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Richard Grayson - Possessions_inc.

Richard Grayson - Possessions_inc.

An investigation into agency, value and narrative in the virtual age through digital animation and web-based distribution.

The overarching research focus of Possessions_inc. is on the transformative histories and agendas of contemporary art practices that emerged in relation to specific revolutionary, social, cultural and political movements in the early 20th century, and ways they are re-articulated and shaped by the cultural, economic and technological conditions of the early 21st century. There is a focus on ways the art object and the space of art practice operates as both site and conduit for the interactions between the spheres of subjective and personal belief, and the formation of wider cultural and social systems.

Possessions_inc. is a web-based visual art project researching the ways power, value, agency and meaning have been invested in inanimate objects in pre-digital belief structures, and paralleling and contrasting these to those formed in digital technologies and cultures.

One node of research is the "Rennes-Le-Chateau Mystery", a set of complex interrelated narratives generated over the last century around a supposed 'treasure' found in a church in Southern France. These link to history, theology and alien contact, and are supported by artefacts, codes, fictions and fakes, which many people hold as having hidden or occult truth.

Richard Grayson, Possessions_inc. (2016-19) video still. Courtesy of the artist and Matt’s Gallery, London.

This is combined with material collected from electronic media, focussing on narratives around the internet of things, A.I. robotics, simulacra, art fakes, deep-fakes, and orthodox and heterodox narratives about secrets, technology, intelligence and surveillance. The material is ventriloquised by the animated head of a statue from the Church in Rennes to map an emerging network of digital/non-digital interactions that shape our individual and collective fields of contemporary experience. 

The forms of digital web-based distribution: streaming and long-duration series form, are central to the project, which tests if these allow new hybrid languages and syntaxes in moving image work. A monthly episode was posted on a dedicated website over three years, resulting in 8 hours of video. The site will be maintained into the future.

Richard Grayson, Possessions_inc. (2016-19) video still. Courtesy of the artist and Matt’s Gallery, London.
Possessions