Bristol School of Art, Media & Design
University of West England
Clanage Road
Bower Ashton
Bristol BS3 2JT

Performance: ‘For Rites of Exchange: I Want What I Haven’t Got"

Rites of Exchange is a recently formed public arts initiative in the UK. It is principally involved in the generation of temporary artwork in non-gallery spaces in the urban and public domain.  The ethos of rites of exchange is simple - to generate work that will either affect, maintain or improve our surroundings by means of sleight artistic intervention.
Working with this principle, I will to travel to Berlin, Poznan, and along the distance between, armed with a book of 1,000 specifically designed printed receipts. It is the intention to directly exchange receipts with people at the conference in Berlin, on the 12.30 train departure to Poznan, at the conference in Poznan and on the 10.20 departure from Poznan back to Berlin. On arrival in Berlin and dressed in suiting befitting a purveyor of receipts, I will seek to exchange each receipt for whatever I am offered by whomever I meet. Each item I may be offered, whether it be physical, verbal, ephemeral or intangible will be documented and catalogued. The person who gave the item in question will be given a catalogued and individually numbered printed receipt with a detailed record of their transaction.
There is a hint of Kafka here: the purposeful bureaucrat offering receipts for something you werenot knowingly about to give away yet are somehow compelled to do so. How much are we prepared to offer for a simple piece of paper that can at times represent so much? The historical precedents of Eastern European culture and the efficiency and bureaucracy within which information was dealt with becomes a ritual that references the conspicuous advancement of a Western consumer driven society where receipts are now simply the by-product of yet another shopping spree. This is almost a complete reversal of the consumer cycle, one that challenges the original consumer to reverse the notion of the buying transaction by gifting to the purveyor as opposed to the constant ‘taking’ that is the want of material consumption.
After all the receipts are given away and all the items catalogued, an archive will be subsequently generated on the rites of exchange website detailing all items specially collected as part of the IMPACT 4 conference.  This website will not only act as an archive of the work but would also serve as a potential creative link between IMPACT 4 and rites of exchange. It is envisaged that this initial physical interaction in Berlin and Poland will develop in to a virtual and ongoing interaction developing new audiences all the while.

SAVAGE received his MA Fine Art (Textiles) from Goldsmiths College, London and his BA (Hons) Fashion Design, UWE, Bristol (1995). This year he is to present his work at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and Art Sheffield 05 and is currently invited artist in residence at LOT, Bristol;. Selected Solo & Group Exhibitions include "60 Seconds" - 291 Gallery & Space TwoTenTwo, London (2004); "Tidying up America" - Various locations 23 States, USA (2004); ) "Club" Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France (2002);  “Silk Purse Procedure” Arnolfini, Bristol (2001) Savage has been recognized by the Arts Council England - Arts Award (2003); South West Arts - Publishing Award (2000); and the South West Arts - Fine Arts Award (2000).