Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard explore audience dynamics in solo show at Lighthouse

By Mark Sheerin | 10 May 2012
Black and white film still which shows a rock singer collapsed on a stage
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, File Under Sacred Music (2003). Production still. Photo: Alison Wonderland, courtesy the artists and Kate MacGarry, London© Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
Exhibtion: Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard - Performer/Audience, Lighthouse, Brighton, until May 26 2012

At the centre of every piece in the current Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard show at Lighthouse is an audience. So visitors may struggle to get beyond crowds of gig goers, music pundits and the front row of a comedy set.

In 22-minute film File Under Sacred Music, for example, the duo have orchestrated a reconstruction of a Cramps gig at the Napa State Mental Institute in 1978. What made the audience here more important than the band are their various madnesses and state of presumable captivity.

Forsyth and Pollard’s version was filmed at the ICA 25 years later. It reconstructs a bootleg film and, through the involvement of Mad Pride, their audience also has its share of service users. The project would not have worked without them. So who is really on the subject of the film?

Also showing here is an epic cycle of 14 films about 14 albums by Nick Cave. The content of each is about 40 minutes of talking heads in which bandmembers, photographers, famous fans and Forsyth and Pollard alike describe what it’s like to listen to and watch the Australian legend.

We are listening to them listening to him. Later we can listen to him and curate our own reactions.

The final component of the solo show in Brighton, along with Sacred Music and the Cave films, Do you Love me Like I Love you, is a live performance this Saturday night. Performer. Audience. Fuck off. is a comedy gig in which the audience won’t know where to look.

Based on one of the best known works of American artist Dan Graham, viewers to this improvised piece, which features comedienne Jo Neary, can expect to feel just as self-conscious as this brave performer while she works the room, with the absence of a script, riffing about her own sense of alienation.

Performer/Audience may not be as extensive as Forsyth and Pollard’s show at South London Gallery early last year, but it does well to tease out their concern with the dynamics of consuming culture. In Brighton this May, their audiences will be anything but passive.

  • Open 11am-6pm (closed Sunday). Admission free.

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