South Kiosk’s ‘Chronovisor’ (detail), built by Kelvin Brown, Fleur Elise Melbourn and Dave Charlesworth for 'CHRONOVISOR : PROLOGUE’ at FoodFace, Peckham, 2013. Featuring contributions of footage from Daniel Jones, Emma Charles, Sean Raspet, Daniel Lichtman, Renee Carmichael, Mirko Smerdel and Myles Painter. Image courtesy of South Kiosk and the artists.
Following the close of each season, Traction publishes a report on a particular project or program that represents a new, unique field of thought in London’s art scene. With Summer quickly approaching, we wrap up Spring with a look back on the last few months in one of South London’s most exciting young galleries. South Kiosk was launched in 2013 as a platform committed to exploring technology’s constant and rapid evolution within contemporary art. Initially operating from its online premises and holding events at various institutions throughout London, South Kiosk has since opened its doors to a permanent space in SE1's FlatIron Yard. Traction Magazine meets Gallery Director Dave Charlesworth and Program Manager Phil Serfaty to hear the latest.
South Kiosk originated as a program of events at cultural institutions and artist studios. How did it all begin?
South Kiosk was founded in early 2013, at that stage, it was an editorially driven website with the longer term aspirations of becoming a permanent gallery project. Our first year saw us put on two events, 'Vestige’ at the Design Museum which was a one-night exhibition responding to the ‘The Future is Here’ exhibition and a group collaboration event/ project titled ‘Chronovisor : Prologue’ at FoodFace, Peckham. In the future, we will continue to programme events and exhibitions in our space. We also plan to take artists we love to art fairs as well.
Installation view of 'Chronovisor : Archive’ at South Kiosk, FlatIron Yard, 2014.Image courtesy of South Kiosk and the artists.
We tend to focus on the work of artists whose practice sits on one of the twin peripheries of technology within art. We either work with artists who recuperate dead or dying technological formats, defining their future through continued use and reinterpretation or with artists that are building new technological platforms for the production and display of works of art. This said, though, the works we show won’t focus on technology for the sake of technology; they must articulate ideas and critical positions beyond their nuts and bolts. Alternatively, we will also show works where the relationship with technology may seem more distant but may offer a commentary on the history or future of technology in a more abstract manner.
You opened a permanent gallery space in March. How has this changed or developed your plans for South Kiosk?
A gallery was always part of the plan, though we wanted to have the right space in the right place. When the Flatiron Yard space came up, we were sold, due to its quirky architecture and resonances of a life of prior use. Now that we have a permanent space, we are able to think of our relationships with artists on a much more long-term basis rather than project to project, as before. This means a greater engagement in an artists practice as a whole, rather than just in individual works. Longer term we can start to commission works, tour projects and hopefully at some stage, when appropriate, start to represent artists.
Installation view of 'Fix’ at South Kiosk, FlatIron Yard, 2014. Image courtesy of South Kiosk and the artists.
Which artists most embody your vision for the gallery?
I am currently writing to you from Thetford Forest where I am working on a touring work by James Bulley and Daniel Jones. Set in a section of woodland, their piece ‘Living Symphonies’ is a multichannel sound piece which models changes in a local ecosystem to generate new interactions between different individual motifs portraying different organisms. This work is born out of bespoke written code and a meticulous musical vision. The work is traveling across four forests throughout summer as part of the ACE strategic touring fund and I am fortunate to be joining it along the way. I have been collaborating with James and Daniel for nearly five years now and would very much like to work with them in the setting of the gallery.
Your second show, 'Chronovisor: Archive', brings together the work of six artists. Can you talk us through it?
The Chronovisor was a viewing machine whose eye could travel through time, displaying images and footage of different moments throughout history. It was allegedly created in the 1960s by the Venetian Roman Catholic priest Father Pellegrino Ernetti who worked alongside twelve supposedly world famous scientists. Somewhere in the Vatican, could exist an archive of results and research material that might offer clues to the existence and/or mechanics of the Chronovisor. Having previously attempted to construct an interpretation of the Chronovisor in collaboration with nine artists, we are returning to the thematic of the Chronovisor with a group show which means to explore notions of time and artifice through the suggestion of an archive made up of problematic evidence.
Installation view of 'Chronovisor : Archive’ at South Kiosk, FlatIron Yard, 2014. Image courtesy of South Kiosk and the artists.
Using a device which is capable, according to its creator, to show the life-force or aura of its subject, Mirko Smerdel photographs the detail of a publication detailing and describing the Gamma 60 electronic computer, a device that was operating at the same time as Ernetti’s Chronovisor. Rowena Harris’ sculptural piece, Haul, is a series of concrete blocks with handprints embedded into the material, suggesting the trace of an imperceptible action. Blurred experiences are also present in Johann Arens’ Manual, which uses imagery that recalls Google street view, intercepted with a gesture that subverts its functionality. Notions of time and history reoccur throughout the show. Whilst Cathy Haynes’ practice explores methods for mapping time, Verity Birt incorporates different film stocks and archive footage into her moving image work, creating the sensation of time-travel anchored by repeated gestures and familiar objects. Patrick Hough's Object Interviews offer alternative interpretations of objects that mimic historical artifacts, showing how these objects develop their own subjective narratives in the process.
South Kiosk occupies both the realms of the physical - through its exhibition and events program - and the virtual - through online editorial. How do these two elements interact?
The editorial offers us greater insight into the practice, research, and inspiration of artists with whom we work, or of artists whose line of inquiry interests us. The editorial works in a number of ways. It includes interviews, artist profiles, reading and research by artists, and an artist feed, which functions as an open, visual diary. It allows us to further our critical engagement with the work of these artists and creates a dialogue centered around the primary concerns of South Kiosk.
What does the next year hold?
We will are currently working on a series of events to take us over summer, before returning with the last two exhibitions of the year which are very exciting, but it’s possibly too early to start discussing them. We are also attending Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam, which is really exciting as it marks our first foray to fairs as a gallery and our first trip abroad with the project. Hopefully, the first of many.
For more information on South Kiosk’s exhibitions and events, to access its editorial content and to find out more about the individual artists it works with, visit http://southkiosk.com.