Visual art combined with music is more than just music videos. To better describe the correlation between the two, outside the mainstream and commercial pop videos, we present Doug Foster and the first part in our new series, Has it Leaked Curated.
Doug Foster’s art forms relations between sight, sound, space and context. Since his medium is projected digital images, his thoughtfully devised film sequences can be moulded and customized into any space that complements them. Like graffiti and murals escaping canvas onto bridges, tunnels and building, the former commercial director’s videography has escaped the square prison of TV and computer screens onto curated public spaces.
Context plays a huge role for Foster: some pieces stand alone, meant to be fully immersed in and experienced; some break barriers entirely and reflect the viewer directly into the piece; and some gain massive measures of meaning from their physical location.
Heretics’ Gate is the latter – a deeply demonic fractalized seamless loop slowly creeps and glides upward from it’s dark and swirling home below. Seen in its original incarnation at St. Michael’s Church in Camden, such an infinite hellfire loop would seem far more ominous seen through its portal and reflected downward in a mirror of water.
Foster shared some thoughts on Heretics’ Gate while opening it for ‘Daydreaming with…’ in April 2011: “I was playing with dyes and inks in water and symmetry, which I’m really fascinated by, how symmetry works, and how we’re all attracted to symmetry. This project is melded into that because it became a piece about demonic faces and anatomy and strange beasts emerging from the symmetrical patterns you get from putting liquids into water and creating these organic, ectoplasmic clouds.”
That symmetry shows its head again in another piece – Islands of the Blessed fractalizes photographs in another seamless loop paired with detailed custom sound design. Symmetrical, geometrically divided photos slide from the green, serene, sublime and natural to the agricultural to the explicitly human and urban, all paired with sonic snapshots from goats to police sirens. Here visual symmetry is given a narrative element, as our human evolutionary journey is represented through linked, morphing aural and visual snapshots. The narrative element invokes in viewers private conclusions and feelings about that human journey while immersed in a cavalcade mosaic of sight and sound.
Foster’s work reflects a specifically modern compulsion to digest huge amounts of information. The Information Age has given people more raw knowledge and context about our planet than any known point in history, and as such human art has reflexively grown beyond the structure and limitations of individual artistic discipline. An artist like Foster is part cameraman, part sculptor, part director, part sound and video engineer, yet his whole grasp of creativity still adds up to coherent artistic messages.
In conjunction with the Heretics’ Gate installation, a limited run of 100 vinyl prints were produced and released by UNKLE. The haunting soundtrack was composed by Pablo Clements and James Griffith. Clements describe the process as “adding layer upon layer of EMS and Jupitor 4 synthesizers to a backing track Doug Foster had sent over. We had the image and were looking to make the sounds floaty and angel like. Analog angels I remember saying when doing it.”. The vinyl was released via UK’s Vinyl Factory, who treat their limited editions like art pieces on their own, with love and care put into both the cover print and vinyl itself.
Written by James Nason, with Mojib.
View more of Doug Foster’s work at his website. Foster has an upcoming, yet to be announced, group show in August at Lazarides. Pablo Clements and James Griffith are currently working as Toydrum.