SE Barnet at FIVE YEARS
SE Barnet at FIVE YEARS is a the catalogue for two exhibitions co-organized with Sally Morfill:
General title given by myself*
6 July - 14 July 2013
A day of continual irritation for myself*
7 December - 15 January 2014
Including "Ghosts in the Archive" an essay by David Buuck and "Domesticated" an essay by Esther Windsor
*Both lines of text come from the Day Surveys of 12th March, 1937 of the Mass Observation archive
The starting point for both exhibitions comes from the Day Surveys of 1937-1939 of the Mass Observation archive. This British movement begun in the early 20th century, aimed to create “an anthropology of ourselves” by recording everyday life in Britain through a panel of untrained volunteer observers who either maintained diaries or replied to open-ended questionnaires. These observers acted as recorders, attempting to capture the everyday details of their own lives and the lives of those around them.
This work with the Mass Observation archive employs these materials towards re-appropriation and détournement. The engagement involves a number of activities from extensive transcription, to the creation of drawings, through scripts for performance and film, to daily tweets. The current simultaneous rampant engagement with social media combined with extensive state-run mass surveillance predominates this undertaking. The project offers a look at early complicit engagement with surveillance and the relationship between diaristic self-exposure with the resultant surfeit material.
The exhibition of General title given by myself offers a look at the production of text towards its dissemination into the public sphere. Throughout the duration of the exhibition activities of Transcribing, Editing, and Proof-reading are performed in the space of the gallery. These are removed from the contemporary arena of the digital age and executed through techniques from the early 20th century to coincide with the source-work. The starting point for this activity comes from the Day Surveys of 1937-1939 from the Mass Observation archive. These day-long diaries describe in detail the everyday lives of self-selecting correspondents who contributed the documents to the collection. Within the archive, their words became pictures as they were scanned for digital presentation. The result of the activity within General title given by myself returns these pictures of words back into marks on a page.
Participating artists include Nancy Buchanan, David Buuck, Dana Duff, Matthew Harris, Roderick Harris, Sarah Jones, Kaz, Deirdre King, Catherine Lord, Melanie Manos, Lisa Mee, Penelope Moffet, Hillary Mushkin, Calvin Phelps, Zara Ramsey, Karen Reitzel, Susan Silton, Carrie Ungerman, and Brad Vanderburg
A day of continual irritation for myself presents a filmed performance of the team proof-reading activity begun during the exhibition General title given by myself. The proof-readers are enacted by Mexican artist Fernando León-Guiu and writer France León. The pair are based on a couple well known throughout the publishing world for their facility and formality.