Mobility Projects brings show on travel and communication to the Meter Room

By Mark Sheerin | 23 February 2012
Colour photo of a young girl in a gallery holding a camera
© Elly Clarke. All rights reserved
Exhibition: The Mobility Project, The Meter Room, Coventry, January 20 – February 19 2012

That a show conceived of in Berlin should next see the light of day in Coventry, makes the perfect case for 21st century mobility. The distance between curator Elly Clarke and the Meter Room gallery was no doubt bridged by a flurry of emails and pictures.

Two of the projects here use Berlin as a theme. Fedora Romita takes visitors underground and all around town with recordings of the city’s U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines. Kerstin Honeit asks women to set up pitches on the street to ask why females who do this are prejudged to be sex workers. The results are a confrontational film.

Plan b, meanwhile, aka Daniel Belasco Rogers and Sophia New, choose to map their journeys beyond the city to produce scratchy wall drawings from GPS data collected on their respective mobile phones. This shows that international artists travel a lot. Paul Klee’s definition of drawing (“taking a line for a walk”) comes to mind.

Simon Clark has also travelled the length and breadth of the land, only routed via the Galapagos Islands. There he found 22 unstamped cards to UK addresses which he has delivered by hand via rail and bicycle. All bar one can be read in the gallery along with a beguiling audio recording from the artist.

An artist more interested in rapid dissemination is Enda O’Donoghue. As a painter, his works give the 21st century comms theme a bit of a twist, as he deals in lo-res images found online. A bank of 12 canvases, like studio monitors, use the same shot of pinstripe cuff and chunky wrist watch. They suggest the rapid movement of money.

Coventry was represented by the work of local Rebecca Pittam, who seemed only too keen to escape town with her two-channel film of a US road trip. With a view through the windshield of her hire car, along with one camera trained on her at the wheel, this was the work which perhaps best captured the pleasures of travel.

Gallerist and artist Elly Clarke included film work of her own, which took viewers to a gridlocked A-road in Germany. But this potentially frustrating scenario revealed a utopian dimension as a guitarist jams in the backseat and motorists leave their vehicles and socialise on the hard shoulder.

Mobility and communication have proved to be great themes for Clarke’s roster of artists and so the show has travelled well and will no doubt continue to do so. The show’s German provenance gives it all a cachet upon arrival in the West Midlands. And no doubt this run in Coventry will prove just as exotic at its next destination.

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