25.10.07 — 09.11.07 ‘Halfway House’, They are here

Independent estate agent Daniel Cobb in association with They are here are pleased to announce a new portfolio of haunted properties in response to London’s property boom. The most distinguished of these is ‘Halfway-House’, 131 Kennington Park Rd, a beautiful grade 2 listed Georgian town house (formerly the art gallery Man & Eve)…

Expect possession, expect to slip from past to future to present, expect to heal someone else’s wounds, expect the uncanny silences, expect the dark, expect a voice from a place impossibly distant. In ‘Halfway-House’ the language and devices of the haunted house are subverted to explore notions of absence, presence, memory and time. This unfolds into a meditation on loss, twinned histories and the hurt of betrayal. Using the form of an estate agent’s tour, this performance-installation is structured to take you through a number of states: from watcher to witness, to participant and finally independent creator. Drawing on the net-based practices of user-generated content and by actively encouraging the slippage between fictive and factual, you are propelled into another narrative and life – played out by playing your own.

‘Halfway-House’ is part of an ongoing series of explorations called The Twin’s Research Project, 2006-2008. The project investigates the potential of non-linear narratives, the nature of twins in relation to our culture and society and collaborative structures between individual artists and their media.

They are here are a London-based multi-disciplinary collective which includes Joe Bell, Anne Jonsson, Harun Morrison and Helen Walker. Their disciplines include sound art, fine art film, mime and theatre design. They have presented work at South London Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, Battersea Arts Centre, online and in the streets. The research and development for ‘Halfway-House’ took place at LIFT (as recipients of the Blue Room Residency 2007). This project is funded by Arts Council England.

They are here demand a high level of interactivity on the part of their audience/attendees. They like to take populist systems or experiences (Myspace, a launch party, a haunted-house) as a framework for ideas. Constructed-situations/performances may involve the participants engaging with a narrative or game external to the event itself to unlock it. Projects evolve from constantly shifting collaborative models; exploring group dynamics, divisions of power, the balance of authorship between participant and artist and the effects of temporary engagements with other artists or non-artist specialists, for example, a virologist.

Previous work includes Becoming the Alien (August 2006, South London Gallery) and We Follow You Home (October 2006, Battersea Arts Centre). In the latter participants booked to be stalked and photographed over a 48hr period. They were challenged to avoid being documented as they simultaneously tried to discover and photograph the person stalking them. In Becoming the Alien participants imagined themselves as extra-terrestrials who have landed in Peckham to explore indigenous flora and fauna. Punning on the American use of ‘alien’ to mean immigrant, participants’ extra-terrestrial personae were drawn from the gestures they observed from local immigrant communities during the workshop process.

Since November 2006 They are here have been collaborating on The Twin’s Research Project. None of They are here are twins. However, in common with all cultures across the ages they share a fascination with them. They are interested in why people are interested. And what this interest reveals about our society in 2007. Twins prod and unsettle key cultural myths propagated in the media and consumer culture. The first of these is the commercialization of our individuality: our uniqueness is sold to us continually; not to instill self-worth but as a marketing ploy. Twins call into question the notion of the individual (this is especially relevant in the age of cloning). Secondly, we hear about the modern person’s inability ‘to connect’ and the anxiety of there being no one who understands. To have a twin – it is commonly imagined – is to find that person who would truly ‘get you’. They are here argue that twins provoke a paradoxical horror/fantasy response, built on a dynamic of assaulted individuality and total communion. They are here’s own collaborative models actively explore this paradox.

Part of The Twin’s Research Project has involved the construction of virtual twin personae Ayo and Oni Oshodi. You can interact with them on MySpace at ayoyoueverything or iamtheoneandoni.

Halfway-House booking details and more information

If you and someone you care about are interested in viewing this property please email anne@danielcobb.net. Viewings must be in pairs and are strictly by appointment only. Wed 24th October – Fri 9th November from 6pm-10pm.

There will be an artist’s talk on Friday 9th November at 4pm. Tickets can be reserved by emailing info@manandeve.co.uk.