Unground at Darling Foundry, Montreal, Canada
Music: Stephen O'Malley
Curator: Kevin Muhlen
THE LINK, Fringe Arts, February 17, 2015
A roar to shake the world's foundations
Art Exhibition Unground Explores the Excesses of Capitalist Consumerism
by Mattha Busby @itsmattha
Prepare to be immersed in a land which you had thought to be inconceivable: a world without capitalism. This exhibition will whisk you away from the conservative grounding most of us are long-familiar with.
From Feb. 27 to March 15, Montrealers can take in Unground, a multi-dimensional, multichannel video installation containing references to what the press release describes as âmineral understructures of the modern metropolis, financial meltdowns, thawing glaciers, archaic caves and volcanic, arctic wastelands at the border of the inhabitable world.â The exhibition presented at Darling Foundry, a contemporary visual arts centre in the Old Port, will display the work of Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert, Luxembourg artists who have collaborated for more than 30 years. By juxtaposing images of modern cities and the Arctic tundra, the show suggests an alternative to capitalist realismâa term describing the ubiquitous influence of capitalism on virtually all aspects of life.
âOffering an alternative to capitalist realism is certainly a challenge isnât it?â mused Bouschet.
âDespite all rational and pragmatic arguments in favour of capitalism as the lesser evil,â he continued, âThe fact that it is easier for us nowadays to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism shows how effective its spell is.â The content featured in the latter stages of the video installation, when the exhibition showed in Luxembourg in 2012, includes volcanic ash smeared over images of the backdrop of the modern landmarks in Londonâs financial centre, such as The Gherkin. These shots are juxtaposed with footage shot in Iceland, slowed down so as to give the audience a glimpse of eternity. Expect something similar in Montreal this year to what was on display in Luxembourg.
The Darling Foundry is a former metal works factory that is now a post-industrial reappropriated space. The parallels between the exhibition space and the exhibitionâs content itself are inescapable. âWe didnât add anything; we just tried to take out all the things that were not usable anymore, like the heating system and poles all over the space,â said Caroline Andrieux, founder and artistic director at the Darling Foundry, in a 2013 interview with The Link.
âIt was more a work of purification. Weâre happy because we saved the building as it was.â Capitalism is a ruthless economic system; it forgets and it never forgives. It sheds the disposable and retains only what it considers invaluable.
This exhibition challenges its audience to consider alternatives to the economic system political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously argued would mark âthe end of historyââthe neoliberal structure we live in today. The artists invite their audience to âfeel, think and meditate the forces which have cut off human beings from the rest of nature,â as explained on the Darling Foundryâs website. Seeking to empower themselves and the audience by opening up the world to underground currents through the installation, the artists seek to create a zone where physical and mental experiences become accessible to the public. As the ozone layer exposes further holes, like when you wear one of your grandmotherâs sweatshirts for too long, our globe becomes further enveloped by the worldwide division of labour which the invisible hand of capitalism tends to demand.
The exhibitionâs intention is to transform âthese feelings of alienation and cultural estrangement into sorcerous gestures of insurrection.â Bouschet explained that he and Hilbert aim to promote the âliberation and redistribution of powerâ in creating a space where one ponders âthe right to develop oneâs own world view and create oneâs own values.â The exhibition features multiple installations on different platforms, which are as important as the tangible matter in the space. Thereâs an ironic parallel between the comprehensive submergence of the installation and the comprehensive experience of capitalism.
âThe sound of the installation, developed by Stephen OâMalley, is as important as the visual noise that we are feeding into it,â Bouschet said. Stephen OâMalley is one of two founding members of drone metal pioneers Sunn O))). The long-duration tones of drone and doom metal facilitate a meditative experience where one can become enveloped in sound in mere seconds.
Along with writers Bataille, Nietzsche and Artaud, the artists are profoundly influenced by black metal theory and have previously collaborated with Amelia Ishmael, editor of black metal theory journal Helvete.
The artists are âexcited to see what our work can do inside that huge industrial building,â according to Bouschet. âWe have only seen images, and we canât wait to experience the physicality of the space.â Bouschet describes the exhibition, which opens next week, as where âtodayâs incredibly hectic world gets to meet something where time is stretched out and where various time zones [deep or geological time] run in parallel to each other.â
Unground // Feb. 26 to March 15 //
745 Ottawa St.
Exhibition Opening: Thursday 26 February 2015
See more at http://fonderiedarling.org/en/Unground.html
Unground @ CubeSpace Taipei
Music by Stephen O'Malley
CubeSpace, Taipei, Taiwan
Sept.11 - Nov 23, 014
Unground @ Casino Luxembourg
Music by Stephen O'Malley & Jason van Gulick
Dec. 8, 012 - Jan. 6, 013
1214 de la Montagne
Tuesday, February 24 at 8:00pm in EST
Curator: Amelia Ishmael
.blacK~SSStaTic_darK~fuZZZ_dOOm~glitCH. is a screening program inspired by storms and digital sorcery or, more pointedly, it is an assemblage of lights and sounds to elicit a chaotic vortex of smudgy black charcoal that is streaked with freezing water, painted on celluloid, stained by sea creatures, hexed through new media, and entranced by guitar riffs. Artists included are Aldo Tambellini, Cultus Sabbati, Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert, jonCates, mojo (for Aluk Todolo), Reto MĂ¤der and Daniel Steffen (for Ural Umbo), Alexander Stewart, and Semiconductor.
Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert (in collaboration with Xavier Massaut), "White God" (2002-2010), 5:47
jonCates, "ERRORRUNNINGWWWATERNOISES (RE:MIXXX for Amelia Ishmael)" (2012), 6:44
Cultus Sabbati, "Descent into the Maelstrom" (2011), 8:12
Aldo Tambellini, "Black is" (1965), 3:38
Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert, "Unground: Phase 6" (2012), 5:37
jonCates, "CH405_M4J1K meets GL!TTER GLĂĂM" (2012), 2:16
Semiconductor, "Black Rain" (2009), 3:02
Michel Pennec, "Aluk Todolo live at Cave 12 in Ecuries de l'IlĂ´t 13, Geneva 12.05.2010 [I]" (2010), 8:42
Aldo Tambellini, "Black Trip" (1965), 4:07
Alexander Stewart, "Errata" (2005), 6:05
Reto MĂ¤der and Daniel Steffen, "Ural Umbo - Self Fulfilling Prophecy" (2011), 5:14