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.
Camden Arts Centre, London: 21 December 1995 – 21 January 1996
Tramway, Glasgow; 10 February – 24 March 1996
Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle: 9 March – 21 April 1996
Gallery II Bradford; 24 April – 8 May 1996
Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool: 10 September – 12 October 1996
Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham: 23 November – 7 December 1996
A Film and Video Umbrella Touring Exhibition, commissioned in association with Tramway, Glasgow and Moviola, Liverpool. Funded by the Arts Council of England and London Film and Video Development Agency, with additional support from North West Arts.