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DUPE is a London based collective

A printed zine and online blog

Conceived, written, filmed and illustrated by artists

Previous theme: HAIR Previous theme: ROAD TRIP Current theme: DARK

Ask us anything: contactdupe@gmail.com

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    DUPE chats to Video Artist Ben Bickford about Channel 4, Rituals and Youtube

    We would visually describe your work as Contemporary Hippy, and Psychedelic, and then we hear the soundtrack for some of them. Rap.

    Is it an intentional contrast? Psychedelic visuals with rap sound?

    The two videos I have made with a “rap” soundtrack were made mainly to expose unsuspecting people (aside from a safety warning)  to my form of Stroboscopic Video Art and to give some purpose to a few of my failed experiments. It is an intentional contrast but Rap has its psychadelic side and a lot of it is about expansion of consciousness in one form or another, I listen to all sorts of music and yeah I do really enjoy a lot of rap/hiphop/trap whatever you want to call it. I think those videos actually came about from spending many nights with my girlfriend experimenting with psychoactive substances, performing rituals, trawling youtube to find new music to enhance these experiences yet she’d always complain about all the music that had no visual and that we were just sat looking at an album cover or something, so I thought I’d make a couple myself.

    Artwork can be inspired by the place where you grow up. Your hometown is Hastings. Do you think the town has influenced your artwork?

    I lived in Hastings from 1986 to 2006 when I moved to London. There is an exercise I learnt from Robert Anton Wilson (RIP Eris be with you Bob) who learnt it from Aleister Crowley who learnt it from a Buddhist monk in Selong. It’s a simulation of enlightenment where you sit down and think of all the reasons, decisions, encounters and chance that brought you to sit down and attempt said exercise. “So I’m sitting here doing this exercise because I read a book by Robert Anton Wilson, Why was I reading that book? Because my friend J told me I should, How did J come to suggest this to me?… and so on. It really doesn’t take long before you end up with reasons such as “I’m sitting here doing this exercise because Emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus began the conquest of Britain in AD43 eventually coming to Hastings forcing settlers to take refuge in the natural valley between the East and West hills …..I’m doing this exercise because planet Earth is the only planet in our solar system with the capability to support life…..” so it becomes clear that an infinite amount of coincidences, synchronicities, and accidents throughout not just your own history but the history of the Universe has brought you to the point where you are sitting down doing this exercise.  So I think the town has undoubtedly influenced me as a person and as an artist.

    How important is the music to the video art? Half of your videos are silent. How do you choose which ones have sound?

    Some of my videos have soundtracks and they use binaural beats, which is the name given to a method of using two different frequencies in different channels to coax the brain to a frequency that is perhaps so low that humans wouldn’t normally be able to hear those frequencies and experience the power of them. These serve to reinforce the psychic healing and dissociative powers of the Stroboscopic Visuals, unfortunately this only really works when listened to through headphones. So if you want to attempt to fully experience the power of Brainwave Entrainment then the sound listened to through headphones is imperative.  

    Some have been intentionally left silent to make them more accessible to users who perhaps have no idea about stroboscopic visuals or binaural beats or psychic healing tools and want to kick back and relax to some of their favourite music with their chosen consciousness expanding substance and watch some hypnotic visuals.

    Watch the video: VALIS * Stroboscopic / Binauaral Beats * ( Dreammachine Simulator )

    Here at DUPE we follow you on Instagram and notice that you post a lot of Asian images. Are these images your online sketchbook? What are your main inspirations?

    An online sketchbook of sorts is a good way of explaining what that is about, I don’t really know myself. For several years now I have curated an image blog (doommantra.tumblr.com) and a lot of what is on my IG (@doommantra) is my favourite posts from the Tumblr. I try to take inspiration from everything that surrounds me/I surround myself with, Eastern art and thought has for many years been of great interest to me, I guess I first got into it through tattoos and spending a lot of time in tattoo studios with Mahakala masks from Tibet, Japanese woodblock prints and shrines to Ganesh adorning the walls, I found them great tools to meditate on while forcing myself to endure several hours of pain. So I started to look into where this imagery came from, what it represented, what it meant. I’m interested and inspired by what some of the oldest known schools of thoughts have to say about existence, life, death, the creation of the universe… what is the best way to live….what is reality and how do we best experience it? The mysticism that spawns from these ideas and the lives of those who practice the mental and physical exercises of the various sects, magical orders and cults of eastern and some western civilisations/societies.  

    What are your tools of the trade?

    Gan-Zi-Gu-Nu, MacBook Pro, Canon Powershot, Arizer V-Tower, W Grey Walter The Living Brain, Some ancient Sony Hi8 Camcorder, Iphone5, κάνναβις 

    DreamMachine, Soma, The Tibetan Book of The Dead, (RS)-2-(2-Chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)cyclohexanone. 

    Describe the creative process in creating one of your Video works.

    It involves a fair amount of swearing, sitting in the dark, looking at percentages increase on timers, smoking and despair.

    Your video works have appeared on Channel 4. What are you working on next?

    Yeah that was great, really grateful that Lightning&Kinglyface asked me to contribute to their short film they aired on Channel 4 last year. 

    Recently I have been working on a collaborative project with an amazing artist who you can find on IG as @jonascrookedmoon or soundcloud as https://soundcloud.com/kryptarituals who makes some of the best lo fi drone music I’ve heard. I’ve been supplying him with visuals for live performances and stroboscopic psychic healing videos tailor made to fit his sounds. Something new will be out for that soon but in the meantime you can watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czCGya244Cc the video I made for the track dödsdrone.

    Have you always made videos? Or has it been a gradual progression.

    I started making videos in 2005 on my foundation course in Hastings with a good friend and early frequent collaborator who unfortunately doesn’t make art anymore. I stopped for a while to become some performance artist that practiced hypnotism and magical rituals but I didn’t enjoy that and I still make other things now and then. Otherwise I’ve been making them on and off for almost 10 years and I honestly still don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t use editing suites properly I just make them work for me. Many hours are still spent trying to learn how to do something I can see in my mind but have no idea in how to do that or how to even phrase it so that Google can find me the answer, so it is a very slow and constant gradual process for me but I like the idea of approaching this technology as a novice, I don’t really want to perfect my understanding/use of technology.

    If you could collaborate with another artist who would it be and why?

    John Whitney (1917-1995) he did the title sequence for Hitchcock’s Vertigo, invented computers for animating and was considered a father of computer animation in general.  After many failed attempts at attainting an out of body experience it finally happened whilst watching one of his videos and practicing a consciousness expanding ritual. I couldn’t get enough of his animations and watched Matrix III several times a week for a month or so. 

    Watch the video: LIL UGLY MANE - NO SLACK IN MY MACK // STROBOSCOPIC VISUALS - DOOMMANTRA

    Our current issue is ‘The Dark Issue.’ What are your darkest thoughts?

    To live is to suffer, there is no meaning to gain through suffering.

    Why survive?

    https://www.youtube.com/user/DoomMantraDoom/videos

    www.doommantra.com (coming soon)

    — 1 month ago with 2 notes
    #Ben bickford  #videoartist  #dupe  #Channel 4  #youtube  #art  #GeorgiaLucasGoing 
    What a day! Hush House Supermarket

    DUPE was delighted to take part in the first Hush House Supermaket, hosted by the Bussey Building in Peckham on Saturday 24th August.

    Both floors of the Bussey were jam packed with stalls selling fashion, prints, hand made objects, photography, food and more. We enjoyed going to two of the free talks held by Clever Boxer about setting up a creative business - very useful advice!

    It was really busy all day and we had a great time talking to lots of interesting people and spreading the DUPE word. We especially enjoyed hearing what people thought of the zine and getting words of encouragement.

    Thank you Hush House crew and the Bussey!

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    — 11 months ago
    #hushhousesupermarket  #art  #zine  #dupe  #peckham 
    DUPE talks to photographer Paul Phung about Northerners, B&W film & why the word ‘talented’ makes him feel uncomfortable.

    If you could exhibit anywhere in the world where would you & why?

    I would really keep it in the UK, it’s where I’ve been brought up and where I became a photographer.. so I would say a solo show in London would probably be a big goal.

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    Why do you choose to work in mainly in black & white over colour?

    I do favour B&W over colour, apart from the traditional aspects to it I just seem to work more naturally in B&W and find it much more effective to get across my vision through that. It’s also maybe due to the fact a lot of film makers I look up to and find inspiration from only do B&W films but I also do shoot colour, it really depends on what I’m working on and what I want to put across to the viewer.


    You’ve appeared alongside some big names on the latest cover of ‘Nasty’ (Marina Abramovic being one). How did that feel?

    I felt very honoured, but I try not to think about stuff like that, in a way it makes me work harder.

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    When I first met you I remember it was the use of thick white smoke in your earlier works that caught my attention. I also remember spending my hard earned student loan on a print…….what first drew you into using smoke?

    It came from films I was watching at the time and remember thinking it was a great atmosphere to incorporate into my photographs plus it was quite fun to do.

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    As you know our latest issue theme is ‘Road Trip’. Tell me the 4 essentials you would pack in your suitcase?

    Well depends on what trip I’m doing, I always pack light anyway..the last trip I did, I had in my backpack a notebook and pen, a shirt, my camera and a music player. That was actually quite a big mistake and I ended up buying clothes at the local supermarket in Portugal.


    We’ve interviewed alot of talented people from up North (Paul is from Manchester). Why do you think that is?

    Haha that word talented makes me feel a bit uncomfortable but I have no idea, great artists come from all over..probably all my favourite music artists are from the north actually but what I can say is growing up in the north has really helped me. I rarely had many distractions and it really aided me into becoming a photographer.. thinking about it, I really do miss it a lot.

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    www.paulphung.com

    — 1 year ago with 2 notes
    #paulphung  #photography  #art  #GeorgiaLucasGoing 
    DUPE talks comedy, the uncanny and practicing in Berlin with artist Kasia Fudakowski

    Kasia and I did art together in year 6. I can’t remember much about it, but I’m pretty sure it involved a lot of drawing tedious ‘still life’s’ with oil pastels. Then last year I stumbled across some of her brilliant work at Frieze Art Fair, and after some deft stalking on my part we got back in touch, and I found out she was now practicing in Berlin.

    I decided to capitalize on this rendezvous by asking her some questions about the fantastically peculiar things she makes.

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    You grew up in London, you’re of Polish descent and now live in Berlin. Where do you feel is home?

    I had the classic problem of feeling English in Poland and Polish in England, so Berlin is where I feel like I can be a bit of both quite happily. Home is where your hard drive is…. or is that too cold?

    Why did you decide to move to Berlin? How do you find living and working as an artist there in comparison to London? Are there more opportunities for creative endeavors in general?

    I moved almost immediately after studying in England, so I never really experienced professional London life, but the feeling I had when I moved to Berlin was that you can make life easier for yourself and be somewhere where you don’t need to have a high paid, time consuming job in order to sustain a flat and a studio. I don’t think there are particularly more creative opportunities here in comparison to London, as London is a place where you are somehow forced to keep being active and producing etc, and as a result there is a lot going on, whereas the pressure is sometimes lacking here, but being given the headspace to quietly work things out is something that is important.

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    Absurdity and humour (albeit with tragic undertones) seem to be a clear underlying theme in everything you make. Where do you think that stems from? Does it have anything to do with being from a culturally “mixed” headspace?

    Ah, now you’re asking me if the absurdity and humour (albeit with tragic undertones) is a result of my mixed cultural head space….Well that’s hard to say. Probably not. I tend to avoid putting much emphasis on nationality and feel like my interest in comedy and awkwardness stems from the enjoyment I get from dark twisting story lines, and glorifying the pathetic. I’m interested in comedy that fails, because the expectation of a specific result is so interwoven in the set up. I think there is a lot of space to play with this idea of expectation and what entertainment is. I like to make art, that you can use the sound made from sticking your tongue out and blowing, to describe it. This is essentially childish, and is unacceptable in most other professions.

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    Looking at images from your recent show in Belgium, ‘Where is your alibi, Mr. Motorway?’ I get a strong sense of the Uncanny. Are you primarily trying to subvert people’s sense of recognition, or is this just a by-product of what happens when you’re focusing on more intellectually motivated ideas?

    The uncanny is difficult to avoid, but it’s not something I was necessarily occupied with. Of course, on some level, you are always subverting the familiar in Art, but what I was attempting to do was build a whole elaborate system of judgement that was based on very simple fallacies and then watch it crumble. There are some very real concerns with systems of judgement in both a legal sense and on a more general level, contained within the work.

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    What are you working on at the moment? And what’s next?

    At the moment I am co-organising and taking part in an exhibition that brings sculptors and performers together. It’s kind of brilliant because in a way it’s doomed to fail in the same way that unnatural collaborations must. I’m really happy though because we have some amazing artists taking part and whatever the result I think it will be interesting. At the moment we have a daunting stack of Styrofoam bricks….

    Lastly, our current theme is ‘road trip’, so in the spirit of that please can you give us 5 songs you’d put on a road trip mix tape?

    Here goes…. nothing to do with roads….but a little multi-kulti.

    Amarsi un Po - Lucio Battisti

    Type - Paul Haworth and Sam de Groot (http://www.truetruetrue.org/good-at-goodbyes/)

    Give me your love - Curtis Mayfield

    Cigarettiquette - Lambchop

    Ditty - Paperboy

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    Also pay a visit to Kasia’s blog where every image of a sculpture you click on takes you to a video link. Amazing!

    Kasia Fudakowski was born to Polish parents in 1985 and grew up in Poland and London. She lives in Berlin and is represented by Chert gallery.

    http://www.kasiakasia.com/

    http://www.chert-berlin.com/

    Interview by Philippa. 




    — 1 year ago
    #berlin  #art  #dupe