(selected by Anthony Shapland)
Stefhan Caddick trained as a documentary photographer and now works primarily with new media, performance and site-specific intervention. A wide-ranging body of works produced during the past decade have at their root a sensitivity to the site of their conception or presentation, maintaining an inquisitive, questioning approach. Process is more crucial than product for Caddick, and often the exhibition serves to highlight this process from inception through to production, rather than to present a finite, complete work.
Many of Caddick's projects take the form of manoeuvres; strategies or methodologies which result in an action, installation, or other form of presentation: erecting a discontinued electronic road sign in the centre of Cardiff and asking the public to send their text messages to it; attempting to make and use a pair of skiis with no knowledge of woodwork (or skiing); recording a second of sound every minute for three hours in an attempt to produce a 7 inch single; or cycling 250 miles during a cold February in Wales, avoiding main roads and asking passers-by for hand-drawn directions.
The position Caddick takes within these manoeuvres is often that of the technician rather than the artist. He will adopt a methodology at the outset of the work and then carry out his own, self-imposed instructions until the task is complete. As a result, the work is often as much an invitation to interrogate the methodology as the direct experience of the work in the gallery or online space.
At other times Caddick's work focuses on the poetic; a miniature lighthouse grazing the walls with an image of its own filament, the noise of innumerable flies emanating from a structure constructed of hay, or the distant rumblings of sounds recorded from four foot below ground level.
'Storyboard' was commissioned in 2005 by the contemporary gallery g39 for May You Live in Interesting Times, Cardiff's inaugural Festival of Creative Technology. 'Storyboard' provided an opportunity for members of the public to post mobile phone text messages to a Variable Message Sign, a familiar sight in city centres, often displaying news of traffic disruption and road safety. Here, the VMS became the host for a public display of intimate and deeply personal text messages sourced from the people of Cardiff, and the internet:
'Just as the writer of Doctor Who was signing copies of a new book for fans in a nearby bookshop, the message 'Bad Wolf', a reference to the latest Doctor Who series mysteriously appeared on the Stefhan Caddick's electronic storyboard sign outside. Next a local Big Issue seller was given a helping hand with a message that read, 'Big Issue for sale here. Please buy one'. But it was a mock-ominous message to the city as a whole that had most Saturday morning shoppers amused. It read, simply: 'Good Morning Cardiff. Big Brother is watching. Look behind you'.' ('Sign Of The Times', Blog, 29 October 2005).
During the project's second incarnation at g39, Cardiff, the messages ranged from the endearing, "WOULD YOU BE MY VALENTINE'S"...? Well I'm asian lady seeking for a Valentines mate maybe not this time but in the future. Reply me back at +85267384*** JULY" (sent from a woman in South China), to the random, "Lisen i know who u are and i now u have got this phone so plz less not have troble can u put phone some were i can have it bk just tex me bk and tel me were ur gona put the bk," to those which were location and time specific and left for a particular person to see: "Fed up of waiting, Sarah, Gone to the pub. Why are you always late? Dave".
Stefhan Caddick (b. 1969) studied MA in Documentary Photography at University of Wales College, Newport and has exhibited regularly in the UK. In 2002, Caddick collaborated with Ben Stammers to produce a generative sound installation Subterranea/Tanddaear, the result of a Cywaith Cymru residency at National Eisteddfod. Cwydro (wander) (2003), a residency and exhibition at Ty Canol, Pembrokeshire, featured Ointment, an itinerant collective of artists based in west Wales, of which Caddick is a member, and Boreal Art/Nature, an artist collective based in Canada. In 2005 Ointment and Boreal Art/Nature (Canada) came together again for 'Marcheurs des Bois', a residency and exhibition at Rouge Matawin Faunique, Quebec.
Recent exhibitions include May You Live in Interesting Times, Cardiff Festival of Creative Technology (2005), A Rose and Fields and the Birds and Sastrugi for STAR Radio (2005), Eli, a performance at the National Botanic Garden of Wales (2005), and Roadshow, an installation/performance with Grizedale Sculpture Park and Real Institute, Blaenau Ffestiniog (2003).
Over runs until 18 March 2006 at g39, Cardiff. Caddick lives and works in Powys, South Wales.
Over, g39, Cardiff (2006)
Over situates contemporary methods of communication alongside the most basic of dialogues and investigates whether modern, faceless communication methods encourage dialogue or rather provide an... read on