Turntable Gallery Online

The gallery was part of a research project looking into online representations of artworks, design objects and small collections. Whilst many museums have been closed to public interaction, art never sleeps. The lights do not have to be switched off here. The gallery aimed to provide a slightly different ‘viewing’ experience, this also may be enabled with the choice of artworks, how they are positioned and curated, what other ‘interactive’ elements can be brought into play as well.

My own work ‘considers’ display and possibilities of providing other ways of looking and engaging. I wanted to provoke you into a second or third glance.

I was awarded an Artist Development Bursary from the Usher Art Gallery in Lincoln, this allowed me to invest in technology and online assistance to bring these ideas together - animating some of the pieces I have made and allowing the online audience to ‘bring them to life’ - I have also been developing work with these ideas in mind - work which needs ‘cajoling’ or has elements that ‘reveal’ themselves with a nudge, lens or ‘key’.

In practical terms: The viewer had control of what happened to the artwork via buttons they could press on our website. The artwork could be rotated on a turntable, lite with disco lights or blown by a fan. This was viewed via a live webcam stream. Works changed weekly.

Website and technology developed by Stuart Shackleton.

Week 1: Lionslayer - Darren Neave 2020

Lionslayer forms part of a larger body of work - Resurrectiononlyfans partly fused from the ‘exclusive, pay to view online content’ with links to porn stars and the element of resurrecting forgotten, lost and unloved items - in this case a 19th Century Staffordshire ‘flatback’ figurine, the cracks and chips are covered in mirror tiles.

An overall encasing instantly gives drama and showmanship. The piece can be displayed in many different ways, with spotlighting and other props to bring to back to life.

This is no longer a static piece - it needs to perform…

Week 2: Wedgbatonwoodspecula - Darren Neave 2020

Wedgbatonwoodspecula is a new piece incorporating Wedgwood pieces, mirror tiles and a small baton or baguette. The themes of transformation are again, prevalent -

The George Michael pop video for 'Outside' produced after he 'outed' himself... (the short music film plays on his arrest) has a public toilet which becomes a disco with mirrored urinals and glitterballs appearing. This exemplifies a type of transformation, a day to night, shiny, bombastic, aura where anything can happen... quotidian objects can be transformed into something extraordinary with imagination, smoke and mirrors and lighting. A form of contemporary alchemy. The Wedgwood is dug out of dark cabinets, the baton salvaged from the reduced section before closing time. Their worlds collide, for once.

Week 3: Manu-fractured - Ten objects, a collected display

A small collection and presentation of ten art objects/items including beauty products, functional objects (jug, mug, bowl and rolls) many of which are conceptual, political, humorous, mocking and subverting.

A curated show that relies on ‘object-ification’ - fractured in functionality and in purpose, but manipulated and manifold. Combined with a very simple revolving display/presentation to allow the audience to view and admire - a carousel of visual consumption?

The artists employ industrial processes, manufacturing and the mass produced ‘readymade’.

The results are promotional products, hybrid art objects, consumerables, which have supported institutions and organisations with sustainability and self-sufficiency. Some artists consider the object with relation to their own practice, their own methods and ideas, items are unlimited, un-editioned, some are unsigned and unpackaged.

Week 4: Pretzelspecula (Shadowed) - Darren Neave 2020

The show relies once again on audience participation, the camera angle and equipment is becoming more elaborate, narrowing the view and twisting the camera gives a different reading of how the sculpture ‘functions’ - The work also evokes a political angst - “Bread and Circuses’ The phrase attributed to Juvenal, the Roman poet. The distraction of ‘food’ (Pretzels) and ‘entertainment’ (Online viewing and disco aesthetics) may allude to current climates. There is also lots of word-play and metaphor, disguised by flashing lights. The dark pretzel ‘clings’ on to the shinier version…. an albatross around your neck? or a monkey on your back?

Week 5: Wedgwoodfeeders (Upsidewrong) - Darren Neave 2020

The Turntable Gallery has been a critique of many galleries shows which have had ‘immersive installations’ or works seeking ‘audience participation’.

Wedgwoodfeeder is a mutant - part unwanted, unloved dusty piece of junk part industrially produced rural bird-feeding device. Two seemingly uninteresting pieces cemented together to create an instantly humorous and playful object - out of context, out of place, out to perform and to entertain - until it breaks.

Week 6: Tipping Pointless (Chagrined?) - Darren Neave 2020

With so many galleries and museums either closed or restricting attendance, I wanted to provide another ‘window’ to a gallery experience… with an online viewing platform. Originally the proposal, which led to being awarded an Artist Development Bursary from the Usher Gallery/The Collection in Lincoln, was to allow surveillance/webcam access into a closed/out of hours gallery. The concept borne out of ongoing practical research around the presentation of artefacts and art within the gallery/museum context.

The project quickly evolved to allow me to set up a smaller version in my own home and thus allow me to present my own work, in the originally proposed manner but with a few twists… with technological assistance - The Turntable Gallery allows the audience to ‘view’ the art with a few additions…. extra lighting or animated features. This also in turn led to looking critically into the ways in which galleries and museums have recently (Pre-COVID) ensured that exhibitions are more ‘friendly’ more ‘accessible’ and allow ‘participation’.

Does the audience seek entertainment and wonderment? Is it the role of the gallery to make provision? How can I interpret these assumptions, requirements and responsibilities? Coat it with glitter and turn it upside-down… or at least 90 degrees?

I am still obsessed with ‘pointless distractions’, memes, GIFS etc… these nuggets are shiny things used to divert our attention from the real mess, the financial chaos, the political fly-tipping and the cold rainy nights…

Copyright Darren Neave 2022
Design & technology by Stuart Shackleton