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A Move Towards Horizontal Production

“We are a palate cleansing video head cleaner, resetting the visitors of the exhibition” began the discussion document of the KSOIK group. Just as others departed for the beach, the four artist members found themselves sweating over the philosophy and realisation of a collaborative project. It seemed only right therefore, that it should materialise as a caravan headquarters from which multiple works and events would emerge.

The name didn’t hold, morphing into AUT Rackets Club and other, now forgotten monikers, till the group fittingly settled on being nameless, thus emphasising the modest and temporal nature of their undertaking. Just like the caravan, this project was going nowhere fast. One of its manifestations, Soothing Station operated as a place to retreat, replenish and review; a little like the cup of tea and a lie down after the enervating experience of giving blood. Open to all, it offered up the caravan as a space for pause and reflection (particularly in regard to collaborative undertakings), and provided refreshments, qi gong sessions, t-shirt rebranding, and swing ball. The t-shirt sessions produced new slogans such as, that’s actually really quite good and constantly being assessed, which responded to reflective musings of visitors. These were laser printed on site onto patches that were then blanket stitched over existing logos.

In a move towards horizontal production, the project muddled along, open to spontaneous additions to the schedule, and embracing notions of the autonomous co-operation suggested by the words of a Stephanè Mallarmè poem, ‘apart we are together’. Freed from any self-imposed revolutionary zeal the activities on the daily schedule of events simply explored questions for which the group did not presume to have any answers. They did however, attempt to operate in an emancipatory manner, through the co-operative strategy of eschewing a singular, elevated notion of the individual artist, and through the creation of a space that might invite others, who are not artists, to participate in the messy, exploratory and questioning space of the artist hosts.

In another caravan project, Knowledge Economy, participants were invited to give away unused creative ideas. A shifting and relinquishing of authorship occurred, where discussion as to meaning, realisation and ownership served to test the notion that ideas can be readily transferred though language. Knowledge Economy also engaged in a subtle testing of the gnarly issues of intellectual property and generosity.

Moving at whim, allowing the grass to regrow at the vacated sites, the caravan project explored the boundaries of public and private space. If the interior was nominally private, then the deck chairs on the outdoor mat attempted to suggest a more flexible border, mirroring the musings of the artists on the notion of a decentred subject, or put another way, that a destabilised subject might be generative and multiple. In teasing and exploring the fabric of the subject, ambiguous artworks were produced to question the construction of self, within a familiar yet destabilising refrain.

Could it be that simply inviting pause, contemplation or even confusion might lead to a subtle tilt away from received signification?

Deborah Rundle and Layne Waerea

Projects from the Caravan: (Possible) Letter Of Complaint 

Free Excuses (weakforce4), 2013

To Whom It May Concern

I am writing to express my disappointment that on Wednesday 4th December 2013, the advertised special of Free Excuses was not available. See image above. For your information, I made an extra effort to attend the gallery on the said date, only to be told Excuse Agency staff, were attending compliance training.

I am aware that the purpose of the Fair Trading Act 1986 is to regulate and foster the nature and process of fair trading in the public realm. And that advertising that is misleading or false or even likely to mislead, as it relates to a product or a service, is prohibited. I believe there are strict financial penalties.           

As a genuine member of the trading public, while I support and indeed stand to benefit from all attempts to ensure compliance with the legal rules, the supporting documentation provides clear evidence of the misleading nature of your advertised service. I would argue the unavailability of the service of Free Excuses on the aforementioned date is a clear breach of the Act. Accordingly, in the interests of deciding whether or not to pursue legal action for the loss I incurred, I request a full explanation as to why the scheduled service was never offered. I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards
Layne Waerea

The Excuse Agency (Out-of-Office-Reply)

Thank you for your recent request for an excuse. Unfortunately all of the members of the Excuse Agency are currently out of office. As soon as we are back in office we will make a jolly good effort to be in touch.

The Excuse Agency