The pleasure of hosting takes a central role in the project ||HOST||, a collaboration between artist Sovay Berriman and curator Laura Mansfield commissioned by The Royal Standard for Liverpool Biennial 2012. ||HOST|| at The Royal Standard saw the development of a ‘relaxation booth’ for biennial workers, providing a service for the service provider and allowing the host to become the hosted.
The relaxation booth aimed to draw attention to the central role hosting plays within the visual arts, highlighting its importance across institutional and sectoral hierarchies. In providing a service for biennial workers, the project, by means of example, offers room for thought on the priority of hosting within the practices of large arts organisations and individual practitioners alike. Occurring mid-way through Liverpool Biennial 2012, ||HOST|| was open for a seven day period during which biennial workers, from curators to volunteers, could be refreshed, relaxed and revived. The public were invited to view the hosting action and the activities of the space, yet the relaxation services were only available for official biennial workers.
Alongside celebrating a pleasure of hosting, ||HOST|| seeks to raise questions around the divisions between the host and the hosted, the audience and the public, and the service provider and the serviced.
As part of this conversation Lucy Byatt, Director of Hospitalfield and Dr. Megan Wakefield were invited to write short texts to accompany the project. Their texts are available to read here,
Lucy Byatt, There is Much to Weigh in the Balance to Get it Right.
Dr Megan Wakefield, House Rules.
You may download the texts of the guided meditations here,