28 October – 27 November 2005

 

This page has now been updated with documentation from the ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T event, which you can browse by venue. Transcripts from the symposium are also available to download.

The Full Programme for ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T is available as a PDF document. Please click here to download.

A * denotes a new commission for ART SHEFFIELD 05.
 


Sylvester
Works


Images of Sylvester Works during the ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T opening, November 2005


Robin Close
Switch

For ART SHEFFIELD 05, Robin Close presented Switch, a live durational video-performance piece. At its core was a very basic form of live editing that was an integral part of the work itself. This editing was operated using a custommade mixing devise positioned between the artist’s legs, enabling him to ‘switch’ between two cameras - both pointed at him. Video screens relayed images of the performance as it was happening, creating a technological and disjointed extension of the live act. This fragmentation highlighted concerns within the work that related to issues of mediated and restricted passions. Through exposing the breakdown and re-assemblage between the ‘real’ and the mediated, Switch offered the viewer an opportunity to consider and challenge the excessive extent to which all of our experiences are increasingly played out through a complex set of interactions with media and technology.

 


Gordon Dalton
Everybody Knows
This Is Nowhere
*

Gordon Dalton constructed a full-scale model of a Harley Davidson, using the instructions from a matchstick model kit with lengths of 2x2” timber. It was constructed in a three day limit, the same time it took to make the original model. This was shown alongside a series of original watercolour flower paintings also by Dalton. The display of the constructed motorbike and the watercolours offered a set of opposite relations to each other, and within each piece. The Harley and its attached iconography represented a symbol of the open road and supposed American freedom. The watercolours, perhaps the most traditional and maligned form of artistic expression, spoke of an antiquated Britain and the quiet life. However, the motorbike was from a matchstick model kit, the preserve of the stay at home obsessive. The watercolours were placed into a critical contemporary art context, yet still retained a melancholic romantic edge. The work combined what could be viewed as embarrassing, clichéd pursuits and asked the viewers to position themselves somewhere between the popular and the maligned, aspiration and circumstance, the everyday and the mythic, success and failure and the genuine and the bogus. Whilst full of possibilities and hope, there was a refusal here to meet any expectations. Dalton deliberately underlined that the only guarantee on offer is doubt and disappointment.


Gifts to the City
of Sheffield
*

Six London-based artists made a piece of public art that had a significant visual or physical impact in a public area. The co-ordinator of the project turned up in a van at their studios to pick the work up and then dumped it somewhere in the city of Sheffield. The event might be deemed wholly cynical and contrary to the usual expressive aims of public art but at least the artists didn’t have to comply with the demands of having to represent determined civic action and all-inclusive community spiritedness and the artists had an opportunity to insinuate their work more specifically within the fabric of the city and offered a more realistic commentary on urban life… Anyway, the work had nowhere else to go but down and put up a vain but noble battle against entropic and negative forces such as the weather or vandalism.

The works were documented in-situ on the day of their release into the community. Photographs, working drawings and site plans describing the work were exhibited for public consultation. The information also gave the location of each piece so members of the public had the opportunity to visit the works themselves… that is if they still existed by the time they got there.

Participating artists:
Mark Pearson (co-ordinator),
Anthony Gross, Jen Wu, Luke Oxley,
Kirsten Lyle, Lisa Mahony

 

Dan Griffiths
2005 Revolution

Capitalism has an ever increasingly sophisticated capacity to absorb and repackage rebellion for consumption. The result is that countercultural individuals, groups and movements must continually re-invent their strategies to stay outside of the vortex and ‘the system’ remains largely unchanged and immune to criticism. The contemporary rebel makes economical and therefore political assertions mainly through consumption choices. These ideas provide the background to Griffiths’ project for ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T. Photocopies pasted to the wall formed a collection of snapshots and found imagery. Each picture documented a situation where the currency of radical vocabulary is traded upon with varying degrees of sophistication. A position of wry observer was assumed by the artist and a pathos sets in over the possibilities of dissent.

 

Camilla Lyon
Norfolk Park Flats

Norfolk Park Flats consisted of a portable record player adapted into a praxinoscope, an early animation device. The animation was constructed from a postcard image of Norfolk Park flats at the point of their explosion, caught in a constant state of collapse. The record player played a locked groove that formed a deteriorating sound track.

 

Jim Medway
Swan

“...The colour schemes and richness of decoration on inland boats and barges can stand as symbols of something much bigger than a bit of cheerfulness, reflecting an attitude to the working boats by those who worked in the canal world - the boat men and women, the boat builders and painters. The paintwork spoke of a pride in the trade and a care for the tools of the trade, a place where art became inextricably tangled up with the everyday working life of the boat population...”
Tony Lewery in his introduction to Edward Paget-Tomlinson’s Colours of the Cut

Jim Medway’s work – a Swan lighter fluid can, painted in the traditional ‘Sheffield keel’ colour scheme - was floated in a canal in Sheffield during ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T.

 

Jo Mitchell
Sequence Scrolls
D.B.R.Y.
*

Jo Mitchell uses a process of re-imaging and re-constructing familiar iconography taken from various sources such as posters, tattoo and graffiti, magazines and film. They are essentially words and images that have a personal resonance rooted in (sub) cultural genres, which already come imbued with a certain amount of sentiment, connotation and gesture. She uses these “loaded” references in order to negotiate this terrain between significance and emptiness, appearance and content, maybe allowing for a more immediate and experiential response to the words and images. The work for ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T was a large scale textbased wall painting in which the form and content of the piece was more or less reduced to its essential component – the words themselves, chosen typeface/s, contextual design and colour coordinations. The elements wraped themselves around each other in both a metaphorical and literal way; acting out their own meaning and construct as well as suggesting a more implied and inferred narrative through a personalised gothic styling and word association.

 

Ivan & Heather
Morison
*

“One scene especially lingers in my mind. A frightful patch of waste ground (somehow, up there, a patch of waste ground attains a squalor that would be impossible even in London) trampled bare of grass and littered with newspapers and old saucepans… When you contemplate such ugliness as this, there are two questions that strike you. First, is it inevitable? Secondly, does it matter?”
George Orwell writing about Sheffield in The Road To Wigan Pier, 1937

Ivan & Heather Morison’s project aimed to locate a patch of waste ground in Sheffield and explore the process of negotiating the permanent planting of an area of Siberian taiga upon it. Taiga is Siberian forest, consisting of trees, thick moss and lichens. The tree planting scheme was based on accurate plans drawn up by the artists whilst carrying out research in Siberia in 2003, and the actual planted area of forest would have a natural life span of 1000 to 1400 years. For ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T they focused on the artistic process within so called socially engaged work, the antagonism caused by artists when trying to realise their unrealistic and possibly misguided projects, and the possibility of sometimes achieving remarkable things.

 

Joanna Rajkowska
Twenty Two Tasks
(Artist for Rent)
*

Joanna Rajkowska produced a new chapter of her project: Twenty-Two Tasks (Artist for Rent). In Sheffield from 13th - 27th Oct, she was an artist for rent; anyone who wanted to could contact her and ask her to perform a task (within reason - sex and violence were off-limits). Rajkowska was trying to be useful in a fundamental way, with each task being about the participants’ needs and choices. In the past, the range of her activities has been broad. She painted a portrait the size of a passport photo (the ‘client’ really wanted to use this miniature in his passport), drew political cartoons for an anti-globalist organisation, decorated a house for a farewell party, supported a blood donation programme, helped at a photo shoot, accompanied a traveller to the airport, helped a woman with cleaning up after two husbands to make room for a third one, expelled the ghosts from an apartment and worked for a textile factory designing bedclothes. A photographic record of the Sheffield part of the project was shown alongside a collection of images and stories from its incarnations in Lodz and Berlin. The resulting silent film told, with irony and humour, the story of meeting the people who responded to the idea, and honestly portrayed the tension caused by these meetings which created a realm of contact and sometimes misunderstanding.

 

Laureana Toledo
The name of this
band is The Limit
*

Laureana Toledo’s piece in response to the ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T project was to document the processes involved in the creation of a covers band called The Limit. This band was put together just to perform during the show’s opening weekend, plus one trial gig in Mexico City. The special characteristic of The Limit was their repertoire: the group only played songs by bands or musicians from Sheffield. The band was actually named after the cult club in Sheffield, shut down in 1992.

Laureana Toledo’s work is concerned with the setting of boundaries, inside of which many different elements can play freely. In her work there is always an exercise of translation: from written to visuals, from painting to architecture, from music to visuals. She sees the act of covering a song as a sloppy form of translation by doing your own version of something. The limits in this piece were obvious, but not easily seen, or heard. Spectator T actually had a good time listening to the band. The processes of the band’s creation and their performances were documented in a video piece.

Additional support from Conaculta, Collection Jumex & Sheffield Hallam University.

 

Bedwyr Williams
$
*

“Having big blown up photos of old mills or steelworks in bars is quite popular. A father and son can go in for a pint and the father can show his son how the town used to look but in a trendy environment with nice food. I once had a fancy burger on a long oblong plate in a bar in Cardiff on a very high stool. During my meal I heard the woman on the table next to me describe herself as being ‘Sassy’ and ‘Funky’. The local history vibes that breweries place in their bars don’t usually include sepia photos of people being beaten up. Imagine a fajita named the knuckleduster. I used to visit Sheffield twelve years ago and I would see $ painted on walls around the city. I was told that it was an anti student organisation but somebody else said it was a band. There’s no reason why it couldn’t have been both. The $s from what I understood were to warn students off. I have been afraid of being beaten up ever since.”

In addition to his installation at Sylvester Works, Bedwyr Williams produced beermats to be distributed to city centre pubs and bars.

 


The End
Gallery,
Psalter
Lane

 

Gelitin
My Pony Is Over The
Ocean

“These works are from Gelitin’s collection of hard-on photos. These photos happen quite naturally when the four of us drive together for hours and days and weeks in the same car, finding new inspiration and hope. The tightness and seclusion of long time travelling in a car with nothing really to do than reaching the next place for dinner just has to make you horny and active to do some work. Overwhelmed by the landscapes we pass we hop out of the car from time to time to shoot. It’s very romantic work, where we take much care over the beauty of trees, hills, mountains, valleys, skies, and nature in general. Casper David Friedrich’s Wanderer above the Sea of Fog comes to mind in relation to the photos. These journeys brought us to various amazing places, for example Western Australia or the Swiss Mountains as shown in this exhibition. These hard-on photos only show members of Gelitin and as we never rent big cars and are already enough people to fill a family car - we never ever brought fluffers with us, although we sometimes dream about that.” Courtesy Gagosian Gallery and Gallery Meyer Kainer

 


BLOC
Space

 

Ryan Gander -
Your Clumsiness is
the Next Man’s
Stealth
*

The role of the work is like that of a phantom, both the time and space of which it speaks is tentative, and the physicality of it ever having existed is uncertain.*

The installation is composed of an accumulation of seemingly disparate components. On the floor of a moderately bare gallery sits a cardboard box, placed without any particular motive. The box contains double-sided tourist maps of the City of Sheffield. At first glance these maps seem to be the type freely distributed by Sheffield City Council to assist tourists in navigating the city and finding suitable accommodation. In actuality, however, they are flawless reproductions with the exception of a handful of newly added streets. These new streets are taken from maps made around 1810 and although they did once actually exist, they have since been erased from the city’s landscape to make way for large Modernist municipal buildings, as well as new post-war ring roads and roundabouts. The maps are free to take, and it is also the hope that in one way or another they will find their way into the reality of the everyday, meaning the possibility will exist for the deviations on the map to be discovered by the general public without a prior knowledge of the intervention or its history.

One wall of the exhibition space has been clad in what appears to be a patterned concrete relief, akin to what one would usually expect to find on the walls beneath a motorway underpass or on the exterior side of a civic building perhaps designed and built around the 70’s. It is in fact made from fibreglass and coloured and textured to look like a concrete cast. The wall not only exists as a backdrop for a sound piece that encompasses the room, but also as a stage or a set onto which a narrative can unfold. As a reconstruction of a facade; this fortification could not be more artificial.
Courtesy Store and Annet Gelink galleries

* If you were given a copy of the novel ‘The War of the Worlds’ by H. G Wells, and asked to draw a floor plan of the cottage in Maybury in which the Narrator hides out from the Martians, I am almost certain that your interpretation of the text into a physical cognitive map of the house would differ greatly from mine; as it would from most other readers. The same could be said of the main character’s appearance and that of his wife. It’s almost your duty and your pleasure as the reader to fill in these gaps, in some respects that is what makes reading different, to say watching a film, and in turn, that is what makes it yours. This act of self-narration is humanely instinctive. Ok, now, you are given a backdrop. A façade of concrete cladding, its function is unfathomable.

You are given the city in which you stand, but the city is not as you know it, having taken an alternative trajectory through space and time, it is now far enough from your reality for you to have any idea of how the world will look and how your life will map out. You are given a proposition, to trade your knowing for your neighbours stillness.

Lastly you are given darkness.

Now the question is: What would you give in return?


S1
Artspace

 

Simon & Tom Bloor
what filthy bombastic
spin
*

Simon & Tom Bloor’s work uses images and texts culled from diverse sources including films, song lyrics, 20th century design, historical documents and novels in the production of context specific installations and multiples. For ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T they produced a series of stickers and a wall collage using phrases taken from science fiction stories by Kurt Vonnegut. The selected quotes created new meanings and encouraged alternative interpretations through a shift in context. The stickers were also given away to visitors at ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T venues and other selected distribution points across Sheffield, allowing the dissemination of the work to be by the audience and outside the artist’s control.

 

Josephine Flynn
Stuff 3

Stuff 3 worked like a television set with somebody unseen operating the remote control. It was a hotchpotch, a mishmash of visual imagery thrown at the viewer. The piece incorporated animation, video and text accompanied with pop music. The work was trying to find some kind of meaning, some kind of belief and expression. By juxtaposing and sifting through the corporate, political, subjective and banal images, it tried to construct meaning whether arbitrary or not. This haphazard placing of images positioned the viewer into an active, uncertain state. The viewer had to decide if this was entertainment or art and if it mattered and what did it mean.

 

Matthew Harrison
Kustom Extension
(4 way)

The objects Matthew Harrison makes can feel like props for an unrealised film or situation. His work appears like a product or prototype, and could be absorbed into or useful in the ‘real world’, with this integration its status is made unclear. With an initial idea or observation as motivation, the work takes its form through an involved process of merciless art direction. It is carefully crafted with an attention to detail that can border on the obsessive. Ideas and observations have a strong residue within the things he makes and he avoids attaching or shoehorning surplus material into the work. The work is not made ‘about something’ it is ‘something.’

Kustom Extension (6 way) was shown at Sylvester Works.

 

 

Juneau projects
Antler Fonts
*

This new work by Juneau projects took the form of a free font download website, www.antlerfonts.co.uk and functioned as such for people who accessed the site. Free font download sites are a common feature of the internet, setup by erstwhile typographers unable to compete in a saturated market. The fonts available for download on Antler Fonts were created by groups from Sheffield and the surrounding area, who worked with Juneau projects to develop fonts, dingbats and icons. Juneau projects worked with members of the Fantasy Wargame community to produce material for the site, organising workshops and working with participants to create typefaces that reflect their interests. Fantasy Wargamers were chosen as they are an example of a group that engage with creative practices on their own terms and to their own ends. Painting figures and making scenery and battlefield layouts was one of the first forms of creative practice that both Juneau members took part in as youngsters and these practices still influence their work today.

The website was displayed on a physically customised computer console which reflected the fonts contained in the website. Visitors could browse the site and save font files to disk to take home.

 


Site
Gallery

Christian Jankowski
Rosa

Christian Jankowski has his works The Hunt and My Life as a Dove appropriated for a major movie produced by Columbia Tri-Star Pictures, in which a female video artist named Rosa is the main protagonist. He allows the feature film to incorporate his works in exchange for the production of his own project utilising the same actors and cameras. Jankowski’s video work, Rosa is a film within a film which freezes the normal movie flow as the actors respond in their own words to Jankowski’s set of questions. The clichés the filmmakers employ to create their art world story inspire Jankowski’s inquiries.
Courtesy Klosterfelde Gallery

Damon Packard

Packard’s work defies any kind of description, even by art standards. When confronted by French journalists and British art curators Packard often elicits more baffled and nonplussed facial reactions than any disheveled, eccentric American filmmaker ever could. On the Internet Movie Database under his mini-bio written by a prominent magazine writer it begins with the statement “The name which could have been synonymous with Steven Spielberg” yet if one looks further on his extremely pessimistic and depressing website they would find user comments such as “if filmmaking has been your dream then I would urge you to reevaluate your goals because from what I’ve seen your in trouble” and “you should do yourself and the world a favour and just kill yourself” (actual comments from people who picked up the DVD of his 2002 feature film Reflections of Evil, of which he left 22,000 DVD’s laying around Los Angeles in a massive guerilla marketing campaign) The works for Art Sheffield 05: Spectator T are high octane trailers for proposed feature films which appropriate and subvert the familiar vocabulary of Hollywood’s different genres from Slasher movie to horror and Sci-Fi.

 

Antoine Prum
Mondo Veneziano:
High Noon in the
Sinking City

Antoine Prum’s work took on the structure of the revenge western, but added an additional level of appropriation and art world critique. Mondo Veneziano: High Noon in the Sinking City addressed a wide variety of theoretical discourses currently on the contemporary art agenda, confronting them with a series of unexpected and spectacular events. Cast in an abandoned Venice (which is actually a film set in Luxembourg) Mondo Veneziano narrated a meeting of four protagonists, representative of key players in the art world, who appeared to conduct a complex theoretical debate. But their soliloquious confrontation — an insidious patchwork of quotations from recent specialist literature, paraphrasing the widely used “post-modern” technique of sampling — was interrupted by a string of bloody killings, largely inspired by common cinema genres such as gore or splatter movies.

 

(street-viewed projection screen, from dusk)
Savage*

I have a television
it is not mine to give way
it could be yours
it will be offered for re-possession
by means of public appeal
all claims will be considered
a random claimant will be sent this television
a note will accompany it
it will say
‘this is not mine to give away’
the new owner may do with it as they please
someone has lost
someone will gain
I am but the middleman

 

Arundel
Works

Joanne Tatham &
Tom O’Sullivan
*

In the last few years Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan have begun to repeat and recycle certain motifs within their practice. Their practice has now begun to resemble a vocabulary, or perhaps even more precisely, a grammar, with a system of rules and devices. It is through using this system that they are able to consider how contemporary art functions in the different contexts that it occupies. In 2003 they presented a work called Think Thingamajig and Other Things in Switzerland. One of the elements of that project, the pyramid, has since been repeated in 2 different manifestations. The pyramid, with its cut out face functions as something both familiar and unfamiliar. Its references are wide, yet non specific. The repetition of the pyramid as a motif has allowed the work to visibly function as a trope, rather than a sculpture as such. They are particularly interested in the conflation of the minimalist shape of the pyramid and the naivety of the imposed face onto the surface of the object. This is something they explored further in their work A routine sequence of external actions at the Scottish pavilion in the Venice Biennale and that they are interested in working with for Sheffield.

What began as a perfect black pyramid in Switzerland is mutating into something much more complex. This is, in a sense, a continuation of the process begun with an earlier piece, where the black surface was replaced by an art historical soup of black and pink geometric patterns. They are interested in creating a work that does not declare its social engagement, but instead uses the theatrical devices available to create spectacle - an event that by the fact of its own existence can consider the function of contemporary art, its relationship to audiences and the systems used to generate meaning.

Courtesy The Modern Institute

 


Yorkshire
Artspace

Becky Shaw*

Becky Shaw makes projects which explore the relationship between individuals and society. Working in various leisure, health, work, culture and education contexts she devises responses which may be both critical and humorous. Inspired by the educational opportunities available for Tony T at Sheffield Hallam University, Becky investigated the Forensics MSc, HND and BSc courses. Like Tony T, the Forensics courses investigate the construction of reality, and what happens when there are conflicting versions of the alleged truth. Like Tony T and Wade’s public artist, Forensics investigates and experiments with the relationship between 'ordinary' material reality and ideas, as well as the relationship between the individual and wider structures of order. Like Tony T the Forensics course focuses on the qualities of destruction rather than construction, but perhaps the motives in each act may sometimes be the same. Shaw spent two months in Sheffield, working with the forensic engineering course and at Yorkshire Artspace.


Millennium
Galleries

 

Ben Fitton
Seventy-Nine Protest
Placards & Seventy-
Nine Afflictions

Seventy-Nine Protest Placards and Seventy-Nine Afflictions staged a long drawn-out conversation between two identical arrays of fluorescent strip lights. The lights were configured to impart text one letter at a time with the most meagre of resources, creating a hard, laborious drip-feed of sentences whose pithy, aphoristic content is all but lost in the spasmodic delivery. The two arrays exchanged descriptions of specific events and processes. Seventy-Nine Protest Placards recounted a list of possible uses and futures of redundant placards, ranging from the mundane to the implausible without hierarchy or change in tone. Seventy-Nine Afflictions responded with a list of equally deadpan descriptions of bodily woes: some merely irritations, others clearly fatal.

The two lists began and ended with the same descriptions, bracketing the wildly divergent concerns of the two streams of text with brief moments of agreement.

 

Camilla Lyon
Blackpool Tower
*

Construction and destruction were central themes in the treatment of architectural subject matter of two works for ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T (the other was at Sylvester Works). Blackpool Tower was a scale model of the famous landmark constructed from sparklers. The model was lit from 4 corners, burning out in a choreographed pattern to leave charred remains.

The lighting of the tower formed part of the opening launch of ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T and free postcards of the tower were available during the event.

(Foyer plasma screens)
Matt & Ross
The Ladder Trick

“The magic hour is magic for a reason. It pulls rabbits out of hats, saws glamorous assistants in half and has even been known to dismantle the limbs from little boys and reassemble them all in one simple motion. We never wanted to become sea cadets and frankly who would? But the foundations of their past gave us an opportunity to create the foundations of our futures. As the clock ticked and time literally faded into darkness the sea cadet was the one who stepped up and took our hand. Surrounded by the rapists and the murderers, the wolves and the bears he was the one who showed the true courage to prevail through these transient times. Sweeping streams of light refract through the branches and bounce of your better sense of judgment and as quickly as he’d emerged, he had disappeared and once again you become nothing, but alone.”

In parallel to ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T the Millennium Galleries showed The Real Ideal - a group exhibition of contemporary work.

 

In each venue...

Graham Fagen
Art as Reactionary Statement (War On Terror)

Graham Fagen’s Art as Reactionary Statement (War on Terror) was a series of 8 statements made by the artist in response to situations he found himself in, when making or presenting art.

Each statement corresponded to a particular place and date. It was printed next to a list of news headlines from the month that the statement was made, allowing the reader to compare world events to a particular reaction by an individual. Each statement was available free to visitors at the eight venues taking part in ART SHEFFIELD 05: Spectator T. The viewer could visit all venues and collect all eight statements.

 


Around the city...

In addition to his work at Site, Savage produced an A5 proposal card
Bedwyr Williams
’ beermats were distributed within city centre pubs & bars
Simon & Tom Bloor
’s stickers were free to take away and redistribute
Gifts To The City Of Sheffield were situated in six sites across the city

 

Performances

by Laureana Toledo’s band,
The Limit

Thursday 27th October: at HUBS (ex-National centre fro Popular Music), Paternoster Row from 10.30pm (part of the project launch)
Saturday 29th October: Bandstand on The Moor shopping precinct at lunchtime

 

Spectator T
Symposium
 
Friday 28th October
1.30 – 5.00pm
Venue: Showroom Cinema

 
Speakers:
JJ Charlesworth
Steve Dutton
Sally O’Reilly
Becky Shaw
Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan
Gavin Wade
 
The aim of the symposium was to reflect on the context, experimental selection process and the work on display during Spectator T. Speakers gave a personal response to the project and its context and the audience had the opportunity to ask questions and respond to the organisers’, artists’ and invited commentators’ points of view. Click here to download transcripts of the symposium as a PDF document.

IMAGES: From left to right: Syposium group (David Alston, SCAF Chair, with AS05 artists Joanne Tatham, Tom O’Sullivan an Becky Shaw) Gavin Wade - creator of Spectator T theme, and commentators JJ Charlesworth and Sally O'Reilly