Garrett Phelan: Trusted Servant on YouTube as part of the exhibition .all hawaii eNtrées / luNar reGGae
As part of the group exhibition, .all hawaii eNtrées / luNar reGGae, Irish artist Garrett Phelan was invited by the curators to officially close the exhibition with his project Trusted Servant. .all hawaii eNtrées / luNar reGGae, was curated by French artist Philippe Parreno and Rachael Thomas, Head of Exhibitions at IMMA. It was shown at IMMA from 29 November 2006 to 18 February 2007. More than 20 artists, writers and thinkers were invited to participate in this project, which focused on the notion of ‘process’. Parreno’s approach is to go beyond the physical space of the Museum. As a part of this process, on the gallery closing date of the exhibition; 18 February 2007, Phelan uploaded the video performance work Trusted Servant, 2007, onto YouTube, which was at that time emerging as a popular free video sharing website.
Primarily known for radio, video, drawing and alternative projects, in this instance Phelan becomes the gatekeeper of .all hawaii eNtrées / luNar reGGae.Trusted Servant documents an automated and manic performance of Phelan repeating pre-recorded broadcasts from his MP3 player, which have been compiled and edited from media sources – shortwave and longwave radio, cable link, newspaper articles and webcasts. His working standpoint, calls into question the mainstream methods of endless ingestion of information and communication that influence the formations of our opinions in this ‘don’t stop age’. The removal of Trusted Servant from YouTube at Phelan’s conceptual discretion will mark the official end of the exhibition.
The gallery based exhibition .all hawaii eNtrées / luNar reGGae comprised works in a wide variety of media by such cutting-edge artists as Doug Aitken, Douglas Gordon, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Carsten Höller, Sarah Lucas, Anri Sala, Peter Fischli/David Weiss and Cerith Wyn Evans, many being shown for the first time in Ireland. All of the artists involved participated in researching and developing the exhibition, whose title is an anagram of the Irish and English for “new galleries”, the building in which it is being held.