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Keith Piper completes new commission UnEarthing the Banker’s Bones


Image: Keith Piper, Unearthing the Bankers Bones (test installation), 2016.

Keith Piper has just unveiled his new artwork, UnEarthing the Banker’s Bones, a major commission acquired by the Arts Council Collection (ACC) to celebrate their 70th anniversary. The ACC commission, a partnership between Iniva and Bluecoat, was selected as a result of ACC’s open call to Arts Council England’s Visual Art National Portfolio Organisations to submit proposals to commission a new artwork. Last week, staff from all three organisations visited Keith’s studio in New Cross to view and officially ‘sign off’ the new work – a three screen video installation with sculptural elements encased in two vitrines – which was met with a celebratory round of applause.

Keith began working on UnEarthing the Banker’s Bones in September, when Iniva and Bluecoat learned that their joint proposal to Arts Council Collection for Keith’s commission was successful. Since then, Keith has been filming in various locations around England and working with an object fabricator, technical director, and a voice-over artist, to collect the work’s many layers of visual and research material that imagine the apocalyptic remnants of contemporary globalised capitalism. The looped video projection runs for approximately ten minutes, and is presented in five chapters: edge of the Anthropocene, the dark, the trickster, the map, and the relics. The work’s narrative is guided by a female voiceover, who calmly tells the story of two protagonists. We first learn of the Trickster, an elusive ‘shape-shifting android’ figure, who steps off the pages of an unfinished Octavia Butler novel and wanders into a post-apocalyptic vision of the future. Here, at the edge of the Anthropocene, the Trickster finds the remains of the second character: the Banker, a profiteering slave dealer, whose bones are laid in nearby vitrines on top of three large antique books entitled ‘The Banker’s Ledger’ (the book of what we took), ‘The Banker’s Inventory’ (the book of what we kept’ and ‘The Banker’s Journal’ (the book of how we took). These relics relate to an earlier encounter in which the Trickster showed the Banker an ‘upside down’ map of the world, presumably brought back from the future, that demonstrate contemporary migration patterns that ‘reroute the trade routes’ in search of the Banker’s ‘booty’. The Banker, perhaps unsurprisingly, shreds the map and locks its fragmented contents with a secret code. The film’s time-travelling narrative is complemented by eerily grey landscapes, such as the cold ocean’s lapping waves or a lone hooded figure wandering away from the city, but these images seem to appear as a set of possible associations rather than any direct illustration of the story.

Now, with UnEarthing the Banker’s Bones officially acquired by the Arts Council Collection, one might think Keith could take a holiday. Instead, over the coming months Keith will be developing another new work, a suite of drawings, as well as a new limited edition print for his major monographic exhibition, also entitled UnEarthing the Banker’s Bones, which will open at Bluecoat in late October. Iniva and Bluecoat will also be hard at work, developing plans to restage and reconfigure Keith’s iconic video installation Robot Bodies (2003-15) for the exhibition, and working on ideas for a symposium and other public programmes exploring race and science fiction. In addition, a substantial national and international tour is planned for the exhibition, which is Keith’s first major monographic show since Relocating the Remains in 1997 (produced by Iniva which toured to Ikon, Birmingham; National Gallery of Canada, Ontario; and New Museum, New York). In order to fulfil this ambitious project, we are also seeking passionate individuals to be part of the Unearthing the Bankers Bones – Exhibition Circle: a dedicated group of donors that will secure the legacy of this important exhibition.

Introducing Scat: Sound and Collaboration

Artist Sonia Boyce introduces the exhibition Scat: Sound and Collaboration which runs until 27 July 2013 at Iniva.

Scat presents two immersive video works for the first time with The Devotional Collection, Boyce’s archive and collective memorialisation of black British women in the music industry. As a result, the exhibition places a spotlight on her interest in the archive as arts practice. ‘Just the very act of putting something in an archive suggests its future use is beyond the control of the past. But we don’t have to settle for the past as it is presented. The past is not fixed’.

Visit www.iniva.org to find out more.

Art & Economies: Architectures of Finance from the Great Depression to the Sub-Prime Meltdown

Damon Rich: Red Lines, Death Vows, Foreclosures, Risk Structures

The American preference for traditional residential design masks a frightening reality: across the globe, individual buildings have been retrofitted to serve as interchangeable nodes in a vast abstract structure, held loosely together by legal and political restraints, made to allow the furious circulation of finance capital.
An installation of models, photographs, videos, and drawings by artist-designer Damon Rich, Red Lines immerses visitors in a landscape of pulsing capital and liquidated buildings, exploring the relation between finance and architecture.

During a year-long residence at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Rich, founder of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), surveyed the darkening realm of real estate markets: foreclosures, pro-formas, chains of title, block busting, exploding ARMs, and the obscure history of the mortgage.

Damon Rich is an artist and designer. Information from the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies

Art & Economies: Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt. What comes Next?

Artist Oliver Ressler – Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt. What comes Next?

 

Whilst on a residency in Yerevan as part of the project Eat and Work, Oliver Ressler explored political and economic situations in the Republic of Armenia. The project is a 19 minute film and a two channel video installation. The film was recorded in a market called “Bangladesh” where over 1000 traders try to survive in an economically depressed area, where the traders speak of their pre and post socialist lives. Where in the past the state ensured their basic needs were met, a the new state where all safety nets are gone.

More information on the project and to view the film:  Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt. What comes Next?

Art at the intersection: art & economies

When we talk of economics we are often lead to think about the financial crisis, about banking, about markets and the movements of capital, yet the reach of economic effects extends far beyond this relatively small realm of activity. Economic thinking governs the decisions about the sharing of resources, the division of land and labour, terms of ownership whether that be public or private and the dissemination of wealth and commodities in a world that often denies many the rights to the most basic of life’s needs. During the recent financial crisis some of the stark and unjust effects of the subtle dominance of economics underpinning our lives became very clear.
As the increasing regularity of news stories detail the consequent effects of the weather, of transport and international relationships on the economy we are lead to believe that economics determine our way of life. Yet we rarely focus on the workings or functions of this quiet ruler or consider the decisions that create such a complex system, a system which for many is in accessible.
 
At the Intersection: Art and Economies is a 3 year project in which Iniva will innovate a range of artistic and creative approaches to explore the complex topic of economies.

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