MAstars 2010: Jim Lockey & Katy Norton, MA Fine Art

MAstars 2010: Jim Lockey & Katy Norton, MA Fine Art Jim Lockey & Katy Norton, The Society of The Lost Games, 2010. Performance. Credit: Jim Lockey And Katy Norton

Sue Jones selects Jim Lockey & Katy Norton from the University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury for MAstars

Jim Lockey & Katy Norton work collaboratively, as artists, editors and curators. They also make work as solo artists. Through their work they create and explore fictions that examine authenticity and value, in complex and subtle ways.

'The Society of The Lost Games' (2010) was first produced as a commission from the University of Kent's Slipstream Project, to create work in response to the 2012 London Olympics. 'The Society of The Lost Games' positions Norton & Lockey as leading members of a group of professional historians and enthusiastic, knowledgeable amateurs who are passionate about a long forgotten Games. A series of pamphlets attempts to decode and piece together what the Games were, through frequently misunderstood fragments of information and images. The first, 'A Brief Introduction', reminds us of the 'Great Cataclysmic Event' that all but destroyed human archaeology and wiped out most of the human race. As with all histories, the attempts to piece together this mythical past inevitably shed a great deal of light on the present, and in this case, on the values that our current society places on the Olympics. 'The Society of The Lost Games' deftly delivers a debate on value and faith, through a multi-aspected work including performances (in the form of 'scientific re-enactments' of such events as the 'Finishing Line' where representatives of each nation would take turns to cross the Line in a ritual recognising individual achievement), and publications.

Jim Lockey had two solo works in the show, one of which was 'Visual Artworks' (2010), a beautifully small and quiet booklet that paradoxically sets out to describe artworks in text - video work, paintings, marble sculpture. The artworks may, or may not, exist and it's hard at first not to play a guessing game with the texts - is that one describing an Epstein, is that one possibly an Adam Chodzko - but of course ultimately that's not the point. The texts are resistant to simplistic readings and the helpful suggestion that 'for maximum enjoyment of this booklet...the reader reads all six descriptions whilst standing in an empty room' points us back towards the gap between the visual and the written.

Katy Norton's 'Previous Attempts To Document The Mystic Have Failed' (2010) is a video installation involving two projections without sound, placed on opposite walls. As it was impossible to watch both screens at the same time, there was the constant feeling that you were about to miss something. This seemed apposite, as the work deals with the slippage between live performance and documentation, immediacy and distance, spectator and performer. Texts appear and disappear under the still and moving images; 'There is no magic here' changes to 'There was no magic here'. As we watch extracts of a live performance, the ambivalence is explored through the texts, 'Performance wasn't something I intended to do', and 'Enacting it is supposed to make it real'.

Jim Lockey & Katy Norton have recently been awarded the curatorship of the Limbo Substation Project Space in Margate. 

Selected by Sue Jones
Published October, 2010

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