The term exchange implies the process and activity of transaction or interaction. It suggests that something is given up or changed for something in return.
Exchange was a project involving 65 Foundation Fine Art Practice students culminating in a live auction staged in the Street at Central Saint Martins in January 2015.
Students were invited to explore the idea of exchange, investigating aspects such as; commodity, sacrifice, cause and effect, and consumerism. The students responded by creating objects and then organised an auction to trade ‘lots’, not for money, but for alternative values. For example, a student book was exchanged for a winning bid of fifty detective novels.
The ‘lots’ themselves were not always straightforward. The winner of the video ‘Women in Labour’ did not win the video, instead was bidding to discover the punchline of a joke that had been edited out of the clip.
As well as interrogating the concept of an auction, two students acted as the auctioneers, three others were Duchesses acting as specially invited VIP’s, others acted as security and all bidders were dressed in black.
‘What I found most impressive was the way the students organised everything, the event, the personnel, the theatre, the cleaning up. This seemed a significant step forward from the earlier ‘Out of Place Fine Art project’ where students followed a brief and adhered to a traditional object to exhibition format.’ – Adrian Scrivener, Foundation Fine Art curriculum area leader.