Centre for Research and Enterprise in Art, Design and Media

The False-Door| : dissolution and becoming in Roman wall-painting

CASIAD on-line publication 2010

False Door

This on-line publication examines the interaction between ancient Roman wall-painting and the modern world and challenges many of the accepted theories concerning their original meaning, function and social context. Since their discovery in the lava buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the mid-eighteenth century, the wall-paintings have directly and indirectly shaped the cultural landscape of the modern world. This publication also systematically examines many of the post rediscovery filters that have skewered our understanding of the paintings in their original context. A typical example being Hollywood's melodramatic appropriation of Roman culture, supposedly predicated upon discoveries made at Rome and Pompeii, but in fact derived from nineteenth-century melodramatic sources, such as Giovanni Pacini's Opera, Karl Briullov's painting and Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel, all of which were entitled The Last Days of Pompeii. The research also argues against the commonly held belief that the paintings were purely decorative – a misconception largely caused by their influence upon eighteenth-century neoclassicism and decorative imagery associated with the early industrial revolution. Having critiqued existing theories, the book proposes a radically new analysis of the sophisticated perspectival systems found in the paintings and their relationship to Roman atavistic and apotropaic beliefs, held in conjunction with practices that determined social status. Research for this publication was supported by AHRC, Southampton Solent University's Art and Design Capability Fund, the British School of Art and Archaeology Rome and various archaeological authorities in Italy. The first publication in 250 years to analyse the symbolic content of Roman wall-painting. Publications hitherto have primarily focused on purely formal issues or thy have contextualised the paintings in relation to display and status

KikiT VisuoSonics| Sonic-visual interactive Performances

Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain de la Ville de Liege and the Centre Culturel Nassogne, Belgium  2007

Performer and co-organiser with Russell Richards(UK) and Nicolas Batter (Belgium)

KikiT VisuoSonic

KikiT VisuoSonic performances are the result of research into sound-image interactivity carried out under the generic name of VisuoSonics. VisuoSonics research began in 2006 with relatively simple experiments that facilitated sound/image interfaces. These have been developed to such an extent that we are now able to create immersive environments that can synthesis the art gallery, the concert hall, the theatre and the cinema into a single performance space. For the Belgian performances we developed various performance scenarios in collaboration with the Belgian trumpet player Nicolas Batter (www.sbbrass.be). These involved improvised acoustic, analogue and digital sonic inputs in which the improviser activated and responded to digital projections. Written pieces of music by Handel and Piazzolla demonstrated the way in which the software responds to programmed as well as improvised music. The surrounding environment, including the audience, was also incorporated into the performance space using video inputs, thus demonstrating how the software can synthesis virtual and physical environments normally associated with cinema and theatre. Paintings by Picasso, Gauguin and Ensor in MAMAC's galleries were also integrated into the performance in the form of 4-dimensional video projections. The large-scale performances conducted in Belgium at the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain de la Ville de Liege (MAMAC) and the Centre Culturel Nassogne, also used surround sound and dopler playback effects in order to add to the level of immersion experienced by the audience. The performances were funded by various cultural organisations in Belgian and several Belgian newspapers including Le Soir, Brussells (11.5.07) and Le Meuse, Luxembourg (23.4.07) reviewed the performances. Since this performance Richards and I have received invitations to give KikiT VisouSonic performances in Bilboa, Brisbane, Victoria Canada and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, UEA. 

Collectif Anglais ArtResearch |

Curated Exhibition and co-exhibitor with Graham Coulter-Smith, Andy Mansfield, Greg Palmer, Russell Richards, Julian Konczak

Centre D’Art Contemporain Du Luxembourg Belge 2007

Collectif Anglais Art Research

Alaine Schmitz the Director of the Centre D'Art Contemporain Du Luxembourg Belge, invited me to curate an exhibition of art research carried out at Southampton Solent University. My curatorial objective focused on interplay between media and aesthetic discourses relating to painting and photography, photography and video, movement and computational interfaces, and sculpture and text. Mansfield's paintings function in a space between photography and painting, in which the banality of found portrait photographs is played off against immaculate attention to the painterly surface. Palmer builds up the surface of his paintings layer by layer using stencilling techniques. His aggressively synthetic surfaces reinforce the seemingly endless accretion of detritus upon the modern urban environment and the 'natural' world. Julian Konczak's digital art uses computers to intersect the rhetoric of the still photograph with the 'movement-image' activated by human presence in the gallery. Russell Richards's computer based sonic-visual installation uses self-referential coding to cascade colours and audio creating a form of visual synaesthesia. My own contribution as an exhibitor consisted of sculptures and drawings on the theme of metaphysics and perspective in the paintings of Giorgio De Chirico (some of which were previously shown at the Centre Pompidou and the Sigmund Freud Museum). This work collectively investigates links between De Chirico's use of metaphysical perspective and ancient Roman uses of atavistic perspective. Four new KikiT VisuoSonic projections created by Russell Richards and myself were also performed in the gallery as part of the exhibition preview. The Belgian trumpet player Nicolas Batter (www.sbbrass.be) and I provided the acoustic, analogue and digital sonic inputs that activated and shaped the visual projections. Reviewed in La Meuse Luxembourg, 21 October 2006 

Art in the Age of Terrorism| - edited book

Art in the Age of Terrorism - exhibition, Millais Gallery, Southampton 2004–2005

Co-edited and co-curated with Graham Coulter-Smith

Paul Holberton publishing 2005

ISBN 1 903470 41 2  


The book includes material on and by the artists in the exhibition, as well as other artist working on this theme. It also contains several essays on the politics of fear that surrounding the 'war on terror', by leading academics such as Bernadette Buckley, Mary Richards, Emma Green, Gen Doy, Pia Lindman, Ross Birrell, Kendell Geers, Ken Neil, James A Walker, Khaled D Ramaden, Mirreille Astore, Karen Randell, Guy Moreton, Misha Myers and Cornelius Holtorf, in addition to myself and my co-editor Graham Coulter-Smith. The exhibition consisted of nine artists who were selected on the basis that their previous work and origin underpinned the research theme. They were Kendell Geers (South Africa), Jacqueline Salloum (Palestinian-American), Doron Solomons (Israel), Colin Darke (Ireland), Pia Lindman (Finland/NY), Misha Myers & Dan Harris (USA), Khaled Ramadan (Lebanon), Mireille Astore (Lebanon) and Mark Gaynor (UK). http://www.solent.ac.uk/terrorism/exhibition.aspx. Compiled only three years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the book and exhibition pioneered academic and artistic interpretations of what remains a politically controversial subject. The exhibition was an important visual response to the war on terror and the book contributed carefully considered intellectual meditations on the topic of art and terrorism, relating to physical and cultural loss, the politics of terror and Diaspora, as well as the major challenge that art faces in relation to the events that accompany these themes. The sensitivity of the topic is evident in the fact that there was a resounding silence from America when the editors invited academic contributions to the book. In terms of reception, the exhibition was at the top of the Guardian list of exhibitions to see; and interviews with the artists were broadcast on BBC Radio Four's Today programme on the occasion of the exhibition's preview.