Love Hangover

4 May - 13 July 2019

Tom Cardew, <i>Love Hangover</i> Work in progress, 2019
Tom Cardew, Love Hangover Work in progress, 2019

I like the idea of folding something wholly mundane, like lost utterances, into something as entirely ecstatic and elevated as choral song.

Alongside Rumblestrip we are showing a project by Tom Cardew, who has worked with g39 over the last year to develop a new installation. In a space that looks like a gallery store, a series of linked narratives are played by computer generated avatars. Dishevelled and not quite of now, they are ghosts. Their voices and stories stand out as distinctly human, as they go off on tangents, stumble over words and forget what they are discussing, drifting from sense to nonsense. The group gabble on, seemingly disconnected and separate, before starting to sync up as a choir.

Using digital techniques, comedic performance, song and an elaborately disorienting installation, Tom’s work at g39 explores modes of communication and the levels of understanding - and mis-understanding - that occur on social media platforms. The work is presented in a space that is usually not open to the public, leading you through store cupboards and out of date technology, projector screens and cardboard boxes. This passage leads you to what looks like the reverse of a wooden theatre stage set before opening out into a room full of screens.

The same CGI face peers out from each screen, but seems to be unaware of you, or of the other identical faces as the multitude of tired, ventriloquised masculine avatars mumble, shout and rant trying to get a word in edgeways.
I see there being a genuine demand for art to speak through a modern language: how people and culture respond to developments of media and communication, and the evolving manner in which social engagement and communication shift, particularly in terms of the fragmented and chronically distracted forms of communication of memes, tweets and other such social media avenues.

Eventually each voice finds accord, and they harmonise into the parts of the same song, a shared voice in a familiar pattern of chorus and verse. Cardew takes technologies that seem very artificial and distant and finds them compelling, finds something very human and vulnerable about a deep rooted need to connect.

As in Rumblestrip in the main space, omens and portents rely on patterns, on our assumption of cause and effect, a desire to find order and make predictions. This forward projection is part of survival – a way of making sense of future uncertainties. We habitually look for the connections between things, or forge them into cause and effect even when the evidence points elsewhere.

  • Tom Cardew, <i>Love Hangover</i> Work in progress, 2019
  • Tom Cardew, <i>Love Hangover</i> Work in progress, 2019