Welcome to the ‘residency’ section of the Stag and Hound exhibition. In this residency part of the project we are making new work in-situ as well as reviewing and reshaping some past work. The exhibition opens as a ‘static’ show on Tuesday 15th February (6pm) where we will be launching a publication with a text by Emma Cocker on our recent work.
We very much hope to see you again then but in the meantime thanks for visiting in this ambiguous stage of the development of the project.”
- Steve Dutton and Steve Swindells
“We like to search for and play with images, objects and texts through processes of collage, appropriation and multiple associations. The aim of our collaboration is to foster complex interpretations, often from deceptively simple means, or perhaps vice versa. We are predominantly installation artists with no restrictions on media; the references are often deeply encoded within the images, objects, texts, animations and sound works we construct.
We are interested in patterns and connections in the work but we also are keen to play with disruption and notions of drift. In this sense our installations are often ambiguous, if not somewhat complex or contradictory. This tactic is not intended to confuse the viewer/participant but to tacitly suggest or invoke a realm within which doubt, reticence and inconclusiveness may be privileged over certain forms of knowledge; this is a critical sentiment that lies at the centre of all of our projects.”
A Description of the project - The Stag and Hound at PSL
The ‘Institute of Beasts’ project was initially designed as a means to temporarily house our more ‘errant’ thoughts and strategies. Our wayward pathologies are not a means of deliberate obfuscation, but a reminder of what might be considered the mutability of knowledge.
It is important for us to think of the whole space as one installation, and thus difficult to think of each section as an individual work. Nevertheless there are ‘elements’ of the whole which might benefit from a bit, or indeed a lot, of information.
Wolf and Cyberdog: gallery 3
Photographic print, animation and sculpture
A DV animation of 3D rotating mutant cyber-dog head; the head is a collage; half mongrel dog’s head and sculptural object. The head rotates 360 degree in deep space. The head (half dog, half flashing multi-coloured and multi-faceted sculptural object) is a contemporary creature; simultaneously animal and machine that emits a bestial voice reciting a narrative on atrocities to the body. Large scale photograph of a dog acting as a wolf and brass-dogs sculpture.
Impotency: gallery 3
Vinyl Wall Text
A wall text appropriates the text of spam e-mails selling ‘Viagra’. The text reads, “Town the dust was falling and the great the mystical omomom of the dynamos in the Electiclight room with the housekeeper staring after her in over towards me that lay all wrapped up in an in an ecstasy of heroism that made her almost”
Celestial Mechanics: gallery 3/4
This has been one of the tricky areas so far. What has taken us by surprise is the sheer scale of the whole space. Before moving into the space last week we had a clear sense of what this ‘area’ would involve in the sense that we would develop a series of new and evolving animations that respond to the PSL architecture as well as to the Stag and Hound installation as a whole. What’s been really interesting for us to see that the more complex each attempt at an animation becomes the more it falls flat, both as an autonomous piece and more crucially as an element of the collage of the whole. It’s something to do with the ‘pace’ of the whole installation, and an attempt to work out different coagulations and densities within different areas without losing sight of a drift of form and sensibilities from space to space.
Depending on when you visit the space you may come across a ‘holding’ animation or you may see an attempt at another text work we have been developing while here. Or indeed something entirely different.
Modern Atrocity: gallery 4/5
Framed Prints, fractured glass and Flash Animation Gallery 5
This was the outcome of an attempt to negotiate a set of photographs which we
came across which represented significant incidents of the 20th Century, including genocide, mass violence and deprivation but also more benign imagery such as children playing or a man reading the paper. Like much of our work we are encoding representations and meanings without explicitly revealing them. This is particularly the case with images such as these where we are not only asking questions about the documentary representation of violence but also continuing to ask questions about the nature of an image itself. The dahlia flower heads are also a series of hybrids and ‘refined’ strains like the images themselves. The flower head, despite being in full bloom, is inverted and therefore looking towards the ground as opposed to the sun.
A multi-coloured ‘head’ on a field of a subtly changing spectrum of colours whilst being orbited by three spinning peanut-like satellites.
The animation is accompanied by the sound of what initially sounds like bird song but is actually the script of ‘The Exorcist’, read by a computerized voice then speeded up by around 2000 times to sound like the high pitch twitter of birds. In the film William Freidkin used the sound of the animal on a number of occasions to signify the demon ‘Pazuzu’. As well as using the revolving head scene and other devices of inversion, he reverses animal sounds to signify all that may be unthinkable. In a way of trying to wrench the script back from this negative image of the bestial the we had the script read by a computer simulated voice and then speeded it up until it sounded birdlike.
Monkey Nuts: gallery 4/5
Ceramic monkey nuts
We rather like the fact that the ceramic nuts are ridiculous (comical) objects, whilst also seeking to recognise the humble peanut as quite decorative and special. The monkey nut (as we call them in UK) is a great equaliser between beasts, as we may all feel the same simian act as we break one open.
Revolutionary Rhetoric: gallery 7
‘Three word chant’
Sound piece/ 8 mins 7 sec /repeated every 9 mins
We have developed a process of transcribing texts into musical notation. The process involves ‘writing’ onto a musical software programme. A number of our recent pieces have used political, or inflammatory slogans as the ‘base’ text from which they then develop a sound-work. The slogan we have used here is the ‘antichant’ of the anti-globalisation movement, a chant which says nothing apart from ‘Three word chant’. We found that gallery 7 was ideal for this part of the installation. The ‘music’ can drift across the whole installation without too much negative interference, in fact, there occasional touches of a pseudo elegance in this, mostly by accident, which inject something unexpected into the whole project.
‘Death to the Fascist Insect’; gallery 4/5
Sound piece/ 7 mins 34 sec /headphones continuous loop/2009
This uses the same process as ‘Three word chant’. It is a continuous loop accompanied with a charcoal drawing of the first page of the musical score. ‘Death to the Fascist Insect that Preys on the Life of the People’ was the revolutionary slogan of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) of (1974). We are interested in this period of modernist avant-garde and political upheaval.
Mongrel and Faculty: window corridor gallery
We are unsure about these. They may be moved or played with in some way. There is a photograph of a mongrel dog, with a mask of a Dalmatian (a pedigree). We consider this work as an announcement about our current work and our intention and the mongrel is potentially a mascot for the Stag and Hound project. However, something is not sitting quite right here for us..needs work! There is also here a photograph of animals as live sculptures; The Stag and Hound not only provides shelter but is founded upon the notion of marginality; for beasts that seemingly exist on or within a margin.
Modern City: gallery 4/5
15 min sound piece and animation 2009
A lightbox image of Seoul, a modern city. Also…not sure.
An exorcism in reverse: gallery 7
By Friday eve there should be the next element in here, a large neon piece. Two words, two walls, pink and yellow. We’ll see what this does to the whole and in particular how it affects and is affected by the sound work and the outside paths.
For more information and to keep up to date with the project visit -