Adapted from a Press Release by Elisa Kay
By-passing gallery, auction house and market, visitors were able to partake in an evening of live speculation on the value of a theory, on the value of speculation, and on a theory of value.
The evening of events is based around ‘The Wager’ set in The Hand (former studio of Latham), and is a performance and tribute to John Latham. The ‘Wager’, was conceived by John Latham with Neal White in 2005, following the censoring of John's work at his retrospective at Tate Britain. Drawing on the central ideas in the theory, the wager itself has been executed by legal advisor Sarah Andrews with further assistance from the Noah Latham, in 2009. Although technically a wager based on the notion that Flat Time Theory has been reduced to a legal bet, it welcomes challengers to provide evidence for or against these ideas, and places the intuitive position and the theoretical assertions of Latham and Flat Time against a contemporary backdrop of economic crisis, fiscal turmoil and uncertain futures based on economic projections. As a performance, the format becomes the theory itself, playing on the idea of time as a single moment, causing us to re-evaluate our idea of events andwhat the theory terms as 'event structures'. Office of Experiments believes that Latham would himself have been very compelled by our contemporary moment, as it draws attention to the way in which his ideas can be used to critique the wider performance of a society based on only one kind of value.
In the ‘Mind’, Office of Experiments has worked with the artist Tina O’Connell to re-make a version of her series of works based on In Dublin, originally staged in 1999, during her residency at Irish Museum of Modern Art. The piece was conceived at the beginning of Irelands surge towards its Celtic Tiger status, and through its form and material questioned the permanence and role of sculpture in such times. In the new version, A Quantity of Easing (The Physics and Economics of Sculpture) the work is reduced in scale and a block of bitumen is placed on top of an equally sized block of Frieze magazines that chart the rise and rise of the art market through the 90’s and early part of this century. Using Lathams own techniques of the destruction of books / text as knowledge, and modern cube forms, the work makes a comment on the art market in 2009, as the bitumen - an oil-based compound- sinks to gravity.
Finally, to the rear of the house in The Office of Experiments space, ‘Even The Odds’ continues the theme of game playing and gambling, with viewers able to take part in specifically designed dice game that emparts into practice the event/no-event structure of Latham’s theory. With a soundtrack recorded from casinos of backwater Nevada by Neal White, and an extract of Lathams film showing London Stockmarkets in the 1960's - Fiona Shoe, the viewer could win a limited edition set of dice, the prize fo rolling snake eyes (2X1) An Office of Experiments Limited Edition, the specially made dice have only one number on each die, a one, all other faces left blank can be assumed to be zero.
The Wager was performed by Colin Campbell and filmed at Flat Time House and HDTV Studios - The Media School, Bournemouth University.