On Saturday 18th April and Saturday 2nd May, artist Sara Rees will engage shoppers and passersby in conversations about democracy at The Project Space on Newport’s Commercial Street in her performance of DEMOCRACY.
Sited in one of the now ubiquitous empty shops symptomatic of the Global Financial Crisis, DEMOCRACY explores the ideological basis to the current crisis and the threat to democracy posed by global corporate capitalism. The placing of this installation draws upon the history of democracy, which originated in the agoras of Ancient Greece. Agoras were open public spaces in the centre of the city that were both marketplace and the place of assembly, the site of both commerce and politics.
Based in a vacant retail unit shop in the centre of Newport, and appropriating the visual aesthetic and conventions of consumerism, DEMOCRACY, to all intents and purposes, is a shop. There are bright lights, piped music, and helpful sales staff on hand. There’s even a sale on. But there is nothing for sale. The consumer space has been supplanted with a discursive space, where unsuspecting shoppers are invited to reflect, engage and talk about their experience and understanding of democracy.
DEMOCRACY is made in response to the growing ferment of disillusionment that many people feel with democracy, both nationally and internationally, being increasingly compromised by the insidious influence yielded by powerful corporate elites. To remain democratic, democracy relies on participation of the people. In making this work I want to stimulate discussion about the nature of democracy and engage people with these ideas in the approach to the general election on 7th May.
The two performances of DEMOCRACY at The Project Space will run between 10 am and 5 pm on both days. For further information, please contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sararees.com
About the artist:
Sara Rees is a practising artist from the Gower Peninsula, currently based in Cardiff. Awarded First Class Honours in Visual Performance at Dartington College of Arts, she later gained Masters in Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art & Design with Distinction. For the past fifteen years Rees has created artworks for residencies, commissions, and exhibitions; her work is exhibited both nationally and internationally, including in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Latvia, Belgium, Montreal, Amsterdam, St. Petersburg, Barcelona, Glasgow, Athens, Moscow, London, Sao Paolo and Berlin. She has been the recipient of a number of awards and prizes, including First Prize for the Oriel Davies Open, a Creative Wales Award and the prestigious Leverhulme Trust Award.
Conceptually driven, Rees works across mediums, including video, photography, performance, installation, intervention, writing, and relational art. She works both within the gallery and beyond, creating site-specific installations and interventions for a diverse range of sites, from bucolic woodlands to a derelict ex-Soviet power station. Her practice is an on-going exploration of the interface between nature and civilization, of the conditions of global capitalism in relation to the environment and the human condition. While political and provocative, Rees’ work is also playful. Often blurring the distinction between reality and fiction, her work is both uncanny and enchanting.