Dave Griffiths re-launches Castlefield Gallery09/08/2012
Dave Griffiths re-launches Castlefield Gallery Established in 1984 near the old Hacienda haunting grounds in Manchester; Castlefield Gallery closed over a year ago after an unsuccessful bid to Arts Council England. Under the direction of Kwong Lee and collaborators, the gallery is re-opening this month with a new solo exhibition ‘Babel Fiche’ by Manchester-based artist Dave Griffiths. Represented by Bureau Gallery in Manchester since 2007 and based at Rogue Studios, Griffiths was recently nominated for the Northern Art Prize 2013 for his strong portfolio of work and contribution to the arts ecology in Manchester and beyond.
Griffiths’ exhibition which re-launches Castlefield Gallery consists of two new works, including a short film titled Babel Fiche and a series of interactive lightboxes. Babel Fiche is displayed on a floating glass screen at the gallery, keeping in line with the futuristic theme of the work. The three lightboxes are rigged with miniature photographs of outerspace, and allows the audience a close up look by supplying jeweler’s loupes for viewing the sourced images.
Babel Fiche started as a web commission about 18 months ago with Film and Video Umbrella. The commission involved collecting crowd-sourced film footage on microfiche alongside clips that Griffiths borrowed from the web. With support from Castlefield Gallery, Griffiths was able to translate the website project into a short film shot on location in one of Europe’s highest residential dwellings. Set on the 45th floor of architect Ian Simpson’s Beetham Tower in Manchester, Griffiths’ 18 minute film imagines how future generations will look back on videos we’ve made in the current day. The film questions the status of our moving image culture and how it speaks to the future about us now, explains Griffiths.
Castlefield Gallery curator Clarissa Corfe explained that Griffiths’ film sat nicely with the gallery’s interest in giving mid career artists greater exposure. Corfe said, ‘We have worked with Film and Video Umbrella a few times before and Dave is an active artist within the city so we had been talking to him on an informal basis about his online commission Babel Fiche with FVU and were interested in the way that it quite radically reappraises the production and consumption of culture and vernacular history, and alters our understanding of time and history.’
Despite Griffiths allowing local writers and musicians including Graham Massey to work on the script and film score, he commented that the film still fit very much into his own oeuvre. Griffiths went on further to question the role of his authorship maintaining such a strong presence, considering he allowed others to respond to the archive to put the film together. Keeping in line with Griffiths’ body of work which addresses the impact of the moving image on society, Babel Fiche offers a dystopian view of the future with a glimpse of hope.
Dave Griffiths’ ‘Babel Fiche’ is on display at Castlefield Gallery in Manchester from 10 August to 30 September 2012. Carol Huston