Cradeaux: The show’s title text for something might have unconsciously been arrived at from a knowledge of Samuel Beckett’s Texts for Nothing, though there are no guarantees. If it’s true, and it may as well be, at least I can be certain that this “something” does not represent the converse of “nothing”; there are no positives or negatives here, or additions vs subtractions.
Beckett’s Nothing texts reverberate circularly around a cranium sarcophagus, seeking and denying compatibility and conversation with the world and the self; the act of laying out the denial to be is an action that eats its own tail; this new shape seeks congress with the world if only to tease it. The pivot outwards is important, since without it there would be no art, no expression, no thinking. I wonder how text as, say, an object or an image wrestles with this pivot outwards. I can imagine such a text wrestling with its own identity as both an object and a message, eating its tail before us, flirting with us to “read” it.
In this way text in art is uniquely positioned to disrupt the circuit of image consumption. It demands a reading that sticks very close to its surface, even if it then takes us off to other aesthetic, emotional, or political spaces. This show reveals a wide range of responses to the concept of text-based art and is particularly notable for its incorporation of a variety of media including stereogram, artificial intelligence poetry, QR code sculpture, hand-written message, moving image, and sign. This show wanted to test the flexibility not only of text as a driving concept in current art, but also the webspace itself. BOXE is not conceived as a virtual space. Webspace is completely actual, if we decide that the place into which we devote our attention is utterly tethered to the space of the real.
And speaking of actual, and getting close to the physical, there is a 1-to-1 relational scale between the head and the laptop’s screen which must surely create a unique head space for the work and its subsequent reading, not to mention the atomised community it occupies. Individual heads in individual space around the globe, decentralised but somehow connected to a central brain, in either an echo chamber or sarcophagus, depending on the mood.
As a side note, these reflections were not premeditated. They stem from reflections on this particular show, and the artists engaged in it. So, can we talk about it?
“Where would I go, if I could go, who would I be, if I could be, what would I say, if I had a voice, who says this, saying it’s me? Answer simply, someone answer simply...”
-Texts for Nothing 4, Samuel Beckett
Artists/works, in order shown:
Colin Lindsay “non”
Cradeaux Alexander (“ontheeveofmyfathersdeath”) is from Los Angeles and currently based in London. He works internationally across a range of media. Recent highlights include a recent mid-career retrospective “Scripted Bodies” which included the world premiere live performance of “bluebeard”, and staging the UK premiere of Picasso’s “Desire Caught by the Tail” for Bow Arts, London, as well as Beckett’s New York stage premiere of “Eh Joe”. He is a PhD candidate at Royal College of Art, and his practice-based research investigates the influence of theatre technique and theory in fine art practice. He is the artistic director of LUXE and continues to explore a wide-ranging performance-based practice, including as an actor in many stage plays and films.(cradeaux.com, luxe.org.uk)
Dario Srbic (“I Was The Other Way”) is an artist and a PhD candidate at Royal College of Art, with his transdisciplinary research situated across the fields of biometrics, artificial intelligence, philosophy, and parametric design. His practice seeks to embody desire and ethics into machine learning and express those in algorithmically generated sculptures, drawings, and performances as a counteract to the relentless exploitation and control of sentient beings by algorithms.
Manca Bajec (“They say”) is an artist and researcher whose current multidisciplinary work is situated in the realm of socio-politics and space, questioning representations of violence and power. She has presented her work internationally, most recently; a newly commissioned piece for the Kaunas Biennial (Sept.2017), a new collaborative performance with curator Kara Blackmore at a UCT/King’s College Symposium in Cape Town (Feb.2018) and in June 2018 she presented her first short play in Sarajevo. Bajec also frequently publishes her work, most recently her work was included in the Theatrum Mundi publication, Uncommon Building: Collective Excavation of a Fictional Structure and a chapter of her writing will be included in a Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies Series. She has lectured worldwide including Columbia University, The New School, Goldsmiths, Royal College of Art, and ICA. In 2018 she completed her PhD at the Royal College of Art in London conducting research on the destruction and reconstruction of monuments. Bajec was born in Slovenia, grew up in the Middle East, and currently lives and works in London.
Nicole Vinokur (“Seek Detachment”) (b.1978, Johannesburg) lives and works in London. Her work has been shown internationally, including Camden Arts Centre, London; Modern Art Projects, Cape Town; SHELF, London; Tintype Gallery, London; Bosse & Baum, London; Godart Gallery, Johannesburg; Caustic Coastal, Manchester, RaumX, London; and The 50th Venice Biennale, Venice. Vinokur graduated from the Royal College of Art, MA Sculpture (2015) and Pretoria Technikon, BTech Fine Art (2004).
Nigel Rolfe (“Ability”) has recently performed and featured in Performance Art Festivals and Galleries and Museums in many countries including…….Ireland, Britain, Spain,France,Italy,Netherlands and Sweden and Poland, China, Czech Republic, Ukraine and USA . He is well known as a longstanding seminal worker in performance and live practice and has been active as an Action Artist since 1969. Since 2008 live working has become once again his primary form. He has worked in his own work and professionally for others with sound and music production and film and video and television production. He has had many exhibitions with the photographic,installation and sculpture. He has worked as as a stage designer and in contemporary dance as a director and designer. He is skilled as a cabinet maker and builder and designer of furniture,interiors and buildings.
He has taught widely in the Fine Arts in many countries.