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Wager Slave. BLOCspace, Sheffield, 1st - 17th September 2006.
In Wager Slave, Black Dogs let the audience decide what the content of the exhibition will be. This was achieved through a complex yet methodical series of games, events and most importantly wagers, structured by Black Dogs to achieve total fun and engagement. At the opening event the attendees were encouraged to take advantage of various low cost services and entertainments provided by the six individual members of Black Dogs. Following this riotous funfair, all money gained was bet on a dog race at the nearby Owlerton racing stadium.
Each artist charged a small fee for their service, and each artist corresponded with a particular dog in the race, so it wasn't a question of whether we would win, but simply how much would be won.
The winnings were spent on an art object then displayed in the gallery for the remainder of the exhibition.
The art object attained with the winnings was dictated by its monetary value in a home shopping catalogue. The art object could therefore have ranged from a pack of AAA Batteries to a fully functioning chest freezer. In order to test the assumption that anything in the walls of a gallery is art, Black Dogs then tried to sell the object on an online auction site, the end of which coincided with the final day of the exhibition.
On this date the audience were once more invited back to the space to see the results of their art-gambling pay off, or not. The audience were enticed by the prospect of free booze all round if a sizeable profit was had - but took the risk of the dreaded "artist's talk" if the item failed to sell.