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the Spanish coastal village of Cadaques
The Rentner Years (September 2001 - September 2004)
cause & effect structure
landed in the Spanish coastal
village of
The group would later claim, that they were agents from the future,
who had been sent to early 21st century Europe on a secret mission.
The objective of the purported mission was to follow a seemingly random trail of events
and retrieve images thereof.
The agents,
having been trained for such image retrieval work,
were competent in the use of old world imaging tools.
Their first objective was to acquire the
material and tools to start their mission.
Barcelona; 22/09/2001
Old Europe

The mission begins in earnest in Barcelona, Spain, on 22 of September 2001, at precisely 15:17:28 hrs local time. The group, as per instructions, records the transaction of a small amount of local currency outside a cafe on Av. de la Catedral, 6.
The events around this seemingly unassuming transaction set into motion a chain
of events,
which initially leads the group of Rentner Agents to Paris,
and then to Brussels. Here they miss crucial
time coordinates of
an event in the trail, which threatens the success of the entire mission.
Trying to rectify their mistake, the journey takes them further, to Amsterdam,
and then Berlin, where they loose themselves in
hedonistic pleasures
that had previously been alien to them.
Traces of the group, eventually go cold in Berlin. A last,
sighting is reported in Frankfurt, Germany, in mid November 2001.

Monument Way, Haringey, April 2002
North London, UK, early 2002
Several months later, at the beginning of 2002, a series of illegal fly posters started to appear in and around the London Boroughs of Haringey and Hackney.
The fly posters were unusual insofar as there were no obvious signs of advertising contained within them. Instead they consisted primarily of photographs, without any reference to their authors.
Local authorities, in particular Hackney Council, tried to clamp down in general on the fly posting activities at the time, which had become a real nuisance in the borough.
This attempted clamp down culminated in the 'hunt for the mysterious fly poster vandals', as reported in the local press. Although there was significant pressure from outdoor media advertising companies, such as JCDecaux, the perpetrators of these illegal posters could never be tracked down. The last confirmed 'mysterious' poster appeared along Monument Way, near Tottenham Hale, Haringey, in April 2002.
stencil graffiti of the logo near Bethnal Green
Stencil Graffiti

At about the same time as the 'mysterious fly posting' faded out in April 2002, a peculiar logo started to appear on the walls of East London, especially in the Whitechapel and Bethnal Green area. Over the summer of 2002, flyers, business cards and other corporate promotional material bearing the same logo, were found in numerous businesses around the East London area, including bars, galleries and networking hubs, as well as a local strip club on Whitechapel High Road called 'The Spread Eagle'.

A particular corporate brochure, which had been found in the letterbox of the 'White Cube' gallery on Hoxton Square in July 2002, opened with the following Mission Statement:

Rentner Collective’s aim is to coordinate and engage in collaborative activities that result in creative products of commercial value with a distinctive conceptual identity, which is unique to
Rentner Collective.

No one was ever seen distributing the aforementioned material, but research conducted in 2009 revealed a company by the name of Rentner Collective Ltd had been incorporated at Companies House, London, on the 27 of September 2002.

original incorporation document
Executive Summary

The concept for Rentner Collective had been developed over the past two years and was now in the position to be transformed into a fully functioning business/organization. Rentner Collective was a small artist-led organization, which intended to sell their products and services to an art-interested audience. The organization revolved around five main activities that provided the core structure of the group; these were:

(i) the production of artworks and art-related products
(ii) the presentation of Rentner Collective and its activities on the Rentner Collective website
(iii) the production and distribution of R review Magazine
(iv) the production of films/documentaries
(v) the setting up of exhibitions and events

Rentner Collective Ltd 's status today is listed as "Dissolved"; it had 4 directors at the time it closed. The company's directors were Mr Adam Laurence, Mr Joseph Sharif Ismail, Mr Nasir Lincoln Islam and Mr Rupert Jaeger. Rentner Collective Ltd does not have any subsidiaries. To date, research on any of the 4 individuals failed to produce any conclusive results.

Oxford Street, December 2002
Incident on Oxford Street, December 2002

On 12 of December 2002, a series of minor incidents occurred on Oxford Street, central London, United Kingdom. Starting at approximately 2pm local time, an unidentified white male, holding a handwritten sign bearing the word 'RENTNER', was seen at various locations between Oxford Circus and Bond Street Underground station.

Holding the sign, the individual was remaining in aforementioned public area for a protracted time without an apparent purpose, at various points harassing members of the public and causing other minor nuisances. The individual was described as Caucasian, in his mid to late twenties, rough looking, with untidy, long, brown hair, and speaking English with an unidentified foreign accent.

He was repeatedly asked by security personnel of adjacent businesses to vacate the area, but did not comply. At approximately 4.30pm, two hitherto unseen security officers emerged from Oxford Circus Underground station. Upon sight of the officers, the individual charged south toward Regent Street and disappeared into the pre Christmas shopping crowd. The handmade sign was later found in a trash bin outside a Burger King Restaurant on Piccadilly Circus.

Oxford Street, April 2003
The Launch

A few months later, on April, 15, 2003, said white male appeared again in the same location , although this time in much tidier appearance and for a shorter period of time. He was holding a new sign, equally peculiar, yet more professional looking. It contained an unknown logo symbol with a web address underneath.

From approximately 12.30pm until about 1.45pm, the white male was standing on the corner of Oxford Street/Bond Street, holding said sign while obstructing the stream of pedestrians, walking up and down Oxford Street. Several other suspicious persons, believed to be connected to the incident, were seen the vicinity, some of whom were handing out cards, bearing the same logo and web address, to members of the public.

The web address directs to an obscure homepage, from where further links divide the site in the following three areas:

Rentner Concept
Rentner Community
Rentner Economics
plan view of 'Point of No Return'
Point of No Return
In January 2004, 'Point of No Return' was shown at 'The Foundry', on Old Street in East London. The exhibition consisted of a timeline, which showed, in reverse and along key dates, the development of an arts project called 'Rentner'. The timeline displayed documents, images and texts, which had been produced over the previous two and a half years, and included photos and documents from a trip around 6 European cities dating back to late 2001.
The timeline itself was made of wood with printed out material glued onto, running along the walls of the room, with connecting red and black tape where wood could not be applied. Members of the audience were invited to write their own comments with marker pens directly onto the wall above and below the timeline.
During a speech to the audience on the opening night, the artists of the group claimed that they were in fact agents from the future, who had been sent to early 21st Century Europe by an organization called Rentner, on a secret mission to obtain missing images from the past, and that they had been instructed to never disclose the fact that they are from the future. This claim was made at precisely 22:19:34 hrs GMT, on Thursday 29 of January 2004; geographical coordinates 51°31'34.2"N 0°5'0.8"W.
view towards the central billboard
This is Rentnercollective?

On Friday the 13th, February 2004, an exhibition opened at the 'Islington Arts Factory' called 'This is Rentnercollective?'. It had been curated by a member of the original Rentner group, and brought together 8 hitherto unknown artists , who had creatively engaged in the idea of 'Rentner' as the primary concept and premise of the show.

The result was an eclectic mix of interpretations, media, artistic practices and personalities, with a common theme running through the show, which manifested itself visually through a strong presence of a particular red colour. This red colour, also called 'Rentner Red', had become the corporate colour of the organization, most evident in the leitmotif of 'the red line', which symbolized the idea of a continuous timeline, along which Rentner develops.

In this particular incarnation, the red line had left the realm of the two-dimensional space of the computer screen, to materialise in physical form as red rope, connecting the artworks and criss-crossing the room using a complex pully system. Centrally located in the old church space was a billboard with the Rentner Collective logo and the website address, alongside a number of other - red coloured - objects scattered around the room.

The Red Line
The Vault

After going public at the 'Point of No Return', and engaging with artists that had not been members of the original group during 'This is Rentnercollective?', the focus was put on establishing a clear, identifiable, artistic language, while not referring any more to how Rentner had originally emerged.

The result was a second exhibition in The Foundry, this time in the basement, or the vault of a former bank building. 'The Vault' consisted of three components:

A single red line, running along the wall of the main exhibition space. The line had four small gaps with dates underneath, and a specific web address above the gap.
A metal rack in the same room, holding postcards showing details of the red rope and other elements of 'This is Rentnercollective?'.
A 10 minute experimental video using footage shot during 'This is Rentnercollective?' projected inside the second room of the vault.

To preserve the red line for posterity, several pieces of it were lifted off using the 'Strappo' technique, or directly chiseled out of the wall.

The Pavilion, Frankfurt, Germany, September 2004
Credit History

'Credit History' was an exhibition that took place at 'The Pavilion', Frankfurt, Germany, from 11 to 22 of September 2004. The overall concept of the exhibition was the total deconstruction of Rentner's own corporate identity. This was achieved in three distinctive ways:

Previous to the show, all remaining business cards were cut into small pieces. 6 such cut ups, with parts of the logo on it, were proportionally enlarged and painted on the main wall of the outdoor gallery space.
Also prior to the show, a 100 x 30 x 1 cm version of the logo was cut into 10 x 10 x 1 cm squares. During the exhibition, members of the audience could play with those 24 puzzle elements in a display area.
Finally, on, a new page was added for each day of the exhibition, informing visitors of progress, while systematically deconstructing the website itself.

'Credit History' was the last Rentner exhibition ever to take place, or indeed the last ever known activity of the group. None of the artists boarded the plane to London on their scheduled return flight, and there has been no trace of any of the groups members ever since.

450 St Anns Road
450 St Anns Road

‘450 St Ann’s Road‘ in North London's Borough of Haringey, where some of the members of Rentner purportedly lived from 2002 until they disappeared in September 2004.

The property was bought in early 2005 by an unknown property developer, who demolished the building a few months after it was acquired.

No development plans have since been presented to the local authorities and the plot remains empty.

The Rentner Years (Book)