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Golden Age Problems: Wellbeing in the Entertainment Complex

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This is a show opening that I’ve helped to organise with Auto Italia, please come and visit for the preview on 21 June!

Golden Age Problems is a project by Auto Italia and Nathaniel Budzinski featuring Oreet Ashery, Marleen Boschen, Olivier Castel, Leni Cedric, Benedict Drew, Marianne Forrest, Mette Hammer Juhl + Lorenzo Tebano, Pablo Navarro MacLochlainn, Terence McCormack, Plastique Fantastique, Richard Thomas.

Art institutions sit comfy in the pockets of big corporations, broadcasters continue to sow the image-seeds of a tedious spectacular capitalism and publishers proliferate middlebrow infotainment and zombie-commenters. Compounding the problem, many artists remain enthralled by the mainstream, commercial art world.

As the worlds of art and mass media collide, converge and change, there’s a need to rethink our relationship with the narratives broadcast by these institutions of cultural emission – if they can’t serve us now and for the future, but retrench their ambitions into yesterday’s hallucinations, we must create new options rather than have them created for us. We must create a new world within this world.

Golden Age Problems is an exhibition of images, objects and stages, activated and explored through narrative presentations and a series of performance events. Energy is only ever amassed collectively and so for any real transformation to take place we must not work alone. Soon the Auto Italia space will become a nexus of celebration dispensing with notions of success and failure, providing collaborators with space and time to imagine alternative, independent entertainment formats: anti-genius narratives, anti-talent show, proactive and present.

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Sunday 22nd June – Sunday 13th July

Opening hours: Wed – Sun: 12-6

Preview: Saturday 21st June, 7-9pm

Admission free.

Events as part of Golden Age Problems: Very Special Episode Saturday, 28th June

Art Monthly June 2014: Letter from Malmö

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Letter from Malmö: Nordicness: Nathaniel Budzinski visits the Swedish city that looks southwards

‘Malmö Konstmuseum director Cecilia Widenheim is in charge of keeping an archive of over 40,000 artworks, with a remit to collect Nordic art – an increasingly vague notion in a city like Malmö that has had large waves of immigration from the 1970s onwards, plus, Widenheim says, “maybe to grab the real ‘Nordicness’ you need to go to Berlin”.’

May 2014: Puncturing phantasies: Benedict Drew

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 “Puncturing fantasies: exhausted images and the ‘me’ generation” is a Focus Interview that I did with artist, musician and video-maker Benedict Drew  in the June 2014 issue of Frieze (link here but it’ll be behind a paywall for a bit)

NB Like the wobbly knees in that introductory video at Matt’s? I thought those were very funny, but also touching.

BD They weren’t necessarily meant to be funny. I mean, they can also be disturbing, or a sign of weakness or sexualized, too. I wanted to show how video can take different body parts and almost tear them from their own bodies. In pornography, it’s not about the body, it’s about parts, and images have been infected by this way of looking. These ideas come from conversations I had with the late artist and writer Ian White; they really stayed with me. I watch a lot of TV, and even cookery programmes use this type of pornographic technique. I’ve spent the last year watching footage demonstrating high quality digital cameras. It’s like these images want you to do something, but at the same time want to act upon you. They want you to get aroused or buy a camera; there’s so many images out there trying to act upon you.

 

Now: March/April 2014

Still from Party For Freedom

Still from Party For Freedom

I’ve got an article based around an interview that I did with the film maker and performance artist Oreet Ashery, available online at The Wire website.

Also, in the new April issue of The Wire, I have an article about the Turkish artist and musician Cevdet Erek, who has a show at Bristol’s Spike Island art centre – and I’ve reviewed the David Risley Gallery show This Is Our Art This Is Our Music in Copenhagen, and its adjoining record shop and label.

Interview with Antony Gormley

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“Any notion of me or mine is simply an inaccurate reflection of the truth of the fact that we are all part of bigger systems, the truth of which we will never know. The more we know, the more we realise that we don’t know. Which I think reinforces the imperative to experience rather than simply think in language.”

Watch an interview and studio tour I did with the sculptor Antony Gormley, recorded recently at his expansive studio/factory space just north of Kings Cross in London. Made for Louisiana Channel.

Now: December 2013/January 2014

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I’ve got a couple articles in the new January 2014 issue of The Wire. First, a short piece centered around the great Mayhem underground music venue in Copenhagen, which includes interviews with Tobias Kirstein and Johs Lund (two of the founders of the space), and Bjarke Svendsen, booker at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse.

Another piece, a review in the same issue, looks at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, known as CPH:DOX. It also has a music strand,  this year included films like Death Metal Angola, Brasslands (a film about the Guca trumpet festival in Serbia), Unplugged (about a village of grass players – yes – once again in Serbia) and many others, alongside live performances by the likes of James Ferraro, Holly Herndon, Dalglish and more. A comprehensive and exciting festival.

Though my favourite film out of the entire festival (mind that I was there for one of its two weeks!) was Hongqui Li’s unsettling and sharp Hooly Bible [correct spelling], a documentary looking at debt collectors and a brothel in China. It makes me want to use descriptives like “unflinching” and “uncompromising” but I won’t. I’ll just quote mark them. Still, it gave me the feeling that I was watching something that I might never forget, a unique feeling. Li calls himself a depressive and some critics have called his work misanthropic, but it really gave me the opposite reaction; that it was direct and accurate, something that is excited and draws strength from what it sees.

Leisure, Discipline & Punishment: Contour Biennial of Moving Image 2013

Josef Dabernig, Excursus on Fitness, 2010, installation view at Contour: 6th Biennial of Moving Image, 2013

Josef Dabernig, Excursus on Fitness, 2010, installation view at Contour: 6th Biennial of Moving Image, 2013

“At the entrance to Contour’s main exhibition space in Mechelen’s Court Of Busleyden sits a monitor looping Harun Farocki’s How To Live In The German Federal Republic (1990). Featuring a series of instructional films dispensing advice on everything from CPR to striptease dancing and crossing the street, it’s an appropriately absurdo-bureaucratic start to Contour: 6th Biennial of Moving Image. Themed ‘Leisure, Discipline and Punishment’, the biennial includes over 20 original commissions and works by 26 artists, asking them to respond to some of Mechelen’s civic institutions (its football stadium, one of the city’s many churches, and its prison) and their symbolic functions.”

I wrote a review of Mechelen, Belgium’s Contour biennial in the new, December issue of Frieze.

The British Library Sound Archive

I just finished editing a video visit to the British Library Sound Archives. I talked to several of the curators and conservators there, recording the digitisation process, and having a tour of the collection that’s held in the extensive underground spaces of the BL. Hopefully it’s an interesting peek into the incredibly diverse collection of sound recordings held by the BL. It’s an amazing resource to have if you live in or near London, especially as access is free (apart from the sometimes daunting task of getting a BL reader card). Here’s the blurb as it is on The Wire site:

The Wire takes a tour of the British Library’s Sound Archive, deep below its London residences on the Euston Road, to talk about sound conservation and take a tour of its collections with some of its key sound curators.

“The 20th century was about audiovisual material, our memory of the 20th century is heavily audiovisual, but our sense of the 21st century is going to be a different kind of audiovisual… archiving is not going to be so much about what we can bring in, but about what to exclude,” says Will Prentice, British Library Audio Engineer and Conservation Specialist.

Nathan Budzinski interviews Popular Music Curator Andy Linehan, Audio Engineer, Conservation specialist Will Prentice, and Wildlife Sounds Curator Cheryl Tipp.

Prop4aShw

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I recently wrote a short online piece for Sight & Sound as part of their current Deep Focus season at the BFI Southbank on the film essay: “A very open show proposal by Turner Prize-winner Mark Leckey.” Click here to read it.

Andrey Smirnov on early 20th century Russian experiments in sound and electronic music

A video interview I did (for The Wire) with Andrey Smirnov, director of Moscow State Conservatory’s Theremin Centre and author of Sound In Z: Experiments In Sound And Electronic Music In Early 20th Century Russia:

“[Leon Theremin] gave technology. The technology was so advanced and it produced such a clean projection of future methods of sound art, that he didn’t need to be an artist or philosopher or composer, but he provoked it”.

Andrey Smirnov talks about early 20th century Russian avant garde experiments in electronic music and sound making, and how he came to inherit a vast and as yet mostly unresearched archive of work by inventors and artists whose work was cut short by Stalin’s totalitarian regime, and nearly forgotten.

Smirnov’s book Sound In Z: Experiments In Sound And Electronic Music In Early 20th Century Russia is published by Koenig Books and Sound And Music. The first iteration of Sound In Z was a 2008 exhibition (co-curated with Matt Price, who also edited the book) at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo. It was part of a larger show called From One Revolution To Another by the artist Jeremy Deller.