wood/acrylic chair; 12 photographs 4x6 framed as a single unit (cm 160 x 32); black cotton rug (cm 150 x 90)
Mass-produced items sold as component parts to be assembled by the end user occupy a peculiar place in the readymade family. Such items reach the market at a liminal stage of existence – their potential has to be ‘realised’ by the consumer who, in return for a lower price tag, has to take ownership for the last stage of production – assembling. A special relationship between consumer and manufacturer is established, one that sees the consumer partaking in the process of production. ‘Partake,’ rather than ‘participate,’ because the consumer’s contribution is predetermined by the manufacturer and integral to their marketing strategy – the self-assembly stage is itself an aspect of consuming the item. Nevertheless, it’s precisely at this stage that, incidentally, a gap is opened in the production flow – at this point, consumers may ‘perform’ the script provided by the manufacturer (a set of instructions conceived as a sort of pictorial Esperanto intended for worldwide circulation), or they may decide to edit the script and claim authorship on the result. non-IVAR combines strategies of sampling, hacking and detouring to effect the redemption of a mass-produced item, turning it from an undifferentiated replica into an ‘original’ while retaining all the form and function of the displaced replica. Redemption comes at the price of a permanent scar, the trace of a symbolic act of initiation – the item’s form and function are first destroyed through halving, and then re-constituted into a new whole, identical to the displaced replica in appearance while profoundly different as a metaphysical entity – simultaneously the same and not the same.