AL and AL at FACT
1 August 2008
UK artists AL and AL will open their first solo exhibition with
a new commission at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative
Technology). Eternal Youth will be shown alongside two of the
artists' previous award-winning films, Interstella Stella and
Perpetual Motion in the Land of Milk and Honey.
In FACT's Media Lounge, throughout the course of the exhibition, AL and AL will be inviting the public to perform a part in a future AL and AL film production within a blue screen studio. Eternal Youth launches the second strand of FACT's Human Futures programme and the My Mind strand, exploring the digital environment and our relationship to artificial life. AL and AL make spectacular computer generated videos, created entirely in their blue screen studio focussing on the power of the media, its effect on contemporary pop culture and those absorbing it.
Their new work, Eternal Youth, continues AL and AL's exploration of the desire to be immortal, and whether society's obsession with celebrity provides a possible opportunity to have your name remembered, by whatever means. The film charts the murder of a superstar, Winston Glory (performed by Liverpool artist and singer Philip McHugh) who is assassinated by a fan who felt he was "possessed" by the fictional musician. Resonating with the murder of John Lennon, and his killer, Mark Chapman's own defiant utterance that by killing the most famous man in the world he also achieved a notorious fame, Eternal Youth contemplates the endless potential to define our own notoriety and identity via modern technology, whether it be through YouTube or on a mobile phone. As the story unfolds, rendered in stunning CGI, we are constantly reminded we are watching a virtual reality, but forced to confront how much of contemporary culture exists virtually, and how this has a tangible effect on our lives.
Interstella Stella and Perpetual Motion in the Land of Milk and Honey, both originally commissioned for television and broadcast on Channel 4 in 2004 and 2006, have won AL and AL several awards and nominations. In today's celebrity obsessed culture, contemporary media platforms such as YouTube and mobile video devices increasingly allow us to control and manipulate our own image, providing endless possibilities to reform our identities and become a 'somebody'.
AL and AL's installation in FACT's Media Lounge invites visitors into a blue screen studio where they can literally perform a part in an AL and AL future film production. The installation allows the audience to have a direct, performative and instantly mediated experience - which not only references the popularity of television programmes such as X-Factor (a show that has played a massive part in increasing youth culture's desire for celebrity status and fame), but also recalls important video works such as Dan Graham's Present Continuous Past(s), Renejke Dijstra's Buzzclub or Phil Collins' The World Won't Listen. Through their use of CGI, live performance and animation as well as their direct referencing throughout the history of art, film and culture, artists AL and AL are true pioneers in their ability to render the harsh reality of synthetic times and a digital world in flux. AL and AL Biography"Al and Al's films investigate the shaping forces of fantasy and reality, plunging the spectator into a virtual world of dizzy dimensions" Marina Warner.
AL and AL met in chance encounter whilst visiting Derek Jarman's Garden in 1997. Having subsequently graduated together in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin's School of Art in 2001, they received studio awards from ACAVA and ACME to build a live-and-work blue screen performance studio in London. From this blue screen void, AL and AL have programmed and produced a body of video work which uses computer generated environments to provide simulated contexts for their studio performances. They have exhibited internationally in galleries, site-specific installations, film festivals and television. In 2006 AL and AL moved their blue screen studio to the first passenger train station in the world at Edge Hill in Liverpool to make a major new video installation work for their solo exhibition at FACT in 2008.