Question for Seller re-situates images in a different context and in so doing allows for a new dialogue to take place. Reflect on the following in your learning log:
• Does their presence on a gallery wall give these images an elevated status?
• Where does their meaning derive from?
• When they are sold (again on eBay, via auction direct from the gallery) is their value increased by the fact that they’re now ‘art’?
One of my fellow students remarked that this was the second body of work by Nicky Bird that he did not buy into. I am not sure we are expected to buy into any of this. I think our work is to try to understand what the artist is trying to say. I think the idea of the project was very original. Bird says that she was motivated by a desire to save these images from being lost to posterity. We only have her word for it.(1) The original set, an African family, that she bid for were interesting in themselves. I can understand someone being fascinated by the story behind some of these images. I am always interested to learn more about the history of old buildings. My daughter has just completed the purchase of a house which was built in 1820. With the house went a ‘potted’ history. The story would be so enhanced by the addition of images. But there are none to our knowledge. I iive in a hundred year old cottage on an island in the south west of Ireland. I would love to know more about the people who lived in this house. Two or three of our island houses come complete with their ghosts. This phenomenon is becoming less common. Are we becoming less ‘aware’ or less in tune with the non-material.
What do we mean by status? One definition I found was:
relative social or professional position: standing
The images have their own social status whether on a gallery wall or not. The fact that Nicky Bird has used them in a professional capacity would give them a professional status.
There are several meanings contained in these images. When they were fist made they had a specific meaning for the individual or individuals in the image. They were a record of some event in the lives of those within. When these individuals were no longer around to cherish these images they were passed on or found by someone who was not part of that meaning. At a later stage the images were offered for sale on eBay. Nicky Bird was the only bidder for the images she included in Question for Seller. The images then took on a whole new meaning. They were part of a new story. From this I would conclude that their meaning derives from how, where and when we view them.
Value depends on what someone is prepared to pay. The moment Nicky Bird purchased each one of these images on eBay they acquired a value. She then worked with the images to create a new narrative giving added value to them. A purchaser would ‘value’ her artistic input and pay what they felt that was worth. Thus the image would indeed increase in value due to Nicky Bird’s input.
- photoparley. 2016. Nicky Bird | photoparley. [ONLINE] Available at: https://photoparley.wordpress.com/category/nicky-bird/. [Accessed 30 May 2016].