END-USER: Jason File, JonesSmithJohnson, Jonas Lund and Carey Young
6 October 2016 - 12 November 2016
Wednesday - Saturday, 12 - 6pm
Private view: Thursday 6, 6-9pm
On April 1, 2010, the UK retail shop Gamestation added a clause in their end-user agreement stating that users who placed an order on this day agreed to irrevocably give their soul to the company, which 7,500 users agreed to. Similarly, a clause included in the license contract of the program PC Pitstop proclaimed that anybody who will read the clause and contacted the company would receive a monetary award. It took four months and over 3,000 software downloads before anybody collected it.
Our personal and public life is increasingly influenced by legal and corporate culture, and end-user agreements are an integral part of new consumer technologies. These agreements are rarely read by users and we are given no choice but to agree on to them if we want to enjoy the product we have purchased. Mostly presented to the user as a click-through process, these contractual agreements are ubiquitous in every download, installation or update of our devices and programs. Unlike most other legal agreements we enter into there is no possibility for negotiation and the terms are typically too complex to decipher properly without legal training. While we are usually presented an abstract or introduction, the full length of these documents if you click to read them verges on the absurd.
“Common devices such as tablets and smartphones now come with the option of a child proof housing due to their widespread use by minors, while the end-user agreements that regularly pop-up do not recognise the age of the user who clicks ‘agree’ or their legal status.” (JonesSmithJohnson)
A contract is, by definition, a ‘voluntary agreement’, but the more insidious tech-companies become, the less this definition holds true.
‘End-User’ is a group exhibition that explores the restrictions, incongruences and consequences of these agreements as they begin to assault our daily lives.
Jason File (b.1976, Marquette, Michigan, USA) is an artist, university lecturer in fine art, and war crimes prosecutor who lives and works between London, UK and The Hague, Netherlands. He holds degrees in fine art from the Chelsea College of Arts, London, and the Royal Academy of Art, Netherlands (2013), where he currently teaches. He also holds degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and law from Yale (1998), Oxford (2000) and Yale Law School (2004). File’s work has been recognized through collections and awards, including the Zabludowicz Collection Future Map Prize (2014), the Mead Fellowship, University of the Arts London (2014), and selection as ArtPrize Juried Grand Prize Finalist (USA, 2014, selected by Hrag Vartanian) and Celeste Prize selected artist (Italy, 2014, selected by Andrew Hunt). Solo and two-person exhibitions and projects include: The Ryder Projects, London (2015); Stroom, The Hague (2015 & 2016); Ovalhouse, London (2014); and X Marks the Bökship, London (2011). Group exhibitions include: GEMAK, The Hague (2015); Copperfield, London (2015); Grand Rapids Art Museum, USA (2014); International Print Biennale, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle (2014); SPACE, London (2014); Atelierhaus der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Vienna (2014). Artist talks include: Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, London (2016) and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015). Art fairs include: London Art Fair (2016) and Art Rotterdam (2016). He co-curated "The Observer Effect" at GEMAK in The Hague in 2015.
JonesSmithJohnson *An internet search will provide the result of the work Scrubbed, in which a webspace PR firm was employed to ‘reputation clean’ any reference to the company online after transferring their URL to a contractually constrained third party. When the duration of the work comes to an end the company will be incorporated and a web presence begun - a kind of zero hour, in spite of work by the group having already been exhibited and acquired internationally.
Jonas Lund is a Swedish artist that creates paintings, sculpture, photography, websites and performances that incorporate data from his studies of art world trends and behavior. He earned an MA at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2013) and a BFA at Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam (2009). He has had solo exhibitions at Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2015, 2014); Boetzelaer|Nispen, Amsterdam (2014); Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam (2013); and has had work included in numerous group exhibitions including at Eyebeam, New York; New Museum, New York, XPO Gallery, Paris; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Witte De With, Rotterdam, De Hallen, Haarlem and the Moving Museum, Istanbul. His work has been written about in Artforum, Artslant, Rhizome, Huffington Post, Furtherfield and Wired.
Carey Young is a visual artist based in London. Her work has been exhibited widely, including solo shows at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2013), Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2010) and tour, The Power Plant, Toronto (2009), Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2009), John Hansard Gallery (2002). Group shows include Aspen Art Museum (2016), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2015), Tate Liverpool (2014-15), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012), New Museum, New York (2011) and Tate Britain (2009–10) amongst many others. Works in public collections include Tate Gallery, Centre Pompidou, Arts Council England, Kadist Art Foundation, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst. A monograph on her work, Subject to Contract, was published by JRP | Ringier in 2013. Young teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London and is also an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Law at Birkbeck, University of London. She is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Dallas Museum of Art will stage a solo exhibition of her work which will open in February 2016.
Carey Young, Uncertain Contract, 2008. Video, 14 mins 57 secs (looped)
JonesSmithJohnson, Hashtag, 2016, (End User1).
Collected internet images (C-Type print) overlaid with redacted End User Agreement stencilled into board
Jason File, Conditions of Performance, 2013/2016 (detail)
Laser-printed text on acid-free A4 office paper, nickel-plated brass eyelets