Show-Bix & – An Anti-reenactment

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Show-Bix & (Sebastian Frese Bülow, Mogens Jacobsen, Martin Luckmann, Morten Søndergaard)

Show Bix &, an anti-reenactment of the Show-Bix pieces March on the Spot and Encirclement (1969/2014)

Responsive installation based on original material from the Show-Bix pieces as performed in 1969 by Gunner Møller Pedersen, Poul Ib Henriksen and Per Højholt.
Turntable telephone, slide projectors, Arduinos, multichannel soundcard, hardware programming, slide photos, photo prints, sound, television-interview.
Commissioned by Kunsthal Aarhus
Supported by The Danish Arts Foundation, and HumLab and MaSK Aalborg University

Show-Bix was an experimenting artist group, consisting of the photographer and artist Poul Ib Henriksen, the poet and word-artist Per Højholt and the composer and sound artist Gunnar Møller Pedersen. Show-Bix was only active in about three years – a period from 1968 to 1971 – and during this period the members of the group were also active in other experimental artistic forums. But for all three artists Show-Bix became the starting point of a series of other media-conscious experiments – and experiments with the consciousness about media.

The best way to explain Show-Bix for posterity is perhaps as a group experimenting with media and aesthetics, a group that were a part of the contemporary artistic network, but at the same time sought to break with the prevailing (and narrow) artistic production orthodoxies, and instead present the audience with a series of qualified alternatives to the existing art scene. They called their productions ‘pieces’ and ‘anti-happenings’. The members of the group actively sought out media and technologies as platforms for a brand new and different expression, which intentionally operates in opposition to the mass-media, and the collective ‘media-consciousness’.

After 1971 Show-Bix seems to fall out of exactly this collective media-consciousness. It is not until 2001, that Show-Bix pieces such as Omringning, Et kvarter, March på stedet, Tumlingen and Noget again come into recollection (in connection with the exhibition Mellem Ørerne at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde, Denmark).

For this exhibition what has been produced can be characterized as an ‘anti-re-enactment’ of Show-Bix; a snapshot with fragments, that moves on three ‘levels of experience’: the art’s, the audience’s and the archive’s (which is also that of the research). The first level deals with the media-conscious practice specifically engaged in a reconstruction of Show-Bix, based on primarily one piece, March på stedet (1969), as well as sound from another piece Omringning (1969).

The second level focuses on giving people the possibility to make their own experiences with an experiment that disappeared. The starting point for this is the interaction with dias- and sound-elements from Show-Bix’s original shows, from a rotary dial-telephone. Dial archive.

The third level focuses on some of the problems and questions that the reconstruction of Show-Bix & The Media Practice of Per Højholt give rise to. The phenomenon Show-Bix anticipates a new artistic understanding of the technologies and the cultural conditions of Media production (at the time referred to as ‘new media art’, but are today merely called ‘media art’). “Media-consciousness”, Per Højholt writes in Intethedens Grimasser, “are the Alpha and Omega for the artist” (Intethedens Grimasser, p.11) .

Show-Bix is a turning point and an experiment, and especially Per Højholdt’s later works refers to it, directly or indirectly. Seen in a greater perspective, Show-Bix is an early stage and a preliminary study of art’s (im)possibilities in a media- and attention-saturated culture.
Text by Morten Søndergaard

Sebastian Frese Bülow is a teacher, visual artist, and hardware programmer at Aalborg University. Works with drawings, experimental film and Live Visuals at concerts and performances. Lives in Nørrebro, Copenhagen.
Mogens Jacobsen (1959) is a Danish artist who since the beginning of the 1990s has been working with electronic art. He was the co-founder of Artnode (artnode.org) in 1995. His published books include: Re_Action: The Digital Archive Experience (together with M. Søndergaard), Aalborg Universitetsforlag (2009); We love your computer (artnode), The Royal Danish Art Academy’s publishing house (2008); Get Real, (ed. M. Søndergaard), Informations Forlag/George Braziller (2005).

Mogens Jacobsen (1959) is a Danish artist who since the beginning of the 1990s has been working with electronic art. He was the co-founder of Artnode (artnode.org) in 1995. His published books include: Re_Action: The Digital Archive Experience (together with M. Søndergaard), Aalborg Universitetsforlag (2009); We love your computer (artnode), The Royal Danish Art Academy’s publishing house (2008); Get Real, (ed. M. Søndergaard), Informations Forlag/George Braziller (2005).

Martin Luckmann (1982) works with interactive design and art, mainly with a starting point in digital media. He works especially with tactile interfaces, where he let older analogous technologies meet the digital world and thereby create a series of interactive works. In relations with that he has performed in a series of exhibitions and events, including Roskilde Festival (2006), ZKM I Karlsruhe (2012) and latest with DR [Danish National Radio & Television] at Folkemødet på Bornholm (2014). Martin Luckmann has worked for DR since 2010.

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