UK Art – The 2018 Turner Prize
The 2018 Turner Prize nominees express lofty ethical values and social responsibility through their respective works. In a world thick with social angst and accelerating geopolitical whirl, is there room for merely conceptual art? The Turner Prize shortlist suggests not really.
The 2018 nominees for the honorable art prize have finally been unveiled, and the finalists all possess a strong social conscious or febrile political conviction, questioning and contesting many dominant power structures. It is noteworthy that all of the nominees use technology in new and inventive ways to track and analyze the zeitgeist; they seek to explore globalization’s vertiginous vector paths and the myriad social injustices and hotspots that keep us awake at night. The artists also aim to test the efficacy of art-activism in the digital age. Art has always embodied a rebellious political streak – and each of these compelling candidates has a subversive or agit-prop reflex. VIVISXN keeps you up to scratch on this year’s nominees. Bang. Peep the sparkplugs below.
London-born artist Naeem Mohaiemen uses film, installation and writing to meditate on leftist politics, political utopias, and the impactful legacies of colonialism, building a meta-archive of global history within his work. Mohaiemen was nominated because of his work for Documenta 14, and his film Naeem Mohaiemen: There is No Last Man that showed at New York’s MoMA PS1 in March this year. The film brings together two of Mohaiemen’s past films to imagine a relationship between two subjects on different edges of history. Volume Eleven (Flaw in the algorithm of cosmopolitanism, 2016) features diptychs that explore 1930s India’s short-lived fascination with the politics of Nazi Germany. The second film, Tripoli Cancelled (2017), documents the daily life of a man stranded at an airport. The clip was filmed in the abandoned Ellinikon Airport in Athens, Greece, and reflects on his father’s displacement after he lost his passport and was stranded at the same airport for nine days in 1977.
Forensic Architecture (FA) is an agency at London’s Goldsmiths University that conducts advanced architectural and media research on behalf of human rights organisations and international prosecutors, to help them fight crimes against humanity. At the intersection of architecture, human rights, and art, the collective creates navigable 3D models of sites of conflict, and generates animations and maps that can be used in the pursuit of human rights. Take their Grenfell Tower project (below), which is amassing evidence to help investigate the 2017 fire, as an example. The project is currently collating public video recordings of the fire into a continuous ‘3D video’, to be mapped onto an architectural model of Grenfell Tower. The FA was nominated for its novel use inventive compositing methods to source and visualize events relating to global human rights abuses. Their work will be used in courts of law as well as exhibitions of art and architecture.
LUKE WILLIS THOMPSON
In 2017, New-Zealand filmmaker and performer Luke Willis Thompson held his first solo exhibition, autoportrait. The film was a silent, black and white portrait of Diamond Reynolds: the woman who live-streamed the moment her boyfriend Philando Castile was shot by police during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota in 2016. Castile’s death joined a long list of black men who have fallen victim to police violence. The visceral film got Thompson nominated for the Turner Prize, the jury praising the work for its intricate study of grief, and for highlighting racist institutional violence. However, Thompson’s nomination has received some backlash, including art critics The White Pube, upset at the idea of a white man turning black pain into a spectacle for profit.
Charlotte Prodger is a Glasgow-based filmmaker who uses film and land art to explore identity. Queer bodies, the landscape, technology, and time are key concepts in her work. Take “BRIDGIT” (2016), one of the films she was nominated for. Completely alone in a Scottish forest, Prodger uses an iPhone to shoot the landscape, with nothing but her voice overlaying the shot as she narrates the story of how she came out. As a viewer, you are pulled right into Prodger’s angsty internal reality, finding yourself at home within her vulnerability. Prodger has been praised for the nuanced way she deals with identity politics, from a queer perspective.
Images via the artists above
VIVISXN MEDIA – Art + Fashion + Tech + Geopolitics + UK Turner Art Prize 2018