Thursday 10 May 2012

Bunker Mentality is a four day video art exhibition in a labyrinthine 2nd world war bunker in Dalston, East London. The exhibition traces a lineage of video montage from 1980's artists such as The Duvet Brothers and Gorilla Tapes to artists currently subverting appropriated footage such as Joey Holder, Matthew Johnstone, George Barber, Alexis Milne, and Nicola Woodham.

Death Valley Days by Gorilla Tapes 1984
War Machine by The Duvet Brothers 1984

The title Bunker Mentality refers to a defensive state of mind, needed in order to resist and compete with the pervasive media spectacle of advertising, television and film. Video art has been responding to this assault since the 1980’s through subverting found footage in the spirit of Situationist d├ętournement. The aspirations and promises played into living rooms via video cassettes and television could suddenly be re-appropriated, re-sequenced and jump edited to represent a counter-cultural voice and explore new aesthetic relations. 

Artists such as The Duvet Brothers and Gorilla Tapes have greatly influenced the next generation of video artists who were growing up in the Thatcherite 80’s and the Blairite ‘90s. This exhibition attests that video detournement is still a relevant tool in the current conservative climate. Further, these techniques gain new ground in the current decade, as these artists grapple with subjects such as subcultural uprising and neoliberal downsizing.

Alexis Milne’s video The Delinquents (2012), examines authentic rebellion in 1980's hip hop and 1990's rave movements and their subsequent recuperation in media representation. In Suitable Management (2010), Nicola Woodham's video uses found footage to reflect coercive uses of technologies, in the (discredited and discontinued) treatment of mental illness via electric shock therapy and now, via managerial techniques of constant self-assessment.  

For Bunker Mentality George Barber will present a major new 25 minute video work entitled Reality Check (2012). Reality Check is an essay film referencing the various ‘realities’ we experience today. It proposes a synthesis of Reality as a popular TV format and Reality as the current political economic situation.  In ‘Reality Check’ these themes are artistically intertwined and articulated.

Reality Check by George Barber 2012
Delinquents part 4 (Suburban Incantation) by Alexis Milne 2012
Suitable Management by Nicola Woodham 2010

The exhibition also covers new directions in the sampling and reconfiguring of found footage. Joey Holder responds to digital overload through focusing on the mutation of natural form into hybrid screen aesthetics. Matthew Johnstone deconstructs familiar contemporary visual languages exploring their technological means in relation to specific ideological conditions.

Nudi Branch by Joey Holder 2011
Modern Warfare/Reducer(Modified) by Matthew Johnstone 2009
Also featured will be Riot Act, a live destructive flatscreen performance by Tom Bresolin and Alexis Milne, which utilizes projected CCTV footage from the London August riots, first performed in a disused Blockbusters video store in Catford, previously damaged by looting.

Riot Act by Tom Bresolin and Alexis Milne 2012

BUNKER MENTALITY is situated at the Bunker Space, Abbot Street, Dalston E8 3DP
At the back of Cafe Oto, five minutes from Dalston Kingsland, and Dalston Junction overground stations.  

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