Above Image – Branding for Theo Price’s COBRA RES Project. Image Source.
London based artist, curator and writer; Theo Price was today’s Gravity guest speaker. He based the lecture mainly around his project, ‘Cobra Res’ and current area of focus, emergency politics and aesthetics. His biggest interest into making works is COBRA which I discovered in the lecture stands for, Cabinet of Briefing Room A. This is a room where the Prime minister and British Government convene when there had been a crisis or emergency for example when the 7/7 bombings happened in London.
I admit I have no knowledge or interest in Politics so I felt it quite difficult to relate in any way to his works but when he first put up a list of every ‘Cobra’ meeting since 2007, it became terrifying to see how the total of incidents had risen each year since 2007 and I genuinely felt panic, we see it reported on the news but to actually see it complied into a list, there in front of your eyes, was very overwhelming.
Price then showed an image on screen of the CCTV camera in the COBRA room that he titled, ‘who watches the watchmen’ and I realised that Price’s work is about power and authority. He started to discuss what his project, ‘COBRA RES’ entailed, and that he started it in 2013 and is still ongoing. He invited artists (depending on what medium Price wanted; text, film, photo) to respond to the emergency creatively and this has happened four times now, He has then made a book containing the works and essays from COBRA RES.
I thought it was good how Price reacted to these emergencies because this is why artists make art, they react to their surroundings and interests but I would have preferred if he had shown the actual artwork rather that just presenting the project, I believe it would have been more beneficial to let the actual artwork speak for itself.
Price then finished his lecture by presenting a few small projects that he currently had in mind:
- Black box top trump, a ‘card’ game of the worst plane crashes
- Pandemic Snap, a simple game of matching 2 bugs/viruses, as though they were meeting, reflective of catching the disease.
- NATO Happy Families
In my considered opinion I think these works reflected badly on him as he’d made his previous works about reacting to emergencies or crisis’s and now it feels he was trying to make light hearted fun/ a joke from them which doesn’t really add up.
Summing up the Lecture Price presented, I’m afraid to say it wasn’t for me, It seems his work was of two minds; being very serious and then making a game out of that serious matter, however it was a clear and concise lecture and presented professionally.
Theo Price – http://www.theoprice.com/