Gasworks presents Interlocutor, a major new commission by Nottingham-based artist Rachal Bradley, produced by Gasworks through the Freelands Artist Programme, and developed in partnership with Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart.
Interlocutor began from the privacy of the artist’s studio at Gasworks, occupied during her residency from 3 July to 18 September 2017. Spiralling outward from there like an IUD, the project has become more public in stages, from private workshops such as The Erotics of Infrastructure to semi-public and public events, including a conversation between Bradley and her close friend, artist Patricia L Boyd, about Indebted Vision.
Interlocutor continues in 2018 with Bradley’s solo exhibition, also titled Interlocutor, in which natural resin, infused with a bespoke herbal tonic, encases the gallery floor. Dispensed by the artist’s sister, medical herbalist Lucie Bradley, who will lead an ointment preparation workshop on 3 February; this tonic has a pending patent and trademark, Infinite Resistance™. Made following short interviews with all Gasworks’ permanent members of staff, in which they were asked questions about how the institution works and their roles within it, it is intended to remedy the organisation’s ailments. Set within the resin in the far gallery is an oversized washing machine-cum-projection booth.
In addition to these interior works, Bradley has designed a series of purpose-engineered, vacuum-formed units for Gasworks’ exterior walls, the organisation’s most public aspect. Their network of power cables encircle and penetrate the institution’s hidden entrails, including offices, corridors and a private terrace. Like armour, an intrusive prosthesis or an alarm system, these units transform the organisation into a negative ion generator, emitting negative ions throughout the building and surrounding areas.
An ion is a charged atom or molecule, charged because of an imbalance between the number of protons and electrons it contains. In nature, waterfalls and thunderstorms produce negative ions, and they are said to be good for your health, meaning that negative is actually positive. Amping up this inversion and materialising the production of this invisible force—tied up with contemporary wellness as much as Ancient Greek and Japanese philosophy—this intervention operates as a functioning metaphor for how value might be produced by different systems.
Finally, on 3 March 2018, Bradley will give a public reading of a new piece of critical writing, epic in form, which addresses altogether different negative energies: the irreversible mutations to human organisation and behaviour after 9/11. This text, which is currently being written, is driven by the artist’s obsession with Mike Piscitelli’s photograph of professional skateboarder Jason Dill standing with arms folded on a New York City street, the Twin Towers billowing smoke in the background at the beginning of a new millennium.
With thanks to additional support from Arts Council England, Cockayne—Grants for the Arts and the London Community Foundation; and Gasworks’ Exhibition Programme Supporter 2017-18, Catherine Petitgas.