Kunstverein in Hamburg announces Geoffrey Farmer Let’s Make the Water Turn Black

Kunstverein in Hamburg presents Geoffrey Farmer Let’s Make the Water Turn Black on view March 1–May 11, 2014.

The unique artistic practice of Farmer has its roots in Dada, Happenings, performance and process-based works. It presents the possibility of alternate temporalities, reconfigures the opposition of the material and the conceptual, and embarks on the odyssey of performative meaning-making. After extensive research, the artist builds encyclopedias that unify aspects of visual art, literature, music, politics, history, and sociology.

The mechanical play Let’s Make The Water Turn Black, which is inspired by Farmer’s interest in Kabuki theatre, is populated with sculptures, some of which are kinetic, who perform the various acts in an ever-shifting computer generated score of lights and sound that play out over the course of the day. Using the life of Frank Zappa as a structuring devise, the work progresses chronologically from 1940 to 1993, and employs various methodologies that have influenced Farmer; William Burroughs’ use of the “cut-up,” Kathy Acker’s employment of pastiche and Zappa’s own editing technique, Xenochrony, or strange time. The effect of this is kaleidoscopic, and allows the work to touch on disparate subjects, from Edgard Varèse to the L.A. Riots; from Pachuco music to nose picking. Algorithms and the ability for the score to improvise, makes experiencing the piece each day unique and unpredictable.

Farmer’s work explores ideas and representations of power, freedom, and identity. It is rooted in the collaborative protest movements of the late 1960s. The way of being through music is actualized, re-presenting an anti-authoritarian perspective. The artist adjusts cultural history by breaking open temporality and chronology while mixing cultural forms. The liminal space between the outside world and the realm of art marks a point of transition for the visitor forming new pathways through music.
(Generative composition by Brady Marks and Geoffrey Farmer)

Geoffrey Farmer (b. 1967) contributed his Leaves of Grass to dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012; in 2011, he participated in the 12th Istanbul Biennial. His work has been on display in numerous solo shows at REDCAT, Los Angeles; the Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York (both 2011); and other venues, as well as the Witte de With, Rotterdam; and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (both 2008).

The exhibition is a co-production of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Nottingham Contemporary, Kunstverein in Hamburg and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Each institution will present a different version of the show as it evolves over time.

Kunstverein in Hamburg
Klosterwall 23
20095 Hamburg
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday noon–6pm