In autumn 2014 Serpentine Galleries commissioned Gustav Metzger’s first digital work.
Gustav Metzger’s first digital work Mass Media: todayandyesterday.co.uk, co-commissioned by The Serpentine Galleries in partnership with The Space, coincided with the Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future, which Metzger both inspired and co-curated. It followed in the footsteps of his Serpentine exhibition Decades 1959-2009 (2009), and 100,000 Newspapers (2003), a ‘public-active installation’ at T1/2 Artspace, London, comprising the artist’s montage of cuttings placed under headings such as ‘EXTINCTION’, ‘WORK’ and ‘BIOTECHNOLOGY’.
Metzger’s digital commission built on Mass Media: Today and Yesterday, a long-standing and ongoing work, composed of a participatory installation involving the collection of thousands of newspapers, currently installed as Facing Extinction, an exhibition at Herbert Read Gallery, UCA (University for the Creative Arts), Canterbury. Over the course of the two days of the Extinction Marathon, a special live transmission took place from Facing Extinction on www.todayandyesterday.co.uk – forming a connection between the two physical sites of the Serpentine Galleries in London and Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury.
Thousands of newspapers were found stacked at the heart of the gallery space, as sourced by staff and students from UCA and partner institutions. Throughout the two-day broadcast, Fine Art students from Farnham and Canterbury could be found in an act of dynamic activation of Metzger’s work, selecting, cutting and collaging articles across the gallery walls in response to the subject of EXTINCTION. The online transmission highlighted Mass Media: Today and Yesterday as an installation in a continual state of flux and growth, with each day punctuated by a frozen panorama of the actions that preceded it.
Gustav Metzger’s digital commission was one of several online works commissioned in partnership with The Space. The commissions were hosted through The SPACE, alongside EXTINCT.LY, which deploys a digital map of the world’s surface to assemble the contributions of all participants in this years Extinction Marathon.
Gustav Metzger (b. 1926), best known for his concept of auto-destructive art elaborated in his 1959 manifesto, considers the work of art as a form of political consciousness-raising – he has addressed the troubles in Northern Ireland, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, terrorist bombings and global warming.
Facing Extinction conference and exhibitions at www.gustavmetzgerucafarnham.wordpress.com