From space, the planet is blue. From space, the planet is the territory.
Sluice Project Space
11 Bohemia Place, Hackney Central
PV 9 February, 6-9pm
10 – 18 February 2018, Wed – Sun 12-5pm
We are in the middle of contradictory age, when movement is simultaneously encouraged and restricted. Images of one of the largest humanitarian crises of modern times are beamed into our homes, computers and phones via data, which is allowed free movement, so we can comment on migrants who don’t have free movement. This is one of the paradoxes of a ‘global’ age. The borders through which people, data and goods travel are becoming less distinct but the politics that surround them are more powerful and stringent than ever.
Not limited to the borders of nation states From space… considers how border politics can be visualised or made comprehensible through artistic practices and interventions.
In October 2013, Dmitri Galiztine crossed the Solent from Gosport to the Isle of Wight in a converted 800lb pumpkin. Steeped in history, folklore and stereotype of cultural identity, on the surface the project could be read as an exercise in witty, albeit a very literate, art practice. However, Galitzine had to inform the coastguard, Queens Harbour Master and put out a notice to Mariners before setting sail. Pumpkinman shows the very real and necessary chains of procedure and administration behind even this apparently simple and frivolous journey.
Tamara Kametani’s installation shows an area of international waters in the Mediterranean Sea between the coast of Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa – the closest European landmass to North Africa. Google Earth’s animated simulacrum ocean is aestheticized and depoliticized; it is not recognisable as a border and obviously lacks leisure and commercial traffic, off-shore industries, and natural occurrences that make the ocean so dynamic.
The bench is made of wood retrieved from boats used by migrants and refugees who crossed the Mediterranean Sea and arrived in Lampedusa. Installed together in one space, the two components demonstrate two very different versions of the sea and question the hierarchies of digital and physical experience while confronting the correlation between spectatorship and participation.
Caline Aoun’s work considers data as matter – that which can be transported and quantified but which is also malleable and authored. In Datascape, the total weight per month of imported and exported goods in and out of Beirut port from 2004 until 2015 is put together in the form of graphs. Each A3 graph represents the weight in tons per month of a given year. Thus each horizontal series of 13 graphs illustrates the total imported and exported weight of a given product throughout the years. Datascape extends up to 52 horizontal lines.
In these graphs, the excess, loudness and overwhelming information that comes with commercial exchanges and consumption are brought into an equilibrial and soothingly rhythmic and topographical study. Paradoxically, while the flux of ships, water, containers, and data collection are turned into light and silently combed graphs, heavy narratives start to emerge, such as the drop in all material weight during the 2006 summer war in Lebanon, and the mysterious lack of information for the heaviest commodities that come in and out of the port of Beirut.
Caline Aoun (b 1983, Beirut) works within the frames of urbanism, architecture, print and digital advertising space to produce pieces that playfully increase, invert, and suspend environmental noise in a series of measured experiments. Urban infrastructure and the psychic order that it produces are both subject to a pleasurable disruption in these works, where the functions of certain objects and materials (transparencies used for backlit adverts, ledgers, industrial shipping palettes) are muted and others invented, so as to reawaken us to the possibilities of envisioning urban space.
Dmitri Galitzine (b.1986 in London, U.K) lives and works in London, U.K. Galitzine’s work is set within folk culture. It uses the kind of stories that you read about in regional newspapers; about a giant vegetable or an Elvis impersonator or a world record attempt. Stories that are both absurd and amazing, ordinary and epic.
The driving force behind these narratives are the individuals and communities where there is a palpable belief in something. A heightened and belligerent belief in one’s dream, even if others think it’s daft. The artist’s stories show people as characters, where you can’t tell the difference between the real and role play.
This state can not always be felt through Galitzine’s films or performances. Whether or not these are even the real artworks – or simply a record of it, or some moments he believes as the fiction starts to take over again.
Tamara Kametani is a Slovak born London based visual artist. She received her Master degree in Contemporary Art Practice from the Royal College of Art in 2017 and is currently an artist in residence at Florence Trust. Kametani’s practice is largely informed by local and global current affairs and spans photography, video, and installation. Kametani is particularly interested in the role technology plays in the construction of historical narratives, with the complex relationship between aesthetics and politics being at the core of the inquiry in her practice. She is a member of an artist collaborative IPG.