Monday June 30, 7pm
Sovereign Vampire Squid
Videos by Madison Bycroft
admission $6 – artist in person

Still from “Rag of Cloth” (Madison Bycroft, 2014) © courtesy of the artist

Microscope Gallery is very pleased to present the first solo screening night of works by Australian artist Madison Bycroft on the eve of her departure from New York. Bycroft who works mainly with video, performance, and sculpture employs an animist approach to existence in the world, “rethinking what it means to be a person” and asking how language or other representations serve to limit human perspective. Compassion, empathy, and relationship to other are concerns of Bycroft “in lieu of categorical and colonizing thought”. Place and presence is integral to Bycroft who performs in many of her works.

For the program we have chosen a selection of works made over the past two years, including several completed during her recent residency at International Studio and Curatorial Project (ISCP) here in New York this year.

Madison Bycroft (born 1987, Adelaide, South Australia) completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts with first class honors at the University of South Australia in 2012. Bycroft has exhibited both in Australia and Canada and will be featured as one of 13 artists under 35 in the upcoming exhibit “Primavera” at Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art this September. Her work will also appear in the 2014 edition of safari, a side festival to the Sydney Biennale. Bycroft is the recipient of the 2014 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships, awarded for one year of study overseas in the visual arts to commence this fall. 


Program includes:

Becoming Ovis, digital video, 6 min 57 sec, 2012
Deleuze and Guattari describe their notion of Becoming Animal  as a “deterritorialization”, a kind of unthinking or collapse of the conventional or normalized modes of being human. It is a method that ‘replaces subjectivity’, instead nurturing an alignment with the animal. This alignment is not the imitation of animal behaviour, but a state unreferenced to any symbolic order.

Becoming Restless, It Division, digital video, 1 second loop, 2013
In Becoming Restless: It division, the stone is located as a central object. It is a potent signifier of an inanimate “it”, a term that might restrict and dis-enable. Use of “it” immediately posits the subject as an inanimate, inert, object without agency, an action that is violent and restrictive.

Deterritorialise, digital video, 7 min 16 sec, 2013
Red foxes pose a serious conservation problem in Australia. As a species, they were introduced in the 1830’s with colonial movements and white settlement. They proliferated and thrived in the Australian bush, and now eradication programs exist.

Revolution, digital video, 2 min 42 sec., 2013
The first in the artists consideration of apocalypse. The video work prods questions of human limit and the end of history, whilst heralding in the obsolescence of anthropocentrism.

Rag of Cloth: ode to the vampire squid, digital video, 5 min 37 min loop, 2013
A speculative reality in which a sovereign vampire squid and her minions attempt to survive on human words to feed their unending hunger, but those offered never suffice.

Les Domaines Inferieurs, digital video, 5 min 52 sec, 2014
Helene Cixous writes ‘The world that is on the good side of the law, that is “proper”, the world of order’. The moment you cross the line the law has drawn by wording, verb(alizing), you are supposed to be out of the world. You no longer belong to the world. The title Les Domaines Inferieurs, french for the nether realms was  term coined by writer Jean Genet. He wanted to describe a place that is evasive of precise location, somewhere dangerous and risky, that can only be located through “the back door of thought”.

Prairie, digital video, 2 min 55 sec, 2014
In Prairie, excessive use of illicit imagery and a kind of patriarchy is made manifest. Simultaneously, the work presents as a not-so-subtle indication of one speculative rendition of apocalypse.

Turtle island : mourning song, (excerpt of a work-in-progress), digital video, 2014
Through asymbolic and unlearnt movement and sound, and by manipulating expected temporarily, perceptions can be momentarily ruptured. This work is an experiment in giving voice to the lament of nature.

Unsung, (excerpt of a work-in-progress), digital video, 2014
Unsung experiments with expression beyond language. Stealing from Deleuze, performers attempt to pull from “…language tonalities totally lacking in signification… to make the sequences vibrate, to open the word onto unexpected internal intensities – in short, an asignifying intensive utilisation of language.”

Nupta Contagioso, 1 min 20 sec excerpt, digital video, 2014 
At what point does one thing stop being itself and start being another. On a physical level, how open are we to different matter? Nupta Contagioso  literally suggests a marriage with the diseased or the dead: a conjugation and physical union with a corpse.

Entitled, digital video, 14 minutes, 2014
The octopus presents as a beautiful, very special antithesis of human phenomenology –  their experience is totally unassailable and abyssal. This new work was originally an experiment with sympathetic magic and contagion, molecular becoming-animal and an erasure of boundaries. However, through enactment, it also brings forward ethical questions of animal utility, gift giving and ritual acts. 

Still from “Eulogy” (Madison Bycroft, 2013) © courtesy of the artist

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