14th January – Exhibition Day

Today started with clearing out my kitchen of all appliances (except the fridge and cooker) and everything from the cupboards. Because the kitchen is in my student accommodation which i share with three housemates, we left the fridge alone so we still had food. To combat this we decided to project onto the fridge so no one would be tempted to open it, as all the cupboards would be empty and this needed to fit with the theme of this space being functionless.

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After clearing the kitchen we were left with an empty space. The back door and window let in a large amount of light, which we thought took away from the sinister quality of the exhibition, so we used cardboard to cover up the door and window, putting the space in darkness. The cardboard looked very shabby, but this fitted with our theme of the disused, somewhat abandoned space well.

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In my my kitchen there is also a cupboard by the door, where the bin usually goes, and when emptied out this space looked very run down, with the paint peeling from the walls and the boiler looming over this small cupboard space. I thought this might be a good place for Hilde’s video to go, as it is at the end of the kitchen so would be the last thing people would see after experience Methane, and would complement the shocking video footage with this delicate yet visceral piece of work.

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Deciding where to put the projectors and screens was also interesting. There were a few large cupboards, like the one under the sink where a projector could go, and the tubes and shelving could interfere with the projection and make it fit into the space more. Another projector would be on the fridge as previously mentioned, which left Laura’s ipad and a screen left to be placed.

The ipad would be playing a sped up version of Methane, and was small enough to fit into one of the drawers. However the screen was very big, so would fit well on one of the worktops. (this would be playing the reversed version of Methane, which would be one of the first videos people would see upon entering the kitchen, creating a more sinister and uneasy atmosphere) With the other projections being hidden away, we thought it would be good to place the screen in plain sight, so there was some sort of contrast between the placement of the videos.

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Now the set up was complete, we played all the videos simultaneously, which produced a very disturbing mixture of sound, and the exhibition started. Here are some images of the completed exhibition.

The light from the projectors illuminated the kitchen space. The light was ethereal and bright, not usually associated with the kitchen. It provided a uncomfortable juxtaposition between the light and dark areas of the space, and accompanied with the noise the kitchen was transformed into an ominous slaughterhouse.

Here are some videos also of the exhibition i recorded;

Fridge Projection

Screen on worktop

Rub

Overall i think the exhibition went well and worked very well in the small intimate space.  The videos were spaced apart enough so that it wasn’t crowded but they were still able to complement each other well. The sound became very very annoying over time but this added to the theme. I think as a group we communicated well and made decisions on how the show was curated in an organised way, not allowing personal taste to dictate our decisions and letting the work speak for itself.

Press Release – Abattoir

We decided to name our exhibition Abattoir, and really emphasise the themes of the methane video, as this was the dominant part of the show and its themes would probably resonate more strongly to viewers. The video is quite a disturbing insight into mass production and industrial farming, and the theme of the abattoir being displaced into the domestic kitchen space fitted well with the idea of creating a Heterotopia. These ideas then informed the press release, shown below;

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 19.03.34.pngThe text from this is listed below if difficult to read;

Abattoir 14TH January 2016 22 Weydon Hill Close, Farnham GU9 8PA Open 1pm-4pm

Abattoir is an exhibition focussed on portraying the kitchen space as a heterotopia, where the function of the domestic space is displaced, and replaced with concepts of consumerism. The kitchen is reimagined as an extension of the abattoir, and acts as the transient space between the industry and the consumer. With work from Michael Alstad and Hilde Khron Huse, Abattoir aims to explore performance work as a means to re-invite function into a space, using sound and video to facilitate this. Heterotopia refers to physical and non-physical space, though in Abattoir this is applied through the separation of the kitchen from the domestic space, where control and mass production is utilised to feed the industry.

‘Methane’ – Michael Alstad’s appropriated video work was originally for ‘New Climates’ an online exhibition that explores the relationship between art and climate change. The work uses existing media footage of industrial farming and uses video montage techniques to expose the environmental issues that exist within the meat industry and its effect on climate change.

‘Rub’ – Hilde Khron Huse’s piece connotes “the trace and impact emotions and the personal internal have on a physical person” (Huse) using a dense black material to provide physical context. Huse’s works are predominantly performative, focussed on the physicality of the subject and its supporting narrative.

Curators: Abi Miller, Alison Ingham, Harry Clark, Larina Baker, Laura Rowe

-Abi

Making the Poster:

 

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For the poster I wanted it to be simple, one image that was ambiguous enough to not tell the whole narrative but at the same time intrigue people and alert them to the general concept of the show. As far as the information went, we wanted that to be simple too, the title of the show ‘Abattoir’ was enough coupled with the image to suggest the concept and the only other relevant information was the who, where and when.

The image I chose was from Michael Alstad’s ‘Methane’, one of the more subtle images relating to the horrific subject matter of his piece. At first glance it is not obvious what the image is depicting it actually looks quite beautiful, however it is quite the opposite the title of the show alludes to the fact that it is a cattle farming plant.

For the layout of the poster I took the poster I made for our recent London show ‘Subversion 0.5’ as a starting point, there was not as much information needed on this poster so I relocated the text towards the bottom of the poster so that the image was not obscured too much and like the London poster I made the textbook opaque for the same reason.

We distributed the posters around campus and the surrounding area, as well as using it to create an art rabbit event. See here

-Laura

Rub

Hilde finally replied!

Hilde messaged me today, apologising for the delay and linked me to the video she made for our show, titled Rub.

The video depicts Hilde, framed from the shoulder upwards, her hands completely blackened by some material. She then proceeded to rub this material into her eyes and around her temples for two minutes. The video was very simple yet impactful, and my initial instinct was to place the video in the grill or oven, as the substance reminded me of char or even soot, a substance left behind from cooking.

My initial response to the video on our group chat;
Although we could incorporate it, she’s covering her eyes and maybe she could be the protagonist responding to the methane video, she is the person in the kitchen functioning my ‘cooking’ and therefore adding to this industry of slaughter pf whatever, she could be rubbing ashes from the oven on her face or something, and the fact that she never opens her eyes could show the idea that we always ignore where our meat comes from and how it gets to our kitchens etc. The ghostly atmosphere we’re going tp create with the song and the darkness and stuff would play really well into it i think.

Stills from ‘Rub’

Discussing this video with my group it was mentioned that maybe we shouldn’t use it if it isn’t relevant, as it may seem odd to have the repeated ‘Methane’ video and then Hilde randomly placed somewhere, but i think there was a subtle connection between the two that could be emphasised, without trying to overcomplicate it too much. We decided to go forward with including it, however if on the day we decided it didn’t really work, to omit it and just continue with Michael’s video piece instead. I think the simple concept behind ‘Rub’ allowed personal interpretation, and for us to manipulate it in a way that fit with the concept of the exhibition, whether this was how we presented it, what we presented it on and its location on the kitchen.

I asked Hilde about the concept behind her video, so i could add it to the press release i was constructing, her reply was this;

“Rub is about the trace and impact emotions and the personal internal have on a physical person.”

This was also quite vague which allowed for personal interpretation which was useful. We were thinking the press release shouldn’t be too detailed and give the concept away obviously, and allow each visitor their own personal interpretation of the works.

-Abi

Methane

With the definite confirmation of Michael Alstad, and no responses from Hilde, we had a kitchen meeting to think up a plan to create a new concept if Hilde ended up not giving us a video. I had contacted her a few times asking if she was still interested, so was waiting on a response from her. In the mean time we thought it would be a good idea to focus on Michael Alstad’s ‘Methane’ video (an artist who Alison contacted) and creating a concept around that (e.g. putting the video on multiple screens, emphasising the subject matter of the video by using simple editing techniques, playing with the lost domesticity of the kitchen space etc.)

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 18.38.01.png                   Still from Methane

With the limitations of having one artist there was a risk of not having a substantial amount of work to present in the space (despite my kitchen being small), and to accentuate the themes of the piece (the mass production of the meat industry) repeating the video on multiple screens would fit with this idea. Our intention with the exhibition anyway was to have multiple projections/screens placed semi-hidden in the kitchen space, as thought they were accessories to the kitchen.

The video also had a very intense soundtrack My Little Rooster, a song that was very repetitive and grating on the ears, having this on repeat in such an intimate space would also mimic the intimate nature of how the animals in industrial farms were in such uncomfortable proximity to each other, i can imagine that people would shuffle through the kitchen space like these animals, trying to escape that awful noise.

With the date of the exhibition looming, we then decided it would be a good idea to start designing posters/press releases in order to kickstart promoting the exhibition, with Laura also posting on artrabbit.

After this meeting i felt a lot more confident about the premise of the show, and that we still had a good concept if Hilde decided to not participate, our theme still had good merit as an independent solo show.

-Abi

 

 

Initial Proposal:

This Heterotopian Kitchen  project will create an interactive installation of approximately five short videos of around 5 mins on differing size of screen/ projection, located and or projected into the space of a disused kitchen. These videos will be recorded by different performance based artists in their own kitchen or alternative, consisting of the artist responding to the idea of restoring function to the space.  The space itself will be stripped of all content, and appliances excluding the fridge and cooker. Although the kitchen still appears to have function the removal of these items will make the space unusable and non-functional. It will be the job of the artists to restore this function through their performances, creating traces of actions, a ghost like projection of events that could be possible in the space. Our job as curators will be to locate these videos throughout the kitchen, making use of draws and cupboards, and edit the videos timing and sound, playing with the potential for overlapping.

Artists work to consider when making the response, include Guy Ben-Ner’s “Stealing Beauty” and Martha Rosler’s “Semiotics of the kitchen.”

-Laura

contacting

I’ve recently been thinking about contacting Michael Alstad as he could be a possibility for the kitchen show hopefully I get a responds

To whom this may concern,

I am currently a Fine Art student from UCA Farnham, a group of students including myself have been set a task to curate an exhibition that is based inside a kitchen, the purpose of this is to learn how to curate within a space working together.

 We are hoping to create a kitchen show in early January that will allow a number of artists to project video performances into the space which would allow interaction with the kitchen this is also in the theme of functionality, hetrotopia and restoring the use of a kitchen against an abandoned space or setting. We are looking for artists to participate in this show which will be a series of 5 minute video works that interact with the functionality of a kitchen space in Farnham. Looking at some of your works I am interested to see if there is something you could perform through a video onto a space we have selected.

Look forward to hearing from you all the best

Alison ingham

(UCA)

http://www.michaelalstad.com/contact/

response

Hi Alison,

thanks for getting in touch. the proposed exhibition sounds interesting and I’d love to get more details. what is the timeline of the exhibition? are there other artists confirmed to date? are you looking for artists to create new works specifically for these abandoned spaces? do you have more info or images of these spaces? what are the artist fees and materials/equipment budget for the project?

I have a couple of previous works that could work in terms of alternate narratives within a kitchen environment. one is a quite an older work – the last supper – but still resonates today:
and a video ‘methane’ that explores the link between climate change and the meat industry:
all the best,
Michael

Hello,

 Michael thank you for your rapid response, our reply to your questions from the students and myself. We are currently very interested in your video piece methane, although if you would like make a more specific video piece or the show that would also be fantastic.

Timeline for exhibition? The exhibition will be held as pop up show on the 8th of January.

Artist that have confirmed? To date we have Hilde Krohn Huse who has offered to produce a piece for our show who is most known for her performance work and particular piece hanging in the woods, and hopefully a few more artists that we are awaiting confirmation on.

Artist’s fees and budgets? Unfortunately this is self-funded projects and as students we can not offer any artist fees other than travel money to the exhibition if you wish to do so.

Info and images of the kitchen? The kitchen space is unfortunately not abandoned but very much lived in although the space we do have is a small compacted space which we intend to remove most practicalities such as food and objects etc. to make the place a less lived in environment.

I hope this answers your question we would love to hear back from you

All the best

-Alison Ingham