1. The Last Tape

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    The Last Tape was commissioned for the first midlands solo show from British artist Haroon Mirza, winner of the 2011 Northern art Prize and acclaimed for his presentation for British Art Show 7. Filmed on location in VIVID’s atmospheric garage space in Birmingham’s industrial Eastside district, the work, comprising film and sculptural assemblage, brings Krapp’s Last Tape, a one-act play written by Samuel Beckett, into dialogue with Mirza’s exploration of post-punk pioneers Joy Division.

    The Last Tape features actor and musician Richard ‘Kid’ Strange, and is a reinterpretation of Beckett’s play in which its protagonist, Krapp, looks back at the events of his life as recorded onto tape each birthday. Using previously unrecorded lyrics written by Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, the film depicts Strange enacting the lyrics onto magnetic tape. Strange engages with both the lyrical content and the audible sounds created by the accompanying sculptural works, which includes furniture, turntable, radio and LCD screen stripped of its backlight and casing, in a performative manner. An awkwardly balanced strobe intermittently illuminates the screen, indirectly referencing Curtis’ epilepsy.

  2. Inbindable Volume

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    Inbindable Volume is an ambitious multi-screen video installation filmed in Birmingham’s iconic Central Library, the city’s most infamous example of Brutalist architecture. Inbindable Volume is an exploration of the journey between conception and materialisation – both in architecture and books – and what becomes of ideologies after they have been realised in material form.

    Inbindable Volume was developed in residence between VIVID and Jan Van Eyck Academie, and was the inaugral commission of Kihlberg and Henry’s first UK tour, produced and managed by VIVID and developed in collaboration with Danielle arnaud and ArtSway.

    Following exhibition at VIVID, Inbindable Volume and additional new works toured to Danielle Arnaud, London; Galleri Box, Sweden; and ArtSway, Hampshire.

  3. The Daily Battle

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    For The Daily Battle Karen Mirza and Brad Butler occupied a column space in the UK/Urdu newspaper The Daily Jang (translated back into English as The Daily Battle) as a temporary site of creative discourse about the role of art in society.

    Each day of the exhibition a different cultural thinker published a text that was their own interpretation of this context. 100 copies of The Daily Jang were delivered to VIVID each morning as the focus of an installation within the exhibition. Column contributors included Nada Raza, Sara Wajid, Gemma Sharpe, Rahila Gupta, Auj Khan, Shanay Jhaveri, Karen Mirza and Brad Butler.

    The exhibition included Mirza and Butler’s award-winning film The Exception and The Rule. Shot in Pakistan in 2009, the film avoids traditional documentary modes and within the context of civil unrest, incorporates performances to camera, classic observation and public interventions. The Museum of non Participation is an ongoing interest in seeking out thresholds in language and intervening in new possible sites of exhibition and (non) participation. Mirza and Butler phrase this within their practice as an exploration of the politics of translation, translation within language and a performance of the condition of the ‘untranslatable’.

  4. Endurance

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    Endurance was a three-day programme of screenings, performances and exhibition exploring the physical and mental limits of human experience.

    Endurance included the early experiments of artists who used video to capture performance alongside contemporary performances which demonstrate a direct relevance to the human condition and the materiality of endurance.

    Endurance contained a number of newly commissioned performances alongside existing work presented for the first time in the UK. Much of the work was durational and was presented over three days.

    Artists included:
    Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Skip Arnold, Stuart Brisley, Eitan Buchalter, Chris Burden, Jeanette Chavez, Michael Curran, Gillian Dyson, Valie Export, Bob Flanagan with Shree Rose and Kirkby Dick, Sherman Fleming, Diana Fonseca, Gilbert & George, Geoffrey Hendricks, Tehching Hsieh, William Hunt, Kim Jones, Paul McCarthy, Gordon Matta-Clark, Linda Montano, Bruce Nauman, Joost Nieuwenburg, Harold Offeh, Dennis Oppenheim, Kira O’Reilly, Orlan, Carolee Schneemann, Bonnie Sherk, Barbara Smith, Smith/Stewart, Marcus Young, He Yun Chang.

  5. Flux Fest

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    A season of Fluxus inspired activity featuring rare film, participation, food and performance.

    FLUX FEST launched with its own dumpling party hosted by artist Feng-Ru Lee. Visitors were invited to eat dumplings whilst watching the first UK presentation of the performance Car Bibbe by Sean Carillo and Bibbe Hansen – originally peformed by Al Hansen (Bibbe’s father) in 1958/9.

    A selected film programme provided the audience with a rare opportunity to view original Fluxfilm by Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Joe Jones, Paul Sharits, Alison Knowles and George Maciunas, and interviews and documentaries of Fluxus activity by Larry Miller, Takahiko Iimura and Jonas Mekas.

    A series of new works echoing the spirit of Fluxus were commissioned; Typographically charged works by award-winning Birmingham based designer James Langdon; The Re:Flux Fluxconcert curated by a.a.s and Ensemble Interakt; Flummoxed, an evening greeted in the spirit of Fluxus by 7 inch cinema and associates which included silent raving, limited edition flickbooks and performance; Journey with Fluxus, a family friendly outing along Birmingham’s canal systems whilst playing Fluxus style games; and FluxFeast, a spectacular Fluxfood event from SharedTable.

    VIVID also collaborated with Capsule to present Mecanologie (1997) by Pierre Bastien which comprised robotic installation of everyday objects – a teapot, a comb, some toothbrushes – that together formed an ensemble of sounds.

  6. 24 Hour Psycho

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    Douglas Gordon’s 24 hour Psycho was presented at VIVID over 24 hours, allowing visitors to experience this seminal video work in its entirety.

    As its title suggests, 24 Hour Psycho is a slowed down version of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1960 film ‘Psycho’, where a single, continuous viewing lasts exactly twenty-four hours. Outstanding works by contemporary artists punctuated the Pioneers programme and this rarely seen, pioneering work legendary status in its capacity to fuse art and cinema.

    Douglas Gordon was born 1966 in Glasgow. He currently lives and works in Glasgow and New York. Gordon has exhibited widely with solo shows at Yvon Lambert, Paris; Gagosian, New York; Pompidou Centre, Paris; and San Francisco Museum of Art.

  7. Inspirations

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    Inspirations considered the individual contributions, both curatorial and practice based, made toward contemporary artists film and video in the UK. Five individuals who have played a major role in the critical, artistic and curatorial development of artists’ film and video were invited to select one moving image work that has made significant impact on their own practice.

    The diverse selections of work spanned 1923 to 1987 and included Angles of Incidence, William Raban (1973) selected by John Smith; Where I Am Is Here, Margaret Tait (1964) selected by Sarah Wood; 15/67: TV, Kurt Kren (1967) selected by Malcolm Le Grice; That’s What Friends Are For, Neil Bartlett (1987) selected by Catherine Elwes; and The Return to Reason, Man Ray (1923) selected by David Curtis.

    A widely acknowledged influence on British film and video, artist Malcolm Le Grice was invited to present a selection of his own works. Le Grice I an exponent of experimental artists’ film and video practice and theory and has made a huge contribution to the artistic and critical profile of the UK’s art scene.

  8. Participation

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    Participation was an exhibition and archive project which examined the ‘missing voice’ of independent moving image practice: the film and video workshop movement which was activated by the ACTT ‘Grant-aided Workshop Production Declaration’.

    Firmly rooted in VIVID’s workshop origins as the Birmingham Centre for Media arts, established in 1992, Participation focused on the emergence of new film forms, politics and practices in the 1980s. Presented in two parts, the works presented react to and document the rise of Thatcherism and the social and cultural events the period from 1979 engendered: inner city disturbances, the miners strike, and increasing social disparity.

    Many individual filmmakers and producers contributed material to the programme from their private archives, providing not only original film and video tapes for digitisation but also key texts, photographs, diaries and ephemera from the period. Interviews were carried out with major individuals, contributing first hand accounts and documentary images from the period enabling digital access for a new generation to material previously unheard and unseen.

    A critical selection of works were exhibited from key film and video workshops and groups who, motivated by a desire to effect social change, forged new approaches to political themes that emerged nationally. The show included exhibition and presentation from Amber Films, Black Audio Film Collective, Sankofa and Sheffield Film Co-op amongst others, and had a special focus on the Birmingham Film and Video Workshop whose largely unknown yet groundbreaking work was presented for the first time in decades.

  9. The Act of Drawing

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    The Act of Drawing explored the physical act of drawing and its representations on screen and in various forms. This included the act of mark making directly onto celluloid, the performative act to camera, and the documentary role of moving image in providing a visual commentary to a drawn event.

    Presented alongside LIGHT DRAWINGS: Interventionist Acts, a participatory 16mm film installation led by George Saxon and Vicky Smith, the international exhibition programme featured work by Stuart Brisley, Valie Export, Dryden Goodwin, Milan Grygar, Mark Lawrence Stafford, Rachel Lowe, Nancy Murphy Spicer and Jennifer West. VIVID also commissioned a durational performance by Jordan McKenzie entitled Day Into Night in which the artists repeatedly striked matches across the surface of a gallery wall. The residual red marks created a drawing over time which not only referenced the action itself but also provided the visitor with a drawing that commemorated a period of time.

    Weekly 16mm film screenings were presented alongside the exhibition, selected from LUX and Lightcone (Paris). Artists included: Robert Breer, Stan Brakhage, Cecile Fontaine, John Gruenberger, John Latham, Emmanuel Lefrant, Len Lye, Annabel Nicholson, Jürgen Reble, Liz Rhodes, Brian Sharpe, Guy Sherwin, and Stan Van Der Beek.

  10. Seeing Sound

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    Presented in conjunction with Supersonic Festival, Seeing Sound was an exhibition exploring the ways in which we experience sound as light, movement, noise and colour.

    Spanning 40 years the programme drew together historical and contemporary moving image works including: Benedict Drew, Writing Music (2008); Ben Russell, Black & White Trypps No.3 (2007), Juneau Projects, A Rich Future is Still Ours (2003), Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, The Eye and The Ear (1944–45) and Tony Conrad’s seminal work The Flicker (1966), a 30-minute film exploring the possibilities for harmonic expression using a sensory mode other than sound.

    A programme of performance was presented alongside the exhibition including Lärmlicht #2 (for percussionist, 4-channel tape and 8 lightbulbs) by classical percussionist Joe Snape. The piece is the first an ongoing series which explores the expressive potential of light in the context of musical performance.

    Also at VIVID was a rare performance of Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music commissioned by Capsule and performed by Mr. Underwood following his Noise Box Workshop at VIVID. Originally scored “For Microphones, Amplifiers, Speakers and Performers” this adapted version was performed using four Noise Boxes/ Optical Theremins and four torches.