The solo exhibition, You Start It, together with prize money of US$50,000, was awarded to Blast Theory as part of the 2016 Nam June Paik Art Center Award, in recognition of the company’s continuing investigation into new artistic boundaries.
Matt Adams, co-founder says: “Ju, Nick and I are thrilled and honoured by this award, which has allowed us to create You Start It. Nam June Paik was one of the great innovators of twentieth century art; his playful use of cutting edge technology has always been an inspiration. In You Start It we’ve brought together works focused on moments when the personal becomes political. This year, of all years, seems like a time to reflect on how we can move the needle and create change.”
The Nam June Paik Art Center Prize was set up to discover and acknowledge the work of artists who experiment with materials and techniques to create innovative works which challenge the perceptions of contemporary art, as Nam June Paik did.
Blast Theory was nominated for the award as a result of its growing international reputation for creating interactive artforms, including My One Demand (2015) the first interactive film shot and streamed live online and in a cinema.
The exhibition’s main space featured My Point Forward (2017), an interactive installation that invites you to explore a future London and your place within it. 2097: We Made Ourselves Over (2017) follows on as one of Blast Theory’s most poignant pieces of 2017, stepping forward with five short science fiction films that was accompanied by an interactive film for smartphones as well as through live events across Hull and Aarhus. This was followed by My One Demand (2015) an interactive film shot in one continuous Toronto and exploring unrequited love and Ulrike and Eamon Complaint (2013), which placed participants at the the centre of a world of bank robbing, assassinations and betrays. I’d Hide You (2012) is a game which aimed to combine a live TV experience with a gaming experience in order to explore the boundaries of live performance and technology. The exhibition rounds off with The Thing I’ll Be Doing For The Rest Of My Life (2013), in which an incredible team of volunteers drag a trawler out of the water and into a park. The effort is enormous and the work is hard, acting as a metaphor for the efforts in the Japanese community to heal the trauma cause by the tsunami in 2011 and to restore the fishing community; and finally Jog Shuttler (2013), where visitors have the freedom to load, play and remix VHS tapes from Blast Theory’s archive onto 9 monitors.