A chat with Sid & Jim
How would you describe your most current work and what are some of the influences behind it?
At the moment our work is investigating the artist as an orchestrator, behaving more like a centralized business. By outsourcing tasks to individuals with a specific skill set or characteristics we’re able to increase efficiency and instigate collaboration. Operating in this way has become commonplace in business and politics but also is employed by individuals in everyday life.
A predominant influence when producing work of this nature is the practice adopted by artists such as Ryan Gander. Operating as an instigator, Gander often works with a team of people, allowing the tasks to trickle down the group, meaning that individuals complete the most appropriate jobs for them. This method not only generates interesting relationships but a diverse body or work that isn’t trapped by the artist’s limitations.
Describe in a few words the concept behind your work temporary allegiance?
Well, we travelled to America and in order to do so, required a visa. Obtaining a visa is a long and arduous process, which unfortunately can be even longer or near impossible for some. This has been highlighted recently due to the mass migration of refugees across Europe and other parts of the world. The term ‘temporary allegiance’ legally refers to the duty of a non-citizen to obey all laws so long as they remain in that country. Flags carry huge historical connotations, acting as a symbol for domesticity as well as alienation. For the most part one might see flags as metaphorical shelter.
When we were in America there was a notable level of patriotism surrounding their flag. The only thing that gave us legal passage into the country was our visas, as a consequence we thought it would be appropriate to make our own flag, featuring censored versions of these documents. We then arranged for it to be flown after we had left the country and the visas had expired.
What drives you to make the type of artwork you create?
During our making process there’s a lot of discussion, between both any additional individuals and us, as a duo. Hypothesizing situations, continuing to ask ‘what if?’ questions, entertains us and, hopefully, a potential audience. Due to the way we’ve adapted our individual practices to operate as a pair, we feel more open to wider collaborations, which in tern keep the ball rolling. These relationships work in mutually beneficial way, with both parties learning through the eye of the other.
If you could choose only one medium to work with what would it be and why?
For the most part we select materials or objects after an idea has conceived. Ideas are our chosen medium, even if traditionally they aren’t thought of as one, due to their immateriality. If a tangible medium needed to be elected, then we would probably choose the most direct method of communication (with consideration to the audience) which would probably manifests as text or spoken works.
When someone views your work what do you hope them to experience or take away from it?
The idea that anyone can make art is appealing to us and communicating this within our work is something we strive for. Making art that is deemed accessible is a high priority. We attempt to achieve this by utilizing relatable objects or familiar situations, using tools and technologies, which are relevant but not restricted to art. Our belief is that one shouldn’t be required to have any particular skills to make art; we’d love for people to come to a similar conclusion.
How well do you think your work translates to someone who may not have the strongest art background?
There’s a few way we like to tackle this. One of these is to encourage participation in a familiar activity such as playing on a games console. Another is to use objects which people are accustomed to, these can range from vacuum cleaners to name tags; it’s easier for one to attach ideas to objects that aren’t foreign or alien in their appearance. Attempting to build a common ground, between art and audience, is also one of our goals. We try to incorporate ideas that span various fields including politics, economics and philosophy. We’d like to think our work is digestible outside of an art context.
Is there one piece of artwork you have always wanted to make and if so what is it?
There’s a work we’ve been thinking about for a while involving water from major art institutions all over the world. Our idea was to collect water from the free drinks fountains within these institutions and use them in the preparation food and drinks, during an event exterior to the establishment in question. The meals would follow the traditions and cultures of the geographical location of the gallery in preparation and consumption by the viewers/participants.