Finding Beauty in Ballistics: TRACER FIRE, New Video Installation Work
by Joel Newman,
at the AA School
PRESS PREVIEW: Monday 19 September, 6.30pm at the AA School
- FREE exhibition 19 September–26 October, 2011, Architectural Association School of Architecture, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES
- A new video installation by artist Joel Newman inspired by the ironic beauty of ballistic weapons
- Year-long animation project uses 30,000 hand-drawn images
- Newly composed soundtrack by the artist accompanies the work
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Inspired by the phosphorescent trail of tracer bullets in the night sky Tracer Fire explores the juxtaposition between the beauty and violence of ballistic weapons - their mesmerizing, burning trail belying their destructiveness upon impact, and the highly-wrought nature of their machinery at odds with the havoc they wreak.
An installation piece projected simultaneously onto the surfaces of a darkened room, the experience is one of being caught in a crossfire or at a fireworks display. The immersive work also exploits the concept of persistence of vision, as our eyes fill up with afterimages, adding another dimension to the piece.
Tracer Fire is the latest video work by artist Joel Newman, whose previous work has been shown at the ICA and Whitechapel Art Gallery, and who has taught Video at the Architectural Association School since 1998. The AA School was one of the first organisations to adopt video as a design as well as a recording tool and has had a specific Video department since 1968.
The video, which was a year in the making, uses motion graphics, with each frame of the animation hand-drawn on a tablet using a digital pen. Each minute of the 20-minute film equates to around 1,500 individual frames, with the whole requiring around 30,000 hand-drawn images.
Joel Newman, Artist, says: ‘Images of bullets and gunfire are endemic in the modern world. At one remove they take on a kind of beauty, reminding us of fireworks. I was inspired by this duality between beauty and destructiveness both in the visual display they produce but also by the engineering of modern weapons – these are wonders of design but they kill people. At the same time I was interested in forms of communication: opposing sides will use different colours to mark their tracer fire and time-delay chemicals mean that the gunners can pinpoint a target without revealing their own location.’
Tracer Fire forms part of the AA School’s on-going programme of FREE exhibitions, talks and events aimed at enabling all those interested in architecture and the built environment to explore these subjects with the globe’s brightest thinkers and foremost practitioners. Further highlights from the Autumn programme include an exhibition of work by Pop-art architectural thinker, Francois Dallegret, and ‘Archizines’ a show dedicated to the phenomenon of architectural fanzines, from the photo-copied newsletter to beautifully bound magazines, exploring the rich and unique window they provide onto how people relate to the spaces we inhabit (both 5 November – 14 December. Details of Autumn programme at end of release).
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For further information please contact Susannah Glynn at Kallaway on email email@example.com telephone 020 7221 7883
Maxim Bendall at Kallaway on email firstname.lastname@example.org telephone 020 7221 7883
Notes to Editors
The Architectural Association School of Architecture is the world’s most renowned international and influential school of architecture. Since 1847, The AA has pioneered a belief in architecture as a profession, culture and a unique form of human enquiry. The School has for decades been home to students and teachers who have gone on to become worldwide leaders of architecture and share creative ideas.
AA School alumni include Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Lord Rogers, Will Alsop, Cedric Price and many others. Through its unique, year-long, unit based system of teaching, direct intervention in cities and its intensively collaborative team based approach to learning, the School brings together disconnected worlds, fresh ideas and inspiring insights. The AA School is celebrated worldwide as an imaginative setting for architectural culture.
About Joel Newman
Joel Newman has exhibited video works at various galleries and venues including the Architecture Foundation, the Gasworks Gallery, the ICA, the Lux Pandaemonium Biennial of Moving Images, Whitechapel Art Gallery, the Sao Paulo Biennale of Alternative Art and Music and the Architectural Association. He was Co-Curator for the New Media Research Initiative at the Architectural Association School with Theo Spyropoulos and Vasilis Stroumpakos (2006–2008) and speaker at the School’s Beyond Entropy event, which formed part of the 2010 Venice Architectural Biennale. He has taught Video at the Architectural Association School since 1998.
AA School Autumn exhibition programme
All exhibitions are FREE and take place at the AA School, 36 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES.
Opening times: Monday to Friday 10am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, closed Sunday.
Double or Nothing
1 – 26 October 2011, AA Gallery
‘Double or Nothing’ presents the architectural and spatial projects of Brussels-based practice 51N4E. Curated by French architectural critic Dominique Boudet, the show re-examines a selection of recent projects from the large-scale to the intimate. They include:
- The transformation of Tirana’s Skanderberg Square (the most important public space in Albania) through the use of water and altered perspective. Larger than Red Square in Moscow and twice the size of St Peters Square in Rome, this famous square has been the stage for Soviet conquests, protests for liberation and the overthrow of dictators. 51N4E has created a square for modern Albania – a public space that reacts to mood of the people through water. From pools and urban beaches to formal state spaces.
- Arteconomy; an extension of high steel walls to cocoon a Belgian farmhouse and featuring a 3 x 3 metre day bed composed of soft weave, colourful woolen knit tubes.
‘Double or Nothing’ challenges the visitor to look beyond architecture’s surface conventions and their representation. The accompanying publication ‘Double or Nothing’, designed by 51N4E and AA and published by the AA, will be available to purchase.
Visions of the Future: AA School Honours Students
1 – 26 October 2011, Front Members’ Room
Four AA School students graduating this year have joined luminaries such as Peter Ahrends and Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in receiving full Honours for their studies at the AA School. This accolade is the highest award the School can bestow on a student, recognising prestigious excellence and talent.
The exhibition enables visitors to explore the Honours work across issues as diverse as the legacy of gold mining within Aboriginal homelands, solutions to Haiti’s cholera epidemic, floating desert city tourist destinations and managing Europe’s population.
GOD & CO: Francois Dallegret Beyond The Bubble
5 November – 14 December 2011, AA Gallery
Francios Dallegret will open the show from 1830 - 2030hrs on 4 November.
Dallegret, most famous for his work on ‘bubble houses’ was a leading architectural and design provocateur during 1960s and 1970s. Counting Reyner Banham, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Iris Clert as friends and collaborators, Dallegret’s creations fused the period’s pop art flair with his industrial drawing techniques, vivid imagination and an anarchic sense of fun. The exhibition provides the chance to meet Dallegret and explore his world and work including bubble housing, earth orbiting city space rockets, extraordinary astrological vehicles, drug store designs and even science-fiction westerns.
Curated by Elias Redstone
5 November – 14 December 2011, Front Members’ Room
Archizines showcases 60 architectural fanzines from 20 countries around the world and includes video interviews with their creators. From the photo-copied newsletter to beautifully bound magazines, each fanzine is a creative platform for the subject and the author. Together they provide a rich and unique window into how people relate to the spaces we inhabit. Each magazine will be on show, while their authors will be represented in video interviews talking about their work. Highlights include ‘Preston is my Paris’, ‘Spam in Chile’and ‘Scapegoat in Canada’. Elias Redstone is a curator, writer and columnist. He curated ‘Emergency Exit’, Poland’s national pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010, he is columist for the ‘New York Times Design Blog’ and Editor in Chief of the ‘London Architecture Diary’.