PUMP UP THE VOLUME ARTIST - PUMP UP THE
PUMP UP THE VOLUME ARTIST - PUMP IT UP OAKDALE MN.
Pump Up The Volume Artist
52.23: Shadow and light (and, under no circumstances, any hints of post production)
I was an international rock star In a previous life.
Don’t believe me? Well, for most of my twenties, I regularly dressed in black, hung a Stratocaster guitar around my neck, pumped the volume well past 2?, and rocked it out with my band. As for the international bit, our band did manage a European tour, albeit for one weekend only, and only as far as Lichtenstein. Okay, but what about the ‘star’ bit? Well, maybe that is stretching it a tad, but we did get a record deal with a label from the US, and we ended up recording an album with some producers who came from Orange County, California (and who came complete with long blonde hair held back, pretty much permanently, with a pair of decidedly cool shades. And that was just the man – seriously, it was.)
Prior to the producers coming over, they wanted demo tapes of our songs so that they could be familiar with the material before hitting the studio. We were all geared up to give them the full on band treatment, letting them hear how epic they sounded with all the noise of drums and guitars and other rock associated paraphernalia.
But they were having none of it. All they wanted was a single acoustic guitar and voice. That’s it – no frills, no embellishments, just the songs in the raw. “If you strip away all the arrangements, and it still sounds good, then it’s a good song,” said one of our producers. “The arrangements will only make it sound better. But if the song itself is weak, then all the coolest arrangements in the world are only window dressing on a dud.” Although at first we still wanted to do the full band versions, we came to realise they were totally right. Quality song writing comes first.
This week’s assignment for Project 52 came with a similar tough love brief. Darren’s post of this week’s topic came complete with a very pointed warning: “Your photos may not be photoshopped at all in any way apart from to save from RAW to jpeg. (i will want to see original RAW files if I suspect foul play)”.
What prompted such strict rules was the photographic equivalent of what our Californian producers were trying to teach us, way back all those years ago in my former life. Darren had been off out on a photowalk with some other photographers, and came back very frustrated at what he thought was his lack of ability to take a decent shot. “So why were my pictures bad?” he said. “Because I was with people who could take pictures and do it properly. No fuss, no quirkiness or gimmicks just quality. I looked like a snapshot artist beside them ….”
When I first read Darren’s pronouncement, my reaction was similar to that when our Californian producers had made their 'stripped back' demo edict. I love post production; I enjoy fine art photography; I am an inveterate tinkerer with my photos. I’ll freely admit I have been suffering Photoshop-related cold turkey withdrawal symptoms this week. But, Darren, I’ve been true to the spirit of the law this week and here is my humble offering. No post production at all. Simply a RAW conversion.
“On Friday I learned a huge lesson,” you said, “quality always wins.” I am sure that this photo is not quality – but I am willing to push myself in order to learn how to get the best out of the camera itself, aiming for a good shot, enhanced – not rescued – by post production.
I’m willing at least for this week, that is. In future weeks, I may well, in a fit of post production-deprived pique, trash a hotel room, chuck a TV out a window, and jolly well turn on Photoshop. Well, I was an international rock star in a former life, you know…
DavidDorrell@neugallery with chicken
The MAURICE EINHARDT NEU GALLERY is proud to present
‘ROOST’ by DAVID DORRELL
FRIDAY 10TH - TUESDAY 14TH APRIL 2009
ACTION / Performance
TUESDAY 14TH APRIL, 6PM
“The chickens have come home to roost.”
Malcolm X – commenting on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1962)
Good Friday 10th April
Set up tent, sleeping bag, chair, hob, bucket, butchers hook, wooden block, cleaver, assortment of knives, two chickens, chicken coop, roll of paper, pulley system, air rifle, caviar and champagne. Financial Times delivered.
Easter Saturday 11th April
Financial Times delivered.
Build Tamiflu sculptures, initiate voting, attach masks to pulley system, start Sacred Cow shoot.
Result time, vote count.
Easter Sunday 11th April
The Sunday Times delivered. Eat Creme Egg.
Cook breakfast. Paint.
Kill a chicken, pluck and bleed. Use chicken blood to finish works.
‘Easter’ Monday 12th April
The Times delivered.
Prepare chicken. Cook.
Echoing Joseph Beuys’s ‘I Like America and America Likes Me’, 1974, ‘Roost’ weaves together a seemingly disparate collection of elements into a whole that is more magical working than simple Action. Finding connections between Financial meltdown, Global Pandemics, Pop Art, the fear of assassination in the public mind, Voodoo ritual, Voodoo economics, the charade of the Vote and the advent of late-stage Capitalism, ‘Roost’ attempts to divine the true nature of the Panic that cyclically grips the Popular imagination.
For the four days and three nights of Easter (April 10th-13th, 2009) David Dorrell will be locked in the Maurice Einhardt Neu Gallery with two chickens as he makes various works and undertakes certain actions – some of which will be directed by the audience – in an exploration of re-birth and resurrection that aims to expose the archaic roots of our collective fear and the response mechanisms that direct it.
Part art show part ritual, Roost seeks insight into the dynamics of the collective unconscious through sacrifice, invocation and the de-mystifying of the rubric that surrounds us in the Media-sphere.
David Dorrell’s stance in the art world has seen him usurp, challenge and question the role of art, the artist and the viewer directly with the frequent uneaseness of the subject matter; whether using his own blood to paint 7/7 suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan’s ‘Martydom statement’ on the walls of FMCG Gallery or initiating the nomadic art-space ‘Slayer Pavilion’ (alongside Melissa Frost & Mihda Koray) during the 2007 Istanbul Biennale. Recently, Dorrell, acutely aware that anything attributed to an artist has it’s worth, and at a price, sold artists text messages (to him) as ‘Readymades’ at the Gavin Brown Enterprises stand at Frieze Art Fair, London 2008.
Dorrell, a self-confessed autodidact, has always found fascination poking around in the entrails of what passes as pop culture - writing one line Situationist poems for The Modern World fanzine as a teen Punk, ushering the word Goth into popular usage as a writer at the NME during his twenties or mixing Dada ‘cut-up’ with Grandmaster Flash to produce ‘Pump Up The Volume’ as M|A|R|RS, his obsession with language, meaning and symbology have left an indelible mark on our cultural landscape.
David Dorrell, b. 1962 lives in London.
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