The Colombo Trilogy by Anthony Gross

It was way back in either 1991 or ’92 when myself and Anthony Gross (1968 - 2022) were introduced, by his girlfriend at the time, who I knew through her father, a printmaking tutor (during my mostly unexposed and eventually abandoned visual art days — that nonetheless to some extent inform my present and ongoing almost / semi / non “career”).
Even then (just before his graduation, from Bartlett architecture school, London, under Peter Cook’s tutelage), Anthony Gross was already heavily preoccupied with underlying causes behind design and media as well as their implications, including relationships they have with the human and social, but also new production and telecommunications technology, which he addressed in his work, as he still continues to do now.
Although it wasn’t until 1997 before we were to work together. Only by then, I’d mostly quit kidding myself about being an artist (despite often misleading others to such effect). This invitation or opportunity came about coincidentally, because both Simon (“Sid”) Hedges (director of London’s 30 Underwood Street Arts — arts organization and venue) and Ciara Ennis (in the 1st year of Royal College of Art’s recently founded curation course) were each keen that I write a supportive press release accompanying Ciara Ennis’ Houseworks group exhibition (Anthony Gross amongst the exhibitors, actually involved in Houseworks — also the main or only one with whom I discussed and consulted the project).
Independent (and in-spite-of!) the Royal College of Art’s curation course, Ciara Ennis’ Houseworks desperately attempted and strove an oppositional attack and hopeful defeat against supposed difference and estrangement between art and design, another major concern seemingly being public and impersonal and domestic and private experience (hence the name, Houseworks).
I found myself contending with and using the brief that Ciara Ennis issued to Houseworks selected contributors, which I stretched and spun out into otherwise descriptive, explanatory and critical backup information, doing my utmost to render it passable as a more scholarly and heavyweight essay. Despite myself choosing not to even indirectly mention or merely reference names or works of anybody involved (I just cited a chronological list of some historical figures and groups as “for instance” examples), the word Houseworks infests my 3 shrinking paragraphs ad nauseam (similar to here!); while at one stage, the sponsor’s name (Habitat®) cheekily flashes up, serving as most of the word, “(co)habitat-e”! Finally, somehow or other, my efforts ended up phrased and coming across like an aggressive yet idealistic manifesto, leftover from some bygone historical age long since past.

Since Houseworks, Anthony Gross and I have also appeared alongside each other and collaborated as part of: The Manchurian Candidate, group exhibition, curated by Ciara Ennis & David Goldenberg, Flexible Response / ESP / Homeless H.Q, London, 1999; myself assisting Anthony Gross and Jen Wu with their Temporarycontemporary initiative and space in early 00’s London — where I 1st saw a work I’d earlier written about; in 2006, Anthony Gross and Jen Wu chose me to be in Metropolis Rise: New Art from London, U.K art survey CQL Design Center, Shanghai, touring to Dashanzi 798 Art District, Beijing — with my ‘Cataractivation’, statements, ‘Policy’ and ‘Apology’ texts — as well as some promotional material reproduced, in the accompanying book of same name, temporarycontemporary / Arts Council England / Article Press, London, also, 2006 — sadly, I didn’t attend in person; Anthony Gross was of the many who accepted my and The Reverend Marc Vaulbert De Chantilly’s offer to exhibit in Spectre vs. Rector, black box wunderkammer curio-cabinet salon — about the occult and supernatural, M. R. James and horror, Mark E. Smith and The Fall, at Ingrid Z’s Residence Gallery, London, 2007; from 2009 onwards, Anthony Gross has stereotypecast me as a “Columbo” personage, featured or even starring in moving image works, so far 2009’s Columbo Eats Columbo, then next year Kane's Revolution of 2010 — also with live event, and in 2011 Immersion Test — Black Hole Scenario / after 'Jardin d' Hiver' 1974 by Marcel Broodthaers (becoming “Columbroodthaers”!); maybe more will happen in the future.
Douglas Park

Tony Gross is a digital artist, filmmaker, architect-curator who lives in London and Detroit. Whilst making films on immersive urbanism and digital parallels, he sets up a series of art support infrastructures. His approach combines Artist Urban Action, a form of land art urbanism and real-world economies, with theoretical film works. At West he will present ‘The Colombo Trilogy’, in which Park is ‘stereotypecast’ as a ‘Colombo’ personage. A project that he describes as ‘an experimental collage of live action, 3D computer animation and personal film fantasy that takes the viewer on a twisted ride through our collective cultural history’.

Columbo Eats Columbo, film, Anthony Gross, London 2009
Digital video, 28 min, color
The famed TV detective inhabits a space of live action and computer animation investigating the end of the analogue and the dawn of the computing age.
Anthony Gross: The famed TV detective inhabits a space of live action and computer animation investigating the end of the analogue and the dawn of the computing age. The video considers states of immersion. Computer animation, text-to-speech software and a soundtrack of downloaded electronic sound samples all go towards creating an anxious psychology.
Douglas Park: Amongst other intentions, ‘Columbo Eats Columbo’ addresses issues of the passing of analogue technology and culture, despite fact much from that “golden-age” and “bygone-era” somehow stays (or gets kept and sustained) much more memorable, effective and influential than most of all whatevers been and gone since then.
Dir: Anthony Gross. Sound & additional scenes: Anthony Gross. Camera: Fritz Stolberg. With Douglas Park as Lt. Columbo. Forensics & Waiter: Simon White. Voices: 'Alex' and 'Vicki' text-to-speech software. Cube: Erno Rubik. Art: Hokusai, Vasarely. Art at the crime scene: Brian Griffiths, David Lock, Markus Vater, Le Suisse Marocain, Anthony Gross. Car: The Kollectiv. The Bassett Hound of Arjan van Helmond.

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