The Infinite Mix

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The Infinite Mix
'The Infinite Mix' at 180 the Strand

Video art is so fucking boring. Okay, not always. Some of it’s great. Loads of it, even. But invariably, gallery shows of video art, especially group shows, involve countless hours of over-long, over-complicated, poorly shot nonsense in black and white, with loads of naked people reciting Baudelaire and rubbing ketchup into each other’s boobs.

Not at ‘The Infinite Mix’, though. This show is a collaboration between the Vinyl Factory and the Hayward Gallery (currently closed for renovation but stepping away from the Southbank for this offsite endeavour). It takes place in an immense, labyrinthine, leaky, graffitied, disused office block on the Strand, which has been filled with ten films that will make you totally forget all the shitty video art you might have had to sit through in the past. All the works dip their figurative toes into art, music and documentaries. 

It starts with Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed’s video of people crossing a street in New York. They hop, drag themselves backwards and crawl. It’s fun, immediate, approachable and quick. A neat way to kick things off. Then you get to Canadian artist Stan Douglas’s awesome ‘Luanda-Kinshasa’, which recreates a recording session at an iconic 1970s studio. The musicians are dressed period-perfect – flares, big afros, turtlenecks – and jam six hours of improvised afro-funk rock. It’s a fairly ludicrous, epic faux-documentary that’s trying to look at the African roots of blues and jazz, the return influence of funk on Afrobeat, and then Afrobeat’s own return influence on American music. A six-hour 1970s funk meditation on black culture? Yes please.  

Then Ugo Rondinone has filmed American poet John Giorno performing a piece to camera, displayed on 20 screens – it’s a sad lament, a goodbye to a lover and a career, and it’s wonderfully touching.

Wind your way through the maze of corridors and you get to Kendrick Lamar collaborator Kahlil Joseph’s ‘m.A.A.d.’, a video portrait of Compton, filled with sunshine, violence, poverty and hip hop. Then there’s Jeremy Deller and Cecilia Bengolea’s genuinely funny – a rare thing in art – CGI-filled semi-documentary about a tiny, dancehall-obsessed Japanese dancer called Bom Bom who travels to Jamaica. There’s an incredible holographic opera singer in Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s ‘OPERA’; an interview with a sad astronaut in Rachel Rose’s ‘Everything and More’; a bunch of suburban kids humping furniture in Cameron Jamie’s ‘Massage the History’ (seriously); a weird animation of a nylon stocking machine in Elizabeth Price’s ‘K’; and then a bunch of undulating 3D trees, drone footage from inside a fireworks display and long shots of a tree given to Jesse Owens by the Nazis when he won gold in the 1936 Olympics.

Does all that sound fun to you? Because it bloody should. Each piece is given proper space: there’s no sound leakage like you often get in shows of videos. Losing yourself in the corridors and then sitting in a specially built room for each film makes every one of them its own mini-experience. 

Everything here is shot through with music, dance, poetry, science or history – and you might walk away snobbily saying that what you’ve seen here isn’t art, that it’s a music video or a documentary, but get over yourself. Get over the boundaries and the pointless constraints. If you do that, you’ll find ten of the most engaging pieces of visual art you’ll see together all year. They’re full of passion, innovation, love, cleverness and emotion. Yes, the genres are blurred, and it’s about time they were. And if nothing else, you can’t say it’s boring

By: Eddy Frankel

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LiveReviews|13
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Zach B

Unbelievably good show can;t recommend enough catching it before it finishes!

Rugina M

Other-worldly, funny, surreal. An eye-opening experience. Went yesterday, gave ourselves 3 hours and still missed two (as we watched each for at least 20 minutes :) going again tomorrow. Absolutely loved these experimental films.

Richard N
Tastemaker

180 the Strand is quickly shaping up to be one of the hottest new art spaces. With a sprawling interior, you'll be spending hours just admiring the structure itself, when you're not completely mesmerized by the art inside that is. Split across 10 'studios', The Infinite Mix allows video art installations a proper platform at last, with each room housing a single video installation. The selection is varied, from experimental music videos to hour long jamming sessions? I was a little rushed for times so skipped a few, but of those I did see, I absolutely loved Thanx 4 Nothing, a video of a man delivering a sermon-like speech on what America has given him where the screens surround the audience from all sides, and was completely raptured by m.A.A.D., a sort of music video portraying black lives in Compton. Give yourself at least ninety minutes or so to come for this exhibition, because you won't want to miss a thing, but also come early because those queues can get insanely long here. A thoroughly enjoyable exhibition I'll have to come back to at some point, and has given me a newfound appreciation for the experimental film medium. 

MooseInLondon
Tastemaker

We were not able to go through all the exhibitions (we had only 90 minutes) but the ones we did see we enjoyed immensely. I enjoyed the endless jam session in the beginning and the quirkiness of some the exhibits was infectious. How can one not love a dance hall queen and a chameleon?  My favourite was 'Everything and More' from a visual perspective-- just stunning. A price tag of free doesn't go amiss here either. 


Bring a jacket--baby its cold in here :D

Sophie S

I've loved it! Been three times, twice on my own, once taking a friend... And I'm going again for the 4th time to show a family member who's very keen to see! Don't miss it, it's a like an indoor, free cinema and even better! 

Andrew W

Loved it !  incredible huge venue and some stunning installations, very other worldly, especially the ghostly maria Callas hologram and also an excellent cafe with stunning views across the Thames, hugely recommended

Az r

Went today and I've never seen an art show this bloody intriguing for a while. Love how the video exhibited are such a mix of really REALLY contemporary stuff. Very interesting collection of video collages, I love all the artists intriguing work, couldn't stop watching some of them, felt really inspired, this is the type of work I'd love to work on. I also love the venue and space itself. Good work to the team, curator(s) and staff.

Harry R

Truly incredible show, most interesting thing I've seen at a gallery for a while. This exhibition is teeming with visceral imagery that everyone deserves to see.