George Kuchar – We, The Normal (1987)
In Kuchar’s unique video-diary style, we experience the artist negotiating awkwardly with domestic settings, a party and a short trip to the mountains in Boulder, Colorado. Interspersed with these scenes are dated adverts and illustrations that juxtapose and play with his reality.
Jayce Salloum - The Ascent of Man 1, 2 & 3 (1985 – 7)
In this video triptych (Silent Running, Conditions Of Mercy and Acts Of Consumption), Salloum depicts the precarious position which Man has manoeuvred himself into over the course of time. The Ascent of Man argues that Man's belief in Progress has achieved neither happiness nor his salvation and that it is likely to lead to his destruction. Throughout this work's three sections we see how the balance of nature (which once could have been sustained) has now been disturbed and destroyed by the West's need to control and manipulate the earth's resources. This tape also examines representation and the way in which images are imbued with meaning. In the case of The Ascent of Man this means specifically dealing with how existing images from various contexts can be combined in order to tell a completely new and meaningful story.
Chris Shepherd & David Shrigley – Who I Am and What I Want (2005)
A scribbled, strangely funny but highly unsettling examination of the human condition. The story of a man who bares his emotions, history, hang ups and desires in all of their dysfunctional absurdity then leaves us to assemble not only his identity but to question our own.
With many thanks to LUX for supporting this event
Image Credit: 'All Together Now' by Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn, 2008, colour video with sound.