18 March 2010

Spanning time

"[Elger] Esser uses found postcards from his extensive historical collection of Breton and Norman seaside views as source material for his images. Selecting a small section of them, and enlarging them to the point where the grain becomes apparent, Esser's images are lyrical and strange. Often depicting waterery views, the images are serene, but also unreal. They depict time as something lost, but also as worthy of retrieval."

So says Hanna Scott on the Sightseeing blog where she has been developing a forthcoming exhibition. Esser's bridge can be found in other grainy meta-timezones HERE and HERE.

Trawling through earlier posts, there is also this entry about artists overlaying or mapping temporal moments, particularly Marine Hugonnier's photographs across the 24hr dateline BETWEEN Siberia and Alaska, and the re-imagining of historical sites, including THIS one, much like Mark Adams' revisiting of Cook's sites (including HERE, HERE and HERE).

Image: Elger Esser, Saint Andre de Cubzac, Frankreich 1996, C-Type print, VG Bild-Kunst 2009

8 March 2010

Classic tracks

Although the novelty factor is undeniable, we are still finding TVNZ's belated screening of James May's Top Toys curiously compelling viewing, with a surprising amount of art parallels. In epidode one there were oversized KITSETS, then there were large meccano bridges. Another goodie is the recent episode where a classic motor racing track was revived to its former glory using vintage aerial photography and Scalextric slot cars. Sounds a bit like a Billy Apple project, albeit without the slot cars.

For Billy Apple's Bruce & Denny Show, seven classic tracks, raced by the legendary team of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme during their 1967-1968 victorious sweep of the Can-Am series, were recreated. These were produced from period aerial photographs to determine the exact outline of the tracks as they were at the time, then all converted to the same scale and rotated to true north. Featured tracks are ELKHART LAKE (Wisconsin, now Road America), BRIDGEHAMPTON (New York, now a golf course), MOSPORT PARK (Ontario, now Mosport International Raceway), EDMONTON (Alberta), LAGUNA SECA (California, still active), RIVERSIDE (California, now a mall) and STARDUST (Las Vegas, now the suburb of Spring Valley but fondly remembered).

May's programme is underpinned by a similar sort of social archeology. In this episode he pays tribute to Brooklands, the first purpose-built motor racing circuit in the world but out of action since 1939. Although SECTIONS of the track remain, along with a museum, the most action around here takes place on the Mercedes Benz test track that resides in the MIDDLE of the old track. May sends his slotcars across housing and industrial estates, fences, a river, pond, through corporate offices and across a road in order to recreate the BROOKLANDS circuit. At 2.7 miles in length, Brooklands now holds the record for the world's longest slot car set.

Image: Billy Apple, Paying Tribute. The Race Tracks, 1967, screenprint on paper, 521 x 843mm, 2008. Courtesy the artist and Two Rooms.

More journeys by hot air balloon

Exhibition announcement:

March 5 - April 3
Lighter Than Fiction (2010) by Jenny Marketou (Greece/US)
Presented by the Project Room for New Media at the Chelsea Art Museum

The Chelsea Art Museum, Home of the Miotte Foundation, and the Project Room for New Media are pleased to present Jenny Marketou: Lighter Than Fiction. What do you see when soaring over Los Alamos, New Mexico... utopia or dystopia? A landscape of natural beauty or a place where nature was unleashed in the creation of the nuclear bomb? Jenny Marketou’s video installation poses the question, juxtaposing dreamlike perspectives with disturbing realities. These contrasting states are experienced in three single channel video projections that comprise the installation.

In “Stolen Bubbles” 2010 Marketou has mixed visual and sonic material from Karel Zeman’s “The Stolen Airship” 1966 with her original animation that draws from the airborne balloon project called “Bubbles” 2009 - both filmed over Prague, Czech Republic.

“Bubbles” is based on a public sculpture project where the artist created a remarkable set of 14-meter banners with her original graphic composition using the word “Fragile” which were draped onto an air balloon. Marketou filmed as she and her guests riding the balloon experienced breathtaking views of PRAGUE and the dream-like sensation of floating with the wind currents, hovering above the busy pace and anxieties of city life.

“Levels of Disturbance” (2009) is structured around the aerial audio and visual recordings that Marketou captured while flying in a small jet over the natural landscape around LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, where the atomic bomb was created in the 1940s, that is still contaminated by nuclear waste and turbulent human emotions. During editing Marketou destroyed the order of the video sequence and the coherence of the narrative, placing at the center of each frame a round sphere animated in a perpetual motion that controls and obstructs access to the full image of the landscape. The viewer is drawn into this unsettling spinning sensation, generating metaphors for the human condition.

“Lighter Than Fiction” investigates the precarious balance between reality and fiction capturing the view from above where the lightness of utopian sensations and imagery are contrasted by dystopian realities.

Image: Still from Jenny Marketou's video animation “Levels of Disturbance” 2009


Art from Space is an exploration of art-related phenomena that manifests in interesting ways on Google’s aerial maps. It is also an experiment in curatorial practice; collecting, presenting and contextualising items in ways that users can explore, free of curator-imposed framing and sequencing. This blog is Art from Space’s developmental musings made public, where items are introduced to the project in real time, rather than awaiting the grand unveiling of a completed exhibition. Specific locations of interest are highlighted in CAPS and linked to a map for further exploration. Visit the mother ship HERE.