Folklore, facebook, oilseed rape, the Higgs boson ‘God particle’, Scientology and instruments of medieval torture have all played a role in the thought process driving Tamsyn Challenger’s residency with Beaconsfield, now opening into an exhibition.
The building-wide project, Monoculture, combines participatory sculptural objects with digital projection and a small farm.
When Challenger joined facebook and Twitter, in order to communicate with fans from a previous project, 400 Women, she started to notice the ‘same’ self-portrait – particularly taken up by young women – proliferating across social networking technologies. The artist found these ‘selfie’ avatars disturbing for their emulation of a certain submissive ‘beauty’ and discovered that some scientific forecasting of physiognomy suggests that we are knowingly or unknowingly highly influenced by the ‘digital face’ and will even use medical intervention to attain it.
Challenger notes mass objectification of the self and draws a parallel with the agricultural practice of cultivating a single cash crop. Oilseed Rape is farmed on a large scale due to its high yield, using the pesticide linked to the so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which can decimate sections of the eco-system. She asks her audience to join her in questioning the level of control being wielded by a supposedly ‘free’ environment like the internet.
Habitual performance, viral infiltration and feminine identity are themes informing these new interactive sculptures and a series of related events: linking earlier forms of human control by pseudo-sexual torture (predominantly exacted upon women who asserted their individuality) with cultural homogenisation on a global scale.
Monoculture expands beyond the galleries and works on the public in a truly viral way through online interaction and time-based events off-site.
3 February Thames Southbank: Tamsyn Challenger with Darren Ellis and Filipe Alcada
20 February – 13 April 2013 Wednesday-Saturday 11am–5pm
Exhibition opening Friday 22 February 6-8pm as part of SLAM LAST Fridays
Tamsyn Challenger has been in residence with Beaconsfield between June 2012 and February 2013 – as a TestBed artist. TestBed signals Beaconsfield’s role as a mentoring organisation, demonstrates our function as an incubator and generates visual/digital technology commissions tied to residencies.
Beaconsfield 22 Newport Street London SE11 6AY For More Info: www.beaconsfield.ltd.uk