This project takes as its starting point the social dynamic of Islington Mill Studios, and the everyday usage of the communal space that MILL-WORKERS uses for exhibitions. Open falls conceptually between an exhibition/publication project and a commission for a permanent public work and is in two parts as follows:



Drawing on the everyday interactions of Islington Mill tenants with the space, [insertspace] will invert the frustrating rituals associated with opening the Mill’s infamously cumbersome front gate. [insertspace] propose to collect all of the keys from the lock following its demise (date TBC), melt down the metal and transform the mass into a series of doorstops for the internal doors of Islington Mill’s communal space. This process examines issues surrounding access and ownership of space, as well as making a comment on the habitual accoutrements associated with semi-public communal spaces, and the ritualistic use of such a space. The project will remain a proposal until Islington Mill receives its planned new electric door system later in the year. Once the gate and lock have been replaced all of the tenant’s keys will be collected, and then turned into the small wedge-shaped doorstops that will be left as a legacy within the space.



In the interim, [insertspace] will run a temporary project based within the communal space, exploring modes of communication, the dissemination and organisation of artworks, and the curatorial responsibilities of the artist, curator and audience. To this effect they will install a fax machine within the space, allowing a number of interactions to emerge. The fax number will be issued to the tenants, allowing them to send works to the project and to use the fax for business. Other works and projects will be sent to the machine by [insertspace], MILL-WORKERS, and their respective collaborators; constructing a directory of works within the space. (This section of project was brought to a close on the 22/12/06, the fax machine has remained in the space for the use of the tenants.)



These two seemingly disparate activities provide a critique by mimesis of the socio-regenerative intentions that are projected upon artworks. The major public commission, as part of a process of physical regeneration of communities, is often tied in with a community engaged project that precedes it: An artistic involvement with the community to be regenerated is seen as a stop-gap prior to the presentation (from outside) of a work that will instil a sense of pride in, or provide a focus for, the community.

With Open the artists are presenting the community with two practical projects that will improve the Studio’s facilities in small but significant ways. Their existence as artworks in this case is almost incidental but highlights a larger metaphorical interaction between art and wider social forces.

For updated images of this project as it progresses and more work by [insertspace] click here


MILL-WORKERS is supported by Arts Council England, Salford City Council and Islington Mill Studios, images (c) the artists, text and web-design (c) Jonathan Trayner