Leave New York. Leave London. Leave your computer in the woods. Leave your friends behind. Leave your fears under the bed. Set off on the road to Indianapolis. Walk its streets. Find its gargoyles. Listen to the late night static. Stand on the corner and dream and yell. Know that we are listening.The Bureau (2013)
Invited to Indianapolis for We Are City’s residency program, The Bureau of Manufactured History is a collaboration between James A. Reeves and Oliver Blank. Inspired by the methodologies of Surrealism and the madness of Dada, the Bureau of Manufactured History works to uncover the unconscious content of the city. As our lives and neighborhoods become increasingly hyper-planned sites for commerce, the need for unpredictability, mystery, and romance becomes more urgent.
Taking place in Indianapolis, March through May 2013, the Bureau disseminated a series of instructional cards for the modern flâneur, produced a selection of essays containing myths and mistruths about Indianapolis, and finally constructed an installation entitled, The Former Desk of the First Office of the Bureau of Manufactured History.
Using audio transmissions, written word, mysterious telephone calls, and a performance-based installation that brought city residents inside the Bureau, Reeves and Blank conjured a chaotic, vivid, and wide-angle portrait of the American city.
The Bureau’s installation is currently on display at various locations – both public and private – throughout the city of Indianapolis. The essays, originally produced by James A. Reeves, alongside select photography from the installation, will be released in a forthcoming book during Autumn 2013.
Weina Ding, one of my fellow residents at A Coruña’s Museum of Contemporary Art, asked me to pose for a photograph with her latest installation. A dreamy realisation of a poem by the Tang era’s Li Bai, the installation is entitled A Drink With The Moon Is A Company Of Three.
The story of Li Bai’s death has become something of an enduring legend. It is said that he drowned in the Yangtze River, drunkenly trying to embrace the moon’s reflection.
You’ll find my music in two Tate Modern projects at the moment. The first is a video for the TateShots series celebrating Damien Hirst. It features his college professor, artist Michael Craig-Martin. It’s fun to hear about Damien’s time at Goldsmiths in London, the very same college I studied composition at.
The other project, Tweet Me Up, is by Tracey Moberly and takes places at the Tate Modern’s Tank space. Tracey is using all sorts of social networking sites and communication tools, including Twitter, Instagram and SMS, to create an evolving digital exhibition. This means images, videos, sounds and words from across the world. If you’re in London on Friday, August 25th, go there to experience the work and listen to Tracey’s artist talk.
London’s Tate Modern is a significant place for me. I was lucky enough to wander in to the Turbine Hall back in 2003 whilst Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project was live. At the far end of the hall, which is a sort of aircraft hanger for art installations, Eliasson had affixed an immense, glowing orange disc. Attached to the ceiling was an equally massive mirror. In the warm glow, people lay down, fidgeted and squirmed as they watched their reflection above, or simply sat in quiet, satisfied meditation.
It was awesome. Not awesome in the surfer dude sense but awesome in the knock-you-to-your-knees, visceral, biblical sense. Staring into the sun, experiencing The Weather Project, really changed my perception of art. I finally understood that art could fundamentally move people. It could shake up the soul, take you by surprise and carve images and thoughts into your mind with a burning permanence.
My always inspirational studio-mate at Civic Center, Candy Chang, is off to Las Vegas for a project called Confessions. She’ll construct a thoughtful space for contemplation and respite at a hotel called The Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas strip.
Visitors to Candy’s space can enter a confession booth and write an anonymous confession on a delicate wooden plaque. The plaque is then hung on the wall of the space, where other visitors can read, explore and contemplate. It’ll be a place for respite from the craziness of Vegas.
Candy invited me to compose a piece of music to soundtrack the space. The recording incorporates the sounds that comfort and bring a sense of safety to both of us: an old Finnish coffee machine, secluded hotel rooms, the voice of a loved one. The end result is something special, a long play 45-minute piece that draws you in and slows you down, setting the tone for a moment of peace and perspective.
You can visit Confessions at The Cosmopolitan from July 19 – August 12, 2012. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 6-11pm.
P3 Studio (3rd Floor)
3708 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109