Harrison devised this project specifically for the context of the ‘degree show’. For the final three weeks of her Master of Fine Art course at Glasgow School of Art, she made a conscious decision not to make any ‘work’, in favour of instead transforming her studio into a ‘press office’ and attempting to directly solicit the media coverage which many hope will come as a result of this much anticipated show.
This project emerged towards the end of the two years Harrison spent studying on the Master of Fine Art course at Glasgow School of Art. It was initially driven by her desire to find a simple but not didactic way of conveying the immaterial or ephemeral aspects of her activity, within the confines of the conventional gallery setting at the CCA Glasgow – such as her involvement in the national campaign to Bring Back British Rail, the newly formed Artists’ Lottery Syndicate and recent / forthcoming performance spectacles General Election Drinking Game and Fireworks Display.
The Press Release project developed into an exploration of the careerist motivations of young artists (including herself) which Harrison had identified and examined in the introductory sections of her 2010 thesis Trajectories: How to Reconcile the Careerist Mentality with Our Impending Doom. And, as an acknowledgement of the role the media has continued to play in the dissemination of her practice, which has persisted from the earliest days of her press archive to more recent features on BBC News and in The Guardian.
So, for the final three weeks of term, Harrison took the deliberate risk of not preparing a specific exhibit for the MFA Degree Show 2010 at the CCA Glasgow. Instead she decided to turn her studio into a ‘press office’ and to work full time to directly solicit press coverage, which, if successful, would then become her exhibit in the gallery. With the self-engineered fear of having nothing to show, Harrison was forced to enter into a series of lengthy negotiations, meetings and ambushes with journalists. As as a result she managed to secure full page articles in both of Scotland’s national broadsheets The Herald and Scotland on Sunday on the two consecutive weekends before the show opened. These were then exhibited on plinths alongside a printed copy of the ‘press release‘ which had been used to garner attention.
For more information about the project and for a further critique of its driving concepts, you can download and read the ‘press release‘ itself and the resulting articles – particularly see Moira Jeffrey’s The Finished Article which was published on page 7 of the Review section of Scotland on Sunday on 6 June 2010.