SWITCH SWITCH CONTEMPORARY CONTEMPORARYVIDEO VIDEOART ART
JO B QVCMJD DPOUFYU JO B QVCMJD DPOUFYU edited editedby byTriona TrionaRyan, Ryan,Harald HaraldTurek Turek
Since 2008, the switch project is a continuing investigation into place, locating art in public space in a contextually focused way. International film and video artworks are back projected for one week onto the windows of shops and other spaces throughout the town. switch locates itself outside of the big city and applies itself to the rhythm of smaller places. The film events initiate conversations between artists and audiences, artworks and their sites. Now in its 8th year, switch is an artist-led project funded & supported by the Tipperary Arts Office.
The Videos in the Windows It is with a sense of appreciation that I sit to write this Foreword in a cab that zips by the palm trees of Santa Monica and in the direction of Bel Air - in the legacy of certain Irish writers, it took emigration and success elsewhere for me to be invited to participate in an endeavour such as the present one. I had the great fortune of witnessing switch 2015 while on a visit back to Ireland, and was moved by what it embodied and signified. I also understand that this is the space that is traditionally reserved for the intellectual incontinence that is ‘artist babble’; instead, I shall attempt an honest introduction to the nature of switch as a whole on the one hand, and indeed the participant this year, Maria Vedder, on the other. switch is something of an aesthetic Trojan horse, assuming the guise of ‘the videos in the windows’ whilst the town of Nenagh conducts its daily business. Passers-by wander through the streets carrying shopping bags or heading to the pub, glancing up on occasion at the moving images that switch hosts in shop windows year after year. The first thing to strike me upon a first glance was the manner by which the exhibition turns the divide between high and low art on its head, going so far as to silently mock the head-scratching of the conceptual artists who desperately attempt to extract both fame and philosophy from nothingness. Art, in its formalised sense, thrusts forward from out of the realms of representation and into a conversation that perpetuates its own existence, into which individuals are thrown and in which they absorb and internalise any associated systems of words. As something ‘over there’, art compels those not immersed in these exchanges to participate, thereby promoting the perpetual and incestuous practice of its appreciation. switch, on the other hand, brings the exhibition out onto the street without any fanfare or dreadlocks, presenting itself by way of the unassuming presence of images that morph and change. This is the magic that emerges
from the videos, where occasional meaning is conferred upon them by a sideward glance. For this particular year, artist Maria Vedder brings the breadth of her creations to Nenagh, with pieces centring upon obscure manipulations of space and time. Her self-declared preoccupations are with a minimalist presentation of issues surrounding sustainability, mass media, and chaos. Her works stretch from the geopolitical through to the tensions between humanity and the natural world and indeed general observations on everyday life, decelerating the motion process in order to achieve her ends. Quite appealing is the piece entitled Die Regenmacher, which hovers from a topographical vantage point. What seems to emerge from this is a series of crop-circle-like rotating shapes, resembling something between boreholes and a vortex into a space that is, in her words, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;divine or extra-terrestrialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Whether this is a deliberate ploy by Vedder can be left up to the imagination, though the work exudes something of an ecological agenda that laments the appropriation of the earth (and indeed the sacred symbol that is the circle) by human civilisation. Indeed, peering at the pseudo crop circles, radar displays emerge by way of concentric circles, as though the ecological landscape has erupted on account of acts of war. Another intriguing piece bears the title Das erweiterte Atemzentrum, comprising a number of floating, surreal three dimensional objects to a backdrop of minimalist symphony. This is mixed with random sounds that appear arbitrarily as the shapes follow no particular logic. No Senses, then, casts a somewhat sombre glance at the deprivation and silencing of the five senses, with the image reel rolling skyward through sequential pictures of individuals who draw attention to this suppression of fundamental human capabilities. Quite notably, each of the figures are driven by some form of high emotion to a place where the only feasible possibility is this very silence.
Perhaps fitting for switch 2016 is a mention of the work Berlin, which brings a gentleman in a suit and sporting a briefcase to the middle of a street, dancing. Curious passers-by stop and notice his antics, as the split-screen view is complemented by the chugging of the tram. Through importing behaviour that might ordinarily be reserved for alternative spaces to the public arena, the subject acts in such a manner that indicates a transcendence of the rigid barriers between suit and briefcase, and dancing as an expression of spontaneity. It is a similar collapsing of distinctions that takes place in the exhibition itself, where Nenagh becomes a gallery space for its townspeople, where the images are permitted to dance amidst the commerce and recreation that surrounds, and indeed the passers-by are entitled to both dance and contemplate the dance of the images before continuing on their way, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;briefcasesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in hand. This is but a glimpse at the offering of switch 2016, however, and I will conclude by inviting you to participate in what has become a truly wonderful annual event in the County of Tipperary. Again, it is an honour to have been asked to introduce the exhibition, where I expect that it will unfold as brilliantly as it has done in preceding years.
Amit Mediratta, Los Angeles, California.
At Close Quarters / beieinander
2006, film, 4 min Music: Pascal Comelade, Live in Lisbon and Barcelona: Love too soon, 1999
In rare perceptual situations, things take on a maximum of visibility and a minimum of meaning. In such situations, the everyday seems strange; the familiar loses its character as sign and oscillates for a moment in the enchantment of the approximate. Maria Vedder’s video “beieinander” (at close quarters) creates such a situation. The work is part of the series “Stagings of Everyday Life”. The trick of turning the camera perspective by 90 degrees turns a curtain billowing in the wind into a peculiarly beautiful textile object in bright titanium white that expands horizontally in contradiction to the laws of gravity, swelling in the wind and lying in folds. Nothing happens, and yet so much happens – at least in the viewer’s perception. The curtain entices us to look into the depth, rousing the wish to push through the white surface of the image and penetrate into darkness behind it.
1996, film, 2:32 min, excerpt „ONE TO TWO BACK“
BERLIN 21.6.1996 is a mixture of a dance performance and the documentation of the reality surrounding the dancer. All the filming took place on 21st June 1996 the longest day in the year and a short time after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A man with a briefcase is walking through Berlin. He is moving on the street in the afternoon where no cars are allowed due to building works. There is heavy noisy traffic all around. He is dancing forwards and backwards, in a circle or even on the spot resulting in the the electronic montage which shows the inability to encounter himself. The linear continuity of time and space seems to have been removed. Dance: Torsten Haase Music: Günther Heinz Camera: Klaus Dörries Editor: Nathalie Persillier Camera Assistant: Martin von Bülow
The Expanded Respiratory System / Das erweiterte Atemzentrum
1992, 3:35 min., version for one channel installation Camera: Dietlinde Stroh
Objects moving through space bring back into ones mind the direct communication between people. They include a chair where one sits to listen actively, and a cup of coffee promising concentration. An umbrella offers protection. A cobblestone as an argument. A bamboo stick, a Zen master’s tool to speak directly with his students’ bodies. Maritime flags, a sailor’s means of making contact across distances. These information tools fly through space - coming and going, identified or unrecognised - like continuous, rhythmic breathing.
The Rainmakers / Die Regenmacher
2016, 4:20 min., version for one channel installation
The defining element for the video work is a circle. In christianity and many other religions this line without a start or end stands for infinity. On my flight from New York to San Franscico I took some pictures of the huge circle formations in the Middle West. To me they seemed a divine or extraterrestrial message. Later I found out that they had been written into the landscape through circle irrigation. The water in Kansas comes from a ground water reservoir from the ice age. The rivers that used to be fed have long time run dry. This fossil water will be used up in a not far away future. Even below Saudi-Arabia and Sahara are water resources from the ice age which have been channeled through circle irrigation into the fields. These also will be used up in the coming decades. Agribusiness has torn this original symbolism of the circle into the contrary. For the film I used my photographs and satellite photographs from USA, Saudi-Arabia, Sahara, South-Africa, Spain and Australia. The circles of the photographs have been set into motion through a digital intervention.
2014, 6:22 min, version for one channel installation Music:”Song II from the album “Venexia” by Lucio Capece, Axel Dörner, Kevin Drumm and Mika Vainio, recorded at Teatro Fondamenta Nuove Venedig, Label Pan. Enabled through: EMARE-Mexico/European Media Art Network (EMAN)/Werkleitz Halle/European Commission.
Somewhere outdoors. Three older men are dancing. They seem absorbed in their doing. Their movements follow the same rhythm and choreography. However, something is different. The movement cycles appear strangely formalized and with longer viewing you recognize that the scene by means of video montage is permanently repeated. Through the artistic intervention the freedom of the dance collides with the strength of a ritual. In the juxtaposition of play and form, freedom and rule, the video refers to the essence of cultural rites, like the so-called Ghost Dance of the 19th century, in which the native Americans used to put themselves into a trance in order to get in contact with the dead.
2010 - ongoing, digital animation, 4:46 min, black-and-white, no sound, version for one channel installation Computer animation: Till Beckmann
For years Maria Vedder has collected newspaper pictures of people who are covering the sensory organs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; their mouth, eyes or ears. They have interrupted their communication with the environment voluntarily or involuntarily. In computer animation more than 700 photographs come together in an ever-accelerating vertical stream. The speed and motion dissolve the individual image and give rise to new graphic elements. Newspaper picture grids and computer pixels become organic forms. The project is never-ending, because Maria Vedder will continue to constantly collect - unless some day there are no more newspapers.
Out of Nothing / Aus dem Nichts
2010, 3:53 min., version for one channel installation
The video is a test arrangement for a visualisation of the chaos research. The chaos research describes under what condition a system collapses in chaos. It is in use in ecology, sociology, medicine, weather forecast and so on. Here the chaos theory investigates the reason of a traffic jam. The film is a staging and shows a circle, 50 meters in diameter, and moving cars that try to maintain a constant speed and constant intervals between each other. Normally after 10 min the first driver drives too close to the car ahead and has to brake abruptly. His exaggerated braking is amplified rearward from vehicle to vehicle until the first car comes to a stop and then many cars behind it. In the film we see only the endlessly in a circle driving cars. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Out of Nothingâ&#x20AC;? ties together Maria Vedderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s earlier investigations of film staging and the newer video observations of sequences in everyday life. A staging intervention turns a situation that occurs in daily life into a surrealistic situation.
Threshold / Schwelle
2006, 8:12 min, one channel installation Music: Brian Eno and J. Peter Schwalm Sound editing: Christian Obermaier
Threshold is the name of the narrow ridge between two rooms; one steps over the threshold in order to enter a different place. It is a cipher of transition. In the video, one sees the moving feet of people hurrying forwards, without being able to see their bodies and without discovering their destination. Travellers with luggage move as if in a dream. Brian Enoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and J. Peter Schwalmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s electronic music especially done for this video, intensifies the unreal impression. The subject of the work is movement as such, and the transitory per se becomes an image that abandons the things of this world behind it, possibly even describing the migration of souls. This is less a matter of real space, more of mental pictorial- and audio-spaces that promote emotional perception. Ursula Prinz
Films from different areas of living, thinking and perceiving will be spread over the town. Some are observations from everyday life, concentrated to minimal narratives, others are studies of our environment addressing issues like sustainability, mass media or chaos. They all work with a minimalist reduction of the visual objects and a deceleration of motion sequences. In this way they oppose their competition, the hyperactive information flood of the digital media in our daily life. This concentration offers the walkers through Nenaghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nightly townscape not only a focused attention on the films but also a new, clearer perception of their surroundings. Maria Vedder, 14th October 2016
edited by Triona Ryan & Harald Turek, ÂŠ 2016 switch & Maria Vedder published by switch 2016, www.s-w-i-t-c-h.org the switch event is co-ordinated by Triona Ryan, Harald Turek & Carol Kennedy
switch pays a special thanks to local shop owners who have supported the project by loaning the premises for the duration. the switch event is funded by