Questioning how cinema mediates our lived experience.
The videos of Matthew Noel-Tod (born Stoke-on-Trent, 1978, lives in London) emerge from diverse traditions. They draw on conceptual strategies, but also often find inspiration in other artists working in different media. Noel-Tod's impressionistic and abstracted diary video, Nausea (2005), for example, makes links to On Kawara's insistent but minimalist date paintings. The execution of Noel-Tod's videos, meanwhile, is informed by cinema history and an intuitive cinematic sensibility. Obcy Aktorzy / Foreign Actors (2006) is essentially an ethnography of Polish cinema, articulated in the same medium as its subject and crafted through quotation and montage.
Noel-Tod straddles two giant bodies of reference – art and cinema – through his interest in and application of technology. He explores the particularities of his chosen medium, whether it be a cathode ray tube camera (used in Obcy Aktorzy / Foreign Actors) or a mobile phone camera (Nausea). Atomic (2003) presents his remake of the Blondie pop video, looped and accompanied by music written for F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). Atomic emerged from Noel-Tod's interest in exploring the origins of new technologies – such as early cinema and video – but also his more reflexive interest in the nature and end points of different forms of mediation. These videos always employ some kind of pre-existing element. The quotes – always referencing form as well as content – cleverly retain an element of their original emotional impact while pointing to evidence of deconstruction. Through their combinations of sequences, and often with superimposed text, the videos also take on enumerable new poetic nuances. Consequently, Noel-Tod's videos exist in a kind of entropic state. There is at once absolute break down, but through the agency of the viewer there is also the potential for a radical new unity. Significantly, the work lies on this threshold, incomplete without such intervention but always pointing to it.
For Nought to Sixty, Noel-Tod presents a new work made during his Film London Artists' Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) and Picture This Bristol Mean Time residency, in 2008. Blind Carbon Copy (2008) primarily focuses on a performance which uses email texts as dialogue. This exemplifies Noel-Tod's application of deconstruction and points to the underlying questions behind it – what does it mean for us to live in a globalised world where we interact with our localities through the mediation of technology? And how does this affect our experience of the world and ourselves? The fractured email phrases sent from different locales refer to different places and states of mind. In this context, slippery detached terms like 'here' and 'there' suggest both metaphysical states and, through performance, are embodied in space. In this video, the phenomenological is made material.
Noel-Tod's screening at the ICA incorporates a live performance by dancer and choreographer Saju Hari.