Shipsides & Beggs Projects - ZOMBIE LINE
Shipsides and Beggs Projects
HD video with animation
Thank you to the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive for permission to use the footage "Review of the Ulster Division 1915".
Information connected to the exhibition at L'Orangerie, Bastogne, Belgium:
Neal Beggs and Dan Shipsides (Shipsides and Beggs Projects) develop a broad ongoing project entitled STILL NOT OUT OF THE WOODS. Much of this ongoing body of work originated whilst climbing in the Italian Dolomites amongst landscapes and remnants of WW1. Previous works, e.g. BIVACCO and YUPA STAR developed out of a particular type of climbing called Via Ferrata (meaning Iron Way) which comprises of impressive summit climbing routes installed by way of iron stemples and wires. This originated during WW1 as a way of moving troops and equipment to the strategic summits – as much of this war front staged a mountain war. In these extreme situations with barracks cut into glaciers and rock-faces the battles were waged vertically and with industrialized strategies such as detonating entire summits via mine shafts dug up through the mountains.
All this ghostly history is inevitably embedded into any contemporary mountaineering activity in this region – it’s impossible for the ghosts of this war not to seep into ones body and mind as one climbs ‘for pleasure’. Here climbing suddenly reveals its usually or often hidden encounter and engagement with history, culture and politics.
The artwork stemming from this has drifted mutated, melded and morphed into many forms and contexts and connections. It comes out of a messy, experimental, open-ended, collaborative process of two artists ‘tied to the same rope’ and is broadly shaped by the artists shared love of art, music, mountains and creative madness. Within this songs may be written, performed and recorded, things climbed, texts crafted, graphics painted, objects sculpted, wires stretched, places explored, conversations floated and jokes or ideas told.
The work developed for L’Orangerie also connects with ideas of the Iron Way / Via Ferrata – the ‘wire’ and its poetic potential – as a form of partition and the marshalling of techno-culture but also one which is acoustically configured and amplified in the manner of an electric guitar string - the weapon of counter-culture – forming an acoustic frontier. Encountering this notion is the bicycle as a form of emancipating and transformative mobility where it appears as a key motif of the avante-garde e.g. Alfred Jarry and Marcel Duchamp. The industrial production of the bicycle ushered in the capacity for personal mechanical speed but also seemed to facilitate collective groupings, perhaps ultimately expressed in Peloton – with the energy of its masculinity (of note here is the famous and grueling hill climbs of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège bike race). This grouping of men carries curious WW1 warfare connections, for instance the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) had a bicycle battalion in 1914 when they enlisted in the British Army and in the Italian Army several noted Futurist artists such as Umberto Boccioni, Marinetti and Luigi Russolo helped form the Lombardy Battalion of Volunteer Cyclists. Another element present in the work is the use of video which combines or oscillates between a form of casual documentary, drawing from the lived experience of the artists and from archival footage, and a kind of plastic painterly visuality where animated, kaleidoscopic (kaleidoscopes were used within experimental treatments for shell-shock in WW1) and interactive devices forcibly intervene in the formation of clear narratives or assertive readings - this is an encounter not a communication.
The work does not stay rooted in the histories of WW1. In fact much of the ideas above may not seem or need to be present as ultimately the work is as ‘itself’, as an encounter – and perhaps a strange psychedelic memorial to every or any situation where we are ‘still not out of the woods’.
L’Orangerie, Espace d’art contemporain
Parc Elisabeth, B 6600 Bastogne. Belgium
7 Novembre, Vernissage à 15 to 13 December
Open: Thursday to Sunday : 14h-18h, and for group.
Wednesday to Saturday 10h-18h