Non Place Urban Realm
9th to 21st August 1999
South London Gallery, 65 Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UH
Including the works METROPOLIS THE SEARCH and Patrol Station, by Paul O’Neill.
Four videos running parallel/synchronized on four monitors, side by side. Both videos are early morning car journeys between two points. The resulting images are depopulated. These two points are the gate entrances to the Phoenix Park in Dublin, the largest public park in Europe. One gate marks the entrance to the city, whilst the other marks the exit from the city. The two gates are connected by a straight road which contains a roundabout almost halfway along the road (5 mins total driving time). Along this road and amongst the trees and greenery are a number of landmarks; the Papal Cross erected during the visit of Pope John Paul II, the American Ambassador’s residency, the Irish Presidential House, the zoological Gardens, Garda Police Station, etc.
Four video recordings were made along this route; two views through the windscreen and two from the side passenger’s window. Thus two and two car journeys shall record opposite routes; to and from the city are recorded at equal speed and at exactly the same duration. Four separate journeys, two opposing directions, two different viewpoints, with the car passing the same point only once in the recorded footage of each differing direction. The videos will be looped to play together at synchronized times. The two inside monitors played the front views, with the two side views played on the outside monitors on the left and right.
Each journey is accompanied by the same piece of in-car music. Apocaliptica plays Metallica, ‘The Puppet Master’, neither classical, nor pop-rock. Each monitor can have its own set of headphones unless the four pieces can play at once. In front of each monitor is placed a soft bean bag for public use whilst watching the videos. Each VCR must be manually rewound after three hours play and all four must operate off the same remote or system of remote controls.
Sitting on top of the two central TVs are two mounted photographs of METROPOLIS; the infamous Nightclub in the suburbs of Paris which is named after the police headquarters situated near to the enormous and notorious nightclub; it is both a public and a policed zone.
Adapted from the press release.
An exhibition and open forum debating urban change and renewal in the Western city featuring Marcelo Exposito, Marc Pataut and Paul O'Neill.
London was taking part in the coming of the Millennium by carrying out a controversial urban development and the South London area experienced the biggest impact of these transformations. In response to this, the South London Gallery staged an exhibition and open forum in August to debate recent directions of urban renewal through cultural and art practices.
The Gallery became a laboratory, a place in which to exchange ideas, debating questions such as: Who are cities for? In whose images are cities made? How do new developments impact on local communities and the identity of the individual? Gustav Metzger, Anna Best, Mongrel, MSDM and MUF Architects were amongst those introducing these themes as a basis for general, informal discussions.
Three artists have been invited to show their work in reference to the issues under discussion:
Marcelo Exposito presented a video piece exploring the effects of change in Bilbao, which centred around the new Guggenheim Museum. Entitled October in the North: Storm from the Northwest (1995), the work juxtaposed images taken from the film Port of Bilbao (1920) with present day video recordings and interviews with former charcoal burners to show the contrast between the industrial growth of the city in the 1920s and the dilapidation of today.
Marc Pataut, founding member of the association NE PAS PLIER (Do Not Bend) which brings together artists and sociologists, showed the results of the two years he spent photographing the lives of a small community of people who were evicted to make way for the construction of the Grande Stade de France for the 1998 World Cup in Paris.
Paul O'Neill was invited to produce new video and photographic work which addresses 'the city' as a theme. Questioning what is defined as 'significant' within the urban landscape, his work searched for the indefinable 'centre' of the city.
Adapted from the press release