CHRISTINA FREEMAN

Press: August Culture Guide

For this interview, Christina invited curator Emireth Herrera and artists, Joelle Fleurantin and Chloé Devanne Langlais to talk about their work for the exhibition 3459.  Organized by Emireth Herrera and RELAPSE Collective, the exhibition takes its title from the 3459 mile distance between New York and London. Over the course of 6 days, Tom’s Etching Studio in London and Flux Factory in New York will each live-stream to the other, works that have been created specifically to address the distance and relationship between the two places via technology.   

 

Emireth Herrera, curator

CF: How did your collaboration with RELAPSE Collective come about?

EH: I met Vasiliki, Antonopoulou in the Fall of 2015 when I was a curator-in-residence at Residency Unlimited, and visited studios at NARS Foundation. Vasilki and I are both interested in creating community through online platforms. She is a founder of RELAPSE Collective; primarily a virtual platform for exhibiting artists’ work. They publish open calls and select artists to be featured online, as well as organize pop-up shows and other events. I’m a writer at LAR Magazine (Living Art Room), a bilingual online magazine presenting artists’ work, creating an online international community. At first we just agreed to do something together. I didn’t know if it would be here in New York or in Mexico. We wanted to show that we can connect through art and technology, no matter where we are, regardless of nationality.

CF: I noticed that you translated the Open Call for 3459 into many languages?

EH: We translated the Open Call into Farsi, French, Greek, Spanish and English. We wanted to get works from around the world, from different nationalities, to show that language is not a barrier here. We have artists from Colombia, Greece, Cyprus, Germany, Austria, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Haiti, Canada and the  United States. The point is to create this community; all of the artists can be linked to each other through the exhibition.

CF: The way in which this exhibition aims to transcend borders and build community, seems especially relevant, in light of Great Britain’s recent vote to exit from the EU, and Trump’s call for building a wall on the US-Mexico border. Congratulations on your hard work and for being listed in Vogue’s top things to do in London this August!

 

Joelle Fleurantin will be performing her work Screen on August 11.

CF: Joelle, tell me about your work for 3459.

J: It’s a performance piece, called Screen. In the gallery, you will see a window into my studio, I’ll be performing a character who has been in other performance works. What struck me about the call was the live streaming of events between two places. I was at a conference and this artist was talking about the limitations of digital art being accepted into blue-chip galleries. He said, “What is a screen but another place that you can’t enter”. I’m really interested in how emotional this flat surface can be and what can be transposed. Also, now as a form of activism, video documentation is very important in cases of police brutality.

C: In reversing the surveillance?

J: Yeah, in reversing surveillance. It’s always fascinating to me when people see such extreme acts of violence in real time and there is still a discussion about what happened.

C: Right, somehow there is still a manipulation of information. There is actual fact, that is not disputable, and they find a way to dispute it.

J: Thinking about that, in Screen, I’ll be performing but you won’t necessarily be able to see me. You will be able to see something moving but won’t be able to tell what it is.

C: Your image is going to be obfuscated through the code that you created. The original belief of the camera as a source of fact is destroyed.

J: Yes. It will pick up movement and light. I’ll be moving the camera to follow me, so that it’s clear that there is some movement. I’m interested in how to present my body as another tool in front of people but being completely disguised.

C: Since your image is going to be abstracted, you could be doing anything. Will the live audio be accessible?

J: There will be audio, but the audio is a pre-recorded monologue. The image is just a series of lines with different colors, so I am including the recorded audio to give context. It is based on a piece called Threadbare - an interactive video installation about a woman coming to terms with her identity. I had performed that live as well. I’m fleshing out that character, she essentially feels trapped and wants to leave this place because people see her as she really is. It starts off talking about building up your mask with makeup so that people don’t see you as you truly are.

C: The text is talking about the idea of masks, identity, preventing the outside from coming in, and at the same the image is masked through coding. Very nice, good pairing.

CF: Chloe, What did you propose for 3459?

Chloe: It is an online chat room, connecting the gallery spaces in New York & London. It is a simple interface where people can send and receive messages. My brother and I created a software that will damage the messages.

CF: The message the person sends from NY will not arrive to London in a complete way?

Chloe: It will be like the Telephone game. This idea that you can communicate, but not with a complete message or understanding.

CF: Will your software archive all of the original messages?

Chloe: Yes.

CF: Are the people in London communicating back?

Chloe: Yes, it’s in both directions. Here in New York you will just see the damaged messages received from London, and you will also see the complete messages sent from New York. I will get the complete message but it will not be seen by the viewer in the opposite gallery. It’s like there are two teams. I like the idea that people get some information but they do not know what is right or what is complete.

CF. That’s very socially relevant. You are creating an archive of the complete messages, but what is given to the public to respond to is filtered. All the time we are making decisions just based on partial bits of information. What inspired this project?

Chloe: The idea is based on my research of black holes - I’m interested in the idea of infinity, roundedness, temporality and the possibility of parallel universes. The idea came from a skype call with my mother. We lost the connection for a few minutes, and during that time the image of her eyes was lost - I lost my mom’s eyes. I think of it like a virtual black hole, where pixels or information is lost.

CF: Thanks Chloe, I’ll look forward to attempting communication with people in London through your chat room!

 

Emireth Herrera is a visual arts researcher, curator and professor at Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, México. In order to foster academic research she has organized expositions and international artistic events that involve sustainability and site-specific actions. http://www.fluxfactory.org/fluxers/emireth-herrera/

Joelle Fleurantin is an artist and researcher in a committed relationship with her computer. Her work explores this often functional, sometimes dysfunctional union. She has presented her work at the NYC Media Lab Summit, Facets Conference, and Mozilla Festival. http://www.fluxfactory.org/fluxers/joelle-fleurantin/

Chloé Devanne Langlais is a French artist whose work poetically explores non-linear time and expansive space. She recently presented a solo exhibition of work on black holes at Flux Factory.

Vasiliki Antonopoulou (Greece/UK) is a performance and installation artist based in London. She was born in Greece and raised in Saudi Arabia, both places which re-emerge in her practice. She has obtained her undergraduate degree in Fine Art Practice from Goldsmiths University of London in 2012, and holds an Art and Design foundation diploma from the Architectural Association.