Only A Free Individual Can Create A Free Society is a new film installation by German artist Grace Schwindt which revisits discussions she witnessed as a child surrounded by individuals in Frankfurt, Germany. The dialogue running through the film is from an interview that Schwindt conducted with a leftwing activist influenced by the 1960s and 1970s political landscape, shaped by the Frankfurt School, the Outer Parliamentary Opposition and the Baader Meinhof Gang.
Rather than aiming to gain a better understanding of the past, Schwindt attempts to take a system apart — to undo it. Nothing is assumed to be neutral and every movement, word, gesture or colour is understood to have cultural, social, political or economic implications. The artist constructs her own processes of translating language into vivid material, choreographing dancers, set, props, costume, lighting, sound, camera movement and words as elementary forms carrying symbolic power. Each element is equally important and should be read together as a melody where the words or functions of ‘chair’ or ‘terrorism’, ‘clothing’ or ‘freedom’ have equal status.
At feature film length Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society is the product of an extensive rehearsal period with eleven dancers and a dramaturge over a period of five weeks using diagrams to map out a detailed choreography. The film features highly coloured and geometric costumes using aluminium, cardboard, silk and velvet, as well as extensive post-production to create a narrative that questions how freedom was, and is, understood, who has access to it and what political and social structures need to be in place to create a free society. Alongside the installation the exhibition includes a newly commissioned sculptural piece, redolent of images pictured in the film. Constructed from salt crystals, bronze and ceramic, it has a bodily suggestion, evoking a sense of place and subject through its shape, materiality and form.
Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society’ was commissioned by FLAMIN Productions through Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network, Eastside Projects, Birmingham; The Showroom, London; Badischer Kunstverein; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Site Gallery, Sheffield; Tramway, Glasgow; ICIA, University of Bath; and Zeno X Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England, Hessian Film Fund and The Jerwood Charitable Foundation.
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.
Grace Schwindt (born 1979, Germany) is an artist based in London working with film, live performance and sculpture. Her theatrical sets for film works use minimal architectural elements and props to mark a location, in which she places bodies including her own. Using a tightly scripted choreography in which every move relates to institutionalised systems she investigates how social relations and understandings about oneself are formed, often through acts of exclusion and destruction. The artist’s interviews with individuals often serve as a starting point for fictionalised dialogues delivered by performers. Represented by Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, her work is distributed by Argos Centre for Media and Art. Recent solo presentations include South London Gallery; ICA, London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Spill Festival, Basement, Brighton; Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and White Columns, New York. Schwindt was shortlisted for this year’s Jarman Film Award.
Running time: 80 min
Screening times: 12pm, 1.30pm, 3.00pm, 4.30pm daily during gallery opening hoursMORE
Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First
Monday, January 20 , 7 pm, by donation
The Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main Street
Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First, written and directed by Tim Etchells, is a long free-associating
monologue that tumbles from topic to topic to create a vast, failing iteration and explanation of the world. Comical in its apparent naivety and preposterously encyclopedic in scope, the piece explores the absurdity and horror of consciousness as it tries and fails to seize and define everything that it encounters. Performed by Jim Fletcher, legendary New York actor, best known for his work with Richard Maxwell’s New York City Players and Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz, the monumental, word-for- word, eight hour staging of Fitzgerald’s prose masterwork. Join us post-performance for a drink and a conversation with Jim Fletcher and Tim Etchells, hosted by Norman Armour, Artistic and Executive Director of PuSh, in the newly renovated Fox Cabaret.
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.MORE
Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells
The Quiet Volume
January 17–19, 24–26, 31, February 1– 2
12–5 pm ( 60 minutes, no intermission)
Performances every 20 minutes, last performance 4: 05pm
Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch
3rd Floor, 350 West Georgia Street
In The Quiet Volume — set at the library, designed for two at a time — recorded instructions and a stack of carefully selected books direct you through this contemplative, self-generated performance. The Quiet Volume takes what is considered a deeply personal and internal process and pushes it out into the surrounding environment so that one reader’s sphere collides with another’s. It exposes the particular tension common to libraries worldwide: a combination of silence and concentration within which different peoples’ experiences of reading unfold. In this performance, you and your co-reader/fellow audience member study printed words, conjure mental images, examine the act of reading in a new light in this surprising piece of ‘autoteatro.’ For the bibliophile and reluctant reader alike, The Quiet Volume exposes the strange magic at the heart of the reading experience.
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and supported by Vancouver Public Library.MORE
Tuesday, January 21, 4 .30 pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street
In conjunction with the exhibition Who Knows, we join forces with PuSh to host Tim Etchells as a PuSh Festival artist-in-residence and embrace the full scope of his practice. Whether, on stage or off, Etchells is concerned with liveness and presence and with the unfolding of events in time and place. At the centre of many of his projects, produced solely or with Forced Entertainment, there is a fascination with rules and systems in language, and in culture, and the way these systems are both productive and constraining. This artist talk forms a keynote
address as part of PuSh Assembly. Presented with PuSh International Performing Festival.
Hi everyone, my name is Sojin. I’m a recent Visual Arts graduate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD). During my studies at ECUAD I began to develop my interest in curatorial practice. I’m particularly interested in the idea of space both in its physical and metaphysical (re)presentation. Creating unity out of fractured pieces and coming up with a narrative of my own is what I enjoy the most about curating. Besides my curatorial interest, I also paint and sculpt! For the past two years, I’ve worked with Vancouver’s experimental galleries and artist run centres to study how galleries function. For this year I’ll be working at the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) as Program Assistant, assisting the CAG team with the highly anticipated public programs and further learning about galleries in depth.
My first week of work was action-packed. For the first couple of days, I studied the two current exhibitions—Aurélien Froment Fröbel Fröbeled and Tim Etchells Who Knows. I had an opportunity to glimpse at how the exhibitions are organized from scratch by being involved in the process, you will be surprised to know the amount of time and effort it takes to actualize an exhibition. In the last few days of the week I helped staff and volunteers with the packing of Mungo Thomson and Erin Shirreff publications for them to be shipped to the Los Angeles Art Book Fair, which the CAG is participating in.
There always is a bitter emptiness when art works are taken down from gallery walls. The spatial emptiness was particularly evident in the de-install of James Welling’s show since the exhibition itself was quite bodily in its presentation. As you can see from the pictures above, Welling’s works were packed up into crates, leaving only the skeletal structure of the walls that once embodied the energetic volume and rhythm of the corpus. The memory lingered on me for a while.
In no time at all the new crates arrived, walls were painted white, but more importantly, the artist Aurélien Froment arrived. During the conversation I had with Nigel Prince, the Director of the CAG, I was able to imagine the new exhibitions viscerally. For Fröbel Fröbeled, the gallery is divided into two different spaces, one for adults and the other for children; Fröbel’s Gifts will also be displayed on plinths for public interaction. Fröbel, a founder of kindergarten and an inventor of the Play Gifts, will be introduced with photographs. When you come see the show, it is important to understand that these Gifts are not just cylinders, spheres, square blocks and strings, but are creative tools to (re)imagine oneself in relation to the Universe or to something much more expansive. Meanwhile, the building’s façade features a new neon commission by British artist Tim Etchells. The façade is set up with twenty-two phrases of single line block neon letters stating ‘I KNOW, ‘YOU KNOW’, ‘WE KNOW’, ‘THEY KNOW’. The short sinister statements along with vibrant neon colours makes it seem like you are standing in front of someone who is looking deep inside you. Full of character and attitude, Etchell’s neon works bring out an eerie but comical atmosphere to the neighborhood. The display sparks with theatricality in the text with the very act of reading and further investigates the idea of surveillance with humor and wit. The works of both Aurélien Froment and Tim Etchells suggest new ways of understanding identity formation through various interactive approaches.
For this partnership with PuSh International Performing Art Festival, Etchell’s Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend to Lose First and The Quiet Volume was also available for public viewing.
I am thrilled to work on these multi-faceted exhibitions, exciting off-site programs and performances. I am sure that the dialogue they create with the public will disseminate well beyond the walls of the gallery.
I look forward to meeting you all!