Karen Mirza and Brad Butler have worked together since 1998, and in 2004 formed no.w.here, an artist-run space for the production, discussion and dissemination of practices engaged with the moving image, politics, technology and aesthetics. www.no-w-here.org.uk no.w.here’s role as a cooperative environment is directly related to the centering of Mirza and Butler’s own practice upon collaboration, dialogue and the social. Since 2007 they have pursued a strain of practice entitled The Museum of non Participation This ongoing body of work confronts (non) participation and the socio-political in art works. This Museum consistently evolves through the geo-political ground upon which its works are produced and presented, in keeping with its initial formation. Thus far this work has been presented in Egypt, Pakistan, Germany and the UK.
Mirza and Butler have recently launched a new film, entitled Deep State, commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and made in collaboration with science fiction author China Mieville which takes its starting point in different moments of political struggle. A sister film to Deep State, Hold Your Ground was first presented as an Art on the Underground commission at Canary Wharf Tube Station April 25 - May 24 2012. Other upcoming projects include a solo exhibition at the Walker Art Centre opening on 18th April 2013 and Implicated Theatre: a year long project working with the Theatre of the Oppressed, the Migrants Resource Centre and the Centre for Possible Studies.
Brad and Karen's political alignment directly informs not only the content of their work but their collective approach to production.
The Museum of non Participation website:
Museum of non Participation
Early works often emerged from their interest in seminal avant-garde film. Non Places (1999), for example, is a contemporary take on the constructivist films of the 1920s and in Where a Straight Line Meets a Curve (2003) the artists drew inspiration from the use of resonant frequencies from Alvin Lucier’s 'I am Sitting in a Room' (1970). Mirza / Butler often take a single visual observation as a point of departure, such as the space between tower blocks in The Space Between (2005), the gesture of performing a 360 degree walking rotation with a camera in Structural Constellation (2006) or the cinematic principles inherent in photo realist painting in The Glass Stare (2006). From these initial images, Mirza and Butler intertwine a range of visual and conceptual languages, combining analytical and experimental sequences to create open-ended works. This includes The autonomous object? (2009) The Museum of non Participation and The Exception and the Rule