99/00 was a collaborative performance project between myself and Ella Gibbs. Commissioned by Mark Segal at Artsway to spend the Millennium in Sway in the New Forest, we took the process of recording an important event, a traditional artist’s role, to an absurd extreme. We used lots of diverse recording devices, cameras, tape measures, scales, rulers, light meters – anything that involved measuring or weighing and went, uninvited to some of the village’s parties.
99/00 came from an invitation from Mark Segal at ArtSway to make a project in Sway over the period of the Millennium . I suggested working with Ella Gibbs, so we collaborated and invited some other people to contribute as well. We wanted to combine us having ‘our Millennium’ with our friends in a context where we didn’t belong with making a piece of work. We were a group of about 10 people.
On the eve we went round the village and knocked on the doors of various events, one in a hotel/restaurant and one in the Social Club. We introduced ourselves and asked, “Can we measure the wine left in your glass?” a quite extremely literal version of “participation”. We wanted to push that to a fairly unusual limit. When we got to the social club in Sway it felt like some kind of a social experiment. People, all very pissed, were saying, “What the fuck are you doing here?” I remember Ella did a ‘widest smile’ competition. She got photos of a tape measure on people’s grins. We videoed everything.
On New Year’s Day we went out with a Sway pony and cart collecting old, broken, unwanted things (these were then auctioned off at the opening of the show, thereby recycling them). For the final part of the project we spent 24 hours making 24 video tapes, giving ourselves an hour to edit each one. If there was a tape of the fireworks we had an hour to edit something watchable to do with fireworks, reflecting the Millennium time thing — the whole big deal about time and staying up for midnight and that thing with numbers and that particular minute being important. I think not having any sleep was part of it; the making of the work was like treating it as a performance. The last part of the project was a show of those tapes at ArtSway and we had a shelf with 24 video cassettes on it and people could choose a tape and play it themselves.
- Videos x 24
- Black and white photos by Muka and David on large format
- Flow diagrams in exhibition
- Installation shots
- Text by Neil Chapman
- Audio tape of discussion
- Artway catalogue