For the 2006 Turner Prize exhibition, artist Phil Collins had Tate Britain set him up with an office in the gallery, where he and two hired researchers worked every day on Phil’s next project: “finding people who feel their lives have been ruined by appearing in reality television shows.”
Collins used the media hype around the Turner competition itself to garner the attention of his intended subject/collaborators. And according to the firsthand account of Lena Corner, one of the researchers, the strategy succeeded brilliantly.
She wrote about her experience of being on display while trying to actually get work done for The Independent last fall. It’s an uncanny parallel to the spectacle and exhibitionism Collins & Co. were researching, though fortunately for Corner she seems to have suffered no lingering effects.
Gillian, the cleaning supervisor, pops in. Apparently the cleaners have been too scared to empty our bin in case it’s an artwork. In 2004 German-born artist Gustav Metzger created a piece of “auto-destructive art” for the Tate. One element was a bag containing rubbish that he had collected from within the gallery, but a cleaner mistook it for a bag of rubbish and threw it out. Metzger declared the piece to be ruined. No wonder the cleaners are a little nervous.