Exhibition Title: Bad News
Solo/Group/Joint: Joint Show with artist Hilary Champion
Where: Newspeak House, 133 Bethnal Green Road, London
How it came about: Self-curated
Dates: 7th to 20th December 2017
PV: 7TH December 2017
Work shown #DicktatorDon Faded Glory
With a long standing interest in American politics and her passion for combining art with technology, Deborah Davies (Dd) is exhibiting two pieces of work:
Faded Glory and #DicktatorDon: ‘Making America Great Again….One Prick At A Time’
Hilary Champion is exhibiting one piece of work:
Messages From The Office For Global Improvement. This work critiques the bombardment of the public by a constant stream of over-zealous advice, warnings and veiled attempts to micro-manage many aspects of people’s lives.
Dd’s Faded Glory represents the ebb and flow of conversations on Twitter around Russia’s suspected interference in the USA Elections of November 2016 and the subsequent fallout, such as the congressional hearings and the Mueller investigation. Taking its feed from the live Twitter API the conversations are simplified to a positive or negative statement about Russia’s alleged interference. The more negative the conversations, the stronger the Russian flag shines through the Stars and Stripes until it eclipses Old Glory completely. Combining textiles using a devoré technique to distress the fabric the work is combined with LED’s and electronics and a twitter feed.
#DicktatorDon: ‘Making America Great Again….One Prick At A Time’
This hand-made effigy of the ‘orange one’ is designed to be humorous in that you can literally poke fun at the 45th President of the United States of America. It invites participants to work out for themselves where they should prick him if they want to make his eyes light up. Throughout the last six months Dd has been sending a limited number of #DicktatorDons to those who apply for one online through the website. Some results of their interactions with #DicktatorDon will be on display in the exhibition. You can even apply to own your own and be part of this interactive and particular art work when visiting the gallery. This work is another example of how Dd’s art practice explores representation, empowerment, conversation and feedback.
In Messages From The Office For Global Improvement, Hilary Champion demonstrates her strong empathy with Noam Chomsky who believed that governments increasingly keep their populaces preoccupied with small questions so that they will not think to ask the big questions. In particular she critiques the bombardment of the public by a constant stream of over-zealous advice, warnings and veiled attempts to micro-manage many aspects of people’s lives. The warnings, enthusiastically disseminated by both conventional and social media, cover a plethora of topics. This includes the health risks posed by over-cooked chips, arsenic in rice and the threat to air quality posed by the methane produced by cattle. Working under the guise of the totally fictitious ‘Office For Global Improvement’ she produces hand-made screen-prints to satirize this relentless stream of pronouncements from armies of faceless bureaucrats. Gallery visitors will be encouraged to add their own experiences of spurious advice to those amassed from her previous showings of this work.
QUOTE FROM Dd
“To quote Naomi Kline from her latest book, NO Is Not Enough.
“The fact is the US presidency impacts everyone on earth, no one is fully protected from the actions of the world’s largest economy, the planet's second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses and the nation with the world’s largest military arsenal.”
And with parliament due to receive documents from Facebook and Twitter in December 2017, showing the reach of Russian-backed postings during the Brexit referendum this piece of work is somewhat prescient.”
Quote Two (with reference to #DicktatorDon)
“Pussy-grab, manny jab”
Quote Three (with reference to #DicktatorDon)
“I was surprised at how many people are reluctant to jab him with a pin, it’s a small percentage but it certainly makes me think about how much power representations hold for people.”
QUOTE FROM Hilary
“I believe we're being bombarded by over-zealous advice and scare-mongering in many types of media. But instead of behaving as intended and feeling both cowed and grateful for these attempts to micro-mange my life I am using my practice to highlight and exaggerate the relentlessness and absurdity of so many pronouncements from on high. And I invite you to do the same.”
BIO: Deborah Davies (aka Dd)
Dd is an international exhibiting artist. She works in a variety of mediums from sculpture to installations, from soft-circuits to video and textiles. Many of her pieces are responsive, reacting and changing in response to participants’ engagement. She leans towards working with light.
In the early 90’s, Dd studied for a BA Hons in Photography at West Surrey College of Art and Design, UK. More significantly in her graduation year, her work was selected for the highly prestigious John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award. After graduating she had a successful career as a TV Producer/Director/Broadcast Journalist for a variety of broadcasters including the BBC. Having built up a body of artistic work, she left television when offered the position of Artist in Residence at the University of London’s Centre for Creative Collaboration (C4CC) in the UK, in 2010. During her time at C4CC, she became interested in wearable technology. Her views on this subject appear in the book “Designing with Smart Textiles” (London: Bloomsbury/Fairchild written by Sarah Kettley released, early 2016). Dd’s work has been included in London Design Festival, BetaHaus, KunstHaus Kule and KunstHalle Platoon in Berlin, Germany. She has also exhibited large scale sculptures at Burning Man in 2013, 2014 and 2016 with StarWay and interactive scupture.
From 2016 – 2017 StarWay was installed in Playa Park, a public sculpture park in Reno, Nevada. #DicktatorDon is to be included in Sarah Staton’s SupaStore Human- We are the product at The Dikeou Collection, Denver, Colorada, USA in December in 2017.
BIO: Hilary Champion
Hilary Champion has always been interested in using her practice to critique what she feels are major issues. Reflecting her South Wales heritage, she began her career by devising sculptures and installations highlighting the involvement of Welsh plantation owners in the slave trade and sugar industry. Subsequently her work was a manifestation of her dream that one day all conflict and violence would have ended. In her latest practice she uses her experience of working in the advertising, PR and press industries and her interest in writers such as George Orwell , Noam Chomsky and Dr Ben Goldacre to critique fake news and the manipulation of the media by those with secret, vested interests. Her work was recently shown as part of Statement in Bloomsbury, The Waiting Room in Wandsworth Common Mainline Station ( where she exhibited a customized No Waiting Sign) and an exhibition at Brighton's Jubilee Library.