The 15th edition of the three-day art, media and music festival, Todays Art last week in The Hague included, as is often the case, a number of satellite events. The exhibition “Children of the Space (A Forest)” at The Grey Space in the Middle curated by Anastasia Loginova was one of these satellite events. It came about because Olof van Winden, director of Todays Art, saw an exhibition she had curated earlier in the year and gave her the option of curating an event. She chose for this location as a satellite event. This was just a few months ago. So not only is this impressive exhibition put together in a very short time frame but also with very little funding (STROOM gave some funding). Why all these details? Well the exhibition was well publicized, had a diverse public programme (lectures and performances) and contained works that required a lot of infrastructure such as the immersive room size installation by Sophia Bulgakova comprised of many projectors. It is thanks to STROOM that The Hague has such a vibrant edgy arts culture. Today’s Art had a number of other satellite events throughout the city but one of the alternative events, re-located outside the Todays Art framework that grabbed my attention was “Hyena Noise Fest” – an evening of Musique Concrete, Avant Garde, Experimental, Noise, Elektro at an affordable price by an impressive line up of artists from diverse backgrounds, hosted in the re-located villa K (previously the embassy of the Congo), now renamed simply “Stichting Centrum” (Foundation Centre). This particular event was not just a re-locating of space but blurring of genre and gender.
Detail of the multi-room installation, Axis Mundi, curtains in custom-made rails, stones, carpet and green skylights, by Zoe d’Hont; Acousmatic Space Studies #1 by Stefano Murgia, electronics, 3 suspended custom made aluminium speakers and live audio.
And now back to the exhibition, “Children of the Space (A Forest)” which was more than a show of the tangible made audible and in motion. The whole space created a sense of space/s and the spaces in between, both in a physical sense such as the locations of various audible gadgets in between the subtle half circular curtain pillars in gentle shades of green by Zoe d’Hont as well in a socio-psychological sense. You were invited to sit inside some of the spaces, as form of ‘time-out’ from the focus of the other works in the rooms. These half open transluscent pillars worked as vertical cocoons for a visitor who chose to stand or to sit inside one, as well as creating visual soft lines against the anglarity of the other works in the spaces. These and the green skylights as well as arrangements of clusters of pink cones and small stones spread through the spaces much like the mylicium structure one finds in a forest. However for me the metaphor of a forest stopped with this work because all other works are highly sophisticated products of an urban world. Perhaps a way to read this is that other works were interventions into a curated framework of the forest? Stefano Murgia’s performance, Acousmatic Space Studies #1 inside one of these ‘forests’ of pillars, stones and green lighting, worked best in my view, when you walked slowly in the space the changing spatial audio experience seemed to come from diverse locations: at times from the centre and other times from any of the three speakers, respectively a square, a triangle and a sphere. Each aluminium coated speaker was suspended inside a frame giving a modernistic, even futurist, sculptural contrast to the textural soundscape.
Left Right: “Adaptation #1 by Mike Rijnierse, an adapted antenna dish, inflated form, motors and sound, Detail of “Axis Mundi” vertical curtain and chair, by Zoe d’Hont; suspended horizontal metal sheet, in a metal support, activated by motors by Jesus Canuto Iglesiasu.
“Adaptation #1” by Mike Rijnierse scatters light when sunlight strikes the blades at certain times of the day, but what you notice most is the continually tumbling white centre of the ‘flower’ held seemingly precariously by jets of air from below. Beyond this is a seat for sitting vibrated by motors underneath for feeling as well as hearing the composition, “A proper forest needs some contemplative spots and leaf murmurs” by Jesus Canuto Iglesias. His other work, a table-like suspended horizontal metal sheet that shook, trembled and immited sound as part of the seat composition, located a few metres away, brought visitors to the window and street view spaces of the gallery while Sophia Bulgakova’s installation took you downstairs into another world. Her work, YOU ARE SOURCE PROJECTION AND REFLECTION, a co-production with Udruga Metamedij and V2, was developed over the last summer in Rotterdam and this is a second variation using different texts. All texts were projected in reverse and you were provided with a small screen which when held out in front of you, presented these texts in a readable form. Sonja van Kerkhoff 25th September 2019
This exhibition at The Grey Space in the Middle continues until 27th September.