Caroline Wiseman Modern & Contemporary
Pauline Bickerton

'The Awe of the Other' Bakelite Radio

Bakelite Radio

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Artist's Biography

Born in the UK, 1965. Lives and works in London and Woodbridge, Suffolk.

If we can only interpret our world through mediated representations and ideologies, then the first criterion of a tricky artistic practice is to expose institutional fictions as grotesque monsters. In this way, the resulting art is not a reflection of an authentic ‘reality’ but a simulation that intensifies our experience of the world.

The main interest of my practice is using the intersubjective encounter to explore and question institutional ideologies. I am specifically interested in folds in social systems; interruptions in internal functioning; irregularities in rigid structures. From these gaps, a questioning can occur; openings and possibilities of an alternative reality can exist.

A key aspect of my practice involves mapping, documenting and visualising the gaps and folds in the systems (mind the gap #1 and mind the gap #2, 2012). But, my main interest is in finding loopholes in systems and to use these to infiltrate, expose and parody the underlying ideology. My preferred medium is physical intersubjective encounters; through making and showing, talking and being.

The King’s Cross Commissions (2013) consist of a series of films, physically installed to encourage the participant to walk along roads (lines of digression) as a direct challenge against the will of commercial and governmental institutions insistent that we follow the designated route, along their ‘line of desire’. In my work, the participant has to decide for themselves which line they are politically aligned. I mimic and tap into the same codes and practices used in the structures I am criticising. The art is in the intersubjective encounter between the participant and the people sited along and at the end of the lines of digression.

My practice is not about social engagement for engagement’s sake. I am only interested in meaningful intersubjective encounters which reveal and question an institutional ideology. As a result, my work requires a high level of agency on behalf of the participant. Most people will not ‘get’ my work and I am happy to accept this in the hope that some do. Who is to say that such work cannot inspire a politicisation amongst unexpected viewers or contribute to unsuspected alliances which then go on to undermine the seemingly omnipotence of a given system?

I am not interested in personal grandisement and work primarily in collaboration with others. In this way, my work is informed by historical collectives such as the Situationist International and Group Material and modern day collectives such as Yes Men and Superflex.

What powers my practice is a desire to prove that art can function as an effective mediator of change or resistance to hegemonic power, and is not ‘doomed to be a decorative and irrelevant footnote to forces more powerful than its capacity to confront?’ Fisher, J. 2002, Towards A Metaphysics Of Shit. In Documenta 11, Platform 5,The Catalog, Ostfildern/Ruit p.65.