The Interruptors

Gavin Wade


Book, 17.9 cm x 11 cm, 220 p, language : English, publisher : Article Press, ISBN : 1-873352-19-0.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2025/997).

Literary synopsis

The Interruptors is a novel based on a commission by Arts Council England to Gavin Wade to write a report on a symposia series on ‘socially engaged art’ across five UK cities in 2003. The novel is also an artwork that answers question number 4, ‘What are experiences?’ in the series of 40 ‘strategic questions’ written by R. Buckminster Fuller in 1966. The novel shifts from detailed observed conversations between artists, curators, activists, arts administrators and art vandals through to manifesto writing, Japanese Renga poetry, songs, battle scenes and meditations on the role and function of art and curating. Most of the real life characters were replaced by generic character names such as The Artist and The Author but a few of the real participants maintain their identities such as John Latham and Barbara Steveni and you may be able to guess some of the others! The book was launched at The Whitechapel gallery with Artwords Bookshop on 27th July 2006, with a performance by Wade with some of the real artists who appear in the book: Karen Guthrie as the Goddess, Jane Trowell as The Artist-Activist and Margaret Harrison as The Political Artist and as the fake Slavoj Zizek. The artist collective FREEE performed a second work at The Whitechapel forming three text works: ACE is the NHS for the arts in need of reform, in permanent crisis, and our only hope; Business Reports are the ideological transmitter for bureaucrats to disguise the ideological character of the information they require; The Social Function of Gavin Wade is to do things that others fear.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

The Interruptors is part of Strategic Questions project. Wade has been curating Strategic Questions, a series of published artworks answering R. Buckminster Fuller’s 40 questions, since 2002. He has published twenty six answers so far through self-publishing and collaborating with other publishers such as Book Works and Cornerhouse. The Interruptors is the only work individually authored by Wade, and each publication takes a different form and relation to context with Wade acting sometimes as collaborator, curator, editor, publisher and subject. There have been exhibitions of the works in Sharjah Biennial, UAE, 2003; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou, China 2004; Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2005; Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna 2006; De Appel, Amsterdam, 2006; Venice Biennale, 2007; and Cornerhouse, Manchester, 2010. The character ‘Tony T’ who appears in The Interruptors is a development from a public art project Wade created in Sheffield in 2002 called Here Are The Young Persons. Tony T became the central curatorial character for Spectator T: Art Sheffield 05, the cross city festival that Wade curated in 2005. Wade wrote a new short story for Spectator T that runs through a day in the life of the youth when he destroyed Wade’s public artwork. Spectator T included works by Christian Jankowski, Gelatin, Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, Ryan Gander, Heather & Ivan Morison, Simon & Tom Bloor, Laureana Toledo and Juneau Projects. Wade also sees the novel as continuing his writings on curating linking back to his first publication Curating in the 21st Century, 2000, New Art Gallery Walsall.

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