Issue date: 09 September 2010
The Arts Council has acquired an extensive multimedia installation by University of the West of England lecturer Rod Dickinson and fellow writer and artist Tom McCarthy. It is on display until 10 October 2010 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park's Longside Gallery, the exhibition is organised by the Hayward Gallery. Rod is a Senior Lecturer in Culture, Media and Drama and Programme Leader of UWE's BA degree course in Media and Cultural Studies.
The work is entitled Greenwich Degree Zero and focuses on an historical event - an explosion near a London landmark in Victorian times. On 15 February 1894 a French anarchist named Martial Bourdin was killed when the bomb he was carrying detonated. The explosion took place on the slope beneath the Royal Observatory in London's Greenwich Park and it was generally assumed that his intention had been to blow up the Observatory.
The multimedia installation is on display in the UK for the first time since it was acquired by The Arts Council as one of its New Acquisitions programme. The Council said, “This exciting programme of new installation and photography presents work purchased during the last year and provides an insight into the range and diversity of work by artists living and working in Britain today.”
In their installation, the artists rework newspaper reports from the time and manipulate film and photography to fit their version of events. Audiences are invited to piece together events through examination of documentation in an archive and examination room dedicated to the blast. Greenwich Degree Zero is the result of an ongoing collaboration between Rod Dickinson and Tom McCarthy, where re-enactment aids their investigations into mediation and repetition, control and reality. Tom's new novel C has just been long listed for The Man Booker Prize.
Rod also staged a new piece called 'Closed Circuit' in Ljubiljana on 28 August. The work was written in collaboration with writer Steve Rushton, and interrogates the historical form of the presidential speech and government press briefing. Set in a meticulously constructed press conference environment, two actors deliver a simulated press briefing. It is composed solely of fragments of press statements and speeches delivered since the Cold War. The script focuses on the way in which similar declarations have been used by numerous governments – across continents and spanning the ideological divide – to declare and maintain states of crisis and justify acts of violence.
• The Arts Council Collection supports artists in this country through the purchase and display of their work. The Arts Council Collection is now the largest national loan collection of modern and contemporary British art in the world, and includes fine examples of work by many of this country's most prominent artists. The centre for sculpture at Longside enables the Arts Council Collection to extend its conservation and research programmes and to increase access to the sculpture collection through exhibitions at venues across the UK and at Longside Gallery. The Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre London, manages the Arts Council Collection, on behalf of Arts Council England
Longside Gallery is located within the grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and is open daily from 11 – 16.00. Visitor information can be found at www.ysp.co.uk
• For more information on the Closed Circuit performance visit http://www.aksioma.org/closed_circuit/index.html