Product Recall (1994)
2 x 8 minute videos on monitors
and flyposted off-set lithographic posters
Product Recall is a process, a search and an event that began with the Chodzko placing advertisements in a number of fashion, youth culture magazines such as ID and G-spot as well as through fly-posters around Soho, London.
The request, for owners of a particular jacket, appeared to be, stylistically, somewhere between a religious reunion or cult ritual (alluding perhaps to a global event in the occurrence of the [Vivien] Westood / [Clint] Eastwood names) and a banal corporate “product recall” issued to limit damage (and reputation) because, for example, a car has been made with faulty brakes or a food product contains broken glass. ‘Recall’ refers to the process of remembering as well as a literal recalling of a product; both are a form of ‘drawing into’ the present. Either way, apparently something has gone awry and needs to be gathered together in order to rectify this instability.
400 of the jackets were produced in 1984 and Chodzko issued his recall 10 years later, having always wanted to own one himself, a personal motivation to search for (now, as compensation for the lack, an excess of) these elusive garments, across the city. Prompted by the advertisements Clint Eastwood jacket owners (or friends of owners) began contacting Chodzko, whereupon he staged a convention with eight of them, wearing their jackets, a small assembly party, in an old ballroom, under a spotlight. After 10 years some of the jackets had clearly become worn and deteriorated; a sense that the attempt to return this jacket to the present had been left a little too late.
The finished work is the poster, and a two screen installation; one showing an edited version of the reunion and on the other, a video of a ‘super’ version of the jacket, spinning and gesticulating, speeded up 400%. Drawing a ten year old fashion item back into the present (for an ambiguous purpose) suggests an attempt to slow down time, to reflect, to look back and reconsider.
The poster announces that “it has been discovered that this design was based on an early scheme for a memory jacket,” but without clarifying whether this quality is just passing information or the reason for the urgency of the Product Recall. It suggests (as does the ‘aura’ within the visual imagery) that the jacket might possess powers, a magical item derived from a fairy tale, ancient myth or science fiction. (Although, not aware of this coincidence when Chodzko initiated this work, Vivien Westwood did design the Clint Eastwood jacket based on a suit of armour and was researching the Ars Memoria at the time).
The jacket is proposed as a node or juncture, around which people gather socially. There are already plenty of assemblies in existence – from the Catholic Church and Labour Party members to neighbourhood watch schemes and people who spot Eddie Stobart lorries. Chodzko’s groups always differ from these in that he invents ones that are fragile, even ephemeral, existing only for the duration of a gathering.
Simon Pope, ‘Art for Networks’, Chapter Gallery, Cardiff, 2002
The majority of Chodzko’s works share a common characteristic of inhabiting a social arena – initially, for example, a message board or contact magazine – it was not until Product Recall (1994) that we see the expanded audience being invited to participate in person, through the form of a casual meeting.
Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (2015)
In culo alla balena! [“Into the ass of a whale!” ] (2012)
Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire (1999-)
We love you here, even though you are there (2012)
The God Look-Alike Contest (1991-1992)
The Pickers (2009)
Transmitters (1991 – )
From Beyond (1995)
Reunion; Salò (1998)