Creative practices and public engagement
Daša Spasojevic, Ana Souto Galvan
This exposition explores the role of creative practices in creating methods for public engagement and the promotion and recognition of tangible and intangible heritage at a local community level. It argues that principles of participatory design and co-creation have the power to contribute to community social cohesion and development. A literature review covering the main concepts and methods is introduced to provide an appropriate context for the main case study: Mapping Nottingham’s Identity. This research project includes the methodological and conceptual framework that were piloted and tested in collaboration with three localities within Nottingham (Sneinton, Carrington, and West Bridgford), including different stakeholders (community organisations, higher education, primary schools, local authorities, and the general public), producing a variety of outputs (a participatory methods’ toolkit, performative maps, community furniture, exhibition, websites) and reflecting on their role in creating meaningful interactions and place-making.
Talking field: listening to the troubled site
This exposition examines my recent multi-channel sound composition 'Decomposing Landscape' (2015), inquiring into the complex, nebulous, and evolving relationship between sound and site that is thoroughly challenged in the practice of phonography or field-recording-based sound artworks dealing with environmentally troubled sites. Phonography-based compositions and sound artworks are developed through location-aware listening and field recordings made at specific sites and landscapes. The compositional strategy in these works relies on artistic interventions through the intricate processes of field recording and processing of recognisable environmental sounds using multi-channel spatialisation techniques. The artistic transformation renders these sounds into a blurry area between compositional abstraction and a portrayal of their site-based origins. The question is, how much spatial information is retained and how much abstraction is deployed in these sound artworks? A discussion of this work sheds light on some approaches and a methodology of handling site-specific evidence in sound art production.
This exhibition is an island
Based around my catalogue essay for Yu-Chen Wang's exhibition 'Nostalgia for the Future' (Taipei Fine Art Museum and Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, 2016), I consider how exhibition narratives are formed. As an experiment in 'curatorial writing', the essay draws from the evolution of science fiction. The method is discussed as reflective rather than explanatory of the artist's practice.
If film is a language, can birds make movies? An essay and two heretical descriptive systems
The work presented here uses the analogy of artists as talking birds and draws on research from cognitive ethology, linguistics, and film studies to ask, what kind of knowledge does art produce? Drawn diagrams and short structural videos illustrate but perhaps complicate or even obfuscate various parts of the text. The starting point is a 1966 film by Pier Paolo Pasolini, 'The Hawks and the Sparrows', alongside his essay published with the script, 'The Cinema of Poetry'. That text made a compelling argument about the nature of cinematic language, while his film imagined a world in which birds could speak. This essay – made up of text, drawn diagrams, and short video loops – takes the next logical step and asks, can birds make movies? The question is left unanswered, at least explicitly, and remains a figure or stand in for artistic forms of knowledge, research, and thought. This essay may not be of interest to those studying linguistics, cognitive ethology, or film history in earnest, but rather to those interested in visual forms of knowledge production and communication, humanistic explorations of the natural sciences, and the history of ideas.
This presentation is the first of a three-part series titled 'The Artist’s Field Library', an arrangement of essays and source materials that explore the mutually transformative relationship between art and the university. The second essay in the series deals with academic institutions as the site of artistic and political practices, as well as what stands to be won or lost, and the third deals with critical pedagogy.
Copy, tweak, paste: methods of appropriation in facsimile artists' books
Rob van Leijsen
Iconic artists’ books from the 1960s and 1970s have recently been subject to numerous attempted appropriations by publishers and artists, resulting in the production of facsimiles and bootlegs of famous titles. The original versions of artists’ books from the 1960s and 1970s have become scarce over time because of the relentless interest of art dealers and antiquarians, who sell the books for extraordinary prices. Outside the art and book markets, rare artists’ books are mainly available for consultation in libraries or exhibited in showcases. A re-enactment tendency concerning artists’ books has become a recurrent phenomena, the result or answer to the scarce status some artists’ books hold today. Reviewing several re-enacted artists’ books produced by artists and publishers allows their methods of appropriation to be identified and the discourses of this practice to be pursued. Written from the perspective of a graphic designer, the focus lies on visible technical aspects of book production, such as materials and production techniques, which allow comparison of the books, their makers, and their discourses. The conclusion surveys the found methods used by artists and publishers and discusses future tasks in producing and disseminating re-enacted artists’ books, as well as redefining the position of graphic designers in this process.