BFO Projects



BFO Projects - Room and Board

BFO projects is a curatorial body consisting of KIT and Mitch Robertson, which develops rigorous and ambitious international exhibitions. Room + Board is their first project and shows at galleries in England, Northern Ireland and Canada. Throughout 2001 and 2002 BFO Projects undertake 5 different versions of the Room and Board project.

Room and Board is a collaboration between visiting artists and resident artists of the gallery that we work with. A number of resident artists are curated by the gallery and are invited to produce a 'hostile environment' in the gallery space. The local artists are asked to produce a mediated environment in which they use video, sound, slide projection, smell or light, producing a space that does not include physical objects but rather uses ephemeral media to construct the hostility. This hostility could be read and produced in many different ways within the given media. There are no rules as to what a 'hostile environment' might be. This work will be done with no communication between the resident and visiting artists. Thus, when the visiting artists arrive at the opening reception to set their work up, the installed hostile environment will be seen for the first time. Likewise, the local artists will never know what the visiting artists are bringing to the space.

The visiting artists consist of Mitch Robertson, KIT and for each project one to three different artists invited by the curators. The remit for the visiting artists is to make portable structures / hiding places in the gallery from any materials that fit into a single suitcase (including the suitcase itself), which the artists brings with them via aircraft. The specifications (maximum weight and size) of the case are dictated by the various airlines used by the artists to attend the show. In this way, the dictates of motion define the form. The form in / of each case is a mobile dwelling / hiding place.

Each artist traveling to the gallery will be self-sufficient and cannot rely on the gallery to supply any materials or support. In this respect, the guest artists are not ‘guests’, but rather a nomadic group prepared to overcome all forms of hostility created by what in ‘normal’ circumstances would be the welcoming hosts. It has been documented by psychologists such as Carl Jung and philosophers / writers such as Walter Benjamin that whilst inhabiting hostile environments we tend to cognitively construct physical or mental hiding places. This project is a direct analogy of this process, yet it defies such easy categorization as it is a tacitly agreed upon arrangement.

The resident artists must install the hostile environment in the gallery space before the visiting artists arrive. The visiting artists will arrive in the gallery space for the first time at the start of the opening reception with their bags in hand and will build their makeshift structures within the hours of the ‘opening’ for the show. At the end of the designated time, all construction of the mobile structures will cease and whatever has been installed during the said period remains as the exhibition. The installation period of the structures is a public act / performance rather than the secretive act usually associated with constructing a hiding place.

The curators have been ‘visiting artists’ many times in the past 10-years. This project reflects their experiences whilst undertaking projects which fall under this rubric, highlighting the parameters, problems and issues of territory involved in travelling to another city or country for an exhibition; a collective struggle to mark territory, which is as self-reflexive about the nature of collaboration as it is reactive to the notion of installing in a 'hostile' environment.

Room and Board exhibits at the following galleries –

2002 Forest City Gallery (London, Canada)
         Resident artists – Susan Schuppli, Dana Samuel, Mark Schilling, Adriana Kuiper
         Visiting artists – KIT, Mitch Robertson, Charles Goldman (USA)

2001 Static (Liverpool, England)
         Resident artists – Becky Shaw
         Visiting artists – KIT, Mitch Robertson

         The Proposition Gallery (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
         Resident artists – Anonymous
         Visiting artists – KIT, Mitch Robertson

          The New Gallery (Calgary, Canada)
          Resident artists – John Ressler
          Visiting artists – KIT, Mitch Robertson, Daniel Olson (Canada), Nick Evans (UK)

         Galerie Dare-Dare (Montréal, Canada)
         Resident artists – ‘Women working with kitchen appliances’ (Collaboration of 5 people)
         Visiting artists – KIT, Mitch Robertson, Eric Heist (USA)