Some notes on Luminous Flux exhibition


Luminous Flux is the current exhibition at Arti et Amicitiae (Amsterdam) where you can see the works of seven London based-artists that focus their artistic practice on the interrelation between video, installation and sculpture. The exhibition proposes a linear walk through the pieces which are located in very spacious and individual rooms (except of two pieces) and separated each other with black curtains that create some sort of intimacy and curiosity towards the next room. Luminous Flux proposes new perspectives and uses for the digital image which being a serious responsible of shaping our contemporary reality needs thus to be re-thinked and creatively explored. Some of the artists present single channel videos with a more clear conceptual approach whereas other artists aim to create a space where the moving image is conceived as an integrated object that calls for a more active viewer who no longer follows a linear and passive visual narrative but who understands the moving image as an object itself. The pieces bring fresh insights about the current state of the digital image and deal too metaphorically with our multi-screen life characterized by expanding LCD structures.

Matthias Tharang (Germany) introduces us in the exhibition presenting his video piece “Strength through Joy” , a single channel video that shows several girls with long black hair and in white dresses playing heartily with a red balloon in a Swiss valley. The setting is portrayed as a very naïve scenario with apparently no possible threat around. However, while playing, the characters laugh and shout in an over-enthusiastic, exaggerated and annoying way for the viewer, turning the situation into something really odd. Indeed, the title of the video ‘Strength Through Joy” refers to the German “Kraft durch Freude” , the state-controlled leisure during the NAZI Germany.In the next room, Laura Buckley (Ireland) exhibits “The Magic Know-How”, a piece that combines video and sound with a sort of hypnotic and electric rhythm that rapidly gets into the subconscious of the viewer. Laura combines every day videos of her own life, with popular culture images and abstract compositions. As a result we find a colorful collage of moving images and a splendid soundtrack made in collaboration with musician Andy Spence.

Thomas Yeomans (United Kingdom) presents “A common future”, a single channel video in which both video and sound are created from web-sourced material. “A common future” is a very elegant and fine piece of the widely considered mash-up culture which is certainly dignified in this work. Thomas employs images from a very wide range of sources, from common YouTube home made videos to high quality images from documentaries, films or advertisements, all of them mixed composing a fabulous and quasi hypnotic visual rhythm. Images are displayed together with music and speeches that deal with very existentialist issues that reflect on the meaning of our digitalized life trapping the viewer in a very melancholic way. The capturing quality of this video paradoxically makes the viewer experience the contradictory feeling of sharing as well as rejecting what he/she sees. However, the viewer will most likely enjoy it and consequently assert the crude and tempted nature of our digitally represented life. “Common Future” deals with the apparent feeling of a global future, the technological illusion of having a common life.

Dorine van Meel (The Netherlands) , curator of the exhibition, presents “The Alarmed”: an installation composed of videos in black boxes, projections and sound. We find a very intimate room with a deep atmosphere where electric and moving colours invade us and where street sounds and texts such as “I find the thing you’re telling me extremely alarming”  float in the environment. Dorine establishes the room as the piece itself, a room in which the boundaries between light, video and sound blur. Dorine creates a particular atmosphere and prioritizes the sensorial experience of the visitor who will feel immersed in an absorbing environment. Ninna Bohn Pedersen’s “Milk” (Denmark) installation is made of fabrics that hang out from the ceiling, forming structures on which videos are projected, distorting the projections and creating geometrical shadows on the main composition on the wall. The videos show personal experiences of the artist that together with sound involve the whole space with an intimate feeling. Nina is probably the artist that more faithfully respects the exhibition statement of working between moving image, installation and sculpture. Nina shows moving images no longer held in the traditional rectangular/square screen but presents moving images as sculpture, integrated in the architecture and forming geometrical shapes that insinuate innovative ways of using video. This approach explores the very state of the digital image, which together with our intimate experiences, have all been already trapped by the digital and therefore moved to an hybrid and three dimensional virtual space; in this case, the fabrics hanging somehow suggest the expanding and networked condition of the digital image nowadays


Ninna Bohn Pedersen’s installation

Finally, in the last room, David Ferrando Giraut (Spain) shows a single channel video titled “Loss”. “Loss” is a video essay that goes in depth to the meaning of the image itself. The video is a very poetic and subtle reflection on human fascination about images, an exploration on the human need to constantly picture our ideas and turn them into ideal entities. David describes the image as a temptation, a suspension in time that surfaces our deepest desires. He constructs a linear narrative using his parents’ super 8 film projector as starting point in order to create an essay full of symbolic referents . Although it keeps a more linear narrative and it is apparently less innovative than the previous works, David’s video is a very beautiful piece that closes the exhibition inviting the viewer to think about many of the concepts described before.