KMA
 

KMA



KMA is a collaboration between UK media artists Kit Monkman and Tom Wexler. Their work is primarily focussed on illuminating, encouraging, and developing, interactions between people in public spaces using digitally-controlled projections.

Uniquely in the history of creative urban lighting, KMA choose to prioritise the illumination of people and their relationships over the lighting of buildings and edifices. Rejecting the historical notion of the citizen as a passive spectator, KMA’s work celebrates the dynamics of human movement rather than the facets of historic buildings.

Kit and Tom have also collaborated with other prominent artists on a wide range of projects in theatre, tv, film and academia.

KMA’s work creates large, immersive, sometimes networked, ‘digital playgrounds’, in which distinctions between audiences and performers disappear. The resulting social engagements reaffirm the urban community through embodied, rather than verbal, discourse.

These massive engagements in social play generate diverse audiences, free from social barriers. The participants take ownership of the work and the environment in which it is staged, creating a sense of event that in itself informs and illuminates the public space.

Whilst KMA’s work has dramatically transformed famous iconic spaces, such as London’s Trafalgar Square, it has proved equally successful in more intimate environments, for example the Renaissance Courtyard of the Palazzo Spada in Terni, Umbria. Through a diverse range of commissions, including those from the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Royal Opera House, and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, KMA’s work has consistently received extensive national and international press attention.

KMA’s most recent work Congregation was nominated for a Northern Art Prize and a Prix Ars Electronica and was chosen to represent the UK on National Day at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

As a direct result of KMA’s unique experience within the public-performance realm, Kit and Tom have also collaborated with other prominent artists on a wide range of projects in theatre, film and academia. Recent work includes interactive video for Prince’s 2011 Welcome2America Tour, video art for DV8′s To Be Straight with You, video design for Paolo Nutini (2011), the opening sequence for The 2007 Bollywood Oscars, video design for Darshan Singh Bhuller’s Find Me Amongst the Black and his ground-breaking Eng-er-land, and ongoing performance research projects with the University of Leeds.

We don’t have a mailing list as such, but if you’d like to keep up to date with KMA’s work, please join our facebook group or follow us on Twitter

Videos of recent works are available here


Recent & Forthcoming Work

 

Congregation in Pittsburgh

February 2014

Later this month, Congregation will be travelling to the US where it will be presented in Pittsburgh’s Market Square as the inaugural event in the downtown location’s public art programme.

It will be presented daily from dusk to 10pm (midnight on Fri/Sat nights), and will run from the 21st Feb to the 16th March. There are a number of events and tours related to the programme: more information about these can be found on the Market Square Public Art website.

These performances are being commissioned by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership


 

Strange Attractors in Southampton

October 2013

For three nights in November – courtesy of the John Hansard GalleryStrange Attractors / The Anatomy of Dr Tulp, will be presented in Southampton’s impressive Guildhall Square. This large-scale public meditation on ritual and the nature of crowds was first created for the Abandon Normal Devices festival in Liverpool, 2009, and it represents the first of a series of works that focus on the presence of an unidentified figure projected into the middle of the space, as well as our first collaboration with musician Peter Broderick.

There is more about the work, including video shot in Liverpool and Blackburn, here.

Strange Attractors will run from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on 1st, 2nd and 3rd November. Further information about the event may be found here.


 

Congregation at Macau Arts Festival

June 2012

In May we spent a hot, humid, and sultry two weeks in Macau, where faded Sixteenth Century Catholic iconography sits aside contemporary China’s LED illuminated skyline.

There, in the midst of Macau’s largest open space, thrust upwards towards the brooding humid skies, stood the 35m tall, free-standing, lightening attractor of a scaffold tower that the Festival organisers had built for us. Its sheer size made all the more alarming by continual threats of torrential thunder storms and typhoons. Despite any misplaced concerns we may have had the tower stood firm, the weather held, and Congregation ran for 35 consecutive shows, to packed and appreciative audiences.


 

Unsung Heroes

January 2012

Unsung Heroes’ was an installation that took place across three sites on Salford Quays in Winter 2011. (Imperial War Museum, MediaCityUK & The Lowry Plaza). ‘Unsung Heroes’ was KMA’s first ever site-specific piece. The new installation was designed after KMA were awarded the first ever public art commission involving all of the organizations on Salford Quays. Unsung Heroes used a commissioned soundtrack by renowned composer Peter Broderick. The score was layered with sections of recorded voices and submitted text to form a rich, poetic conversation about the spirit of Salford, Trafford and The Quays.


 

Congregation

October 2010

September 2010 was the month of Congregation. The Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, Central Square in Bournemouth, and Tate Britain in London were all thronged with participants.


 

Congregation

July 2010

KMA’s most ambitious work to date, Congregation will be the world’s first ever ballet designed, choreographed and composed entirely for pedestrian performers. There will be no rehearsal and no textual input: participants will simply respond to the choreography of light and sound in an embodied, rather than verbal, discourse. The score for Congregation has been created by Portland-based composer Peter Broderick.

Commissioned by SCAN and British Council, Congregation is due to premiere simultaneously at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai as part of World Expo and Bournemouth for the Inside Out Festival, followed by further performances at Tate Britain, London

Congregation illuminates the responses that humans make to interruption and interference in their environment. The interruption, in this example, is the arrival of a lone figure (The Angel). This figure cannot communicate, can barely move and appears powerless. Despite its impotence, the figure is utterly immovable, indelible, and as such must be perceived as super-human, with an authority and permanence as powerful as any force of nature. If it will not adapt, it demands to be acknowledged; and the witnesses of the arrival must establish a relationship with it. Our human need to believe – to attribute meaning, to understand our environment – leads us to make extraordinary attempts to relate to this enigmatic presence, and we fall quickly upon universal patterns of religion, spirituality, faith. We seek affirmation in sharing these beliefs with our neighbours, and attempt to reduce and distill the mystery into something tangible. Communities form as consensus develops, and factions seek to confirm their specific relationship with the visitor by defining their differences from each other.

And what then becomes of us should this visitor depart? Are we willing to accept that what seemed permanent was merely an apparition – that we were fooled, and foolish – or was the power in the shared experience sufficient to outlive the trigger? Will we miss our visitor, or rejoice in the reaction which was catalysed? Was the act of the moment more telling than the subject?


 

Great Street Games

October 2009

Projected light and thermal-imaging technology were used to create jaw-dropping interactive playing arenas in which human movement triggered spectacular light effects. The games took place simultaneously in three North East UK locations; Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Each area competed against the others in this world-first event.

The games were set out of doors, in large urban spaces, with no pre-prepared participants. The scale of the arenas created a vast aesthetic impact on the urban environments in which they were placed, drawing audiences to them, quite often by chance as people went about their daily lives. Curiosity drew people in, but it was the intelligence of the language within these games which held the public attention and engaged them in problem solving, play and social engagement.

By manipulating time and space within the public arena and blurring the distinction between participant and audience, KMA’s work is opening up vast new environments in which art and audiences meet equally on each other’s terms.

Some video footage from Great Street Games is available here


 

Strange Attractors

September 2009

Strange Attractors (The Anatomy of Dr Tulp) opened in Liverpool in September as part of the inaugural Abandon Normal Devices festival.

The piece is an exploration of relationships and spaces, using the audience as the subject matter, creating an impromptu choreography formed as a response to the natural enquiry and playfulness of the public.

There’s more information and some video from the opening night here.



Contact



For all general enquiries, please email us at contact (at) kma (dot) co (dot) uk


KMA's worldwide agent is Vivienne Gaskin

Vivienne Gaskin
VGCM Ltd
70 Keynsham Road
Cheltenham
GL53 7PX

+44 (0) 1242 530001
+44 (0) 7950 328112

vivienne@viviennegaskin.com

www.viviennegaskin.com

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