SMAC Art Gallery 02


Catapult Screensaver

Abri de Swardt
Catapult Screensaver, Exhibition Invitation ,


72 New Bond St. 1st Fl. London W1S 1RR

Hours: Open Tuesday - Saturday 10 - 6 and by appointment. The gallery is closed on bank and public holidays.



'Who remembers all that? History throws it’s empty bottles out the window.' - Alexandra Stewart narrating the letters of Sandor Krasna, Sans Soleil, dir. Chris Marker (1983)

'Well, since you disappeared up the ladder of Information Retrieval ... I don’t expect to see you slumming in Records…' – Sam Lowry in Brazil, dir. Terry Gilliam (1985)

Abri de Swardt’s practice is centred on testing material relationships within the medium of collage in relation to digitization and forms of amnesia. Through drawing together imagery that creates frictions between, and points of entry to, historically fraught narratives, his work questions the production of teleological knowledge and mines popular culture for simulation, mythos and affect. 

For the event, Catapult Screensaver the gallery is navigated as a type of browser in which the screensaver, a tool for examining the networked experience of the world, is cast afore. Within the seemingly random, detached environment that the screensaver represents, a photographic collection is dislodged. The mise-en-scene of deskbound daydreams—floating and drifting moments—overlay unresolved, overlooked and bottled-up snippets of South African and British history enacted in docucomedies, period dramas, morning news inserts, coffee table books and blog posts. Combining figures such as male flightless birds in heat, the father of evolution, a gollywog-shaped hot air balloon, an imprisoned and romantically involved Khoi herder and Dutch sailor, a queer British filmmaker and a misguided philanthropic adventurist makes for a scrambled re-examination of race and class as presented through pseudo-ethnographic sources.

The enduring preoccupation to experience controlled flight: hot air and helium balloons, skydiving, hand- and para-gliding, is positioned as emblematic of power and escapism, akin to soaring in a search engine. Here questions regarding the utopian possibility for freedom simultaneously bring forth embarrassing failures resulting from the inescapable pull of history as we move from Kenilworth Castle to Robben Island by way of the Kalahari. Catapult Screensaver points to the human tendency to lean on quick-fix solutions, to freshen the air with Little Trees.


Friday 13 September 7 – 9 pm

13 September 2013 - 13 September 2013