A SEASON IN HELL 3D
24th January 2014 – 6th April 2014
“We go in circles into the night, we are consumed by fire.”
Matthew Noel-Tod’s A Season in Hell 3D, explores the spectacle and its contemporary forms, from the whimsical innocence of childlike animation to the apocalyptic sci-fi blockbuster.
The visual language of the film continues a trilogy of recent works, Castle 3.0 (2011), and Bang! (2012), employing the digital tropes of advertising and Hollywood (CGI, 3D) mixed with cultural appropriation and an anthropomorphisation of the post-conceptual object. In Bang!, Jeff Koons’ golden balloon dog sculpture becomes a talking dog with the thoughts of Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola; in Castle 3.0 Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male perfume bottle becomes a self-reproducing superman in the style of Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan.
In A Season in Hell 3D, the Latin palindrome, In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (We go in circles into the night, we are consumed by fire) encircles the globe. The phrase, originally attributed to the behaviour of moths around fire, is also the title of Guy Debord’s final film. In A Season in Hell 3D the society of the spectacle is updated and regurgitated. The film emulates Debord’s attack on cinema, whilst maintaining his assertion that all aspects of life are political: “the theme of the film is not the spectacle, but real life”.
In keeping with much contemporary advertising for the commodities of world economy (energy resources, banks, communications) as well as political governance, A Season in Hell 3D deploys a childlike image of socio-economic reality, as animated characters, reminiscent of many recent advertising ploys to appeal to our infantilised selves, are caught in the gravitational pull of capital, of consumerist desire.
The work was previously shown in 2D at Canary Wharf Screen commissioned by Art on the Underground and LUX. Its new rendering in 3D presented at Banner Repeater links two significant locations in London, that resonate with the increasing distance between rich and poor, and draws attention to the growing structural inequalities of our times.
The silver globe in A Season in Hell 3D is clearly sourced from K. Brandell’s iconic sculpture sited outside Trump International Hotel in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle. Representing all landmass as precious metal, it has become a perfect meme of capitalist imperialism, endlessly reproduced and adapted to different contexts. In Brian De Palma’s film Scarface it is the trophy of wealth, with its neon text proclaiming: “The World Is Yours” in the film’s final scenes of carnage. In a recent advert for British Airways the globe appears again, this time declaring: “The World Is On Sale”.
Matthew Noel-Tod (born 1978) Selected exhibitions and screenings include: Assembly: A Survey of Recent Artists’ Film and Video in Britain 2008–2013, Tate Britain, London (2013), The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, Hayward Touring (2013), The Adverts, Canary Wharf Screen, LUX, London (2012), Bang! Chisenhale Gallery, London (2012), A Skvader, Norwich Castle Musuem with Outpost Gallery, Norwich (2011), Blind Carbon Copy, Picture This, Bristol (2008), Nought to Sixty, ICA, London (2008). He is Senior Lecturer in Moving Image at University of Brighton and was a recipient of the Acme Studios Firestation work/live residency 2010.
Credits: A Season in Hell 3D (2014) by Matthew Noel-Tod is commissioned by Banner Repeater. 3D and CGI by Jordan Buckner, with thanks to Sebastian Buerkner.
A Season in Hell (2012) was commissioned by LUX (2012)
Talks and screenings during the exhibition:
Film screening and discussion: In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni by Guy Debord (1978) 100 min.
Wednesday 19th February 7- 9pm
In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni is a 1978 film by the Situationist Guy Debord, the title of which is a medieval Latin palindrome meaning “We go in circles into the night, we are consumed by fire”. The film opens with an excoriating attack on the cinema-going public and its world, and on conventional cinema itself. However, the bulk of the film is given over to Debord’s quite personal reflections on his life, loves and times. Like, The Society of the Spectacle (1973), In girum… combines a spoken text with a series of static images and film clips (the latter largely taken from existing sources). However, as Debord pointed out in a 1989 note in the critical edition of In girum…: "The situation shifts in In girum… due to several important differences: I directly shot a portion of the images; I wrote the text specifically for this particular film; and the theme of the film is not the spectacle, but real life.”
Talk - Robin Mackay: The Idiots Have Won: From the Pre-Cambrian to the Post-Facebook with Matthew Noel-Tod's Bang!
Including a screening of Bang! Matthew Noel-Tod (2012) 24 mins.
Wednesday 19th February 2014
"There is no universal history that leads from savagery to humanity", said Adorno. But there is now a film with talking dogs that traces the development of the world spirit from Plato to the August 2011 riots. Bang! is a materialist history of the present that uses the language of internet memes, advice dogs, and infantilised avatars to tussle with the journey from an organic society to the surreal subsumption of capital; the unfinished story of communism for a world that's gone to the dogs.
Robin Mackay is a philosopher and director of UK arts organization Urbanomic, which promotes research activities addressing crucial issues in philosophy and science and their relation to contemporary art practice, and aims to engender interdisciplinary thinking and production. Mackay is editor of Urbanomic’s publication Collapse: Journal of Philosophical Research and Development, and has also translated numerous works of philosophy including Alain Badiou's Number and Numbers , Quentin Meillassoux's The Number and the Siren, and François Laruelle's The Concept of Non-Photography. He writes and speaks regularly on art and philosophy and has initiated research and collaborative projects with several artists including John Gerrard, Florian Hecker, Conrad Shawcross and Amanda Beech.
Can Dialectics Break Gravity? A performance lecture by Benedict Seymour and Matthew Noel-Tod.
Friday 4th April 2014
René Viénet’s 1973 film Can Dialectics Break Bricks? is a Situationist hijacking of the 1972 martial arts film The Crush. It delivers a verbal kung fu chop to bureaucratic socialism, post-structuralism, sexism, and cinema. Noel-Tod and Seymour’s performance lecture updates this strategy for the era of the CGI blockbuster and capitalist austerity. Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission… Half of North America just lost their Facebook… No-go for re-entry.
Benedict Seymour is a writer and artist. He is Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London and is currently exploring the way movies manifest a capital-imposed crisis of social reprodution, both in their overt content and through their thematics and form. He is currently completing a remake of Chris Marker’s La Jetée using animated gifs in which neoliberalism is figured as a time machine constructed, by accident, in 1971.