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Digital Arts Studios Belfast, Northern Ireland


Fabric: Press Release

Presenting a range of media and approaches, Fabric considers how the structures of and in our cities affect our perspectives and how technology mediates or sifts our experiences of place, environment and history.

Platform Arts
3 – 10 October 2013

Stephen Bleakney
Janine Davidson
Jiann Hughes
Grace Kim
Julie McGowan
Katrina Sheena Smyth

3rd October 6-9pm // Opening with performance by Katrina Sheena Smyth at 7pm

8th October from 5.30pm // Artists’ Talks

Hosted by Platform Arts // Curated by Digital Arts Studios

Stephen Bleakney is a digital artist based in Belfast. His chief concerns are pop-culture, technology, accident/artefact and the superabundance of information. His writings, film and audio use the above for environmental reflection, self-portraiture and play. Stephen is currently uploading the collection “Music, Technology and Indolence” to his Idiot Pioneers blog. Created with the help of DAS it comprises a library of sounds personal to the artist in the forms of field recording, re-edits, remixes, DJ sets and original music. Next collection “Selected Indolent Works Vol.1” will follow in 2014. Both are largely born of outside influences which have in some way inhibited the creation of more conventional work: “If it distracts me, if it becomes part of my world, then it gets to become part of the work.” These distractions have so far included album hype for Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails, videogames old and new, trash horror cinema, Mel Brooks and the city of Belfast.

For the exhibition Fabric at Platform, I have chosen to exhibit four longform digital sound pieces. These are respectively based on the music of Nine Inch Nails, the films of David Lynch, the games of Suda 51 (director, Killer7, No More Heroes) and the music of Masato Nakamura (composer, Sonic the Hedgehog). Audio from each is plainly but radically altered digitally and represented. These pieces represent some of my simplest work (one of them was made by changing a single digit number in an .ini file), but I feel that they resist the potential ugliness of minimalism to impart meaning.

Janine Davidson Born in Belfast, 1974. Davidson recently completed an MFA at NCAD Dublin, 2012 researching the archaeology of optical devices. Her current body of work explores convergence through the projection and distortion of imagery to present a different view. The work references duality and contradiction, incorporating simple quotidian materials to create both obstructions and apertures that explore theories of binocular disparity. Davidson is interested in the investigation of perception and the construction of images.  Through the use of her own recorded film she projects through different sculptural framing devices to explore the possibilities of moving image. Her video installations incorporate barriers or gaps, which allow the viewer to re-imagine the space.
Underground Overview was filmed in Belfast as part of my residency at the Digital Arts Studios. The recordings are filmed in disused car parks in the city centre interspersed with views of the city’s Victorian architecture reflected through the modern facades of buildings that now dominate the landscape. Intermittent and simultaneous projections of the recorded images at times mirror the Gallery space in particular the central columns.  This work incorporates double exposures and the use of two projections further explores notions of duality.

The preservation and conservation of time and history through the action of recording and post production processes such as editing, permits different accounts of an event to take place and exist in the world. The constant process of editing and re-working the material creates a focus on what is in the frame whilst simultaneously creating a curiosity of what is outside the frame. Frames which capture events in real time are then re-presented removed from their original context. These constructs or spaces of intensity create what Foucault terms heterotopias which can connect us to a multiplicity of places, some familiar and some that can never be known. My work is a transformative process that forms connections between erasure and disclosure, the visible and invisible, the familiar and the unknown.

Jiann Hughes is a media artist exploring the relationship between human bodies, society and technology. She makes body responsive installations provoking perceptual enquiries, social interactions and experiences of embodied exploration. These installations are like playful laboratories, relying on the magical qualities of novel new technologies. Biofeedback technology is often used to project the body’s most intimate responses, which in turn affect sound, video and light. Her work has engaged with a breadth of issues, from pervasive surveillance culture to the quantified self movement, from boxing coaching to carbon emission solutions.

She is currently completing a practice based PhD through the University of Technology, Sydney exploring her bio-sensing artworks. A graduate from the Sydney Film School she has a Masters degree in Community Cultural Development from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her work has been exhibited in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK.

Membrane is an interactive bio-sensing installation exploring affective vibrations, intersubjectivity and the permeability of our barriers. It subverts the materiality of instruments of measurement and amplification, to project intimate bodily responses into the public sphere. Membrane places the curious centre stage, turns the spotlight on affect and locates the passer-by as witness and collaborator.

Grace Kim is an artist engaged with photography and time based media. She studied at the School of Visual Arts and International Center of Photography in New York, and is currently a PhD candidate in philosophy and media theory at the European Graduate School (Saas-Fee, Switzerland). Grace is the recipient of an AHL Foundation Visual Art Award and Foam Talent distinction, and was nominated for the Arcimboldo Prize and Hyères Photography Prize (2013). She has been featured in the Humble Arts Foundation Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography (New York) and has exhibited at numerous international venues including White Box (New York), The Last Gallery (Tokyo), Unseen (Amsterdam), [.Box] Space (Milan), Hania Bailly (Geneva), and Atelierhof Kreuzberg (Berlin). She currently lives and works between Berlin and New York.

Glass Curtain is a meditation on time, memory, and the loss of innocence of childhood. In 1961 the Berlin Wall was erected along the street Bernauerstrasse along the center of the city. The apartment buildings that lined the street became part of the structure itself - so that the front entrance faced the East while the back windows faced the West. Many people jumped out of their windows to freedom, and many lost their lives in their attempt. In this appropriated news footage from that time, a child watches the drama, crying as her father tries to comfort her.

Katrina Sheena Smyth is a current Masters in Fine Art student at the University of Ulster, Belfast (2012-2014), where she specialises in Performance art and lens-based media.  She has been using her four months in residence with the Digital Art Studios to conduct the early stages of a research project that questions whether the documentation of information can exist within the ephemeral nature of performance, exploring this in relation to processes of capturing and archiving existence.  During the residency the artist documented a series of interviews questioning the nature of performance, with several art related individuals, this exhibition will consist of new work in response to these discussions.

There will be a performance by Katrina Sheena Smyth on the opening night, Thursday 3rd October at 7pm

Julie McGowan graduated from the University of Ulster with a BA (Hon’s) in Fine and Applied Arts in 1998 and again in 2000 with a Master of Fine Art. With a background in traditional sculpture, McGowan has developed a wide variety of experimental processes and ways of working, which are continuously expanding and recently have become enveloped by new media processes and their continual advancement. Through the generous support of both the Arts and Disability Forum and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, McGowan has designed and delivered a wide range of projects, collaborations, exhibitions and has engaged in studio-based learning for over ten years. McGowan is currently developing a body of work covering several types of media and crossing several disciplines including film, sound and installation. The work under development is based on bubble structures and their observation. Changing environmental conditions, lighting and structural adjustments have made the process a very hands-on experience of experimenting, learning and recording. The ongoing observation and filming has had several far-reaching unexpected outcomes and indicate the beginning of the bringing together of a long-conceived notion of a way of working through digital media, installation and time.

design & development