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!!!

Test Run : Performance in Public – Modern Art Oxford and Ruskin Shorts

This was an exhibition running at MAO as described below my text :

I found this seminar really refreshing and it reminded me of performance as an unmediated act, very different and a contrast to the other things I am doing and thinking about ( apart from the constant link with memory …as a processing and remediating of an experience)

Anyway it was really good to hear the speakers and talk to Clare Carswell and Alex Bulghair ( I haven’t seen Alex for a long time, since we met in London with our discussion group).

Mainly this just reminded me of the immediacy of performance and how I may be able to use it at the Reading Room at some point… I had more or less forgotten about using it at a location!!!

Too much thinking…

Also on the weekend following I took part in a Hamish Fulton Walking Performance on Christ Church Meadow in Oxford along with about 30 other people and lead by Hamish Fulton, himself.

It was very useful to be part of a large group work and te behaviour of passing tourists was alos fascinationg.

Some joined in and some tried to walk through the performance as if it didn’t exist… including dragging their wheeled suitcases with them…

Then Jefford Horrigan performed a really short and sensitive piece outside St. Aldates church.

As usual it was based on Jazz and Film Noir but basically he danced tango with a tall filing cabinet… Magical.

Here is a video of him with a table in Berlin….

It, in particular, reminded me of the affective power of simple performance and try to think how to incorporate this int o my MA Work from a live point of view…

( Text copied from their website)

Modern Art Oxford presents Test Run: Performance in Public – a multidisciplinary exploration of ideas which focuses on artists who use public space specifically for performance.

Through a selection of new and historical works, Test Run examines what happens when ‘normal behaviour’ in public spaces is disrupted and how expectations of public behaviour can be exploited.

Using film and documentary material, discussions and interactive sessions, Test Run

explores the making, curating and presentation of performance in public space. Including

live performance, talks, workshops and a series of three new commissions, Test Run links

links the interior space of the gallery to public locations in Oxford’s city centre.

On Saturday 25 April, Modern Art Oxford hosted a Symposium to discuss performance art and performing in public. The presentations by artists, academics and curators were recorded and you can see the videos below.

Speakers included artists Hayley Newman, Anthony Howell and Florence Peake (whose workshop I have described in a previous post), Director of LADA Lois Kiedan and curator Nicola Lees.

Then on the Tuesday 28th there was Ruskin Shorts also at MAO which, for this year, was performance by staff, students and alumni of Ruskin.

Here is are 2  videos

There were a couple of notable performances but the one that had the most resonances for me was the one by the last artsit… I can’t find her mane but will fill in later.

She has just completed her PhD at Goldsmiths and used a very effective combination of performance( singing) with video and screen saver images.

There was also work from the Digital ? Scholarship MA?.

Will check this also, who used a Skype conversation as part of her work which was unscripted and althopugh it was clear in intention,  and use a very effective animated avatar of the performer, is for me, fell between performance infront of an audience and participation…

I’ve thought  of using this as a means of presentation but more as a participative tool, with and audience… actually without an animated avatar, but she used it to discuss some interesting contemporary theoertical ideas about art and artists, What is art? What is it for? and value..

There was also a fascinating and moving piece of spoken word b Amy Wilson, reading out descriptions of images of people from a list of official data which was haunting, partly due to the amazing delivery, which helped reinforce the repetition and the use of words instead of visual images of distressing’ pictures’ of victims of conflict.

All these very very useful in  making me rethink my ideas of performance and its relationship with documentation and liveness for my project going forwards into the future

Florence Peake Workshop _ Modern Art Oxford

On Saturday 4th April I took part in this workshop by Florence Peake

This is a different workshop but it gives you some idea of what we covered.

We did some movement group work  and then a drawing made after our experience of the movements.

Later we made a short ( 2 mins in my case) individual performance using materials available and based on the drawings we had made.

I made a short piece, with Link Wray soundtrack from Pulp Fiction which was available on her iPod, and some green fabric and bits of wool.

It was sort of about stepping through an interface and connectivity through a central focus….. but no-one really ‘got it’…   except that it came across and sometimes playing with and sometimes fighting agains the fabric as I stretched it to tension with my body  and sometimes it escaped!

It was difficult to control( slippery) and so was just but only just delayed and out of time with the soundtrack…

Apparently though, it did related directly to my drawing though which was the re-mit.

Here is my drawing. It was good to draw and to move.

Its been a long time….


I forgot to ask someone to document it  so can’t really comment on what it looked like. only how it felt which was not the same as a witnessed performance as when I was just ‘doing it’ .

IT was useful exercise but as usual I forgot a bit about what it looked like… the visual…. and just thought about the doing….

Useful for me as a thought process but I tend to neglect the end point and what it looks like and so what is communicated….

Here are some of the other works but i don’t know anybodies names sadly.

The following day there was a group performance outside which would reference our own practice,…

However, I had some sort of ‘tummy bug’ when I got home and couldn’t go the following day.

There were also some performances the next weekend but I was doing some other stuff so didn’t get there.

What was interesting about this was the emphasis on the body,embodiment and embodied memory of movement in the first part of the workshop. Also, on touch as a way of mapping, not just using hands but other parts of the body too.

So very different from on-line contact and with a direct affect on us as participants.

I don’t know what it looked like as there was no documentation , which is interesting as it was performative but no audience….

I missed the next bit!

A good opportunity to do something which will hopefully bring together digital and ‘other’ in the next project.

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Also the day itself was very interesting as I arrived by train at the station, just as the EDL marched around and on the route I wanted to follow towards Bonn Square.

I walked a long way round to avoid the protest but was surpassed to see tourist watching with children in push-chairs.

I think they thought the police presence was for an Easter Parade of some sort, despite the padded jackets and helmets pus mounted police.. and the unpleasant atmosphere caused by provocative, racist chanting.

Here is a link to an ambient soundtrack of my walk and the report of the march and arrest.

There was a counter by the Anti-Fascist  protesters

I couldn’t get through the cordon to reach Modern Art Oxford and had to walk the long way round. People were oblivious to the potential aggression and hanging around. I descended into the MAO basement to the clam of the workshop but when I emerged at 5 pm the police were just dispersing after one had been injured, 3 arrested and one charge.

Very different from the trusting physical encounters in the workshop.

It made me think more about the approaching election and the key issues people will be thinking about when voting.

And how they encounter the various experiences that will affect their choice on Polling Day.

Directly as in Oxford that day or mediated via newspaper, Youtube, TV….friends.?