Suzanne Treister studied at St Martin's and Chelsea Schools of Art and currently lives and works in London and Berlin. Utilising various media including video, the internet, interactive technologies, photography, drawing and painting, Treister's practice deals with notions of identity, history, power and the hallucinatory.
Treister has shown nationally and internationally since 1981. Recent exhibitions include: 'Operation Swanlake' at Annely Juda Fine Art, London; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Gallery Skuc, Ljubljana; Magazin4, Vorarlberger Kunstverein, Bregenz; and (The World May Be) Fantastic, 2002 Biennale of Sydney; Don't Call it Performance, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Madrid and El Museo del Barrio, New York, USA; the Moscow International Film Festival and File, Brazil. Recent publications include: Modern Art: A Critical Introduction 2nd edition, Pam Meecham & Julie Sheldon, Routledge London and New York and No Other Symptoms - Time Travelling with Rosalind Brodsky, book with cd rom, Black Dog, London.
Treister is currently engaged in three major projects; Time Travelling with Rosalind Brodsky, ICOLS and NATO. See the artist's website at http:/ensemble.va.com.au/Treister
Time Travelling with Rosalind Brodsky
Since 1995 Suzanne Treister has been developing the project, Time Travelling with Rosalind Brodsky. Brodsky, her heteronymic identity, with whom she shares similar Anglo/Eastern European/Jewish roots, is a delusional time traveller working at an imaginary 'controversial' Government Research Institute in London, the 'Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality (IMATI)'. Time Travelling with Rosalind Brodsky charts her life and adventures as she travels through time and history, through fact and delusion: attempting to rescue her grandparents from the camps of the Second World War, constructing a laboratory in Mad King Ludwig's castle, and visiting the Russian Revolution and the swinging 60s. She receives analysis from Freud, Jung and Kristeva, hosts her own cookery show and sings in her own band. This ongoing work has been described by Art in America as 'One of the most sustained fantasy trips of contemporary art' (Oct 2002).
Recent works, eg. 'Golem/Loew-Artificial Life' and 'Operation Swanlake' have been presented as 'Time Travel Research Projects' from Brodsky's host institute, IMATI.
A web archive version of the project is at: http://ensemble.va.com.au/tableau/suzy
International Corporation of Lost Structures (ICOLS)
In 2000 Treister founded the International Corporation of Lost Structures (ICOLS). ICOLS is an artist driven, international cross cultural collaborative organisation whose 60 members/contributors include artists, writers, film makers, scientists, poets, anthropologists, theorists, activists and art historians.
ICOLS is intended to be a creative international space which utilises as a structural device the dominant contemporary model of the corporate structure. Within this structure the departmental titles; Department of Global Disenchantment, Department of Revolutionary Nostalgia, Department of Future Projections, Local Unit of Missing Links, Department of Global Nostalgia, International Department of Local Aesthetics, Department of Dislocated Memory, create contexts for analyses of history, the present and projections for the future.
Each ICOLS member chooses a job in one of the above Departmental Offices from which to work on projects and become involved in collaborative operations.
Since 2004 the latest ICOLS project, the ICOLS Strategy Defense and Arms Fair has been touring to: Silja ferry, Baltic sea; the University of South Florida; Columbia University, NY; CCA, Glasgow and The Performance Space, Sydney.
ICOLS live events, publications and projects are archived at www.icols.org
NATO's codification system allows it to describe and classify large parts of the world around us. Items as diverse as perfume, battleships, animals, electronic equipment and musical instruments are ordered and represented in a way that make them comprehensible and accessible to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation so that they can be articulated and used by the Military.
Within the codification system the NATO Supply Classification (NSC) uses a four-digit coding structure. The first two digits of the code number identify the Group, eg. Group 77 - Musical Instruments, Phonographs, and Home-Type Radios, whilst the last two digits of the code number identify the Classes within the Group, eg. 7710 - Musical Instruments (complete).
Since 2004 she has been working with these 4 digit NATO Supply Classifications to develop an encyclopedic series of watercolours. The project references the Western fine art representative tradition as a systematic ordering and understanding of the world, with attendant intentions and subtexts; the memento mori, ideas of ownership and knowledge. Specifically referenced is the history of watercolours as a scientific illustrative tool. By conjuring these histories and narratives of representational painting within the taxonomies of the military, the work problematises them and brings them into the matrix of unease that constitutes our understanding of the world today: and which indeed may be an outcome of these. The most innocuous objects can be articulated by, or are invested with, the possibilities of agency.
An online guide to the NATO Codification System can be found at: www.nato.int/structur/AC/135/ncs_guide/english/e_index.htm