Monday, January 4, 2016

Sara MacKillop | I've Got My New Argos Catalogue

Sara MacKillop
I've Got My New Argos Catalogue
Toronto, Canada: Bookclub, 2015
41 x 43 cm.
Edition of 45

For the fourth consecutive year, Bookclub (myself and 9 other artists, curators, publishers, collectors, gallerists, etc.) have produced a canvas bookbag in December. These are typically funded through speaking engagements by the group. They are not for sale, and are distributed to the artist, Bookclub members and a few friends. Michael Dumontier produced the first bag in 2012, Kay Rosen the second in 2013, and Claude Closky in 2014.

The 2015 bag is by Sara MacKillop.

Argos is one of the largest retailers operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with over 750 stores and 800 million website visits a year. It was estimated last year that 96% of the population of the UK was within 10 miles of an Argos branch. The company produced a yearly catalogue (see below) and it's launch was an anticipated event, not dissimilar to the Sears Wishbook in Canada (in its heyday) and Ikea worldwide. Argos would set up kiosks in train stations and distribute the catalogues to commuters, who would travel their trip with a plastic carrier bag that read "I've got my new Argos catalogue".

With a move towards online operations the catalogue has been discontinued in many areas of the country and seriously scaled back in the others. Here MacKillop takes the discontinued, disposable shopping bag from the UK and relocates it to Toronto (where it's origins would rarely be known) and repurposes it as a permanent, sturdy canvas bag.

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