Checkout
Benjie Cluness

Benjie Cluness

What’s your background?

I grew up in Shetland, an archipelago that lies more than 100 miles north of mainland Scotland. I moved to Glasgow to study and have lived here for almost ten years. I studied Communication Design at the Glasgow School of Art, specialising in graphic design. Despite studying design my practice developed to be primarily film based and ‘arty’. During my time at GSA the Com Des course was very accommodating to my desire to produce art films rather than conventional graphic design.

What are your artistic influences?

I’m primarily influenced by popular culture. I tend to read quite a bit of theory, but in terms of what shapes the intention of my work and how it is delivered aesthetically I am more concerned with Hollywood blockbusters, music videos and The Simple Life. I’m interested in forms of entertainment and art that are accessible and populist and I am making a conscious move toward making work that doesn’t require the viewer to have a grounding in critical theory, but can still elicit an emotional response.

How do you start a new work?

I usually have a number of projects on the go at any one time and the majority of these never come to fruition. This is usually due to time and/or financial constrictions, my ambitions are grand but my pockets are empty.

Studying design rather than fine art taught me how to navigate deadlines and produce work quickly. I tend to spend most of my time ruminating on an idea and then – once the pressure to complete something builds – create the work quickly.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I’m making clothes. I’m still unsure where this fits in my practice, there’s a conceptual slant to the pieces I’m producing but I’m also keen to create garments that are desirable and marketable too.

I’m also working on a collaborative project with 3 artists that I greatly admire; Luca George, Gary Zhexi Zhang, and Racheal Crowther. We are each producing a video that will synchronise to form an immersive, nose-bleed of an installation.

Liv Schulman

Liv Schulman

What’s your background?

I was born in Paris, being the daughter of two Argentinians on exile, but one year later we moved to Buenos Aires where I grew up. It gave me a french passport and an Argentine national feeling. I grew up in Buenos Aires until the economic crisis of 2001 when the country collapsed. That`s when my mother my sister and I moved to Israel. My dad stayed back home. Living in Israel didn’t suit me well, so I decided to go to Paris to study art. It took me three years to get accepted in the art academy of Cergy and meanwhile I worked as a cashier at the Goldemberg’s, a Jewish restaurant managed by an unorthodox man who didn’t quite know that war was over. The whole crew of the restaurant was either Polish, Tunisian, Algerian or Moroccan and those were the friends who taught me french because I didn’t know the language. After I started art school I completed my BA and later an MA with no honours, and I left for London in order to start an MFA in Art Writing at Goldsmiths which I never completed. Being left poor and unemployed I came back to Argentina in where I stayed for 4 years. In there many things happened all related to writing and teaching, I started an art writing cycle called Triple Frontera in which artists that wrote came to perform their experiments and that gave birth later on to an art writing newspaper called El Flasherito that is still going on. A few fanzines and publications came out also such as “Pobre Feo y Elegante and Algo mejor que nada” and then I started teaching first writing about art and second writing as art. I have always been very interested in seeing how writing and spoken word is a vehicle of desire.

What are your artistic influences?

All that is hybrid and stays in the intersection between disciplines, genres, television, theatre, writing, cinema, sculpture, cross genders etc, I like Ciudad de Cristal, Adventure Time, Robert Filiou, Miranda July, Kafka, Roberto Bolaño, Tim Etchens, Shana Moulton, Martin Rejtman, Marcelo Galindo, Nathaniel Mellors, Nestor Perlongher, Witold Gombrowitz, Phillip K Dick, Guy de Cointet, Cesar Aira, Pablo Katchakjian there are so many because practically I like things as long as fantasy intervenes as a political tool of the present into a form of documentary setting.

How do you start a new work?

I am very slow at starting new work because I often work in series, episodes, tv shows so it is very rare that something independently pops out and starts growing with out having its own background as an institution. So what happens to me is that in a unorthodox way I have to crate a form of institution for each work that I do, and that institution would start working as a machine that produces connections and that eventually produces pieces of work inside an ongoing magma of thinking. But even that has a starting point and that point is always writing, writing a dialogue, between one and another self that might just be that strange person inside of outselfs. That`s when an idea of subjective paranoia starts acting out and creates new connections of meaning that unravel until it takes the usual shape of false theory and depressive strangement.

What are you working on right now?

A series of small episodes called The Obstruction in which every time a man tries to say something he sees himself confronted to the genital parts of a public sculpture which creates an idea of obstruction in him he cannot overcome and little by little starts feeling worse and worse while he tries to develop his ideas on economy, offer and demand, pharmaceutical industry and rebellions in airports.

Karen Kramer

Karen Kramer

What’s your background?

I’m originally from New York. I studied at Parsons School and completed my BA in 2003. After finishing the course I was pretty burnt-out on NYC. I’d taken a year off which was when September 11th happened and then when I came back everything felt really different so I finished and hit the road. I moved up to Provincetown on tip Cape Cod which is a pretty remote summer resort town. I ended up working while there as a graphic designer for an institute whose research focused around the coastal environment and marine mammals. It was a small place and the exposure I got there has been tremendously influential. I’m a kind of failed biologist — I studied biology briefly at undergraduate level but left early and then attempted it again at a community college in Cape Cod — I don’t think I have the right kind of brain for hard science but it has a big role in my work. I moved again after the Cape to Connecticut and worked in Graphic Design for a Contemporary Art Museum. I think that was the big impetus to get out of design and back into art. I spent most of the years after my BA keeping a painting and drawing practice going but it was pretty directionless — I’d been dabbling at the time with sound and got some training through connections from my marine mammal friends at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology but I didn’t really know what to do with it. I ended up coming to London to do my MA a Goldsmiths and rediscovered an interest in moving image — it seemed like the best output for putting together the things I was interested in — image and sound.

What are your artistic influences?

This is a really hard question. Honestly, I don’t feel a tremendous aesthetic affinity with many visual artists. There are artists I admire very much artists whose work awakens me to the possibilities of their form such as John Akomfrah, Hito Steyerl and Patrick Keiller. Though I don’t necessarily think I ‘take my cue’ from them, as such. I just remind myself of the power of their work when I feel like it’s all a bit of a waste of time and it re-invigorates me. I’m also inspired, to some extent, by feature film directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky,early modern literary fiction by Melville and Nabokov, contemporary fiction by Ben Marcus, Dennis Cooper, Katrina Palmer and Jason Schwartz (I’m currently re-reading John the Posthumous which is an incredible text), cultural theory by Paul Virillio, Franco ‘Biffo’ Berardi and Donna Harraway.

How do you start a new work?

My practice has a huge amount of research and personal experience backing it but I almost always begin with sound and weave everything around that. The sound in a way is the thing that give the work its body. Once I have a sound I can really start fleshing research and narrative into an actually work — one of my most recent works “The eye that articulates belongs on land” had a loose story but the edit really began with this siren like recording I had of a bird that I was obsessed with. That film is actually loaded with bird sound but I don’t think that is entirely obvious.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been gathering material for about a year on river deltas and about engineering around vulnerable cosmopolitan coastal environments. I feel like the project is still in its research phase however I have begun writing a sort of script for the final work. A subtext to that project will also be a historical perspective on the issue of ecological thinking in fine art practice of the past and the sense in which it arguably failed to achieve its goals. This is a cyclical thing as I feel we’re currently in a moment where ecological and climatological issues in contemporary art are very much back in vogue, mostly under the theoretical umbrella of the anthropocene.

Tom Lock

Tom Lock

What’s your background?

I grew up with skateboarding, T.V. and music. I went to art school in London and Northern France.

What are your artistic influences?

Nature, music, psychedelic art, Octavia E. Butler, amongst many other Sci-Fi writers.

How do you start a new work?

Slowly. I like to try and absorb influences until they start making their way out.

What are you working on right now?

An Audio/Visual performance for Focal Point Gallery in Southend on the 2nd September.

Karin Ferrari

Karin Ferrari

What’s your background?

I studied painting, art history and cultural studies in Vienna, cradle of psychoanalysis and cybernetics. From an early age on I wrote down my dreams and started to understand the meaning of their symbolism and images. And I am a bit psychic. My grand-grand-grandmother was the bastard of a high ranked Scottish sorcerer.

What are your artistic influences?

The weird part of YouTube, MTV, theory fiction, disinfotainment, and something that I like to call trash-mysticism: the mellow, digitally remastered, online version of occultism.

How do you start a new work?

Whistle-blowers, anonymous tips or friends pointing out a freshly released suspicious music video.

What are you working on right now?

I am planning the short film DECODING Fake News Media (THE WHOLE TRUTH): a docu-fiction about the image politics of media. The starting point is my artistic research on the visual appearance, logos and infographics of television news, opinion websites and internet-based television stations. Which image strategies are used to suggest claim of truth, objectivity and authority?

Sarah Bernauer

Sarah Bernauer

What’s your background?

I grew up in a small village in Switzerland, my parents were strictly religious and there was not much contact to the „outside“ world. Because there was little entertainment, I started to read everything I could get my hands on. Through that reading process I became aware of alternative world views, views different than the one I was strongly taught. As a result of my upbringing I became very sensitive to any kind of imposed or isolating ideologies. I also realized how our conditioning impacts the perception of ourselves and the world in general. Those early formative experiences are still crucial for my practice as an artist. I like to think of ideas within a network of relation and references and therefore installation is my preferred medium of presenting my work.

What are your artistic influences?

When I was 18 a friend took me to a retrospective of Niki de Saint Phalle and I was immediately hooked by her filmic work, the way she transferred her shortcomings into a tool for deconstructing her male-dominated surroundings and creating her own narrative. I thought immediately: this is what I want! However, it took me a couple of years until I finally decided to study art and become an artist myself. I’m always drawn to strong female positions, be it in art, literature or theory – but I’m also generally interested in artist positions, contemporary and historical ones, that combine different mediums and disciplines, especially those who are using writing as an essential part of their work.

How do you start a new work?

I’m definitely a collector and sampler. I have the sometimes annoying habit of constantly writing everything down that strikes me as important. My ever-growing collection of copybooks is in a way the backbone of my work. That includes as well a lot of sketches and drawings. I never have a fully formulated idea of the end result when I start working on a new project. I’m more interested to see where it takes me. I follow different approaches and notions and then the actual work comes into existence during an extensive process of editing. Usually a deadline is helpful to conclude that process.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I’m working on an installation that combines elements of spoken poetry with sound pieces. I’m also excited about a new project space I’ll be opening in Berlin in September together with my partner, where we’ll be organizing periodic exhibitions, talks and readings.

Luciana Kaplun

Luciana Kaplun

What’s your background?

I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, where I studied education. When I migrated to Israel I started to focus on art. I studied photography for my BFA. During my MFA I expended my interest in video and performance. Through those years I was also part of an artistic group called “Public Movement” — that investigates and stages political actions in public spaces.

What are your artistic influences?

I’m truly inspired by narratives created by popular culture, usually from post colonial countries. My work addresses sociopolitical issues like immigration, refugees and new hybrid identities of people looking for work and a better life in different places. I’m interested in television and cinema formats and some Latin American writers like Cortazar, Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, mainly from the “Magical Realism” genre.

How do you start a new work?

My work is based on extensive and long research. I usually start a new project by talking to people, listening to their stories and learning about their cultures. The personal connection with the people I chose to work with, is crucial to my process.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on raising my baby. I decided to take a little break from intensive projects. Meanwhile, I would like to experiment with new formats and styles.

Artist Anne Haaning

Anne Haaning

What’s your background?

Having been a Dane in London for many years, I’m now between London and the Arctic, working on a fellowship with the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. Before achieving my MFA in 2014, my history was in architecture – but even then, my chief concerns and practice were animation and the field’s durational qualities. I think being introduced to 3D when 3D consumer programs emerged at the beginning of the millennium has really influenced the way I perceive the digital, making me, perhaps, a 3D native.

What are your artistic influences?

I feel deeply connected to the moving image art scene in London. I think there’s something about the dis/utopian pulse of life, the scarcity of space and time that you can really sense in London moving image works in recent years. But in terms of who I look to for inspiration, it’s often writers, particularly those who play with voice and space in their writing: Andrew Durbin, Anne Carson, Lynne Tillman, for example.

How do you start a new work?

One work often bleeds into another. There will be some element that didn’t quite fit with the piece it was intended for which turns into something of its own. Often the work grows out of attempts to embody very abstract ideas in 3D animation and video editing, and of embracing the failure to do it, moving down the path where the templates break down, where the digital systems reveal their limitations.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on a piece that looks at the mineral cryolite, mined by the Danes in Greenland in the 1850s, and the stories that surround it. Cryolite made the mass production of aluminium – and so modern technology – possible; in effect, it helped secure Denmark’s place in global capitalism. The mine has now been reclaimed by the ocean and is largely erased from the Danish conscience. The work revisits that scar in the Greenlandic landscape, geographically as well as symbolically, and the transformation of the now extinct mineral into ever-present technology.

Dagmar Schürrer

Dagmar Schürrer

What’s your background?

I grew up in Austria and studied Fine Art at CSM in London, in the class for new and time-based media. I attended art school quite late – at the end of my twenties – and before that I have moved around quite a bit between Vienna, Berlin and London. I started out with works of photography, collage and drawing, but I was drawn to the medium of the moving image quite quickly.

What are your artistic influences?

I am fascinated by systems of storytelling, although I am constantly sabotaging coherent narratives in my work. So I am often influenced by films or texts, that are experimenting with incoherence. The composition of my work is consistently formal, a consequence of my engagement with the minimalist concepts of structural film. Another big influence are theoretical texts by a wide range of writers, time and again I seem to return to Laura Mulvey or Giorgio Agamben.

How do you start a new work?

I usually start with writing about and around the material I am collecting – images, texts, fragments, colours, typography, slogans, GIFs, extracts of films. This often culminates in lyrical texts, reminiscent of a sequence of slogans, circulating a particular theme. The text then slowly starts to interact with fragments of imagery.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a moving image work in collaboration with the writer Christina M. Landerl, based on a technique of Adalbert Stifter, who uses a sprawling and meandering description of landscapes to slowly approach the characters in his novels.

Another work in progress are short, GIF-like moving images, that depict fantastical and utopian machinery halls with 3D animated objects, reflecting on ideas around the apparatus, industrial production and machine labour.