Previously at the ICA - Events
15 May 2013
Headless is a large scale performance art project led by Swedish collaborative duo, Goldin+Senneby. Since 2007, the project has engaged a range of writers, artists, designers, curators, journalists, bloggers, academics, private detectives and film-makers to ‘investigate’ the existence of an ‘International Business Company’ (IBC) called Headless Ltd. The company exists – its registration papers having been unearthed in the offshore finance centre of the Bahamas - but little more can be found out about it. Mysterious in its own right, the project also posits a link back from Headless Ltd. to a secret society called Acéphale (headless) set up by French sociologist, philosopher and surrealist George Bataille in 1937. By coincidence, the agency that originally registered Headless Ltd., Hong Kong-based Sovereign Group, also runs a series of international contemporary art prizes. In 2008, Headless was entered for one of these prizes. It did not win.
Since 2008, Angus Cameron has acted as ‘spokesperson’ or ‘emissary’ for Headless. Wherever it has been exhibited, performed or otherwise displayed around the world. As such he (with others from time to time) facilitates Goldin+Senneby’s contribution to their project which they characterise as ‘an act of withdrawal’. Cameron is not an artist. Rather, he is an academic social scientist based at the University of Leicester School of Management.
In recent years he has researched and published on offshore finance, cartography, visual semiotics, money, taxation, witches, fools, tricksters, bodies and spatial theory. His appearances for Goldin+Senneby have drawn on all of this and have increasingly become interpolated into the permanent outputs of the project. These take the form of video and audio elements of installations that travel in one form or another to different venues around the world, the documentary film Looking for Headless (by Kate Cooper and Richard John-Jones), and the project’s novelised form.
Written by ‘fictional author’ KD, the detective novel Looking for Headless tells the story of British novelist, John Barlow, writing a book on behalf of two Swedish performance artists styling themselves Goldin+Senneby. Sent by them in pursuit of an offshore company called Headless Ltd., Barlow crosses paths with a mysterious and dangerous detective called Katherine Banks, a decapitated man, an opportunistic British academic called Angus Cameron, the surreal world of offshore finance, and a swirling confusion of conspiracy and intrigue. Barlow eventually abandons the novel, only to have it ‘finished’ by Cameron with violent consequences...
Goldin+Senneby is a collaboration established by Stockholm-based artists Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby, in 2004.