Simon Martin (Ed Atkins demux); Anja Kirschner & David Panos; Duncan Campbell; Melanie Gilligan and Hito Steyerl
A programme of moving image works commissioned by and presented at Chisenhale 2008 - 2011. Curated and produced by Polly Staple, Director, Chisenhale Gallery.
Although commissioned and presented as solo projects all the works from this period share an interest in narrative structure, economic crises and the status of the image as material. The production and distribution of the works’ themselves through national and international partnerships with a network of co-commissioners is also a defining theme.
This programme was presented within the curatorial programme of Artissima, Turin, 3-6 November 2011.
Simon Martin & Ed Atkins
Untitled. Strawberry Poison Dart Frog: Demuxed, 2008-11
In 1998 Simon Martin made a photorealist painting of a strawberry poison dart frog based on a found photograph. In 2008 Martin returned to this image to produce a new single-screen video installation conceived specially for the Chisenhale in London. For this work Untitled 2008, the original source image of the frog was rendered in a fully three-dimensional state by a professional animator.
In 2011 Ed Atkins remixed the piece on the understanding that the computer-generated poison dart frog was immutable; that its essence – or abject lack of it – would remain intact regardless of what abuses might be inflicted upon it.
Atkins is interested in how representation may be understood as deathly and dependent on the death of the object itself. Martin’s interest lies in examining the cultural significance of art and artefacts and our relationship to them. Here the status of the image itself becomes a social moment.
Click here to see our archive page of Simon Martin's exhibition at Chisenhale.
Anja Kirschner and David Panos
The Last Days of Jack Sheppard, 2009
Anja Kirschner and David Panos’ The Last Days of Jack Sheppard, is based on the inferred prison encounters between the 18th century criminal Jack Sheppard and writer Daniel Defoe, set in the wake of the South Sea Bubble of 1720 – Britain’s first recorded financial crisis.âï¿½¨âï¿½¨A critical costume drama constructed from a patchwork of historical, literary, and popular sources, the film’s fragmented narrative structure explores the connections between representation, speculation and the discourses of high and low culture that emerged in the early 18th century and remain relevant to the present day.
Initially filmed in the Chisenhale Gallery space, The Last Days of Jack Sheppard was presented within an installation fabricated from elements of the original set playing on the notion of the ‘historical construct’.
Co-commissioned with Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow.
Click here to see our archive page of Anja Kirschner & David Panos' exhibition at Chisenhale.
Make it new John, 2009
Presented as a single screen installation Duncan Campbell’s Make it new John tells the story of the iconic sports car, the DeLorean DMC12, intertwining the narratives of the car’s creator, John DeLorean, and the workers of the Belfast plant where the car was produced. The film contrasts the DeLorean dream with its spectacular downfall during a critical period in Northern Ireland’s history, and the canonisation of the car as a symbol of the American myth of mobility.âï¿½¨
Campbell fuses a documentary aesthetic with fictional passages, using existing archive news and documentary footage from the 1980s as well as new 16mm footage which imagines conversations between DeLorean factory workers. Campbell questions the documentary genre and reflects here on broader existential themes and narrative drives.
Co-commissioned with Film & Video Umbrella; Tramway, Glasgow and The Model, Sligo.
Popular Unrest, 2010
Melanie Gilligan’s film, Popular Unrest, is a multi-episode drama set in a future much like the present. Here, however, all exchange transactions and social interactions are overseen by a system called ‘the Spirit’. The film explores a world in which the self is reduced to physical biology, directly subject to the needs of capital.
Shot in London with a cast of twelve main actors, the film’s form is partly inspired by popular American television dramas where reality is perceived through a pornographic forensics of empirical and visceral phenomena. The five episodes of the film are each screened individually within an installation that takes the form of a series of enclosed booths, fabricated from office screens. The film’s episodic structure takes its cue from television and allows the films to be easily distributed online: www.popularunrest.org
Co-commissioned with Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver and Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre, Banff.
Click here to see our archive page of Melanie Gilligan's exhibition at Chisenhale.
In Free Fall, 2010
Hito Steyerl’s In Free Fall explores the nature of the rise and crash of the global economy over the past decade through the environment, stories and characters of an aeroplane junkyard in the Californian desert.
The space of the junkyard allows various ‘crash’ narratives to unfold, with the stories of actual crashes and the remnants and afterlife of these machines becoming metaphors for economic decline. This is an investigation of planes as they are parked during the economic downturn, stored and recycled, revealing unexpected connections between economy, violence and spectacle. Through intertwined narratives of people, planes and places Steyerl reveals cycles of capitalism incorporating and adapting to the changing status of the commodity, but also points at a horizon beyond this endless repetition.
Co-commissioned with Picture This, Bristol and Collective, Edinburgh.
Click here to see our archive page of Hito Steyerl's exhibition at Chisenhale.