Model Court is an ongoing curatorial/research project that was designed by the artists Sidsel Meineche Hansen and Lawrence Abu Hamdan and which also involves Lorenzo Pezzani and Oliver Rees. It uses the structure and technologies of the courtroom to interrogate the signifying and controlling role architecture plays in contemporary art and society.
The project began as an exhibition and accompanying publication commissioned by the Centre of Contemporary Art in Glasgow. The point of departure for this project was the work of Architect Hikaru Kitai, who is working on a World Bank sponsored commission to design courtrooms in the “developing world”. Kitai’s project occupies the ambivalent ground between a search for innovative forms of transparency and imposed forms of justice. Through conversations with Kitai the Gallery in Glasgow was redesigned as a model of a courtroom. In this first incarnation of ‘Model Court’ the legal technologies of representation and the protocol of spatial/legal practice were used to display a series of video, sound, written works and talks both by the artists and other practitioners.
Model Court has been invited to produce another body of work and an exhibition at Ptarmigan. The project will be an exhibition that will host a series of works; an artist talk and a publication will be produced. This publication will be an approximately 80 page compendium of the research involving contributions from a wide range of participants.
The project will continue to deal with jurisprudence, evidence and the hidden apparatuses that become the essential constituents of tribunals - the typist, the illustrator and the media technologies that enable the public dissemination of verdicts. The rooms which play host to this project become spaces in contestation, developing a line of debate around the way in which the legal context challenges the way we see objects, models, films and other forms of production. The project thus aims to create a translation of spaces, to open the discourse between the gallery and the court, in which a trade of rhetorical devices and patterns of representation are constructed.
Model Court in Finland will be the product of the biweekly meetings of the group. In these meetings associated themes are discussed in great detail; texts, films and artworks are exchanged, sites and significant people are visited and plans are made for new articulations of the project. The exhibition at Ptarmigan will be both a product of this research, and additional events, meetings and workshops organised throughout the two week residency. The publication from this exhibition will be subsequently produced and have launch nights in London, Helsinki and Copenhagen; these events will involve an artist talk and further discussion about the work.