Bobs Pogobar - KW Institute for Contemporary Art.
Clerks’ Quarters is the sceneographic exhibition platform by Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw. This first rendition, held at
KW Institute for Contemporary Art’s - Bobs Pogobar, features scenic staging by Shaw and performances by
Angharad Williams and E.O.M (Kristoffer Kjærsgård).
The project’s title in part points to the etymology of ‘clerk’, and its tumble through administrative hierarchies from
the priestly class and the rites of scholarship to administrative roles tied with bureaucracy and merchantry. What
these positions share, regarding their chronological and dialectal shift, is a duty of inscription. Spiritual - ideological
- departmental - financial. This flap protracts like a sun-bleached awning beneath which to cluster three distinct
notions of the ‘record’ or ‘account’. Swelling outwards from concepts of administration, duty, scholarship and
specified knowledge, Clerks’ attempts to embroil its sensory ingredients at a rolling boil.
From the corporeal unravelings spoken by Angharad Williams, the craggy drones of E.O.M to Shaw’s bruised
facades - what’s shared is a compulsion for physical and psychological inscription. Something likened to a scar or
scrawl. Whether the lacerations have been imposed upon bodies, landscapes, cultures or psyches, each contributor
frames their subjects as temporal archives of detriment. One might encounter a sense of looking backwards, and not
necessarily in pleasant remembrance. Despite these ailed conditions, Williams, Kjærsgård and Shaw each handle
degradation as a material from which to piddle reflective streams, and float onwards.
The title Clerks’ Quarters draws reference to a staged barrack located at Fort Edmonton Park, Canada’s largest
living history museum. A hodgepodge of original and reconstructed historical sites - peppered with costumed role
players, tells the story of early settlement within the North West and it’s fur trade. The ‘Clerks’ Quarters’, a quaint
revision of what’s historically known as the ‘Bachelor’s Hall’, is constituted of a kitchen, dinner hall, office and
sleeping quarters for the townsite’s supposed clerks, cooks, interpreters, servants and hunters. Patched together
aside an expansive dining hall, the convincing forgery is now rented for private functions at which proud locals
might momentarily masquerade amidst their colonial shadow.
Shaw truncates a sliver of the quarters, by means of theatrical discernment. The evening's performances take place
behind an ash heap quilt of settler-era delusion. One part living history museum, one part shoebox diorama - he
cobbles passages, placards and windows within which to frame the troupe. Angharad Williams presents Now watch
this drive, a loose long form poem that takes a trip inside. Appropriated film scores and spoken narrative journey
various establishments discovering the scatological landscape of the damned. Think melted nightclubs, think
gunfire. E.O.M is a musical project by artist Kristoffer Kjærskov, exploring ambient and atmospheric
environments. Moving between improvised and prerecorded layers of keyboard and guitar textures - the sound of
E.O.M investigates open soundscapes and undercurrents, unfolding in a circulative and expanding terrain.
Clerks’ Quarters, as a prospective succession, hopes to enmesh uncooperative voices for finite periods. A second
trial may find its footing this coming autumn.