Encore (VR Installation)

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“In recent years, legendary Canadian singer-songwriter, Neil Young, has made it a personal aim to again “give music a voice” by offering fans and listeners unprecedented fidelity in personal listening via his product, the Pono (a Hawaiian word meaning righteousness, the one, the pureness) Ecosystem™, capable of playing back the master recordings of classic albums and rare performances at highest possible quality. The Pono Ecosystem™ is believed by Young to be “a revolution in music listening,” and “is dedicated to restoring ear-body connection within a new digital system.” Taking Young’s push for maximum fidelity as a call-to-action, Lochhead and Lee (both music-lovers, inventors and video artists) have recently collaborated to unleash ENCORE™, a product that promises a new standard in music reproduction, live performance and in the overall righteousness of song. By harnessing the exciting virtual reality technology of the Oculus Rift, pristine live recordings (such as Neil Young’s initial unveiling of Old Man from Live at Massey Hall, 1971) are lifted from the muddy confines the past, to be given a new, refreshing gravity of the present, the real, the now, the pure… In this demo prototype, you, the listener, are encouraged to enter the vividness of an iconic performance. So sit back and open your ears and eyes. Watch as a state-of-the-art avatar enters the lush world of our simulated venue. Watch him sit before you, sing deep into your eyes, your soul, and possibly, even, your heart.”

Encore (Test) from Neven Lochhead on Vimeo.

The Heterodox Earth Summon (Installation)

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This was a one-night pop-up exhibition with Finnish artist Eeva Siivonen at Spark Contemporary Art Space. The Heterodox Earth Summon used a basement community-radio DJ persona as its frame narrative to present 30 minutes of material, spanning several different video works. With a speaker supplanted in the basement of the space, I used the floorboard as a diaphragm for the direct address of the DJ, who attempted to present and explain the material being shown. Every time the submerged DJ would speak, a red ‘on-air’ light illuminated the room above. Works screened as part of the summon were:

Cage in the Woods
Murmuring, Whispering, Praying
Blind Hill
Dead in the Apartment
Minor Success
The Blazed World
Worlds Very Close but Not Touching

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Skowhegan 2015 Participant

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In summer of 2015, I will be one of 65 participants in the Skowhegan summer residency program, in rural Maine. This summer’s resident faculty is: LaToya Ruby Frazier, Neil Goldberg, Michelle Grabner, Odili Donald Odita, Sarah Oppenheimer. The visiting faculty is: Julie Ault, Jonathan Berger, David Diao, Lizzie Fitch & Ryan Trecartin, Regina José Galindo. The rigorous nine-week program will begin in early June and conclude in early August. Participants are each given their own studio, copious time to work on projects, and many opportunities to engage with fellow participants and faculty.

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Poetic Enhancement Home Environment (PEHE)

Poetic Enhancement Home Environment (PEHE) from Neven Lochhead on Vimeo.

The intersection of poetry and beds has a long and storied past, for it is said that John Milton’s Paradise Lost was “composed lying in bed in the morning,” with the blind poet dictating to his scribe, who waited diligently for his poetic visions to arrive. We can also later find an affinity for the horizontal in the verses of John Keats, who writes affectionately in an Ode to Indolence of the “the drowsy hour; The blissful cloud,” while the Swiss writer Robert Walser dares to give us a name for this lay-down poetic state of the artist: sluggardising. The potent mix of being in bed and being inspired is undeniable, and so it is with this realization that we arrive at the Poetic Enhancement Home Environment (PEHE) – a responsive device designed to ameliorate and amplify the experience of consuming and composing poetic texts while in bed. Dynamically bringing together the three most common images employed as metaphors in poetry (sunlight, darkness, the ocean) PEHE facilitates maximum gravitas, criticality and clarity.

Minor Success

Epiphany 1 from Neven Lochhead on Vimeo.

With a routine endoscopy as its frame narrative, Minor Success performs its modest operation on a lush body of images and sound, navigating through foggy vision via new instruments of perception. What begins as a “standard exploratory procedure” (as the artist/technician explains in his opening remarks) soon becomes a dizzying suturing-together of causal flows and the fantastical: horizons obediently flip after transforming into scribbles, binoculars cross their eyes to become Venn diagrams, while microscopic phytoplankton kiss submarine escapees to reveal the wistful tones of open roads. Minor Success asks the viewer to exist within an expanse, stretching between two opposing vectors of motion: the outward thrust of the imaginative, and the stomach-destined descent of the digestive. As the operation of observation draw to its close, our technician attempts to tactfully reveal his vague premonitions of bad news, claiming to have seen within some evidence of potential concern, and asks us, before an idyllic waterfall, to simply “enjoy your time… ok?”

Virtue Foils

Virtue_Bookmarks_header ‘Virtue Foils’ was a short program of five videos that I curated after being asked to screen a work in conjunction with a reading by a group of young writers from Syracuse’s renowned writing community. The collection of video works all feature artists working in some way with text and image relations, and were generally irreverent in tone.

The program was:
1) “Star, Light, Nothing” Eeva Siivonen (Finland) 2014
2) “The Blazed World” Neven Lochhead (Canada) 2015
3) “Grading Greek Philosophers” Gary Kibbins (Canada) 2014
4) “The Reality of Karren Apple” Alex McNamee (UK) 2014
5) “The Fine Arts” Duke and Battersby (USA) 2002

The screening took place on Feb. 26th, 2015, at Spark Art Space in Syracuse NY.

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The Blazed World

The Blazed World from Neven Lochhead on Vimeo.

In this unhinged game of show-and-tell, the artist presents a few re-discovered, stolen, and historic objects to the viewer, who consequently stumbles into a fumbling articulation of the destruction of all things. Marred by the artist’s inability to correctly interpret a medieval Icelandic text that describes the end of the universe, The Blazed World exists in a widening gyre of the inadequate, one ripe with lacunas of thought, ruptures in perception, and celebrations of the fallible. In a hot, hyper world quickly turning awry, such things can be found: a euphoric Norse discoverer gripping his silver coin while a ripe strawberry mimics its value, the caressed feet of St. Peter yoked into coexistence with pictures of bad ankle sprains, and Damien, Travis and Chloe (our once-mentioned protagonists) arriving on the dance-floors to proclaim, above the music, “Why us?!” Concluding on a harmonious rhyming couplet, the video gestures towards the possibility of an after, though perhaps one propelled less by the gravity of guarantee, and more by the strange catalysts of homology and catachresis kicking up dirt.

Spark Contemporary Art Space

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Spark Contemporary Art Space is a venue that has been in and out of activity over the past ten years in Syracuse. It comprises of two, attached rooms, both with street-presence. Over the years, independent curators, promoters, artists and collectives have used the space to host their own distinct events. It continues to remain a crucial part of the Syracuse community, allowing for the more adventurous artistic and curatorial endeavours to be realised, tested, and received. As of late August 2014, I began running the space as the coordinator.