Plan 9

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Did I tell you last week that I am going to become a barbarian? / 19 July - 10 August 2008

Barbarian InviteChris Barr, David Blandy,

Rebecca Jayne Cowley, Anton Goldenstein,

Toby Huddlestone, Tom Johnson,

Juneau/Projects, Ryan Oliver,

Ged Quinn, Anna Young

Curated by Tom Johnson






Did I tell you last week that I am going to become a barbarian? explored the human relationship with technology and emotional attachment to artificial objects and images. The exhibition presented the opinion that more importance is placed on the nurturing of technological objects than on caring for human frailty. Technology dominates our life as it was once dominated by nature.

In the video piece, Walkman Lake, Juneau/Projects row to the middle of a Cumbrian lake and destroy a Walkman by lowering it into the depths. The classical music playing on the device deteriorates giving the disturbing impression that it is living and struggling to survive.

In From the Underground, David Blandy films himself miming the sound track of “Bring Da Ruckus” by the Wu Tang Clan, whilst riding the underground. He appears possessed as his body is taken over by technology. Enveloped in his personal, earphone generated reality, David is a gangster to his audience yet a mad man to passers by.

In God Knows Where This Is Ged Quinn paints an American National Park and former Native American hunting ground, with the poet Walt Whitman blowing his brains out in the foreground. The West's pursuit of free market economics and technological progress has perverted the natural environment – democracy becomes a façade and what was once sacred becomes a tourist destination.

Toby Huddlestone presented a Super 8mm projection of himself having a grainy, low-resolution argument with the television. The work emits a loathing of the plague of culture that technology communicates on a daily basis.

Chris Barr's customised intercom, has been fetishised, corrupting its purpose and giving it a totemic appearance.

Anna Young’s mutilated, plastic animal masks sit on broomstick handles, anchored in food cans. The idolatry imbues the hyper-reality of the synthetic objects with a spiritual significance that was once attributed to the actual animals themselves.

Tom Johnson's painting Don't say a prayer for me now shows a pixalated image of an actor drowning in quicksand, referencing the necrophobia resonating in the overtly technologically generated landscape of mass communication.

In Jonny Cigar, Anton Goldenstein presented the viewer with a cartoon version of a wart hog skull, placed on top of a wooden cross. The skull and cross bones are sanitised and death becomes a fiction.


Installation view of 'Did I tell you last week that I am going to become a barbarian?' Still image of 'Walkman Lake' by Juneau/Projects