Relay: repeat action over distance
Kel Glaister, Therese Keogh, Katie Lee, Alex Martinis Roe
Curated by Tamsin Green

28 Sept – 2 Oct 2011

Catalogue Essay

A specific kind of bodily relation can be used to navigate each work in this exhibition. These relations are loosely composed of measurement, labour, rest, and privacy.

Black rubber has its implications: In this case it implies a measurement, the artist’s body is a metonym, a mean, for all subsequent bodies. In the back room we find our first actual (represented) body. This body performs a demonstration of a test. And a test is a measurement of the general, one that can be repeated and re-applied.

Everything here has happened before.

Everything in this exhibition takes around twenty minutes: a small book takes about twenty minutes to read, another book takes the same time to disintegrate, there is (was/will be) a tent that takes about twenty minutes to collapse, and an artist that takes about twenty minutes before they can no longer perform their task.

A tent proposes shelter, its privacy allows for gathering and rest, implying a community of temporary comfort. In this case the tent accumulates a false community: one who serves no other purpose than to gather. The cooperation of gathering is the condition for the work. Despite, or because of, this gathering, in the end we are left with the aesthetics of failing optimism.

Labour indicates another kind of community, one whose idiosyncrasies are erased by a common task. But there is no reason to pity the labourers; they have the special knowledge: and they make themselves heard. The materials are exhausted before the labourers are. Their residue remains as another kind of document.

A question I’ve been thinking about is: How can I get away from the assumed equivalence and sufficiency of the image when thinking about performance? The generation of this question came from an article on the ontology of performance written by Peggy Phelan. This paper, although idealistic, caused me to re-think: What is it I really know about all the iconic performances I think know about? An image, a rumour, an authorial placeholder in the teleological narrative of how modernism fell apart? This sort of knowledge is not on offer here. That is not the kind of knowing you’ll get today. Perhaps you’ll get some kind of understanding: an understanding through a body, in a specific location.

Finally, a book is a form of speaking to one person only. The efficiency of this private communication has been a source of concern: a voice that can be carried in a pocket, and can speak at will in silence. As a book addresses only one person, there is only one of these books on display, but this is not really a book, it’s a sculpture (you’ll have to read it to find out how).

     Alex Martinis Roe 
     Katie Lee 
     Kel Glaister 
     Therese Keogh 
     Therese Keogh