Participation
[curator]
27-30 October 2007
Group Exhibition, open research meetings, workshops, debates
Main Gallery, The Poly, Falmouth
website and blog

The exhibition Participation was an invitation to explore the place where the process of participation begins – yourself.

With participation and inclusion high on the political and social agenda, the question is: why do we decide to participate? Why do we engage intellectually and/or physically in situations, events, communities or networks? What do we take from it? What is produced through our act of participation?

Participation, interaction and collaboration have all been important concepts in the art of the 20th century. Artist Marcel Duchamp was among those who expressed the idea that the work is made complete by the audience’s interaction and their decision to participate. Connections between the artwork, the artist and the audience have also been explored in the work of groups like Fluxus and the art ‘happenings’ of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. More recently, relational artists such as Rikrit Tirivanija have attempted to explore social relations based on everyday activities such as cooking and eating within a gallery context.

Participation and collaboration are now increasingly part of our behaviour on the internet, with websites such as ‘YouTube’ and ‘MySpace’ giving millions of users the opportunity to publish their own videos, music and photos online. Similarly, user driven content is an integral part of sites such as ‘Wikipedia’ and the now ubiquitous phenomena of on-line diaries or ‘blogs’. In this exhibition, the use of new media (computer/ internet) as well as video and installation art, gives the public an opportunity to compare differences in participation between on-line and off-line set-ups or explore different degrees of active engagement in the works.

We invite you to explore your personal decision to participate. Feel free to experiment with your own process of engagement or disengagement; explore the rules of participation proposed by the artists within each of the works and investigate the protocols involved.

The exhibition included public workshops and open debates with artists and curator. It was preceded by number of open research meetings where artists presented their work in progress.

Artists and Works


still from video, © J. Bailey

Vanishing Points: Person, Place, Mediation
Jane Bailey

Vanishing Points is a video installation of semi-contrived interactions between person, place and camera. Jane uses video as a catalyst to creative interaction with places. In this work, points of separation and connection are drawn out, producing gaps in which the viewer can wander. Jane is interested in exploring the quieter, less visible forms of participation which may occur in these ‘gaps’ and ‘spaces’.

Jane Bailey is a practising artist and lecturer who has recently completed an MA in Contemporary Visual Art at University College Falmouth. Jane develops her work through collaboration and process-focused investigation. While collaboration remains central, her recent focus has been on a more personal exploration of relations between person and place, and the potential of portable technology to shape them. Recent work includes LAND, a video commission by Croydon Clocktower, made in collaboration with Ze Tubia.



binding workshop © C. Brooks
Bind
Chantal Brooks

Bind is a structure based on the idea of a 'quilt' using deconstructed objects given by friends. Each object represents a person, experience, or place. The binding represents the relationship or response to place, person, etc. resulting in a construction of physical evidence of memory and complex relationships transient or lasting.

Chantal is a practising artist who has exhibited her work at Eden Project, County Hall Truro, Salt Gallery in Hayle, Open Studios in years 2004/07 and more recently as part of More Cornwall. Chantal is also a B.A. Fine Art student at University College Falmouth.


2007, © B. Byrne

Apparatus
Brendan Byrne

Apparatus is the result of multiple determinants in the ideas Brendan has been researching and making for many years. These works explore the theory and praxis of power through the structured subjectivity of the viewer and of the artist himself. Exploring ideology from an ontological perspective, this is a construct of late Capitalist individuality and the amazing fact that, against all the odds, humans love to work together. The work uses an Open Source authoring environment called Pure Data. Using multiple versions of the same work, users can compose imagery and sound together.

Brendan is practising artist and academic at University College Falmouth. His current artwork combines his own individual practice, research and numerous collaborative projects with an international profile. Thematically he produces work which questions relationships between technology and identity in Capitalism. For more information about Brendan’s work visit www.anotherday.org.uk and www.vjtheory.net


2007 © J. Cleverly

Sacred and Mundane
Jason Cleverly

An artefact in the form of a Victorian mantle clock is a stage via which visitors can select and display ephemera and small objects, perhaps of personal significance or of aesthetic value. The image of these objects in close-up, is revealed by the screen replacing clock’s face via a camera installed inside. The artist thus attempts to render the mundane significant by its display on an ornamental domestic structure. The work however can only by accomplished through the contribution of the public.

Jason Cleverly is course leader of BA(Hons) Contemporary Crafts at University College Falmouth. Building upon his background in the applied arts, Jason has become increasingly interested in the design and development of site-specific, interactive installations. He has exhibited extensively at major international exhibitions and museums including S.O.F.A.,Chicago (2001); the Hunt Museum, Limerick Ireland (2003); Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead (2004) and The Museum of the Jewellry Quarter in Birmingham (2006).

2007 © S. Corke

Peepshow
Susan Corke

Susan’s work is concerned with the dramatisation of space, the constructions and illusions of peepshows, stage magic and scenery. She is curious about the role of the imagination and the complicity of the audience in suspending disbelief.
In the 19th century many devices of popular and home entertainment like toy theatres and peepshows used printed illustrations to create representations of actual stage shows, exotic places and famous events. In these now antiquated enclosed spaces of entertainment, with their fixed viewpoints, Susan finds a mixture of enchantment, mystery and voyeurism. Though looking through an aperture or lens emphasises the act of looking, are we always conscious of our crucial role in creating the vision before us?

For most of her career Susan Corke has worked in the media within both the print and digital publishing industries. She’s previously studied digital arts and this year graduated from the MA Illustration Authorial Practice at University College Falmouth.


2007 © R. Hawes

Private View: The Nature of Visual Process
Robin Hawes & Tim Hodgson

Robin Hawes’ recent art practice has revolved around the ways in which evolution and the human brain have shaped the nature of our internal experience; our understanding of the external world and the influence this has in determining a common notion of ‘reality’.
In collaboration with Dr. Tim Hodgson, senior lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at the School of Psychology, University of Exeter, the project has combined knowledge and technology from the visual sciences with a series of photographic images produced as part of Robin’s art practice.

This project aimed to look at a particular element of the human visual system, that of saccades – the staccato eye movements we each make whilst scanning and exploring the visual scene before us. In examining the processes undertaken by the eye in providing sensory data to the brain, the project highlights the internally constructive and idiosyncratic aspect of visual perception, and reveals the disparity between the visual information gathered by our eyes and the conscious picture of reality formed in our minds.

Each time someone contemplates a work of art, the work of art is re-created internally. In essence, this project attempts to make visible this hitherto internal and unshared neurological event.

Robin Hawes’ art practice is inspired by his fascination for psychology. He is a designer and practicing artist; an MA graduate in Contemporary Visual Arts at Falmouth and works part-time as research assistant for RANE (Research in Art, Nature and Environment) at University College Falmouth.


2007 © J. Mackay
Legend of King Arthur
Jem Mackay

In an age of reproduction, most people are familiar with the idea of ‘the complete story’. People buy stories, they buy books or watch films. They all have fixed beginnings, middles and endings. Before the age of print, however, stories were much more fluid. They largely existed in an environment of oral folklore where the story changed as often as the story was told and retold. With this piece, Jem explores the openness of a legend and how it can be applied to stories within our new technologies.

Jem Mackay is currently studying for a PhD at the University of the Arts, London. His practice enquires into the political structures of creative collaboration, particularly looking at the open source model from the field of computer programming and exploring its relevance to the practice of filmmaking.


2007 © S. Matthews
Return Journey
Sarah Matthews

Using the familiar format of a board game, Return Journey explores experiences of nationality and culture, and the possibility of finding a way home.

The board game represents the distance between Sarah’s old home in Frankfurt, and her current home in the UK, and proposes that when other people play the game, their intention to win will help her to complete her journey. Will the collective willpower of the players be enough to take the playing pieces to the finish? Visitors are invited to make their own journey games, and leave them in the exhibition for others to play.

Sarah Matthews is currently studying for a BA in Fine Art at University College Falmouth. Her work relates to social constructs such as nationality and performed culture, often taking the form of participatory works, such as games.


Journeys Through Time & Space
Ana Carvalho, Pedro Lima & Tim Shear

Journeys Through Time & Space is an audio-visual installation which requires input from the viewer.
This work reflects on the action of travelling where arrival and departure are irrelevant. Through the installation, visitors to the exhibition form a collective and ongoing live-jam session, by mixing strategically positioned video and audio material recorded by the artist. The interactive floor consists of nine tiles which trigger audio and visual clips and effects. The audience interacts by impacting one or more tiles with their feet, hands or knees.

Tim Shear is a techie who works in creative environments. Currently working as research technologist for the iRes research cluster at University College Falmouth.His current technical explorations include physical interfaces and mixed reality interactions, while continuing to develop online products using open source technologies.

Pedro Lima is a composer and works as a sound engineer at Centro Cultural de Vila Flor in Guimaraes, Portugal. You can listen to his work at www.myspace.com/perecording