Rave is waving its glow sticks again, but in an unexpected form. A generation of artists are exploring the relationship between electronic music culture and rave references to create artworks about freedom and the archive.
What is so interesting about this is that many of the artists creating work that touches on the aesthetic of rave are too young to actually have been part of its history. Instead, using hindsight, younger artists are drawing on this theme as a way to touch on and express ideas around our relationship with technology and the Internet—how ideas of utopia and dissent, abstraction and movement all can be expressed under the veil of rave.
E-Vapor-8, [curated by the author, Francesca Gavin] is an exhibition bringing together this work at 319 Scholes on May 5th. Artists including Cory Arcangel, Aleksandra Domanovic, Rhys Coren, and Fatima Al Qadiri have contributed to this group show which is fittingly taking place in a warehouse in Bushwick. Here, we share some of the highlights of the exhibition—and their musical equivalents.
Artist: Hannah Perry
Inspired by old techniques of audio sampling, Hannah Perry’s video works include text, glitches and VHS noise, phone messages, old TV footage, clips of estate kids standing around or kissing and slowed down music videos. The soul in her work could only be coupled with Liquid’s anthemic “Sweet Harmony.”
Song: Liquid — “Sweet Harmony”
Artist: Rhys Coren
Coren is obviously in love with the humor, Britishness, and play in old school happy hardcore and rave. His installation piece OO is actually based around the children’s cartoon sampling rave song “Roobard and Custard” by Shaft, though slowed down and reworked into something more warped and interesting. The iconic pop rave of The Prodigy is the perfect equivalent for his work.
Song: The Prodigy — “Everybody in the Place”
Artist: Daniel Swan
Daniel’s 3D animation works always blow me away. For E-Vapor-8, he created an animation of a towel, which you feel has just wiped down the sweat off a raver’s neck, blowing in the cyber wind. The sweatiest audio equivalent would be the repetitive bass of the Chicago House giant that is Cajmere—Futurism at its most dirty and hypnotic.
Song: Cajmere — “Percolator”
Artist: Aleksandra Domanovic
Aleksandra’s ongoing project 19:30 draws fascinating parallels between the media and resistance during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. Her work really touches on the later techno free party scene that emerged out of rave. A fitting duet to her project—which has manifested in audio works, videos and a website—is Spiral Tribe’s political track “Breach The Peace.”
Song: Spiral Tribe — “Breach The Peace”
Artist: Christian Petersen
Christian Petersen has a really varied practice, from GIFs to design to video work, as well as putting together the free publication I Want You. He’s made a video for the exhibition of oddly dressed ravers dancing at a party, with a brilliant soundtrack by Hungry Soul, which has a classic old school vibe to it. For absolutely no reason at all, I thought he’d suit 2 Bad Mice.
Song: 2 Bad Mice – “Bomb Scare’”
Artist: Travess Smalley
Travess just has a perfect modern take on a rave aesthetic. A swirling, post-internet version of the psychedelic and its relationship to technology. This manifests in two different works (one projection piece and one billboard sized work) in E-Vapor-8. Aurally, it makes a perfect pairing with the ambient, tripped out, come down song “Little Fluffy Clouds.”
Song: The Orb ’Little Fluffy Clouds’
319 Scholes presents E-Vapor-8 curated by Francesca Gavin May 5 – 18, 2012. Opening May 5, 7-10pm, 319 Scholes Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (319scholes.org).
Francesca Gavin is a writer and curator based in London. She is the Visual Arts Editor of Dazed & Confused, the art editor of Twin and a Contributing Editor at AnOther and Sleek. Her books 100 New Artists, Creative Space, Hell Bound, and Street Renegades are all published by Laurence King. She has contributed to publications including Vogue, wallpaper*, Art Review, It’s Nice That, Bon, TimeOut, and Sunday Times Style. Gavin is the curator of the Soho House group, and has curated a number of exhibitions including The New Psychedelica (MU, Eindhoven 2011), and Responsive Eyes (Jacobs Island, 2012).