END-USER: Jason File, JonesSmithJohnson, Jonas Lund and Carey Young
6 October 2016 - 26 November 2016
Wednesday - Saturday, 12 - 6pm
Private view: Thursday 6, 6-9pm
The RYDER is pleased to present ‘End-User’, an exhibition of works by artists Jason File, JonesSmithJohnson, Jonas Lund and Carey Young exploring contract law and its far-reaching implications within our lives. .
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 the aforementioned 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 claimed that anybody who read the clause and contacted the company would receive a monetary award. It took four months and over 3,000 software downloads before it was collected.
Our personal and public life is increasingly influenced by legal and corporate culture, end-user agreements being an integral part of new consumer technologies. These agreements are rarely read by users and we are given no choice but to agree 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 with an abstract or introduction, the full length of these documents verges on the absurd.
With Conditions of Performance, Jason File presents a bureaucratic self-portrait consisting of all of the written agreements and terms and conditions which are in force and binding on him on the opening day of the exhibition. File offers a sharp commentary on the increasing extent to which our relationships with institutions are governed by formal legal language.
Jonas Lund also takes a direct approach, binding visitors in a contractual agreement at the very moment they gain entrance to the gallery. By creating this site-specific work for the exhibition, the artist faces the viewer with the actual restrictiveness of the terms of service agreements. With a humorous approach, Lund configures the agreement by including a number of terms such as agreeing to "respectfully talk about the show in a positive manner to all of your acquaintances that are asking about the show" or forcing the visitor to follow both the gallery and the artist on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
In Carey Young's video Uncertain Contract, we see an actor interpret a script composed of legal terms from a commercial contract, the white backdrop of his rehearsal space referencing the 'white cube' of the gallery as well as the appearance of contractual documents. The specific terms of the contract have been omitted, leading to an 'uncertain' contract in which the meaning is open to interpretation.
JonesSmithJohnson's interest lies in the ways in which our personal and public lives are increasingly conditioned by big corporations. In their work Hashtag, 2016, a range of end-user agreements are displayed with their text omitted - the redacted areas laser cut out and the resulting template overlaid over various backgrounds that have become synonymous with the soft end of our user experience.
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); Cøpperfield, 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 (1984, Linköping, Sweden) is an artist that creates paintings, sculpture, photography, websites and performances that incorporate data from his studies of art world trends and behaviour. 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 Växjö Konsthall (2016), Whitechapel Art Gallery (2016), Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2016, 2015, 2014); Boetzelaer|Nispen, Amsterdam (2014, 2016); 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, Wired and more.
Carey Young (b.1970, Lusaka, Zambia) 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)
Jonas Lund, TOS, 2016. C-Print mounted on aluminum,
white wood frame, anti-reflective glass and vinyl . 22 cm x 71 cm
JonesSmithJohnson, #End _User 1, 2016.
Stock digital background (C-Type print) overlaid with
redacted End User Agreement laser cut into acrylic.
JonesSmithJohnson, #end_user(die), 2016
Die, chance, end user agreement laser engraved into acrylic
Jason File, Conditions of Performance, 2013/2016 (detail).
Laser-printed text on acid-free A4 office paper, nickel-plated brass eyelets. Dimensions variable