All posts by Mark Wilson

Vanishing Point: Where Species Meet is a three-channel video work commissioned for the Gothenburg Biennial 2011,Pandemonium by the curator, Sarat Maharaj. The brief was for a site-specific, relational work: Vanishing Point focused on the roof of the main Biennial building, Roda Sten, situated on the River Gota waterfront. Research included acquiring knowledge of and developing sensitivity towards the site, including the various species of gulls, their diet and behaviour and was conducted through discussions and interviews with local fishermen, birdwatchers and pavement café owners in the area. Seagulls are often regarded by people locally, as a nuisance.

The performance-based HD video work documents a meeting between a human and the gulls around a custom-built table at which food (bread and fish) is prepared and shared. The table, designed by the artists, also played a crucial role in generating and testing our ideas concerning notions of sharing and hospitality across species.

The performance took place on the roof of Roda Sten, the main Biennial building in Gothenburg, on the River Gota waterfront, along which al fresco café and restaurant tables are targeted on a regular basis by fearless gulls.

Vanishing Point can be seen as a critique on the legacy of how Christian values have been interpreted and together with Cartesian objectivity, have placed anthropocentrism and human interests at the heart of our conceptions of the world, to the detriment of a potentially more ecological consciousness. Such viewpoints have contributed to a dislocation between human beings and the wider environment rendering it largely as a series of resources and sites for exploitation. The project asks how performance, involving the free will and participation of non-human others, may be used to test ideas of parity. Vanishing Point sets out, site-specifically to reconfigure ideas of notoriety and interspecific social order. How can art and aesthetic presentation contribute to the reappraisal and rehabilitation of a known pariah? In the context of long-established scientific rationale and religious dogma, the work attempts through the processes and actions of art, constructively to effect new audience-awareness of interspecific interdependence?

For the biennial,Vanishing Point was exhibited alongside works by Francis Alys and Ernesto Neto.

Vanishing Point: where species meet (2019) at Edinburgh Art Festival

Vanishing Point: Where Species Meet (2011/19) St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Haymarket, Edinburgh.

Despite the original site-specific setting on the Gotheburg waterfront, our ambition has always been to show this work in an ecclesiastical context. In some small but significant way, the work can be construed to reference a well-known biblical miracle narrative in which generosity and sharing are key. But strategically, rather than situating it entirely in human terms, it carries the idea  across and between species.

Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson receive major funding from Icelandic Research Fund for 3-Year project 2019-2022

http://visitations.lhi.is

 

In January 2019, Mark Wilson PhD, artist and Professor at the University of Cumbria, UK and Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir PhD, artist, Professor and MA programme director at the Department of Fine Art, Iceland University of the Arts, received a 42 million ISK (268,000GBP) grant from Rannís, the Icelandic Research Fund  for a three-year research project Visitations: Polar Bears out of Place.

In the context of global warming and sea-level rise, ‘Visitations’ takes specific historic and contemporary polar bear arrivals to the coasts of Iceland as a point from which to consider more widely, issues of population displacement, hospitality and increasingly excited global migration patterns. Approaching the subject from a contemporary art perspective, in a cross-disciplinary collaboration with folklorists, anthropologists and an international art curator, the project probes intimate and geo-political contact zones, between humans and others and thereby, related networked effects of climate change, population displacement and environmental disruption The research will gather and combine images, texts, audio, biological and other material relating to specific recorded polar bear arrivals. Methodologies will involve a close study of the relationship between source material and its cultural and environmental contexts as well as to the transmission, interpretation and presentation of subtexts embedded within all visual and textual matter. The project has a number of satellite partner institutions, both locally and abroad, allowing for further comparative study within a wider cultural context, and will conclude in two major museum exhibitions, an international conference and a publication encapsulating the project as a whole.

Collaborators are from the University of Iceland´s programme in Folkloristics and in Art History, as well as its Research Centre in Strandir, the Akureyri Art Museum and the Anchorage Museum in Alaska.

Of the 198 applications submitted to the IRF for this year, 16%, or 31 projects received support. The project is hosted by the Iceland University of the Arts. This is the first time a research project within the field of arts practice has received support from the Icelandic Research Fund.

 

Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson for INSIDE/OUT lecture series at Leeds Beckett University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson
The Only Show in Town
Leeds Beckett talk

For the last twenty years, the collaborative artist team, Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson, have been practicing and producing in the field of contemporary art on an international stage with projects and exhibitions in the UK, Europe, Australia, and the USA. They have built a reputation, resonant in many fields – in contemporary art, animal studies, human geography, museology, the environmental sciences and more. In this respect, it has been their strategic intent to drive the idea that contemporary art is a significant voice, made possible by the application of unique blends of original methods and cross-disciplinary appropriation.
Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson’s artwork is multidisciplinary in nature, most usually taking the form of installation, involving anything from sculptural interventions, found objects and materials, video, audio, drawing, photography and texts. Notwithstanding their participation in International Biennales and major gallery shows, their adherence to the significance and advantage of site-specificity have often led them strategically to exhibit in some tiny and otherwise most obscure venues.
The production of their work is unashamedly driven and facilitated by intensive research and interdisciplinary associations, because as artists they consider art to be both the most promising platform and the most likely instrument by which the fusion and mutual complication or disturbance of traditionally discrete knowledge-fields will succeed in effecting significant and increasingly urgent cultural and behavioural change.
And change is the only show in town…
So, the lecture will examine what it means in the context of crisis, (e.g. extinction, the Anthropocene), to consider and practice art as a tool of disruption and mediation, how passivity is a weapon and how complex cross-disciplinary relationships can effectively and otherwise, be productively managed.
As a consequence of their approach, through many projects, the artists have invested and directed their energies towards alliances and conversations across multiple fields in exhibitions, associated seminars and international conferences. For them, every exhibition made, is a provocation of sorts and is used to create opportunities for extending discourse, often between people who would otherwise rarely, if ever, engage. Over this time and as a consequence, they have exhibited and otherwise continue to be involved with many other internationally significant artists and theorists across the world.
Now, in 2018, they continue to develop ongoing projects in Rhode Island (at the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown) and in Alaska (the Anchorage Museum).

 

nanoq: flat out and bluesome. Research archive at Centre for Art + Environment at Nevada Museum of Art, US

Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson investigate relationships between nature and culture, human and non-human animals, and domesticity and what is often referred to as “wild nature.” Working from both Reykjavik and London, they create installations that combine sculpture, text, photography, and video. Their most well-known exhibition, Nanoq: Flat Out and Bluesome (2001 – 2006), was a survey of all the taxidermied polar bears in the United Kingdom.
While researching the history of each bear, they identified the date, place and people associated with the animal’s death. They also created a photographic archive of each specimen and its taxidermic context—whether in storage, on display, or undergoing restoration.
Although Snæbjörnsdóttir and Wilson have worked with a number of other species, including birds and fishes, polar bears remain a subject of great interest to them. Since 2015 they have been artists-in-residence at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska in its Polar Labs program. Their work is on the denning habits and structures of the Alaskan bears, and how we must minimize disturbance of their dens by oil companies on the North Slope.

See: http://www.nevadaart.org/explore/collections/cae-archive-collections/finding-aids/

To access the data entries: http://publicsearch.nevadaart.org/rediscoveryproficiopublicsearch/ArchiveHome.aspx?NEVARCH and enter “CAE1310”

nanoq: flat out and bluesome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27/09/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are about to go north again, tomorrow to Kaktovik in the Alaskan Arctic. Kaktovik is located at 70°7′58″N 143°36′58″W. Hosted by our colleague, artist Allison Akootchook Warden, we will spend 5 days in this village discussing the effects of climate change in relation to this coastal environment and its human and non-human denizens. Watch this space. This visit is in continued preparation for our solo show at Anchorage Museum in the Fall of 2020.

SOE Kitchen 101 Event 26.09.2018, Reykjavik

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mariner’s Oubliette was filmed in the North Slope Borough in Alaska where human and other animal interests of many kinds intersect. With oil interests to the West and the conservation area to the east, such interests coalesce within a crucible of environmental contention.

 The Bowhead whale is an important animal to the Inupiaq people and skeletal remains can be found scattered around Barrow and Kaktovik. Polar bears in the area depend on leftover whaling carcasses on the shore from hunting trips for food. There is symbiosis between culture and nature – a sort of magic, which this video work seeks to capture through an abstraction of imagery and sound.

The ‘oubliette’ is a name associated with forgetting. In medieval times, it signified a dungeon with the only entrance or exit being a trap door in the ceiling.