Friday, April 24, 2009

Matt Stokes: "ARTPROJX", Prince Charles Cinema, London, UK


Staged Events
films by Lynne Marsh and Matt Stokes

Monday 27 April screening 1-2pm
(doors open 12.45pm)
Introduced by David Gryn, Lynne Marsh and Matt Stokes
Artprojx at Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London WC2

Tickets £8 (£5 concessions, Shooters, PCC members, artists, students, curators)
Box Office: 0870 811 2559 (open to telephone bookings from 1.30pm-8.30pm or in person)

'Staged Events' is a screening of four films by artists Lynne Marsh and Matt Stokes, illustrating the similarities and differences between their approaches. Each of the films presented have been developed from carefully choreographed situations or unpredictable events the artists set-up in response to particular contexts and locations.

Artprojx Matinee Presentations are programmed and presented by David Gryn | Artprojx

David Gryn, Director


Long After Tonight (2005) Matt Stokes
Original: Single-channel, Super 16mm film and audio transferred to Digibeta/DVD
Duration: 6'45"
Long After Tonight documents a specially-organised event staged in St Salvador's Church, Dundee. Parts of 'Sally's', as St Salvador's was fondly known, were used during the 1970's as a venue for the city's first Northern Soul nights. Although these sessions were held in an adjoining hall, for the purposes of the film permission was sought to use the church itself. By transposing the event to the unique interior of the nave, the dancers are surrounded by the beautifully gilded and ornate religious imagery of the building, thus creating a connection between the location and the activity as expressions of faith, commitment and shared purpose. The people that participated in the filming came together from across the UK, some having attended the original events held at Sally's. This link to the roots of the scene in Dundee, and the Northern Soul fraternity as a whole, is critical in establishing a heightened sense of unity and emotion evident in the film.

Camera Opera (2008) Lynne Marsh
Original: Two-channel, video and audio synced DVDs
Duration: 11'50"
Camera Opera is filmed on the set of a Das Duell, a German current affairs television program. Marsh reverses the role of the cameras in conventional news broadcasting: they become the subject and the performance of filming becomes the action. Marsh directs five camera operators through a series of choreographed movements around the silent figure of the anchorworman. The operators circle around the studio, focus on the anchorwoman and pan out to expose the set, equipment, lighting, audience seating and each-other. The performance is set to Strauss waltzes that were piped into the studio to guide the camera operators' movements and later edited in sync with the image to form the final two-screen film. What we see is how the space of the studio is organized through and by camera views, and how the set may become a performative space based on a series of codified relations. Engaging the Brechtian techniques of alienation, Marsh turns the cameras on themselves, denying their traditional role of relaying information and exposing their participation in the manipulation of what the viewer is presented with.

Stadium (2008) Lynne Marsh
Original Single-channel, HD video and audio (this screening transferred to DVD)
Duration: 10'54"
The Olympiastadion in Berlin, the infamous site of Leni Riefenstahl's film on the 1936 Olympic Games, is both setting and protagonist in Stadium. Marsh employs techniques favoured by Riefenstahl, including the crane shot, long circular traveling shot and low-angle shot. The resulting footage exhibits the persistant legacy of representations of power and control in photography and cinema all the way up to contemporary imaging from video games to epic films. Faithful to this notion, the film opens with a 3D animation of the architect's model of the recent renovation of the stadium and transitions to the site itself with sweeping multiple camera perspectives that produce a feeling of vertigo and banal repetition. Here, a figure in white performs a careful choreography of gestures. In Stadium, Marsh creates an uncanny dialogue between the mechanistic, standardized and absolute uniformity of the architecture and the anonymity of the individual.

these are the days (2008) Matt Stokes
Original: Two-channel, Super 16mm and audio transferred to synced hard-drives
Duration: 6'26"

Austin, Texas has long been a centre for music and culture in the US. Since the late 1970s, punk has been an important counterpoint to the mainstream in the city. these are the days explores the efficacy and actuality of distinct waves of punk as a wide-spread subculture, and their manifestations in specific communities in Austin. Stokes made the work by staging two separate events. During the first, he filmed the audience at a free all-ages gig he organised - in collaboration with a local punk and hardcore music promoter - at Broken Neck, a skate and music venue. For the second part of the work, Stokes brought together five members of different Austin-based punk and hardcore bands and asked them to make a sound-track for the silent film shot during the gig. This track was filmed during a session at a recording studio. The result is a portrait of a musical subculture that challenges notions of causality, originality, tribute and circularity.

Artist Info:

Lynne Marsh's practice is located at the intersection of performance, cinema and the status of the image, at the convergence of cultural and social concerns that operate in speculative fiction, choreography, and staged events. Marsh's recent video works shot respectively in a sports stadium and a TV studio investigate the inscription of individual bodies in architectural environments built specifically for mass consumption and mass cultural expression. Using codified cinematographic techniques (extreme angles, sweeping, panning and zooming shots), her vocabulary draws on the languages of video games, sports coverage, television broadcasting, and the cinematography of the early twentieth century.

Lynne Marsh was born in Canada and has been living and working in London since completing her MA at Goldsmiths' College in 1998. Her video installations have been exhibited in solo exhibitions at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2007), Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles (2008) and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montreal (2008) with an accompanying catalogue. Her work can be seen in an upcoming group show entitled There is no audience, at Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain in May.

Matt Stokes's practice stems from a long-term inquiry into subcultures, particularly musical ones. He is interested in the way music provides a sense of collectivity, acting as a catalyst for particular groups to form, shaping and influencing people's lives and identities. Stokes's works are often context-specific; he immerses himself in a setting and area of interest, through which collaborations with informal communities arise. After a process of collecting stories, information and materials related to their histories and values, Stokes produces artworks that depart from his research and take on a conceptual and aesthetic life of their own through films, installations and events.

Matt Stokes was born in Penzance, Cornwall and has lived and worked in NewcastleGateshead since 1993. His recent solo exhibitions include these are the days (Arthouse, Austin), Real Arcadia (LüttgenMeijer, Berlin), Now is Early (VOID, Derry), Long After Tonight (Kavi Gupta, Chicago and Ziehersmith, New York), [un]promised land (Attitudes espace d'arts contemporains, Geneva), Lost in the Rhythm (Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin), and Pills to Purge Melancholy (Collective, Edinburgh). He is currently showing new works at 176, London and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. Forthcoming group exhibitions include See This Sound, Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz and Desiring Necessities, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.

Matt Stokes, The Gainsborough Packet is at 176 until 26 June 2009

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