With moving-image and audio at the heart of the exhibition, ‘Conduct’ is the perfect arrangement for anyone interested in the creative use of film. Although exuding originality, creating a different experience with each video, all the works in the exhibition challenge behavioural systems, and open new ways of connecting with people in order to make sense of the world in which we live.
Entering a darkened Peter Scott Gallery, the display inhabits the ground floor of the space, with works displayed on TV’s hung on dark backgrounds. Whilst being collaborative in some themes, the pieces are separate, covering topics such as the impact of technology, privatisation, feminism, fracking, and culture. The stand out for me was certainly ‘Dame 2’. A film created by Kathryn Elkin, imitating her original performance of the piece. Using a BBC interview between Parkinson and Dame Helen Mirren, Elkin transcribes every response from Mirren, transforming it into a composition. The film also includes a bunch of singers repeatedly singing ‘Helen Mirren’ over Elkin’s vocalised account of the interview. The intention of the work is to focus on the concept of improvisation in contrast to the more structured form television interviews take. However, more importantly, the newly-sang interview picks up on the sexism towards Mirren from the interview and her work in the film industry. Ultimately, the bombardment of sound and vocals creates a sense of awkwardness, maybe as a result of the uncertainty as to whether we are hearing a song, a speech, or both. The transformation of spoken word into something more musical from Elkin is inspiring in terms of sound art, and navigates us to hear the words of Mirren in a much more attentive way.
Also taking a firm place among the exhibition is Richard DeDomenici’s portable street cabinet. Having had the chance to not only see his work, but also hear a talk from the artist himself, it is clear DeDomenici is a pioneer in combining important messages with humorous art. Not only is the cabinet on display, but the chance to see the artist in action is available too. Inside this tiny box space, and from the filmed reactions of the public in response to it, DeDomenici’s ethos of creating uncertainty that leads to possibility really comes alive. He is a must-see artist for those interested in political commentary with a comedic twist.
‘Conduct’ is brilliant in enlightening those who are sceptical about concepts of new media being welcomed to art. I was particularly impressed by the performance elements of the exhibition. All works radiate individuality in their exploration of behavioural and societal conventions. With a variety of socially engaging matter, and a mixture of the thoughtful with the amusing, ‘Conduct’ is not an exhibition you want to miss.
‘Conduct’ is at the Peter Scott Gallery in the Great Hall Complex until 23rd March. The gallery is open from 12pm-5pm every weekday.