Join us for a celebration of work developed from projects, tests, growth and play with our Black Hole Club members through 2022. Staying With the Trouble brings together kin, conversations and looks at the possibilities held in works that are in process and have room to grow. Making a space for the convivial; the what might happen and the what is happening now, has been a primary concern for Black Hole Club in a year when members have been working both within the East and West Midlands and internationally. Staying With the Trouble is realised through a series of workshops and events in December, January & March in which we invite in melissandre varin to work with us. We look forward to sharing more from the journey ahead as it occurs.
Staying with the Trouble: workshops and events.
23 March (new date) 2:00pm – 4:00pm melissandre varin: Together in the mud.
This workshop is a mess with and for less-than human beings, soil, more than human, water, and human bodies. During our time together we will use simple exercises to connect with one another (including the soil and water) on an emotional, instinctive, and embodied level. Refreshments will be provided, book here.
10 Dec 2:00 – 4:30pm Emily Scarrott: Desert residency crit & screening.
Following a DYCP funded residency in Chile, Emily will be sharing stories, work and inspiration from the Atacama desert. Refreshments will be provided, book here.
14 Jan 3:00- 4:30pm Rosa Postletwaite: Writing with the other than human. A free writing workshop with Rosa that investigates letters to (practice following Annette Arlander’s research ‘Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees’), poems, meditation, being with and sharing. This session is open to those curious about our shared environment and how we can communicate with it. Refreshments will be provided, book here.
19 Jan 5:30-7:30pm Sahjan Kooner: Celestial Futures.
What does the future feel like? What structures for imagining need to be built? This session with Sahjan will explore magical thinking, alternate realities, collaborative planning to figure out ways to create sustainable worlds to work and think in. Dinner will be provided as part of this event , book here.
Join us for a live event at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to conclude this year’s Cut Copy Remix project. Cut Copy Remix is a collaborative project with Vivid Projects and the artist programme Black Hole Club, that uses Birmingham’s collections to inspire the creation of new art works.
Artists will be presenting new work which showcases the creative potentials of the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource; the first collection in the UK to make all out-of-copyright artworks available for free under a Creative Commons Zero Licence.
Emily Mulenga presents Ringtones and Logos, a live coding performance in which nostalgia, (over)familiarity and the unexpected overlap, delving into the soundtrack that mobile phones have provided us over recent decades. As seen on an Instagram meme: “Born too late to have owned property, born too soon to be a teen Tiktok star, born just in time to have paid 99p for a ringtone.”
Mulenga has considered the real and digital hybrid existence of the Birmingham collections and the emotional legacies present in archived telecommunication devices — with the initial inspiration being a 1995 BT Jet mobile phone from the museum collection.
Presenting work alongside Emily are Black Hole Club members Courtenay Welcome,Sophie Huckfield and Polly Brant. Courtenay Welcome has been exploring the collection through installation and assemblage. Sophie Huckfield has developed video work that draws from materials from BMAG’s digital collection, the TURC archives at Vivid Projects and found footage of demolitions in the Midlands that explores the legacies of privatisation, environmentalism, migrant labour and Trade Unionism in the West Midlands. Polly Brant has developed video and participatory work that invites in curiosity, pulling apart and reforming through collages that explore the postcards role as a keepsake and the social histories held in the museums collection.
Emily Mulenga is a multimedia artist. Using visuals and sound that draw upon video games, cartoons and the internet, her practice explores themes of capitalism, feminism, technology, love and existential anxieties.
Courtenay Welcome’s work explores the rich complexities of race, memory, space and time through painting, installation, photography, assemblages and performance.
Sophie Huckfield is a cross disciplinary artist and researcher with a background in arts, design and engineering.
Polly Brant is an artist and educator who explores the everyday and ways of learning.
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You are Invited:
For this edition of Matters of interest, we invite you to Mol’s first ever IRL workshop at Vivid Projects, with Black Hole Club during Digbeth First Friday. In this first-ever IRL MoI, we will explore the re-cultivated land of the ‘library’ themed reader that we developed with others during an online workshop on the 28th of September. This work will be re-constructed into an annotated digital map of theme, co-designed by all participants as Mol continues to re-visit questions of what it means to ‘carry’ and ‘contain’ knowledge, particularly as that knowledge (re-)evolves.
Matters of Interest (MoI) is a peer-led series of Skype based research-roundtables designed to bring together artists and designers to share, explore, and discuss themes and interests core to practice and interests. Each MoI explores a participant pre-suggested ‘interest’, which is then live-in-session researched and discussed by participants in one 90-minute conversational thread of online articles, links, texts, books, pdfs, images, loose and formed thoughts.
This winter Black Hole Club invites you to The New Earth for a programme of events that have evolved through experiment, process and conversation. Over four days our activities and work respond to a cycle of terrestrial events: from arrival, exploration, trading to rewilding. Each day is a response to a new and unknown environment, the terrain shifts through an exploration of breath, requests for care, detoxing, dreaming, relocation, accomodation, rituals, broadcasts, radio plays, monuments, greyhounds, firebrats, sound, readings and mycelium networks.
Arrival: 3 Dec: 4pm – 8:30pm
De’Anne Crooks presents a broadcast Location: unknown from a new environment, The work journals the first week in this new place whilst reflecting on the priorities of an earth less cold. Joseph Winsborrow invites you to join a 1-1 performance Ritual for New Dreaming in which your autonomic selves are invited to reach across the veil so you may dream on, courageously and protected, under the light of the moon. Rosa Postlethwaite performs a recital of terms and conditions and one of what makes up breath. From 5:30pm Roo Dhissou & Larissa Shaw engage in conversations with ARC: Artist Rehab Club Part I – Drawing from experiences, this will be followed by ARC Part II – Online Speak Easy that takes place on the 6th of Dec via zoom 7:30-8:30 which can be booked here.
Exploration: 4 Dec 11-5pm
Emily Scarrott invites you to join a Recording Workshop The Vessel: An Audio Play. Taking place onsite over one day, workshop participants will collaboratively record voices and sound effects for a sci-fi audio play which explores expectations of productivity and colonial promises of glory. “When the people got on the spaceship to start their journey, they weren’t intending to find the eggs.” Places can be booked here.
Trading: 10 Dec 4pm – 8:30pm
Sophie Huckfield presents new video work that explores the impact of automation on surgery, researching its historic and social backdrops. At 5:45pm Leanne O’Connor & Sharon Sutton invite you to partcipate in The Homunculi Games, and experience reimagined loopholes of the unequal rental and housing systems, you can book a space here. At 7:00pm Post Workers Theatre screen and perform Autohoodening the Rise of Captain Swing. Where just in time for the holidays Captain Swing returns from past worker uprisings in a consciousness-raising custom for the age of A.I. Capitalism. A folk opera, based on worker testimonies and interviews with union organisers, written and produced collectively by Post Workers Theatre and Infinite Opera, with costumes from James Frost and Lottie Wood. Further information & bookings here.
Rewilding: 11 Dec 12-5pm
At 12:00pm Jacob Carter begins the day with the sound performance Noon Chorus, using a collection of found audio exploring lunar cycles, sea defences, stone circles and Neolithic monuments. Throughout the day Adwoa Owusu-Barnieh & Alis Oldfield are present with readings & Kühle Wampe with tea.
Networks: 3-11 Dec Online.
Our onsite programme is accompanied by works held online on Black Hole Club’s are.na channel. Eleanor Morgan presents The firebrats’ diary, De’Anne Crooks will report back for Location: unknown and Roo and Ris will develop ARC: Artists Rehab Club as an online resource with members of Black Hole Club.
On this planet we welcome guests. Names, occupations and star signs will be reassigned on arrival to The New Earth.
The exploration, revision and dissemination of collective and individual practices are critical outcomes for the Black Hole Club Cohort.
This August Craig David Parr, De’Anne Crooks and Rosa Postlethwaite are using time and space at Vivid projects for Testing/Trying_Out.
From the 5th – 7th of August Craig David Parr manifests Temporary Phantasmous Zonethrough installation. The work commissioned for Meadow Arts RURALities programme, explores theory, fantasy, magic, sci-fi, history and class struggle in a series of film chapters that act as a hybrid world. One that seeks to reconnect with regional folklore traditions through utilising hopefulness and magic practices – as tools to transform the world.
Temporary Phantasmous Zone is open to the public 6:30 – 8pm on the 5th of August, then 12-5pm on the 6th and 7th of August. Craig will discuss the ideas that have formed this work in an informal talk on the 6th of Aug at 4pm.
On Friday the 13th of August from 6-8pm De’Anne Crooks and Rosa Postlethwaite present two performances informed by ongoing research and investigation.
De’Anne Crooks’ Mother May I? Is a reworked response to Edgar Degas’ drawing of 19th-century European circus performer Olga Brown also known as Miss La La. The monologue explores themes of strength, expectations of Black women and spectatorship.
Rosa Postlethwaite’s Green Scream Continues experiments in disappearing, falling and slowing down.
Come and join us, and expect further activities to be added to this programme later this year.
Throughout the week of the summer solstice, Black Hole Club invites you to turn away from the sun and revel in the shadows. DOOM is a co-authoring of works for the longest day of the year, a guttural collective outpouring through performance, video and the testing of new propositions through practice and writing.
Works in DOOM are by:
Adwoa Owusu-Barnieh, Alis Oldfield, Ambie Drew, De’Anne Crooks, Eleanor Morgan, Emily Scarrott, Jacob Carter, Kühle Wampe, Larissa Shaw, Leanne O’Connor, Lily Wales, Rosa Postlethwaite, Rupi & Sharon and S A B O T A G E.
DOOM will be open to visit at Vivid Projects on 21 June with a live event marking sunset on the solstice from 9pm – 10:30pm. Events continue daily between 12-5pm, 24-26 June, with videos and texts also accessible online.
Bookings to see the work can be made in advance here for those who would prefer to pre-arrange their visit. We will be able to accommodate a limited number of drop-ins daily. Please ring the buzzer on arrival. You will be met by staff and guided to the hand sanitiser station. You will be required to wear a mask or suitable covering for your nose and mouth when in the building unless this is not possible for medical reasons – please alert staff if this is the case. If you forget to pack your mask, we can provide face masks.
BLKHLCLB DOOM EVENTS:
21 June 9-10:30pm BLKHLCLB: S A B O T A G E #212121, Live Performance, book here.
At 21:21pm on the 21st of June 2021 Vivid Projects will vocalise the sound of the setting sun on the longest day of the year. #212121 is a pure black hex code, a sonic performance that invokes the bringer of light, the eight minutes and twenty seconds for light to travel from the sun to the earth, and the ascent of the sun from civil to nautical twilight. A recording of the performance will be made available online.
25 June 2-3:00pm BLKHLCLB: Rosa Postlethwaite: BURN OUT (experiments), book here.
A 15m performance of loosely connected texts about connection, burnout and doom. Experiments in disappearing, falling and slowing down.
Based on Green Scream Research and Development with artist/researcher Laurie Ramsell and director Louise Orwin. R&D supported by Arts Council England.
25 June 3:30-5pm BLKHLCLB Adwoa Owusu-Barnieh: Doomed, book here.
You are invited to drop in, vocalise and connect with poetry written by Adwoa in 2020-21 through reading her work back to her at Vivid Projects. Opinions and thoughts on how you perceive this body of work and how it impacts you are welcome, as is reading a poem of your choice.
Doom is personal. A collection of poetry presenting doom as the realities of the private and public world. General doom is non-linear: hope follows despair follows ecstasy follows love follows hopelessness in the messiest of squiggles. The world we inhabit – internally as well as socially – is already a space where doom lurks. Fictionalising doom as something beyond belief has its purpose, but there is real doom within us, around us, and it cannot be ignored.
We are who we are, and we are doomed.
Adwoa Owusu-Barnieh, Doomed, 2021.
Black Hole Club: Turn away from the sun.
The End is Nigh!. Open your mouth, our feelings of UTTER DREAD, an echo of their immediate environment… structural DOOM, undoing DOOM, untimely and timely DOOM, nagging continuing reminding breathing shifting random thoughts that overlap in DOOM space. Liminality: a curse dressed up as a blessing. Pleasure. Doom as binary. Doom as grey. Doom as memories we can’t recapture. Does disaster travel faster than light?
The gnawing of daily despair. Doom is infinite. We bind doom into the fabric of our fantasies, into the construction of our daydreams. Paranoia 4.5Hz, Depression 6.66 Hz, Manic Rage 11.3 Hz. We want the body in states of metamorphosis, reflexive of doom being non-linear. What stays behind. All that is left after the catastrophe are the floating space pigs.
Minor, major and impending despair. I will send funny videos to my nephews and nieces who I love but who I don’t know what to say to anymore except, I love you here’s a funny video, let’s watch it on tiny screens together in the dark until our eyes go funny and we can’t get to sleep because of that blue light. We focus on minor doom as a coping mechanism for major doom. This has not been the darkest times, and I know that for a fact because the darkest times live within me. Welcome the darkness, block the sun, and close your eye, dig the hole down into sodden earth, cut the rope tether staked in mud.
We are delighted to announce Artists Newsletter #1: The 1980’s edition edited by Black Hole Club.
In the first of a new series of publications celebrating the a-n archive, Black Hole Club were commissioned to unearth the past, probe the present, and look to the future. For Artists Newsletter #1: The 1980’s edition they explore topics from artist’s working rights and identity politics to activism, digital arts practice, and accessibility.
Returning to the cultural landscape of the 1980s for this anniversary issue prompted many questions. The most pertinent of which was the realisation that our activities were not to be framed by nostalgia.
The work we undertook is informed by our collectivity, knowing that we are better working together than apart. In this year of isolation, sociability and exchange, we wanted to build a future. Yet, time also loops backwards. Our activities in the 21st century are founded on the networks and projects that have been distributed by Artists Newsletter. That a-n’s work continues is something for us all to celebrate.
Black Hole Club, All We Ever Wanted, December 2020.
In the issue art-duo Ambience Factory (Sophie Bullock and Sophie Huckfield) look through an ’80s lens at what the future will hold for the artists of tomorrow, and offer a 7-point plan of ‘how to push your art career to the next level’.
Experimental artist and writer …kruse uses the languages of code and hypertext to explore the developing histories of media and digital arts from 1980 to now.
Artist De’Anne Crooks speaks to Keith Piper, a key figure in the development of Black British art, and finds links to her own practice.
Artist and PhD candidate Emily Scarrott offers a fictional response through time to an artist who was lost in the ‘cultural wilderness’ in 1981, and who hoped to reconnect with other artists through a classified advert placed in an issue of Artists Newsletter.
The magazine-style digital publication also includes a wrap-around cover featuring a collaborative work created by designer Keith Doddsand Black Hole Club, plus 40 Years 40 Artists interviews with artists Sunil Gupta and Lis Rhodes, in conversation with writer Lousia Buck.
As an art student in the 1980s these were mine as well as a-n’s formative years. It has been a pleasure to revisit this time through Black Hole Club’s editorial eye.
Julie Lomax, a-n CEO
The publication can be read here and Black Hole Club’s are.na channel shares the development of the research for the issue here.
More a-n at 40 features and content including the 40 Years 40 Artists series of interviews can be accessed at www.a-n.co.uk/an40
We are pleased to re-open our venue on Friday and Saturday afternoons to present new exhibition Cut, Copy, Remix, in collaboration with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. You can book a slot to visit with Eventbrite.
For Cut Copy Remix, artists Alis Oldfield, Rosa Francesca and Leanne O’Connor – all from our development programme Black Hole Club – were co-commissioned alongside artist Mixed Milk to explore the creative potential of Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource. Birmingham Museums Trust is the only collection in the UK that makes all of its out-of-copyright artworks available for free under a Creative Commons Zero License (CC0). Over 3500 of these objects are now available as free digital images, with more being added every week. In April this year, the commissions were shared on social media and we are delighted to now present the works in our project space.
The new works and ongoing research respond to and reconfigures images from the Digital Image Resource. Shown at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as a monitor work, for Vivid Projects Mixed Milk’s film Excerpt sequences hundreds of details from the BMAG collection and is presented as a large scale, multi-channel projection across three screens. Rosa Francesca’s Unreal Histories were made with Generative Adversarial Networks using BMAG’s Digital Image Resource to generate artificial intelligence artworks. On closer inspection, these works shed their initial connection to the way that we see the world and shows how a machine can create its own visual language. Alis Oldfield’s installation RewildingARP(L)ANET presents a landscape referencing terrestrial fossil fungi, where the internet lies in ruin; a reference to mycelial exchange and the ‘re-wilding’ proposed by the artist’s original net based commission.
Leanne O’Connor works with the exhibition to present the workshop Pick and Mix, developed from ongoing research into Birmingham School of Arts 35mm Slide Collection. Offering a delightful hands on opportunity to delve into a physical database, Pick and Mix raises questions about archival access and the future of analogue items within collections as digitisation becomes the norm.
Cut Copy Remix is supported by a series of online talks and workshops that can be booked here.
Sat 10th of Oct 4-5pm: Cut Copy Remix Artists Talk.
Linda Spurdle, Digital Development Manager at Birmingham Museums Trust in conversation with, Mixed Milk, Rosa Francesca, Alis Oldfield and Cathy Wade.
Sat 17th of Oct 4-5pm: Collections and Permissions.
Yasmeen Baig-Clifford , Director of Vivid Projects in conversation with artists Antonio Roberts and Leanne O’Connor.
Sat 24th Oct 4-5pm Pick and Mix.
Join Black Hole Club’s Leanne O’Connor for a workshop that explores collective exchange around archival access and futurism.
The research undertaken by the artists for Cut Copy Remixed is accessible online throughout the exhibition, and the associated work by Cold War Steve including downloads of two new collages by Cold War Steve featuring the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood hosted on The Social and via Birmingham Museum.
Black Hole Club thanks Cold War Steve, Linda Spurdle, Emalee Beddoes-Davis, Victoria Osborne and Lara Ratnaraja for their ongoing collaborative work on this project.
Technologies in the form of social media platforms and artificial intelligence are changing the way in which we establish meaningful connections. Our relationships are increasingly developed and maintained through digital technologies, started and ended in the form of pixels and alphanumeric data, cultivated by an interdependent web of algorithms many of us have no control over. Taking its name from the heart-shaped microphone polar pattern, Emotional Polarity: Cardioid sees artists James Dooley and Matthew DF Evans present three new works using ubiquitous and developing technologies to explore how we are able to feel, generate and communicate love.
Feeling Loved (James Dooley and Matthew DF Evans) is an interactive sonification installation that translates photographic representations of love into a physical sensation. After an open call for members of the public to send in images that they feel exemplify love, the pixel data of these images has been spectrographically scanned and mapped to sound. The resulting sonic output is turned into haptic feedback via the use of a SUBPAC, a tactile audio system that heightens the physical dimension of sound. By translating a digital image to sound, can we feel love?
In 120215 // 290417 , Matthew DF Evans has developed an audio installation charting the journey of two people from being strangers to becoming husband and wife. Over 19 percent of marriages began with a first meeting online, including Evans’s first communication with his wife in 2015. The work explores the couple’s shift from the digital world into the corporeal.
It was revealed in March 2018 that Cambridge Analytica had exploited Facebook to harvest millions of user’s profiles. This data was used to target users during the US presidential election and the Brexit referendum. People’s online identities were commodified; people’s emotions were commodified. In James Dooley’s Emotional Exchange posts containing the keyword “emotion” are scraped from Twitter. A receipt printer splutters out information about each tweet’s “Emotional Index”, as well as retweets in real-time. Replicating the ticker tape from a stock ticker, the earliest electrical dedicated financial communications medium, we are reminded of how social media platforms encourage us to share personal data and how these online actions are visible and transmittable to everybody with relative ease.
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This workshop asks “What’s your problem?”
What are the urgent concerns and questions within your practice? How do we find ways to articulate these? What is the role of the body and subjective experiences in shaping our understandings of histories and situations? Harold will pose the following questions, how can using the body, creating situations and constructing experiences help our understanding of key questions? How can the learning that results feed into our practice and help shape concepts and themes within our practice?
Activities will be focused around discussions and screenings led by UK artist Harold Offeh. Who will introduce artists to a variety of approaches to contemporary performance and participation. The workshop is not only designed for performance artists, but is aimed at allowing ALL artists working in any medium to think about the role of performance, actions and audiences play in their work and research. Identifying the contemporary concerns of the artists in the group by using performance as a primary research tool.
Harold Offeh is an artist working in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. Offeh, often employs humour as a means to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture and is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of history. He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally including Tate Britain and Modern, Studio Museum Harlem, South London Gallery, MAC VAL, Kulturhusset Stockholm and Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Denmark.
In 2019, he will be artist in residence at the Contemporary Art Centre, Art Tower Mito, Japan and have a solo exhibition at Turf gallery in London. He studied Critical Fine Art Practice at The University of Brighton and MA Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art. He lives in Cambridge and works in London and Leeds, UK where he is currently a Reader in Fine Art at Leeds Beckett University and visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art, London.