"I felt like I was trapped in a dream, full of chapters of cinema"
"When watching Ben Jeans Houghton's Yugen we experience a strange peaceful serenity, enhanced by the drone-based soundtrack, amongst the plethora of images / excerpts the notion of the constant body, our relativity within the universe is ever-present. Feeling more like episodes from a dream, yet cohesive; Houghton seems to explore the notion of the sublime and the infinite. The strong but simple poetics suggest a subtle beauty available to us in everyday life, across all aspects of society and the natural world. In Yugen we are presented with the secrets but not the truth, the beginnings but not a steadfast end."
Curated by Iris Priest
Ove Kvavik, Edwin Li, Kate Liston, Ben Jeans Houghton
“The atomic individualism of patriarchy destroys much of the fabric of the human community. Such a damaged community is incapable of understanding the needs of its own members, much less of the nonhuman world.”
“The collective task of “reenchanting” our whole culture is, as I see it, one of the crucial tasks of our time...”
In primeval times and tribal societies the stratification of art from life may not have always been so absolute. The creation of images and artefacts has been, throughout history, a necessary aspect of everyday life for many cultures; whether as a channel to communicate between other realms, as an agent for the divination of knowledge, for healing individuals and the wider community, or as an act of dedication to appease the spirit realms.
Superconductor seeks to usurp the antiquated paradigm of the autonomous artist loner, practising at the periphery of society. Instead the show suggests that - like the shaman of primitive cultures who connected communities and who traversed the Axis Mundi between the divine and earthly worlds - the artist of today is central for reinvesting everyday life with magic, mystery and meaning from Ben Jeans Houghton's dream like and labyrinthine films to Kate Liston 's evocation of the magical sensation of synchronicity.
Superconductor proposes that, rather than extraneous to everyday life, art is essential for connecting us imaginatively to the world in which we live and to one another. The show departs from Suzi Gablik's call for the imperative liberation of art from the disenchantment of materialism and the technocratic culture of disconnection and instead posits that Art is a lens through which we examine our own society and innate assumptions or prejudices, a mirror which reflects the myriad of wonderful and terrible aspects of life – as in Edwin Li's dystopic vision of future society - but also a locus for the exchange of ideas, participation and cultural democracy.
◤ Yugen – 2012 – 13 Minutes
HD Digital Video | 35mm Slides | 16mm Archive Footage | VHS