Bio

Leslie Lawrence was born in Jersey, Channel Islands. He Lives and practices in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

About

Leslie Lawrence's films are set in exaggerated realities where the actions of artists are entirely consumed by specific political and philosophical ideas. Taking a critical psychonanalytic perspective, his films probe the outer limits of artistic philosophies as guides of individual behaviour.

His work often involves ambitious co-operative projects with other artists playing characters based on their real-life practices.

News

(Follow links for more info)

Like Warships Ramming (2016) is showing online as part of Plokta TV SE/02 - The Hidden Life of Technology until 28th March 2021

The Fire Sermon (2020) is showing at Galerie De Jaloezie, Rotterdam (Depending on COVID-19 restrictions)

Revolution or Bust! (2018) is showing in Life on Planet Orsimanirana at MK&G Hamburg until 25th July 2021

Education

☰ Master of Art & Design -- Dirty Art Department -- Sandberg Instituut ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2017 - 2019

☰ Master of Science in Theoretical Psychoanalytic Studies -- University College London ☷ London, England -- 2013 - 2014

☰ Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art: Painting -- University of the Arts London: Wimbledon College of Art ☷ London, England -- 2008 - 2011


Feature Shows

☰ The Fire Sermon -- Heesterveld 57 ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2020 ☲ with Sophia Simensky

PACTO Pool Party -- Public Pool Gallery ☷ Los Angeles, California, United States -- 2019 ☲ as PACTO

☰ A Cold open Show! -- ISO ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2019 ☲ as the Dirty Art Department

☰ The Wandering School Part II: Revolution or Bust -- Academiae Biennale 2018: Where Plato TaughtFranzensfeste, Fortezza, Italy -- 2018 ☲ as the Dirty Art Department

Introducing... -- Stoa42 ☷ Athens, Greece -- 2018 ☲ with Léo Ravy

COMPACTO -- Aarhus Billedkunstcenter ☷ Aarhus, Denmark -- 2018 ☲ as PACTO

It's Their Thought That Counts -- PACTO x Croydon Arts Store ☷ Croydon, England -- 2018 ☲ as PACTO


Group Shows

☰ Revolution or Bust -- Life on Planet Orsimanirana -- Museum für Kunstund Gewerbe Hamburg -- ☷ Hamburg, Germany -- 2021 ☲

☰ The Man Who Was Thursday -- The And of the World -- Dirty Art Foundation -- Sandberg Instituut Graduation Show ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2019 ☲

☰ All World Assembly -- DEMOKRATIE BAUEN -- S27 Kunst und Bildung ☷ Berlin, Germany -- 2019 ☲ with Jerszy Seymour Design Workshop ☵ funded by Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung & Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Jugend und Familie with be Berlin

☰ Revolution or Bust! -- An Accelerated Culture -- Friedman Benda Gallery -- ☷ New York, United States -- 2019 ☲ with Jerszy Seymour

☰ authorship, authorark, authoraircraftcarrier -- PACTO x 18 Malden Road -- 18 Malden Road ☷ London, England -- 2018 ☲ with Léo Ravy

☰ Standard Definition -- punctum remotum, puntum proximum, punctum -- ISO -- ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2018 ☲ with Léo Ravy

☰ Fools Rush In -- Game Over: Play On -- Jasper Voss Projects ☷ London, England -- 2016

☰ The Father, Murdered in His Labyrinth -- Vanpool --  Cheap Drinks ☷ London, England -- 2015 ☲ for Artlicks

☰ Modern Sexy Painters -- Continental Operations ☷ London, England -- 2012 ☲ with Warren Andrews, Dominic Letschka, Christopher Mayer

☰ Quality Products Presents: Quality Products The End -- MilesKm London 2012 -- Bussey Building ☷ London, England -- 2012 ☲ with Marina Stavrou

☰ The Assassination of Alice B. Toklas by the Coward Gertrude Stein -- Exhibition One -- Continental Operations, Rich Mix & Somewhere to ☷ London, England -- 2012

☰ The Wimbledon Amateur Society Showcase -- Summer Graduation Show -- Wimbledon College of Art ☷ London, England -- 2011 ☲ with Warren Andrews and Dominic Letschka


Residencies

This Will Take Time ☷ Point Arena, California, United States -- 2019 ☲ with PACTO ☵ funded by Acorn Partners in Education

PACTO:pillow -- MACAO ☷ Milan, Italy -- 2018

PACTO:BARK -- BARK Projects ☷ Athens, Greece -- 2017

An Overheard map of Now -- Brief Encounters ☷ London, England -- 2016

MilesKm: La Rioja 2014 -- MilesKm ☷ Lardero, Spain -- 2014

☰ Writer's Residency -- Construction Gallery ☷ London, England -- 2012


Screenings

☰ Like Warships Ramming -- The Hidden Life of Technology, Plokta Film Festival -- ☷ Amsterdam Netherlands & Online -- 2021

☰ Year 01 Films -- We Stop Everything, We Think and We Watch Films -- Kino Club Fallow & Dirty Art Foundation ☷ Amsterdam Netherlands, -- 2019 ☲ with Léo Ravy, Daniel Ordonez Munoz, Jean-François Peschot, Sara Daniel

☰ Revolution or Bust! -- Dirty Art Department Accrediation Symposium ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands, -- 2019 ☲ with the Dirty Art Department

☰ The Long Take -- Cinema of the Damn'D, OT301 ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands, -- 2019 ☲ with the Dirty Art Department & Gelitin

☰ Revolution or Bust! -- Goleb ☷ Amsterdam Netherlands, -- 2019 ☲

☰ Quality Products Presents: Quality Products the End -- "It’s not about being wanted or ‘Should I have bothered getting out of bed’ -- Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius ☷ Vilnius Lithuania, -- 2017 ☲ with Marina Stavrou

☰ Spiral Symphonies: Soundman Edit -- Sandberg Instituut ☷ Amsterdam Netherlands, -- 2019 ☲ with the Dirty Art Department

☰ Tiresias -- Talentness, talentless and co... part deux -- Watts Talent ☷ London, England -- 2015 ☲ with Dominic Letschka


Performances

☰ DJ House DJ except he doesn’t play house music and all of the songs are about houses -- Bunker Warming! -- Vondelbunker ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2019

☰ The Electric Galloway Voight Kampff Acid test -- Light Eye Mind ☷ London, England -- 2016 ☲ with Rosa Nussbaum

☰ Welcome to the O.C. Bitch Live -- Part Four Coming Soon -- Watts Talent ☷ London, England -- 2016 ☲ with Welcome to the O.C. Bitch

☰ Welcome to the O.C. Bitch Live -- Airbomb -- Royal Academy of Art, Academician's Room ☷ London, England -- 2015 ☲ with Welcome to the O.C. Bitch

☰ On A Drawing by Kurt Schwitters on a Drawing by Marc Chagall -- It Used to be Talent -- TURF Projects & Watts Talent ☷ London, England -- 2015 ☲ with Warren Andrews

☰ She's All That -- The Third Talent -- Watts Talent ☷ London, England -- 2015 ☲ with Warren Andrews, Lola De la Mata, Dominic Letschka, Rosa Nussbaum


Workshops

☰ Radical Research Methods -- School of the Damned Alternative Education Open Day -- SET Space ☷ London, England -- 2017 ☲ as PACTO

☰ Drawing Like a Fugitive -- Jenny and Liam Paint the Blues -- No Walls ☷ Brighton, England -- 2016

☰ Nomic ' Nachträglichkeit' -- TAP Projects & MilesKm -- ☷ Southend, England -- 2015

☰ Nomic 'Stitch Points' -- Single End Collective & MilesKm -- ☷ Glasgow, Scotland -- 2015


Appearances

☰ Printing Plant -- Looiersgracht 60☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2019 ☲ with Lost Dad Publishing

Artist Self Publishing 5 -- ICA London ☷ London, England -- 2019 ☲ with Lost Dad Publishing

Zine Camp -- Worm UBIK ☷ Rotterdam, Netherlands -- 2019 ☲ with Lost Dad Publishing

Apocalypse Wow! -- by Kokoschka Revival☷ Rome, Italy; Buenos Aires Argentina -- 2018 -2019 ☲ as actor


Lectures

☰ How to Explain Winnicott to a Dead Artist -- University of the Arts London Philosophy Society -- London College of Communication ☷ London, England -- 2016



Published Works

☰ Several Uniques and Their Properties, Group Decision-Making for Egoists -- Lost Dad Publishing ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands and Copenhagen, Denmark -- 2019

☰ Introducing... -- Lost Dad Publishing ☷ Athens, Greece -- 2018 ☲ with Léo Ravy

☰ How to Explain Winnicott to a Dead Artist -- Self Published ☷ London, England -- 2014 ☲ Held by: The Exchange of Dalston, London


in Print

☰ Your Collective Needs Rules -- in The Best Place at a Party is in the Kitchen: Recipes for Collectivty -- PACTO ☷ Point Arena, California, United States -- 2019 ☲ with PACTO

☰ The fundamentals of group decision making
both nude and otherwise -- in How Do Groups Learn? -- PACTO ☷ London, England -- 2018 ☲ with PACTO

☰ The Hiker -- in Daddy Issues #1: The Issue With Getting Ready To Go -- Lost Dad Publishing ☷ Bari, Italy & Patras, Greece -- 2018


Awards

☰ The Wimbledon Amateur Society: Neo-Amateur Photography Club -- Bar-Tur Photography Award Finalist ☷ International -- 2011 ☲ with Warren Andrews and Dominic Letschka




Life on Planet Orsimanirana (2021)
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

A project of the Jerszy Seymour Design Workshop with Macao and Assemble,

“ Life on Planet Orsimanirana is an exhibition as a communal living system and a functioning cooperative physical and online radio station which invites you to immerse yourself in an every-color primordial mud of molecular consciousness, an archive of autonomous reflections, DIY futurist narratives and a pumping funk of organic processes. ”(Emanuele Braga, Amica Dall and Jerszy Seymour)

The internationally known artist and designer Jerszy Seymour, together with Amica Dall from the London architecture collective Assemble and Emanuele Braga, member of the artist and activist group Macao in Milan, create a fantastic and humorous world at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G) that oscillates between exhibition, radio station, workshop and performance space. Life on Planet Orsimanirana follows as a decentralized and dynamic world building project; the idea of the "non-total work of art". International and local collectives, activists, artists, designers and the visitors themselves are invited to immerse themselves in this world, make music, take part in workshops and discussions, develop ideas and share them on the radio, to tune in to a fight for the future and to challenge the world in which they want to live. With this project, the MK&G is continuing its efforts to open up to more participation and dialogue. The project is aimed at everyone who would like to be active in the museum and use the power of joint design to think about new ways and answers to the burning questions of the present.


Plokta TV SE/02 - The Hidden Life of Technology (2020)
Online

For the second season of PloktaTV, we dive deeper into the Hidden Life of Technology

Technology is good at hiding. We have always lived with technologies. Bricks. Postal codes. Horsepower. Microwaves. The moment they are part of our lives, they disappear from view. Now technology is better than ever at hiding: beneath friendly interfaces, behind high walls, between the lines of the terms and conditions… in the palm of your hand.

Film is good at showing. It can pierce the surface of technology, revealing its secret lives. Film shows what the naked eye can’t see: the near and the distant; the past and possible futures. It makes you think, or stops you thinking altogether, immersing you in a story to enchant your dreams – or keep you up at night. To look with new eyes, or to watch in pure awe.

PloktaTV PloktaTV unravels the relationship between people and technologies, in all their different forms. The films are not just about gears, valves and switches, but mostly about people and about how we are connected through technologies. About what part they play in our mental lives. In our surroundings. In our societies.

Plokta’s program approaches these questions across fiction, science fiction, documentary, computer code and video art. Not simply the domain of filmmakers, these works also allow designers and artists to provide unique insights into these elusive interactions: stories and images to unveil and to speculate.

See for yourself. Challenge your understanding of what technology is, what it does, and what to make of it. Find your fix, something to push your buttons, or to dazzle you with the ghost in the machine.

More Information

Plokta TV


The Fire Sermon (2020)
Video

19m 41s

This work is made possible by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts)


The Fire Sermon inhabits a world where artists adopt outlandish personas against a backdrop of a society in permanent crisis. This short film series follows Solid Mercury and Dead Stirnerman, the hosts of an artistic television broadcast, who try to turn the ever-changing situation to their advantage to support their show.

Things are looking good as the studio radar protects them from outside threats and a government work programme has led to them securing a new intern to work beneath them. However, their plans are upended when their guest, the famous Doctor Design, reveals a new discovery outside the crisis zone.

In this first episode, Sophia Simensky and Leslie Lawrence address the idea of employment as a moral value and question whether there is an opportunity in crisis to prioritise social relationships instead of work as an end in itself. Artist Janina Fritz features as 'Doctor Design' with her ceramic sculpture 'The Dude’ and Constantin Dichtl appears as 'The Intern'.

Where has it been shown?


☰The Fire Sermon -- Heesterveld 57 -- ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2020 ☲

☰Filmhuiskamer -- Galerie de Jaloezie -- ☷ Rotterdam, Netherlands -- 2020 ☲

Filmhuiskamer - Galerie De Jaloezie (2020)
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Visit our cinema room every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in November and December. In the cinema room we show audiovisual artworks by young makers. In addition, we open the private cinema from Thursday to Sunday, which can be booked with your household at 7:00 PM or 9:00 PM

More Information

Galerie De Jaloezie


The Fire Sermon - Heesterveld 57 and Online (2020)
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Designed to work within the restrictions created due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This exhibition allowed visitors to book private screenings within the set of the film. Additionally, a web version of the viewing room was designed and made available to coincide with the exhbiition to create accessibility for those not able to visit in-person

Exhibition by Leslie Lawrence & Sophia Simensky.
Hosted by Lost Dad Publishing at Heesterveld 57.
Web + Design by Léo Ravy & Publicity by Sun Chang.
Cinema sound panels by Octave Rimbert-Rivière.

The Fire Sermon [2020]
Written & Directed by Leslie Lawrence.
Costume & Set Design by Sophia Simensky.
Featuring Janina Fritz & Constantin Dichtl.

The Dude [2019] Sculpted by Janina Fritz.

Making Love to the World: The peregrination of Doctor Design [2020]
Written and published by Janina Fritz.
Layout & Design by Alexander Pfeiffenberger.

This project is supported by the AFK [Amsterdam Fund for the Arts].


We Stop Everything, We Think, and We Watch Films (2019)
Bijlmerplein 698

For this special screening of Jacques Doillon's 'L'an 01' Kino Club Fallow curated a short series of accompanying anti-work films to run prior to the main feature

ABOUT KINOCLUB FALLOW: In agriculture, to put a field in fallow is to render it "unproductive" for a given time. Fallow is a process of regeneration of the soil where it is conscidered to be "resting" but demands intensive care. Imagine the soil takes a break and goes to the spa for a while.

This practice was very common before industrial farming came into place and was important for the fields to stay healthy. In addition to this, fallow fields were an essential part of the local commons as they could be used by the community, especially for seasonal grazing for example.

Inspired by this process, we organize fallow screenings in our studio to invite our space to rest and become a commons for its visitors. You. Us. The programmation is open to anyone interested in screening a film, a video of any kind or even in adding a performative element to the events in themselves.

 

 


The Man Who Was Thursday (2019)
Video
40m

The Man Who Was Thursday (2019) is a collaborative film that uses context of shared art production to produce an additional fantasy narrative about a wild anarchist plot to destroy the world. Under the cover of ‘art practice’, an esoteric cabal publicly flaunts their dangerous activity while moving forward with a deadly plan. At the heart of their scheme is a mysterious briefcase that one undercover operative must find before the mysterious figure known only as ‘Sunday’ has the chance to use it.

Based on G.K. Chesterton’s reactionary early 20th century novella, and echoing contemporary conservative fears about a nebulous conspiracy of ‘Antifa’ activists, the film imagines what it would look like if the postmodern values of ‘bohemian’ artists really did turn them into enemies of the state.

Where has it been shown?


☰The And of the World -- Dirty Art Foundation -- Sandberg Instituut Graduation Show ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2019 ☲



PACTO Pool Party (2019)
Los Angeles, California

Public Pool is pleased to host the launch of PACTO's new publication, The Best Place at the Party is the Kitchen - Recipes for Collectivity . PACTO is an international alliance of artists, artistic researchers and writers, gathered to discuss and explore collectivity, and to support one another's individual endeavors. Rather than being led by form or structure, PACTO seeks to inquire how to work together and what that means through practice-led processes.

More Information

Public Pool Gallery


The Best Place at the Party is the Kitchen, Recipes for Collectivity (2019)
Publication

The publication “The best place at the party is the kitchen” was created during the PACTO residency at This Will Take Time, Point Arena, California and launched at Public Pool Gallery, Los Angeles, California in 2019.

The publication documented PACTO's projects during the residency and included contributions to our 'recipe book' from invited collectives. My essay 'Your Collective Needs Rules' on the development of the PACTO collectives internal bylaws was included.


This Will Take Time
Point Arena, California

In Summer 2019 PACTO Collective convened in California and took part in the This Will Take Time Residency. As part of the residency we used the geological examinations of previous residents to locate a source of clay on the site to dig from. This clay was used for two purposes: first it was combined with natural material to form a cob mix that was used to build a combination kiln and oven; secondly it was refined so it could be used to make ceramics that would be fired in the kiln. The design of the kiln was such that as it was beginning or finishing firing the temperature would be appropriate for cooking, feeding the collective who worked to fire the kiln by chopping wood and tending to the coals

PACTO also published 'The Best Place at the Party is the Kitchen, Recipes for Collectivity' which included writing from other artist collectives, details of the residency kiln project, and recipes that could be made in a kiln oven

This Will Take Time is dedicated to longterm projects and experiments in land use, education, and the arts. This Will Take Time is a nonprofit organization located in Point Arena, California. It was founded in early 2015 by Tara Shi and Benjamin Lotan. It receives funding from Social Print Studio and is fiscally sponsored by Acorn Partners in Education, a local 501(3)(c) nonprofit.


Lost Dad Publishing (2018 →)
Artist Collective

Lost Dad Publishing is an artist-run publishing house based in Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Through this platform, we publish printed matter and organized live events mainly focusing on artistic research through fiction, comics, poems, essays and experiments.

Born from a vision of interdependence, we see publishing as a shared space, a space where individual research and practice can co-exist with collective struggles and ideals. Our main interest is to facilitate the circulation of artistic research, the ideas it may explore and to extend the reach of artist's voices.

Lost Dad Publishing is a co-operative body who has helped with the publication and exhibtion of my work. The multi-disciplinary resources of the artists involved allows us to support each other's projects and achieve more than is possible individually.


The And of The World (2019)
Bijlmerplein 698, Amsterdam

The great thing about waiting for the apocalypse, is that it frees you from worrying about the future; you can embrace annihilation, and instead, set sail for the edge of the earth.

With ‘The And of the World’ the graduates of the Dirty Art Department embrace the possibility of moving forward from the promise of extinction—to chart a course through the abyss, toward a happy anding.


Several Uniques and their Properties (2018)
Publication  

You are surrounded by group projects that control your life and yet you have no say in them. Relationships to the state and production are hyper-individualised and calls to collective action are viewed with suspicion.

Is belief in an alternative needed? What if the real alternative is to turn to the most individual of individuals, who guards against belief at every turn and mocks the suggestion that there could be higher ideals? If the egoist can be convinced that working together is not only necessary, but actually the default method by which to achieve their desires, then collectivist and egoist projects become one and the same.

Several Uniques and Their Properties considers the group decision as the fundamental unit of group projects and asks what sort of decision-making process would be possible if a union of egoists were to want to form a group and multiply their capabilities.

Also included in this book are short guides to understanding the four main types of decision-making processes as well as guides to forming small collective bargaining groups and example by-laws for creating organisations.

More Information

Lost Dad Publishing website


Demokratie Bauen (2019)
Schlesische27, Berlin  

DEMOKRATIE BAUEN (‚Build Democracy‘) is about creating visionary, purpose-built decision-making spaces in which groups and parties with opposing opinions can meet up: Left-wing, right-wing, religious, non-religious, original Berliners, new Berliners, and old Berliners who were once new Berliners. Different ideas and cultures are what make up a democracy – but which room concepts provide the best conditions for debates and working towards a consensus?

As of early 2018, young people from various different youth scenes, refugees from temporary accommodation, school pupils and trainees have all been coming to explore the curious nature of democracy, discuss its future, and share their opinions and experiences. With the help of artists and architects, they then design their utopian parliamentary architecture in various workshops. Impulse workshops, discussions and excursions are all part of the experimental construction process.

All World Assembly is a gathering of people, animals, and objects, with the task of creating a collective vision of a future world where all are granted freedom, equality and care for the souls of all things. Over 2 days, we will find our common languages, decide on ways to organize, and create the plot and setting of a film to share our vision. The confirmed participants include a refrigerator, a rock, a video camera, a bike, water, a scent, a tortoise, a tree, and a few humans of various ages and backgrounds.

All World Assembly was a workshop created by Jerszy Seymour Design Workshop for S27 Berlin. Video production by Leslie Lawrence

 

 

 

More Information

Project Page at S27


The Long Take (2019)
Video
28m 17s

A short film in collaboration with Gelitin & Scott Clifford Evans

In 3 days total, we created a one-shot short film with Gelitin. This film consists of multiple performances and set pieces, the content of which was decided in the first day. No topic or theme was off limits—as John Waters once said, “If someone vomits while watching one of my films, it’s like getting a standing ovation.”

You’ve only got one shot at this, baby! In filmmaking terms, a “long take” is one, long, continuous shot that is longer than other shots in the film or longer than what could be considered the average. A long take can immerse the viewer in an environment, reveal information about a character in fluid, uninterrupted (unedited) “real time,” show an event that drives the narrative, or potentially do all three.

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Youtube

Watch the full video on Vimeo

Where has it been shown?

Cinema of the Damn'D, OT301 ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands, -- 2019 ☲ with the Dirty Art Department & Gelitin


Bunker Warming (2019)
Vondelbunker, Amsterdam  

You are invited to our Bunker Warming party! We just found someone to join us in our bunker house and we want to celebrate! You can wear your pyjama, some nightcaps will be availbale. Enjoy your night!

The housing crisis in Amsterdam is more than just a story of spiralling rents. People are led into precarious situations, forced to choose between renouncing to have a place to sleep or accepting unstable living. Those who cannot register cannot work in the city, and so they struggle to match ever-increasing rent demands becomes even harder. They are trapped in a perverse circle. These people are students, families, migrants, the unemployed; all forced to tread lightly as the ground constantly shifts beneath their feet. You may be ‘aware’ of this situation but do you really understand what it is like to hide your craving for a comfortable bed at house viewing after house viewing? Where does the idea of ‘housing’ go from here?

Bunker Warming was an initiative of interdisciplinary artist and social designer Sara Daniel aimed at protesting the dire housing situation of Amsterdam. For the exhibition I performed as the literalist DJ character of 'DJ House DJ except he doesn’t play house music and is literally a house and also all of the songs are about houses'

The Vondelbunker is an autonomous cultural center run by volunteers who share the conviction that space is political. The bunker in its current form has been open since June 2011, hosting an unruly and dynamic cultural programme.

 

 

 

More Information

A Event Page at Vondelbunker


A Cold Open Show! (Live) (2018)
ISO Amsterdam  

A live broadcast of a television show featuring the artists of the dirty art department where they were simultaneously both the stars and production crew. Those viewing the performance could watch the broadcast on a TV set in front of the stage while also experiencing the chaos of the live production moving around them.

Natalia Jordanova and myself hosted 'P.R.O.P. (People's Revolutionary Organisation for Painting)' which imagined a panel discussion show where the hosts would decide on the features of a painting that would 'cause the socialist revolution' but never actually make anything. The segment is a lighthearted critique of the occassional overambitious claims of socially engaged practice.

In the production I provided the technical expertise to simultaneously perform and broadcast live, splitting the camera feeds so that they could be displayed individually in the performance as well as brought into live editing and streamed online

ISO Amsterdam is a collaborative working arena that combines a public programme with exhibitions, workshops, screenings, lectures, performance and music events. An ever-evolving stage for the (inter)national cultural community.

 

 

 


PACTO/:pillow residency at MACAO (2018)
MACAO, MIlan, Italy  

PACTO was originally meant to be a year-long project, consisting in three main group residencies bringing all of the members together, one in September, one in January and one in July, plus one individual research project/residency for each member.

This was the third and final group residency, held in Macao, Milan, from the the 16th to the 26th of July, and curated by :pillow (Alessandro Moroni & Giulia Ratti).

Macao is an independent center for art, culture and research. Avoiding the creative industry paradigm, and trying to innovate the old idea of cultural institutions, we started to consider art production as a viable process for rethinking social change, elaborating independent political critique, and as a space for innovative governance and production models. Our research concerns the labour conditions in the creative industry and cultural sector, the right to the city and new forms of organization and technological solutions for cultural production. Macao is currently based in a former slaughterhouse in the middle of a huge abandoned area not so far from the center of the city; it has a cross-sectorial program hosting performing arts, cinema, visual arts, design, photography, literature, new media, hacking and the meetings of citizens committees. It is coordinated by an open assembly of artists and activists.

 

 

 


Where Plato Taught - Academiae Biennal 2018
Franzenfeste Fortezza, Italy  

The Dirty Art Department was invited to take part in the Youth Biennale and showed Revolution or Bust! & Daddy Issues 2 to contexctualises our projects in Greece.

Contemporary visual art is one of the dominant major forms of expression that unites populations on a global scale through a universal form of communication that overcomes the barriers of language, culture and history. The artists are the architects of this revolution, they are the intellectual force that generates queries, thoughts, interpretations. This force proposes visions, albeit provocative, that are increasingly addressing the world as a whole.

Young artists naturally are at the forefront of exploring new unfamiliar pathways, whilst facing difficult challenges, and attempting to create a more advanced point of view. The event aims to give voice to young artists from all over the world, to unite their thoughts in an exceptionally evocative location and, with time, become an artistic platform of powerful cultural and social content. A project that gives life to an International Youth Event, building bridges between cultures and populations.

The curator of Academiae Biennial 2018, Christian Jankowski, has set the curatorial theme and has selected professors, from the best European Academies of Fine Arts, who are established on the contemporary Art scene. Together they will then choose the exhibiting students. A Consulting Committee composed by renowned individuals from the local cultural institutions will be supporting and supervising the project.

 

 

 


Revolution or Bust! (2018)
Video
45m 53s

Revolution or Bust! (2018) is built around Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s delivery of his ‘Ode to Capitalism’ as the Oracle at Delphi at the beginning of the Dirty Art Department 2018's 'Wandering School Part II'. Footage from the walk is intercut with sections of video works by the artists to ask how different philosophical approaches can lead to action in the face of a revolutionary moment.

Members and friends of the Dirty Art Department left Amsterdam by plane to Bari, and travelled in descending order of technology—by boat from Bari to Patras, by public transport from Patras to Delphi. On arriving in Delphi, they met the Oracle, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, who presented his Ode to Capitalism and explained the revolution in his terms.

Continuing on foot from Delphi to Athens, over mountains and through valleys, there was time for rumination and chances to realize new links between themselves and with those they met along the way. Once in Athens, they sought out the light through a series of planned and unplanned happenings, lectures, situations and actions. Caught between the impossible fantasy of the Revolution and the real task of self-organising, those involved decided individually and collectively how to proceed and what action to take. These are some residues from the experience.

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Youtube

Where has it been shown?


☰The And of the World -- Dirty Art Foundation -- Sandberg Instituut Graduation Show ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2019 ☲

☰ An Accelerated Culture -- Friedman Benda Gallery -- ☷ New York, United States -- 2019 ☲ with Jerszy Seymour

Dirty Art Department Accrediation Symposium ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands, -- 2019 ☲ with the Dirty Art Department

☰ Revolution or Bust! -- Goleb ☷ Amsterdam Netherlands, -- 2019 ☲

Academiae Biennale 2018: Where Plato TaughtFranzensfeste, Fortezza, Italy -- 2018 ☲ as the Dirty Art Department

PACTO:pillow -- MACAO ☷ Milan, Italy -- 2018


Introducing... (2018)
Publication  

Inside the Stoa42 space, guests are invited to play a game. They choose Past, Present, or Future and join an artist from the group in the space. Although the topics are collective experiences, it is a meeting between two independent viewpoints, so the introduction remains personal. The attempts to communicate shared experience are unavoidably subjective. Through these parlour games a new collective understanding is generated, but what is being discussed cannot be heard by those outside the room.

Again, the problem of communicating a shared experience to the outside returns. However, there is a third party in the room listening to the discussion. They work to mediate the speculations, thefabulations, the misunderstandings created by the introductions, and attempt to live-type a new description of collective experience for the benefit of the audience outside the space.

 In this way the practices of the group come to new shared representation through a series of texts; autonomous in their own right but marked by an almost impossible attempt to fully incorporate the other.

More Information

Lost Dad Publishing website


Introducing... at Stoa42 (2018)
Athens, Greece  

From May to June 2018, Stoa 42 hosted a series of events organized by members of Lost Dad Radio and by artists and designers from the Dirty Art Department, Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam. A rapid succession of short term exhibitions, performances and events, created especially for the space. 

In March 2018, the Dirty Art Department, Lost Dad Radio and friends walked two-hundred kilometres from Delphi to Athens and, having arrived, decided to stay. The encounter with the people in Greece at the time but also with Athens and the Stoa42 space was a moment to explore and reflect on the current local context

 Over a course of five weeks at Stoa 42 they were joined every Wednesday and Saturday by their new public to experience both the individual and communal adventures of this exciting group as they continued their journey in Athens.

 Stoa 42 is a non profit organization. An experimental cultural space with aim to support emergent artists. At the edge between private and public space, Stoa 42 invites each time one artist to show one work. A mini solo show which is open and accessibile to everyone who passes by.

 

 

 


Spiral Symphonies (Soundman Edit) (2017)
Video
53m 36s

Cosmic Visons out of Spiral Symphonies was a procession to inaugurate and consecrate the new Dirty Art Foundation piece of land in Amsterdam Noord and one of the first workshops for the Dirty Art Department 2017-18.

This marching forward took the form of several micro performances, rituals and healing shamanic sessions ending with with a spiral bonfire ceremony. The Audience were invited to follow and participate in the procession.

Spiral Symphonies (Soundman Edit) follows the performance by using David Haack Monberg's uninterrupted audio recording as the basis to lead the editing of the film footage.

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Youtube

Where has it been shown?


The Dirty Art Department - Sandberg Instituut(2017 → 2019)
Masters

I completed my masters at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, joining the Dirty Art Department for two years. As a collective we completed a number of exciting projects, notably the 'Wandering School Part II' in Greece and 'The And of the World' exhibition in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost. The latter event inaugarated the exhibition space of the Dirty Art Foundation for 2019 which continues as an alumni network.

From the Dirty Art Department website:

‘The Dirty Art Department offers itself as an open space for all possible thought, creation, and action.

It sees itself as a dynamic paradox, flowing between the pure and the applied, the existential and the deterministic, and the holy and the profane.

It is concerned with individuality, collectivity, and our navigation of the complex relationship between the built world and the natural world, and other people and ourselves.

It’s a place to build objects or totems, religions or websites, revolutions or business models, paintings, or galaxies.

The Dirty Art Department comes from a common background of design and applied art, it seeks however to reject the Kantian division between the pure and the applied.

Since ‘god is dead’ and ‘the spectacle’ is omnipresent, it sees the creation of alternative and new realities as the way to reconsider our life situation on this planet.

The Dirty Art Department is open to students from all backgrounds including designers, artists, bankers, skeptics, optimists, economists, philosophers, sociologists, independent thinkers, poets, urban planners, farmers, anarchists, and the curious.

Please enjoy the trip’

More Information

Visit the the Dirty Art Department website

Visit the the Sandberg Instituut website

Where has it been shown?


☰ A Cold open Show! -- ISO ☷ Amsterdam, Netherlands -- 2019 ☲ as the Dirty Art Department

☰ The Wandering School Part II: Revolution or Bust -- Academiae Biennale 2018: Where Plato TaughtFranzensfeste, Fortezza, Italy -- 2018 ☲ as the Dirty Art Department

PACTO (2017 →)
Artist Collective

PACTO is an international alliance of artists, artistic researchers and writers, gathered to discuss and explore collectivity, and to support one another's individual endeavors. Rather than being led by form or structure, PACTO seeks to inquire how to work together and what that means through practice-led processes.

PACTO is an actively growing intersectional, anti-hierarchical and decentralized group. PACTO came together through a MilesKm research project initiated in August 2017, and founded itself – themselves – as a collective in July 2018. Currently PACTO members live and work in London, Athens, Leiden, Amsterdam, and Porto. Our projects and working practice, which range from exhibitions to workshops, from discussions to collaborative writing, reflect this trans-locality.

We investigate the possibilities of collective work as an alternative to individualized practice. We understand the art world to be one in which collectivity, communality and sharing are vital, and as such, we seek to facilitate collaborations with other artists, researchers, writers and collectives. We value supportive, self-organizing, alternative and para-institutional models and we aim to reflect on these practices throughout our work together.

More Information

Visit the PACTO website to see all work

Where has it been shown?


PACTO Pool Party -- Public Pool Gallery ☷ Los Angeles, California, United States -- 2019 ☲ as PACTO

This Will Take Time ☷ Point Arena, California, United States -- 2019 ☲ with PACTO ☵ funded by Acorn Partners in Education

COMPACTO -- Aarhus Billedkunstcenter ☷ Aarhus, Denmark -- 2018 ☲ as PACTO

It's Their Thought That Counts -- PACTO x Croydon Arts Store ☷ Croydon, England -- 2018 ☲ as PACTO


Like Warships Ramming (2016)
Single Channel SD Video
14m 3s

Although we are now familiar with the 'alt-right' and an emboldened white supremacists movement, the specific and peculiar symptom of collapse, the election of Donald Trump, was prefigured online much earlier than many realise. Hypersphere (2015) is a novel collectively authored by the 4chan literature board /lit and sees Trump presiding over a 'death orgy' at its finale.

This video tracks follows on from my previous body pillow work to look more closely at the figure of the disenfranchised and alienated subject of late capital who finds companionship in objects. The financial crisis and austerity post-2008 lead to a western version of the shut-in hikikomori, recognisable before as the 'basement-dwelling neckbeard' but now even epitomised by the possibly terroristic identity of the 'incel'. The notion is that deprived of real social relations we see a resurgence of a kind of 'death drive' accelerationism as previous privileged identities also become 'left-behind' and lacking a class analysis they turn to an identity politics, which for them means white supremacy.

The voiceover is taken from 'Beyond the Pleasure Principle' where Freud outlines his controversial notion of the death driving using some questionable understanding of evolutionary science; the text line at the bottom comes from the aforementioned 'Hypersphere' and the 'Accelerationist Manifesto'.

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Vimeo

Where has it been shown?



I Like Artist and Artist is Tsundere to me (2016)
Video - Photography

For this film I employed three interns to love and care for life-sized dakimakura body pillows of myself during a group trip to minor British theme park 'Chessington Work of Adventures'. My desire was to evacuate all actual content of the artist/intern and employer/employee relationship so that only the strictly regulated social relation remained. Although my psychoanalytic research focused on the idea that there might be a legitimate way to describing a creative psychology, I held the identity of 'artist' with great suspicion. By externalising the reverent relationship to the body pillows I was hoping that a new space would open up for enjoyment... which why we also rode the log flume.

The cultural phenomenon of disenfranchised men conducting romantic relationships with anime and videogame characters, embodied in dakimakura, has the character of an object fetish. In a specifically psychoanalytic sense this means there is something that must remain ‘unthought’. Although it may even be said directly out loud, its impact is not felt and so the traumatic thing does not interrupt satisfaction. Uncomfortable with how my relationship as both ‘artist’ and ‘employer’ were conflated in my relationships with my performers or ‘interns’ (as designated by their particular uniforms), I attempted to short circuit the problematic relationship by assigning body pillow companions.

The obvious issue is that when the romantic care of their body pillows becomes the ‘work’ the performers are contracted for, this prevents moving forward with artistic work as all of the energy is directed toward maintaining the protection from anxiety that necessitates the pillows. However, this does free up the opportunity for enjoyment and so in the case of the body pillow photoshoots we are celebrating our relationship in the manner of a family photograph. The scenarios of ‘fun dad’ and ‘strength in heritage’ are typical arrangements at the family photography studio we attended although the group may be less typical.

 

 

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Vimeo


Fools Rush In (2015)
Single Channel SD Video
3m 16s

I wrote my thesis for my masters at the UCL psychoanalytic studies department on D.W. Winnicott's notion of play and transitional spaces relating to artistic behaviour. I put a focus on the work of Bas Jan Ader whose confrontation with falling reflects the tension that exists between the phantasy space of wish fulfilment and the encounter with reality of frustration at the boundaries of our control.

I very much enjoy the speculation that Bas Jan Ader did not die at sea but rather faked his own death in order to escape the confines of his call to exist as an 'artist'. The story goes that when his locker at Irvine was opened it contained only a copy of 'The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst', the story of a man also lost at sea while fraudulently competing in an around-the-world boat race, and this was a clue that Ader had faked his death. Oddly though, another anecdote now occupies my mind more frequently: apparently Ader once briefly quit artistic work to instead trade in Lettuce futures on the stock market. I think sometimes that this expresses more clearly my point about creative behaviour and the desire to create a phantasy space that reality must then play catch-up towards. The purchase of futures is an imaginative gesture about the future but ultimately an investment in them does cause real lettuce to pile up, even if it is at the behest of an artist.

In this video the artist attempts to copy a children's toy in an attempt to become superior at falling

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Vimeo


Tiresias (2015)
Single Channel SD Video
8m 58s

The old laws of Cronos struck down with blindness anyone who beheld the gods without their consent; such was the fate of Tiresias. However, at the behest of a nymph, Athena, though she could not restore his sight, cleansed Tiresias' ears in such a way that he would be able to understand the utterances of birds. In this way he gained the power of an oracle as the birds could tell him the god's secrets.

According to Lacan's famous maxim, your desire is always the desire of the other. The hysteric reacts very uncomfortably to his demand, wanting to know why they have received this mandate to desire. If we could understand the birds would they tell us what the Big other wants from us? Would be able to understand and choose our own desire?

In this video the artist gets all of his theory from birds and attempts to confront the Big Other.

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Vimeo

Where has it been shown?

Talentness, talentless and co... part deux -- Watts Talent ☷ London, England -- 2015


Welcome to the O.C. Bitch (2013-16)
Performance

Welcome to the O.C. Bitch was originally formed as part of the Wimbledon Amateur Society Project where we created a museum-style experience within the showcase to venerate our musical creations; think the Beatles experience in Liverpool or perhaps the Rock n' Rollercoaster featuring Aerosmith at Disneyland.

Eventually this concept evolved into a series of performances where the band would play a series of songs based on the poetry of Kurt Schwitters. I would enter the stage as the 'headless man' and be menaced by a horse while we began with 'On a poem by Kurt Schwitters on a Poem by Marc Chagall' before ripping off my missing head to break into our feature hit 'London Symphony'.

Following staple tracks such as 'Königsberger likes that' the set would always finish with a round of 'Tools': the band would sing "tools, tools, all kinds of tools" and then solicit the name of a tool from audience members at the end of each bar. The first person unable or refusing to name a tool would be booed and berated by the band before they abandoned the stage in disappointment.

 

 

How Can I see it?

Contact me at info@leslielawrence.nl for bookings and if the price is right I'll organise a reunion tour

Where has it been shown?

☰ Welcome to the O.C. Bitch Live -- Part Four Coming Soon -- Watts Talent ☷ London, England -- 2016 ☲ with Welcome to the O.C. Bitch

☰ Welcome to the O.C. Bitch Live -- Airbomb -- Royal Academy of Art, Academician's Room ☷ London, England -- 2015 ☲ with Welcome to the O.C. Bitch

☰ On A Drawing by Kurt Schwitters on a Drawing by Marc Chagall -- It Used to be Talent -- TURF Projects & Watts Talent ☷ London, England -- 2015 ☲ with Warren Andrews


Nomic (2013-Ongoing)
Workshop

Nomic is a game developed by Peter Suber in 1982. It is perhaps the most famous of a class of 'self-amending' games where the rules of the game primarily regulate the changing of the rules of the game itself. The process of playing these games leads to insight on parliamentary rulemaking and legislative drafting as well as a recognition of how collaboration and norms interact even with competitive game play.

I have now lead several workshops conducting Nomic type games for artists and institutions, introducing amendments to the initial ruleset depending on the theme and giving short lectures on related concepts. My primary interest in Nomic is how it relates to aspects of group decision-making but I have also used it to elaborate psychoanalytical and philosophical concepts in order to demonstrate how mental structures are reflected in legal frameworks.

The Freudian concept of 'Nachträglichkeit' (sometimes 'afterwardsness' in English) and the Lacanian 'après-coup' are particularly important here as they relate directly to the 'Paradox of Self-amendment' that Suber uses. The revelation is psychoanalysis that is felt as an irruption of the 'Real' into the symbolic order, and by this reconstituting it differently, is essentially an extra-legal event. This relates to how a piece of legislation that creates a paradox may not be possible to dissolve through normal legal means and so either disrupts its constitutional functioning or must be voided by equally extra-legal means.

 

 

How Can I see it?

Contact me at info@leslielawrence.nl for more information on group decision-making workshops

Where has it been shown?

☰ Nomic ' Nachträglichkeit' -- TAP Projects & MilesKm -- ☷ Southend, England -- 2015

☰ Nomic 'Stitch Points' -- Single End Collective & MilesKm -- ☷ Glasgow, Scotland -- 2015


Deep Rodding Trio (2013)
Performance, Music, Video

The Deep Rodding Trio was comprised of Leslie Lawrence, Niamh Proctor, and Oliver Sanders. Based partially around Pierre Schaeffer's original texts on Musique Concrete, we worked to physically manipulate 7-inch vinyl records to change the quality and playback of the vinyl; this included the application of paint, glue, tape, and other material to the surface of the discs.

The resulting album was built from long sessions where each artist would introduce these altered records to their individual record players to build layers of over-lapping sound. The final selection of tracks were presented with accompanying black and white 8mm film developed with an equivalent physical process, working by hand and introducing interruptions to the development process.

The title track was made as a recording of one specific altered 7-inch record. This video for this depicts the performance 'Endometry of the Green Epoch' by Warren Andrews and Declan Jenkins.

 

 


Game Boy Camera Films (2012)
Video Series

These 'Game Boy Camera' videos are relatively formal experiments. The camera's sensor has to relay images for display through an 8 bit system so each frame actually splits down into a prescribed selection of three-hundred-and-sixty eight-by-eight pixel blocks with only four shades of grey available. More importantly, the digital display acts as a viewfinder until an image is captured so by creating an output for this display and recording it, a moving image can be created. The production of the 'Super Game Boy', effectively a replica of the 8-bit hardware which bridges directly to the 16-bit Super Nintendo, makes this possible as a route to produce a composite television signal with the 160x114 image embedded is possible.

These works, in collaboration with artist Christopher Mayer are early experiments with the format

How Can I see it?

Watch the full playlist on Vimeo

Where has it been shown?

COMPACTO -- Aarhus Billedkunstcenter ☷ Aarhus, Denmark -- 2018 ☲ with PACTO


Quality Products Presents: Quality Products The End (2012)
One or Two Channel Video Installation
10m 04s

This video was made as part of MilesKm 2012 in London. For its first two iterations (they have now moved onto wildly more ambitious things) the MilesKm residency would partner artists in a host location with visiting artists from elsewhere in Europe. I made this video work with artist Marina Stavrou where we agreed to collect Super-8 video reels before we met and then try to construct a new piece of work from them. The video is generally shown in screenings with Greek narration and English subtitles but is also available in the reverse configuration to allow for a two channel installation in exhibition.

The final work incorporates the anglo-dutch influence of where the film was initially collected, taking in both an F.A. Cup final and the anachronistic racism of the black petes, but creates its own narrative which retains a cheery 'easy listening' feel like its soundtrack as it introduces you to the art world.

I remain fond of the character of PEARSON as I think the celebration of his deeds as being a final ending for art remains relevant when thinking about the place artists hold in relation to other types of workers. Fine Art remains in many cases far more medieval than other areas of the economy, explicitly relying on an informal system of patronage and influence rather than acting as a market or, if you can imagine it, something more egalitarian. PEARSON expresses a kind of strange fantasy that art could be made an explicit competition, and its stars treated more like sports people; this way at least the detachment from its cultural or intellectual aims would have the reassuring quality of a game.

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Vimeo

Where has it been shown?

MilesKm London 2012 -- Bussey Building ☷ London, England -- 2012

"It’s not about being wanted or ‘Should I have bothered getting out of bed’ -- Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius ☷ Vilnius Lithuania, -- 2017


CLOONEY (2011)
Video
51m 44s

The Wimbledon Maverick Film Unit’s main production for the Wimbledon Amateur Society showcase was a bio-pic about the life of actor George Clooney (Life in this case also extending into the future). The story was built outward from an anecdote that the actor relays about how his pet pig once woke him up in anticipation of an earthquake. If not for the pig’s intervention Clooney would have been crushed by the ceiling collapsing above his bed.

Clooney owes cosmic fealty to the memory of his former pet and his life unravels as he fails to acknowledge and pay back this karmic debt. After a near-fatal motorcycle accident Clooney finds himself trapped in a timeless limbo reserved for people who require mystic guidance after motorcycle accidents; Bob Dylan is also present for this reason. Realising his mistake, Clooney changes his ways and reconnects with his spirit pig and wins a best director Oscar.

I fondly remember Clooney which channeled the deliberate ‘amateurism’ of the Wimbledon Amateur Society project through one of my favourite conceits. Specifically, the attempt to perform a studio style production would mean the formation of a ‘writer’s room’ for the script and the inhabiting of an auteur director persona by Dominic ‘DOMINIK’ Letschka. The joyful performance of a half-remembered Hollywood seems to deliver something to us that has come from a different, more insane, reality.

How Can I see it?

Watch the full video on Vimeo

Download a PDF of the annotated CLOONEY Scriptbook

Where has it been shown?

Summer Graduation Show - June 2011 - Wimbledon College of Art


Wimbledon Amateur Society (2011)
Installation

The liberation of being an ‘amateur’ is that you’re free to stop anxiously accruing the signifiers of professional art practice and have some fun. Although I’m obviously supportive of the idea that artists ‘should be paid properly’ I think more deeply I hold a stubbornly anarchic view that money encourages artists to make their art ‘good’ by applying to both themselves and their work the characteristics that make good commodities instead. The first time I graduated it was in this showcase for everything we did instead of the fine art painting course we signed up for. If you’re desire is the the desire of the Other, and this makes you hysterical, get a new Other, a much stupider one.

The W.A.S. was formed of constituent societies, each intended to oversee the myriad activities we turned our hand to. This included: Wimbledon Maverick Film Unit, Neo-Amateur Photography Club, Wimbledon Scriptwriter’s Guild, Future Developments in Design, The Wimbledon Poetics Fellowship, The Wimbledon Landscape Painting Society, New Horizons in Popular Music & The Wimbledon Improvised Comedy Revue.

In art school there is an awareness that the liberatory rhetoric of experimentation and development is superseded by the way education is shaped by the demands of a market outside. The steady march of the marketisation of higher education on neoliberal economic terms has accelerated this process as well as in order to be ‘worth it’ a painting degree should naturally lead to a professional gallery career. The fact that both those who would internalize this market logic into their practice, and those who openly reject it, regard the other camp’s position as cynical still at least implies that everyone except the truly cynical believes that art occupies a space somewhere beyond the horizon of capital.

Taking on the identity of the ‘amateur’ creates a transitional space where creativity is unburdened because an activity can only be judged by standards derived from general and unspecified knowledge of a subject. It also brings a joyous, if poorly channeled, level of ambition as seen by our attempts to produce a full Hollywood biopic & form a band that would be immediately be memorialised in a museum experience.

The Wimbledon Amateur Society Showcase 2011 featured: The Wimbledon Maverick Film Unit cinema and videodrome, showing productions “CLOONEY”, “Spandau: The Ballet”, and rom-com “Love+London”; The glossy hardback photography annual from the Neo-Amateur photography club, a full wall of Bob Ross taught landscape paintings, with thanks to the professional painting graduates of the college for participating; The Welcome to the O.C. Bitch music experience, where you could stand in a recreation of the recording booth and ‘look-through’ to the studio to see the band recording; and finally the W.A.S. archive which meticulously recorded everything we attempted during this project.

 

 


British National House Party (2010)
SD-Video
3m 15s

This video refers to the 2009 controversy surrounding the appearance of far-right politician on 'Question Time', a public television programme in the United Kingdom. In hindsight this moment is worth regarding for how it pointed towards the tensions that would later inflame the debate around Brexit although at the time the supporters of the British National Party were a tiny minority and the party itself soon faded into obscurity.

At the same time Britain remained enthralled by 'Deal or No Deal' and the triumphant return of televsion host Noel Edmonds. Noel had hosted the most popular prime-time television show in the country over a decade earlier before disappearing when a guest was killed during a 'prank' on one episode. The British version of this format is longer lasting and more remarkable than many others due to the philosophy Edmonds brought to proceedings, based on his own beliefs which had helped him overcome tragedy. Contestants were allegedly detained in an almost cult-like atmosphere in a Bristol hotel where 'positive thinking' was enforced by guests informing on one another for having negative vibes. In contrast to some other versions of the format, guests would open boxes for each other and, despite the purely mathematical and luck-based nature of the show, contestants would invariably bring totems, talismans, and numerological theory into the game.

The initial humour of the video, presenting the game-show host and his contestant group as the 'dangerous extremists' being referred to is underlined by a materialist critique: the constant depiction of symbolic spectacle as having a material effect is harmful. The absurd spectacle of the contestants, post 2008 recession, fighting their enemy 'the banker' with positive vibes and good luck charms was a clear sign of what remains now broken at the heart of the culture.

How Can I see it?

Watch on Vimeo

Where has it been shown?

Elbow Room (Screening) - 2010 - Wimbledon College of Art