Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Golden Record? Hmmmmm

Ok, an afterthought. I also saw a not very good show today, and it seems wrong to post something negative but I've never really written a bad review. I'm not particularly known for writing reviews, and not entirely sure that I have even written one down before, in this blog that is.....

Anyway, after the Fruitmarket we wandered up to the Collective, just to see a bit more before we left. We had walked past earlier and it looked quite exciting. There was a massive print of Karen Carpenter and Carl Sagen with stars in the background and lots of colourfull record-sized prints. That, added to the title of the show The Golden Record made me think it would be quite interesting. I had read something about it and got a flier through from the collective the other day, but had forgotten what I had read when I went into the show, which was a good thing.

I was instantly confused by the show, on entering the first space in the exhibition. The walls were filled with LP sized paintings of lots of different things I couldn't really make any connections between. I wondered if perhaps they were an artist's recreation of records, because they all had titles and names underneath them, and what I assumed was a recreation of a Karen Carpenter record sleeve (I have absolutelly no knowledge to back this up on, only that it appeared as that) was attributed to Karen Carpenter and titled with the Album cover-like text from the painting. I thought this was just until I noticed a piece by Bedwyr Williams, then again I was thrown into confusion.

The rest of the exhibition consisted of two screening rooms. In the first there was video footage of Carl Sagan explaining the concepts behind the original Golden Record, from a documentary by Mel Brimfield, the curator, and Sally O'Reilly. And in the other room another screening, of people addressing the camera giving their takes on a subject which I missed.

The exhibition itself was a large scale project put together by Collective's Assiociate Producer Mel Brimfield, as a collabouration between artists, actors, commedians and filmmakers, the different groups involved with the Festival. She has based the exhibition around the record sent into space on the Voyager probes.

These idea of the collaboration between the different Festivals, and making work around the record is interesting (Especially the latter, for its relation to my own practice) but here combined, the show just doesn't hang, it doesn't work. With this knowledge and re-entereing the show, it all just feels forced. It all becomes a bit contrived, like a primary school project, with people from different types of people being given 12x12 canvases and asking them to react to random words to create a series of images which are a slice of our modern lives and expereinces. The use of the Golden Record is just completelly underdeveloped, and the exhibition seems to rely on its high profile celebrity participants (Including Kevin Eldon, and Karen Carpenter, the wife of Carl Sagan) rather than the work. The video pieces also follow this pattern, coming across amaturish and pointless.

Before reading about the background, the show confuses rather than intreagues, and even armed with the concepts, it comes across half-baked and self indulgent. The presentation of the outcomes is far from considered, simply hung on the walls and projected in darkend rooms. After the Cardiff and Miller show at the Fruitmarket, this failed to impress.

I don't know if I should really be reviewing art, or talking about other artist's shows. I'm probably not doing myself any favours. Its just what I think really. Its also not as though anyone reads this.

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