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Andy Thomson

Background to Project

WeakForce is the sixth collaborative project associated with the UFT (Unified Field Theory) project. The aim of the umbrella project UFT is to locate and represent the social/relational as the internal generative dynamic of collaborative creative work. So far UFT has inculcated a process of collaborative practice between artists at the Horsham Art Festival New#2 Australian Centre for Contemporary Art 2011 curated by Hannah Mathews, The Green Text Glasgow International Art Festival 2012 curated by Kitty Anderson (Common Guild), WeakForce1 Anna Leowen’s Gallery (Nova Scotia Canada) 2012, Tower Theory Conical Gallery Melbourne 2012 curated by Adrien Allen, and Spin Theory at Govett Brewster Gallery curated by Tyler Cann.

The WeakForce project started gently with WeakForce1 @ Anna Leowen’s Gallery (Nova Scotia Canada) followed with two other iterations WeakForce2 at The Lewis Elton Gallery Surrey University UK in May 2013, then WeakForce3 @ Gallery Zero Sangmyung University, Seoul, South Korea in 2013. Finally WeakForce4 will take place @ St Paul Street Gallery Auckland in November 2013

Thus the four WeakForce projects are generated by concepts imbedded in the umbrella project UFT and as such explore how artists can work together and why? They examine to what extent idea is separable from its specific material expression. And what latitude is possible for its material expression (and presentation) to constitute an authentic expression of idea? Through collaboration with others it is hoped to make palpable exchange between cultures and representations – before and after, distance, proximity, language, matter, interpretation and perception are all means and measures of negotiating a relationship to gravity's space-time and its underlying WeakForce.

WeakForce3 at Zero Gallery in May 2013 @ Sangmyung University Seoul South Korea. It took place next to a massive building project on the side of the mountain that the University is sited on. Where drilling, explosions and pile driving was taking place 9am-5pm 7days a week. We had intended to develop a subtle work following on from WeakForce3 in Surrey, but because of this unforeheard situation we decided to record the field and take it into the gallery overlaying what was already happening. Once in the gallery it was played through two large speakers on tripods, with no attempt to arrange/tape down any cabling or to disguise any of the sound system, amplifier, computer etc. It was just all there raw, as was the high volume, high fidelity sound (regulating the volume was tricky as at first it seemed low volume suited the natural invasion of sound and vibration from outside) but it became too difficult for the listener to distinguish the recorded sound from the real, and then for us to increase the volume of this introduced sound incrementally, became a facile process of oral trickery. We realized that the sound, its rhythms and structure, were revealed more lucidly to the listener by it becoming something that drowned out the external quotidian, thus bringing it to the interlocutor’s memory through contrast and context. This high fidelity recorded sound was accompanied by text (white on white) in contemporary Korean and Mandarin text (which is historically, the text of choice for the academic and intellectual in Korea) on the walls and floor. All texts referring to sound either metaphorically, metonymically or literally. Suh Yongsun performed a text work on the floor, which discussed sound in the context of Confucian philosophy. The interlocutors where given the opportunity to switch the sound off or on if they noticed a foot pedal placed centrally in the space/field.

WeakForce4 project at St Paul St Gallery Auckland is due to open in November 2013, and is by far the largest international collaborative team under UFT to date with 14 artists to participate variously and collaboratively. It will take a very different form to previous iterations of WeakForce installations, because of this number of participants, and the nature and scale of the St Paul St Gallery space. The project will be more porous and evolving within the exhibition space and timeframe. The premise for WeakForce4 is that of artist as both maker and interlocutor, where the WeakForce of (social) attraction is explored through the use of media and forms such as sound, food, clothing, sculpture and performance. Dealing in social contracts, and discourses of exchange such as barter, voice, critique, laughter, sound, revealing a politic of materialism, through a series of timetabled events, kiosks, pavilions, displays and other manifestations of WeakForce, taking place, over the duration of the project.

The structure and nature of WeakForce collaborative processes, practical, technical, conceptual and generative-through dialogue and subsequent discourse; will be made public through publications and document, via a blog, soon to be installed and linked to the UFT website. WeakForce will also generate an online and hardcopy catalogue, which is being devised in relation to the openness of the final installation in order to encompass the all the WeakForce projects without a significant time-lapse between WeakForce4 and the advent of the publication.