11 February to 26 March 2017
Our first exhibition of 2017, All Channels Open, brought together the ten artists who were in-residence at Wysing during 2016: Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, Beatrice Dillon, Henna-Riikka Halonen, Evan Ifekoya, Wojciech Kosma, Lawrence Lek, Laura O’Neill, Florence Peake and Gary Zhexi Zhang.
The exhibition launched Wysing’s programme for 2017, Wysing Polyphonic, through which we will be exploring ‘many voices’ in all aspects of our programming including exhibitions, events, study weeks and study days and artist residencies. Across the year we will work with a range of artists to explore a diversity of contexts and positions to help better understand the role of art, artists, and arts organisations such as Wysing, at this moment of global political change. All Channels Open therefore acts as a statement of intent as well as bringing together differing artist practices and positions.
All Channels Open takes its cue from radio and DJ mixes and in the exhibition audio works are sequenced into a durational programme that plays in Wysing’s gallery, which is itself programmed to change in lighting and ambience as accompanying visual elements succeed one another.
The exhibition employs a synchronised arrangement of projectors, monitors, objects and surround sound to explore many of the themes that emerged across the artists’ residencies, from the use of media such as radios and computer games to convey knowledge, to the search for new interfaces and the role of the artist as a conduit or channel for otherwise inaccessible information.
Continuing a collaboration begun at Wysing, Untitled, a new work from Beatrice Dillon, Florence Peake and Anne Tetzlaff uses state-of-the-art wearable audio technology to find new connections between sound and the body. Fragmented, lyrical and often humorous video documentation depicts a ritualistic experiment, filmed at Wysing in early 2017. Dillon generates shaped sound textures as Peake becomes the nexus of body, technology and sonic process. Filmed by, and conceived in collaboration with, Anne Tetzlaff.
In All Sincerity Said The Chicken To The Egg, a new video from Laura O’Neill opens with a reference to Wysing’s site and a burial ritual that O’Neill performed in the forest in January 2017, burying resin sculptures of chicken heads and a drone. In O’Neill’s richly detailed CGI dystopia, spring has controversially been cancelled to make up a deficit in the budget. As the video weaves a surreal narrative of social and economic collapse, the media alternately blame migrants for ‘stealing’ spring and proposes Scotland as the sole hope of saving it.
Finding Fanon 3: First Movement, a sound piece and sculpture from David Blandy and Larry Achiampong draws on their work for the third installment of their Finding Fanon video series; a trilogy inspired by the lost plays of Frantz Fanon in which the artists negotiate ideas around race and the post-colonial, and the effect on their own collaborative relationship. This new expression of the work foregrounds the artists’ interest in sound and expands on the soundtrack for the work that they developed while at Wysing.
The Kernel Process, a new video installation from Gary Zhexi Zhang was developed from the artist’s interest in sensory interfaces. Surreal imagery and the artist’s own diffident voiceover meander through subjects related to skin and surfaces: dreams of subterranean architecture, lizards, latex and Georges Bataille’s infamous description of lingchi torture.
Placeholder is a new video work from Henna-Riikka Halonen that imagines the moment when Artificial Intelligence comes of age. Multiple tabs, and proliferating windows give Placeholder a desktop’s point-of-view as it explores developments in biogenetics, 3D printing of skin and organs, and new research into historical models of AI, such as Eliza and the Turing test. In Halonen’s kaleidoscopic new work, created entirely from found footage, open source and animated imagery, a lack of empathy from other human beings has made us turn for comfort to the voice of the machine.
Evan Ifekoya presents Scenario One: The Ice Box from their radio play This Catalog of Poses, in a new articulation as a sound-based installation with sculptural elements. This work forms part of Ifekoya’s wider project A Score, A Groove, A Phantom, exploring archives of blackness, sociality and inheritance as they diffract through queer nightlife and trauma in the present moment. An ever-evolving work that has so far been presented on Resonance FM, Serpentine Gallery and Transmission, Glasgow, This Catalog of Poses is reconfigured for this exhibition to take advantage of the large open space of Wysing’s gallery, recalling its use in music events such as the Wysing music festival and Two Steps to the Left... which Ifekoya co-curated in the summer of 2016.
New analogue synthesizer productions from Lawrence Lek accompany an architectural model of London’s Fabric nightclub embedded with small screens. Continuing the research Lek conducted while at Wysing into sinofuturism—particularly around the Chinese production of competitively priced electronics and counterfeit goods—he casts his model of Fabric as a pirated Chinese copy, FABRICK. Lek’s musical production follows recent projects such as The Nøtel, an audio-visual collaboration with Kode9.
An enactment of Wojciech Kosma’s performance Wait punctuates the exhibition once a day, disrupting the precarious synchronisation of media in the gallery. The work, consisting of a video projector displaying a blue screen moving in the rhythm of a person’s breathing, will be performed by Wysing staff and studio artists.
All Channels Open is curated by John Bloomfield and supported with funding from Arts Council England. Wysing Arts Centre would also like to thank Focal Point Gallery for their support.
Video: Wilf Speller.