Charles Kriel
Stanley Picker Fellow Design

Cutting across contemporary visual art and pop cultures, artist, club-maverick and theorist Charles Kriel created three events under one banner in his post as Stanley Picker Research Fellow in Design 2003/4 at Kingston University. THE REAL was launched with a video installation at the Stanley Picker Gallery, followed by a DJ/VJ night with Kriel in Bar Zen at Kingston University’s Penrhyn Road campus. The two events were brought into theoretical focus with a lecture concerning the motivations and processes involved in the project.

Charles Kriel was born a third-generation circus performer in the US. He is broadly acknowledged as one of the prime movers on the European club scene, celebrated as “the world’s leading VJ” by NME and “club culture’s first superstar VJ” by The Times. He maintains a regular gig schedule that stretches from Creamfields in Liverpool through Ibiza to the hard-driven house music super-clubs of Southeast Asia. As BBC Radio 1’s Resident VJ and artist in residence, he developed a system allowing him to mix and scratch video in the same way that DJs work with vinyl.

For THE REAL Kriel explored his circus history while simultaneously examining issues of presence and representation in the mediated space of the gallery. The video installation held, at its core, a collaboration with dancer/choreographer Sarah Warsop (Siobhan Davies Dance Company, Rambert Dance Company), composed of a monolithic two-sided video projection. Each side of the screen represented a perspective on subject/object relationships mediated through the human body. Kriel and Warsop have collaborated together on three previous works: Flap – premiered at Tate Britain; Bye – a large-scale work performed in 2003 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall; and Mixmasters – first broadcast in 2002 on ITV, and recently released on DVD by Moonshine Records in the US.

Charles Kriel has been creating film/video and media works since relocating from Atlanta – first to Prague, then Venice and London – more than 10 years ago. Kriel conducted his PhD research in media-art from Central Saint Martins, and has received awards, grants & commissions from Prix Ars Electronica, ICA, MOMA-Oxford, The London Institute, The Royal Festival Hall, The British Council, London Arts and Dance on Screen. As a media artist, he has exhibited in the gallery of Tomato Design, at the 1999 Venice Biennale, and throughout the Middle East, Europe, Russia, the US and Australasia. As a composer, he has been commissioned to compose an opera and several song-cycles. His work is released by ÖRF (Austria) and Electroshock (Moscow). As a filmmaker, writer and photographer, he is regularly commissioned by BBC Radio 1 and BBC 1Xtra and has also been commissioned by MTV, ITV and Channel 4. He is regarded as one of the world’s leading VJs, has been resident VJ for Pete Tong’s Essential Selection and regularly performs in Ibiza, Ayia Napa, and across Europe and SE Asia. Since Spring 2000, he has performed for nearly 1.5 million clubbers internationally.

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