DISPLAYS Artist Talk: Elizabeth Price (17 January 2013)

11 July 2013

USER GROUP DISCO (2009) by 2012 Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price was recently gifted by the Contemporary Art Society to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Bradford-born Elizabeth Price creates immersive video installations incorporating digital moving image, text and music. By drawing upon existing archives of imagery, sound or physical art collections Price invites us to explore our complex relationship to objects and consumer culture.
USER GROUP DISCO is an energetic critique of the authoritarian voice of the museum and the way in which objects are fetishised through their selection, categorisations and presentation. Commissioned by Spike Island in Bristol, this important film is the second piece in a trilogy forming part of an ongoing series that navigates the notional architecture and collection of a fictional museum, with this work being the ‘Hall of Sculptures’. There are no conventional sculptures in this museum, however, just as there are no people and no visible spatial environments or architectures — simply the debris of rotating and pirouetting objects, utensils and ornaments in a black void. The choreography of these sculptures is accompanied by a pulsating soundtrack whilst text statements from celebrated male authors such as Adorno, Borges and Melville are collaged over the top. This layered combination collapses the distinctions between art objects and social history artefacts, and the strange and compulsive desires of consumerism, as Price says: ‘I wanted to create a sense of being inside taxonomical categories, as if they were crumbling, dripping architecture filed with litter and debris.’ By doing this Price draws attention to the ways in which objects are classified, displayed and given status and meaning in museological systems and offers a prism through which to understand human civilisation and history.

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