Interview with resident artist, Seecum Cheung

Black and white photograph, with a man to the right of the image, looking out at the viewer from the photo. Several (what appear to be) abandoned bicycles are piled on the corners to the left and right of the image.
‘Eviction in Shenzhen’, Part 2, 2019, Seecum Cheung

Jamie Wyld (JW): Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work, perhaps in relation to what you’re thinking about doing during the residency?

Seecum Cheung (SC): Hi Jamie, thanks for having me! I’m Seecum and I primarily work with film. I’ve never really known how to describe my work but often, I work with journalists and experts to conduct interviews with citizens, politicians and experts in a bid to understand and reflect upon certain political moments in time. My focus for VC in these months will be working from this same approach, a long-term study of the gentrification of my father’s ancestral village which began in April 2018.

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PRESENTS exhibition – now open

The word “Presents” is written multiple times in white, with a big black bow wrapped around it. The background is a radiant, rainbow-like gradient.

PRESENTS exhibition is now open and showing on the Vital Capacities site – you can visit the exhibition, which contains eight films by 11 artists, curated by resident artist, Romily Alice Walden and COVEN collective member, Frances Breden.

PRESENTS is a screening of short video works that don’t require an abled or physically present body in order to be performative. Ten sick and disabled artists come together to expand the idea of ‘performance’, presenting work that is embodied, immediate, and present without forcing bodies to conform to ableist norms of art-making.

See the exhibition: https://vitalcapacities.com/presents/

Interview with resident artist, Joey Holder

Jamie Wyld (JW): You’re one of the first four artists to take part in Vital Capacities, how do you feel about being one of the first to take part?

Joey Holder (JH): It’s great to be asked first, as I think that this means that you trust me! When things start out, you need to work on things together with regards to the set up and development, so I am grateful that I can be part of that initial structuring. I’m excited about seeing how the project takes shape.

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Interview with resident artist, Romily Alice Walden

Jamie Wyld (JW): Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work, perhaps in relation to what you’re thinking about doing during the residency? 

Romily Alice Walden (RAW): I’m an artist working mostly with text, video and publishing. I work both individually and collectively as part of Sickness Affinity Group Berlin, a group of artists and arts workers concerned with sickness, disability and labour conditions. My work looks to the fragility of the body, the connection between the land and the body, and the socio-political ramifications of living as a sick and disabled person under late stage capitalism.  

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Interview with Daniel Locke, resident artist

Jamie Wyld, director of videoclub & Vital Capacities talks to Daniel Locke about taking part in the residency programme.

Jamie Wyld (JW): Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work, perhaps in relation to what you’re thinking about doing during the residency?

Daniel Locke (DL): Thanks for inviting me to be a part of the project Jamie! My name is Daniel Locke, I’m a graphic novelist and artist. I’m absolutely fascinated by scientists and scientific discovery, and since 2010 I’ve pursued projects that have brought me into contact with a wide range of researchers, in hugely diverse settings.

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Introducing artist Joey Holder

Joey Holder, Semelparous, 2020. Photo: Damian Griffiths (installation view)

Joey Holder’s work raises philosophical questions of our universe and things yet unknown, regarding the future of science, medicine, biology and human-machine interactions. Working with scientific and technical experts she makes immersive, multimedia installations that explore the limits of the human and how we experience non-human, natural and technological forms.

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Introducing artist Daniel Locke

Daniel Locke, The Isolation Station, 2020

Daniel Locke is an artist and graphic novelist based in Brighton, UK. He is currently working on his second full-length graphic novel, Two Heads, a collaboration with writer Alex Frith and Neuroscientists, Uta and Chris Frith. This book will look back at the careers and discoveries of Professors Uta and Chris Frith. The book is also a survey of our understanding of how our brains work and how we know how they work. It will be published later this year by Scribner in the USA and Bloomsbury in the UK.

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Animal genitalia

The models express the myriad of exquisite forms and mating practices found in the animal kingdom which are often invisible to the naked eye. We often imagine what life is like on other planets, other worlds, yet what is present right under our noses is stranger than we can imagine, far more ‘alien’.

Lightboxes

Working with collage, internet scavenged images and constructed symbolism these lightboxes show a myriad of forms present within the natural world. Bodies of animals, fauna and scientific photographs are entangled together to represent the different ways in which humans percieve, understand and order lifeforms.

AI

I started using an AI to create imagery which mashes together images by multiple authors to produce endless variations through infinite combinations. Creating hybrid visions of chimeras, phantasms and abstractions, the AI uses a biological labelling system for it’s creative process – you can ‘edit genes’ and crossbreed, as well as view the family tree of image histories and relationships. Computation strives for biological variety.

These images are difficult to identify and label, to me they look organic – like many different lifeforms mixed together. I am interested in organisms which sit outside our usual frames of reference, or that which are difficult to scientifically label. Much of life on earth hasn’t been discovered, let alone named, and I am interested in the limits of our human understanding through our technologies.

For this residency I would like to use several different viewpoints to categorise this imagery. I will do this in several ways – I will create a new pseudo-scienfic reference system, use multiple human subjects and an AI to describe them.

A grid of images generated by an AI. These look organic and painterly, some look like they have insect body parts, fur, mouths and eyes mashed together creating formless mutants.
A screengrab of a google image search for the Hourglass Trapdoor Spider, which has a pattern on it's abdomen which looks like an ancient Mayan symbol.
^^ Artist description