Party Booby Trap

Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Party Booby Trap. Carroll / Fletcher, London

CreatorsCraighead, A. and Thomson, J.
Description

Thomson & Craighead present their first fragrance Apocalypse (2016) in Party Booby Trap, the duo’s second solo show at Carroll / Fletcher. The scent will be showcased alongside a series of major new works inspired by sources ranging from nuclear waste to self-help literature and genetics. The late 20th century saw one of the most significant scientific advances to date, with the first mapping of a human genome (an individual’s complete DNA set) by the international Human Genome Project. It took thirteen years and twenty universities to reference over three billion base pairs of nucleotides (DNA molecules) that compose one single genome. This process has inspired Thomson & Craighead’s Stutterer (2014), a video installation the artists describe as a “poetry machine.” There are four types of DNA: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine, commonly referred to as A, C, G, and T. The artists seized the creative opportunity afforded by the combination of a sequence of letters and a crucial tranche of recent history. The time it took to complete the Human Genome Project spanned the liberation of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and the fall of Baghdad to the allied military coalition in 2003. Supported by the Wellcome Trust, Stutterer (2014) pairs each letter of the first human genome with a word beginning with the same letter, spoken in television footage from the period. The result is a televisual portrait of an era which encompassed not only the First and the Second Gulf Wars, but also the collapse of the Soviet Union, the deaths of Yitzhak Rabin and Princess Diana, the first cloned sheep Dolly, the launch of Viagra and the shootings at Columbine High School. In October 2002, then-President George W. Bush declared that Iraq was in possession of chemical and biological weapons which “threatened America and the world” – an allegation which is now widely acknowledged as one of the main triggers for the Second Gulf War (2003-11). “Confronting the threat posed by Iraq,” he said, “is crucial to winning the War on Terror.” Thomson & Craighead’s print the war on terror (2016) plays with the phrase in a series of Oulipo-esque anagrams: “the rot narrower”, “tarot hewn error”, “rare tower thorn.” Made with a type-writer on a white sheet of paper like a piece of experimental poetry, these hint at the absurdity of the chain of events that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians in less than a decade. Multi-coloured balloons bearing the names of military operations from “Desert Storm” to “Urgent Fury” crowd the floor. These innocuous presences – absent-mindedly kicked about by visitors as they progress through the exhibition – function as gentle reminders of the pervasive nature of warfare. On a TV screen, some women dutifully pop the balloons after a corporate party, as if trying to contain a reality that could overwhelm them. Created in collaboration with perfumer Euan McCall, the fragrance Apocalypse combines the scents of olfactory elements described in The Book of Revelation, including burnt flesh, incense and blood. Presented in a velvet-lined box, it turns a central tenet of the Western imaginary, and a canonical representation of End Times, into a luxury, limited edition item. At once highly desirable and sickening, the piece is the product of a time in which both consumerism and politics feed on fear, mysticism and fallacies of all stripes. With the series of posters Common Era (2016), Thomson & Craighead gather a collection of predictions for the end of the world: from Nostradamus – who famously declared that all would be over in 1999 – to Canadian philosopher John A. Leslie, who more optimistically estimated it would be by the year 11120. The soft palette and hand-made feel of these text pieces stands in stark contrast with their sensationalist content. They almost recall the mindfulness colouring books that topped the best-selling charts in 2015. While broadcasting collective anxiety about the destruction of humanity and “the world as we know it,” they bring the viewers towards something much more intimate, to do with personal angst and the quest for happiness. Help Yourself and A Temporary Index (both 2016), articulate this push-and-pull between concern for the common good and individual fulfilment. The first piece combines found digital video material, originally designed to prevent the on-screen accumulation of dead pixels, and a series of self-improvement tapes. Viewers can navigate them – going from, say, “how to attract money” to “weight loss” or, “sales motivation” by plugging headphones into different sockets. Meanwhile, on a large free-standing screen, A Temporary Index gives, in seconds, the estimated time it will take for sites storing entombed radioactive waste to be safe again for humans. These range from a few decades to a million years. The numbers are presented vertically and doubled up, standing like totems. Thus abstracted, they are almost as incomprehensible as the durations they represent. Party Booby Trap (the title is a palindrome, like most of Thomson & Craighead’s exhibition titles) splices these temporalities: the deep time of nuclear decay and apocalyptic visions is put side by side with the dizzying brevity of the human lifespan (or a political career). The exhibition harks back to a seminal religious text, and links it to belief systems of all kinds, arguably including democracy, science and art itself.

Date2016
Filet-c_pr_final.pdf
IMG_5706.JPG
IMG_5707.JPG
IMG_5708.JPG
IMG_5709.JPG
t-c_pr_final.pdf
T&C Party Booby Trap 17.jpg
Thomson and Craighead artwork (3).tif
Thomson and Craighead artwork (8).tif
Thomson and Craighead artwork (9).tif
T&C Party Booby Trap 7.jpg
T&C Party Booby Trap 8.jpg
T&C Party Booby Trap 9.jpg
T&C Party Booby Trap 18.jpg
T&C Party Booby Trap 19.jpg
T&C Party Booby Trap 20.jpg
Keywordsparty booby trap, thomson, craighead, thomson and craighead, art, carroll fletcher, untitled (balloon work), The First Person, Apocalypse, Common Era, The war on terror, another advertiser's announcement, six years of mondays, help yourself, a temporary index, stutterer, corruption
Web address (URL)http://www.carrollfletcher.com/exhibitions/52/overview/
http://www.thomson-craighead.net/

Related outputs

Anytime Now
Craighead, A. 2018. Anytime Now. TENT Rotterdam, Holland

The Academy of Saturn
Craighead, A. 2018. The Academy of Saturn. Cooley Gallery, Reed College, Portland, USA

The Internet of Living Things
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2018. The Internet of Living Things. in: Kholeif, Omar (ed.) I Was Raised on the Internet Prestel Publishing. pp. 244

Life Time - Biological Clocks of the Universe
Craighead, A. 2017. Life Time - Biological Clocks of the Universe. MU Eindhoven

Humans Being Digital
Craighead, A. 2017. Humans Being Digital. The Lowry, Salford

Hybrid Landscapes
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2017. Hybrid Landscapes. Digital Catapult, London

Wake me up when it's over
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2017. Wake me up when it's over. Young Projects Gallery, Pacific Design Centre, West Hollywood, LA

I Want! I Want!: Art & Technology
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2017. I Want! I Want!: Art & Technology. Birmingham Museum

Recruitment Gone Wrong @ The New Observatory
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2017. Recruitment Gone Wrong @ The New Observatory. Fact, Liverpool,UK

Monsters Of the Machine
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Monsters Of the Machine. LaBoral, Gijion, Spain

The Story
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. The Story. The Story.

Stutterer
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Stutterer. The Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Cambridge

Perpetual Uncertainty
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Perpetual Uncertainty. Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden

Nuclear Material Culture
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Nuclear Material Culture. Karst, Plymouth

Big Bang Data
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Big Bang Data. Somerset House, London

Real Time: Art en temps real
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Real Time: Art en temps real. Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona

Electronic Superhighway (2016 – 1966)
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Electronic Superhighway (2016 – 1966). Whitechapel Gallery, London

Tecnologies de la violència
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2016. Tecnologies de la violència. Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona, Spain

Artist Use of Open Data
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2015. Artist Use of Open Data. Open Data Institute summit 2015. BFI Southbank 03 Nov 2015 Open Data Institute.

Hello World
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2015. Hello World. Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, UK Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, UK.

Art in the age of asymmetrical ... warfare
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2015. Art in the age of asymmetrical ... warfare. Witte de With, Rotterdam, London

Right Here Right Now
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2015. Right Here Right Now. The Lowry, Salford

Data as Culture 3: Data Anthropologies
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2015. Data as Culture 3: Data Anthropologies. Open Data Institute, London

Maps DNA and Spam
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2014. Maps DNA and Spam. Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee

Flat Earth
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2014. Flat Earth. Germany MEWO Kunsthalle and Dundee Contemporary Arts.

Never Odd or Even: Thomson & Craighead
Craighead, A., Thomson, J. and Auerbach, D. Stevenson, D. (ed.) 2013. Never Odd or Even: Thomson & Craighead. London Carroll/Fletcher.

Never Odd or Even
Craighead, A. and Thomson, J. 2013. Never Odd or Even. Carroll / Fletcher Gallery, London

October
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2012. October. Brighton

Belief
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2012. Belief. InSpace Gallery, Edinburgh

Short Film about War
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2010. Short Film about War. Edith Russ Site for Media Art, Oldenburg, Germany

London Wall
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2010. London Wall. United Kingdom

Several Interruptions: Web commission for the relaunch of The Arts Council of England website
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2009. Several Interruptions: Web commission for the relaunch of The Arts Council of England website.

Horizon & BEACON
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2009. Horizon & BEACON. Dundee Contemporary Arts, United Kingdom

Beacon; Horizon
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2009. Beacon; Horizon. Dundee Contemporary Arts

Unprepared piano
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2008. Unprepared piano. Eyebeam NY

Thomson-Craighead at Studion
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2008. Thomson-Craighead at Studion. Stockholm, Sweden

My contacts; Signals; Flat Earth
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2008. My contacts; Signals; Flat Earth. Cube Exhibition

Flipped clock
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2008. Flipped clock.

Flat Earth
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2008. Flat Earth. Newcastle

Decorative news feeds; beacon
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2008. Decorative news feeds; beacon. Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Decorative news feeds
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2008. Decorative news feeds.

Beacon
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2008. Beacon.

Short films about flying
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2007. Short films about flying. Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Centre, Gijon, Spain

Beacon
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2005. Beacon. Tate Modern, London

e-poltergeist
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2001. e-poltergeist. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

CNN Interactive just got more interactive
Thomson, J. and Craighead, A. 2001. CNN Interactive just got more interactive. Tate Britain, London

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/q176q/party-booby-trap


Share this
Tweet
Email