Tim Roseborough aka Arthur Basille

January 17th, 2009  | Categories: Bidder vs. Ledia Carroll

Do you still remember Tim Roseborough? That’s right; Roseborough was the winner of our very first auction. At that time, the colossal, seemingly insurmountable refuse installation by 10 lb Ape was still standing in the middle of the Public White Cube. Roseborough had all manner of impossible plans for it. He wanted to disintegrate it, explode the sculpture onto the walls of the exhibition room and organise a performance to mark the destruction of the socio-cultural shelter. We asked ourselves what exactly he wanted. Why make things so complicated? And yet we were still disappointed when the action failed to come about because the museum didn’t want to overdo its efforts, or at least planned to charge us for them. Roseborough replaced his plan for the sculpture’s destruction with an intellectual, documentary project. Roseborough gave up – or so we thought. But we misunderstood him, because we hadn’t fully realised his intentions. Roseborough, our speed-chess master bidder, didn’t want to construct art; he just knew more than all the others about the slick approximations of virtual space. He didn’t appear as an artist, but in the role of an artist. He played with our expectancies and reappeared to win a second auction only a few weeks later. Roseborough became Arthur Basille.

And we swallowed his new role, not as a de-constructor this time, but as a sand sculpture artist. Now, Roseborough alias Basille made a bid for the right to change Ledia Carroll’s sand dune landscape. He offered us beach art and covered up our webcam. This was not due to any artistic aspirations to power, as we had believed so impertinently, but so that he would not be recognised. He crawled about underneath the veiled camera, perfecting his super sand cone. But the cone that he set up in one of the dunes doesn’t exist in reality. Roseborough created it on the computer.

Roseborough’s alias Basille’s intervention into the Public White Cube, therefore, consisted of a change in the structures of communication and the ways in which this project is publicly represented and commented on: in a kind of experimental set-up, his aim was a thorough check on the universal faith in the media, in order to find out the truth. He wanted to make “a powerful statement about our reliance upon technology in contemporary society”, as we can now read effortlessly on our website (http://art.timroseborough.com/PWC/index.html).

He certainly succeeded in pulling the wool over our eyes. The project is communication. But we hadn’t thought that communication was so important that it in itself, rather than the respective artwork in the exhibition room, would become the aim of the interventions. “Public White Cube” is now fittingly summed up in Roseborough’s artist’s vita under “Online Projects”. Roseborough has laid open our power of definition. But in order to do this, he also joined forces with the museum against the Public White Cube; it knew what was happening all along. Roseborough concludes his detailed, almost painstaking documentation with the remark: “As of the date of this documentation, the organizers have not noted the discrepancy between the real and the mediated.” And of course he is right. We fell for his 3D and Photoshop arts, his consistently realised double identity, and above all for his restrictive intervention into the image and commentary apparatus. With all due respect to Roseborough: the museum is an amusing antagonist. So amusing, in fact, that it immediately and very proudly demanded a statement from us. OK, we admit it – that was an A+ with an extra star. If Roseborough is ever in Berlin, we’ll treat him to a coffee in the beach bar.

  1. Scott MacLeod
    January 17th, 2009 at 19:37

    What kind of statement has MOMA requested from you? Why do you think they would need to have a statement from you? Is this post (above) the statement you are providing in response to this request?

  2. pwc
    January 17th, 2009 at 20:37

    This refers to comment #1 at http://jeron.org/pwc/?p=578#comments