The Royal StandardService Provider

15 September - 25 November 2012

In its first year as an official partner to the Liverpool Biennial, The Royal Standard explored the festival’s core theme of The Unexpected Guest by initiating Service Provider, a ten week project in which five artist groups explored the boundaries of hospitality and the provision of resources. 

The groups; Tether, Generator Projects, Form Content and Laura Mansfield and Sovay Berriman, occupied The Royal Standard’s galleries, with their every move viewable through the ‘Foyer’, a purpose built observation zone. Each group controlled methods of entrance and exit, managing interactions and access to the provision of services. 

A web-based manifestation of Service Provider was also launched, in which The Royal Standard invited to take over their website, again ceding control of their virtual space to artists under the implicit set of expectations that exist between host and guest. 

The unique environment of an international biennial gave The Royal Standard an opportunity to examine the role it plays as an autonomous organisation in a regional and national arts ecology built on individuals, collectives, organisations and institutions. By exploring the broad notion of the service sector as anything that does not produce tangible products, The Royal Standard opened up a dialogue around the artist-led space as a location that facilitates cultural production and the dynamics of the relationships formed during this process. 

Through a process of outsourcing to selected organisations, The Royal Standard became immersed as a guest within its own territory, able to experience firsthand the interface between the public encounter and the provision of experience and observe how these movements are affected by the imposition of borders, values and procedures. 

The Royal Standard acted as an observer, monitoring the shifts in responsibility between the hosts and guests, responding to the power dynamics within the relationships of both. Through this process, they questioned the permanence of experience and the legacy of hospitality in an increasingly inhospitable age. 


The Royal Standard
Unit 3, Vauxhall Business Centre
131 Vauxhall Rd
L3 6BN