Josh Kline – ‘Freedom’ at Modern Art Oxford and Kiki Kogelnik


This exhibition was interesting but I didn’t have much time to look around…This is the write up from the local Oxford Mail

A menacing and dystopian environment is produced at Modern Art Oxford in Freedom, the first solo exhibition in the UK by American artist Josh Kline (b. 1979).

This exhibition includes a compelling installation from which the exhibition takes its title. Four towering ‘Teletubbies’ dressed in SWAT gear guard a barren space modelled after Zuccotti Park, the privately owned public space in New York City and site of the Occupy Wall Street camp in 2011.
For Hope and Change, Kline presents US President Barack Obama, played by an actor augmented with facial substitution software, who delivers a confrontational new version of his inaugural speech, addressing issues ranging from global warming to race relations.
In this darkly compelling new exhibition, Kline creates a radical critique of the political and economic landscape of a globalised world.

With thanks to New Museum, New York; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami; and 47 Canal NY.

I spent quite a while watching Crying Games as above with Tony Blair and this was very effective…. The actors and facial substitution worked well and referencing falsehood of emotion ? and producing definite affect in the audience.

I’m not sure about the Teletubbies but, I guess if you’d been part of Occupy at that time the resonance was there….

For me I just saw Teletubbies…in SWAT gear.

I didn’t get to see much of Obama’s altered speech but if it was a good as “Crying Games’ then it was excellent.

The Kiki Kogelnik, Fly me to the Moon,  was fun and colourful and full of dreams of the future and space… rockets and so on…..Like Fireball XL5 for all those oldies out there!

Relevant too when you think about my previous post…. water on  Mars…. and the rockets in all the stories in The Illustrated Man.

Relevant too the mass migration of people but in the book it was to Mars…post-apocalypse.

Something I haven’t thought of since my CND days but Jeremy Corbyn is bringing to our table again…

So a very  interesting exhibition, even if not really anything I would use in my own work… I don’t think…[ EDIT JUNE 2016…maybe it influenced me more than I thought..? or maybe simply Zeitgeist}

Some text as a quote in the programme from Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media

( 1964) about fragmentation, speed and  the oval village.

Electric speed in bringing all political and social functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.
It is this implosive factor that alters the position of the teenager and some other groups.

They can  no longer be contained, in the political sense of limited associations. They are now involved in our lives as we are in theirs, thanks to the electric media.

He died in 1980.

This was written 51 years ago!!!


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