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Creative Lab Residency

Chao-Ying Rao & Rachel McBrinn

Mon 5 February — Sun 3 March 2024

A grid of cards, the face up ones have photos and art job names. It's captioned "We lovingly devise your public flop"

Image courtesy of the artists.

We lovingly devise your public flop

‘Once they’ve gone [...] we’ll reclaim this institution as the unspoilt utopia of our aspirations’

— Katrina Palmer, The Dark Object

We set out on the residency with a shared desire to think through our own subjectivities and the power relationships we each navigate as artists, workers, and individuals. We talked about collaboration and competition, care and community, social contract theory, game theory, and governmental strategies for funding the arts sector. Proposing our collaboration as a form of collusion, the project that unfolded is an ode to the narrative of tarot, the lure of competitive play, office away days and team building exercises, with a sprinkle of scandalous local art world gossip.

We lovingly devise your public flop is a card game for up to four players. Players are first assigned a role within a fictional arts organisation, and allocated a set of resources which they must use to solve problems as they arise, often requiring two players to solve a problem together. The objective is to solve all the problems without allowing your own resources or those of any other player to deplete, and of course to keep the organisation stocked up on morale, time, and money.

In the safety of fiction and satirical release, a space for conversation and reflection opens. The game is a provocation, a framework to be adapted and shaped by the players and the context in which it is played. It can expose our complicities and desires, and the unfair systems we unwittingly uphold or repair, a structure in which sometimes the only option you are left with is to walk away. Sure, you can win the game as an individual by hoarding all of your resources until the bitter end—but where’s the fun in that?

‘The current artist you are working with whose work explores themes of working class identity has just been outed as landed gentry.’

What do you do?

Public Events | Sat 2nd March, 4 - 7pm

The artists will be holding an open studio Saturday 2nd March, 4 - 7pm to mark the end of their shared residency. Thinking about the power relationships we each navigate as artists, workers and individuals, Rachel and Betty invite you to come and play ‘We Lovingly Devise Your Public Flop’.

Chao-Ying Rao (Femme Castratrice) is an East Asian visual artist based in Glasgow. Her practice involves negotiating the complexities around objectification and narcissism, often using humour as a tool to disarm and charm the viewer. Rao is interested in the absurdity of desire, excessive consumption, racial and bodily fetishisation, and abject femininity. Her background in dance comes from years of working as a stripper in Edinburgh and London. Rao is inspired by vintage Playboy centrefolds and misogynistic pop culture truisms. Working with Kristeva’s theory of abjection and Creed’s monstrous feminine, her work plays with that very fine line between attraction and repulsion.

Rachel McBrinn is an artist and filmmaker based in Edinburgh. Her filmmaking practice is rooted in conversation and relationship building, and often emerges from long term site-responsive and archival research. With a critical lens on conservation, maintenance, and archiving practices, recent work has formed around themes of land management, town planning, and urban and rural ecologies.

Event Collection

Part of Creative Lab Residencies #




Event Type



Creative Lab


All ages

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