Giles Bailey - Sound Examples for 'Average Performance' Experiments (3 stars)

Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, until Sat 18 Nov


What are we other than a bag of warped memories with some genitals attached? The decentered subject that was heralded almost 40 years ago is a theoretical construction that has just not caught on. The postmodern subject still judders and slides like an unstoppable repulsive juggernaut, but Giles Bailey’s Sound Examples for ‘Average Performance’ Experiments demonstrates how art can de-naturalise this easy flow of existentially unexamined lives that clog the streets.

He plunders his past for information concerning his father’s job, visits his father’s work place, and weaves this together with slides and found film from electro acoustic experiments in a 35 minute performed lecture. The Transmission floor is covered in grey industrial carpet and the room is set up to resemble a small lecture theatre, with graphs, photos, and other miscellany that refer to the topic of discussion. This is an aesthetically sparse installation (typical of an ‘old skool’ GSA environmental art student), set up underneath a cloud of high seriousness (sublimated hysteria). Bailey’s dead-pan presentation and school boy delivery draw attention to the fact that all the information that he presents is memorised. Two visits demonstrate that the content is still exactly the same, water is sipped and slides are flicked at the same points.

So, what have we learnt? Nothing at all about electro acoustic experiments and possibly very little about art. But we are given a sly insight into the machinations of modern subjectivity -" the repetitions, lacunae and masochism of being a bad social actor.

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