Artist, curator, organiser, publisher, critic, collaborator, facilitator, commissioner. Andrew Hunt (born Luton, 1969, lives in London) has embraced these and many other roles within the contemporary art scene over the past ten years. Reflecting the growing diversity of positions available within contemporary art, Hunt's wide-ranging activities traverse and connect distinct disciplines to bring about new possibilities.
Although initially training in fine art, Hunt has taken up curatorial roles at institutions such as Norwich Gallery – where he worked on the annual EAST event – and he is currently the curator of International Project Space (IPS) in Bournville, Birmingham. A significant addition to art in the Midlands, IPS at Birmingham City University stages solo exhibitions and group shows, while also publishing artists' editions and catalogues. In 2000 Hunt initiated Slimvolume Poster Publication, a non-profit annual publication that invites selected artists to produce editioned posters and prints that are compiled into a single 'volume'. Hunt and the contributors distribute copies to a carefully recruited audience – a grouping of friends, musicians, artists, curators and others, which he terms an "extended family tree". By strategically targeting artists and audiences according to the nature of each publication, Hunt constructs new communities united by receivership, although the methodology of the groupings and the social relations that unite them are not necessarily apparent. The individual volumes can be unbound or preserved in their original formats, and the printed matter generated by the project has been exhibited widely.
Slimvolume was founded to allow contributors to expand their practice within a collaborative context, and to date it has involved commissions by over 150 artists. Although Hunt is the strategist, publisher and distributor of the project, it is because of his multifarious roles – rather than in spite of them – that he can be considered an artist of the most contemporary kind. Echoing Boris Groys' description of the role of the contemporary artist – as simultaneously the analyst, critic and receiver of artwork – Hunt's mutable positions refl ect the heterogeneous production and presentation of art today.
For Nought to Sixty Hunt is creating a weekend event (on 12 and 13 July) that includes the work of Jonty Lees, Alastair MacKinven, and Erik Blinderman and Michael Eddy, amalgamating these artists' diverse concerns into an investigation into the nature of performance. The event takes place both inside and outside the ICA, placing an emphasis not only on action but on the deferral of action via photographic and video documentation, installation and text. Hunt and Lees are holding the inaugural meeting of the Artists' Cycling Club, while MacKinven, Eddy and Blinderman are staging a series of displaced performance activites, built up over the 48-hour period. Together, the activities question a number of issues related to performance – including its live/unique attributes, its sites of occurrence and its modes of reception – as well as the role of live events within projects such as Nought to Sixty.
Invited artists Erik Blinderman and Michael Eddy, Jonty Lees, and Alastair MacKinven are presenting a two-day project centred on the contemporary relationship between performance and photography. While the ICA's Upper Galleries are being used primarily as an exhibition space, performances are taking place off-site throughout the weekend. In the history of performance art, individual works have traditionally been presented as a mechanical sequence of events: from the site and time of an original action, to its documentation, critical evaluation and – as sometimes happens with seminal works – subsequent reenactment. This problematic chronology serves to canonise a performance work within the field of historical discourse. For Nought to Sixty's event, however, the selected artists are attempting to skew and disrupt the logical progression of performance and time through combining new photographic documentation, props, projections and films with off-site performances and performative installations. The artists are aiming to present alternative readings of an 'original' event.
Alastair MacKinven, who participated in Nought to Sixty in May with an installation comprising paintings and sculptural objects, will this time pursue the performative aspect of his practice. For his performance, Time Shifter, Sailor Killer, Moth Fucker, MacKinven will visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich on the evening of Friday July 11. The observatory projects a laser at zero degrees longitude, representing the path of the Prime Meridian – the international timeline. MacKinven's action at this site will be documented and the resulting footage shown in the ICA Upper Galleries for the rest of the weekend. Presented alongside the video, an incongruous prop used at Greenwhich will be wedged into the same space, referring as much to Charlie Chaplin's precarious walking cane or W.C. Fields' absurd billiard cue, as to Robert Smithson's mirror displacement.
Artists Erik Blinderman and Michael Eddy who recently studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, create films that deal with mirrors, refl ection and refraction in time-based work. For the Nought to Sixty weekend, the artists are presenting a 16mm film installation in which two films they produced independently are projected. Blinderman's film, made using a deceptively angled 'spy camera' built by the artist, engages the history of artists' surveillance – especially the work of Walker Evans, Henri Cartier Bresson and Gordon Matta-Clark – with the goal of constructing an 'indirect cinema'. Eddy's film, made using a camera fitted with a magnifying glass that burns holes through and into its subject, questions the notion that the camera is a neutral gatherer of information.
Jonty Lees plans to produce numerous works for this weekend exhibition. His irreverent array of ideas – which Martin Clark and Michael Archer documented for the artist's 2007 Tate St Ives residency – have been pushed forward to include the site of the ICA as their starting point. Lees is using the larger of the Upper Galleries to present an installation of performance and still imagery, which again refers to actions beyond this space. Lees' series of sonic interventions reference legendary producers such as Joe Meek and Martin Hannet (and their ingenuous experiments with noise), while interfering with the ICA's building in an impish manner. An inaugural meeting of the Artists' Cycling Club will also occur within the ICA on Sunday, while the local area beyond the building will similarly become sites for the initiation of playful actions, both visible and veiled.