Money Cyant Fool Them Again is the first solo show by the British artist Ashley Holmes in Switzerland. The pieces shown have been produced specifically for this exhibition, which takes place in the frame of ∑, an event bringing together non-institutional, non-commercial initiatives in Basel. The focus of its third edition lays on the medium of the video.
In his practice, Holmes employs video in various roles, often functioning as fragmented documentation. He mixes found materials sourced from YouTube with their typical tutorial aesthetic (Durag, 2017), with 3D renderings of objects found in Barber shops and other modelings borrowing that characterised style of presentation (I’m Just Glad They Finally Came Through And Gave A Real Brudda A Job, 2017). The familiarity in the style of the footage indicates to the subjects’ attributed specific role in representation, or in other words, a confrontation with the depicted representation.
The body of work displayed in Money Cyant Fool Them Again lives off this stigmatised image: Items of brand clothing indicate the absence of their protagonist, the entire exhibition space is transformed into an empty non-functioning lm set for afictional music video. Holmes plays on this narrative by situating his work between authorship of the Own and subjectivity of a representation broadly dictated by the media industry. It is a personal narrative, enriched with family history. It’s both fictional and factual through its references and true in the relatability through a common feeling evoked by the pieces. In doing so, the work criticises this generalised representation in itself.
The installation is activated with a playlist by Holmes and a set by Zurich based DJ/ producer Xzavier Stone on the opening night, as a part of a series of recent conversations, research and work based around a text by Steve Goodman, ‘Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect and the Ecology of Fear’. The text explores the production, transmission, and mutation of affective tonality - or: when sound helps produce a bad vibe, further complementing Holmes’s reflections on the politics of power and generational codes of conduct.