Show: We love you here. Even when you are there. Adam Chodzko.
Tell: This is an art work in the form of a very odd combination of advertisements and announcements as a page in the Frome Times. As a strange fusion between the kind of headline you might get at the front of a paper and the classified advertisements at the back of a paper, it also references an incongruous constellation of places globally within the context of a local newspaper.
“The piece comes from thinking about the project title, Notes from Nowhere created by Foreground Projects, wanting to use my page in the newspaper as an announcement and also for the inclusion of advertisements for small businesses in remote places. I’m wondering, where is the ‘nowhere’ here?
“It partly emerges out of a series of works I’ve made in the past called Runners, referring to a kind of speed and restlessness and also to a hidden, underground system of growth and dissemination. All of these adverts are found via a mixture of searching Google Earth and friends ending up in very odd places and sending me pictures of little shacks and small businesses that they find. To qualify these businesses have to look as though they don’t really expect to be noticed. And I also check to see whether they have their own websites etc. If they do, they can’t come in!
“I then place advertisements on their behalf in newspapers based in urban centres in other countries. Part anonymous gift – the business concerned has no knowledge of their international presence – and also partly ludicrous; why in Frome would you need to know that you can get cheap photocopies made in a side street in Mombasa? Or are we so globalised and wealthy that this information will be somehow useful?
“The Mombasa advertisement is specific to Frome. The image is of the four bronze sculptures made in Frome by Singers in the 1920′s as a war memorial in Mombasa to Kenyan soldiers who fought in the War. Last summer it was vandalised with the theft – part of the current plundering of precious metals everywhere – of one of the soldier’s sticks and a big bronze plaque that was mounted on the plinth, just where the address is positioned in my advert.
“All of the adverts have co-ordinates of latitude and longitude and these can be put into Google Earth. If you go to the Mombasa location it will take you to a submitted image, which if enlarged, on the left of the frame in pink, shows the hand painted sign for the bookshop. I include this detail because Frome is apparently the 5th most important town in the UK for e-commerce, so everyone there will be more than familiar with mouse action and Googling.
“The work is purposefully ambiguous; is it a critique of localism and aspiration or a celebration of openness and inclusivity?”
Info: Adam Chodzko lives and works in Whitstable, Kent. Foreground’s Projects’ Notes from Nowhere saw a series of interventions take place in Frome, Somerset, between 6th May and 3rd June 2012. Foreground commissions contemporary visual art projects that explore the relationship between art, its diverse settings and publics and develop new, socially diverse audiences for critically engaged contemporary art.
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