'Stuck inside these four walls...'
This final text will outline the evaluative questions that we're asking of our approach and execution of our most recent show: Exhibition, No.1, by Andrew Norman Wilson.
We were delighted with Wilson's culminating performance, the latest version from his Uncertainty Seminars series: Gross World Product, which he followed with the powerpoint pitch for his start-up business Stock Fantasy Ventures. This took place at the tank.tv exhibition and event space on Thursday 05 December, the evening before Wilson left the UK for Sweden. A decisive act of finality of a period where Wilson gave lectures and performed at Nottingham Trent University, the University of Oxford and The Photographers' Gallery, in advance of ours. Wilson continued to work on Gross World Product until the evening of the performance-lecture itself, but this preparation must have added to the relaxed, semi-informal nature of the event itself. We've always stated that one of the core aims of the tank.tv space is to provide a location and situation in which people can watch films and have a chat. I feel the evening of the performance-lecture was the first time since our launch at the end of September where we went someway to achieving this.
I am glad for the responsibility that Wilson took in making a base at tank.tv. Having constant access to Wilson, and his being amenable to undertaking short interviews at regular intervals, as well as delivering short pieces of video footage gave us – and hopefully our viewers – good insight into his working practices. Similarly, I'm certain Wilson's artistic reputation will grow beyond his expectations and having this content free and available on our archive will be a unique resource.
We are fortunate that Wilson has performed ('performance-lectured') the Uncertainty Seminars many times before, because our support and administration of the material aspects of the evening could have been better planned and more robust. Exhibition proposes to tend toward a somewhat informal relationship between the artist and the audience that is mediated by tank.tv. Naturally, the nature of this relationship will depend on who the artist is (for example, we had worked with Wilson previously and had been in semi-regular contact with him for over a year in advance of Exhibition), the level of collaboration that they feel comfortable with in the display of their work and the intensity of their creative process. The circumstances in which we worked with Wilson cannot be replicated in our forthcoming Exhibitions – but we can learn where to draw our boundaries and learn how best possible to construct an 'exhibition-in-progress' for our online viewers.
We'll be able to experiment more in the new year, when Exhibition, No.1 will be made available in our 2013 archive and Exhibition, No.2 opens. The idea of having successive residencies is to have a previous point of reference while the concerns are still current. I think we can leave, satisfied, with a question that asks what precisely tank.tv can do to support the creation and the reception of fragments of an ongoing artistic process. Let's think about the relevance of moving image production and distribution today (both online and gallery-based): What are the objects? And is it our role to identify them?
A large part of Exhibition is about repetition. We will ask the same questions of every artist and we'll repeat our exhibitive practices until we feel we've reached a level of refinement. Anybody who has visited the tank.tv exhibition and event space over the previous fortnight will have seen Wilson's aroma beads rolling down a window screen, in fact I've had Band on the Run almost on repeat in my head...