Magazine article Art Monthly

E-Vapor-8

Magazine article Art Monthly

E-Vapor-8

Article excerpt

E-Vapor-8

Site Gallery Sheffield 7 June to 16 August

Curated by Francesca Gavin, visual arts editor of Dazed and Confused magazine, 'E-Vapor-8' considers and celebrates the impact of rave culture--arguably the last creative act of popular dissent in Britain--upon contemporary art. Taking its title from a 1992 single by the UK band Altern8, this is an expanded version of a show that was originally (and only briefly) exhibited in Brooklyn's 319 Scholes digital art space in 2012. As such it is fascinating to witness the lingering effects of rave on artists from the US, UK and elsewhere, most of whom were only infants when rave was at its height. From the music, such as techno, trance and acid house, to the videos with their saturated colours and blurry dynamics, rave was influenced by one drug in particular: ecstasy. Rave's defiance of the forces of law and order--characterised especially by 1992's Castlemorton Common festival which paved the way for the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994--are neatly and chillingly brought to mind as you enter the exhibition spaces in Daniel Swan's Plane Drift V, 2012, an animation in which the viewer travels forward in the manner of a video game through a mesh fence and into a tomb-like cube, encountering within it a series of giant ceremonial objects: motorbikes, statues of rearing horses, a giant aircraft hovering overhead, maps of the world and, finally, on the other side of a police line marked 'Do Not Cross', some powerful, souped-up armoured cars.

One artist who definitely was around during the rave era is Jeremy Deller, whose Untitled, 1994, is a large lime-green day-glo smiley face with the words 'Did he change your life?' printed underneath, facing the visitor entering Gallery 1. If, in the visitor's case, the answer is 'no', then it might be difficult to appreciate fully what lay at the root of the rave scene. But its global reach is evident in the dominant piece in the room: Fatima Al Qadiri's How Can I Resist U, 2011. This celebration of belly dancing mixes

visuals directed by Sophia-Al-Maria, tightly and decoratively edited with triangular and rectangular patterns and flashes of Arabic lettering, with Al Qadri's thudding, electronic soundtrack. The mechanical but joyful result reflects Al Qadri's complicated origins--based today in Brooklyn, she was born in Senegal and raised in Kuwait, remembering in a recent Guardian interview that, as a child during Saddam Hussein's invasion of the country, her parents risked their lives by joining the resistance while she escaped into video games.

Dubai-born, London-based Adham Faramawy's installation Lifeproof iPhone Cover, 2013, points towards one of the reasons for rave's enduring popularity: the internet. A mock-marble plinth supports two video screens, one horizontally positioned, the other vertical. Visuals switch between online menu lists, robotically clicking away, and long sequences showing breakdance competitions and people playing in video arcades, music punctuating the images. Rave was born of technology and acted out by the body, but now, this piece suggests, it has become simultaneously mechanised, historicised and, thanks to iPhones, miniaturised. Lucy Stockton's TFBGLZ1, 2012, is a floor-based animation in which bright pink, yellow, green and purple blotches flow into layers of rigid white dots over a black background. With the screen pointing upwards it looks like a video tombstone. …

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