Outcomes

#2 Reactivating Media Installations within Collections

Date: 28 October 2021, 2-6 pm, Zoom

About this workshop

Tina Keane In Our Hands Greenham 1984 at NEoN 2019 Re:make/Re:sist, Dundee. Courtesy of NEoN Digital Arts.

How do collections, curators, conservators and artists attempt to deal with the unruly aspects of re-exhibiting and collecting media artworks? The challenges faced are diverse, from understanding the parameters for displaying a work, to transferring media from analog to digital formats, to sustaining or sensitively replacing obsolete technology. The key aspects, or work-defining properties, of the works must be identified, although this is not always clear cut – artists may provide detailed instructions, some may provide sparse information or even none at all and they may now no longer be with us. The job of the conservator and curator is to tease out these issues and make reasonable judgments on how the work is to be displayed, in conjunction with the artist if this is possible. Video and audio works may have been produced in analogue formats, is it possible to display them digitally from either a technical or artistic perspective? Is the original display equipment available or is an alternative required? Does the operation of the ‘backend’ of a media artwork matter if the viewer experience is the same?

Beyond the questions presented by physically displaying a work, there are further issues that affect the ability to do so. Subjects such as copyright, intellectual property and other legal agreements related to the artwork itself and the content of any media used within it need to be considered. Furthermore, the issues concerning preservation of the works, including the skills and infrastructure needed to ensure media, hardware and documentation are cared for in the long-term are very important.

In this workshop we will consider and discuss these issues through case studies breaking down the different elements that compose media installations, highlighting the risks and strategies for preservation, comparing the differences between gallery collections, university collections and artists’ collections. The workshop participants will work together in groups to study some examples of ‘unruly’ media artworks and attempt to find some solutions through discussion on how to re-exhibit and collect these particular works.

Co-convened with Patricia Falcao (Tate) Adam Lockhart (DJCAD University of Dundee), Julie Ann-Delaney (University of Edinburgh) and Luke Fowler (Artist).

Bibliography and relevant resources

More information to follow

Links to relevant projects

www.rewind.ac.uk

Who’s involved

Patricia Falcao

Patricia is a Portuguese time-based media conservator working at Tate, where she researches and develops strategies for the preservation of software-based artworks. More recently, in the context of the Reshaping the Collectible project, this has broadened to include the acquisition and preservation of web-based artworks. In the past eight years, she has consistently published on the theme of preservation of time-based media, digital and software-based art, in the conservation and digital preservation communities. She is also currently undertaking a PhD entitled Artists, Conservators and Game Developers: A Comparative Study of Software Preservation in Three Domains at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Julie-Ann Delaney

Julie-Ann Delaney is Art Collections Curator at the University of Edinburgh, a post she took up in early 2019. Prior to joining the University, Julie-Ann was Senior Curator (Modern and Contemporary Art) at the National Galleries of Scotland. She has also held roles at Dundee Contemporary Arts, and at the Artist-Run initiative Generator Projects. She is currently working on a programme of joint performance art acquisitions with the National Galleries of Scotland, funded through a New Collecting Award from the Art Fund. Julie-Ann is also part of the Curatorial Leadership in Collections (CLiC) group, an action research and advocacy project aimed at highlighting and quantifying the wide-ranging impact of contemporary collecting and programming in Scotland.

Luke Fowler

A prominent figure in Glasgow’s contemporary art scene, Luke Fowler’s work explores the limits and conventions of biographical and documentary film-making. This has resulted in comparisons with British Free Cinema of the 1950s, which represented a new attitude to film-making that embraced the reality of everyday, contemporary British society. In adopting the roles of artist, curator, historian, film-maker and musician, Fowler creates impressionistic portraits of intriguing figures. As montages of archival footage alongside new recordings, interviews, photography and sound, Fowler’s films offer a unique and compelling insight into his subject. An important and essential part of his practice is the materiality and medium specificity of the work. Fowler studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, from 1996-2000. He received the inaugural Jarman Award in 2008 and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2012. Recents exhibitions/works include Index Cards and Letters at The Modern Institute, Glasgow 2021 and Patrick, 2020 a portrait of pioneering musician Patrick Cowley.

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#4 Resisting Recuperation: Articulating the unruly politics of artists’ archives through open-source practices

Date: 24th November 2021, 2-6 pm, Zoom

About this workshop

Judit Bodor & ha: ‘The Alphabetical Script’. Mapping connections in the Attic Archive.

How can open-source peer-to-peer archival and curatorial practices articulate the unruly politics of artists’ archives? With much focus on conservation challenges of the so-called ‘dematerialisation’ of contemporary art practice, there is arguably less consideration of how archiving and curating can articulate, through practice, artists’ critical and radical politics in circumventing and critiquing institutional discourses and structures. Current debates about omissions and distortions in constructing art histories and their subsequent influence on present and future art practice add further urgency. How can we address those omissions and distortions while mitigating against potential institutional recuperation or dilution of unruly politics through proprietary interfaces and practices? What new approaches to addressing this tension emerge in the context of post-digital, post-custodial open-source curatorial solutions? How can we develop archival and curatorial approaches to artists’ archives to articulate the work’s unruly politics and material identity? Taking The Attic Archive (1980-2010) of formerly Dundee-based artist Peter Haining as a starting point the workshop will speculate upon experimental and generative curatorial approaches to articulating pre-internet, peer-to-peer networked art practice in a post-digital context. Participants will hear presentations and be guided through practical activities and discussion by Principal Investigator, Dr Judit Bodor, workshop co-convenor Dr Roddy Hunter, supported by guest experts Theresa Kneppers and Artemis Gryllaki (The Borough Road Collection Archive), Ruth Catlow and Dr Marc Garrett (Furtherfield) sharing first-hand insights and present post-custodial and open-source models as alternatives to hegemonic systems of contemporary art. We will then work together in groups directly with material from The Attic Archive to discuss and develop possible open-source curatorial approaches to a networked archive that is currently dispersed across collections in Scotland, Hungary and Ireland.

Bibliography and relevant resources

Who’s involved

Roddy Hunter

Dr Roddy Hunter is an artist, curator, educator and writer. Known for performance art interventions in wide-ranging sites and spaces internationally over 30 years, he has shown work across Europe, North America and Asia. He was included in Phaidon’s 2007 ‘Ice Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture’, a survey of significant emerging artists selected by world-leading curators. He became involved with curatorial practice while a member of Hull Time Based Arts in the mid-1990s. His writing on histories, theories and practices of contemporary art has been published internationally, and he regularly speaks at conferences, symposia and workshops. His most recent practice engages with art, curating, networks and performance after the internet, such as the research project ‘Networked Art Practice After Digital Preservation‘. He has an MA in Contemporary Arts from Nottingham Trent University and a PhD from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee. A senior academic with over 20 years of experience in art and design higher education, he will take up a new post as Head of Sculpture and Environmental Art at the Glasgow School of Art in October 2021.

Ruth Catlow

Ruth Catlow is co-founding artistic director of Furtherfield and networked cultures expert. Furtherfield is London’s longest-running (de)centre for art and technology whose mission is to disrupt and democratise through deep exploration, open tools and free-thinking. Catlow has spent 20 years exploring games as a way of engaging people’s imaginations and expertise across silos, around emerging technologies and the wicked social and political problems they give rise to or intensify. Her artistic practice and curatorial work at Furtherfield has focused on critical investigations of digital and networked technologies and their emancipatory potential. Catlow is the founder of DECAL Decentralised Arts Lab crowdsourcing R&D by leading artists, using blockchain and web 3.0 technologies for fairer, more dynamic and connected cultural ecologies and economies. She is also PI at the Blockchain Lab at the Serpentine Galleries R&D Platform.

Marc Garrett

Dr Marc Garrett explores postdigital contexts of working-class culture as part of an intersectional enquiry. He co-founded the arts collective Furtherfield as a collaborative platform online in 1996 with artist Ruth Catlow. It has two physical venues, a gallery and a Commons lab, both situated in the park in Finsbury Park, London. Garrett has curated over 50 contemporary Media Arts exhibitions, projects nationally and internationally. he is the main editor of the Furtherfield website and has written many critical and cultural essays, articles, interviews, and books about art, technology and social change. Recent publications include, ‘State Machines: Reflections & Actions at the Edge of Digital Citizenship, Finance, & Art’, edited by Yiannis Colakides, Marc Garrett, Inte Gloerich. Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2019. ‘Artists Re: thinking the Blockchain’ with Ruth Catlow, Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner 2017, Torque publications. This year, ‘Frankenstein Reanimated: Conversations with Artists in Dystopian Times’, edited by Marc Garrett and Yiannis Colakides, 2020, Torque. Currently editing the book ‘Furtherfield: 25 years of Radical Friendships’, for early 2022, Torque publications.

Theresa Kneppers

Theresa Kneppers is the curator of the Borough Road Collection Archive (A David Bomberg Legacy – The Sarah Rose Collection) at London South Bank University. She is currently a PhD researcher with the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image. Her research focuses on the online curation of digital collections and archives, exploring playful, speculative modes of co-production and co-interpretation. In addition to her work at LSBU she was the curator of a recent show of new work by contemporary artist Benjamin Deakin at the WIlliam Morris Society. She was selected as the international guest curator at the HOW Museum in Shanghai in 2019 and presented a talk on “Creative Collaboration: From Artist Collectives to Co-Curation ”. Themes of public engagement with digital archives and collections run through her practice.

Artemis Gryllaki

Artemis Gryllaki is a media artist and researcher based in Rotterdam. She holds a Master of Arts from the Experimental Publishing course of the Piet Zwart Institute and has professional experience in web development. She is a member of Varia, Center of everyday technology, and is co-initiator of the Feminist Hack Meetings in Rotterdam. Her current work explores the potentials of feminist technological practices and the development of playful digital archives, using mainly FLOSS tools.

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#3 Curating As Expanded Conservation

Date: 18 November 2021, 2-6 pm, Zoom

About this workshop

How do curation and conservation intersect when it comes to the presentation of post-1960s time-based artworks emerging from processes of what Lucy Lippard described as ‘the dematerialisation of the art object’? While in the case of works based on performance and installation each act of exhibiting – that is display or activation of an artwork – may already involve some aspects of preservation, not all preservation aims at displaying artworks. In this workshop, co-convened by Dr Judit Bodor and Dr Hanna B. Hölling, and with contribution from artist/curator Prof André Stitt and Benjamin Sebastian and Joseph Morgan Schofield from ]performance s p a c e[, we will examine how the intersection of curation and conservation might productively contribute to the way we engage with and conceptualize ephemeral practices. We will explore how curatorial acts and gestures are always reliant on factors such as the situatedness of curatorial knowledge and the limitations and/or excesses of the archive, and how they problematize and alter, if not derail, our understanding of the ongoing lives of artworks. What does it mean to curate and/or conserve an artwork? Can an artwork be conceived apart or always already in relation to curatorial and conservation practices – as an entanglement of many different hands and minds? Expect lively presentations by workshop leaders followed by group interactions.

Nam June Paik, Zen For Film, 1962–64. Film projection during the exhibition Revisions–Zen for Film. Curated by Hanna Hölling. Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York, 17 September 2015–21 February 2016. (Photo: Hanna Hölling.)

Bibliography and relevant resources

Who’s involved

Hanna B. Hölling

Dr Hanna B. Hölling is Associate Professor in the Department of History of Art, University College London and Research Professor at Bern University of the Arts, Switzerland. Her research, publications and teaching focus on the art and cultural developments since the 1960s and 70s and on aspects of time, change, materiality and archive in relation to how we conceive of artworks in terms of objects that endure. Among her books are Revisions-Zen for Film (Bard Graduate Center, 2015), which accompanied an eponymous exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery in New York (17 September 2015–22 February 2016) and Paik’s Virtual Archive: Time, Change and Materiality in Media Art (University of California Press, 2017).  She is editor of Object—Event—Performance: Art, Materiality and Continuity since the 1960s (Bard Cultural Histories of the Material World series, 2021), Landscape (with Johannes M. Hedinger; Vexer 2019) and The Explicit Material: Inquiries on the Intersection of Curatorial and Conservation Cultures (with Francesca Bewer and Katharina Ammann; Brill 2019). Hanna currently leads on the research project Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge at Bern University of the Arts.

Andre Stitt

Andre Stitt & Alastair MacLennan: Spectral Arc/Vanishing Point, St. Paul St. Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, 2011.

Andre Stitt was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1958. He studied at Ulster Polytechnic and Belfast College of Art & Design, Ulster University 1976-1980. From 1980-1999 he lived and worked in London increasingly travelling and making work internationally throughout the eighties and nineties. In 1999 he moved to Wales to take up a position as Director of Time Based Art at Cardiff School of Art & Design. He is currently Professor of Performance & Interdisciplinary Art at Cardiff School of Art & Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University and programme leader of the MFA. Working almost exclusively as a performance and interdisciplinary artist Stitt gained an international reputation for cutting edge, provocative and politically challenging work. A predominant theme in his artistic output is that of communities and their dissolution often relating to trauma, conflict and art as a redemptive proposition. His ‘live’ performance and installation works have been presented at major museums, galleries and specific sites throughout the world. He was director of trace: Installaction Artspace in Cardiff from 2000-2010 initiating a robust programme of international installation and performance work. Stitt’s performance art curatorial work includes Span2 International Project, London 2001, Flashes From The Archives of Oblivion (Chapter Art Centre, Cardiff 2007-8), RHWNT (Quebec 2003-4), Of Contradiction (Beijing 2005,) and Trace Displaced (Tramway, Glasgow 2008), the National Eisteddfod of Wales 2008 & Artspace, Sydney 2009.

]performance s p a c e[

Martin O’Brien and Rubiane Maia: PSX: 10 hours, 2021
]performance s p a c e[ at The Ugly Duck, Photo by Fenia Kotsopoulou.

]performance s p a c e [ is the UK’s only studio and exhibition space dedicated to performance art. Our mission is to facilitate the prime conditions for the production of performance art in the UK (and beyond). Currently based in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter (Kent), our organisation continues to cultivate time-based work that critically and physically pushes the boundaries of the body, time and space. ]ps[ remains an artist-led initiative, committed to our identity as a DIY, anti-institutional space supporting challenging and difficult work that embraces performance art as an ever-evolving medium. In 2021, ]ps[ marked our 10th anniversary with a special programme: PSX – a decade of performance art in the UK. After ten journeys around the sun – our bodies soaked in blood, sweat, tears, eco-glitter – we celebrated ]ps[‘ resilience, and the remarkable constellation of artists involved in ]ps[, by looking to the past, present & future(s) of performance art in the UK. We hosted screenings, talks, performances, exhibitions, bursaries, workshops and residencies, and the programme culminated in a 10-hour durational live work by 9 of the UK’s leading performance artists.

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#1 Speaking Performance: Oral history as a curatorial tool for reactivating performance and media art

Date: 14th October 2021, 2-6 pm, Zoom

About this workshop

Heike Roms, public oral history interview with Phil Babot, André Stitt and Simon Whitehead a part of “An Oral History of Performance Art in Wales”, photo: Tim Freeman.

Co-convened by Prof Heike Roms, Professor in Theatre and Performance at the University of Exeter and Dr Judit Bodor, and with contribution from artists Prof Elaine Shemilt and Kevin Atherton, this workshop will explore how oral history conversations and artists’ interviews can be used as curatorial tools with which to re-activate artworks, especially those of multimedia performance and new media art. The two artists are part of a pioneering generation in the UK who experimented with time-based media from the early nineteen-seventies and whose works are now part of the REWIND collection at the University of Dundee. The workshop will include a presentation, discussion with the two artists and working in groups on specific questions exploring how interviews might affect memory and the possibility of reactivating ephemeral artworks.

Bibliography and relevant resources

  • Abrams, Lynn (2010), Oral History Theory, London, New York: Routledge.
  • Beerkens, Lydia et al (2012), The artist interview: for conservation and presentation of contemporary art: guidelines and practice, Amsterdam: Stichting Behoud Moderne Kunst (Amsterdam) and Universiteit van Amsterdam.
  • Bickers, Patricia and Wilson, Andrew (eds) (2007), Talking Art 1 – Art Monthly Interviews with Artists since 1976, London: Ridinghouse.
  • Blazwick, Iwona (2007 (1996)), ‘An Anatomy of the Interview’, in: Bickers, Patricia and Wilson, Andrew (eds) Talking Art: Interviews with artists since 1976, London: Art Monthly, Ridinghouse: 25–27.
  • Muller, Lizzie (2010), ‘Oral History and the Media Art Audience’, in: Dekker, Annet (ed.), Archive 2020: Sustainable Archiving of Born Digital Cultural Content, Amsterdam: Virtueel Platform, 6.0-6.10
  • Johnson, Dominic (2015), The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • McKay, Nancy (2016) Curating Oral Histories: From Interview to Archive, 2nd edition, London and New York: Routledge
  • Montano, Linda M. (ed.) (2000), Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties: Sex, Food, Money/Fame, Ritual/Death, afterw. Kristine Stiles, University of California Press.
  • Obrist, Hans Ulrich (2003), Interviews, Mailand: Charta.
  • Roms, Heike and Edwards, Rebecca (2011), ‘Oral History as Site-Specific Practice: Locating the History of Performance Art in Wales’, in: Trower, Shelley (ed.), Place, Writing and Voice in Oral History, Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 171–191.
  • Sandino, Linda (2013), ‘Introduction: Oral History in and about art, craft, and design, in: Sandino, Linda and Partington, Matthew (eds), Oral History in the Visual Arts, London: Bloomsbury, 1–13.
  • Zurbrugg, Nicholas (ed.) (2004), Art, Performance, Media: 31 Interviews, University of Minnesota Press.

Links to relevant Oral History projects

Who is involved

Heike Roms

Heike Roms is Professor in Theatre and Performance at the University of Exeter. Her research into the history and historiography of early performance art was supported by a large grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and won the UK’s David Bradby TaPRA Award for Outstanding Research in 2011. She has published widely on performance art history and historiography, archiving and documentation, and performance art education. She is currently working on a book with the working title When Yoko Ono Did Not Come to Wales: Locating the Early History of Performance Art. Heike has a particular interest in the oral history of performance and the performance of oral history.

Elaine Shemilt 

Professor Elaine Shemilt is an academic, researcher, practising artist and Chair of Fine Art Printmaking at DJCAD, University of Dundee. She was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded research projects: EWVA, investigating early video art by European women artists; and currently on Demarco: The Italian Connection exploring art exchanges between Scotland and Italy through the work of Richard Demarco. She is the Director of the Centre for Remote Environments – a research and consultancy unit for environmental projects. Her artistic practice involves sculpture, installation, printmaking, video and digital media. She has experimented with a combination of materials and media and earned an international reputation for innovation in the use of printmaking across art forms and her collaborative work with scientists. Her work has been shown internationally in group and individual exhibitions and screenings. 

Kevin Atherton

Kevin Atherton was born in the Isle of Man in 1950. After graduating from the BA Fine Art course at Leeds Polytechnic in 1972 he went on to become a part of the pioneering generation of artists in the UK who developed performance and video art in the nineteen-seventies. Having been a Principal Lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, where he was also Project Leader of the ‘Virtual Reality as a Fine Art Medium’ Research Project, Atherton moved to Ireland in 1999 to become the first Head of Fine Art Media at the National College of Art and Design. Atherton’s public sculptures are sited throughout the UK and Ireland, including the English Heritage ‘listed’ sculpture ‘Platforms Piece’ at Brixton Railway Station in South London. He has exhibited and performed throughout the world including at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Francisco, Tate Britain, and the Museum of Modern Art Vienna. His work is held in a number of public collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.

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