“The atomic individualism of patriarchy destroys much of the fabric of the human community. Such a damaged community is incapable of understanding the needs of its own members, much less of the nonhuman world.”
“The collective task of “reenchanting” our whole culture is, as I see it, one of the crucial tasks of our time…”
“In primeval times and tribal societies the stratification of art from life may not have always been so absolute. The creation of images and artefacts has been, throughout history, a necessary aspect of everyday life for many cultures; whether as a channel to communicate between other realms, as an agent for the divination of knowledge, for healing individuals and the wider community, or as an act of dedication to appease the spirit realms.
Superconductor seeks to usurp the antiquated paradigm of the autonomous artist loner, practising at the periphery of society. Instead the show suggests that – like the shaman of primitive cultures who connected communities and who traversed the Axis Mundi between the divine and earthly worlds – the artist of today is central for reinvesting everyday life with magic, mystery and meaning from Ben Jeans Houghton’s dream like and labyrinthine films to Kate Liston ‘s evocation of the magical sensation of synchronicity.
Superconductor proposes that, rather than extraneous to everyday life, art is essential for connecting us imaginatively to the world in which we live and to one another. The show departs from Suzi Gablik’s call for the imperative liberation of art from the disenchantment of materialism and the technocratic culture of disconnection and instead posits that Art is a lens through which we examine our own society and innate assumptions or prejudices, a mirror which reflects the myriad of wonderful and terrible aspects of life – as in Edwin Li’s dystopic vision of future society – but also a locus for the exchange of ideas, participation and cultural democracy.
Whilst in recent years Democracy has become a dirty word and an illusive (often contradictory) concept Superconductor aims to reclaim the original meaning of democracy through work and events which are accessible, decentralised and which offer a platform of direct representation for different groups and communities. From open discussions on “The Role of the Artist in Society” to Occupy Newcastles’ workshop on “Direct Democracy” Superconductor is an invitation for anyone and everyone to engage in the critical dialogue surrounding art supported by the wider programme of events and discussions within the gallery space itself.
The artists involved in Superconductor offer various new ways of experiencing and engaging with the world as epitomised in the uncertain destabilising of historical ‘fact’ stirred by Ove Kvavik’s work Beyond the Limits of Control. Overall Superconductor underlines the social significance of art production, reception and effect. The show emphasises the unity between art and life as a means to create one’s own cultural conditions and to affect social change. Both through the works in the show and through the programme of satellite activities, the exhibition becomes a hub for the generation and cross-pollination of new ideas and approaches to contemporary life and interaction. Superconductor invites engagement, contemplation and open-endedness over detachment, entertainment and the unequivocal.”