Stop Watch Test at Sarah Brownes exhibition at the Ikon Gallery Birmingham 24/3/12

When we was giving a presentation of where we were at, I told everyone where I was at with my project and when mentioning the audio Paul Smith suggested a really good idea. Paul Smith said to go and visit a gallery and take a stop watch to time how long the viewers stand and view a piece of work and then this will give me an idea of how long I should run my audio. This will help me learn the average time a person will concentrate on listening to Jean’s story for. I feel that this will work best with an audio piece of art work at an exhibition or an installation that presents audio.

So this first stop watch test that I had done was at Sarah Browne’s exhibition, which was showing at the Ikon Gallery. This was called How to Use Fool’s gold.

Details of the exhibition:

Sarah Browne

How to Use Fool’s Gold

15 February – 29 April 2012

Ikon presents the first UK solo exhibition by Dublin-based artist Sarah Browne, a survey of film and sculptural works, including the artist’s entry for the 2009 Venice Biennale. Using ‘the economy’ as the basis for her artistic practice, Browne works with small communities of people, documenting resourceful forms of exchange such as gifting, subsistence, poaching and subsidies, to reveal the hidden social relations that exist in small-scale economic structures.

On 17 February 2012, in the midst of an unfolding European currency crisis, the Central Bank of France ceases to exchange French francs for euros, ending a system that has continued since the introduction of the euro and thus marking the demise of the franc altogether. Browne’s film Second Burial at Le Blanc (2011) follows a procession through Le Blanc, a small French town where local merchants have continued to accept francs for goods and services. At the centre of this procession is Browne’s bespoke ‘ticker-tape  countdown clock’, a glass-domed mechanism counting down the hours, minutes and seconds of the franc’s existence. Accompanying the film are two newspapers, distributed at Ikon and in Le Blanc, visual essays that weave together historical and anthropological information related to the work.

Several of Browne’s works explore redundant technologies and leftover industries. Her Carpet for the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2009) is  made from surplus wool stocks from the Donegal Carpets factory. Once renowned for its hand-knotted carpets adorning Irish embassies around  the globe, Donegal now produces carpets by machine or outsourced labour. The artist’s carpet was hand-knotted by two of the factory’s previous female employees and the design, reminiscent of Irish modernist Eileen Gray, was dictated by the proportions of surplus wool remaining at the old factory, now converted into a ‘heritage centre’.

A Model Society (2007) stems from research – undertaken prior to the recent financial crisis – in which Iceland was declared the happiest nation on earth. Browne advertised for knitwear models in Reykjavik newspapers and then surveyed respondents about the quality of life in Iceland. The models are presented within iconic Icelandic landscapes, wearing traditional lopi sweaters in which selected phrases from their comments, such as ‘no war’ and ‘rotten politics’, have been knitted. In works like these, the artist taps into the personal, emotional underpinnings of both national identity and macroeconomic forces.

Browne’s exhibition runs parallel with the development of a new project, Scarcity Radio, in collaboration with the Ikon Youth Programme (IYP) and Slow Boat. Browne is working closely with members of IYP on film-screenings, discussions and workshops that investigate our understanding of scarcity in the current economic context, focusing particularly on the role of radio communication during moments of social crisis.

I really liked Sarahs work and it really gets your mind thinking about what she is trying to show, which is what I loved about the exhibition.

This was my favorite piece at the exhibition. I first timed myself and found I was the person in  the exhibition that viewed it the longest at the time of  ten minutes. Other people were viewing these installation pieces for around the time of seven  minutes. I think it was because each of the images were different and there was so many in the kodak projector.

This piece of work called Le Dernier franc/Le Blanc was the most popular piece of work at the exhibition. People were l;ooking at this one piece for five minutes. There were a crowd of people looking at this piece but to me, I did not find it as interesting as the rest.

From the stop watch test I found that people were viewing the collection of installation piece for seven minutes.  I think this is because everyone wanted to view each photograph and because they were all different to each other.

I feel that this exhibition was the one exhibition that had helped me the most. It helped me the most because it was an installation piece, which is what I will be presenting at the exhibition. I found that  from watching people see how long they were viewing the installation it gave me a rough idea of how long I shoudl make my clip. Therefore, by this research I have decided my clip will be as long as eight minutes long.


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