We love you here, even though you are there (2012)
(from the Runners series)
Printed page in the Frome Times.
The work exists in the form of an illogical combination of ‘advertisements’ and announcements, printed as a page in the ‘Frome Times’ for the duration of the Notes from Nowhere project across Frome, in May 2012. A strange fusion between a newspaper headline and the classified advertisements at the back of a paper it also references an incongruous constellation of places globally for a local Somerset newspaper. We love you here, even though you are there develops previous Runners works, this collective title partly referring to a speed and restlessness and also to a hidden, underground system of growth and dissemination. The small businesses Chodzko designs and ‘advertises’ are found through a mixture of his own travel, both actual and virtual (glimpsed in the background of Google Earth image uploads and Google Street View searches). To qualify for ‘advertisements’ within the Runners project there has to be – at least at the moment of design – the lack of apparent expectation to be ‘noticed’ and no online presence through their own websites or any Trip Advisor-type recommendations. These signs become an anonymous gift – the business concerned has no knowledge of their international presence – and also partly ludicrous; why in Frome would you need to know that you can get cheap photocopies made in a side street in Mombasa? Or are we so globalised and wealthy that this information will be somehow useful, marketable, in some way or another, gratifying? The work is purposefully ambiguous; is it a critique of British ‘localism’ and aspiration or a celebration of openness and inclusivity? The actions involved seem to be made by someone who doesn’t understand commerce, marketing, advertising, design, geography or art. As with many of Chodzko’s works he builds a process through becoming the character of an alien to ‘normal’ cultural conventions.
The Mombasa advertisement within We love you here, even though you are there is specific to Frome. The image is of the four bronze sculptures made in Frome by Singers in the 1920’s as a war memorial in Mombasa to Kenyan soldiers who fought in the War. In 2011 it was vandalised with the theft (part of the current plundering of precious metals everywhere) of one of the soldier’s sticks and a big bronze plaque that was mounted on the plinth (in the position of the address in Chodzko’s design of the ‘advert’).
All the Runners have co-ordinates of latitude and longitude which can be put into Google Earth. If you go to the Mombasa location given within the We love you here… design it will lead you to a “submitted image” which if enlarged, on the left of the frame in pink, shows the hand painted sign for the bookshop. At least it did in 2012. And this potential vulnerability, of images disappearing or being lost to an internet search is a part of the work. Compared to Google or Amazon these tiny local businesses barely exist. And yet…
In culo alla balena! [“Into the ass of a whale!” ] (2012)
The God Look-Alike Contest (1991-1992)
We are Sorry (July 9, 2013)
Secretors (1993 – )
Flashers (1996 – )