Lauschmann | Patchwork Cinema
Until July 18; Collective, Edinburgh
are artists who work with new media, and artists who set themselves
in opposition to it; then there is Torsten Lauschmann. The Glasgow
artist is at once a techno-geek and a Luddite, and somehow in him,
the two sit naturally together. This is the man who was responsible
for World Jump Day, an internet hoax which achieved a huge following
five years ago. This is the man who, under the name Slender Whiteman,
busks around Europe with his solar-powered laptop.
Lauschmann, though born in Germany, has made Glasgow his home. Trained
in photography at Glasgow School of Art, he has become a leading figure
in the citys close-knit art scene over the last 17 years. His
work, though it often samples itself, encompasses a bewildering range
of media from sculpture to software programming.
Its unsurprising therefore that Lauschmanns latest venture
straddles two artforms; an exhibition centred around a screening at
the Collective gallery, and a performance at the Edinburgh International
Film Festival (EIFF), with a residence at said festival which will
no doubt feed his vampiric appetite for archive material.
Its hard to know what to expect of Sideshow, Lauschmanns
one-off performance/screening event at the EIFF, as it
promises technological trickery but at the same time refers back to
the early days of cinema, when the viewing experience was not yet
restrained by convention.
The artist pays homage to that time in the gallery too, where an improvised
cinema-space resembles a nomads tent, furnished with chairs
most likely borrowed from student flats and gardens. The walls are
hung with rumpled curtains, tacked together from scraps of thrift-shop
fabric. The projector teeters on a stack of folding wooden chairs,
while crude stacks of home speakers huddle on either side of the white
The Patchwork Cinema is comfortable and welcoming, and like all of
Lauschmanns work, its very human. Childrens chairs
occupy the front row, and one is encouraged to leave ones phone
on. The programme itself is a 42-minute patchwork of experimental
films from the early days of cinema and of video art. Breathtaking
sequences reveal a wealth of invention and playfulness, as new tricks
were played and techniques discovered.
A few of the films were hand coloured, leaving Aladdins pantaloons
bubbling with scarlet fury in 1906. Hands themselves feature widely,
as in Émile Cohls Fantasmagorie of 1908 where the animators
hands pop in to fix up an injured character. These echo Lauschmanns
own work projected just outside the room, a digital clock
whose digits are reshaped every second by the artists hands.
Lauschmann can take any labour-saving device and make it labour-intensive
again. He can take bland technology and make it pleasingly couthy.
Whether hes sewing curtains or writing open-source software,
he can make you want to be part of it too. Patchwork Cinema is a celebration
of old new technologies which is a joy to be in, and for anyone even
remotely interested in film, its not to be missed.
Black, Sunday Herald 20.06.10