archive: 15.03 et al
et al.
For The Common Good

Samuel Holloway, et al. Exhibition: Saturday 14.03.2015 until Saturday 25.04.2015

Opening + performance: Saturday 14 March 2015 at 5 PM

West proudly announces For The Common Good, the latest project by New Zealand collective et al. Com- prising of zones that move through and in-between the building, For The Common Good studies systems of surveillance, land rights, and the extents of the public domain.

Reflective in their collective name, et al. — the abbreviation for et alia, which in Latin is ‘and others’, but specifically gender neutral — the members of the group make up different aspects of an artist’s practice, making them less fic- tional and more notional. The deliberate name enables the capacity to develop a wide-ranging practice, whilst ques- tioning artistic authorship, and individual process. By doing so, et al. gives space to debate the traditional concep- tions of what, or rather who an artist is when contributing to contemporary society, and national identity. In particular when the collective evoked high anxiety in New Zealand’s mainstream media when it represented the country at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

Nonetheless, et al. encapsulates their approach by probing political and social systems through large-scale installa- tions that become sites throughout entire spaces. The dark and brooding installations interlink time-based au- tonomous systems, scripted Google Earth, and manufactured speech to create sensory displacement. Their ap- proach to the installation is as an active archive of societal events. Its content is set to challenge viewers to engage with aesthetic tools that blur the disciplines, media, expectations, materials, and models through which an artwork is normally viewed.

In its new installation at West, the document evolves as expanded references on the dialectical object as sites of neutrality and engagement, transparency and opacity, art and non-art. Gathering together a rich complexity of reflec- tive documents within stylistic devices of audio-visual film, video, montage, and installation, the project looks at non- utopian, or other spaces, within culture. Here, the installation becomes a potential site where fixed beliefs can come undone, where the ground rendered is unstable. Increasingly, land and ideological ‘occupation’ are invalidated through displacement, hypocrisy, and surveillance. et al. probes these issues, in For The Common Good, through real-time streaming of Google Earth, where the viewers can witness how time and space can be reinterpreted and reimagined.
The non-site and terra nullius (land belonging to no-one) are marked out through models and drawings of actual and envisaged sites reflecting models of community that seek to improve-upon current social conditions and create communal prototypes that aim to minimize the destructive impact on the earth. et al. references return to the land movements, urban and intentional communities, and sustainable co-operatives including mobile homes & trailer parks.

Continuing a fruitful collaboration with New Zealand composer Samuel Holloway on the concept of terra nullius, an original composition will be performed on a customized upright piano during the opening. A document of the perfor- mance will continue to fill the spaces throughout the exhibition. The resulting work is not predetermined, scripted or directed, rather it will become a place of engagement – a mutual exchange between the artists and the viewer.

et al. lives and works in New Zealand. Exhibiting widely in various galleries and museums including Auckland Art Gallery,Toi O Tamaki, New Zealand; Adam Art Gallery, New Zealand; Artspace, New Zealand; Crowley Gallery, Aus- tralia; Centre of Contemporary Arts, Australia; 51st Venice Biennale, Italy; and Saatchi & Saatchi New York, USA.


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