Elizabeth Price (b. 1966)
The Tent (2010)
The Tent extrapolates an eventful fictional narrative from a black-&-white printed booklet and the body of art that it features in its pages. Presenting artworks with reduced economies, the book, a 1972 Arts Council publication entitled Systems, includes drawings, documentation of works, and photographs of the artists in the ‘British Systems group’, along with extended texts written by each of them.
The video’s imagery is derived from recording both the object of the book and the images it contains. The videography employs experimental, high contrast exposures that will cause white pages to bleach away almost entirely, and black pages to intensify so that they become suggestive of spaces rather than surfaces; so that the diagrams/images on those pages seem to float in voids.
The narration was formulated from the text of the book and delivered as motion graphics. Fragments of text have been excerpted and reorganised , to compose a fractured story that reveals the ideological and imaginative world articulated within the book. The narrative exploits the publication’s recurring themes: apocalyptic anxiety and futurological urgency; the idealized relations between social and aesthetic economies; and ambitions for art’s social agency. The soundtrack is also drawn from the material of the book. Sounds (of flicking pages for example) are amplified and manipulated to form the basis of the soundtrack.