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Charade (2005-7) was commissioned by the BBC and the national office of the Arts Council England as a work of art which would explore the impact of new distribution technologies on current broadcast networks. As such, it gave me the opportunity to further my research into walking, as both metaphor and practice, and the different modes of participation and sociality that might be produced when applied in a networked media environment. Through a series of public presentations, seminars and performances involving artists, academics, broadcast professionals, and members of the public, Charade invited people to participate in the process of 'becoming' a media artefact, such as a novel, film or piece of music, and to form part of a peer-to-peer network. One such performance was a live event in Birmingham's Victoria Square, in which an itinerant public walked and recalled their chosen artefact from our media archives. Drawn from Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 and François Truffaut's film adaptation, the project produced an engaged, actively participating public, providing a scenario through which the BBC could reconsider models of ownership of its archive within a public service broadcast network. Charade has become positioned firmly within current discourse of 'participation', evidenced through its inclusion as a case study in the Cornerhouse/ACE publication The Art of Negotiation (June 2007; ISBN 9780948797934). The publication’s launch coincided with Charade touring to the ICA in London, where the live event was held in Trafalgar Square (June 2007). A paper, reflecting on the publics produced by the project, was presented to Computers in Art History (CHart) conference at Birkbeck College, London (Nov 2006).
Victoria Square, Birmingham
BBC, Arts Council of England
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