'...Hutber’s work is a case of the unexpected – a primeval jugular shot of emotion and unease that best showcases what Fierce is all about.' Emily Gosling, Volt Cafe, April 2012
Stay Behind the Line (Example 3)
Interactive video installation, Grand Union, Birmingham, UK
March - April, 2012
'Stay Behind the Line' is an installation that explores notions of ethical deferral and critical detachment and relates them to the proliferation of digitally mediated, monitored and 'manipulated' images in our day to day environments. The piece is also a self-portrait that expresses a sense of being defenseless against, and impervious to, the actions of others.
Three new pieces were also created for my exhibition at Grand Union in response to the location. They are 'painter, 'Blind Sight' and 'Reception'.
From the Fierce festival brochure...
Reynir Hutber (UK)
'Installation exploring mediated images, politics of containment, security and observation.'
'Reynir unites two aspects of live art that seemingly obsess the medium; one, the ongoing concern with the body as site, especially the politics of its vulnerability, the other, engagement with media technology as a means of altering representation and identity. Here he sets up rules that the work demands the audience break, extending his inquiry into regulation, control and self negation.'
Harun Morrison, Fierce Festival co-director
Grand Union Press release
Opening 6–9pm Friday 16 March
Exhibition continues 17 March to 22 April, open Thursday to Sunday, 12–5pm
Grand Union, in collaboration with Fierce, is proud to present work by Reynir Hutber, an emerging artist based in London, whose work explores themes of social visibility, moral relativity and the everyday imposition of authority. For this solo exhibition he will present his award winning installation, Stay Behind the Line, alongside a series of new related works.
Stay Behind the Line is an interactive installation that takes place in a specially constructed cell-like environment. When visitors enter the space through its narrow doorway, they are confronted by a wall-mounted surveillance monitor directly in front of them. They are now looking at a live video feed of the space with their feet placed in the top third of the screen. Further down in this relayed image however, there is a disturbing anomaly: a superimposed recording of the artist’s twitching, naked body that is no longer physically present in the room. What happens next is down to the visitor...
Other works in the exhibition also explore the absence of the performer. Technology is used to infuse the space with a sense of the artist’s presence and blur the division between past and present, spectator and protagonist. Through his works, Hutber addresses issues specific to the history of performance art while simultaneously exploring the anxieties and uncertainties of living in a sophisticated era of surveillance and mediation: an age in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to verify the authenticity of an image.
Fierce Festival, Birmingham’s premier live art and performance festival, runs from Thursday 29 March to Sunday 8 April 2012. Performers from around the world will converge on Birmingham to bring boundary-pushing performances and art installations to venues and unusual spaces across the city. See www.wearefierce.org for full programme listings.
Interactive installation, Grand Union, 2012
Wireless night vision camera, screen on plinth, converted gallery stock room with observation window and mechanism. Mechanism fabricated by John Hutber.
A slow knocking and whining sound emanated from inside a locked room in the gallery. This was not, as many assumed, the sound of a performance in progress, but rather, of a hoaxish kinetic mechanism banging against the reverse side of the door. When an audience member peered into the space through the doors ‘observation window’, they could see very little amidst the dust and gloom, while at the same moment a carefully positioned night-vision camera relayed the spectral image of the viewer’s face to a nearby monitor screen. This mechanism meant that the would-be voyeur might, in that moment, become the unwitting subject of an intrusive and unknown gaze. Referencing the voyeuristic dynamic of Duchamps’ "Étant donnés" 1946-66, ‘Blind Sight’, disrupted the viewer’s expectations of being in a position of power and removal from the subject of the work. In the relayed image, it also became unclear whether the audience member was a spectator looking into, or a captive looking out of, the room, as the view looked similar from both perspectives.
'Night vision' is a technology that was developed for military use but is now installed in domestic security devices available at high street shops such as Maplins.
1/1 scale looped video projection of site specific performance, Grand Union, 2012
'Painter' is a surveillance-style recording of the artist obsessively painting/preparing the section of the wall onto which the video would later be projected at a life-size scale. The figure appears to be covering something up while simultaneously creating a space for itself to exist.
Photographs by Harminder Judge, Jaskirt Dhaliwal and Reynir Hutber 2012 for Grand Union and Fierce Festival. All images are subject to copyright. Thanks to everyone at Fierce and Grand Union.