Friday, 14 January 2011

The Days of Darkrooms and Reel-to-Reel: ANALOG

The era of darkrooms and reel-to-reel recording studios is the subject of ANALOG, an exhibition at Riflemaker, 11th January - 5th March.

Left to right: Karlheinz Stockhausen in the studio; advert for Garrard record playing equipment; Richard Nicholson, Roy Bass darkroom, 2006; Richard Nicholson, Gordon Bishop Associates, 2006
The exhibition includes photographs of London darkrooms by Richard Nicholson. When Nicholson started his project in 2006 there were 214 professional darkrooms operating in London; by 2010 there were only 5. In an article in The Guardian, Nicholson describes his approach:
In keeping with the spirit of the place, I photographed it in the dark. I used a tripod, switched off the lights, opened the shutter for 60 seconds, and moved around the room with a flashgun, firing it lots of times. It's a technique that lets me bathe a scene in light. Normally, darkrooms are gloomy places.
Richard Nicholson, Roy Snell's Darkroom, 2006
The world of analogue sound recording will be represented in an installation by Kitty, Daisy and Lewis (a three-piece band influenced by R&B, swing, jump blues, country and Western, blues, Hawaiian and rock 'n' roll) who will perform at Riflemaker during the course of the exhibition as well as recording visitors.

The exhibition will also feature work by Clare Mitten (BA Fine Art Painting, University of Gloucestershire, 1998-2001): her cardboard sculptures 're-analogue' objects such as mobile 'phones and laptops.

Clare Mitten, Aztec_Topal (Red), 2010
In contrast to all the above 'analoguery', there will also be an installation by Ziegelbaum + Coelho which is described as follows: An ambitious, pulsating LED installation completes itself only when touched by the visitor, each movement modifying and transforming the work itself.
The gun-testing vault at Riflemaker will house 220 luminescent pixel-tiles. Visitors to the gallery will be able to change the colours of the tiles, create a rhythmic pulse and re-arrange the overall form of the square, magnetic blocks.

Read the exhibition catalogue on-line and review by Sean O'Hagan.

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