Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Regular Line 2014 – Sheffield - Topolcany
G.O.D. - Z.A.S. (Gain or Loss - Zisk Alebo Strata)

Being a stranger in an imagined foreign place/space was the conceptual starting point for Bloc artists David Jones, Susanne Palzer and Kirsteen Hardie. An interest that arose between the artists in dialogue was that of visualizing somewhere before you go there. The place you go to is of course always different to what you imagined, whether it be a hotel room or the streets of a town. But we are interested in the fantasy place inside our minds. This journey of process opens other related possibilities; virtual space, the possibility of different “adventure” scenarios and imagined characters, of the digital back into the physical and of the problems of communication. The title “Game of Doom” refers to the ever present problem of meaning being corrupted during the process of communication, and in the context of Regular Line 2014: translation; it is doomed.

David Jones has made paintings of unpopulated, seemingly virtual spaces with nothing between the sky and the horizon but walls and the gaps between them - a giant maze, they beckon the viewer to explore this terrain with their own imagination, hoping perhaps to meet other characters. At times this architectural landscape appears to have been abandoned and a new one started resulting in a pile up of mutating architectural forms. The walls that create possibilities also have the potential to block them. Gain or loss.

Susanne Palzer's journey of process took her from an imagined dialogue with a long lost Slovak pen friend (who she ironically lost touch with because of the fall of the Berlin wall) to creating a site specific installation that plays with the lexicon and format of adventure game language. Virtually travelling from the past to the present she records correspondence between the three artists regarding this project and draws on ground plans of Nastupiste 1-12. A feeling of loss may be heightened as Palzer then abstracts and translates all communication into pseudo code script and visual signs. But within the adventure game the code holds powerful dialogue capabilities. “Broken Tree” is an empty container for all possible scenarios of communication and encounters of cultural exchange. 

Kirsteen Hardie explores the stereotype of Brits abroad in search of clubbing hedonism with “Typica;”. By using David and Susanne as actors in her performance and dressing them in uniforms which she has created via her fashion outlet Syd and Mallory, she situates her theme within the context of G.O.D.-Z.A.S. As a stereotype the “Brit abroad” works because it’s true often enough to be recognisable, but there are enough exceptions for it to be funny and, above all, provocative. “Brits abroad” is the ultimate “typical” construction: a caricature, a mannequin that challenges us to think about how we view ourselves – and others – whether we’re Brits (abroad) or not. “Typica;” promises fun, fashion and performance exploring the stereotype we all love to hate.

David Jones is a painter and sculptor based in Sheffield. His recent work explores a period from his 70’s childhood when he lived in Arabia; “The strangeness of arriving in a place that was still being built, the surreal expanses of concrete foundations for houses, shops, hospitals etc. that would one day form a town, huge billboards on roads next to a wasteland advertising airline companies with images of avian aggression in the logo, and trippy, neon flashing adverts for soft drinks on the TV with their analogue synth jingles that crudely anticipated the electronic dance music that would come years later.” David explores the subliminal effect of media on our cognition. In his work he alludes to billboards, logos and computer games and also refers to the "real" environmental elements of landscape and interior design and regards his work as a synthesis of an inner and outer world.

Susanne Palzer is a cross-disciplinary artist, researcher and performer based in Sheffield, UK. Her process-based work is analytical, often site-specific and incorporates her own individual work as well as collaborations with other artists and contributions to other artists’ projects. Her current practice is an investigation into the fusion of digital technology and physical performance. Since 2012 Susanne Palzer has been curating the performance events OPENPLATFORM/RAP(s)-TwT. in collaboration with media artist Jake Harries. She is a studio holder at Bloc Studios. 

Kirsteen Hardie is a fashion design and fashion performance artist based in Sheffield, UK. Her work is humorous and simplistic. Kirsteen uses all disciplines to produce her garments, taking reference from art, film and trashy television. Her fun loving approach to fashion and garment production gives an original design in her boutique interiors as well as in her clothing brand, Syd & Mallory’s Emporium, Sheffield.

G.O.D.-Z.A.S. opens at Nastupiste 1-12, Topolcany, SK this Friday, 24 October 2014, 7pm. 


"There are many, many good results from that revolution from the end of the last year. One of the best for us (students) is that now we mustn't do exams from marxismus teorie."     Zuzana N., 13/02/1990 ...

Dear Zuzana,
we are packed and ready to go! The day of departure has come round so quickly! I was so busy getting my art work ready that I didn't have time to write to you earlier! We are all very excited! Tonight we will be in Bratislava and I can't wait to explore your home town for the first time. It is a pity that you and me won't be able to meet. But you never know - we may pass each other as strangers in the street ... 
I look forward to meeting people from your country and being submerged in a language and culture I haven't encountered before. I visited Prague just after the Wall came down in 1992 and it was an incredible experience. Again, a lot has changed since then and I know that Slovakia will be different. I am taking the shredded letters. They only just fit into my bag! Most of the space is taken up by 'Broken Tree', my vinyl lettering piece for Nastupiste 1-12 gallery. I expect the next few days to be very busy so there will be no time for letter writing. I will report back with my impressions after our trip! Susanne


Sunday, 5 October 2014


"... there was no time for writing letters. The situation in our country was really very interesting. Now it looks like it'll be better. I hope."     Zuzana N., 13/02/1990 ...



G.O.D. - Z.A.S.

Welcome to your journey! Would you like instructions?
>Yes.

You are standing in a public space. You recognize it as a bus station. The dominant colour is grey.
Before you have time to find a bus stop and decide on a destination you notice colourful stripes and letters below your feet. You start following the blue line.
>Go.

You are at the top of some stairs.
>Stop.

There is a key here. A sign points downstairs and reads 'Art and Culture'.
Somewhere below the bus station is a secret space. You have heard of a place where others have found fortunes and fun, laughter and gold. There is a risk that if you enter you may never be seen again. Go in?
>Yes.

You follow down the stairs and reach some kind of platform. Around you are grey concrete walls.
There are gaps in the walls. 
There are people here. They speak an unknown language.
There is food here.
There is art.
There is a bottle of beer here.
>Get bottle.
OK

>Inventory
You are currently holding the following 
A bottle of beer.
A camera phone with Google Translate.
>Quit.

Do you really want to quit now?
>Yes.

OK

You scored 5 out of 365, using 1 turn. You are obviously an amateur. Better luck next time. To achieve the next higher rating you need to score some points. Maybe make some art work? ... New game?


G.O.D. - Z.A.S. (GAME OF DOOM - ZISK ALEBO STRATA) is a game without a clear objective. 
Kirsteen Hardie, David Jones and Susanne Palzer, three UK based artists, are the players who enter unknown territory. 
Moving between past, present and future they imagine a place they have not been to before and present choices as to where to travel within it. ... 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

"At first I ask you - How are you? How do you live? What have you done at summer?"   Zuzana N., 30/08/1989 ...

Beckingen, Germany, August 2014

"Dear Zuzana, I'm fine. After six weeks in Germany I am now back in Sheffield. 
Our Regular Line Project is progressing and we are only two and a half weeks away from visiting your country for the first time! 

I had a very reflective time in Germany. Where I grew up is only 20 minutes drive from the French or Luxembourg border. Schengen is not far. I often feel that the open borders of the EU have a different significance for me as they have - for example - for people from the UK - where I live now. This year also marked the 100th Anniversary of World War I. From 1920 'The Saar' was actually occupied by Britain and France. The area has an overall interesting history - before and after the two world wars. Today it is Germany's smallest federal state.

London, UK, September 2014

So much has changed since our original correspondence! About a year ago I had a phase of shredding many old letters that I had kept over many years - and your earlier letters with them. As an artist I then stored the shreds in a plastic bag - as they had representative meaning and were visually beautiful. This summer returning back to England I took a pile of shreds with me as a symbolic act. This journey of the symbolic object of our original correspondence also symbolizes the journey I have made now and in the context of life. Like with a pile of memory fragments it is impossible to piece together the original experiences/letters from the little strips of paper. I intend to take them to Bratislava and Topolcany and then leave them there - looping past and present.
Initially I thought this narrative story would form the framework of my work for Regular Line 2014. Over the past few weeks a different approach evolved in communication with my fellow artist David Jones and Kirsteen Hardie. One that roots my work for Nastupiste 1-12 in the present rather than the past.

Susanne

Sheffield, UK, October 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bratislava - View of the Danube and Castle - Monument Stur -
Slovak National Gallery and House CSSP -
Primatial Square, part of the old neo-Gothic town hall from 1912
"I wanted also to visit you but I hadn't time. So, sorry. Maybe next time." Zuzana N., 30/08/1989 ...

"Dear Zuzana, 
I have great news! I have been selected to take part in the Regular Line Project 2014! This means I will actually be able to visit your country for the first time! I am currently working with fellow artists Kirsteen Hardie and David Jones - who are also based in Sheffield, UK - on a concept for an exhibition in Topolcany.
This summer I have travelled back to my mum's house in Germany, where I grew up and from where I used to write to you as a teenager. I found out that I have not kept all of your letters! There are only a few left: the ones you wrote to me during the 'Revolution' and afterwards, when we both started to live in several different places. At the 25th Anniversary of the 'Revolutions' it feels quite a significant point in time to work on the above project and loop present and past. I will continue to share my thoughts with you as we progress! 
More soon! Susanne" 

More about the 'Revolutions of 1989' here.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

When I was a teenager, before the Berlin Wall came down, I had a pen friend in Bratislava named Zuzana N. ...

"Dear Zuzana,
I liked that we had the same name in different languages. Bratislava was just a name on a map and a castle on a postcard you sent me. Growing up in West Germany I heard it on the radio: BBC World Service announced that you were looking for a pen friend! You became my connection to whatever was 'behind the wall'. We wrote in English. Your letters revealed that behind that wall you were just a teenager like me and interested in similar things.
Paradoxically instead of bringing us closer together the fall of the Berlin Wall caused us to lose contact many years later. You moved to Paris. Across an open border you were now only three hours away from me. But in the upheaval of political change and lives changing I received one last letter - then a Christmas card - and that was it. I kept your letters all these years wondering what became of you. ... I moved to England many years ago. And after more plolitical change and lives changing I find myself at Bloc Studios and Slovakia is now part of the EU. Instead of BBC World Servise we now have Liz Von Graeventiz and the Regular Line Project offering a new connection to Slovakia. We communicate in English. 
I would like to be part of this project to loop past and present. Last year I sent postcards to Topolcany. This year I would like to finally visit your country across open borders. I may never meet you again, may not even find a trace of you. But across that border I may meet artists just like me who are interested in similar things. Mixing cultures and ideas, art and media we can build a new network of exchange. So, Zuzana, I just wanted to let you know how much I valued our cultural exchange! And wherever you are now - I hope that life has treated you well!
Much love, Susanne"

Following my above application I am pleased to have been selected to take part in Regular Line 2014 alongside fellow artists Kirsteen Hardie and David Jones!