Friday Late Commissions 2006-2007
In 2006-7 the Contemporary Programme commissioned six works. Each commission was based on the theme of a particular Friday Late and recorded in the growing archive of material on the V&A website. They include video, sound, interactive and graphic work by some of the most exciting practitioners in Britain.
The commissions were supported by Arts Council England in conjunction with the Lottery Fund.
Transvison Commission - 24 February 2006
Four artists and designers were invited to create new work in response to objects and spaces within the V&A. The work was supported by a range of other activity on the evening from film screenings to gallery talks. The new media collective, Onedotzero presented both past and new work, creating new media interventions in the galleries. Onedotzero worked with the V&A inviting artists to respond to the Museum's galleries and collections using digital, audio and moving image media.
Dominic Hailstone: Belladonna
Dominic Hailstone has been directing short films and music videos for the last four years.
Earlier in his career, Hailstone worked as a sculptor/designer for the film industry, collaborating with directors such as Chris Columbus, Chris Cunningham, Garth Jennings, and Neil Jordan.
Hailstone was specially commissioned to create Belladonna, a short film exploring the history of puppetry. The film revolves around the growth of a female character in an empty white room.
Ed Holdsworth: Seed
Driven by a love of epic and experimental film, Ed Holdsworth began directing and animating in 2000, and has since worked with Channel Four, the ICA, and Radiohead, and has shown internationally in a variety of venues.
Holdsworth has always been fascinated by the stylized symbolism of Japanese designs. The superb collection of Japanese objects held by the V&A has inspired Holdsworth to create a specially commissioned installation for the event, which aimed to project the endless depth of dreams and stories held within these works of art.
Sennep is an interactive design company that creates experiences within both digital and physical environments. Since inception in 2003, Sennep has worked on independent art installations for the ICA and Notting Hill Arts Club and for clients such as Motorola, Horlicks, and The Norwegian Embassy.
Through a combination of video, graphics, and code, a giant interactive dandelion scattered its seeds in all directions when 'blown' by gallery visitors.
Philip O'Dwyer is a London-based graphic designer, working in print and interactive media. Formerly a partner in the studio State Design, he has been working independently since the beginning of 2005.
As a special commission for the event, Philip created a real-time animation work inspired by decorated artefacts from the Japan galleries.
Collage/Reportage Commission - 31 March 2006
In this commission British illustrator Gray responded to the V&A collections. The one-night exhibition consisted of a selection of six objects selected by Gray from different galleries within the museum. The selected objects remained in their cabinets and standing next to these cabinets were Gray's life size collage pop-ups. The result was a redescription of the collection through Gray's eyes.
The illustrator proposed a new vision and a play on the existing object within the resulting collage. Gray playfully used wordplay to create the pop up collage images. The dragon on a Choson Dynasty porcelain vase became Dr (-um) + (-B) ag + On (-e) = Dragon. The resulting collage consisted of an elephant in a bag wearing a drum.
Richard Gray is a fashion illustrator who first collaborated with Anna Piaggi in 1988- the year her famous Doppie Pagine for Italian Vogue were invented.
He has worked on many projects with designers McQueen and Boudicca. Gray has illustrated the costumes for From Hell, the Hughes brothers' film starring Johnny Depp; made his name as a recurring contributor to Vogue Italia, immortalizing the couture shows; and drawn the unforgettable Agent Provocateur Sauce ads.
Cuba Commission - 31 June 2006
Coco Fusco presented a piece, specially commissioned for Friday Late Cuba, entitled 'A Room Of One's Own: Women and Power in the New America'.
Fusco is an internationally renowned performance and video artist who has widely exhibited and lectured. She is currently Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Division at the School of the Arts, Columbia University, New York. Fusco presented a piece, specially commissioned for Friday Late Cuba, entitled 'A Room Of One's Own: Women and Power in the New America'. This included the film 'Operation Atropos' and a performance piece where Fusco assumed the character of a female interrogator at Guantanamo Bay. The performance was followed by a panel discussion with Coco Fusco, Shami Chakrabartis the director of Liberty, Dr. Suhail Malik and Dr. Maruard Smith.
'I am very grateful to the V & A for having presented my work and for supporting me with sufficient funds to complete all production elements in addition to covering travel to London. I have been to London many times to present my work but it has become increasingly difficult to find support for presenting performance work there.
I think the performance went fairly well and it worked in the space. Attendance was good but I had hoped for better - that said, I realize that it is difficult to draw large crowds for a one night only event. All the staff who I worked with at V & A were friendly and helpful. The post-performance discussion went fine and I appreciated the effort to bring in experts from areas outside the arts to talk about the work.'
Arabise Me Commission - 25 August 2006
The Friday Late Commission meant an opportunity to include a gallery installation by a Middle Eastern visual artist, to explore mass media in Islamic society and the role it plays in providing reportage and entertainment.
The Arabise Me Friday Late was a part of a Museum-wide programme of events to celebrate the opening of the V&A's Islamic Middle East Gallery in 2006. The evening included contemporary visual art and literature from the Middle East, alongside music, contemporary dance, panel discussions and film screenings. The evening was a collaboration between the V&A and external curators, Ziyarat.
Ziyarat consists of two curators Mahita El Bacha Urieta and Leila Mroueh. They are a Beirut/London based Arab/Middle Eastern cultural organisation fostering creative dialogue, collaborations and research in the area of Arab/Middle Eastern contemporary creativity and expression. Curatorial involvement includes The Veil, an international touring show produced by inIVA , London, assistant curators of Fault Lines, Venice Biennale and contributors to Transit Beirut.
Ziyarat's comments on the evening:
'Ziyarat (Leila Mroueh and myself, Mahita El Bacha Urieta ) found the ACE/V&A commission and the support that our artist [received] from the V&A team who were overseeing and coordinating the ACE commission, to be one of the best elements of Arabise Me. We think it went really well.'
Wael Hattar: Commission artist
Wael Hattar: Commissioned artist
'I created the piece as an interactive PR event with stickers, screens, objects, flyers to fill and photos to take, doing that with a serious statement in a non serious tone worked well because people who usually don't question things in order not to look dumb came up to me and asked me all sorts of ignorant stupid questions, and it was ok because it was all just a bit of fun.
So I heard the true ideas that people had about religion, culture and what they really knew about things outside their doorstep that isn't fed to them! As I had guessed from my research and general view is that even the educated ones don't know there is a difference between Arabs or even that Arabs and Islam although very together are not the same.
And on the other hand people from those other minorities who are proud of who they are but always perceived as Arabs appreciated the approach, and in general people enjoyed the humour in the misperception shown where they learnt something new and got open to the idea of thinking for themselves, or so I would hope. I was very pleased with the show and the people's interaction with it, also the support I got from the museum and Ziyarat was great and left me to concentrate more on the artsy thinking side.'>
India Now Commission - 31 August 2007
Indian graphic design company Design Temple's major installation: a personal interpretation of twenty-first century Indian culture. Focused on fashion, food, film, technology and design, this dynamic piece was specially commissioned for the evening.
The installation was divided into seven sections. Indian Film, Fashion, Food, Technology and Design and presented through a combination of text, quotes, graphics, photographs with one large creative interpretation. All these were grouped together on white boxes placed on round orange carpets. The sixth installation was an audiovisual work on contemporary India. The seventh, a panel on 'India Now' with a brief description of contemporary India, including basic demographic facts such as size, people, diversity and average age.
At the tail end of 1999, a young graphic designer decided to bring in the millennium by starting out on her own; Armed with eight years of advertising, a few clients, and a desire to create communication that transgressed the limitations of medium, origin and time, Divya Thakur founded Design Temple.
Seven years later the firms’ work reflects a vibrant sensibility that presents intrinsic Indian influences in a contemporary design language. For more information visit http://www.designtemple.net/
India Now: Panel text from the event
A 5000-year-old civilization awakens to yet another tryst with destiny.
A land of more than one billion people, India is and always be an intricate weave of contrasts, influences and historic circumstances.
After five decades of self-imposed exile to protect its fledgling economy, India is returning to the world, taking its proper place among nations. It is a new India emerging: strengthened by economic reforms that started in the early 1990s, buoyed by the buying power of tens of millions of middle-class consumers, cognizant of the missteps of other nations that have trodden this path before.
Although two-thirds of India is still agrarian, services play an increasingly important role in the growth of India's new economy. The advent of the digital age, and a 65 percent literacy rate, which includes a young and educated populace fluent in English, is quickly transforming India. As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with annual economic growth near 10 percent, India is on its way to becoming an economic force too powerful to ignore.
India must not lose its essence as a cost of achieving this dramatic transformation. In the blind race for urbanization, our visual grammar must not lose its voice. This natural tension between globalization and our ancient heritage has spawned many 'cultural modernists.' Each of these artists are, in, their own way, working to put India on the world map, attempting to revive and retain the craft, heritage and traditions of the land, to imbue it with longevity and relevance.
Twenty-first century India brims with opportunity for the nation and, no less, for design. In this exhibition, we discuss key facets of India's 'soft power,' in the phrase of Joseph Nye. Some are successful; others less so. This, then, is our presentation of contemporary India, careening toward its destiny, in the throes of change: We offer you film, fashion, food, technology and design, each presented in the context of its socio-economic framework, merged together in this design installation to showcase the paradoxes of Indian identity.
Thank you and Shukriya,
Twilight Commission - 27 October 2007
A commissioned neon sculptural piece by artist Giles Round was displayed in the Norfolk House Music Room.
The aim of the installation was to create a visitor focused, interactive piece which would reflect or simulate the sensation or impression of twilight. The Twilight exhibition explored the ways in which artists have captured the effect of twilight and the narrative ends in which it has been deployed. The event celebrated the fascination that the fleeting state of twilight offers to contemporary image-makers.
Giles Round has completed an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art. His shows include An Elegant Universe with Dietmar Lutz at Generator Projects, Dundee, 2004; Pretty Little Things at The Ship, London, 2003; and Typeofgravy at Cell Projects, 2002.