Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Virtual Performance

MTV Europe Awards marked the first live performance of Gorillaz, using the Musion Eyeliner System to beam three-dimensional holographic style performing cartoon characters on stage. Their appearance at the MTV Awards 2005 in Lisbon was billed as the 'world's first 3D hologram performance' and was one of the highlights.

As the world's most successful "virtual band", the human artists behind Gorillaz traditionally appear at live gigs as silhouettes on a giant screen combined with images of their cartoon alter egos.

Gorillaz has also announced plans to collaborate once again with Passion Pictures to produce a full live holographic tour for 2007-2008, or perhaps, a better description is that there may be several tours, since the members can be duplicated at will.


Merging Myths

Merging Myths and the Everyday - “Fiction for the Real”

"Fiction for the Real" Exhibition

at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
in the Nihonbashi, Kudanshita area
This event has ended

In Reviews by Rachel Carvosso 2007-04-27

Chiharu Shioda, 'Bathroom' (1999)

Chiharu Shioda, 'Bathroom' (1999)

Collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

This eerie atmosphere is also present in Chiharu Shiota’s video piece Bathroom, a looped DVD shown on a TV set placed at the far end of a narrow white room. The minimal echoes of this work’s ambient sounds seep into the other gallery spaces, giving you an impression of the work even before seeing it. The first image is of a claustrophobically narrow bathroom with a women sitting in the bath, except that the bath is filled with something black and her face is obscured. As the video progresses various close-up black and white shots show her ‘washing’. The textures of the black material in the bath seem watery, half way between the textures of ink and mud. Sinister like the popular Japanese horror movies of recent years, the drama in this work builds slowly but without any final resolution. Where Yanagi’s females seem collectively bored, this woman’s emotion is understated and in its subtlety conveys a real sense of desperation. Shiota makes space for the imagination to make its own associations and conclusions.

Calle creates written and photographic narratives through her fictional diaries. They retain a suggestion of archetypes – animals, spirits, women are all visible in the the pieces but they ultimately remain stoically undefinable and visceral. Calle’s photo diaries are limited to two dimensions and therefore lack the immediacy of Ikemura’s work but their content still retains the power to seduce the viewer into a false sense of intimacy.

Sophie Calle, 'Letter B from ''B, C, W'' ' [part] (1998)

Sophie Calle, 'Letter B from ''B, C, W'' ' [part] (1998)

Collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

In this exhibition, you find yourself forming a voyeuristic relationship to a fictional narrative, but by presenting us with this tendency through her fictional diaries, Calle highlights the fact that we behave this way more often that we at first realize. We ourselves become the protagonists of an ongoing ‘diary’ and act out our own roles.

The text presented at the entrance to this show suggests that the fictions represented “…tell you stories quietly or eloquently, to stimulate your ability to feel the real.” I came away from this exhibition unsure of whether I had felt the ‘real’ through these works or whether they perhaps came closer to showing the fictional nature of reality. The real that we experience is in part the fiction of our own consciousness in which stories, myths, everyday and fantastical elements merge into an indivisible whole. All four artists present us with intriguing worlds into which we can choose to enter and suspend our sense of reality. However as in any fictional world, once you leave there is no guarantee that things in the ‘real’ world will still look the same.

Sophe Calle

Sophe Calle

“For ‘The Hotel,’ I spent one year to find the hotel, I spent three months going through the text and writing it, I spent three months going through the photographs, and I spent one day deciding it would be this size and this frame . . . it’s the last thought in the process.”

—Sophie Calle

French conceptual artist Sophie Calle redefines through personal investigation the terms and parameters of subject and object, public and private. In her projects, Calle immerses herself in examinations of voyeurism and identity. Often playing roles or adopting guises, she recasts her own identity to reconstruct or document strangers' lives, examining the relationship between the artist and the objects of her investigations.


'The worse the break-up, the better the art'

Amelia Gentleman talks to Sophie Calle, France's most famous conceptual artist, about the upsides of misery, the pull of the bizarre and the joy of being in a Paul Auster novel

Monday December 13, 2004
The Guardian

Sophie Calle
Misery guts... Sophie Calle, in front of a retrospective exhibition of her work. Photo: AFP/Getty

Sophie Calle views the suffering that comes with the end of a relationship with uncontained glee. From a creative point of view, the worse the break-up, the better the art: even as she is experiencing pain, the artist in her is starting to calculate how best she can exploit it.

Her new book, Exquisite Pain, is the product of a period of intense grief she experienced 20 years ago - so bad that she packed up everything associated with the relationship and its end, and left it untouched in a box until she felt strong enough to deal with it.

The book, composed of photographs, reproduced love letters, air tickets and passages from remembered conversations, takes the reader through the 92 days leading up to her abandonment, and the three months of recovery that followed. Calle had won a young artist's travel grant in 1984 and chose to take a train from Paris to Japan, leaving her boyfriend behind. They made complicated arrangements to meet in India at the end of the trip, but he called her in a hotel room in Delhi to tell her that he had fallen in love with someone else.

Her method of getting over the shock consists of recounting her misery to everyone she meets - 99 times, with gradually diminishing emotion - and asking them to describe the worst moment of their lives in return. She taped every word of these gloomy, shared outpourings with friends and strangers, collecting 99 stories of powerful grief - the woman who is told she will give birth to a stillborn child, the boy who hears his father has died. For the Paris exhibition on which the book is based, she had the texts embroidered on to large wall hangings, which were placed next to her photographs and her assorted bits of break-up memorabilia (images of the clothes she was wearing on that day, the red telephone he called her on to say she was no longer the one).

Calle is France's most famous conceptual artist, who has been teasing her admirers with stylised portraits of her own life and images of the lives of strangers for the past 25 years. Her work had been greeted by French critics with irritation and enthusiasm in equal measure, until last year when she became a member of the nation's art establishment with a large retrospective at the Pompidou Centre.

She would be horrified at any suggestion that there is a self-help element to her work, and yet the way the narrative becomes less hysterical and more detached as the weeks pass is a soothing demonstration of how misery fades.

The stories of other people's distress are captivating - beautifully and movingly written - and they save the project from being merely contrived and pretentious, or an exercise in self-indulgence.

"Anybody who stopped to ask me why I was crying, I would tell them," she says. "My friends were all asking about the exotic trip that I had been on, but all I wanted to talk about was the end of my relationship. Sometimes I would be crying alone in a bar and someone would ask me what was wrong, and I'd explain to them, and I'd get talking.

"At the time, I took on this project more for therapeutic than for artistic reasons. I can't remember whether I was planning to use it all later on as material - I think I must have been because I conducted the process seriously and with rigour. I knew the project would stop when I got bored with talking about my pain or when I became disgusted and ashamed of the way that my banal love affair was nothing compared to the stories of greater unhappiness they were telling me."

With the benefit of 20 years' hindsight, Calle now dismisses the break-up itself as "banal". "It seemed at the time that it was the worst moment of my life - now it seems ridiculous," she says. "Maybe, as my friends point out, I was not suffering that much because I was still able to take a picture of the room - with the telephone and the bed - where it happened."

After three months, she was so sick of the sound of her own voice and the tedious details of her story that the incident was packed away and left to gestate. "I look back on it now and I realise that I didn't suffer that much. In a way I feel I was really lucky, when you see how some people carry their sorrow. In the end it was an excellent deal: three months of mourning, one exhibition and one book ..." she says, with only a trace of irony; Calle has an openly cynical approach to her own emotions.

In her studio, housed in a converted steel factory in the south of Paris, Calle has many more grey plastic boxes stacked up against the wall, and each is full of material for a future project. She is a hoarder, and has decorated her workspace with a menagerie of stuffed animals - flamingoes frozen with their wings expanded, dusty owls, monkeys climbing by the windows, snakes, bison, and a huge tiger given to her recently by a taxidermist friend who stuffed it shortly after its death in a French circus; another friend gave her the necklace of huge glass baubles which hangs around its neck. There is a plastic roasted chicken resting on piles of books on the table and a collage of gravestones on the wall outside the kitchen window. But mostly what she hoards are extracts from her life or snatches of other people's existences.

Her most famous works consist of re-creating moments from other lives. She used to follow people around Paris, secretly taking photographs of them. Once, she followed a man to Venice, found out which hotel he was staying at and tracked him, disguised in a blonde wig, for the two-week duration of his trip, taking photographs and notes. Later she got a job as a chambermaid in a Venice hotel and took pictures of the guests' messy rooms, examining the contents of their suitcases. Calle's experiences working in Pigalle strip bars also became part of her work - she says she accepted a job as a stripper to test her own feminist principles, and she collected pictures for a series called Striptease.

Another time, she got hold of a lost address book and called everyone inside, asking them to describe the book's owner and then published their answers every day for a month in the leftwing newspaper Libération - to the horror of her victim, who tried to get what he hoped would be revenge by persuading the paper to publish a nude picture of her. She was simply delighted by his response.

Calle's notoriety was such that in 1992 Paul Auster, who had read about her projects, "stole" her character and incorporated it wholesale into his novel Leviathan. Auster's Maris "was an artist but the work she did had nothing to do with creating objects commonly defined as art. Some people called her a photographer, others referred to her as a conceptualist, still others considered her a writer, but ... in the end I don't think she could be pigeonholed in any way. Her work was too nutty for that, too idiosyncratic, too personal to be thought of as belonging to any particular medium or discipline ... [Her] activity didn't stem from a desire to make art so much as from a need to indulge her obsessions, to live her life precisely as she wanted to live it."

Calle was thrilled by his decision to appropriate her for his book, and she in turn appropriated some of the extra details Auster had invented for Maris and incorporated them into her own life; the collaboration became another of Calle's projects.

More recently, the mysterious disappearance of a museum guard, who was last seen running barefoot away from her burning Paris apartment, became the subject of another project (A Woman Vanishes, 2003). After reading in Le Monde that the missing woman, Benedicte Vincens, was a fan of her work, Calle got permission from her mother to take photographs of the charred remains of the burnt-out flat, which she exhibited alongside her text recounting the strange story. Vincens has never reappeared and her body has not been found, but the exhibit received enthusiastic reviews.

Two years ago, Calle lay all night in a bed she had taken to the top of the Eiffel Tower (open for a night-time cultural festival) and invited passers-by to tell her stories to keep her awake. Beds appear frequently in Calle's work, prompting easy comparisons with Tracey Emin, but Calle, at 51, is a generation older than Emin, and points out that she has been doing this for much longer. Aside from their willingness to exploit their own emotions in their art, the two have little in common.

The daughter of a Parisian art-collecting doctor and a literary journalist, Calle never went to art school and only began working as an artist to counter growing feelings of boredom and aimlessness in her mid-20s. The medium was selected, she admits, to impress her father, who was keen on conceptual art. "I did this to seduce my father. He was seduced," she says. Her father remains immensely supportive of her work.

Calle admits that she is given to introspection when unhappy. Grief is inevitably a better subject than joy, she argues. "When I'm happy I don't photograph the moment to share with people on the wall of a museum. It doesn't translate so well. Do people like hearing someone's story about how happy they are? Not usually," she says. "I was happy with someone for seven years recently and all my friends were very worried about what I was going to produce in this pink period. I did produce a lot but mainly it wasn't about me; I didn't feel like I needed to use my feelings."

But spontaneous unhappiness is hard to come by, and when it does Calle seizes on it with delight, prodding it and examining it, until suddenly it evaporates and she can't re-create the sensation. "I had a project that I wanted to do when I split up with the last man that I was with, but the pain went before I had time to put together the idea. In a way it was very frustrating - there just wasn't enough pain and I couldn't continue to do the work once it was gone. It would have been too superficial. I had even started to film myself, but I had to abandon it because suddenly I felt fine again. That time I dealt with the break-up in the most normal way, the way that other people do: I met someone else."

Joan Jonas


JJ: "Organic Honey was the name I gave to my alter ego. I found video very magical, and I imagined myself an electronic sorceress conjuring the lines."



"Like many members of her influential generation, Joan Jonas stopped making sense in the late 1960's, replacing narrative continuity with a fragmented multimedia performance style that incorporates drawing, sculpture and video; emphasizes everyday objects and gestures; and often uses amateur dancers and musicians. Such strategies personify the art of the early 1970's, with its love of process, heightened banality and accident. To these Ms. Jonas has always added interests of her own: folk tales and songs, shamanistic ritual and mythic beings, favored props and, sometimes, one of several soulful white dogs she has owned. A result is an air of unabashed lyricism, a wildness that is less artistic device than elemental condition, basic to life since the beginning of human consciousness."

Organic Honey Performance Script

Born in 1936 in New York City, Joan Jonas is a pioneer of video and performance art and one of the most important female artists to emerge in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

She began her career in New York City as a sculptor. By 1968 she moved into what was then leading edge territory: mixing performance with props and mediated images, situated outside in natural and/or industrial environments. In her early works, such as Wind (1968), Jonas filmed performers stiffly passing through the field of view against a wind that lent the choreography a psychological mystiquue. Songdelay (1973), filmed with both telephoto and wide angle lenses (which produce opposing extremes in depth of field) drew on Jonas' travels in Japan, where she saw groups of Noh performers clapping wood blocks and making angular movements.

Jonas’ video performances between 1972 and 1976 pared the cast to one actor, the artist herself performing in her New York loft as Organic Honey, her seminal alter-ego invented as an “electronic erotic seductress,�? whose doll-like visage seen reflected bits on camera explored the fragmented female image and women’s shifting roles. Drawings, costumes, masks, and interactions with the recorded image were effects that optically related to a doubling of perception and meaning. For Jonas, in Organic Honey and earlier performances, the mirror became a symbol of (self-) portraiture, representation, the body, and real vs. imaginary, while also sometimes adding an element of danger and a connection to the audience that was integral to the work.

In 1976 with The Juniper Tree, Jonas arrived at a narrative structure from diverse literary sources, such as fairy tales, mythology, poetry, and folk songs, formalizing a highly complex, nonlinear method of presentation. Using a colorful theatrical set and recorded sound, The Juniper Tree retold a Grimm Brothers tale of an archetypal evil step mother and her family. In the 1990s, Jonas’ My New Theater series moved away from a dependence on her physical presence. The three pieces investigated, in sequence: a Cape Breton dancer and his local culture; a dog jumping through a hoop while Jonas draws a landscape; and finally, using stones, costumes, memory-laden objects, and her dog, a video about the act of performing.

In her installation/performance commissioned for Documenta 11, Lines in the Sand (2002), Jonas investigated themes of the self and the body in a performance installation based on the writer H.D.’s (Hilda Doolittle) epic poem “Helen in Egypt�? (1951-55), which reworks the myth of Helen of Troy. Jonas sited many of her early performances at The Kitchen, including Funnel (1972) and the screening of Vertical Roll (1972).

In The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things, produced by The Renaissance Society in 2004, Jonas draws on Aby Warburg's study of Hopi imagery. Jonas sees something of a parallel between herself and Warburg who compared diverse geographical and chronological cultures through an analysis of abstract imagery taken from their various artifacts. Drawing on sources ranging from Noh to Nordic theater, from the Brothers Grimm to Homer, Jonas' extrapolates the magic of universal narratives from the most quotidian of circumstances so that she, as well as we, may become the heroes and heroines, victims and villains of the myth of self and origin.

Jonas’ works were first performed in the 1960s and 70s for some of the most influential artists of her generation, including Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Dan Graham and Laurie Anderson. While she is widely known in Europe, her groundbreaking performances are lesser known in the United States, where as critic Douglas Crimp wrote of her work in 1983, “the rupture that is effected in modernist practices has subsequently been repressed, smoothed over.�? Yet, in restaging early and recent works, Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions of gender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years.

Jonas' projects and experiments provided the foundation on which much video performance art would be based. Her influences also extended to conceptual art, theatre performance and other visual media. In 1994, Jonas was honored with a major retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in which she transformed several of her performance works into installations for the museum. In 2003 she had solo exhibitions at Rosamund Felsen in Los Angeles and the Pat Hearn Gallery in New York City.
In 2005 she was a professor of visual arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Her works include: Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy (1972), The Juniper Tree (1976), Volcano Saga (1985), Revolted by the Thought of Known Places… (1992), Woman in the Well (1996/2000), her portable My New Theater series (1997-1999), Lines in the Sand (2002), and The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things (2004).

Kate Gilmore


In her video performances, Kate Gilmore creates uncomfortable situations for herself and the viewer. These are real predicaments—sometimes painful and even potentially dangerous—but ones that she has created for herself. Gilmore’s video works force you to squirm in a strange empathetic reaction to her predicaments. Included in this exhibition will be two new works: “Main Squeeze�? and “Anything....�? “Main Squeeze�? is a two-channel video, showing the artist both coming and going as she attempts to pull herself through an ever-smaller tunnel. Her feminine, turquoise satin top becomes caught on screws and she appears to suffer bouts of claustrophobia before she finally reaches the end of the tunnel. In “Anything...�? Gilmore sets up a particularly resonant scenario for the viewer. Filmed from above, she appears to reach toward you, attempting to reach ever higher, as she builds a precarious assemblage of tables, chairs, and stools, strung together with a delicate pink twine, upon which to climb. “Her carefully constructed performances belie the impression of futility and hopelessness one might take away from her work. Rather, her meticulous control of both sets and costumes hints at the elaborate farce the artist is trying to create in her humorous video performances.�? (Katharine C. Ebner, 2005)