Play, Discomfort and the Digital Panopticon: This Week in Scottish Art

In this week's round up there are talks from Graham Fagen and Owl Project, new work from some of Scotland's best graduates, and the chance to ask the question, "what is a video art?"

Feature by Adam Benmakhlouf | 19 May 2015

We begin our round-up tonight at the Common Guild in Glasgow, where Egyptian artist Basim Magdy presents a selection of his films from 7pm. Thereafter, Magdy, winner of the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year 2016 award, will discuss the work with Luke Collins from LUX Scotland. Magdy’s paintings and video work concern themselves with a kind of poetic ambiguity, within which there can be discerned references to apocalypse and the disappointment of futures that fail to measure up to their predictions. To attend tonight (Tue 19 May), book for free here.

Tomorrow at Dundee Contemporary Arts, in collaboration with LUX Scotland’s touring programme “Where I Am”, there is Talkback: What is a video art? For the evening, the organisers promise a “round-table marathon”, comprising “screenings and discussion of artists’ video work from 1984-1991, an overlooked era of artist’s video.” The discussion will include contributions from Stephen Sutcliffe, Dennis J Reinmuller and Debbie Moody (Dennis and Debbie Club) and Clive Gillman. Events kick off at 3pm in the DCA Cinema.

On the subject of Dundee, at the Centrespace gallery of Duncan of Jordanstone art college, you can catch REWIND Videotheque. This project has seen the remastering of “significant UK single-screen video and installation work from the 1970s and 1980s.” REWIND acts as a viewing facility for this new collection – it's open until 31 May.

Returning to Wednesday, but this time in Edinburgh, Graham Fagen – currently representing Scotland at the 2015 Venice Biennale – will be discussing his celebrated exhibition. From 6:30 until 8pm, Fagen will talk about his Venice presentation, which received top marks from us earlier this month. This free event takes place in the National Galleries of Scotland’s Hawthornden Lecture Theatre.

To Glasgow, and on Thursday in Transmission, Glasgow-based artist Aideen Doran’s work is presented, within which she addresses some of the issues of her doctoral research on “the possible values of artists production in an information economy.” Addressing this particular topic more widely, Doreen raises issues of how to reclaim our own information within the “digital panopticon”, as well as how “to reclaim time and energy away from the economy of attention.” Two films by Doran will be shown – the event kicks off at 7pm.

This Friday the Glasgow Sculpture Studios will host a talk by the Owl Project, a Manchester collective. Owl Project are the first off-site artists in residence at GSS, and in their work “use wood and electronics to fuse sculpture and sound art.” From 1-2:30pm, the artists will discuss the new body of performative work they will launch this summer.

Later in the day in the GSS foyer, independent publisher MARIA†. editions launch Maria†Maria†.doxc. MARIA†. editions comprises artists Marysia Gacek and Maria Toumazou, who for Maria†Maria†.doxc present their “two-year online conversation”, becoming “a record of a series of connections, hyperaware observations and faith in another artist’s line of thought parallel with the universal alignment.” The launch takes place this Friday from 6:30-8pm.

Moving on to Saturday, Dundee’s Generator space presents They Had Four Years, its annual showcase of newly commissioned work by recent graduates from colleges across Scotland, including from DJCAD, Grays School of Art in Aberdeen and Edinburgh College of Art. This year, the artists are broadly interested in “a sense of play, addressing ideas of longing or desire and the concept of the unknown or unreachable.” The exhibition will continue from 24 May until 14 June.

Finally this week, in Tramway until 30 May as part of Dance International Glasgow, there is Luke Pell and Jo Verrent’s work Take Me to Bed. Via a video installation, the artists explore the “dis/comfort of audiences to bodies that are different,” and viewers are invited to “come closer, be curious, to be with the dances of these particular bodies.”

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