For the April 2013 Exile Late at Tate I've brought together an exciting mix of artists and performers to explore the continuing influence of Kurt Schwitters.

Film and Video Umbrella, Merzbank 2013
Film and Video Umbrella, Merzbank 2013

To name just a few, there’ll be Jaap Blonk performing Ursonate, improvisation from sonic explorers Steve Beresford and Adam Bohman and interventions from Film and Video Umbrella. I’m thrilled to be working closely with Steven Bode and Mariam Zulfiqar at Film and Video Umbrella who will be launching part of their online project inspired by Schwitters called MerzBank on the night. Read on as Mariam and Steven share their thoughts on what Schwitters might have done if he were alive today and how he has inspired their work.

It’s a free event and it’s going to be a great night, I hope you can make it! 

Adrian Shaw, Late at Tate Programmer

Form Bota Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson
Form Bota, the first artwork of 15 by Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson for MerzBank

We are delighted to be invited to be part of the 5 April Late at Tate at Tate Britain. Our Schwitters-inspired online project MerzBank follows on from a resurgence of popular and critical interest in Schwitters’s hugely influential practice – one that has been consolidated by Tate Britain’s timely overview of the artist’s work.

MerzBank is arriving fashionably late… a few weeks after Schwitters in Britain began. We feel this is appropriate, as our project is attempting to provide a kind of afterword to the retrospective look at Schwitters’s life and work within the exhibition, by anticipating what forms of collage he might have been making were he alive today.

LONDONION Image by artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard

We strongly suspect he would have been working digitally, with digital materials, and digital debris, and that the maverick, magpie spirit of what Schwitters called Merz would have found a natural outlet in the online world. For this reason, we commissioned artists to experiment with some of these new digital forms, and to disseminate their work using social media and other contemporary online platforms. One of the MerzBank pieces which launches at Late at Tate is a free iPhone app, by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, called Londonion. The project has been a joy to work on, and we’d like to thank everyone involved, particularly Stewart Lee.

vocable-orchard (HRV) A phylogenetic recomposition of the avant-garde Artist: Alec Finlay
vocable-orchard (HRV), A phylogenetic recomposition of the avant-garde

On the night we will also have other interventions and items knocking around and hope that people will pick them up. We don’t want to say what they are but it’ll definitely be a case of finders-keepers!

In the meantime, if you want to know more and fancy making some free withdrawals from it, visit MerzBank online and claim your free, downloadable artwork!

See you on Friday 5 April!

Mariam and Steven, Film and Video Umbrella