Emotion + the Techn(no)body – Group Show
by sfe medusa
The Austrian Cultural Forum is a proud, columned building nestled amongst consulates, meditation centres and mansions, and plays host to around 3 – 4 art exhibitions every year. Depending on your outlook, the Forum is worth the either intimidating or luxurious trek through Knightsbridge’s mews to get there, especially for their current show, Emotion + the Techn(no)body, that features experimental film, sculpture and digital works.
Still from ‘Heads May Roll (radio edit)’, a film by Benedict Drew, 2014.
The highlight was Christine Schörkhuber’s Something in the Air (2017), an arresting installation of murmuring fan ventilators that crackled out a distorted sound file in tandem with its rotors.
There was something about the abstract communication through tangible objects that left you feeling like the material was haunted by digital waves we cannot see, reminiscent of the enveloping sculptures of Esther Stocker, which lay at a strange crossing between a real-life and digital environment.
Unrelenting buzzing sounds seemed to echo throughout the exhibition, introduced by Davide Bevilacqua and Veronika Krenn’s work In Summer Nights I Looked For Insects (2017), a scattering of small insect-resembling electronic sculptures that individually emitted noises varying with your proximity to them. A nice embellishment.
The video piece Heads May Roll ( radio edit ) by Benedict Drew was somehow hard-hitting in its tasty visuals, feeling like someone had spilt a PCP/pink nail lacquer cocktail onto a 1996 broadband modem and then let it sizzle away philosophically about our increasing reliance on and hypnotic relationship with technology.
Theresa Schubert’s interactive work space=memory, based on the memory and network growth of slime moulds, was a bit rudimentary and Stephen Cornford’s Saturation Trails produced some interesting images as a result of his manipulation of material, but I wonder if his use of the space could’ve been improved further to better communicate his destruction and re-construction of the sensors and electronics he worked with.
‘Something in the Air’ (2017) – Christine Schörkhuber.
Every piece dared you to approach slowly and cautiously, and there was a mild horror in the flickering spasms of digital static and the crackling manipulation of sound and electronic configuration. The unseen electrical entities that populate our lives may well of been the ‘ghosts’ that were spoken of in folklore.