As part of _Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working_, we commissioned the design and research groups Metahaven and DSG to produced a collaborative project to be installed in, and distributed from, our project space. As we approach the last weekend of ILIW we wanted to showcase the their collaboration: _VOID MYSTIQUE DNA _(ISBN 978-0-9576316-0-1). Visitors to ILIW have been able to browse this unique “split-EP” _monografesto_, and even pick up a copy of this profoundly limited-edition book free of charge. Commissioned by Auto Italia, this collaboration sees the first joint project by two of the most exciting design think tanks working today. The opening of the _VOID MYSTIQUE DNA_ project coincided with the UK launch of Metahaven’s new e-book, _Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? _ the two projects exploring and challenging the role and possibilities of publishing today.
This weekend will see the last events taking place as part of ILIW so don’t miss your chance to pick up a copy at one of these sessions:
Sat. 11th May, 6pm: (In)visibility and Labour (James Bridle, Will Wiles, Ben Vickers)
Sun. 12th May, 2pm: The Aesthetics of Immaterial Labour (Larne Abse Gogarty, Kerstin Stakemeier, Josefine Wikstrom)
Sun. 12th May, 6pm: Big Data, Social Networks, Data Selves (Alex Andrews, Ed Manley, Jay Owens)
Come and join us in our new space this Saturday 20th from 7pm for the opening event for _Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working_ (full details below).
How to find us: Auto Italia South East, Unit 2, 3 York Way, N1C 4AE, nearest tube – King’s Cross, bus: 390 (stop: Randell’s Road).
Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working Opening Event, Sat April 20th 6-9pm:
Harry Burke in conversation with Metahaven. This event is free but booking is essential.
Metahaven book launch, Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? Memes, Design and Politics
Deterritorial Support Group (DSG) and Metahaven book launch, _VOID MYSTIQUE DNA_
Auto Italia are pleased to present a new book by design think tank Metahaven:_ Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? Memes, Design and Politics, _published by Strelka Press.
_Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? _is an essay on the political and revolutionary power of jokes and memes. It examines the fade-out of graphic design as a mediating force between institutions and the public and is part of an essay series published by Strelka Press, the publishing arm of Strelka Institute in Moscow.
Metahaven: _“Carl Von Clausewitz famously said that war is a continuation of politics by other means. The austerity elites are indeed waging existential warfare on Europe, using an extra-political space which only they and other technocrats understand; a space where no citizen can find redress, unless they jump out of the frame once and for good. Beppe Grillo did it in Italy. Jón Gnarr did it in Iceland. Now is a day for jokes. A day for ridicule and laughter and protest and screaming and general strikes. Loathe the austerity elites, deface and unmask the technocratic superstructure’s lifeless avatars. Spraypaint, overload, bombard, name and shame austerity’s guilty overlords with jokes that pass through each and every riot shield.”_
Also launching will be Metahaven’s new book with Deterritorial Support Group (DSG): _VOID MYSTIQUE DNA __(ISBN 978-0-9576316-0-1)_. Visitors will be able to browse this unique “split-EP” _monografesto_, and even pick up a copy of this profoundly limited-edition book free of charge. Commissioned by Auto Italia, this collaboration sees the first joint project by two of the most exciting design think tanks working today.
Metahaven’s Daniel van der Velden will be in conversation with writer and curator Harry Burke from 6pm. This event is free but booking is essential (click here for booking information).
Metahaven is an Amsterdam-based studio for design and research, founded by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden.
Deterritorial Support Group (DSG), a loose alliance of ultra-red communists, ran a blog during 2011 and is currently in the process of being open-sourced.
Harry Burke is a writer and curator based in London. He has written for Rhizome, Arcadia Missa Publications and Fulcrum, a publication based at the Architectural Association, and curated the exhibition _Net Narrative_ at Carlow/Ishikawa.
For more information about the talks and events taking place as part of _Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working_ (April 20th – May 12th) – click HERE.
Image courtesy of Metahaven. http://dlvr.it/3F5yWP
We’re excited to announce the launch and first weekend of events as part of _Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working_.
Join us from 7pm on Saturday April 20th for the launch of Metahaven’s new e-book, _Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? Memes, Design and Politics_ and to celebrate the opening of ILIW!
All events are free of charge, but you’ll need to book a ticket (except for Metahaven’s e-book launch). Click on the events below for more information and to book tickets, or go to our ILIW website:
Here’s the schedule for Week 1:
Sat. April 20th, 2pm - Open Access Publishing - Alex Andrews, Alex Hern and Alex Vasudevan
Sat. April 20th, 6pm - Metahaven in conversation
Sat. April 20th, 7pm - Metahaven e-book launch - No booking necessary, just come along!
Sun. April 21st, 6pm - New Luddism - Dougald Hine, Huw Lemmey, Luddites200 and Jay Springett
_More events will be published in the next few weeks._
@iliw13 - @autoitalialive - #iliw13
We were excited to be invited to present a new performance work as part of the RCA Curating Contemporary Art Graduate Exhibition. An event to accompany their show, _No one lives here_, _The line where appearance flips over into reality_ was an evening of screenings and performances.
Expanding from the film we produced for Artissima LIDO, _MY SKIN IS AT WAR WITH A WORLD OF DATA_, Kate Cooper, Marianne Forrest, Andrew Kerton and Jess Wiesner developed a performative presentation for the event, focusing on images created for the original film re-presented with a live soundtrack composed and performed by XXXX and voiceovers perfomed in the space by Marleen Boschen and Nat Carey.
We want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in the event – _No one lives here_ continues until March 24th at the Royal College of Art. http://dlvr.it/35nYbW
Auto Italia’s Kate Cooper is in conversation with Stephanie Bailey in this month’s TANK magazine, discussing past and present projects, evolving formats for production and distribution, and frameworks for artist-run spaces.
Click on the image to read the article in full.
We are excited to announce that we will soon be moving to a new space In Kings Cross.
Located on York way, we will be running a programme from this new site over the next 12 months. This is the first time that Auto Italia has had a project space outside of Peckham in its five-year history and although sad to be leaving, we’re looking forward to working in this new, rapidly evolving area.
We’re back in London after spending a week in Turin where we were commissioned to produce a project for Artissima‘s offsite curatorial project, LIDO. We showed a new moving image work, _MY SKIN IS AT WAR WITH A WORLD OF DATA_, a film and wider collaborative enterprise by Kate Cooper, Marianne Forrest, Andrew Kerton and Jess Wiesner.
The work was installed in the Museo di Antichità (Museum of Antiquities), one of the five LIDO locations, all in Turin’s medieval Quadrilatero Romano neighbourhood.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who worked on this project and made it possible: Marleen Boschen, Nathan Budzinski, Luke Collins, Theo Cook, Mette Juhl, Connor Linskey, Lucy Mills, Pablo Navarro MacLochlainn, Rachel Pimm and Thee Tosayanond.
_Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working: Digital Culture, Digital Work and Digital Insurrection_
Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working is a series of talks, workshops and exhibitions focusing on creative labour practices in the age of the internet. The event aims to further an informed and confrontational public discussion on how technological and political changes to the way we work are affecting creative and cultural production.
Over 40 years information technology has been transforming our working patterns; today our productive capabilities are harnessed in all our waking hours as the boundaries between production and consumption transform into a pixelated blur. The way we produce, disseminate and consume culture is now almost totally mediated by the online space; but more than this, there’s also an increasingly fluid relation between “creative industries” and the working practices being imposed upon other workers. The aesthetic and technical structures of online space are becoming the prism through which we visualise and conceptualise our everyday lives, yet technological developments in the workplace are being structured for the benefit of our employers rather than us workers.
Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working is a place to discuss and explore these ideas through discussions, workshops, publications and visual art. Whilst the physical event will run from mid-February 2013, the digital discussion starts here.
MY SKIN IS AT WAR WITH A WORLD OF DATA is a new film exploring the paranoiac function of images in hyperreal networked-society.
Produced by Auto Italia as a collaborative enterprise, MY SKIN IS AT WAR WITH A WORLD OF DATA utilises the communication strategies of motion capture, beauty campaigns, and stock imagery to investigate the relationship of images to the production of our own bodies and performance of the self.
The film has been commissioned by Artissma and will be presented as part their curatorial programme, LIDO.
Artissima runs from the 9th -11th November – more information about the project to follow.
Auto Italia interview Barbara Hammer and Stuart Comer, 2012 [Part 2].
Here we present the second part of the interview conducted with Barbara Hammer and Stuart Comer [read Part 1 here] after Tate Modern’s Hammer Season – _The Fearless Frame_. The concluding section of the discussion focuses on the presentation of the female form through CGI technology; imagery that proved a controversial inclusion in Auto Italia’s contribution to Programme 15 of the season.
This interview was conducted by Kate Cooper and Richard John Jones with questions compiled from submissions by Theo Cook, Leslie Kulesh, Calo Giametta and Jess Weisner.
All images are taken from _‘It’s Like Staring Someone Out Who’s Not Even Looking at You‘_ by Kate Cooper, Leslie Kulesh and Jess Wiesner.
Auto Italia: I wanted to touch on the image of the CGI women in_ It’s Like Staring Someone Out Who’s Not Even Looking at You _which was performed as part of the _Scopophiliac Audience_ screening that we worked with you on. I thought it opened up a discussion around positive and negative representations. I wanted to see what you thought about that as someone who is largely classified as producing positive representations of women.
Barbara Hammer: I’m glad you brought that up because I didn’t bring that up that night. The CGI woman was an image of a female which was so mechanical and constructed. It was so much like the kinds of representations that feminists used to fight against in an earlier period of time that I wanted to think again about their use. Leslie Kulesh mentioned that she finds these images and suggested that they were used by men to ‘get off’ so I presumed are made by men. However, I think the re-appropriation of these – if that’s what she was attempting to do, or you all were are as a group – left us, or some of us, with this feeling of distance, very far away from that image; no emotional connection whatsoever. Leslie mentioned that she fell in love with these women while she was editing and something I would have said in a more critical discourse is that’s the one thing I was really warned about early on: don’t fall in love with your images. If you do then you can’t edit critically. You can’t critically work with the material if you’re in love with it. I don’t know, you could argue it the other way too, but that was my initial response when she said that.
AI: I thought it was really interesting because we talked a lot about those images: lots of women make these images for money – they’re not just made by men – and that was something we were interested in as well. These half-formed images of women: who they are made _for_ and who are they made _by_ is something that’s not totally explicit. Some of the best paid professionals in those computer generated worlds are women: maybe our perception of who makes these images is a bit wrong?
But I wonder if you look at the CGI women, they don’t represent women per se – and they don’t represent a desirable image for women either, so I think that perhaps in that sense the images are no longer representational. They don’t represent a real kind of woman and they don’t represent what a woman would like to be, or what anybody would like to be necessarily. Perhaps the cyber element of them makes them non-representational images. I think maybe that’s also something that Leslie was engaging with.
B: Well in a way you think that any pornographic image is not really a representation. It’s a representation of what we have been constructed to read as pornographic, but it never is the real thing, right? By that I mean, the uninhibited or less self-conscious sex activity. But this CGI goes to the extreme of that and disembodies or dismembers the flaunting or graphic animation of flirtatious performance. But I think it could be a bit like Adrienne Rich when she’s writing about the continuum of lesbian sexuality – there’s also perhaps a continuum of pornographic representation.
AI: And you feel that those images have a discourse or they come form somewhere? Is that what you mean?
B: Well my initial idea is wanting to know more and then as you told me more, I wanted to meet the people that made them – and that is kind of really cool. I mean if we’re going to defend them or try to understand them then we need to go deeper than just representing them. The piece did not move me but it felt distasteful. It didn’t make me feel good about being a woman, it didn’t make me feel good about being myself – it made me angry at computers a bit…
Stuart Comer: I found it interesting that Barbara’s immediate aversion to the images could be considered partly a generational response, which was shared by a few other women in the audience who had been involved with feminist practice early on. Clearly there was an attempt to encourage a critical negotiation by framing the images with the live reading of the text from the position of the audience – you couldn’t separate the two. Now whether the criticism was effective remains a matter of debate. Those type of images derive from a patriarchal problem that’s so deep we have a lot more work to do before we can overcome the systems that allow them to circulate in the world. But obviously you’ve got to start somewhere and I think that was a really interesting way to approach it. I thought that the fact that there was a chorus of voices coming from the audience addressing images intended for private and passive consumption did at least attempt to undermine their authority.
AI: I was also interested in other screenings though – I felt like with the newer works that were screened there was a tendency to produce or reflect upon this kind of negative imagery. This idea of negative and positive representation was really interesting because it actually opened up a stylistic approach which is also perhaps generational – for example, the idea that Barbara’s works are unequivocal examples of a positive representation.
S: I don’t completely agree. Some of the newer work made by other filmmakers included in the season is certainly not as affirmative as a film like _Dyketactics_. We don’t live in that world anymore, and Barbara openly acknowledges that – she wouldn’t make that film now.
AI: Maybe affirmative is a better phrase to use – then also that’s the thing when you were talking about the audience relating to the work, addressing the images – I think that’s both affirmative and negative as well. How did you feel about that?
S: A film like _Optic Nerve_ is not an affirmative film — it’s about the death of Barbara’s grandmother and attempts to come to grips with pain and difficult issues in Barbara’s life. What we think of as the affirmative work is really the early films, after which she quickly moved in a different direction. Her work is never cynical, there’s no irony in her work usually – although there is a knowing kind of lesbian camp in some of the films. Britain in general is more cynical than the States; I don’t think _Dyketactics_ could ever have been made in London.
AI: To return to the controversial CGI images. Maybe it’s useful to relate this to the idea of ‘territories’. Maybe these CGI images are a familiar territory – a kind of “negative” representation of women and therefore not something which is good? If you have grown up amongst that campaign against these images then I suppose they feel very familiar, in a bad way. But I wonder whether to use them as source material makes them a kind of unknown territory which is something very difficult to deal with. How might you relate to entering into unknown territories to make new work?
B: That’s a really nice analogy that you’ve brought up because, yes, that is an unknown territory for me as it’s the first time I have heard about these women and why they were made and so I want to know more. But other unknown territories: yeah they’re everywhere in life and so many times we follow our habits. I’m not any different. We take the same way when we walk to work because we can think about other things and we can get there quickly. But if we diverge, and I guess that’s Robert Frost taking the unknown path, then we start seeing new and when we see something new, well, that’s like for a baby entering the world: we see things for the first time if we put ourselves in new situations. And probably each of us has a different tolerance for how much “newness” we can assimilate and that brings in the dimension of time, too.
My LGBTQ Solidartiy trip to Palestine this January, 2012, was putting myself in a situation I know little about. I didn’t know the landscape nor the cultural/political geography except to know that there was unfair division and oppression of one group by another in this small area of land. To see things for yourself starts more inquiry which is great. It’s stimulating and it makes you want to make work of the new discoveries. So if the CGI is working that way for Auto Italia then that’s great. It’s like with my work with Palestine; all I can say is I’ve done research, I can’t say I’ve made a piece. But it is my project to understand more and share what I’ve learned. http://dlvr.it/1x5Yxh
Auto Italia interview Barbara Hammer and Stuart Comer, 2012 [Part 1].
This interview was conducted after the conclusion of the Tate’s Hammer season – in which Auto Italia participated, presenting Kate Cooper, Leslie Kulesh and Jess Weisner’s performative screening _It’s Like Staring Someone Out Who’s Not Even Looking at You_ as part of Programme 15: The Scopophiliac Audience.
Barbara Hammer is a pioneer of lesbian and queer cinema. One of the first filmmakers to openly address and document lesbian sexuality, Hammer’s prolific output has made her a pivotal figure in avant-garde and experimental filmmaking. Stuart Comer is the curator of film at Tate Modern and worked closely with Barbara to curate the recent season _The Fearless Frame_.
This interview was conducted by Kate Cooper and Richard John Jones with questions compiled from submissions by Theo Cook, Leslie Kulesh, Calo Giametta and Jess Weisner.
Here we present the first section of the two-part interview.
[Barbara Hammer, _Audience_, 1982 © Barbara Hammer]
Auto Italia: Barbara, you mentioned that you felt different about the work when you weren’t able to introduce it. What is the difference for you personally between being there to create a space for the film and also knowing that the film does exist without you.
Barbara Hammer: To start off I must say that I had the privilege to be at most of the screenings. That was very special for me as I could not only look at the films as an ‘observer’ of sorts, but also hear and feel the audience reactions. I didn’t see the goddess programme – which was something I wanted to go to as I rarely see those films. I can only imagine what that programme looked like and hear responses from other people. I am more equivocal about those films as the goddess research I undertook only lasted a few years and ultimately I rejected that direction in my work. But I don’t know… what is the energy in the room with any person in the audience if the film was projected with the maker in the room? I think it’s a bigger question than just me.
Stuart Comer: Barbara doesn’t do anything lightly and anything she takes on she really commits to. I don’t think of her exclusively as a filmmaker, I also think of her as a performer and a teacher; three things that really come together in the screenings when she’s present.
Barbara just walks right through barriers. She _really_ wants to connect with the audience and has a deep drive to connect with people more generally – whether that’s through the films or direct contact with the audience, or both.
The films speak for themselves – I should think fifty years from now anyone who sees _Dyketactics_ for the first time will still be moved by it. There’s something very primal about it – it is literally the beginning of a certain type of lesbian cinema –I think the film’s innovation will remain clear.
[Barbara Hammer, _Changing the Shape of Film_, 1979 © Barbara Hammer]
AI: What institutional brick walls have you come up against in getting your work shown? I was also wondering if you have ever been seriously “cockblocked” and are there any funny stories? I don’t know if you are familiar with “cockblocking” but I like the term because it implies that you make love to your audience and work with your audience in a way that very few filmmakers do.
B: I’d never heard the word before but of course I knew what it meant right away. You know, the thing about that is you never know when you are cockblocked. Whether it is by a committee that decides surreptitiously whether they will or will not show your work (It could be a closeted cockblock!) But I’m sure I’ve been blocked many times. Last October I had a gallery screening at FIAC in Paris where the KOW gallery from Berlin represents some of my work. They set up a really beautiful space with three of my 1970s films playing on LED screens and people were responding to it. Then these two men came round whom I found out later were the judges. There was this prize that if you won you got a show at the Palais De Tokyo. One judge was tall and the other short and they came in and didn’t realise I was the filmmaker and was present. The shorter one said “lets go and see this space” or “let’s see Barbara Hammer’s work”, something like that, and the taller one said “oh no, she’s a lesbian and we are not going to show that kind of work”. He did not come into the space. Later, the other came in later and was very interested in the new installation about oil spills that I was showing him on my computer.
The taller one knew my name and knew my work and knew that it was “radical” or “feminist” or “70s Women’s Art”; some tag like that and so there is a pre-judgment there already. The idea that you don’t need to look at work because you think that you already know what it is. The gallerists themselves chose me because they thought I was an example of democracy at work. They thought that I was making ’out‘ lesbian work which was exercising my democratic principle to be part of society. I thought wow – no one has ever said that about my work and I think it’s totally true!
S: I’m now in my early forties, and my generation was the first, really, that was taught feminist art history as a core part of the curriculum at the undergrad level, as part of a general shift in art history that started many years earlier. The fact that people like me are now in positions in museums and extending that critique into our work and our programmes is just part of the process. There have been so many important lesbian artists, over many generations, but somehow it still feels like institutions have not provided enough of a platform or context for their work. On the heels of important exhibitions like _WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution_, it felt like the right time to do a retrospective of Barbara Hammer’s work right now. Many people seemed curious about the Tate screenings. The response was unbelievably favourable—from the audience members that I spoke to anyway—and I hope Barbara’s season will have a strong ripple effect.
B: As for funny stories about cockblocking… I’m not sure. There was a screening of _Double Strength_, which is the film of a lesbian relationship with images of women in the nude on a trapeze. The projectionist turned off the projector. I had to talk to him about freedom of expression before he would turn it back on.
There was also this screening of _Multiple Orgasms_ at a women’s film conference in Toronto and they had censorship in the province. I don’t know if they still do but they did in the 1980s. The censor told me that she would have to confiscate my film if I put it on the projector. I couldn’t afford to lose that print and go into battle over it. So instead I held the print in my arms and in the 6 minutes that it would take to screen the film, I told the erotic stories that the cinematographer had told me. These were the stories that had helped me masturbate to climax because the concept of the film is that we don’t know what our own orgasms look like. That was a great performance and I would really like to do that again. It was really fun and I really had to think on my feet. That is what I love, I love to be challenged and figure out a way to turn the situation round. I’m not always successful but I like to have that challenge.
AI: I think that relates to our question earlier about whether the film was complete without you there – an example of how you have to problem solve if the films can’t be shown.
B: Yes, but on the other hand when we ship the prints they’re gone. I have such a limited lifespan and when you work so hard you want the work to last longer than 80 years. I want the work to last for 500 years or more.
[Barbara Hammer, _Double Strength, _1978 © Barbara Hammer]
AI: I was thinking about the films you made during the 80s – how you chose not to appear in them at this point. I was interested about this idea of representation. The idea of producing images and ‘representative’ film in today’s context where people are, more than ever, withdrawing from representation. I was wondering how you might take that into the future.
B: That’s a very complex question. At first, I was just wild about representation because there simply hadn’t been any of lesbians or specific to female bodily functions like menstruation, menopause, ageing. That’s why I made so many films in the ‘70s, one right after another, because of all this invisibility. Then it was, as I mentioned, a strategic move, which people have mixed opinions about, to take women out of my films. This was to get my work recognised as fine art. My films primarily had just been viewed by community members who weren’t necessarily artists or versed in avant-garde films. I took women out of my films, some of the films, not all of them, in the 80s and that was successful as these new films were appreciated (Bent Time, Optic Nerve, Endangered) and did get me on the map in a new way.
Also, when I did the work in the 70s it was criticised for being essentialist. It was hard to work with that criticism in my face. Finally by the time I did _No No Nookie TV _in_ _1987 I was able to talk about whether lesbian representation was within the frame of the moving image or is it framed? In other words is it framed like in a poor trial, where someone tries to frame you for something you didn’t do? That came at a good moment to think about how I could make a lesbian film without putting an image in the screen so I made a film using text as image.
Then in the 90s there was a return of identity politics and it was very cool to bring out representation and talk about it again but in a post-modern way. Now, I would like to do something about the old body, the aged body. This is something that would be representational. I’m called towards that because it hasn’t been done. Ok – there are two old lesbians making love in _Nitrate Kisses_, but that isn’t enough. So that idea is in my mind.
S: There a lot of people in the UK working in this area now, rethinking histories of early feminist work and identity politics, for instance your series, _Bodies Assembling _[3 December-11 December 2011, Auto Italia South East], which was trying to rethink or resituate Cinenova’s collection and work from the ‘70s within the context of more recent practice and discourse. I was interested to situate Barbara’s work within this discussion that has been evolving recently in London amongst a number of artists, curators and spaces.
But Barbara is very bold about addressing her body as a sexual object and that’s something that has been absent from a lot of the discussions in London. I feel like a lot of the recent projects here have somewhat de-sexualised the discourse. It has focused more on bodies as economic and political properties than as physical entities, and I think both conversations are important.
For me, it was really nice to be able to connect Barbara’s work with the discourse that Auto Italia were establishing. I’m curious about what I see as a return to an interest in the haptic and in touch, which is so crucial to Barbara’s work. I think it’s one of the key issues we’re all grappling with right now as things become more and more virtual online. I was glad your screening involved virtual images and was coming to grips with the gap between digital avatars on screen and people performing live actions in the audience.
AI: It just struck me that maybe there’s a transition in Barbara’s work from being autobiographical – for example the work in the ‘70s being very much about her and her situation to moving into an auto-ethnographic approach – taking a distance from the position she took in the ‘70s but still making work about herself.
S: I wanted to call Barbara’s retrospective ‘The Fearless Frame’ because she _is_ fearless, she’s unbelievably confident in her skin and never hesitates to take risks. She’s made incredible efforts to constantly push herself both by locating new boundaries that she can cross and by trying to critically assess what it means to cross them.
AI: After the Scopophiliac screening you mentioned over email something about different audiences and people not necessarily taking risks about where they would go to see work – where they would put their own bodies for example – I wondered if you’d like to talk a little more about that. You sort of set us an assignment that we would both go to places that were new territories for us and report back…
B: I’d forgotten that I said that, but it sounds like me!
AI: If it sounds like that’s familiar then that’s sort of the same thing. It’s about taking risks and finding yourself in places that you didn’t know before.
B: Well yes – then have you done any? Report back!
AI: Well I felt like the whole of your screening series we went to was unfamiliar territory for me! I’d never watched a lot of lesbian cinema, I haven’t watched much pornography – so I was really interested in some of this discussion about the CGI women in the work we presented being quite shocking because I feel like the images _you’re_ making could be seen as shocking, that these images that Kate Cooper and Leslie Kulesh and some of the other artists were talking about seem alienating, negative or weird and by presenting them they were trying to understand that and work through it. Maybe in a similar way to some of the films you were making like _Multiple Orgasm_ – actually trying to understand how to represent things, or represent what is maybe un-representable. In the instance of CGI women, it is this fake, weird computer world that might not actually relate to anything or be part of this ‘representational continuum’.
B: I’m really thrilled that you put yourself in a new situation – you finished the assignment!
AI: I took a close friend who wasn’t familiar with your work to a lot of your screenings and I think he became your biggest fan! It’s interesting because I would say that he is not your usual audience but was really interested in your methodology as a filmmaker and was fascinated by that and it was really interesting for me to hear his take on your films – not as a lesbian, not as a woman, not as an artist per se but as someone who interested in producing moving image or in “filmmaking” as a whole idea.
B: Yes, and I thought this is a perfect example to draw the conversation into a circle because I think that my being present at each screening, in this case, made that cinema open to him – it made it provocative, it challenged and it took it from the realm of representation – lesbian cinema – to cinema. Because anyone could see, if they were listening to me, that that’s where my interests lie today, I can’t say I’d say that in 1970, but today. And that’s another example of the filmmaker being present and so, in this case, making the work available to people who might decide not to go see it.
[Barbara Hammer, _Sync Touch_, 1981 © Barbara Hammer]
S: One of my agendas in general is to try and open up this kind of work to wider audiences; it deserves to be seen. When I had gone to Barbara’s screenings in the past, the vast majority of the audience was gay women. At the Tate screenings, I would say lesbians made up just over half of the audience, so I hope we managed to open the discussion about her work to other communities and other perspectives.
One of Tate’s core ambitions is to connect people to art and to each other. This is a goal that Barbara shares, I think, and she accomplishes it such an immediate and personal way. I’m still curious what it means to have had some of the conversations that took place during her screenings in the context of an art museum. For the final screening, Barbara and Florrie’s presence onstage made their private relationship a subject for public consideration in such a remarkable way. Although many people feel awkward or uncomfortable in such situations, Barbara manages to get people beyond that threshold of resistance and inhibition. This takes the terms of the discussion well beyond the abstract, and it’s important to consider what this can accomplish in a public forum or in a museum like Tate.
AI: But I wonder in terms of collaborative filmmaking or collaborations in your approaches starting your filmmaking career again whether you would work more with others or would you enjoy the possibilities through new technology of being as individual as possible.
B: Well I think that because of where I am now in 2011 I can never answer that question way back in the ‘70s – but where I am now I would work collaboratively, but still keeping to my vision. Right before you called I had a young student over here who’s helping me do some Photoshop work and you know it’s awfully nice to share and to see what somebody else likes and to learn – two heads are better than one.
Take a look at some of the press and interviews relating to _Auto Italia LIVE: Double Dip Concession_:
- Frieze Blog posts an in-depth review of the project by Susanna Davies-Crook, who explores the collaborative frameworks underlying Auto Italia’s live TV.
- Collaborating artists Andrew Kerton and Jess Wiesner are “in conversation” on Dazed Digital, discussing their on-going involvement with Auto Italia LIVE, working with actors and the process of content styling.
- Auto Italia takes over Jotta with a guest edition featuring a Q+A between Auto Italia and collaborating artists and an editorial by Osei Rhodri Bonsu discussing Auto Italia South East’s five year anniversary.
In the meantime, we would like to share a selection of some of our favourite works from artists who have worked in television broadcast including Chris Burden, Katya Sander, Robert Ashley, Peter Greenaway and the TV series produced by CAC, Vilnius that was broadcast on a national commercial channel across Lithuania from 2004-2007. All these artists and filmmakers are working in different times and contexts but there are some common threads and issues which emerge from them which explore TV as a specific platform for distribution which creates a unique ‘space’ for artists to work.
“I would like to be the first artist to make a public financial disclosure – Chris Burden”
Starting with Chris Burden’s intervention in television commercials between 1973-1977, one of his most intriguing provocations is his attempt to position himself like a politician, wanting to be the first artist to make a public financial disclosure. It is done in a parodic style and the figures are comedic in scale but it raises an interesting question as to what an artist might have to disclose on television and what could an artist be accountable for in the commercial/public space of the television broadcast?
CAC: TV (2004-2007) “Possible subjects of a program: What could be the role of such television? How should it be made? What kind of issues it should address? Can artists offer television anything except of a set of entertaining postures? How far do we have to believe in audience in order to have it completely open source? Is it possible to retain one’s agenda while collaborating with a commercial TV? Could it be an unpopular TV?” Started in 2004, CAC TV was a project produced by Raimundas Malasauskas that emerged from a new commercial channel launching in Lithuania asking the contemporary Art Centre to produce a weekly programme. The way that this project was approached and the questions that CAC Vilnius had to ask themselves were fascinating and represented an almost ‘ground-zero’ for how artists could work within the medium. Part of the approach to producing this series, which ran for 3 years, included considering how artists might interface with TV as a commercial space. Alongside many of the exciting and novel propositions that the team came up with this idea of the a new commercial channel suddenly becoming a ‘place’ to make new work introduces the fundamental idea that we are not only looking at it as a distribution method but also as a context for the presentation of art work alongside the artists themselves.
Televised I: the Anchor, the I, and the Studio (2006) by Katya Sander
_“Do you use the word “I” when you are on screen? _Beginning with this question, each news anchor is engaged in a conversation about their own role in the news they present — whether they see themselves as _a part of_ or _apart_ _from_ this news, as _in_ the story or _outside_ of it. If outside of it, then where exactly is this outside located?
_ Where is the “I” located?”_
Although not a work made for broadcast, Katya Sander’s project explores the physical realm that television presents to its viewers. This work, which simply asks ‘Where is the I located?’ is an example of how unstable the relationship is between representation and reality when information is presented on television. Perhaps echoing some of the effects of Burden’s disclosure it is interesting to consider who is being represented and what space is the speaker inhabiting – if TV is already a distortion of a real space or an illusion then what does it mean for artists to work within this space? Are artists able to represent themselves on television, and if they work with performers, where is the author located?
“Know your own desires. Everybody works to be part of the industry. To be a part of industry is to be real. You are a part of the industry both due to your industriousness and the nature of your work. There is a chance that everybody will like your work because it is a part of the industry. Things that are not a part of industry are not possible to like.” – Robert Ashley Perfect Lives Episode 4: The Bar (1983).
Finally, this documentary on Robert Ashley’s television opera ‘Perfect Lives’ includes clips from the original broadcast alongside interviews with the team that worked to produce it. the quote above is taken from _Episode 4: The Bar_ and responds to some of the idea outlined above. What is able to appear, be liked by others, and the context in which artists work is located is to be ‘real’. Realness is dependent on the circulation of the work within what Ashley refers to as the ‘industry’. But what about television as this unstable space? Is an artist or their work ever able to appear real, is the “I” authentic and, considering _Auto Italia LIVE: Double Dip Concession_ is being broadcast over the internet, which industry is it circulating in? http://dlvr.it/1sgxMl
With our most recent production of Auto Italia LIVE now available to watch in full online, we wanted to share some behind the scenes and “making-of” images. _Auto Italia LIVE: Double Dip Concession_ was originally filmed and broadcast from the ICA on June 9th in conjunction with the ‘Remote Control’ exhibition. The project would not have been possible without the hard-work and dedication of our amazing team – to everyone in involved in making it happen: thank you!
Lights, Cameras… Preparing for a full technical rehearsal of Double Dip Concession.
Nat Cary: Proletarian Realness.
The hour-long episode reduced to one side of A4.
Rob Carter gets ready to take to the set.
Nathan Budzinski steps in to rehearse the vocal warmup with Nat.
“If Britney can make it through 2007…” Leslie Kulesh slips into a meditative trance.
Actress Julia Innocenti prepares to perform. http://dlvr.it/1sgxPF