Optimum Performance, 2003
Performance at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, documented as a single
channel video; colour, sound. 14 mins 35 secs.
Optimum Performance is a video documenting a performance piece of the same name created by the artist for the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Optimum Performance features an actor dressed as a businessman, who delivers a rousing but satirical motivational speech to the Whitechapel's gallery audience as if they are group of his own professional colleagues.
Focussing particularly on the example of the Underwood typewriter company, references to the Duchampian tradition can be sensed within the speech that point to the interchange between the use-value and art-value of manufactured objects appropriated as readymades, and their context between art and everyday life.
The piece has a self-reflexive core - a performance designed to enhance performance - but can be interpreted simultaneously as a functional tool designed to manipulate the abilities of the audience and as a subtle critique of the institutions and systems of the art world.
Nothing Ventured, 2000 - 2001
Call centre, script written by the artist, direct-dial telephone connection,
telephone, desk, table, chair, cassette recorder and tapes, gallery
visitors, transcriptions of resulting conversations (ink on paper.)
The gallery contained a telephone on a desk. Picking up the receiver, the visitor was connected directly to a telephone call centre, which was hired by the artist to ‘represent’ her. From a script written by the artist, the call centre agents answered with the artist’s name and the title of the work, and then offered the caller limited generic information about the artist, such as information on her past work, her CV or reviews of past shows. The conversations were recorded and transcribed and form the documentation of the piece, which has subsequently been exhibited in its own right on a number of occasions. From the documentation it is evident that the temptation for the callers to break out of the generic monotony proved irresistible for both parties.
Nothing Ventured evidenced the conditions of consumer attention shared in the reception of contemporary art and the market outreach of a service-based or 'information' economy. (Excerpt of an essay by John Slyce)
The lecture by Carey Young will be taking place on Thursday July 13, at 20:00.