Now Showing: Austerity Measures

CYcLE CLUB Screening


starts at 7pm

curated by João Laia and Andrey Shental

James Corbett • Jean-Luc Godard • Ilya Korobkov • Oliver Laric • Daniel Lopatin • Jesse McLean • Takeshi Murata • Jean-Gabriel Périot • James Richards • Chooc Ly Tan

This programme investigates the notion of austerity as a creative tool for visual experimentation and social analysis. Incorporating what Hito Steyerl names as “lumpen proletarian” visual imaginary and internet byproducts, the films presented in this programme criticize the pristine visuality of mainstream culture in a tongue-in-cheek manner. It can be read as a parody of the recessional aesthetics of the new conservative measures as well as a critique of the previous liberal policies that stimulated a high-paced consumerism and that ultimately led to the present state of affairs.

Now Showing: Austerity Measures presents an inventory of poor materials and marginal techniques (e.g. low-res found footage, visual and sonic noise, compression, reformatting, repetition and web camera recordings) used internationally by contemporary artists. These works are examples of new filmic languages and textures that use and reflect contemporary visual imaginary and social contexts becoming an artistic response against the commercialisation and institutionalisation of digital arts and the internet. These images that Steyerl identifies as being in the process of losing its visual substance and that uncover hidden political subtexts may then be also related to the current period of recession and likewise their ubiquity could be linked to the pervasiveness of the international austerity.

Now Showing: Austerity Measures presents films whose aesthetics are ordinarily found on the internet and have been appearing in contemporary art frameworks but are still rare in screening presentations. In that sense it also questions the experience of the public in the auditorium by presenting films whose visual forms and narrative contents are usually experienced, or rejected, in private contexts or museum/gallery installations, where the viewer can more easily control their reproduction and reception. The loss of power arising from these new conditions of spectatorship underlines the specificities of both the white cube and the black box while stimulating a scrutiny of the image that according to Steyerl could circulate in the private context without ever being thought about.

Ideally this programme would have a reduced duration of approximately 50 minutes, pointing out and subverting the short attention span of the internet user and humorously quoting recession discourses related to budget cuts. This screening will tour to ' Waterpieces International Contemporary and Video Art Festival', Riga and 'FUSO International Video Art Festival', Lisbon.

João Laia is a writer and curator based in London. He holds a BA in Cultural Communication, and is studying an MA in Film Studies and Film Curating at Golsmiths College. He is a contributor of Artecapital contemporary art magazine and Público newspaper, and researcher for the Gulbenkian Modern Art Centre in Lisbon. Previous collaborations include IndieLisboa, Alcine and Alpha-ville Festivals, Nosadella.due residency in Bologna, MACBA museum of contemporary art of Barcelona and Moving Image Art Fair in London.

Andrey Shental holds a BA in Art Criticism at the Moscow State University and is studying on the MA in Contemporary Art at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. He works as an assistant curator and also develops independent curatorial projects. He is a regular contributor to several publications including Artchronika, Open Space and As an artist he has exhibited films and video-installations in several exhibitions in Moscow and London, including the Moscow Biennale for Young Art in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Cell Project Space would like to thank Rodeo, Istanbul, Seventeen Gallery, London and all exhibiting artists for assisting with this project. image collaboration: Jesse McLean