Sarah Abu Bakr, Ric Carvalho and James Irwin, in partnership with the Centre for Creative Collaboration, London, invite you to Grey Area, an exhibition which re-thinks and re-mediates contemporary art practices in relation to new technologies. Jack Burnham (1970) predicted that our relationship with art in the Information Age would evolve from a 'one-way' process to a 'two-way' dialogue. Taking this challenge as a starting point, the works exhibited within Grey Area operate in this dialogical space.
Sarah Abu Bakr's work questions women's traditional identities in Middle Eastern, Muslim cultures. It maps the processes of how women are producing new forms of identity. In the space between traditional and contemporary life women are reshaping their relationships between body, culture, and religion. How does she, as part of the post 1990 Gulf War generation, express these multiple experiences? How do new forms of selfhood and agency emerge out of previous cultural entrenchments? Her videos are concerned with such dilemmas. For example, five.five.five. is based on the daily practice of performing the five times a day prayers - Salat. In this work the ritual is abstracted and made in silence. The context is changed.
Ric Carvalho's work is produced in transient spaces such as supermarkets, lobbies and street corners. These interventions and social happenings challenge how people interact with everyday activity and events. For Next Customer Bar, he has inserted a LED display into the handheld bars which are found at supermarket checkouts. Normally they are used to distinguish one customer's groceries from
another. When the scrolled text is based on cues prepared for television advertising, what kinds of messages overwhelm the products purchased? What kinds of images and narratives are now made? Placed between production and consumption, do 'we' become active agents in creative processes and actions?
James Irwin's sculptures break down and disrupt real-time technologies. He examines the relationship between contemporary art and technology from a critical perspective. For Grey Area he has partly closed off a room with an anechoic screen. Six square meters of RAM isolates the rest of his works from the wireless and social networks in the building. Carbon foam pyramids prevent electromagnetic and sound waves from entering the room. Here, we are presented with lo-tech sculptures that engage with minimalist and conceptual aesthetics. How do we respond to real-time communication within an architectural space that is staged for the reception of gallery based art?