Chicks On Speed
Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven
The biennial offers a platform to curators and artists working with different forms of moving image, from film and video to installation. It also stimulates a dialogue between contemporary art and architecture in the city of Mechelen (BEL). The title of the biennial is taken, in part, from David Bowie's 1976 song 'Sound and Vision', and the focus of the exhibition will be on the inter-textual ground of popular music and art.
Curated by Anthony Kiendl
Artists: Cory Arcangel (USA) - Pierre Bismuth (FRA) - Chicks On Speed (AUS/DEU/USA) - Edith Dekyndt (BEL) - Gabriela Fridriksdottir & Lazyblood (ISL) - Noam Gonick & Luis Jacob (CAN) - Dan Graham (USA) - Rodney Graham (CAN) - Brion Gysin & Ian Sommerville (CAN/GBR) - Joachim Koester (DNK) - Adam Pendleton (USA) - Postcommodity (USA) - Lee Ranaldo & Leah Singer (USA/CAN) - Dennis Tyfus (BEL) - Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven (BEL) - Jennifer West (USA)
Architects: Kris Kimpe & Bruno Poelaert (BEL)
Graphic designers: Joris Kritis & Julie Peeters (BEL)
"Working with sound frees my head. Always did."
—Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven
Every two years, Contour Mechelen organises the Biennial of Moving Image, also known as Contour. The biennial offers a platform to curators and artists working with different forms of moving image, from film and video to installation. The biennial also stimulates a dialogue between contemporary art and architecture in the city of Mechelen (BEL).
Anthony Kiendl (CAN) curates Contour under the title Sound and Vision: Beyond Reason. The title of the biennial is taken, in part, from David Bowie's 1976 song 'Sound and Vision', and the focus of the exhibition will be on the inter-textual ground of popular music and art.
Popular music accompanies or is constitutive of some of our most meaningful and widely shared cultural moments. The ecstatic potential of rock music provides a space to exceed standardised terms of representation, language and control. The artists in Sound and Vision: Beyond Reason explore the intersections of music, contemporary film and video and post-conceptual art. Rather than staging a meeting of isolated fields of cultural production (music and art), Sound and Vision: Beyond Reason seeks to trouble the autonomy of art, music and film, and the singular identities of artist, musician and filmmaker. More than an exercise in juxtaposition, translation or transposition, this exhibition offers a complex matrix of sound, image, signal, noise, and meaning.
As in any medium, the structural components of film and video—light, sound, motion and optics—are dependent upon the human body to cohere meaning. These elements are also intertwined with the experience of consciousness. The transformation of experience, and the expansion of consciousness, has historically been a preoccupation in rock music (for example, psychedelia), one that combines both physical and conceptual realms. The body has always been implicated in rock music; to "rock 'n' roll" was a euphemism for having sex. The mythologised promise of rock music is freedom, and rebellion, and by extension, utopia. Malcolm McLaren states, "No matter how shallow people say pop music is, and in particular, its origins (part organized crime, part teenage werewolf), it continues to confound, astound and seduce something deep in all of us—that is the desire to change the culture and possibly, if it only be for a moment, change life itself."
The accumulation of knowledge, emotion, and physical experience in art, music and film can exceed the boundaries of language and knowledge management. As a biennial of the moving image, particularly one that foregrounds the architectural space of the city as part of its program, these notions might provide a forum the social construction of space. The crossroad of sound and vision pushes the limits of cultural transformation, for example, in the ways that we may implicate the excesses of the human body as a conduit and agent in radicalising social practice.
 Malcolm McLaren, Musical Paintings. Zurich: JRP Ringier, 2009, 5.
Opening 26 August 2011
Historical city of Mechelen (BEL)
Opening hours: Thu, Fri, Sun: 10.00–18.00, Sat: 10.00–22.00
Exhibition starting point: Nekkerspoel train station, Ontvoeringsplein, Mechelen