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The Comedy of Errors

Art Works: David Corbett

13 October 16 words: Art Works

"The intention was to express the unpredictability, dynamism and spectacle of environmental protest, and to evoke the same moments of fluctuating harmony and chaos"

Barricading for Beginners

These are a images from Barricading for Beginners, a generative collage I exhibited in Nottingham Contemporary last year. It was made as a response to the show Rights of Nature, which although I thoroughly enjoyed, I felt it should have included some representation of the tools and techniques employed by environmental activists. Consequently, I decided to focus on the subject of protest sites and direct action as inspiration.

The work was displayed as a large projection with an audio score in the Contemporary’s live art space. I prepared the images, audio and text; then the final collage was composed and executed in Max/Msp. It was difficult to create customised sequences that selected, displayed and animated material before compiling it all into a self-contained application.

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The images were selected to showcase the variety of inventive, nonviolent methods used in protests, including barricading, concrete lock-ons, tripods, and arm tubes (the technique employed by the Nottingham Black Lives Matter protest in August). The audio was a field recording from a large street protest and the text was extracted from Direct Action: A Handbook which is a free, @nti-copyright publication.

The images sporadically changed, reappearing at new coordinates on the canvas, while audio would vary in pitch, volume and track position. The intention was to express the unpredictability, dynamism and spectacle of environmental protest, and to evoke the same moments of fluctuating harmony and chaos. The piece received generally positive feedback, the most memorable comment being about its “unrelenting frenetic energy” – absolutely what I was aiming to capture.

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In my work, I’m interested in the appropriation, arrangement and synthesis of existing materials to create new situations and reveal hidden connections between disciplines. These activities are usually intuitive, driven by curiosity and experimentation, but given structure and cohesion through time-based composition and textual interventions.

I studied at West Notts College in Mansfield before completing a fine art degree in Hull. After that, I became involved with a number of creative groups and collectives, including Waveswarms Sonic Arts, ILLFM Internet Radio and Temporary Autonomous Arts. More recently, I’ve returned to study an MFA in fine art at Nottingham Trent University, where my peer group founded Parallel Artists Network in 2014. The group have since moved into a shared studio space at Primary and we’re now busy working on the next show, Crisis Interlude.

Given the chance, I’d like to create a large-scale text piece on the south west face of Castle Rock reading "Robin’s Hood" in the Hollywood typeface, illuminated at night. I think that would be a warm welcome for those arriving into Nottingham train station from the south.

Parallel Artists Network, Crisis Interlude, Thursday 20 - Friday 28 October, 10am - 5pm, Sneinton Market.

Temporary Autonomous Art, Wednesday 9 - Saturday 12 November, Ex Fed, 199 Eade Road, London.

David Corbett website

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