Kudos to Hong Kong’s Spring Workshop and its founder, Mimi Brown, for breaking new ground in arts and culture by daring to introduce ground-breaking art exhibitions and performances like “An Exposition Not an Exhibition” by Ari Benjamin Meyers to Hong Kong. I attended an hour of this unusual musical happening which features a five-hour durational performance comprised of pieces from the canon of contemporary music, played in different locations within the premises of Spring Workshop, without any prior distribution or announcement of the program or sequence of pieces to be played, to the audience. The entire experience was rendered even more fun and intriguing by the sporting of masks by both the performers and audience members. By bringing this unusual, world-class event to Hong Kong, Spring Workshop dares us to open our mind to the new musical forms presented by contemporary music. If you’re interested to learn more about contemporary music, my best advice is to start by listening. The playlist for Meyers’ piece is a great starting point and can be found here on my site.
While documenting FORMAT 2017, I met artist, Stephanie Rushton, who told me about “The Handmaid’s Tale”, one of the images in her “Archaea” series, on display in Pearson House, along with a live plant sculpture. By portraying plants as phantasmagorical, surrealist, anthropomorphic creatures, Rushton makes the point that they possess an intelligence which connects them to human beings. The “Archaea” series was a great example of how FORMAT artists expressed this biennial’s theme of “habitat.”
[APOLOGIES but the first story in this clip appeared in yesterday’s diary post.] You can watch my full rant about how Mark Zuckerberg needs to grow some balls and show more leadership here; first stop on my tour of FORMAT 2017 is the University of Derby on Markeaton Street, located across the street from a trailer park; you can actually order instant coffee at the cafe; the FORMAT exhibition spans 15 venues across the city of Derby so that residents, students and everyone in Derby is exposed to the art; bleak images of the former Yugoslavia by Borko Vukosav; gorgeous, if slightly obvious, images of glaciers juxtaposed against abandoned eskimo dwellings by Magda Biernat; extremely disturbing autoradiographic images by Masamichi Kagaya document the radiation still present in natural and man-made objects in the environs of the Fukushima nuclear plant; FORMAT is astounding for its curatorial choices and quality of writing; Derby is quaint and idyllic to boot; my iphone selfie lens has a crack across the protector explaining why I haven’t been and can’t be the talking head in my own vlogs lately; I arrive at Pickford House, the 250-year old former residence of Georgian architect, Joseph Pickford; Shivani Gupta’s portraits of Ladakh people printed on fabric are gorgeous and folkloric; but I’ve spent too long savoring the art at the first two venues, meaning that I’m running out of time to see the rest of the venues in FORMAT today; St. Werburgh’s Chapel houses two artworks by Tim Simmons and Simon Aeppli, captured in a video on my Instagram feed; at the Derby Museum, there’s an exhibition dedicated to the contents of one of the world’s oldest photography studio, W.W. Winters of Derby; one of FORMAT’s strong suits is the very disparate aesthetic, historical and thematic range of images on display; I check out FORMAT’s River Lights venue so that I can try out the Virtual Reality headsets from Oculus; I didn’t video any part of my visit to the Dubrik recording studio because it’s right next to a halfway house (and lots of dubious characters loitering loudly on the street); I fall in love with one of the FORMAT venues: the Small Print Company and end up shooting the owner of that business instead of the photography — enough to make a short film actually; the penultimate venue of the day is the semi-derelict Pearson House, a mystical,
overgrown former school housing the artworks of about 10 photographers; Poulomi Basu’s video and virtual reality installation about Western Nepalese women ostracized under Hindu tradition for undergoing menstruation for the first time is arresting and memorable; my final stop is on Cathedral Green, to see FORMAT’S iteration of the global, travelling photography project, Flaneur; after a jam-packed day at FORMAT, I have to drive home — starving and thirsty; the real, hard work begins after I download all the clips from my camera; no Prets in Derby (but it’s a good thing); HOME – at last — after the LOOONGEST day!
This soundless video reflects the strange experience of going to the Jordan Wolfson exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and being in complete silence alongside lots of other people because the art experience must be consumed by headphone.
Last day in Amsterdam: visit to Foam Amsterdam; Daisuke Yokota’s incredibly thought-provoking installation; skipped Eggleston because it’s about as interesting to me as David Hockney (NOT); how Dutch houses have slanted facades and hooks on the roof for hoisting furniture into the house, rather than using the stairs, because they are so narrow; Gavin Turk’s curated exhibition at the Van Loon Museum is disappointingly prosaic and mediocre; I mean, REALLY uninspired; our first lunch in Europe EVER without alcohol: was it too salubrious? Do we really need a museum dedicated to handbags? A last cocktail at The Dylan; stocking up on smoky fish at Schipol; Amsterdam recap notes (various).
(N.B. This film was originally formatted to fit a square Instagram frame.) A lyrical sculptural installation by Japanese photographer, Daisuke Yokota, of archival film suspended from the ceiling of photography museum, Foam Amsterdam, explores the relationship of image to its traditional photographic substrate, film, by dissociating image from its usual freight of associations – memories, culture, expectation. The three-dimensional installation through which members of the public can freely walk is also a metaphor for our relationship to imagery today: we are surrounded, even flooded, by it.
Daily vlog diary: Shopping and strolling in Amsterdam; bicyclists trump cars in Amsterdam and that means, watch out for them! Amsterdam — especially its dining and eating scene — is one of the birthplaces of global, urban hipsterism; it’s worth doing a video handbook about that topic — tongue-in-cheek, of course; Keukenhof (see full vlog on my visit); Keukenhof is a giant photo opp, especially for Asians; one of the main reasons to go is to get inspired for your own garden; huge rabbits on steroids at Keukenhof; more than anything, Keukenhof is very commercial; my visit to the Stedelijk museum without John; boy, it’s an ugly building; main mission: to see the Jordan Wolfson exhibition, even if I can’t see the crazy animatronic sculpture; how I visit museums as a rule; Jordan Wolfson (various shots of the video artworks without audio); I didn’t understand all of that art exhibition; SO I’M SAYING SO — OUT LOUD; but I still got a lot of out of it; there are no fat people in Amsterdam; Jansz – glamorous and dramatic; clothes for kids which are inexplicably, ineffably weird and unwearable; “Sino-Japanese” – whoever coined that clearly has neither Chinese nor Japanese friends.
Daily vlog diary: Hong Kong’s walkways are a boon in a city otherwise hostile to pedestrians; on my way to Macau to see my friend’s art exhibition, “Ad Lib” at the Macao Museum of Art, in spite of the grime and pollution; spending the day with Konstantin Bessmertny; la mian is the best cure for a terrible cold.