The early summer degree show period is a breeding ground for high anxiety, increased adrenalin, excitement, awkward conversation, regrets and second guessing – all mixed in with a huge amount of relief and happiness.
Jotta was one of six organisations that took part in the Awards: Acme Studio; Afterall; MFI Group, supported by Flat Time House; The Emely; Transition Gallery and Ovalhouse Theatre.
The Jotta Award offers continuous support from our curatorial arm to develop a piece of digital work that exists exclusively on Jotta.com; creating a web-specific project that reflects, or rejects, the framework of the Internet. A space where authorship is contested, the collapse of physical space in networked culture is highlighted and the continuous reproducibility of digital materials is addressed. The Jotta Award invites an artist to consider the malleable experience that this virtual space permits.
After meeting with eight shortlisted students (Isabelle Gressel, Jake Caleb and Mario D'Agostino, Masumi Hirayama, Natasha Francesca Martone, SALT, Sean Hedman, Simon Bramley) and discussing their work with them at length, our last port of call was with artist, Jack Harris. A tad dehydrated and tired out by our marathon of interviews, Dave and I spent time in Jack's three part installation. Happily sat on his custom made stools, viewing one of 3 ‘episodes’ of his meta-narrative film piece, whilst contemplating how Donald Judd became the inspiration for handcrafted pottery, we both agreed that Harris was our winner.
The nominees for the Jotta Award appeared to be interested in a collaborative element production, where the concerns that are being highlighted within individual practice and collaborative ways of working often over-lap and blur. Both Simon Bramley, and Mario D'Agostino concentrated on their individual work as well as operating as part of SALT, producing publications and organising events with Hannah Clayden.
I was happy to see that Jotta Award runners up, Mario D'Agostino and Jake Caleb won the Afterall Award for Squeed and Dr. Dale and the W.H.A.L.E. Betrayal (2012), a film piece that plays with tropes of absurdist fiction and sci-fi cliches.
Jotta will be working with Jack Harris over the summer to realise a new work that reflects his use of filmic narratives, linguistic structures in collapse, art historical references and how information is received through material and immaterial systems. Taking the web-specific platform as a starting point, Harris will address how this digital landscape is open-sourced, a triumph for the amateur, a free market. A minefield of low resolution files, compressed images and pixilated thumbnails that are reconsidered, appropriated, ripped and totally reconstituted and then distributed - re-born, the same but very different, like a digital ouroboros system there for the taking.