Last week I took part in the second run of Natasha Kidd and Jo Addison’s Inventory of Behaviours project at Tate Modern. They’ve been collecting a lot of statements from artists about their studio behaviours and reframing them as instructions in different ways. In the event, visitors and participants realise the instructions in an artlab space in the Exchange space at Tate Modern. I popped along on Tuesday to observe what was happening in the morning, and then to join a discussion in the afternoon with artists Michelle Williams Gamaker and Kevin Hunt.
We tried out a version of all voices are heard with the whole group (about 30 people), and it was, perhaps not surprisingly, a little chaotic. For once, the process didn’t resolve to a unison, and personally I found it very hard to find any patterning in the way the group tried to achieve consensus. It was really hard to think in fact. Although in a sense a failure, it was fascinating to see what happens in this kind of larger group. Speaking to participants afterwards, they suggested it wasn’t necessarily the size of the group that prevented consensus, but that artists don’t like rules or regulation of their behaviour (which was the theme of the day). It made me think a lot about some of the assumptions present in these kinds of pieces, and this more disruptive and individualised version challenged the way the piece has worked previously, mostly working with musicians (the Tate group were mostly visual artists). We finished with a short version for a smaller group, and it seemed that everyone just followed me and it resolved, but that kind of defeats the purpose of course.
The project continues and there will be a publication of some of the behaviours at some point I believe.