Stable Systems (Studies in Gradual Flux)

Choreography: Benjamin Forster and Rhiannon Newton.
Thank you to Carly Armstrong and Jessica Lewis from Unkempt Dance Collective

A system or an identity may appear stable for a time, however nothing is ever still. There is always movement. Gradually dancing, small variations constantly shift the system until a threshold is reached. This is related to the idea of a critical point. It is the point, or the moment, that a stable system shifts and becomes another. Identities break, and in turn are reapplied, but for a moment the groundless ground is revealed. Two stable systems collide, each shifts dramatically, splintering off into multiple possible forms, or maybe only for a moment each returning to its own predictable stability in time.

Primavera Installation View

Installation view, Primavera 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Image courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
© the artist, Photograph: Alex Davies

Primavera 2012
4 October–2 December
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Primavera 2012 was curated by the MCA’s Anna Davis and brings together the work of Dion Beasley (NT), Benjamin Forster (WA), Anastasia Klose (VIC), Todd McMillan (NSW), Kate Mitchell (NSW), Teho Ropeyarn (QLD) and Justine Varga (NSW).

Primavera is an annual exhibition held at the Museum of Contemporary Art for Australian artists aged 35 years and under. The primavera exhibition series was founded through the generous benefaction of Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM and their family in memory of their daughter and sister Belinda.

Works ranged from highly autobiographical performances to more oblique strategies where ‘the self’ is transformed into a fictional persona, represented by an animal, a computer program, the trace of an action or even a pile of nuts. Humour in the face of failure and an acceptance of the comic absurdity of life were other ideas explored in the exhibition as well as themes of darkness and illumination, circular time, the haziness of memory and our ability to conceptually travel through the past, present and future. The works covered a wide range of artistic practices and sensibilities, from drawing, printmaking, film and video, to performance, installation, digital media and photography.

relevant [ Primavera 2012 ]

Truth, 2012

Benjamin Forster, Truth
Jar and Paint,
10 x 10 x 13cm approx.

A small work commissioned for the Conservatorium Project. The Conservatorium was a exhibition of artworks in jars. The show was made up of contributions from 80 invited artists, all of whom were given the brief that their work must be at least partially contained within a glass, plastic or ceramic jar.

Curated by Anna Dunnill and Renae Coles, The Conservatorium was the inaugural exhibition at Paper Mountain. The Conservatorium was a part of FRINGE WORLD Festival, Perth 2012.

relevant [ 12 Truth ]

Installation View

Fremantle Arts Centre
25 Mar – 15 Apr 2011

The result of an extended residency through FACAIR, Fremantle Arts Centre’s Artist in Residency Programme, )( continues Forster’s critique of drawing, tracing the boundaries of logic, economy and the role of the artist in art making.

Forster’s curiously titled )( engages in the meaning of construction and the construction of meaning. His work is full of the fun of language puns but also a serious critique of the limitation of language. In )( Forster has erased much of the source material only to find a significant new language in the often overlooked lynch pins of text – punctuation and space. Forster reminds us that translating meaning fundamentally relies on a constant and expected language, however an artist’s practice, and importantly for Forster drawing, relies on and expands from the shortcomings of this same language.

Detailed list of works ( download ).

Catalogue with essay by Liang Luscombe ( download ).

“All the books, no matter how diverse they might be, are made up of the same elements: the space, the period, the comma, the twenty- two letters of the alphabet… In the vast Library there are no two identical books. From these inconvertible premises he deducted that the Library is total and that its shelves register all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographical symbols (a number which, though extremely vast, is not infinite) : In other words, all that is given to express, in all languages.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel

relevant [ )( ]

Ambiguous I, II, III, IV, 2010

What makes an image offensive? And how does this relate to the boundary between meaning and information?

Ambiguous is a series of digital prints. Each one contains the exact same pixels sourced from an ‘aberrant’ image, although each image is a unique algorithmic translation of this taboo data. They all are displaying the exact same data; concealing and censoring in plain sight. The simple process for each translation is displayed at the bottom of each image.

relevant [ 10 Rational ]

Untitled, 2011

A generative work made in response to Anna Madeleine’s as part of the project Re:.

Re: is a playful and experimental online project involving six young artists – Anna Madeleine, Benjamin Forster, Robbie Karmel, Luke Penders, Sarah Catherine Firth and Travis H Heinrich. Over seven months each artist will create five artworks – a total of thirty works. The artists will take turns each week presenting a new work. There’s only one rule; each new piece must reference the one produced the week before. Not intended as a site for complete and finished works, rather re: can be seen as a simple game that allows for the artists to play with the intersections of each of their individual practices.

Find out more and view some of the work here.

relevant [ 11 Codeworks ]

>> detritus

Benjamin Forster was an artist in residence at Perth Institute of Contemporary Art from 6 July – 25 August 2010.

In conjunction with his research residency at SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia, Benjamin Forster utilised the PICA Studio to generate hundreds of drawings in his earnest pursuit of the value of artistic process whilst also interrogating the notion of cynicism.

After the public presentation of his visual research on the 10th of August 2010, all the work culminating from this residency were bundled up and discarded.

__________ is a living process and artworks are simply the detritus of this process.

pica studio

Drawings bundled in black plastic.

relevant [ PICA residency ]

An Invitation

This project is designed to facilitate collective ownership of cultural artefacts. This humble experiment will establish a social method for cultural preservation, acknowledging cultural production and consumption as inherently collective. Inspired by an interest in alternative models of exchange, paired with the imminent pragmatic concerns surrounding my upcoming relocation, I have devised a system of social custodianship of my artwork.

Upon entering a transitional phase of my life, I am no longer able to care for an ever-growing collection of works. I want to invite others who value my practice and work (maybe you), to enter into custodial relationships with one or multiple of my pieces. This relationship is personal and reciprocal, formalised though the signing of a legally binding custodian agreement. Custodians become caretakers responsible for the continuation and maintenance of the artwork under their care, but also are able to access and enjoy the work freely. They become part of an extended network of custodians, acknowledged as active supporters and entitled to a financial stake in the work. Ultimately this relationship is intimate and personal, encouraging dialogue and conversation about our positions within the production, consumption and preservation of culture.

The template Custodian Agreement is available here. This agreement can be used or modified by anyone interested in adopting a similar custodial structure.

Further Reading:

— Tamen, Miguel. (2001). Friends of Interpretable Objects. London, England : Harvard University Press
— Hirsch, Antonia Ed. (2012). Intangible Economies, Vancouver, Canada : Fillip Editions
— Simpson, Moira. (2007). From Treasure House to Museum… and Back. In Watson, Sheila (Ed.), Museums and their Communities. New York : Routledge
— Hyde, Lewis. (1983). The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, Canada: Random House


relevant [ 13 Custodians ]

Our Written World – An attempt to algorithmically discern written marks, 2011

A prototype text detection algorithm is used to process footage from the suburban streets of Perth. Everything that is not determined a word, is erased. This custom algorithm does not look for known letters, but rather in an attempt to avoid anglocentrism checks for properties common to the written word across all cultures.

Attempting to find the intersections between multiple market places, 2011

Installed as part of the 2011 Joondalup Invitation Art Award, this work repurposed a receipt printer and electronic door chime. As the shoppers moved through the space, their passing triggered the receipt printer to vomit a unique star shape onto the floor. As the exhibition progressed the waste built up – at first innocuous, then a cordoned off trip hazard, and finally shutdown.

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