Can’t get started
By Frank Abbott
The screensaver can be thought of as the screen in a relaxed leisure mode, basking in a fallow period before the exertions of the next spreadsheet or online search. But, quite to the contrary, the energy needed to generate the screensaver is as great as that needed when the screen is in full productive labour. Behind the errant doodles of the screensaver lie the urgent anxieties of the generation of power and the consumption of resource. Within the infosphere there is no leisure without power, no fallow period of regeneration. Frank Abbott makes light based installations, hand held video performances and films. He has been active as a film-maker and artist since the 1970’s. Abbot is a founding member and artist based at Primary, an artist led studio where the New Art Exchange is a corporate board member. Frank Abbot frequently delivers workshops and talks at the New Art Exchange as a resident artist. After working as part of the London based music and performance collective, The Scratch Orchestra, he went on to make the On the Air Trilogy, a series of experimental films for British television exploring the nature of the broadcasting experience and ran the New Cinema Workshop at the Midland Group in Nottingham. From 1989 he taught fine art and film at Nottingham Trent University. Performing with the Trampoline organization and Moon Radio he developed a performance practice alongside the use of live streaming. In the role of media activist and artist he enacted a decade long series of short performative interventions in a wide range of cultural contexts, Five Slides and a Song 1998-2008, which combined technology and humour to reflect on the nature of our personal relationship with the emerging media culture. He performed extensively in Nottingham and also in Berlin and Tokyo. Having emerged from teaching in 2010 he is now based at Primary, an artists studio in an old school building in Nottingham. From there he has created performances for HATCH including Spaghetti Powerpoint based on the re showing of a Spaghetti Western. His SNSM –the Remix , is a re-presentation of the film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. A collaborative project with the painter Duncan Higgins, using ten years of mobile phone video dialogue, has evolved into Muscle, a sculptural installation, the first iteration of which was shown at the House of World Cultures in Berlin in 2010. In 2012 his signage piece, You Do Something To Me, won the Nottingham Castle and Museum Open Exhibition Award and he was awarded the commission to create Processing in the grand stairwell of Nottingham Castle in 2013. A collaborative project he initiated between Primary studio artists and Wysing Studios, Cambridge resulted in Expanded Studio Project, for which he created the computer driven performance YAW HALF with the artist Rob Smith. He has run workshops on collaborative practice at the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India and a range of activities and workshops in the UK.