290°: DJCAD Degree Show 2013
18 May 2013 - 26 May 2013
290° marks 125 years of teaching at Duncan of Jordanstone and this year’s Art, Philosophy and Contemporary Practice students have raised the bar for all future APCP-ers. The 2013 group is dominated by individuals holding strong political ideals.
Digital media is continually developing and as a society we have to address concerns that might arise, especially with regards to art’s relation with technology, Daniel Shay’s work provides a conceptually strong evocation of these matters. Shay provides an interesting artistic insight into the work of Vilem Flusser (the Czech philosopher who explores changes in modern society) by blurring the virtual with the real. Shay has constructed a fantastic installation that insinuates the effects of technology into our phenomenological experience of the world. The evident influence of Flusser within his work is characteristic of the type of thoughtful philosophical enquiry within each student’s art practice here. This successful application of ideas is heartening to see, particularly as I enter my fourth year at DJCAD. Conceptual practice gives art that added intellectual intensity and it is exciting to see the processes that the APCP students have undergone to reach this point. One can only imagine the journey they are about to embark upon outside the University.
Shazia Ahmed has taken a giant stab at society’s’s obsession with consumerism, and the central importance of supermarket chains in our culture, by constructing works inspired by Lidl and Tesco. Ahmed’s The United States of Tesco, plastic Tesco bags sewn together to create a flag, is pure genius. Flags celebrate national identity and Ahmed suggests that our consumer driven identity is what we have most in common. The point here is clear; as we build more stores like Tesco (there are currently four in Dundee City Centre alone), we must reflect on what they signify and question the money-orientated world we live in.
Chloe Kelman has based her show on the political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his famous quote “Man is born free… but everywhere he is in chains”. Kelman laments the eradication of Romany Gypsy culture and tradition; destruction here is literal as the hand-built caravan that Kelman constructed is filmed burning to the ground. The effect is rather impressive. However, despite the project’s valuable aesthetics and concerns, I struggled to fully immerse myself in her installation of miniature gypsy caravans.
There have been rumours of controversy surrounding Ana Hine’s work throughout DJCAD for some time now. Hine is a performance artist interested in both masculine and feminine identities. With this in mind she videoed herself shaving off her hair in an effort to be more androgynous. Hines explores gender and how we reference it visually, and, importantly, suggests that women still do not define their own sexuality. The ideas and ideals motivating Hine’s project are interesting and compelling once you get over the initial shock of the video footage of Hine masturbating. There is risk and courage here, and we are left in no doubt that Hine is an artist dedicated to her feminist ideals.
It is a fantastic time for DJCAD, especially with the graduation of such accomplished, intellectually challenging and serious artists. Optimism is evident in the boldness of APCP projects, and also well-encapsulated by the neon t-shirts circulating around DJCAD recently. These convey a simple message, “There is life after degree show”.