JS: I do find this fascinating, I’ve been thinking about it a lot: so far I’ve been conducting this interview with you from London, Birmingham and now Berlin. Collaboration always seems to hinge on the strength or importance of communication technologies, and your practice does draw attention to these conditions very directly, not just for interacting but also for extending the possibilities of communication. For example project with Lux is very much an abstract ‘conversation’ with each other through the uses of video vignettes of your journey around North America In light of our so far purely textual interview, I was wondering what defines your decisions in terms of how and what to articulate in your environments?

KCJH: Our blog is an on-going archive of short videos made separately to be shown together. We often collect a lot of footage and narrow it down to a few clips which become the work for an exhibition. Creating a blog has been a way for our recorded videos to function more like our works that have used live video feeds, where the content is potentially endless.

We’re interested in how the content of a video is edited and compiled. We often create parameters when making a video and whatever happens within these limits becomes the footage. With this work for Assembly – where we have been making videos as we move around – we started letting the movement of the camera when travelling in a train, a car, on escalators, walking, or whatever, determine the content and length. For previous works using CCTV footage, we let the cameras’ automatic pre-set positions select the content of the installation, and we have made videos where we expose the camera to changing light conditions, demonstrating the limits of the camera’s automatic light aperture and focus.

The content of the videos also reflect the medium we’re using and our experience of creating the work. We have posted to the blog alternately, and as the videos have accumulated they have mirrored each other at points. Symmetry and repetition in the videos themselves reflect this conversational dynamic, picking up on an idea in an earlier conversation or responding to a previous video in the sequence. Our works also capitalise on video’s inherent relationship to light and its intrinsic link to how we see, how cameras work and to the fundamentals of representation and perception. They draw out links between video and performance, especially how objects can seem to perform through interaction with a lens, and how people perform consciously and unconsciously in relation to a camera. We’re interested in how the camera is a prop in the performance of making the video. What our cameras record is changed by the events it is exposed to, and the subject is also altered by the presence of a camera.

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JS: Thanks Sarah, I am really glad you have brought in the technological aspect here as I wanted to ask Jenny and Kim if they could talk about the notion of how new media alter or update the notion of location in relation to artists’ practices.

For example we are conducting this conversation over a number of months. In that time I will have travelled and continued this conversation from several cities, and no doubt you might do the same – it just seems to be the nature of the art world. This has had me thinking about the ‘fixity’ of all artists’ practices in relation to their situation or environment. Do you think that varying your environment on a regular basis does influence the work you make?

There is a lot of talk about the ‘digital revolution’ although this is something that seems to have affected art practices in more subtle ways than other industries – I am thinking of print and music here -

KCJH: Yes we’re interested in the potential of communication technologies and when we started making the work for Jerwood decided to use a blog to share videos with each other when working in different places.  We soon realised that a blog format, which orders posts by author and date, meant the blog itself  became a demonstration of how our ideas developed along with our communication.  It revealed how each set of videos, made from similar ideas but in different places, influenced each other. We’ve now started exploiting the online practice of tagging to rearrange the videos by their various shared attributes. Many posts focus on aspects of our movement or our location, so now videos with similar approaches or themes can be drawn out of the chronological order.


JS: Thank you Jenny and Kim! I thought I would bring in Sarah Williams (curator of Assembly) at this point: Sarah all the work in the show is newly commissioned, what was it about Jenny and Kim’s practice that you found particularly interesting and is there anything you would like to expand upon in their thoughts so far?

SW: I am very interested in Kim and Jenny’s practice, how they engage the viewer and how their collaborative working process is revealed publicly, online and within a physical gallery context. The very nature of collaboration means that the direction of an artwork can progress in ways an artist can’t necessarily predict. Many of Kim and Jenny’s works are participatory and performative which means they contain a further unpredictability in outcome.

Their works are realized through events, video and sculptural installations, and consider technologies that augment ways of seeing, revealing how these technologies relate to the performativity of people, places and objects. They aim to heighten the sensual awareness of the staging of a place or event, changing the experience of viewing from spectacle to participatory.

Recent works draw out narrative from their practice, and are then revealed in the work itself. In the piece ‘If you can’t see my mirrors I can’t see you’ working process was revealed through conversational exchanges between the artists through Skype. In their most recent work for Assembly, this working process is documented through a series of instructions and a resulting ‘video conversation.’ As you scroll through the blog, and play the videos at the same time, the resulting footage contains a visual rhythm, easing the viewer through their thought process.

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