Project Overview

The first of a trio of tightly-themed, ergonomically compact group exhibitions – completed by Select (1998) and Black Box (1998) – this showcase of low-fuss, high-impact film and video work from some of the rising stars of the Nineties art world was notable also for pioneering a new mode of presentation that mobilised what (at the time) were significant advances in digital technology, allowing audiences to scroll through a track-list of pieces and play them instantaneously and on demand. The title of the project punned on the mid-Nineties phenomenon of the National Lottery ‘scratch-card’, a golden ticket to instant riches whose unexpected popularity underwrote part of the art-boom that resulted from the enhanced resources that suddenly became available to British public venues.

In Instant, the fickle finger of fortune alighted on an interactive touch-screen interface (another innovation of the moment), which viewers could efface to reveal the choice of art work underneath. The pieces compiled on this portable ‘video jukebox’ shared a corresponding immediacy. From the effervescent pop pyrotechnics of Roderick Buchanan’s Sodastream to the heart-stopping call-and-response of Smith/Stewart’s Mouth to Mouth, to the bite-sized baubles of Jane & Louise Wilson’s Insert, the six short works combined visual force with conceptual finesse, providing an accessible and engaging snapshot of the art of the time.

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