The exploits and musings of an artist-acupuncturist, lecturer and researcher at CoDE, Cambridge School of Art, Cambridge, UK.

Work influenced and nurtured by Darrell Viner, a British pioneer in cybernetic and sound art.

Having been handed a book the other day titled: ‘a computer in the art room – the origins of british computer arts 1950 -1980’. I was pretty lukewarm about it and just about to put it back on the shelf (being slightly fed up with this subject!) when, the page I opened on contained a long description of the important contributions to this genre that my beloved tutor from Chelsea (the late Darrell Viner) has made… my eyes filled with tears.

Most of my work in the 90’s was only made possible by the persistent encouragement, assistance and donation of materials by the most generous artist I have ever known. Darrell was loved by all his students, despite his anarchistic quietly shocking comments and outrageous behavior. He would totally be fired if he were teaching today.

Darrell’s early work:

http://www.henry-moore.org/hmi/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/2011/darrell-viner-early-work

Note: this is a majorly sanitized representation of Darrell’s work, ‘the grind’  being closer to what I saw in his studio  and certainly NOT in a glass case – they would have been out in the open- some of his works were even a threat to people in the space…

Here is a talk with his partner about his work which shows his studio as I remember it:

Semaphore at the Chisenhale (1990):

Art Institutions now are so over-controlled and tutors so bereft of time to ever offer the same pastoral care and freedoms we used to take for granted.

Here is my work at Chelsea and just after…

1st – Chelsea College of Art London Mid-Year Show March 1995
A Duchampian Monster


2nd – Installation – Champagne Shower – 1997

3rd – Chorus 1999

3rd – House Music- Mellow Birds London 2000

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4 responses

  1. Urs

    Hello,

    I went to see the Darrell Viner exhibition in Leeds last year, I LOVED it! I was wondering if you knew how I could get hold of some of his early electrinic images to look at again? I have just ordered that Computer in the Art Room booking thinking that there might be some in there but on re-reading your comments it seems like there are only descriptions rather than pictures? I have searched the internet but the only one I can find it the square one which shows up on the Henry Moore Institute page and which wasn’t my favourite..

    Any help/advice on this would be greatly appreciated..
    Cheers.

    December 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    • Dear Urs,
      Yes, the archive of Darrell’s work is a problem as it is still currently under the control of his surviving partner, who wishes to keep his work to herself at the moment. The Henry Moore Foundation in Leeds will have the only resource for his work currently… I am sorry I couldn’t be more help, but this is the sad situation at the moment. Good luck with your enquiries with the Henry Moore Foundation and let me know how you get on.
      Best,
      Michelle

      December 16, 2012 at 5:50 am

  2. Chris Hooson

    Totally agree, found the Leeds show mesmerising, intoxicating…..I have also been looking for prints and books….for me he is very similar in how he impacts me as the Spanish sculpture artist Chilleda, particularly Chilleda’s sketches. I so hope we can get this work in the near future, it’s sad to think it’s not available to continue it’s vast impact on those of us who love it.

    January 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    • Dear Chris, Funny you should mention this as I am in conversation with someone Darrell used to collaborate with about getting his work to be made more available by the collections/institutions that his work is housed in, etc. We are meeting in a couple of weeks to see what can be done and I will report back as soon as I have some news.
      Thanks for you post!
      Michelle

      January 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

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