Alison Jones and Amanda Beech: Audience into Community

Ian Hunt


Art sometimes takes the risk of not being pleasant to experience. Final Machine does not seek to immediately make itself friendly. As a viewing experience it is nevertheless compelling. It leads you to hope that it will have some kind of ending that will explain the journey it has taken you on to get there. The disappointment and frustration it creates, the way it takes you into its confidence, makes you sometimes feel almost helpless and ready to trust the speaking voice to at some point consent to explain ‘how things really are’. This is part of Amanda Beech’s peculiar aesthetic strategy. At the same time that the work makes you feel helpless and bewildered, it also cultivates resistance: I found myself arguing with its provocations and dismissive assumptions, even as some of what the lectures set out starts to sound plausible. It is a work that seems to expect us to work back against it, to question its own pose of authority and to seek out the fractures in its speech and thinking, which may precisely be the fractures where our own – the audience’s own – real social thinking can claim back its space and agency.

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