EM15 is a collective from the East Midlands region of the UK comprising of Beacon Art Project, One Thoresby Street, QUAD and New Art Exchange in association with the academic partner Nottingham Trent University. For this iteration of the La Biennale di Venezia, EM15 have commissioned Doug Fishbone as lead artist. The aim of EM15 is to inspire a new generation of artists, curators and audiences, to represent diverse cultures and perspectives, and to create long-lasting impacts for the arts ecology in the Midlands and throughout the UK.
The Leisure Principle is the curatorial theme driving EM15’s premiere presentation at La Biennale di Venezia. This is manifested through two newly commissioned artistic outputs: the participatory artwork Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf and Sunscreen – an online project that explores the blurred space that exists between work and leisure. The Leisure Principle considers the concept of tourism and trade as a metaphor to explore current global economic complexities through one of the defining principles of leisure; that of consumption and how this consumption shapes our identity. Visitors to the EM15 pavilion will be invited to take part in Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf, a fully playable, artist-designed miniature golf course in which nine artists have been commissioned to design a golfing green in response to The Leisure Principle.
The nine exhibiting artists are: Eyal Weizman, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Lindsay Seers,Hetain Patel, Candice Jacobs, Ellie Harrison, Doug Fishbone, Yara El-Sherbini andJohn Akomfrah. Audiences will be guided seamlessly through the interior and exterior spaces of EM15’s pavilion – a boat-yard leading down to the canal. Experiential encounters with the miniature golf course will explore the histories and relationships – both real and imagined – between work, leisure, colonialism, tourism, information and economics. Leisure Land Golf is a distillation of notions of consumerism and leisure as practiced at both the highest and lowest socio-economic levels. As a working-class inflection of a sport generally associated with the affluent, miniature golf serves as a unique platform for discussion of such themes. The condensed, packaged version of golf offered up in miniature, with its associations with tacky sea-side holidays, sits strangely comfortably in the modern Venetian cityscape, a mix of well-heeled and mass-market holiday makers, a water-side tourist trap spilling over with baubles, a city bursting with unparalleled cultural riches.
- EM15 presents Doug Fishbone's Leisure Land Golf