Simon Tyszko & AD Crawforth, B_T1 Live portal
BEACON_TRANSITIONS (B_T) is an online series in response to the uncertain future of exhibition culture. Beaconsfield invites artists to hold the space between physical and virtual sites in a new series of experimental commissions: ‘Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of the mind.’ (Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, 1928)
Simon Tyszko in collaboration with AD Crawforth
Freedom of the Mind
live from 9 July 2020 – 30 June 2022 (and ongoing intermittent broadcast)
B_T1 is a lockdown experiment wherein a virtual portal has been developed for Beaconsfield through a collaboration between Simon Tyszko and AD Crawforth in response to Covid19. The artists utilised the onsite CCTV surveillance system of the shuttered gallery to provide a poignant visual basis for the first in the series of Beacon_Transitions.
Live CCTV footage is streamed from the physical Beaconsfield site in Vauxhall; recording the almost silent, shuttered gallery spaces, displaying the work of some spiders, spinning webs over the surveillance cameras and – during July 2020 – the work of artist Tuula Narhinen and – from 18 January 2021 – the residency of Andrew Pierre Hart.
The cameras record weather patterns, changing light levels throughout the day and the ambient sounds of the site. Resident cat, Untitled, roams the yard space, fed by human friends on a daily lockdown rota. The bank of CCTV images on screen reminds us of the physical space to which we currently have limited access, or might even be afraid to visit in company. The digital object, described as B_T1, holds the liminal space between tentative, physical visits and the online realm in which so many of us have become immersed since Covid19 hit the world as we knew it.
At other times, the visual object is part of a more complex montage animated by audio and video works.
July 2020: Simon Tyszko engages in the month-long improvisation by taking us on an online journey from Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall into the mind of the artist. Following this lead AD Crawforth feeds audio visual content into the stream to nourish the montage. Live events stream across the nine screens recording Beaconsfield’s shuttered spaces, reminding us of global matters of significance: juxtaposing desolate cultural space and urgent human content. On Fridays and Saturdays in July, between 11am and 4pm, the virtual galleries will be animated by occasional visitors to the physical galleries. These people will be wearing masks. They will participate in Tuula Narhinen’s visual research into the nearby London waterway (conducted earlier in the year pre-lockdown) through engaging with her immersive portrait of the River Thames, Deep Time Deposits, and the tools with which she made it.
This work constantly fed back live throughout UK government coronavirus lockdowns and the artists kept broadcasting live surveillance post lockdown for a further 6 months. Since 2023 the work exists as an occasional ongoing intermittent broadcast from the gallery surveillance cameras – repeatedly capturing static & animated space.
Freedom of the Mind is the first in the series Beacon_Transitions: a lockdown experiment wherein a virtual portal is opened by Beaconsfield for artists to explore, supported by Art Council England’s Emergency Response Fund.