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Gare Loch Duality and the #UndesiredLine

Image of Watching the Watcher 2019 by B.D. Owens. Image shows a black background with circular image within. In the circle there are various evergreen trees and a surveillance tower partially hidden by trees.

Part of Ars Electronica 2020: Festival for Art, Technology & Society, 9 -13 September 2020. Two new films by B.D. Owens followed by a live Q&A with the artist and NEoN Director, Donna Holford-Lovell.

Live event: Friday 11th September 2020, 10.30am-12.00pm (BST), 11.30am-13.00pm (CET) then until 13 September.

Where: YouTube Live

In collaboration with Regional STARTS Centers NEoN is excited to present the work of Scottish based artist B.D. Owens within the Kepler Gardens – Ars Electronica’s new hybrid festival venue for 2020.

NEoN’s current theme is ‘Share, Share Alike’ and we invite you to explore what sharing means, whether we’re talking about environmental biodiversity, community relations, or data leaks. NEoN’s programme for 2020/21 draws attention to our shared ecosystems, the empowering potential of file sharing, and the necessity of the creation of new digital economies. Artists will address the shared connections between the local and the global, the rethinking of environmental systems, and machine learning and shared data-sets.

For Ars Electronica’s Kepler Gardens, NEoN invited artist B.D. Owens to discuss the sharing of private and public space in relation to wider environmental and societal ecologies, and in the context of surveillance technology.  Gare Loch Duality and the #UndesiredLine was developed by B.D. Owens to reflect on the complicated reality of living in close proximity to the faslane nuclear submarine base. The work involves an interactive guided walk and conversation piece with leading UK research psychologists.

Two jars of red jelly that are labelled " Gare Loch Duality".

Over the course of 50 days in 2018, B.D. Owens undertook a daily performative pilgrimage from his house to the main gate of the naval base – in total covering 224 miles. During the daily walks he drew an ‘Undesired Line’, with his body, along the ground next to the perimeter fence – with the fence, the surveillance operations and the ecosystem surrounding the base all becoming part of the artwork. He continues to expand this artwork using video, sound and writing. The viewer can follow, and engage with, the interactive element of this work on Twitter at the hashtag #UndesiredLine

Note:It is not necessary for the viewer to have a Twitter account to see the tweets and links on the hashtag #UndesiredLine. Click on ‘Latest’ in the menu bar to view the entire hashtag thread.

Programme for Live Event

10.30am (BST) 11.30am (CET) Gare Loch Duality and the #UndesiredLine: Duration 30 mins (English)

B.D. Owens takes the viewer on an interactive wander through the landscape, artistic process and historical context of his ongoing, multifaceted project Gare Loch Duality and the #UndesiredLine.

Google Street View locations are available here to explore during this performance lecture and we encourage you to follow, and engage with, the interactive element of this work on Twitter at the hashtag #UndesiredLine.

11.00am (BST) 12.00pm (CET) Psychological Impacts of Surveillance: within the context of Gare Loch Duality and the #UndesiredLine: Duration 30 mins (English)

Multi-disciplinary artist, B. D. Owens, in conversation with Professor David Harper & Dr Darren Ellis (University of East London) about the psychological impacts of surveillance, within the context of Gare Loch Duality and the #UndesiredLine.

11.30am (Bst) 12.30pm (CET) Live discussion and Q&A with B. D. Owens and NEoN Director Donna Holford-Lovell Duration 30 mins (English)

Through poetry, daily journal writings, field recordings and tweets we get an insight into the unconscious stress perpetuated by surveillance experienced by artist B. D. Owens. In conversation with NEoNs Director, Donna Holford-Lovell, Owens will discuss his 50 day pilgrimages from the front door of his house to the front door of the faslane nuclear submarine base, which led to his fascinating body of work exploring the #undesiredline.

“Digitalis spears sway gently, while bees attend to magenta bells. But the rumble of surveillance boats overwhelms hypnotic humming, their engines tick over in tandem as they creep North along the loch.”

About the Artist
BD. Owens is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Shandon, on the Gare Loch, Scotland. During NEoN Festival, 2019, he presented his paper “Watching Me, Watching You: Reflections Upon Surveillance, Gare Loch Duality and the #UndesiredLine” at the NEoN Re@ct: Social Change Art Technology Symposium at the V&A Dundee.

BD. Owens examines and challenges binary, polarised doctrines and ideological positions, attempting to reveal nuances and complexities that may shift set-thinking and preconceptions. He develops his projects while walking and writing. Text, multi-layered interpretation and language-play are threads that run through his work, and much of his writing and sculpture is informed and shaped by personal life experiences. For his sculptures, he uses materials for their seductive qualities and semiotic values, with an aim to entice a desire to consume, touch and sometimes even destroy the artworks. His interventions with/in landscapes are ephemeral, transformational and performative, with the intention of minimal environmental impact.

Owens holds an MFA in Art, Society & Publics from DJCAD, University of Dundee, and a BFA in Sculpture from Concordia University (Montreal). Since 2012, he has shown his artwork in Canada, USA, Scotland, Germany and online. His writing has been published in two anthologies – We Were Always Here: A Queer Words Anthology, and Talking About Lobsters: New Writing Scotland Issue 34 – as well as on the eco/art/scot/land blog.

About Ars Electronica 2020: Festival for Art, Technology & Society
9 -13 September 2020

With the simultaneity and duality of local-physical and globally networked events all over the world, Ars Electronica 2020 becomes an exciting experimental laboratory and prototype for a next-level networking that will focus primarily on new forms and possibilities of fusion and coexistence of analog and digital, real and virtual, physical and telematic proximity. Starting in Linz and working with partner gardens from Ars Electronica’s extraordinarily large international network, “real” events will take place in many places, with “real” artists and scientists for “real” audiences, all of which will be networked into a festival from September 9 to 13. Visit here for the full programme.

Image Credit: Watching the Watcher (2019) & ;Gare Loch Duality Jelly by D.B. Owens

This event has been supported by Creative Scotland, Ars Electronica, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham & STARTS Eco-system.

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