Skip Out is an exhibition which explores the formation of cultural identity and histories of myth making through anecdote. Beginning with the proposition of the meme as a self- replicating unit of cultural identity, the exhibition explores the mechanisms of mimicry through which such cultural signifiers perpetuate and the role of nonsense, absurdity and productive fiction in sedimenting collective identities. Taking the concepts of nonsense and absurdity as underlying qualities of cultural allegory, often compounded by the presence of humour, the exhibition serves to identify how these same mechanisms can offer a strategy of critical resistance, a way to correct existing legacies of identity and to build new ones. In a time where the internet meme as mainstream media coincides with a rise of cultural patriotism, Skip Out brings together artists who explore the construction of cultural contagion, reclaiming the techniques of repetition, imitation and subversive storytelling to provoke alternative narratives.
The exhibition will include works by the artists Soda_Jerk, Gray Wielebinski and Bedwyr Williams. Examining the mechanics of representational short-hand and its endemic effects, each artist offers a counter-world comprised of nuanced, emancipatory and personal journeys.
Soda_Jerk is a two-person art collective who work at the intersection of documentary and speculative fiction. They are fundamentally interested in the politics of images: how they circulate, whom they benefit, and how they can be undone. Predominantly working with video, their sample- based projects have also taken the form of cut-up texts, manifestos, screensavers and lecture performance.
Gray Wielebinski’s work explores gender and sexuality and how they intersect with other structures of power and identity. As they explore their own relationship with their gender, body, and socialization as trans/non binary, Gray’s work uses a variety of strategies through which to explore identity, specifically ambivalent relationships to masculinity. Recently Gray’s research and practice uses sports for both aesthetics and metaphor as an entry point to explore themes such as national identity (specifically the US and Americana), desire, myth making, power dynamics, surveillance, costume and spectacle, race, and gender. Gray often create seemingly “monstrous” figures that oscillate between beauty and the grotesque, creating new possibilities of embodiment. Ultimately Gray’s practice becomes a way to engage directly with the realities and contexts within which we live while at the same time imagining and proposing alternatives, even if it’s just in our imaginations.
Bedwyr Williams is a storyteller, interested in the moments of misdirection which can occur in the act of narrative. His practice pivots around techniques of sardonic and absurdist humour as a form of subversion, creating dystopian tales and fantastical realms which transport viewers through alternative histories and constructed realities. Williams’ works across various performative media, including live acts and readings, video and installation, as well as sculpture, painting and drawing, often create immersive worlds which attempt to transform an audiences’ expectations and perception.
A special screening of Soda_Jerk’s feature length film TERROR NULLIUS will accompany the exhibition on the 18th of July at 7pm.