Rule of Three I

2017 Roundup


Rule of Three articles feature a trio of artworks that share an association with a single word. This roundup is a summary of half of the artworks featured in the Rule of Three column in 2017, from the words Archipelago to Ligneous.

A to C

Archipelago touches upon issues faced by island populations. Vincent J. F. Huang’s Crossing the Tide is a flooded pavilion that draws attention to the possibly devastating impact that climate change may have on Polynesia in the coming decades. Zinnie Harris’s play Further Than the Furthest Thing, meanwhile, tackles the isolation and placelessness that comes when the tight-knit community of Tristan da Cunha is uprooted.

Braille includes Self Portrait by Roy Nachum, who collaborated with Rihanna on the cover sleeve for her album Anti, and Riva Lehrer’s sketch of playwright Lynn Manning, both of which incorporate braille. The works about codebreaking featured in Cryptology include Zodiac, David Fincher’s dark detective drama about the ‘Zodiac killer’, and Fez, a video game that inventively and light-heartedly straddles 2D and 3D game mechanics.

D to E

The word Desolate may have negative connotations, but two of the three works selected for this article are laced with humour. Alice Hawkins’ Desolate Coast fashion photographs for Garage Magazine have several comic fluorishes; one model’s dress, mimics an ironically branded shopping bag. In Portal, a puzzle game set in an abandoned lab, the player’s antagonist is an entertainingly sarcastic, sadistic AI system.

As well as food design artists Honey & Bunny, the article on Ecology includes a number of intergalactic travellers: a plucky garbage disposal robot in WALL-E and the protagonist of Micha Cárdenas’s game Redshift and Portalmetal, who is forced to migrate to another planet. Extraterrestrial continues the space theme, with Invader’s retro street art mosaics and the game To the Moon, in which an elderly man embarks on a lunar journey.

F to G

Alongside the obvious vessels associated with Floating – the merchant ship captured by pirates in the film A Hijacking, or the DIY boats made for Swoon’s art project Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea – is a rarer craft: Ole Scheeren’s Archipelago Cinema, a drifting auditorium. The game Hydroventure requires the player to slosh water across the screen in Fluidity, while the roof of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center flows in smooth curves.

Glitch art embraces digital faults and quirks. Rosa Menkman’s video piece The Collapse of PAL unsettles the viewer with frantic movement and ‘crackling screeches’. Oval’s ‘Do While’, a classic of the glitch music genre, is a stuttering, swooping composition created from damaging and looping existing CDs. Hyper Light Drifter, designed by Alex Preston – founder of Glitch Space – is a challenging action role-playing game with stylish pixel art.

H to I

Of the many fake deaths played out by the male title character in the film Harold and Maude, committing Harakiri is perhaps the most gruesome of the lot. Toru Takemitu’s ominous score for Ran – a film directed by Akira Kurosawa – is as troubling as the bloody brutality that it accompanies. The author of ‘Patriotism’, Yukio Mishima, followed in the footsteps of his story’s young newlyweds by committing harakiri himself at 45.

The book at the centre of the animated film The Secret of Kells is filled with many an elaborate manuscript Illumination; Cassils’ performance art piece Becoming an Image sees the artist lit by camera flashes while pummelling a block of clay. The technique of Intertextuality (alluding to one artwork within another) is put to great use in Kate Beaton’s collection of cartoons, Hark! A Vagrant, and Jean Rhys’s novel Wide Sargasso Sea.

J to L

Junkyard shows that there are plenty of creative resources to be found in the scrap heap, from the recycled steel in Karen Cusolito’s statue Ecstasy, to the salvaged equipment on Konono Nº1’s album Congotronics. Among those tapping Keyboard instruments are: Gyorgy Ligeti, with his harpsichord piece, Continuum; Pauline Oliveros with her accordion-driven album, The Roots of the Moment; and players of the typing game Epistory.

The artworks selected for Ligneous are all founded on the same material – wood – but it is used to reach very different ends. Louise Nevelson sculpts charred bark into a ‘structural skeleton’ with Sky Cathedral, while Lisa Bufano and Sonsherée Giles’s work of choreography, One Breath is an Ocean for a Wooden Heart, sees the dancers perform on stilts, adopting the forms of animals and furniture.

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