it took forever getting ready to exist: UIQ (the unmaking-of)

12 February–28 March 2015

The Showroom
63 Penfold Street, London, NW8 8PQ
Wednesday - Sunday 12.00-6.00pm

it took forever getting ready to exist: UIQ (the unmaking-of) marks the culmination of Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni’s project around Félix Guattari’s unmade sci-fi film Un Amour d’UIQ (A Love of UIQ). The exhibition centres on a newly commissioned soundwork accompanied by research material and other works that Thomson and Maglioni have created in relation to the unrealised film.

Guattari’s outlandish screenplay, which he started writing at the beginning of the 1980s, explores what happens when an infinitely small, invisible alien life-force (the Infra-quark Universe or UIQ) makes contact with a community of squatters and begins to desire a form (a face, a body, a language) commensurate with the world of its hosts.

Following on from the 2014 screening of the artists’ own film In Search of UIQ – which charts key moments in the development of Guattari’s project – in prelude to the show, Thomson and Maglioni have conceived an environment inspired by one of the central dilemmas of UIQ: how to give shape to a bodiless entity that has no spatial or temporal limits.

Working with the paradoxical condition of the unmade as something both already and not yet present, a potential field of shifting forms and forces, the artists seek to ‘produce’ Guattari's film through a collective experience of envisioning, without filming a single scene.

Focusing on the original script, this cinematic process has developed through a series of gatherings held in different countries, to which Maglioni and Thomson give the name ‘seeances’. In the artists' words:

“A small community of envisionaries are invited to inhabit a zone of autonomous temporality where they become the hosts, receivers and transmitters of UIQ, contaminating each other in turn with their own visions and ideas of Guattari’s film and of UIQ’s possible manifestations, both within and beyond its limits.”

The soundwork recombines fragments of recordings of these 'seeances’ in a composition of myriad voices and electronic signals, elements that circulate in The Showroom gallery space, offering visitors glimpses of a missing film (and universe) that, though invisible, may begin to affect their own vision.

Accompanying and interacting with the sound is what the artists refer to as a quantum archive, "expressing its dual nature as process and crystallisation, wave and particle". The archive assembles material relating to Guattari and the Infra-quark Universe, including photos, videos, maps and sketches that range across the areas of Autonomia, free radio, schizo-analysis, molecular biology and the dark matter of sci-fi cinema.

A further component that will evolve and mutate throughout the show are the artists’ notes for an on-going English translation of Guattari’s screenplay to be published in late spring 2015.

Infra-quark events

Performance by eRikm : ElectroA
20 February 2015, 7.00–9.00pm
Tickets: £8/£4
Booking essential
Please bring proof of purchase and concessionary status (if applicable) with you.

A live performance with 2 CD turntables + mixing console + electronics + 12 CDRs.
Electronic and synthesised sound, anecdotal and instrumental. Sounds and materials used here come from eRikm's recent compositional works. Reusing these sonic objects in the space of free improvisation will result in a composition played in real time.

eRikm is a French musician and composer who treats sound like a living organism, constantly in flux, open to accident. He is most well known for his work with turntables and his improvisation with musicians and composers ranging from Luc Ferrari and Fennesz to Christian Marclay, Otomo Yoshihide and Jerome Noetinger.

Visual conversation: Sci-fi futures and the production of subjectivities
Nina Power, The Otolith Collective, Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni
7 March 2015, 3.00–6.00pm
Free, but Booking essential
Please bring proof of registration with you.

"Here, then, is a first type of stitch or seam: when science-fiction authors extend, amplify or fabulate with a hypothesis. When what they are exploring is the unexpected manner in which a small difference can produce enormous changes in the way things are and when they pursue and at the same time create the consequences of such a difference. It is then that science fiction becomes a historico-socio-cultural experiment. Like scientific experiments, it gives all due importance to the question 'what if?', and to creating the kind of differences that can make a real difference. Like the sciences, science-fiction manages in this case to complicate things, take risks. The counterfactual hypotheses it forges are occasions for learning, whereby the author creates the possibility of envisaging other ways of being 'humans' in other worlds - ways that affect their bodies, feelings and thought, so that what we might regard as 'normal' becomes material for investigation that the story puts into question."
Isabelle Stengers, Disorientations

Beginning from Stengers' proposition, Nina Power, The Otolith Collective, Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni engage in a visual conversation on the role science-fiction can play in subverting and expanding our affective and political horizons, splicing their reflections with examples from their own image repertories.

Flat Time House
Graeme Thomson & Silvia Maglioni imagine a UIQ parallel event in John Latham's living sculpture What do you mean by the?
An infinitely small talk as dinner began to break up
13 March 2015
More information at Flat Time House

Artists' Biography
Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni are filmmakers and artists whose work interrogates potential forms and fictions emerging from the ruins of the moving image, and whose practice includes the creation of feature films, exhibitions, sound and video installations, performances, event-works, tube-tracts, radio shows and books. Since 2005, the artists’ production (and, on occasion, resistance to production) has emanated from Terminal Beach, a constructivist zone for critical reflection, exploring possible new configurations of image, sound, text and politics using cinema in expanded form to reactivate lost or forgotten archives and histories and to create new modes of collective engagement with contemporary thought, occasionally in alliance with other collectives. Their work has been presented at numerous international festivals and art spaces including FID-Marseille, Bafici, Jihlava, Serralves, Tate Britain, Centre Pompidou, Anthology Film Archives, REDCAT, MACBA and Castello di Rivoli.

This exhibition is co-curated and co-commissioned by The Otolith Collective and The Showroom. It is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Fluxus, a Franco-British Fund for Contemporary Art, The Otolith Collective and The Showroom.

Seeances were kindly supported by, Black Tulip, ZDB, Univerzita Karlova, Casco, Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers and Bulegoa z/b, with equipment support from Khiasma and Terminal Beach.

Thanks to Lisson Gallery and molo for production support.

Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni, it took forever getting ready to exist: UIQ (the unmaking-of), 2015. Courtesy the artists.

Project Category
curated exhibition