Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cecilia Stenbom: "/sLab IN THE CITY" Sunderland, UK


Friday 20 February until Monday 2 March 2009
Launch event: Thursday 19 February at 5pm

The notion of deliberately placing contemporary art in the public realm to incite diversion and surprise for the passerby has the potential to provoke diverse levels of engagement where people do not necessarily expect, or set out to invite, an artistic encounter.

/sLab, Sunderland’s digital media lab presents a blend of emerging and established artists, working in various mediums, whose practices are currently based in the north east region. Art work will be staged in shop window spaces and public sites throughout the central retail area of Sunderland and will feature video, sound and sculptural installations and performance.

Cecilia Stenbom

Cecilia Stenbom is a Swedish artist currently based in the north east who uses her own image to explore notions of identity and relationships in a mediated world. Through the means of a kind of narcissistic projection into fantastical roles she explores the systems inherent in contemporary culture. The artist presents an installation version of The Protocol, a re-staging of an American infomercial (an imitation of a standard US talk show). The original infomercial has been transcribed and entirely re-enacted and is concerned with selling a book about a weight loss cure; a set of guidelines or protocol explaining how to lose weight without any deprivation or exercise. The work is designed to be consumed by the viewer as background noise that can be engaged with at any given moment. The installation will be staged in a shop window location in The Bridges Shopping Centre.

CIRCA’s Sam Watson and Adam Phillips

Sunderland based artists Sam Watson and Adam Phillips’ work attempts to subvert the familiarity of local landscape through creating unexpected occurrences in alternative locations. The Hope I Can’t Stand is a sound installation which radically alters the geography of the city, by transporting the sound of 36,000 Sunderland football fans from the Stadium of Light into the city centre. On the 13th December 2008 Sunderland AFC earned a 4-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, in the first home fixture without Roy Keane as manager. Watson and Phillips recorded the sounds of the Stadium of Light, a cultural beacon for people of Sunderland, and will be broadcasting them in a stereo reproduction from the Joplings building, the longest surviving retailer in the city. The Hope I Can’t Stand will be presented on 19th February 2009 from 5pm.

CIRCA’s Michael Gardiner

Sunderland based artist Michael Gardiner presents Grafting, a video installation which focuses upon communicating a personal reflection on the nature of returning to Sunderland after a significant absence. The main protagonist of this project is the familiar look and sound of a seagull. After spending time in various places around the world, the artist has been intrigued by how the differences between one city and the next become more tangible through travel and human experience. The sight and sound of the seagull patrolling the city goes largely unnoticed but is given heightened emotional significance to the returning artist. More than a symbol to demonstrate the geographical cliché of Sunderland as British sea-side town, the seagull is an icon to help convey a dramatic sense of returning to one’s roots and home territory. The installation will be staged in HMV window located in The Bridges Shopping Centre.
Michelle Goulder

Michelle Goulder is a north east based artist whose work is influenced by global issues such as hunger, homelessness and lack of basic facilities. Working mainly in sculpture the artist re-builds and transforms pieces of ready-made and unwanted items and by doing so alters their original and recognised functions. Every day the people of Tbilisi wonder if the lights will come on is a sculptural installation inspired by the artist’s experience of the living conditions of the inhabitants in the city of Tbilisi in Georgia. The labour intensive execution of the wrapping processes the artist has adopted whilst forming the objects, echoes the monotonous and labouring tasks of craftsmen and women in the textiles and manufacturing industries. The installation will be staged in the corner window of Joplings Department Store.

Sophie Beresford

Sophie Beresford is a Sunderland based artist whose practice is concerned with the interlinking factors of culture, spirituality and science; the fusion of these resulting in performance, sculpture, film, painting, drawing and photography. These works are also often ‘designed’ to explode a dynamic for scrutiny, allowing the observer more avenues for perception concerning contemporary social rules and structures. The artist is particularly interested in northern youth culture and her work is fundamentally involved with Makina which is Spanish techno music under the genre umbrella of Rave. Beresford will be presenting Northern Swan, a performance which will respond to a specific track and the particular situation where the work will be delivered. The performance will take place on 19th February after 5pm.

Jennie Brennan & Sarah Rumis of NOVEMBER

Jennie Brennan and Sarah Rumis have founded and are involved in the development of NOVEMBER, an artist’s run initiative located in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. Their art practices have evolved in parallel, revolving around similar concerns including those of limitation, autonomy, decor and labour. Prow is the first collaboration by Brennan and Rumis resulting from a shared interest in form, substance and territory. Incorporating aspects of pattern, materials and the notion of manual labour, Prow is a new sculptural installation which invites further investigation through the nature of its structure and application of readily available materials. Prow will be staged in a shop window location in Debenhams.

Curated by: Victoria Maddison

/sLab, University of Sunderland, Ashburne House, Ryhope Road, Sunderland, SR2 7EF.
t:0191 5152046 w: e:

Sponsored by Sunderland City Council and supported by the University of Sunderland, The Bridges Shopping Centre, Debenhams, HMV and Joplings Department Store.

Thanks to: Zoe Channing, Alistair Robinson, Sarah King, Nigel Jolly, Peter Belshaw, Andy Pritchard, Richard Hollinshead, Professor Eric Bainbridge, Dr Tim Brennan, Graham Mitchinson, Do Holroyd, Alan Lifton, Graeme Milburn & Sunderland Association Football Club.

Cecilia Stenbom
The Protocol (Installation Version)
HD Video, Photo wallpaper on timer frames, table, 2 x Lights and stands, Flat screen monitor, Box monitor.
400 x 300 x 180 cms (approx) 157.6 x 118.2 x 70.92 inches Film Duration 27 Minutes
Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK