Please join us for artist talks by current and recent BEK residents Amber Ablett, Cici Wu, and Samuel Brzeski as part of BEK Opening Week! Ablett, Wu, and Brzeski, all of whom are current or recent BEK residents, talk about their artistic processes and works in progress.
Thursday 23 February
BEK, C. Sundts gate 55, 9th floor
Free and open for all (no registration required!)
Amber Ablett: “Conversation as an artistic research material”
During her studio residency at BEK in spring 2023, artist Amber Ablett will be working on two artistic research projects that use conversation as a research and artistic material. In the first project, “Hvileåret: hvile, vekst og aktivisme”, Ablett has been working closely with people with activist and community care practices to look at the role of rest within our work for social change. In the second, “My Fathers Left” (co-commissioned by BEK for Borealis 2023 and 2024), she is working with a group of people to share their stories and experiences of Black fatherhood in Norway. In this talk, she will open up the two projects and share what she has learnt about safe, ethical, supportive and collectively owned documentation and recording.
Amber Ablett is an artist and writer based in Bergen, Norway. Using performance, text, sound and re-enactment, her work looks at the importance of place and belonging to how we can be together, with a focus on how our society shapes, reflects, controls and limits our multifaceted identities. Stepping away from spectacle, Ablett often uses workshops and gatherings as a platform to share and open up her practice. Ablett’s work is informed by her experience of being a woman in Norway of British, Irish and Caribbean descent.
Cici Wu: “Tsaiyun (Rosy-Cloud) Bridge and Tang Lung Chau (Lantern Island)”
Cici Wu (US/Hong Kong) is in a studio residency at BEK in February 2023. During her residency, Wu edits her new short stop motion film, which features remnants of an archive, composed of loose pages from the periodical China Pictorial in 1962. The short film reflects the intermingled forms of art at that time, also questions about the relationship between then and now, old and new, longing for an alternative, and complexities of communism including its violence and erasure. In addition, she also works on a new sculptural piece that extends from her on-going long term project of re-thinking early cinema and its precursor in a quasi-fictional Asia. She has been studying the history of paper lanterns that travel across different cultures and borders, and perceiving these paper lanterns as a precursor of early cinema in the region. Through defining cinema in its basic abstract unit—light, she searches for transnational and abstract origins of early motion pictures. She will also share her collaborative fiction project with artist Xiaofei Mo.
Cici Wu (b. 1989, Beijing) grew up in Hong Kong, and is a New York-based mixed media artist. She works with drawing, video, film, installation, sculpture, found objects, and elements of deconstruction in cinematic tradition to address and reveal the invisible links between social and individual microhistories, memories, spiritualities, and cultural belief systems. Writing and videography are also integral to her artistic practice. She received her BA in Creative Media from the City University of Hong Kong, and MFA in Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She has had solo exhibitions at 47 Canal, New York (2021, 2018); Empty Gallery, Hong Kong (2019); and has participated in several group exhibitions internationally, as well as the 11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale (2021) and the Yokohama Triennial 2020 Episōdo 02 (2020). She is going to have a shared solo exhibition at Hordaland kunstsenter, Norway in 2023.
Samuel Brzeski will talk around and about his ongoing project Vibrational Semantics. Vibrational
Semantics explores the voice’s ability to shift seamlessly between signification and sonority, from speech sound to noise. Questions of linguistic ambiguity, embodied voicing and feeling/meaning are investigated in relation to the place and presence of the performed voice. Brzeski’s upcoming solo exhibition at Lydgalleriet, “The burly word catches the erm”, is the latest instalment in the project, which has included performances, exhibitions and a series of texts published by Lydgalleriet. Brzeski has developed various stages of the project with assistance of several studio residencies at BEK. The project has also included the performance “Yep, that’s the mood” which premiered at the 2021 BEK symposium. The exhibition at Lydgalleriet is supported by Kulturdirektoratet, Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Bergen Kommune and Bergen senter for elektronisk kunst. With technical assistance from Kjetil Smedal / Aldea Centre for Art and Technology. Vibrational Semantics is part of the Creative Europe project Oscillations – Exercises in Resilience.
Samuel Brzeski is a Bergen-based artist and writer who works with language as raw material. Through kinetic text videos, vocal compositions, and performative installations, he explores how digital culture has reprogrammed our relationship to language. Working with found and repurposed texts combined with the artist’s own writing, recent projects have elaborated on linguistic performances of emotion, vocalized rituals of self care, neoliberal productivity drives, subvocalization and acts of inner speech. Recent exhibitions include Bærum Kunsthall (2023), bb15 Space for Contemporary Art, Linz (2022), Meta.Morf, Trondheim International biennale for art and technology (2022), Østre, Bergen (2022), Galleri Box, Gothenburg (2022), and Chao Art Centre, Beijing (2021). He regularly publishes texts with Contemporary Art Stavanger, and has been working with Lydgalleriet as a writer and editor since 2020. Brzeski has also co-run the Bergen-based art writing collective and publishing platform TEXST since it was established in 2016.
Photos – 1) Portrait of Amber Ablett by Jan Khür. 2) Photo from “Hvileåret”: Amber Ablett. 3) Installation view from the exhibition “Lantern Strike (Strong Loneliness)”, Cici Wu, 47 Canal, 2021, photo by Joerg Lohse. 4) Image graphics: Samuel Brzeski.