Archive for February, 2008


Undercurrent brings together Sound and Video Art practice from China and the UK in order to explore cultural and social issues connected with the changing nature of urban environments in both countries. The project feeds from a pool of audio, video and photographic material collected by D-Fuse and contributing artists over a period of two years following a extensive period of research and collaboration. Undercurrent exists as a 2 screen video installation and collection of supporting digital prints with sound installation.

/sLab worked with D-Fuse as curator and mentor, commissioning and co-producing the Sunderland component of the project and contextualising the project to a Fine Art audience.

The project fed from a pool of audio, video and photographic material collected by D-Fuse and contributing artists over a period of two years in China and in the UK.

China’s ever increasing drive towards a market driven economy, one where entire cities are being completely re-built, and the rapid growth of the service and industrial sectors of the economy, have led to large numbers of the rural population venturing to these new ‘metropolises’ in search of a better life, most of them to become part of an ever growing urban underclass. At the same time in the UK, spaces that became dilapidated following the collapse of large parts of the industrial sector are being reinvented as hubs of creative and cultural enterprise.

The nature of the city and its association with ‘modernity’ was a defining theme of early 20th century art and architecture and many of those ideas and aspirations are now once again being played out in the large construction projects taking place across the whole of China, sending shockwaves throughout both the rural and urban population as their lives and communities are uprooted in the long march towards modernisation.

Artists collaborating in the project were invited to explore these themes, working with either video and/or sound, responding to questions concerning urban architecture, economic and social change as well as our personal relations to the urban environment. This has given rise to an international research network of artists interested in the city, facilitating the exchange of ideas, approaches and observations and the challenging of each other’s cultural and ideological standpoints. Sound is an integral part of the work, and by drawing on urban
soundscape recordings as source material for the audio part, Undercurrent seeks to heighten our awareness of the ‘ambient-noise’ that exists all around us.

Undercurrent exists in a number of differing manifestations: As a multi-screened, immersive environment of sound and video, and as collection of photographic prints exhibited with a sound installation. During 2006 contributing artist Zhong Minjie was invited by D-Fuse [supported by Visiting Arts and /sLab] to visit the UK to contribute to the research and development of the project in Liverpool and London. Similiarly Beijing artists 8GG were invited to CineCity Brighton 2006 to present and debate on the themes explored in the work, following which they joined /sLab as artists in residence at the University of Sunderland.

The artistic network established during the research and development stage fed into the recent staging of Contemporary Chinese Artists’ Work as part of EAST.08. A project built on the strong network of international contributing artists, thorough research methodology and outreach programme in China and UK built during the projects R&D phase.

Production Information

Locations- Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, London, Liverpool, Sunderland

D-Fuse are a group of London based artists founded in the mid 90’s by Michael Faulkner who explore a range of creative media, from art, architecture, photography + film to live A/V performances. Working in a trans-disciplinary method with cutting edge technology D-Fuse encourage their audience to reflect on the process of experiencing art in a multi-dimensional,
multi-sensory way with emphasis on the key relationship between sound + image.
Contributing artists ¬ 8gg, Actop, B6, D-Fuse [Michael Faulkner + Matthias Kispert], Haus M Commune, Lin Zhiying, Quayola, Barney Steel, Ultre, Wang Geezer, Xu Cheng, Zhong Minjie + Zip Design

Print Exhibition
Photography by D-Fuse [Mike Faulkner, Barney Steel, Matthias Kispert]
Audio by Zhong Minjie + Lin Zhiying

In Conversation
Chaired by Keith Whittle with Keri Elmsly, Mike Faulkner and Matthias Kispert, D-Fuse and 8gg

Project Producer
Keri Elmsly

Project Texts
Keith Whittle and Matthias Kispert

Project Partners
/sLab, Keith Whittle + Marian Downes
powers of 2
with thanks to Dandelion and Burdock +

Undercurrent is supported by Arts Council England, British Council, /sLab + Visiting Arts.
Project Partner + Sunderland Component Commission, /sLab

CINCECITY staging presented in association with Lighthouse

Yuko Mohri presents at CIANT

Yuko Mohri - /sLab artist in residence

Japanese media artist Yuko Mohri currently /sLab artist in residence discussedBairdcast
Media: a history of machine translation
and past projects at CIANT, Prague.

She had a fantastic time during her first visit to this historic city!

Tuesday 4th, March 2008
18:00 – 19:30
International Centre for Art and New Technologies
Imrychova 882, 143 00
Praha 4

/sLab project receives British Council accreditation

A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling has received accreditation as part of the British Council, UK-Japan 2008 year long festival marking 150th Anniversary of the Signing of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce.

The official celebrations began with the launch of the UK-Japan festival at Mori Arts Centre, Tokyo on February 18th and Keith Whittle was pleased to be able to attend to this exciting event.

A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling is a /sLab project developed in partnership with the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art and partners in Japan. During the summer of 2008, Japanese and British artists will each spend six weeks creating brand new work in response to the cultural connections and differences between the two nations. The new works will be revealed at two exhibitions in two of the largest exhibition galleries in Britain and Japan supporting contemporary art, Northern Gallery and BankART1929, Yokohama.

Initiated by /sLab in partnership with BankART 1929, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, and in association with P3 art and environment and The Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

Please visit the July section of the official festival website for further information

Supported by Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and The British Council.

Bairdcast Media: a history of machine translation

Yuko Mohri - /sLab artist in residence


a history of machine translation

a history of machine translation

a history of machine translation



Photography Louise Hepworth

Yuko Mohri

Japanese artist Yuko Mohri offers her own perspective on our broadcasting heritage and shared future.

Discovery Museum
February 29th – March 9th 2008
Opening times: Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday 14:00 – 17:00

Artist Talk
Tuesday 4th, March 2008
18:00 – 19:30
International Centre for Art and New Technologies
Imrychova 882, 143 00
Praha 4

Artist Talk
Saturday 8th, March 2008
13:00 – 13:45
Ashburne House, Ryhope Road
Sunderland SR2 7EF
Tel: 0191 515 2046

Yuko Mohri interview – live On-Air radio studio NE1FM for AV Festival 08
Friday 7th, March 2008 @ 11am –

A unique residency and exhibition project by young emerging Japanese media artist Yuko Mohri, Bairdcast Media: a history of machine translation explores the early history of broadcast media in the United Kingdom, and more specifically the inventions of John Logie Baird, a pioneer in the development of television and its relation to new media, during this hugely significant period of transition in broadcasting given the switch from analogue to digital television.

Yuko Mohri has already gained international recognition for her work and is set to become a leading figure on the international media art scene. In her works she concentrates on the application of physical phenomena, like sound and magnetism, to art and on the research of media theory. One of her most recent projects “Vexations – Composition in Progress (c.i.p.)” a co-production with Soichiro MIHARA, was shown at Yamaguchi Centre for Arts and Media (YCAM) in 2005 and went on to win second prize at transmediale06, Berlin. The work also received an Honorary Mention in the Interactive Art category at Prix Ars Electronica.

/sLab is pleased to be able to bring this exciting new talent to the United Kingdom for the first time in collaboration with the prestigious new Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music.

Bairdcast Media: a history of machine translation is a /sLab project commissioned and produced in partnership with AV festival 08 and Emma Ota. Project curated by Keith Whittle, Iain Logie Baird, National Media Museum – Bradford and Emma Ota.

Supported by /sLab, AV festival 08, The National Media Museum, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Asia-Europe Foundation, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Japan Foundation and powers of 2

The AV Festival is an international festival of electronic arts, and features visual art, music and moving image. A biennial event, the festival takes place in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Passing Beneath the Surface

Scanner - Passing Beneath the Surface

Scanner – British artist Robin Rimbaud traverses the experimental terrain between sound, space, image and form, creating absorbing, multi-layered sound pieces that twist technology in unconventional ways. From his early controversial work using found mobile phone conversations, through to his focus on trawling the hidden noise of the modern metropolis as the symbol of the place where hidden meanings and missed contacts emerge, his restless explorations of the experimental terrain have won him international admiration from amongst others, Bjork, Aphex Twin and Stockhausen

Passing Beneath the Surface explores the idea of place and identity of the city of Sunderland, working with archive recordings of local residents over the last decade, exposing threads of narrative, which reflect the changing nature of the city and the urban place.

Embracing both the cultural and the historical, the city and its regeneration, this work appraises the geographies people inhabit, visit, defend, destroy – and overlook; offering a rethink of both lived and built space.

Commissioned, curated and produced by /sLab in association with Living History North East

Supported by Sunderland arc

Floating World 2 Floating Point

Hide Nakaya, Senior Commentator “Digital Stadium” aka ‘Digista’, NHK

Exploring Contemporary Japanese Media Art

This Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation funded research project looks at the current Japanese media art scene from the point of view of Japanese curators, academics, distributors, commentators, producers and artworkers in the field, through interviews, collated information and documentation. The aims are to gain an insight into the methodology of media art practice within Japan, understand better the curatorial practice of Japanese curators for exhibiting ‘Media Art’, canvas the opinions of Japanese media art practitioners on how their work is represented at home and abroad, and to achieve a better critical overview of the essential differences or similarities of approach to media art practice in Japan as compared to the United Kingdom.

Drawing upon a rich vain of expertise from participating institutions and individuals, background research into the traditional applied arts of Japan and an overview of the influence of Western culture on Japan since the Meiji era, this project aims to highlight some of the key historical, political, social and cultural factors that have contributed to the distinct characteristics of Japanese media art and its international appeal.

Participants in the research include:

Professor Masaki Fujihata, Dean, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

Professor Machiko Kusahara, Researcher, Curator and Media Art Theorist. School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University.

Ryota Kuwabuko, Media Artist

Hide Nakaya, Senior Commentator “Digital Stadium” aka ‘Digista’, NHK’

Professor Machiko Kusahara, Researcher, Curator and Media Art Theorist. School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University.

Takashi Serizawa, Executive Director P3 art and environment, Curator, Yokohama Triennale 2005

Minim ++, Media Art duo, co-Lab, Keio University

Dr. Tomoyuki Sugiyama, President, Digital Hollywood University

Project website launch April 2008

There Is No I In Team

The Altar of Progress” (2006)

Contemporary Chinese Artists’ Work

Staged February 6th -10th 2008
Newcastle upon Tyne | Gateshead

Curated by Keri Elmsly, Keith Whittle, Pauline Doutreluingne, Jian Jiang

Download full PDF (2.6Mb)

Selected work from There Is No I In Team was presented during this years Chinese New Year celebrations in Newcastle. Including installations and screenings of artist’s film, video and animation exploring the new role of the individual in China today, the work presented received huge praise as well as excellent audience figures.

3 of the artists [Hung Keung, Sheng Jie and Meiya Lin] and all curators were in Newcastle for the opening event, and ISIS Arts hosted a series of artists talks over the exhibition period.

Presented in association with Newcastle City Council, the programme formed part of EAST’08 – a world-class celebration of contemporary Asian culture in NewcastleGateshead. Part of NewcastleGateshead’s world-class festivals and events programme.


Jiang Zhi “Onward! Onward! Onward!: The Altar of Progress” (2006)
Location: Civic Centre, (outdoor projection) Barras Bridge Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 1RD
Date: 6 -10 February 2008, 16.00 – 24.00

Hung Keung and imhk lab “Bloated City | Skinny Language” (2007)
Location: BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays South Shore Road Gateshead NE8 3BA UK
Date: 9 -10 February, 10.00 – 18.00

Sheng Jie “PUSH” (2006)
Location: Monument Mall, Newcastle, NE1 7AL
Date: 6 -10 February, 09.00 – 18.00 (Wednesday – Saturday), 11.00 – 17.00 (Sunday)

Xu Huijing “The Earth, The Human Being” (2007)
Location: Bath Lane, Newcastle, NE4 5SP
Date: 9 -10 February 10.00 – 18.00


A compilation programme of new film and video works from China, including works by Gao Yu, Meiya Lin and Kuang Yu Tsui.

Locations: Part 1: Old Dormitory Rooms, Part 2: Craft centre (above Audacious), both venues at Blackfriars, Newcastle upon Tyne,
Date: 9 -10 February 10.00 – 18.00


Recent Animation Highlights from Hong Kong
UK program coordinated by Independent Short Film and Video Awards (ifva) and co-curated in association with ISIS Arts, /sLab and Keri Elmsly

Location: 20-28 Stowell Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4XQ
Date: 9 -10 February 10.00 – 18.00

There Is No I In Team was presented in Newcastle by ISIS Arts and /sLab

Special thanks to: Keri Elmsly, Pauline Doutreluingne, Jian Jiang, ISIS Arts, Stella Hall, Culture 10, Teresa Kwong & Rachel Wan, IFVA, Hung Kueng, Sheng Jie, Meiya Lin, Song Tao, BALTIC, New York Productions, Sam Watson, Ben Gilchrist, Adam Phillips, Graham Mitchinson and all involved.

Supported by East’08, NewcastleGateshead, OneNorthEast, North East England, European Union Social Fund, Connections Through Culture, China Now, Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards, University of Sunderland, powers of 2 and Arts Council England