2003–2005, 2012

Function is a testing ground for experimental and collaborative ideas. A series of events, where Reactor act as curatorial body, bringing together a number of artists to develop objects, installations and performances; creating an all-encompassing ‘total experience’ that consumes its participants (both artists and audience) and challenges them to take an active role in how the event unfolds, where choices and behavior decide the shape of the experience. Reactor works with first the artists involved, and then the audience to create an interwoven performance, where there exists a number of intertwined paths, which different individuals and groups experience. Offering moments where only one individual will be present and spaces where small groups are formed, whilst at the same time offering opportunities for everyone to come together at particular points within the event.

Function has allowed participating artists and Reactor to try out ideas and realise works that would not fit easily into other existing contexts or be able to operate without the supporting structure of the surrounding event. This approach has enabled artists to develop particular lines of work beyond Function and realise further versions of this work successfully elsewhere. Reactorʼs collaborative practice developed alongside these events developing a set of relationships with audiences, which has been integral to the groupʼs practice.

Function events I - V occurred between April 2003 and August 2005. Each event varied in duration and time of day, some lasted just a few hours, whilst others ran over consecutive days with deliberate changes made to the event structure in between.

Having intended Function V to be the final Function event, Reactor now intends to extend this project through a further quintet of events, starting with Function VI at Primary on 20th October 2012.

To date, Function has included: AAS, Bruce Asbestos, AuntyNazi, Amelia Beavis-Harrison, Robin Close, Phillip Henderson, Robert Holcombe, Mark McGowan, Simon Raven, Tether, Roman Alaska, Joanna Callaghan, Tina Carter, Kathryn Cooper, Katie Doubleday, Nick Holloway, Harminder Singh Judge, Jonathan Waring, Chris Clarke, GilbertandGrape, the Platform Group, Michael Cunsolo, Claire Hind, Vladimir Krushal, Jolyon Price, Anthony Schrag, Becky Beinart, Cathy Shive & Jackie Passmore, Jon Burgerman, Dave Bond, James Ford, Lara Green, Ellie Harrison, Joe Kelly, Dai Roberts, Niki Russell, Slip, Ange Taggart, Dan Williamson and, of course, Reactor.

Will I be forced to do things? Will I be given a sense of choice? Or will everything rely on my polite compliance to the formulated rules of the space?

Function III demanded our passivity then punished us for it.

Finally they started to think for themselves again, realised that the artwork and its accompanying instructions not to touch was an illusion and found a way out of the locked room.

It’s that Reactor way of enforcing the premeditated and making a demand that we live in the moment.

There is that familiar Reactor sensation of something else going on in another room.

It’s a childhood game of ‘Lets Pretend’ but played deadly serious by a child with no sense of humour and a sadistic streak.

I’m a cog in the Reactor machine once again. The machinery is stricter and the games are tougher. The space for spectatorship in the Reactor factory has shrunk.

Is it us that are in need of help or have the patients stolen the doctors’ coats and taken over the asylum.

Function events are independently produced with support from Arts Council England. Thanks to Spectacle Gallery (Birmingham - UK) for hosting Function V in 2005, and Primary (Nottingham - UK) for hosting Function VI in 2012.