Surface Collider (230320)

Press Release

[The art happens here]
Annka Kultys Gallery’s online platform dedicated to the showcasing of digital art in its natural habitat, so to speak.  The creation in 2020 of [The art happens here] provides a natural extension to the gallery’s offline programme which has as one of its strengths the presentation of “digital natives” or artists making art that engages with technology and the internet.


Annka Kultys is pleased to present James Irwin’s video Surface Collider (23032020) (2020) as part of the gallery’s first online exhibition Stay at home, a presentation of new digital works produced by artists in immediate response to the coronavirus pandemic.  On every Sunday of the lockdown during Stay at home, a new artist will be showcased on AKG’s recently launched online platform [The art happens here]

AKG is also announcing all gallery benefits (i.e., profits after the artist has been compensated in the usual manner) from featured digital works sold via [The art happens here] will be donated to National Emergencies Trust.  The purchasers’ generosity will also help to financially support the featured artists during this unprecedented period when non-essential shops are closed, including art museums and commercial galleries, leading to postponed exhibitions for artists, and ensuring at least part of artists’ incomes can be maintained.

James Irwin’s project Surface Collider (23032020) is a digitally manipulated video of British prime minister Boris Johnson’s historic speech announcing on the 23 March 2020 the very strict lockdown for the United Kingdom as part of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, where the British people were instructed they should only leave home for basic necessities.

Surface Collider (23032020) is a live screen recording of Johnson’s lockdown announcement, filmed through a form of augmented reality Android app developed by the artist.  Irwin has purposely kept the aesthetic raw and unedited to retain the sense of immediacy. The work focuses on the point at which code becomes image; where words or language become pictures.  Seen through the app, this major event becomes skewed and filtered through a different way of looking and listening to the speech.  

Surface Collider (23032020) explores various issues and opportunities that arise when confinement is forced on the entire population, from not being able to have any physical social life, to surveying the extraordinary power the state has on taking away what seems to be an inalienable right of freedom of movement in response to an ‘unforeseen’ global pandemic event.

James Irwin’s art investigates the capacity of physical and digital media to evoke/provoke authentic experience in a post-truth context where anxiety and uncertainty become valid or unavoidable creative positions.  Using digital media, printmaking, sculpture, sound and moving image, he reworks and manipulates content from on and offline sources to shift or skew the relationship between the physical world and its digital image. 

James Irwin is an artist living and working in London.  He has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Newcastle University and an MFA in Computational Studio Arts from Goldsmith’s, University of London.  He was awarded the 2012 Emerging Artists Bursary Award by the Royal Society of Sculptors. His work has been exhibited widely across the UK.  Solo exhibitions include Listening to Xanax, Gossamer Fog, London (2018), Binary Translations, Space In Between, London (2013) and Hopeless Communication, Space In Between (2011).  Web projects include The Edge, (2018), Spread the Virus, (2018) and Could Ecopsychology cure my Cyberchondria, (2016).  Group exhibitions include Terms and Conditions May Apply, Annka Kultys Gallery, London (2018), Home Alone, Dateagleart, London (2018), How the mind comes to be furnished (collaborative project with Lilah Fowler), Space In Between (2016) and Let’s Pluck the Bird, Limoncello, London (2013). 

Annka Kultys Gallery