“Sometimes you can be nostalgic for what is yet to come. A strange feeling of longing for a future yet unknown," or so argue London-based curator trio Mara-Johanna Kolmel, Silvana Lagos and Rafael Schacter from the collective Approved by Pablo. That feeling is encapsulated neatly in the German word ‘sehnsucht’, a word which lacks clear definition in English but was termed by C. S. Lewis as “That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World’s End, the opening lines of Kubla Khan, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.”
The trio’s latest exhibition, Silver Sehnsucht reflects on the sinking of past, present and future into one singular word. “All the artists within Silver Sehnsucht aim to interrogate a particular feeling of ambivalence, to uncover the fragments of past actions, the residues of present longing, and the dizzily flickering futures that exist within all spaces and times,” they explain. Set to open fittingly, at the Silver gallery deep in east London this Saturday in a 50,000 square foot factory space with an epic party courtesy of NTS radio (keep your eyes wide for the likes of Mark Leckey on the decks and a performance by nascent artist Rosana Antoli), we caught up with the curator trio to find out more about the work on display.
Mara-Johanna Kölmel on Rosana Antoli and Matterlurgy (Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright)
Against the impressive backdrop view of London’s Docklands and the River Thames, Rosana Antoli’s site-specific installation Chaos Dancing Cosmos made from rubber hose pervades the space like a pulsating drawing in a three-dimensional space. Small motors bestow movement upon the static rubber tubing creating an interplay of material friction and resistance. The artist’s continuously changing constellation alludes to a historical one. Silvertown was named after Samuel Winkworth Silver, the owner of the India-Rubber, Gutta-Percha & Telegraph Works, which opened in 1852 along the Thames river front not too far from the Silver Building. Antoli interweaves this thread of Silvertown’s history tied to the exploitation of people and natural resources into a cosmos of relations. Don’t miss Rosana’s performance The Movement of the Other during our launch party on 30 September placing us and her performers in the rhythmic eddying of her work’s past, present and future constellations….
The spector of the rubber producing industrialist S.W. Silver also haunts the immersive installation by the collective Matterlurgy. Silver made his wealth from Gutta-percha, a tree from Southeast Asia that produces a naturally occurring latex. During the 19th Century the material was used to insulate underwater telegraph cables that where later replaced by Internet cables. Beneath the Signal and Noise reassembles industrial materials from the surrounding area to construct a speculative landscape that foregrounds present day geopolitics and industrial histories. The perceptive installation is brought to life through live sonifications, radio transmissions and actions during a performance of the artists as part our curator’s tour on the 8th of October, revealing some of the pasts-presents and present-futures of Silvertown.
Rafael Schacter on Khadija Von Zinnenburg Carroll and Jazoo Yang
Exploring forms of representation and national identity, _Embassy Embassy by Australian artist Khadija Von Zinnenburg Carroll is an installation and video work drawing on the sites and archives of the former Iraq and Australia embassies in East Berlin. In what remains of these two, architecturally identical edifices, are also the mirrors of exiled identities beyond this off-site embassy installation. It is the space of those that are detained indeterminately because of the trappings of national ideologies. The terror of trespass into the original GDR sites and attempted assassination within the Iraq embassy is narrated in two channels of sound. This is the office of every ambassador after their power is fractured, the broken circle.
Jazoo Yang’s _Specimens of the Street [Materials_ series] are an amalgamation of the diverse, the distant, and the disregarded. Formed of the lost fragments of urban life that Yang rescues before their inevitable disappearance – remnants of a buildings’ outer walls, scraps of wallpaper from an interior, the remains of antique tiles – these often silent, ignored objects are here magnified from the mundane, framed to acknowledge the immensity of the intimate. Yet what we see in Yang’s works could easily have been taken from the space in which they hang. The chipped surfaces of the Silver Building will soon be smoothed and glossed over, removing any trace of its current state of decay. Yang’s works, however, show how the past, present and future are fused in the very materiality of these walls.
Silvana Lagos on Paola Torres Núñez Del Prado and Christine Sun Kim
Paola Torres Núñez Del Prado’s, The Lost Code (Corrupted Data), explores the notion of loss in reference to the socioeconomic processes visible in the immediate landscape of Silvertown. The works, three hand-made textiles woven in the traditional Andean technique of brocade but with the strands disjointed and unthreaded, visibly disturbed and de-structured, delicately references community bonds, progressively cut and replaced. Here, Torres Núñez Del Prado’s positions the process of gentrification as a softer form of colonialisation, one that robs a community of its riches and vibrancy. The three textiles lie dormant – until they are touched and interacted with by their visitors however, their conductive thread turning them into a social instrument.
Christine Sun Kim’s, Close Readings, a compilation of film clips selected by Kim, undertakes the task of captioning the resonance and multidimensionality of sound rather than simply that of the voice as traditionally transcribed. Entrusting four ‘captioners’ with various degrees of deafness to interpret the chosen scenes and add their own cues, Close Readings explores the experience of watching a film for non-hearing audiences: it exposes the dependence on what the captioner wishes to reference or leave out, the multiple layering of sound reduced to a simple inscription. Ranging from literal to conceptual, the sound descriptions in Kim’s work take on both imagined or even poetic qualities as the four interpretations of the clips play in unison