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BLACCXN AGM, Canary Wharf, London
Reviewed by: Jack Hutchinson »
My invitation to take part in Alana Jelineks art intervention told me little. Mundane instructions such as the time and place of venue were included. The only clues to content were references to BLACCXNs major shareholders and hedge fund managers. The email inferred I was one or the other.
As I entered the corporate hub that is Citigroup Tower I was escorted to the thirty-third floor, and to a conference room filled with smartly dressed individuals who I assumed had some prominent role in BLACCXN.
A Power Point presentation was given on BLACCXNs Artist in Corporate Residence Scheme, in conjunction with the Arts Council Incorporated. Video footage of an event at the Whitechapel Art Gallery showed BLACCXN employees attempted to recruit artists for their scheme. They were told We care about art that compliments our brand. Apparently not one artist asked what BLACCXN actually stood for.
Jelinek is utterly convincing as a spokesperson for the imaginary corporation BLACCXN. She repeats phrases such as Its been a wonderful year, and We are proud of our achievements. At one point a spontaneous round of applause breaks out and I automatically join in. It is only when Jelinek makes absurd references to investing in democracy and patenting ancient medicines that the humorous undercurrent becomes too obvious and belies the rigorousness of the rest of the performance.
One could view BLACCXN as a wry critique on the monetary juggernaut that is the arts sector. This would be too pedestrian and thankfully what arises is more specific. I saw myself in these people, one of thousands of struggling artists back-slapping, hand-shaking and scavenging for that faint glimmer of light. At times this is an often neglected area that the responsibility for change lies closer to home. Jelinek deals with it in an unnerving yet ultimately compelling way.
Jack Hutchinson is a multimedia and performance artist based in London.
Jack Hutchinson is an artist, writer and educator. A specialist on the role of digital technology within the visual arts, he is Communications Officer for AIR: Artists Interaction and Representation through a-n The Artists Information Company. His writing has featured in a diverse range of publications, including Dazed and Confused, Garageland, Guardian Culture Professionals, Twin Magazine, a-n Magazine and Schweizer Kunst. Based in London at Bow Arts Trust, he is an active campaigner for artistic, legislative and economic measures that enhance artists' working lives and professional status. His drawings have featured in solo and group exhibitions across the UK.
BLACCXN AGM »
Citigroup Tower, Canary Wharf, London
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