Detouring with Traction: Charlotte Prodger
Film program in the framework of the event series „Periphery“
Periphery is a multiyear event, research and exhibition series dedicated to the phenomenon of the “peripheral”. The program opened with the film series Detouring with Traction, which was curated by Kathrin Wojtowicz.
The connection between periphery and perspective is the starting point of the film series screened in five parts in cooperation with the cinema of the Historical Museum. What are possible perspectives on fringe areas and the purportedly clear distinctions between periphery and center? And how are questions regarding forms of coexistence, the construction and constitution of narrations, bodies or identities connected to this?
The film series concludes with Charlotte Prodger’s first feature-length film entitled Stoneymollan Trail. In her primarily filmic, but also sculptural, photographic and textual works, the artist engages with the complex interrelations between technology, time, language, and body. She continuously works from a subjective stance with biographical connections, references to queer culture and movements through seemingly empty landscapes.
Stoneymollan Trail (2015, 52 min) is named after a historical trail in Scotland that was used as a coffin road for transporting the dead from villages to the cemeteries and connects the Firth of Clyde with Loch Lomond. Views of this region as well as other mountain and coastal landscapes, such as Cromarty Firth with its oil rigs, can be seen alongside shots of cloud formations, snowy paths, cliffs, a sleeping fox, or trucks on unpaved roads, which Charlotte Prodger collected in a personal archive of MiniDV tapes from 1999 to 2013. Some of the images of the video tapes partially disintegrate into patterns of rectangles and stripes. Prodger supplements the thisprocessed material with high-resolution shots, geometrically abstract color compositions on monitors, iPhone videos, and black-image sequences, addressing not only her own subjective past but also the technological and aesthetic development of the medium of video itself. Via the prosthesis-like use of the cellphone camera and moving, reciprocal depictions of her relationship to the landscape, she establishes a direct connection between body, technology and environment. This is contrasted by static shots showing views of Glasgow from various window framings, superimposed with silkscreened logos of the names of streets in which the artist lived or worked. She connects her engagement with work and memory via references to other artists through recorded voiceovers of read email conversations, stories and other texts. Excerpts from Nancy Holt’s Essay Sun Tunnels, Samuel Delaney’s The Motion of Light in Water and an address by Nina Simone at a concert raise questions as to the affiliation with others in sociocultural contexts.
Charlotte Prodger lives and works in Glasgow. Her works have been exhibited at, among others, the Kunst Museum Winterthur, the Stedelijk Museum/Amsterdam, the SculptureCenter/New York, the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, the Bergen Kunsthall, the Temple Bar Gallery / Dublin, the Hollybush Gardens/London, Studio Voltaire/London, The Renaissance Society / University of Chicago, and Tate Britain. Prodger’s films have been screened at the London Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Courtisane Festival/Gent, and theInternational Short Film Festival Oberhausen, and her performances were presentedat the New York Book Art Fair,
MOMA PS1, Tramway/Glasgow, and Tate Britain. Her texts have been published in Frieze,
F.R. DAVID and Happy Hypocrite. In 2018 Charlotte Prodger was awarded the Turner Prize, in 2019 she represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale.
Kathrin Wojtowicz is an artist based in Vienna. She works with sculpture, image and text and is interested in the relationships between social conditions, body politics and media. Her works have been shown at Halle für Kunst Lüneburg, Galerie der Stadt Schwaz/Tyrol, Sala Terrena/Heiligenkreuzerhof and in the exhibition space Schleuse/Vienna. She currently teaches at the University of Arts Linz.
Charlotte Prodger, Stoneymollan Trail, 2015, courtesy of Charlotte Prodger and LUX, London