We love you here, even though you are there. (2012)
(From the Runners series)
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 ‘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 Streetview 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 Tripadvisor-type recommendations. These signs become art 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 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 to
The work is purposefully ambiguous; is it a critique of localism and aspiration or a celebration of openness and inclusivity?
‘We love you here even when you are there’, is part of an ongoing series called Runners using different newspapers across the world. You find small businesses in remote places without any online presence and place advertisements on their behalf in newspapers based in urban centres in other countries.
There was always an element of chance in this. It began with a friend of mine who was travelling a lot to places ranging from Hawaii to Panama to remote parts Denmark. I was very much stuck in Kent at the time looking after my sons so this was partly a way for me to ‘travel’ through someone else’s eyes. I would ask her to look out for businesses that appeared small, ‘innocent’, ‘vulnerable’, and reliant only on a very marginal, sporadic local trade. I liked the idea of commerce that seemed oblivious to the notion of marketing.
I then began adding to this list as I travelled. And I also used Google Earth and Google Street View to do this travelling remotely.
The publications I promoted them in had to just be based somewhere very different – a kind of opposite – to invoke an idea of both distance and arbitrariness.
Continued in athens/
Become a character…made by a character who doesn’t understand.