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Government Art Collection - embassyHACK Tour - Tuesday 03 May 2016
Tue 3 May 2016, 18:00 – 19:00 BST
embassyHACK Tour, Government Art Collection, Tuesday 03 May 2016, 18.00 - 19.00
Join us for a tour of embassyHACK, an exhibition curated by Francesca Altamura, Tamar Clarke-Brown and Bar Yerushalmi.
A national embassy is the nerve centre of a country's diplomatic affairs. As a physical extension of the nation-state abroad, it facilitates the work of the state representatives, ambassadors and diplomats, and serves as a crucial mediating place between host and guest nations.
Within the embassy lies the ‘Ambassador’s Room’ – the motherboard of diplomatic operations and decision-making. Walking into an Ambassador’s Room, one steps into an apparently banal still-life, a space furnished with highly specific and significant objects. The objects found in this room often include an official portrait of the nation’s figurehead, a visual reminder of sovereignty; a writing desk, where important decisions are made; and flags of the host and resident countries respectively, signifying respect and partnership. Though these objects may seem unremarkable, they act as double agents, serving crucial functions to represent the state body of power, empowering and reaffirming the sovereign identity.
This exhibition will act as an experiment, recreating and transferring an Ambassador’s Room, usually located within an embassy, a ‘restricted limited-access’ space, into an open gallery context. ‘Restricted’, and ‘limited-access’ are fast becoming disallowed terms in this age of networks, connectivity and close-focus on border politics. Arguably, while the digital landscape has intentionally and inadvertently created more fluidity in accessing information, the secure and physical sanctum created within the government building has become more restricted.
Ten contemporary London-based artists have been invited to ‘hack’ this simulacra-room and staged set, constructed from a mixture of works from the GAC and objects of everyday design, in the hopes of altering the status and meaning of the Ambassador’s Room and its contents through physical or virtual intervention. The commissioned artworks deviate from the usual decorum to propose new entry points, allowing easy access for a contemporary and mobile audience into a historically closed space.
The participating artists include Louise Ashcroft, Guy Bar Amotz, Bishi & Matthew Hardern, Juan Covelli, Juan Covelli & Neale Willis, Cosmic Latte (Juan Covelli, Andrew Kiddie & Neale Willis), Hannah Honeywill and Jasmine Johnson.
embassyHACK is curated by Francesca Altamura, Tamar Clarke-Brown and Bar Yerushalmi who formed as a collective while attending the MFA Curating programme at Goldsmiths, University of London. Together they co-curated CONFLUX, a group exhibition of University of the Arts London MFA students at the Electrician's Shop, London (2015). The team provides experimental exhibitions, focused on working with emerging artists under the rubrics of expanded and collection-based curating. embassyhack is curated in collaboration with the Government Art Collection (GAC) and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
GAC Website: www.gac.culture.gov.uk
The project extends through a satellite website, which features a glitched 3D virtual tour of the installation designed by artist Rob Heppell, and through generative performances and public tours delivered by the curators and artists throughout the project duration.
embassyHACK is supported by the MFA Curating programme at Goldsmiths, University of London and the GAC, with staff including Adrian George, Deputy Director & Senior Curator and Penny Johnson CBE, Director.
Image credit: Bishi & Matthew Hardern, Albion Voice (2014). Single channel video. Courtesy of the artists.
The GAC premises are not suitable for wheelchair users. Our tours are aimed at visitors who are over 16 years old.
To attend the tour, you must bring your Eventbrite ticket and photo ID to access the space. Please be advised only those with a eventbrite confirmation email will be able to attend due to the limited capacity of the gallery space.
GAC Website: www.gac.culture.gov.uk