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Awkward Silence is an ongoing project that mediates between conversations and social rituals within the contemporary art setting. Awkward Silence aims to operate within the social construct of art gatherings, the most common being the exhibition opening. By this I mean guests arrive, beverages are served, guests mingle, and in-between expired conversations, guests engage with the art on show. Motivated by these momentary interactions, this project aims to underscore the fragility and power structures within such social frameworks and the spaces that define them. Within Awkward Silence, this is achieved by creating a subtle shift within the semiotics of such events. The circulation and consumption of alcohol designed to lubricate conversation is employed as the framework to directly engage incidental participants and actions of this work.

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A key apparatus in negotiating this project is the wine glasses commonly used at exhibition openings. The transparent surface of each wine glass has been sandblasted to reveal text, made visible by these subtle yet corrosive processes. The frosted appearance of the text read like hand-held whispers, passing comment within the cycles of conversation. The various remarks that appear on each glass aim to reflect on common and often unspoken insecurities of the art world and in particular, its players. Samples of text include ‘economy of attention’, ‘copied ideas’ and ‘still only emerging’. Sourced from conversations at art openings, personal reflection and comments by those casually interested in this work, each new transcribed observation aims to continually broaden the content and textual volume of this work.

Each incarnation of Awkward Silence is developed in negotiation with directors, arts administrators, galleries, artists and curators. This process of exchange and discussion forms the active medium which shapes the parameters of each situation that Awkward Silence occupies. The purpose of this blog is to document these negotiations and the relative manifestations that this project inhabits.

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