Represent

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In two different collaborative projects with art institutions I have involved PR companies. The purpose was to alter the roles in the relation between the institution, artist and audience by letting an external party interact in the public relations work.

As the meeting point of artists and institutions often centres on discussions about how to present the exhibition to the media and the audience I commissioned a PR company to step into the routines of the institution and to shift the focus of their work from the artist to the work of the institution itself. This shift of focus as a parallel to the fact that the PR communication made by an institution most of the time starts off from the exhibiting artist.

I wanted to investigate how the artist, institution and audience would react to the ideas and strategies proposed by a PR company. The investigation also comprised finding out how far or near these ideas one positions oneself or wants to positions oneself. A situation was thus created were we could meet and discuss but also get more knowledge about communicative strategies and still come to different conclusions. When the project was finished each person that was involved brings an individual opinion with him or her from that experience into ones further work.

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Before arriving in London to do a residency period of three months at Gasworks 2006, I already knew that the organisation was going through a transition. The group of six recently employed staff were, to a certain extent, changing the focus of Gasworks. I proposed to bring in a PR company in order to make that process visible to themselves, me and the audience.

We decided upon an arrangement with Cow PR, on a pro bono basis. This in effect meant that Cow PR worked on a consultancy basis with Gasworks for about a year. Alot of the work was to discuss different proposals and how Gasworks wanted to profile themselves. We started putting into place some of the recommendations that Cow PR proposed which Gasworks staff thought of as intersting to try out.

One exercise was to make contact with press, visitors, arts professionals and have a structured conversation in order to hear what they thought and knew of Gasworks. This procedure was filmed and was later presented in the exhibition with two films; Media Friends and General Audit. In the exhibition – Represent – only parts of the process could be seen such as the vidoes; Presenting Nav Haq, Media Friends and General Audit together with a survey for the visitors to fill out.

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In the film Presenting Nav Haq, I asked Gasworks curator at the time, to present the institution, his ambitions, introduce my and David Blandys exhibition -Represent- and why he had invited us to exhibit together. It was shown in the entrance of Gasworks, which gave an introduction or background to Nav Haq, Gasworks and the path behind the exhibition.

Title: Media Friends & General Audit
Concept, Film editing, Production: Saskia Holmkvist
Camera: Saskia Holmkvist
Length: 9 min.
PrductionyYear: 2006
Title: Presenting Nav Haq
Concept, Film editing, Production: Saskia Holmkvist
Camera: Saki Satom & Saskia Holmkvist

Length: 9 min.
PrductionyYear: 2006