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Haunch of Venison Presents Its First UK Exhibition of Eve Sussman and Rufus Corporation
Simon Lee from the series Shadow Over the Land for Eve Sussman | Rufus Corporation, whiteonwhite, Orange Factory (2009). Archival inkjet on etching paper © Simon Lee. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.

LONDON.- Haunch of Venison presents its first UK exhibition of Eve Sussman and her ad hoc group of collaborators known as Rufus Corporation with a cinematic installation, photographs and flat screen video works.

The exhibition centers around whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir a film that follows the observations and surveillance of a geophysicist code writer stuck in a futuristic city. The experimental fiction runs endlessly, editing live in real time, with no beginning, middle or end, never repeating the same way twice.

Inspired by the Suprematist’s quests for transcendence, pure space and artistic higher ground whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir was created on an "expedition to unravel utopian promise" with a small crew, one American actor and local actors hired en route. The fictional location is named – in a nod to Alphaville – City-A. The place (which often resembles 1973) is the result of the obliged, ironic marriage of the opposing political forces of the twentieth century. In actuality City-A is a conflation of many places encountered during the artists’ journey from mid century modernist planned living systems to the Norman Foster sci-fi baubles requisite in every ‘future-opolis’.

The protagonist of the story, Mr. Holz, is obliged to take a job in City-A, a dystopian metropolis, where everything is rendered just beyond his control. The filmmakers have also ceded a level of control to what they refer to as ‘the serendipity machine’ – a computer that runs custom-built software that edits the film in real time, live as you watch. Hence every viewing is different. The machine culls scenes from a server loaded with 2637 video clips, creating suspense through unexpected juxtapositions. The implied narrative is communicated through voiceovers, wire tapped telephone conversations and snippets of a job interview between Mr. Holz and his prospective employer, Mr. White. It becomes evident that the character is controlled by a city and the code he is working on, as the course of the story is controlled by the code that edits the film.

whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir looks and feels like a movie, but it is not.

where the future throws a shadow over the land’is a series of photographs shot by Simon Lee during production of whiteonwhite. These photos exemplify the idea of ‘archival footage from the future’ – a feeling also prevalent in the film. The images all contain a sense of time speeding by, as the impending future – implied through a contradictory metaphor of darkness as the past blows out to white – throws a shadow over the land.

Time speeding by is also an essential motif in the three screen video work How to tell the future from the Past, v.2, by Sussman and Angela Christlieb. Shot during a 72 hour train journey across the Central Asian steppe the video conceptualizes time with the manifestation of humanity as the constant, as daily life runs backwards and forwards simultaneously. HTTTFFTP,v.2 elevates the characteristics of humanity that transcend time, exposing us, un-empowered against it.

“Have we become bourgeois without ever owning private property?” is a question asked in Tarkovsky’s film The Mirror. Inspired by this question and taking off on the architectural obsessions in whiteonwhite a new three screen work Wintergarden, by Sussman and Lee, takes as it’s point of departure the pre-fabricated Khrushchyovka’ common in ex-soviet cities. The video shows identical balconies on concrete apartment blocks built in the 1960’s, slowly morphing into each other. These open spaces, ill conceived for a hostile climate, were inevitably blocked in by each resident, creating a vernacular architecture marked with personal expression from a pre-fabrication. The perfection of the master plan is thus destroyed in a patchwork of humanity.

The photographs hung in the entrance to the exhibition, shot with Monia Lippi, were made with the actors Jeff Wood and Lera Shondra in the installation Yuri’s Office created by Sussman and Nicolas Locke. Based on a snapshot Sussman made in Star City in Russia, this detailed recreation of the photograph is inspired by the lock down of Yuri Gagarin’s real office the day of his fatal plane crash. Like the other works in the exhibition that question our understanding of past, present and future this installation and the resulting photographs take on the desire to freeze time and questions the tendency to impose a cryogenics on space, rendering a previously mundane room an spiritual place.

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