Tape Runs out
11th December 2006 to 26th January 2007
The Gallery, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth, Wallisdown, Poole Dorset
Tape Runs Out was a collaborative project between Mark Hutchinson and Paul O’Neill, for text+work, Bournemouth. It involved the generous participation of David Burrows, as the writer, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Barnaby Drabble, Sarah Pierce, John Lalor and Annie Fletcher, who participated in email dialogues with Mark Hutchinson about the project and his work. The exhibition was based on a series of instructions given by Paul O’Neill to Hutchinson.
The following is an edited extract from an email written by Mark Hutchinson to David Burrows:
“Although I am fulfilling the role of artist, this is a joint project with Paul O’Neill, who is fulfilling the role of curator. The project arose out of the desire to make visible the broader conversations that influence and constitute individual art practices. The idea is to make an exhibition that turns around conversational influence, in the form of the relationship between the artist and others. I will make the work but Paul will give me instructions that will intervene in the process of making the work and the exhibition. He might, for example, instruct me to engage in conversations with particular persons; or give the exhibition a title; or specify materials out of which the work must be made. His first instruction was to contact you, to ask you to be the writer for the project and to provide this explanation of it.
“It is in this context that we talk of the ‘roles’ of artist, curator and writer and ask you to fulfil the role of writer. Obviously, these designations signify the positions from which each of us speaks and writes but, rather than being ironizing descriptions, I hope the idea of ‘roles’ will open up a minimum gap between the position of enunciation and what can get said. Thus, here the role of the curator, contrary to the dominant liberal institutional ideology, is to provide obstructions for the artist: to force the artist to engage in conversations and activities which would not otherwise have been there. And the role of the artist is to be influenced and deviated: that is, to realise the comedy in trying to get things done. And the role of the writer, here, is not to interpret or explain the work but rather to take it for granted: which is to say to constitute it in some way.
“My work will analyse (in a quasi-philosophical way) every aspect of the exhibition: writing; walls; toilets; the public; conversation; the ontology of the art object; etc. This is an absurd and infinite undertaking bound to end in failure and bathos. However, the work is paradigmatically open to change as the project goes along.
“I have written several catalogue essays and each and every time the commissioner says that they do not, necessarily, want me to write about the work; and each first draft gets the response that it was not quite what they anticipated and, perhaps, I could write about the work a bit more. On the contrary, I propose that you do write about the work but without the hinderance and blindness caused by seeing or reading any of it.”