Archive for September, 2020


Sunday, September 20th, 2020

Here are some images of my work and what inspires me.

Alicia Mersy was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1988. She is an artist and filmmaker of Lebanese/French origin who lives and works in New York. Her work uses the camera to connect to people and to the divine, by forging pathways towards personal and collective peace within a world of infinite production and boundless orientation. Mersy draws from big phenomena including the natural sciences, global capitalism and the infinitude of galactic spirituality to explore decolonial aesthetics and political resistance. Her approach to new media, photography and installation creates space for conversations surrounding self representation, social, class guilt politics, and the resistance of repressive global structures.


Sunday, September 20th, 2020

The film script and some stills from In Vitro, 2019

Click image to view PDF

Larissa Sansour was born in 1973 in East Jerusalem, Palestine. She studied Fine Art in Copenhagen, London and New York. She represented Denmark at the 58th Venice Biennale. Recent solo exhibitions include Copenhagen Contemporary in Denmark, Dar El-Nimer in Beirut, Bluecoat in Liverpool, Chapter in Cardiff, New Art Exchange in Nottingham and Nikolaj Kunsthal in Copenhagen.


Sunday, September 20th, 2020

A few things I’ve been circling around for the past six months…

  1. I’ve kept this insert that was taped on the back of this film production still of Cicely Tyson performing as Harriet Tubman pulling an entire horse carriage. I featured the image in my installation for The Brad Johnson Tape, 2017. I was drawn to the length of the performance. Performing as an enslaved woman and pulling off this physical feat in real life struck me.
  2. This is a weird collage I made in 2008 when the recession hit. The images came from one of those volumes of ads from the 80s that I used to collect from flea markets for reference ideas. Found it again after my move into my new apt this March and was kind of taken aback by the timeliness of it all.
  3. My friend and curator Ladi’Sasha Jones gifted me this 1933 copy of STORY with a rare short by Zora Neale Hurston. I am a Hurston disciple and have been slowly collecting her rarer written works for many years.
  4. This is my Coreen Simpson Black Cameo Ring. I wore it out last year and even lost one of the faux diamonds. My Grandmother used to sell Mary Kay and Simpson did a custom line with their competitive brand Avon which a lot of Black women collected at the time. This was a big deal back in the day. I’ve been working to collect the entire series over the past few years and have gifted duplicates to a few women I know. I even used to play with the mini Mary Kay lipstick samples they used to have and it reminds me of that time.
  5. Frank Miller’s Martha Washington Goes to War, 1995. I collected comic books for many years and I have the entire Martha Washingon series and at one point thought I want to make a film about it but i’m not that disciplined to take on action in that way.
  6. When I visited Julius Eastman’s brother Gerry after I curated the retrospective exhibition project at The Kitchen in early 2018 he gave me three signed copies of an image he took of Julius performing in a dark room in NYC in the 80s. He printed from this huge office printer in his office area.
  7. My second favorite author after Toni Morrison is Percival Everett. I fell in love with his books after reading his collection of short stories Big Picture over a decade ago. When the pandemic caused the quarantine I immediately fell back into rereading and also ordering books of his that I had not read. In Big Picture there is this short about this guy who eats his blue paint that I identified with in this odd way and in this book this huge painting serves as a parallel to the sadness in the protagonist’s life. I was able to secure a canvas months ago of this size with my gallery’s assistance and drove to NY a few months ago which was terrifying in the height of the pandemic because it was a ghost town. I have embarked on making this painting myself perhaps to put the sadness into an object over time in the same way I suppose. It’s like an odd ritual of sorts.
  8. I have a few of these medical chart thingies and kept this Nasal Chamber scan in my bathroom for a while. As a kid I wanted to be a doctor and spent a lot of time with the Encyclopedia Britannica pages that tell you the bones and I’ve kept an interest in those images.
  9. These greeting cards from the exhibit STILL RAISING HELL: The Art, Activism, and Archives of James V. Hatch and Camille Billops have been in a stack of papers for a while. I might frame them because I have two sets.
  10. Dec 1988 National Geographic with the holographic cover, had this since I was a kiddie. Again, timely AF now that I am an adult and we are seemingly in the beginning of the apocalypse.
  11. Back in May I took a trip with my lady to this very strange run down amusement park ‘Holy Land’ in Waterbury, CT. It’s a Christian amusement park that has fallen into immense disrepair. I have been testing 16mm film stocks for an upcoming project and took my camera to film the park. When the film was developed and scanned it came back looking scary as all hell. I’ll never go back to that place again to say the least.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a visual artist, filmmaker, and curator whose work explores, and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and social commentary. McClodden’s interdisciplinary approach traverses documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installations. Themes explored in McClodden’s films and works have been re-memory and more recently narrative biomythography. McClodden has exhibited and screened work at the Institute of Contemporary Art-Philadelphia, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, MOCA LA, Art Toronto’s VERGE Video program, MCA Chicago, @RAUMERWEITERUNGSHALLE in Berlin, MOMA PS1, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; Kansai Queer Film Festival in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan; and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, among others in a range of international film festivals and film programs. Tiona lives and works in North Philadelphia, PA and is represented by COMPANY Gallery in NYC.


Sunday, September 20th, 2020

Grandma told me of some villages, they were in the south, or maybe the central region, or possibly from the north, somewhere, here, where the crops went bad and the rivers dried up and children were getting sick. This was at a time when almost everybody was from a village or a hamlet, somewhere rural. When most of the country were farmers or soldiers and when Hanoi and Saigon were like two different countries. It was not too long ago.

Grandma told me of village elders calling upon spiritual mediums to come resolve the turmoil. Because disasters of this magnitude obviously meant that there was something befoul in the land of the spirits – that other dimension that we live with but cannot touch or quite understand.

The spiritual mediums, after much pondering, sitting and breathing and taking in the energies of the land, the trees, the ground, the air, the dried river beds, the rotting fruit, the families, asked if there were boys that had left the village? She or he or they would soon discover that there were two sons who had left for war. But they followed opposite paths and stood on opposite sides. One went North, the other went South. And as the story goes, neither of them came back.

The proper burial of the body after death, especially death far from the land in which one is born and in which one grows up, is tied to the ability of the spirit to find liberation after it leaves that very body. This belief has governed the actions of thousands of people in their search for the bodies of loved ones who died on the battlefield as well as those who died in the exodus from southeast Asia post 1975.

The spirits of the two brothers had returned, but their opposing political views, the beliefs that they held onto when they entered the war, were still intact, and probably even stronger than before. Their conflicts had been transposed into the world of spirits and were causing shifts and disruptions in the physical world, in the dimension we understand.

The spiritual medium would have to resolve these conflicts in order for things to return to how they were for the living bodies of the village, to continue to survive as they had done before. Most of the time the spiritual mediums were successful. Other times the differences were too much to resolve.

These stories have raised me – creating in me a fascination with the power of stories and the ability for narratives to allow us to process various traumas and the multiple complex and entangled political histories we have inherited. How politics and the spiritual get connected in places like this.

These stories have also taught me to look for the visible ways in which we try to connect to the invisible worlds as well as the unseen, the small things in the landscape, the things that people build and burn to connect to worlds beyond our senses, things most people would overlook. As I traverse the multiple cities and towns in Vietnam (and other locations), I record the altars that drivers have created on their dashboards. Their masses of steel flying through the land, squeezing between other vehicles and dodging human bodies, turns the landscape again into a tense backdrop of life and death and connections.

Tuan Andrew Nguyen was born in 1976, in Sai Gon, Viet Nam. He lives and works Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyen’s practice explores strategies of political resistance enacted through counter-memory and post-memory. Extracting and re-working narratives via history and supernaturalisms is an essential part of Nguyen’s video works and sculptures where fact and fiction are both held accountable. Nguyen founded The Propeller Group in 2006, a platform for collectivity that situates itself between an art collective and an advertising company. Between the collective and his individual practice, they’ve had a major traveling exhibition that started at the MCA Chicago, as well as participated in the New Museum Triennial 2012, LA Biennial 2012, Prospect3 New Orleans Triennial, the Whitney Biennial 2017, and the Sharjah Biennial 2019, and the Venice Biennale 2015.


Sunday, September 20th, 2020

Lima is the bravest decision I ever made. Not in the sense that bravery, has so often been typified as simply moving halfway across the world, but more in the line of discipline. The decision was made to catalyse a profoundly personal act and the burden of casual coffees on the Kingsland road. Once again I must add, I was not on a mission to find myself, or demystify some type of truth pertaining to the human condition on the Inca trail. In simple terms something private. And pure pleasure.

Notebook 2019

This past week I was archiving the work I made for MAXILLA ; in absolutely no hurry. These prints and posters live on multiple hard drives in the back of my studio. There is a strained sense of nostalgia when looking at this phase of my life, which I have avoided, enjoying to focus much attention on the social element of these parties, intentionally overlooking the glaring self-portrait which emerges from the prints made. These years of meticulously archived print works, all in chronological order, suggest what eventually crystallized as the reality of the social situation in Britain, or home, is all the more visible. These were the years leading up to Brexit an the US democratic party’s choice to vote in Trump as their leader. These murky years just after MAXILLA , as revelatory as they were disgusting, it now seems an urgent task was laid bare.

Meme 2016, Screenshot. Lotte Andersen

Leaving London in mid 2019 was the swing for me. At the time I was prepping for a show in Seoul which was simultaneously exciting and terrifying. I had been invited to Lima for a trip in March… the city hit me at a million miles an hour blowing out the cobwebs.. We often talk about privilege in first world terms, neglecting to factor in all that we do in fact have access to in capitals like London, Paris, New York, Madrid. Lima sorts this out quickly, caring little for the speed at which it filters out your bullshit. And what a lot of bullshit.

Notebook, London 2013

As a city, it sits on a clifftop extending inland to large mountains of rock, situated in the middle of a desert, it’s chaotic centre further toward the north. To describe the mishmash of this Latin American city is hard in English, without the dust and traffic in front you. Maybe things are better in brief terms, rawer or less spoilt.

Maxilla Screenshot Facebook 2013

Living here in the middle of a pandemic is certainly an eye opening experience. Eight months of a curfew here, whilst reading headlines of citizens in the US and UK protesting their human right to abstain from mask wearing. It’s hard not to giggle sardonically at Boris and his cabinet of twits. In Lima danger and the sense of segregation are real, unglamorous and leave little to the imagination. I am sure things, or I would have stayed if I had stayed at in London.

March 2019, I was plopped in the middle of all this life, with all this admin to do. The landscape in Peru is Big Nature, with the closest comparison being Califormia, sitting on the same coast if you sailed due South. Here I have been thinking, sitting, and re-sitting with things.

Drawing of circular screen January 2018

“Music’s most natural habitat is the dark” Jarvis Cocker asserted in 1996 at a festival somewhere in Europe. He was describing playing to an audience in broad daylight. The space between him and the crowd became all too clear in the harsh light of day, allowing him to notice the cosmic synergy darkness has with pleasure. “Most of life’s most pleasurable activities take place in the dark”, the words still rang in my ears years after I sampled them for the original Dance Therapy soundtrack in 2017. I think about environments and the etiquette required by these and vice versa. “The dark allows you to get away with a lot more things”, Cocker rounds off, as if to put a cap on the conversation with all the ambiguity and cocksure readi-ness of the public school boys he often describes in his music.

Just before writing this, we had been sitting in Alons’ studio talking about shadows. We agreed his paintings were impressions of shadows, and that the first examples of figuration was the human shadow on the floor or a wall by fire light. I wondered about how these moving figures preceded the invention of moving image and photography. These in between fragments below are images, notes and drawings of installations, performances and shows which reminded me of the shaddow conversation. They are notes and thoughts, in between moments which are quite rarely seen. I like the in between part, it’s a bit like when you’ve chewed gum too much and the flavours gone but the memory remains in it’s all of it’s elastic texture.

Just as the pieces of conversation we had in the studio, some things are best left a bit open.

Installing Dance Therapy in Seoul 2019

I have found that scale is increasingly a pertinent issue, tricky to manage, since we are all in agreement that the world is ending. I find the idea that we live in a moment which is already so cluttered with a glut of unnecessary eventualities quite perplexing. And maybe that’s it.

Scale and support matter. When we resolve to look back at the history of art, Alons and I agreed that the folklore of humanity is canonized here. Perhaps moving image is the most generous of these conclusions. I thought long about the shadows in my work, the figures in full HD, gyrating, experiencing each other and their surroundings, all potentially immortal. When working on the audio to accompany the installation of Dance Therapy in Korea, Pierre and I discussed what nostalgia for the present could sound like. I am not a painter and just like I can remember Faye saying years ago, “Lotte you are! The screen is your support” and maybe the edit is the brush. Who knows.

Installing Pierre Rousseau’s audio in front of the curve screen for Dance Therapy in Seoul 2019.

Installing Dance Therapy in Seoul 2019

The value of participation, thinking of our presence, relative to our own importance, within all its revelatory nature never ceases to amaze me. Musicians often talk about audiences momentarily giving themselves over during a performance. I wonder sometimes, whether our survival as a species is contingent on the encouragement of empathy through experience. In short, are we capable of developing this crucial sentiment, without our communal participation in any/all manner of charades we seek to judge?

My players, sitters, subjects are free to move in and out of the frame or game as they see fit. Pronouncing sovereignty and control over these groups has always seemed absurd, and entirely outside of my investigation. I produce factual data in the context of artificial environments, observing human behaviour. The performances and films are documents of the suspension and regulation of time and space, whilst implementing a finite set of principles of conduct, set up to record the predictability or unpredictability of reaction.

Left to right; Extract of The Economics of Movement PDF, November 2019. Drawing, The Economics of Movement 2019. Lotte Andersen and Alonso Leon-Velarde. Played in it’s first iteration at the Whitechapel Gallery

The Economics of Movement Notes November 2019

Lotte Andersen is a British artist working in video, sound, print, performance, writing and collage. Examining movement and its properties, continuously within different contexts her work oscillates between investigative, documentary and autobiographical. She considers sound and video physical objects in space, working with the idea that echoic (sound) memory is stored for longer periods than iconic (visual) memory. The viewer is often placed in the work, activating it whilst confronting the politics of taking up space. A document on human behaviour is uncovered using the interesting paradox of producing factual data in the context of artificial environments, captured in video, performance and sound. The work considers the suspension and regulation of time and space whilst often implementing a finite set of principles of conduct. These are setup to record the predictability or unpredictability of reaction. Spontaneous choreography in Dance and the quotidian is considered through the lens of mass migratory, gestural and forced movement. The transparency of feeling through the hypothesis of the therapeutic nature of consistent, rhythmic, group movement its psychological aftermath.