exhibition archive

Temporary Agency
curated by Sonya Dyer

29.04.08 - 01.05.08

press release | images | publication | invitation


A three-day series of performative actions exploring concepts of value, free labour and social networks in the arts.

From Tuesday 29th April to Thursday 1st May, the Committee for Radical Diplomacy/ Micropolitics Research Group, Emma Leach, and Yara El Sherbini will utilise a diverse range of playful strategies incorporating a workshop, a micro performance and an auction.

Temporary Agency aims to employ strategies of resistance and enquiry into the orthodoxies of the financial and labour systems in the arts.


Tuesday 29th April

Committee for Radical Diplomacy /Micropolitics Research Group
PHOTOROMANCE - Staging the sagas of our aspiration

1 - 5pm

The Workshop: "...Do you mean my 'real work' or 'what I do for money'?..."

Internships, work experience, job placements and voluntary invigilation are often seen as a step on the ladder towards professional life. Increasingly, however they are becoming a structural condition masking the crumbling of public culture as we knew it.

Passions, seduction, desires and betrayal all play a role in the experience of working for free. How do we survive and narrate the internship drama?

Characters, wigs, speech bubbles, gestural tableaux: this photoromance shoot is a serious investigation in disguise. We will reflect upon what we learn from free labour and how we might stage our aspirations otherwise.

All welcome - please pre-register so that we know how many to expect by contacting Sonya Dyer - s.dyer@chelsea.arts.ac.uk to register.

6:30 - 8.30pm


An evening of despondent dancing and joyful analysis.


See images of Radical Diplomacy



Wednesday 30th April, 7 - 9pm

Emma Leach - Your torch is burning brightly...

Emma Leach has recruited a small number of 'temporary agents' from Chelsea College of Art & Design. They will be positioned in the gallery to observe and to be observed in a gentle intervention, which invites the audience to reconsider some of the hierarchies of the art industry. Power rests in the hands of the audience, to reward or ignore the actions of the students.


See images of Emma Leach Your torch is burning brightly...



Thursday 1st May, 6 - 8.30pm
(Auction at 7.30pm)

Yara El-Sherbini - Auctions speak louder than words

Come along to an evening of networking, where artists, curators, critics, press, gallerists and anyone else, can relax over free wine and some live art.

Social connective-ness is one of the most powerful determinants of our well being; the more integrated we are within our community, the less likely we are to experience colds, heart attacks, cancer, depression, and premature death of all sorts. So, since social isolation can be unhealthy, come on down, the price is right (it's free) to CHELSEA space on Thursday 1st May.


Yara El-Sherbini Auctions speak louder than words



All events are taking place at CHELSEA space



The Committee for Radical Diplomacy is a gaggle of chronic collaborators with a passion for the protocols of formal diplomacy (cocktail parties, gift-giving, spy-games, careless whispers, gestures of hospitality) and the mechanics of constituent organising. Recent projects include The Ambulator; A Camper Van Expedition Through the Perils of Free Labour and Enforced Education, Tacky Formats, an investigation into the stickiness of vernacular and pedagogical practices and the C.A.P.E.R Awards, a prize decided, delivered and made collectively by the inhabitants of Plymouth.


The Micropolitics Research Group investigates the forces and procedures that entangle artistic production and the flexible subjectivities of its producers into the fabric of late capitalism. They explore these issues through a convergence of theoretical analysis, reflection upon on concrete situations of existing practice and organisation of transversal modes of exploration, engagement and action.


Emma Leach is a part time writer, curator and arts dogsbody, and a full time artist. Based in London, she works mainly in performance using a mixture of the playful and the uncomfortable, often emphasising the fine line between the two. Previous work includes hiring a wildlife photographer to capture her dressed as a cow and being tutored live in English tea ceremony on the London Underground. She enjoys playing detective, telling stories and displacing social rituals. Emma Leach has shown work in France, Japan and across the UK and is curating a weekend of performance for the Whitstable Biennale 2008.


Yara El-Sherbini lives and works in London and has shown nationally and internationally including Absence of Present - Spain; Joking Aside - Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery and System Error - Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena. Over the past 2 years she has been hosting pub quizzes throughout the UK to playfully explore art and life, supported by the Arnolfini, and commissioned by the BBC, which will be touring Australia in Autumn 2008. Sheikh 'n' Vac, an artists' book commissioned by Book Works, was published in July 2005.



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