Dan Auluk is an artist-curator living and working in Birmingham, UK.
Auluk's arts practice is interested in the making of art activity (as medium) and the experiences shared through experimental collaborative approaches. The art activity includes experimenting with text, spoken word, sound, video, performance, participation and intervention, manifesting as live art collaborative performances that invite audiences to take part. This live art attempts to blur the boundaries betweeen artist, curator and audience, exploring alternate ways of activating spaces and audiences and destablizing the conventions we are used to, when experiencing art in an exhibition context.
Date: November 11th, 2013
Hello again Dan! So, how are you feeling?
Very excited! Less anxious than the opening show!
Excited? Less Anxious?
I guess excited because of how the original exhibition is changing and shifting visually, aesthetically and formally mainly informed through the residency programme, where the resident artists were asked to leave a trace of their activitybehind. Excited because we have new and recycled experimental works informed by the original show. The show feels more improvised and in flux than the first show with artworks that overlap and intersect each other, creating a hybrid that includes
sculpture, performances, video, audio, interactive works and text based work. I guess at exhibitions (whether I am an artist, curator, artist-curator, audience member etcetera) I’m always curious, as a spectator, to watch audience reactions and physical movement. I am especially, looking forward to how audiences navigate themselves around this exhibition and how this adds more visual layers to what they experience.
Less anxious most definitely! Well during the install there was one particular artwork, which added an extra narrative layer to the exhibition but unfortunately this fell off the wall and could not be installed in time. But am I excited that this will now feature in the re-opening/re-staging of the show. I also feel my role has morphs between artist-curator, facilitator and spectator. In some ways this part of the exhibition was an attempt to relinquish my curatorial authority and experiencing the exhibition as an audience member.
So what was the intention of the exhibition as a whole?
To produce an exhibition that is experimental and evolving/devolving show based around a residency programme. I feel residencies are the new (I guess have been for some time) in part have been the cultural and financial economies for visual artists, a thinking space, which is great as it reinforces a potential new wave of discovering ever expanding global visual cultural where the artist is nomadic in nature, I guess much like a Zombie who has no fixed address. The exhibition will take place at ARTicle Gallery, which is a public gallery and
project space, situated within the School of Art, Birmingham City University. It’s been a really humbling to have been offered this opportunity by Mona Casey, a very talented and experienced Curator.
As you know the show has two openings. The opening event was a group show (for one evening) where all the invited artists had an opportunity to create a group show of the current state of where they are in their arts practice. After this the series of residencies lasting between two and three days will begin. The second opening or launch, will be another group show that will show a trace of the activity that took place during each residency. Artists are expected to leave a trace of their time behind so the gallery starts to populate. The artist is completely free and autonomous in the way they display and present their work.
So how do you see your role in this?
Essentially I’m an artist-curator. An exhibition maker and making exhibitions is the medium or sphere I tend to work within or utilize. To be fair I find definition of roles awkward, and often see myself as a facilitator, or possible a filmmaker/director who is trying to achieve the best from the artists I am working and learning with. The discursive and collaborative nature of the way I work is just as important as the work itself. I guess you could say that the exhibition itself is an abstracted version from the conversations that happen. A friend recently told me not to be hung up about definitions and suggested if I make exhibitions and they are influenced by films then perhaps I was an Exhibitionist Filmmaker which was rather amusing but sort of made sense!
In a sense this exhibition is also exploring disrupted narrative. One could say that the beginning of the show (the first group show) is indeed the end of an activity. For me I guess it is the middle part of a film and the residencies are the beginning or the prequel?
So for this exhibition I guess I am a Curator, Visual Artist, Facilitator, Filmmaker and
exhibitionist! I guess I am more interested in the post discussions that I have with invited artists to see how they viewed their experience. From being artist to audience and then back to audience intrigues me as does the unexpected nature of the potential outcome of this exhibition.
So what films or filmmakers are you influenced by and why?
I am influenced by, films that have a non-linear narrative. Films that do not have an ending but various exit points. I am interested in exhibitions and artworks that are in flux, that are evolving or devolving and are experimental and unpredictable in nature. The intention of my exhibitions is to raise more or new questions, which often bleed into the next work that I make.
Some of the filmmakers that I am influenced by are Lars Von Trier, Michael Haneke, Gus Van Sant, Darren Aronofsky, and Terrence Malik etc. I suppose for all these directors I am interested in the way time and narrative is disrupted. For Act 1: ZOMBIE Poverty I am also interested in the director Mike Leigh, with the apparent lengthy improvisations he develops to build characters and storylines. It is the improvised way of working that intrigues me more when making exhibitions. So, I have an idea that develops through conversations with the invited artists who are taking part that begins to affect and contribute to my initial ideas. If you like, this a reflective process and in a sense dismantling my own authority that I guess may encourage a collaborative way of working.
I also adore musicals and Bollywood films! Partly because of absurdity of soundtrack disruption and full bleed of colour used! Albeit, Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark attempted to reverse the usual formal structures of musicals, which intrigues me too. I’m hoping the opening show for my Zombie exhibition will also be as absurd and preposterous!
So what film(s) affected you the most in the last 12 months?
Melancholia by Lars Von Trier.
Well it’s definitely one of the most visually beautiful films Von Trier has made. But after a second viewing I just found it terribly sad and upsetting because of the inevitability of life! I can assure you Zombie Poverty is a much happier experience – I think! Well actually I don’t know the end result – so we’ll see!
So what are you working on next?
There are always a few projects and ideas that I am working on. Sometimes these just remain as ideas for many years! Currently the working titles of my next couple of projects are Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (AKA an exhibition as a gentle form of exercise) and For 40 days and for 40 nights. One is about audiences and the latter is about pushing my emotional and physical boundaries and dismantling and disrupting my self. I am also working on my first short film, which is part of Zombie trilogy. The working titles are Zombie Love, Zombie Poverty and Zombie Hate.
And finally. What is the purpose of art?
I guess to produce something that resonates with, first and foremost with yourself and hopefully with your audiences. To create a discussion? To move people physically and emotionally! I guess ultimately audiences’ will make up their own minds. Once you place artwork in the public domain, I feel the ownership shifts and the public will decide and bring whatever shit they are going through to the work! What is the purpose of art for you?
The death of god.
That’s a great title for an exhibition.
Thanks for your time and look forward to ACT 1: ZOMBIE Poverty!
Ofelia Carmen (b. 1980), born in Hungary, based in Budapest and London, is a writer whose
is researching the affect of text presented within art exhibitions.
Act 1: ZOMBIE Poverty Interview by Ofelia Carmen