b. 1975, Bedford
2014-2015 MA Contemporary Art Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
2010-2011 MA Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London, London
2014 ‘of a final account in formation’, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes
2013 ‘as far as a place’, Espacio f, Madrid
2015 ‘Sunscreen EM15 Commission’, Venice Biennale, 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice
2013 ‘Appropriation Beyond the Object’, Banner Repeater, London
2012 ‘Sobrescrituras’, OTR Espacio de Arte, Madrid
2012 ‘128kbps objects’, or-bits.com, Online
2012 ‘Minits4’, Flat Time House, London
2011 ‘Emergency5’, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
Awards and Residencies:
2014 Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England, London
2011 MFI Graduate Award (supported by the John Latham Foundation), Flat Time House, London
2011 Graduate Fellowship, University of the Arts London, London
Curator Tim Dixon on Scott Mason's screensaver:
Mediating between moments of creativity and commodification, dividing form and content. Content-generation outsourced, the role of the artist embedded in the form. This isn't appropriation as such, nor is it quite curatorial, it’s art-making as contracting and structuring, restructuring and re-presenting; generating, positioning, placing. Much remains hidden; process, processing, reprocessing.
Content and form always come enmeshed. Approaching the piece, I wonder how it works. Syntactically correct – always? – but somewhat disjointed. How many permutations are possible? Misnomers skip and slide, and we can read this several ways. We can try to stay linear but if we retrace our steps the route we took to get here has split, bifurcated, changed. We can plot our own our courses, knowing that when we get to the end the beginning won’t be the same anymore; knowing that we won’t be able to read any part in entirety – glimpsing partial wholes to make ephemeral new wholes. The content gives way to the form. The hand reveals itself in which content appears with which, how, and when.
Where do we find this work? Ticking over in the background until you give it enough time to make itself known. Site-specific to an extent, saving screens or reminding us that we should get on with something. Becoming visible while you're procrastinating or distracted, demarcating time better spent. (Do screens even need saving these days?)
And where am I in all this? Addressing the work from the ICA website, in parallel to six other writers who are thoroughly entangled. Acting between my own practice as a writer and Scott’s position as artist/commissioner. It's a cliche to say that an artwork should 'speak for itself', but through this conceit – an act of conceptual extension, at the moment between creativity and commodification – Scott has managed it quite literally.
This is a downloadable version of the work exhibited in the 2015 BNC exhibition. The screensaver features six especially commissioned texts by artists and writers (Harry Burke, Annie Davey, John Hill, Pedro Neves Marques, Sally O'Reilly and Frances Scott) that have then been conflated through Mason’s intervention. The piece was originally designed as a screensaver, and is intended to act as an interruption or reminder during daily usage. The screensaver is completely free to download and install for Mac OSX.
Screensaver Installation Instructions
Mac OS X only
10.6 and above compatibility
Flash plug-in required
After installation, the desktop and screensaver system preferences menu should open, and then please select ‘The Moment between’ from the left menu.
As this is a third-party software, the ICA takes no responsibility for its use and cannot provide any support. Users install this software at their own risk.
One time I heard at an art-scene dinner party that, the previous year, kitty porn had been a bigger phenomenon on the internet than actual pornography. Despite the pedestrian nature of the comment, it seemed to capture the attention of each and every attendant and, indeed, the night’s course would turn into a heavily cat-themed soirée. Although I could never actually track down the fact online, and its veracity remains dubious, the statement has stuck to me ever since as it is quite telling of the weird coupling between cats and the internet. However, I would argue that art seems to make its entrance somewhere along the way (let’s bear in mind the forthcoming publication of ‘CATS’ within the Documents of Contemporary Art series). By this I do not mean that cat-themed works are being produced in great numbers but that the way cats are fetishised online and repeated over and over as a trope resemble some of the platitudes so abundant today in art practice as well as in art theory.
Scott Mason’s activity on Neko Atsume, an app which allows users to own a yard where virtual cats come around and play with the goodies provided by the users themselves, is perhaps a cynical take on this situation… as well as the symptom that Mason is also prey to this fixation. The artist curates shows within the app - he has expanded the yard into a standard-looking upper class house in which paintings hang from the walls. Nevertheless, Mason’s focus does not lay on these paintings but on the toys, food and entertainment he provides, so neatly, to the feline-flowing population. Rubber balls, plush toys, mobiles (Calderesque moving sculptures), carefully placed food trays and mats conform what he calls ‘the install’. The goodies themselves turn into a provocation to engage in what he dubs #catationalaesthetics, that is, situations he propagates using the artifacts as the element to trigger them. A stray grey cat looks right into a painting - or is she staring at the tray of food standing between the painting and her?
These hilarious and confusing images remind us that some relational art practices have become that: merely games to spend time at white cubes in even more isolating activities. Self-proclaimed socialization takes place in a staged manner, while also ensuring it will photograph well. Nevertheless, could this apparent critique of relationality evolve into a new domain of artistic practice? In Mason’s stoic and grim view of the present time, I seem to sense a hint. Aesthetic experiences may happen on a more regular basis in these little spaces of solitary confinement, such as Neko Atsume, rather than in the dry criticality and pseudo-discursiveness of the present-day museum.