Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Unfeasibility Study / 2010 Mare Street Biennale
For the 2nd 'Mare Street Biennale' in 2010, directors, Mark Ross and Alexandra Flood, with panelists, Kate Davis, Andy Holden and Simon Liddiment chose to ask and raise questions. If and where art, culture and all else has advanced, whether anything can and should be done or happen now and afterwards, whether influence or change is possible, both within and outside culture — and perhaps beyond? They christened the project, 'Unfeasibility Study'.
My 1st input was 2 manifestos on the website. ‘Returning Back Again To The Crime-Scene, Only With A Vengeance This Time Around, For More of the Same or Different’. About cultural production becoming widespread — and the symptom and cause which outlets are — then why the 'Mare Street Biennale' is at least potentially unlike others and even somehow better. And ‘Mission-Impossible Quota Score’. Same message really; simply not verbose, detailed or overgrown; more deadpan and abrupt.
Open contributors were sought to send in submissions, from which the committee selected. The policy targeted emergent artists, recent postgraduates and promising students. Especially those who consider and address the problematics and context of their practice, medium or discipline, both in itself and against external realities.
'Unfeasibility Study': Richard Baines; Bill Balaskas; Oliver Bragg; Adam Burton; Amir Chasson; Nadine Feinson; Kate Groobey; Roger Kelly; Sam Keogh; Tom Mason; Matthew Murphy; Mimi Norrgren; Hannah Perry; Jesse Wine.
Next, severely more demanding upon my and language’s best ability, came striving to define each artist’s specific exhibits, additionally covering the rest of their output. Very lastminute.com, past umpteenth hour watershed, midnight-oil burnout. All around 1 weekend. I’d previously worked to short-notice deadlines, also written on multiple artists, never both — until undertaking that task. I consulted the artists (none self-consciously known beforehand), gleaning as much insight and lowdown as possible, off them and online, to follow up into compressed statements.
The biggest challenge and struggle was avoiding resemblance to what was already said by and about the artists — and minimized repetition, inside and between entries.
Ochi Reyes’ 'Unfeasibility Study' catalog design deliberately looks like some discreet and modest private report / brochure / prospectus.
There’s no work reproduced or artist’s pages. The only visual imagery, being tasteful black & white photographic interior-views. 1 per artist, showing studio or working-space environments. Mostly by Ochi Reyes. Except for several artists who provided their own. Intentionally left out contact-details hopefully detonate and enforce curiosity and investigation. The actual book attracted interest. Did mystique pay off?
'Unfeasibility Study' ended up not staged in the Mare Street or Hackney areas of East London, happening further centrally instead, using the former Western Kurdish Government in Exile H.Q, Glasshouse Yard, near the Barbican Complex. Same venue and event hosted Kaavous-Bhoyroo Edition’s launch and presentation of Jo Addison’s multiple they’d published.
Finally seeing 'Unfeasibility Study', brought face-to-face with what I hitherto only knew via description, pictures, my guesswork and attempts, suddenly made everything imaginable flash up. Stranger still, meeting the artists I’d done my utmost to introduce and describe.