SAFE at HOME - An Audio Guide
An interactive exhibition audio guide that quickly expands into the format of a self-help product - proclaiming to transform the listener through ‘regenerative thinking’ and ‘cultural redevelopment’.
Capitalising on the authority of the voice of the narrator - the show’s co-curator and Artistic Director of Visual Art at HOME, Sarah Perks, the work quickly abandons the expectations of an explanatory resource or contextual aid and instead leads the visitor on a tangential, emotionally manipulated, internalised journey. Using the emotive affirmations and mechanisms of new age thinking, self-help gurus and audio relaxation exercises, the guide makes more references to the physical space of the gallery and the installations of the floorboards and light fittings than the surrounding art works. Absurd visualisations where alien objects and situations are interpreted, frequently interject and interrupt the journey. Word play freely associated with funding bodies, corporate strategy, political rhetoric, and Manchester’s cultural heritage (not least in the unique original score composed by Graham Massey) combine to satirise the oblique referencing and self fulfilling linguistics within the self help industry that anticipates enquiry, power play and commerce. Taking the looming presence of the fictional New Age retreat of ‘The Wrenwood Centre’ in Haynes’ film as a starting point, where Carol White desperately invests in the hope of changing her situation; SAFE at HOME - An Audio Guide explores broader institutional critiques on the pressured expectations of the new arts centre to fully engage communities and deliver transformative experiences within an austerity context. The work was housed in its own installation compiled of SAFE at HOME Jehovah’s Witness style ‘literature cart’ - further addressing contemporary methods of the spread of ideologies. 10 old-fashioned looking electronic museum audio guides and digital audio files on a hard-drive.
Written by Chris Paul Daniels. Music by Graham Massey. Narrated by Sarah Perks. Produced by Bren O’ Callaghan. Commissioned by HOME in support of the exhibition SAFE Curated by Sarah Perks and Louise O’Hare (14th November 2015 - 3rd January 2016). homemcr.org/exhibition/safe/
Article by Amelia Crouch for The Double Negativehttp://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2016/01/reflexive-modernity-the-work-of-chris-paul-daniels/