Four artists from 4 different cities, who have never met—and were forbidden to do so during the three months of their "residency"—collaborate on a topic that they had no say in developing. Is this fair to the artists? Interesting? Were they even able to produce anything worthwhile under such arbitrarily stringent rules?
Come see the results of this virtual experiment at Location One, on Wednesday, September 9. Confessedly the rules weren't quite so harsh as they sound: there were no expectations or requirements to complete any finished artworks, in fact the entire project could conceivably have existed as a blog discussion (which can be http://vres.location1.org). But the four artists (two teams of two) Ben Woodeson (UK) & Ursula Endlicher (US), and Narinda Reeders (AU) & Jessica Curry (UK), who were given the topic "Levels of Undo" and precious little else, spent the last three months marinating in that theme and communicating via blog, skype, snail mail, telephone, IM–so long as it did not include meeting face to face–to create some exciting new works, including a few that are not at all virtual.
Location One is pleased to present the fruits of their marination, which include Facebook impersonation performances, Spy pen surveillance video, Morse code sonatas, and analog "Tweets". What are analog Tweets? Good question. Also making an appearance: a bottle of absinthe that may or may not burst into flames, and a live visitation from the "Old Internet" who tries to "friend" the "New Internet". How does all this relate to the topic "Levels of Undo"? Another good question. The artists were encouraged to interpret the theme however literally or broadly they saw fit; their interpretations led them to challenge both the idea of "Undoing" as well as the nature of collaboration itself. Two of the artists will be present at the opening to meet each other for the first time, the other two will teleport in via video chat, which you are also invited to do: http://tinychat.com/vres
Location One is grateful to the artists for accepting the challenge with such good humor and and grace, and enjoyed watching them so brilliantly do, undo, redo–and ultimately undo our own expectations of this odd experiment. The Virtual Residency Project is coordinated by Heather Wagner for Location One.
Jessica Curry (Brighton, UK) is a composer based in the UK who spends far too much time with her husband. Making a child and making work together has formed the basis of their collaborative experiments for the past eight years. A Wellcome Trust commission led on to several successful large-scale projects, including a series of experimental computer games. The latest of these, Dear Esther, was selected for Prix Ars Electronica 2008 and is a finalist in Los Angeles based festival, Indiecade 2009. Their Second Life funeral, The Second Death of Caspar Helendale has recently been selected by The Royal Opera House, UK to be performed there in November 2009. Jessica and her husband still, however, argue over whose turn it is to do the ironing. Location One offered Jessica the opportunity to commit collaborative infidelity with a mysterious Australian artist. The temptation proved too much for Jessica and the rest, as they say, is Levels Of Undo. http://www.jessicacurry.co.uk
Ursula Endlicher (New York, USA) is an Austrian artist living in New York. Her work bridges performance, installation, and the Internet. Using the Web since its days of inception she is interested in its inherent structures and languages - such as HTML - and translates them into visual formats, dance choreography, sound, and installations. Recent works such as the net art piece "html_butoh" as well as the live/web-driven performance series "Website Impersonations" are based on the html-movement-library, a database of user-submitted movement directions based on HTML code. Recent shows include venues such as Lightindustry in Brooklyn, New York, Theater am Neumarkt in Zürich, Switzerland, and Woodstreet Galleries in Pittsburgh, PA. She received commissions by Turbulence, and by the Whitney Museum of American Art for artport's Gate Pages. For "Levels of Undo" she developed new works that reflect on: the peculiar exchanges with her virtual residency mate(s), the long and winding road of working online for one and a half decades, and the deep and mysterious experiences with Facebook. http://www.ursenal.net
Narinda Reeders (Melbourne, Australia) is a media artist and a bona-fide nerd. She studied computer science in the dark ages, before hotmail had been invented and the HTML seemed revolutionary. She also obtained an honours degree in Photography from the Victorian College of the Arts. Her photographs and interactive installations have seen her exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently as part of Experimenta national touring exhibitions, and at the International Symposium for Electronic Art in Singapore, 2008. Narinda is also one half of the performance duo Hit&Miss, with Tai Snaith, although she wishes there were a better word than "performance" to describe the acts of creative mischief they get up to. Dressed identically in red and white, Hit&Miss have been practicing the art of painful stillness and many other absurd acts for the past 6 years. They have popped up unexpectedly in public spaces, exhibitions, parties, flights, shopping festivals and car club rallies in Australia, Scotland and the US. http://www.narindareeders.net
Ben Woodeson's (London, UK) practice revolves around absurd and quietly confrontational sculptures. His works set out to challenge the viewer and the exhibiting institution in a playful kind of art chicken. Since December 2008 he has been working on a new series of "deliberately dangerous" works entitled "The Health and Safety Violations", to date these have included 30,000 ball bearings for the audience to walk on, an electric fence which the audience had no choice but to climb over if they wished to enter the gallery and a motion activated vacuum pump which set about extracting the atmosphere from a sealed gallery every time a viewer was present. In June he was selected for a prize by the artist Mark Wallinger when he exhibited a corridor full of randomly activated trip wires at this year's Creekside Open exhibition in London. The works sound overtly dangerous… but are they really? For the virtual residency he has been collaborating with Ursula Endlicher, the two have never met. He has shown throughout Europe, Canada, and America and he has an upcoming solo show at Electrohype in Malmo, Sweden. Trained in Glasgow, Scotland he now lives in London, England with his wife the artist Andrea Jespersen and their dog Mia who is deeply unimpressed by his studio that unsurprisingly is full of dangerous shit and things that go "bang". http://www.woodeson.co.uk
Conrad Shawcross's exhibition "CONTROL" will also reopen September 9, 2009 through September 26, 2009.