(Addison & Kidd)
This multi-platform project comprises an ongoing series of performance events and texts jointly conceived and co-authored by Jo Addison and Natasha Kidd. Arising from a curiosity about the habits of artists, The Inventory of Behaviours is comprised of multiple parts; through a collection of artists’ responses to a callout and the subsequent staged participatory events that bring their rituals and habits in to sharp focus, we propose that the ordinary behaviours of artists may have much to tell us about how art is made and learning is experienced. Following a pilot at and blip blip blip, Leeds, 2017, two subsequent participatory performances took place at Tate Exchange. In 2019 Tate commissioned the Inventory of Behaviours as part of Uniqlo Tate Lates, at which over 300 artist’s instructions were made available through film, sound and print to over 10,000 visitors, who were invited to put on one of 60 blue overalls and alongside others, enact instructions in Tate Tanks.
Instructions: In advance, and during each event, artists were invited to describe their own creative activity in the form of an instruction. The subsequent and accumulating collection could be encountered in multiple formats – text, image and sound.
Enactment: Participants, who comprised large groups of invited students and members of the public, were invited to familiarise themselves with the range of artists’ behaviours by selecting instructions to enact alongside one another.
Video and photography: Enactments were recorded through still and moving image, and this material was used to aid discussion and illustrate the accompanying texts.
Seminar: Invited experts from a range of disciplines – amongst others, ethnography, physics, filmmaking, architecture, psychology, and neuroscience – played a key role in the way data was selected and relayed on site. Having observed events as they unfolded, and interviewed participants, findings were presented as the subject of closing debrief seminars. These were recorded in photography and transcripts, providing content for subsequent texts and events. Recurrent themes, such as Regulation, Resistance, Readiness provided the focus for seminars that considered whether behaviours like crying, sleeping, staring at the wall or sorting things are strategies, conscious or not, that are integral to creativity.
The methodology incorporates teaching and learning strategies from our experience in gallery and higher education contexts. By siting the events in the museum context, where art is most commonly encountered as the product of creative enquiry, this research seeks to make public the types of activity that have shaped that product – the types of activity that constitute process in the broadest sense.
The various sites of the events are carefully prepared in order to situate participants within the space in a range of different ways and invite them to take part in the research both actively, through dialogue and enactment, and passively, through observation and listening. These events are the first to systematically document and analyse through performance the rituals, traits and habits that define the production of artists’ work in the physical, digital and psychological realm of the studio.
With thanks to all of the artists who have contributed behaviours; to individuals who have performed as students, or as members of the public; and visiting practitioners and academics: Adesola Akinleye, Choreographer Writer; Dr Claire Maklouf Carter, Artist; Dr Michelle Williams Gamaker, Artist; Benji Jeffrey, Artist; Kelly Large, Artist, Dr Eleanor Morgan, Artist Writer; Curator; Harold Offeh, Artist; Dr Ed Roberts, Neuroscientist, Professor Sasha Roseneil, Professor James Saunders, Composer; Nicola Sim, Ethnographer; Social Scientist; Raine Smith, Photographer; Trevor H. Smith, Artist Writer.
Special thanks to Elly Rutherford, Artist; Will Kendrick, Artist; Jennifer Cooper, Artist and Joseph Doubtfire, Artist; who facilitated all of the above events.