Monday, 31 March 2014

Between Nothing and Something. Conversations between artist educators

Here is my contribution to a collaborative visual essay documenting conversations between artist educators practising in different environments. Over 2 weeks we documented and considered: What is the purpose of art? What is the purpose of education? & Moments of Learning and Misunderstanding.

This document will be shared alongside a collective learning workshop. Pictures to follow!

“It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors”
-Pedagogy of the oppressed. Paulo Freire

In considering what art, education, and furthermore art education, might be for or how ‘arte util’ (a Spanish phrase meaning ‘useful art’ perhaps first coined as long ago as 1969 by Eduardo Costa and more recently by Tania Bruguera, amongst others) might be made it seemed necessary to explore and account for our own discreet professional lives. Importantly, we sought to preface any decision-making about outcome with an investigation into the wealth of activity, including the sometimes routine or humdrum, of our day-to-day lives and the research we were carrying out as part of the Critical Pedagogy module. Therefore, the material that we’ve collected ranges from the mundane to the revelatory, from email trails, overheard conversations and planning input to notes from seminars, lectures and recommended reading.
It seemed appropriate to retain and bind it all, unedited, as an honest document to unpick, discuss and arrive at an almost inferential understanding of what we do in order to draw some conclusions about what we might do as (socially engaged) practitioners in the future.

It was through open discussion between three different practitioners that we drew the conclusion that it was in the space between nothing and something that the practice of critical pedagogy could take place. This flexible space allows for risk taking and misunderstanding to take place and an honesty about intentions to exist.  It was through this honesty that democratised power relationships and opportunities for genuine collective learning experiences could be explored. Through this collection of information and everyday actions we see the space between nothing and something as an attempt to act against the mechinic thinking of the institution and the pre-established orders where it could be argued that ones experience has already been decided. This is especially prevalent in an educational institution where the dialogue between the institution and the people with in it has become an irrelevant nuisance, as suggested by Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1968. Instead it is an attempt to engage in a meaningful conversation.

During the conversation entitled ‘What Does Community Mean?’  in Gallery as Community: Art, Education, Politics, page 39, Frances Williams, Head of Education at The South London Gallery, explains:
“The Gallery has given me an amazing privilege to de able to have the kind of relationships that I wouldn’t have been able to have had on my own, or if I was an individual artist rocking up to the estate. And also, the gallery has been able to provide something for the estate that they wouldn’t have had if we weren’t there.
There have been points where I think I can sit in quite a critical position in relation to the rest of the gallery. The estate itself has its own internal differences about what people think we’re there to do, which I try to respect.
But all of that has been a conversation the wouldn’t have taken place without being part of an institution.”
From this we start to see forming a complex, co-dependant, conflicting relationship between the established and accepted institution and a space within it that acts as the point of public engagement. This public space, where an honest and democratised approach is taken towards the power relationships present, begins to act as a wedge, a point of conflict, a space where Ranciere’s idea of dissensus can take place within an institutional context, a space to offer alternative ways to interacting.
In this instance we suggest not a physical space as such but the creation of a metaphysical space through the action of a collective learning experience.

"Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles and hands…”

Elizabeth Zimmermann.

British-born knitter known for revolutionising the modern practice of knitting.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The common knowledge collection

Information sharing through playing games and reading scripts at 32 Lewisham Way, Goldsmith University.

Through playing with printed dialogue from a series of pervious conversations about common knowledge participants became actors, directors and analysts. They were confronted by their own inherent, unacknowledged social knowledge and behaviours, bringing how they interacted with a perceived 'institution', without consciously thinking about it, into view.

It was a game, it was fun!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Knowledge Forum. Part one: Common Knowledge Collection

This is the Knowledge Forum:

It is the creation of a space in which we can look at how information is shared, received and acknowledged.

For the first part of this project I am collecting information from groups who have 'place' in common. 

If you would like to talk to me, share your Common Knowledge and for it to be listened to and enjoyed by even more people, get in touch! I would love to speak to you.  I am focusing on  Information Retrieval until November 29th 2013 so book in before then. Talk soon!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Eyes For Glittering Objects

A new piece of work to come out of working from the exhibition...

Eyes For Glittering Objects

Assembled from lifestyle magazine images and disposable household items Eyes For Glittering Objects plays with the 2 dimensional nature of desire, aspiration and status.

This work is purposefully playful and constructed with a philosophy rooted in Brechtian theory.

Mixed media assemblage

Mid-way-point. sort of.

Here how the exhibition looks right now...

late opening...

Sorry for the silence, here's a new project to make up for it.

I'd been saving my new work to launch my new look exciting website, however it is taking a little longer than planned... as way of an apology here is what I am up to at this very moment!

Double bill! exhibition

Sunday 21st - Saturday 27th July 13:00 - 17:00 2013

The Artworks project space at The Barbican Art Trust Studios, Blackhorse Lane will combine elements of exhibition and workshop to create a week long exploration of how we use, share and occupy space.

The show will consist of participatory sculptural installation. I will be present and making new work in response to workshops and discussions throughout the exhibition. Please come along to talk, make, share!

i made a tool to measure space

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The objects consist of different coloured fabric sections which refer to Edward T Hall's proximity space: In his theory 18" = Intimate space, 48” = Personal space, 144” = social space & 300” = public space. It explores the idea of Hall’s definitive and definite rule, how it works in reality and how it can be used to define/redefine our own space.

It is constructed with a Brechtian philosophy in mind and attempts to physically manifest the absurdity of theories used to manage and understand society. It is an exploration the societal notions and expectations of how we occupy spaces and gives a means to play in this arena.

i am surrounded by objects that define me

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This project follows an earlier body of work "some even grew rich and became the object of their neighbours envy" and continues to explore status and the notion of aspirational objects.

This is first event in a year-long project researching making, sharing and subsequent archiving.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The estates of you.

For a little while I have been looking at, photographing and drawing a number of estates around London which were built in an attempt to fulfil a utopian philosophy.

The estates are now in a state. Many of the buildings are empty with just a handful of families occupying huge tower blocks.

When I visited the estates I could see where attempts to rejuvenate the spaces, both by the local authority, community groups and individual residents had taken place. There were sign of colours and leftovers from community activities. Some blocks had been partially painted or covered with brightly coloured veneers. Individuals had clearly defined their own space within the estate with bars and fences which they then filled with flowers, plants and other items which made the space "their own". My favorite is still the shed on the 3rd floor balcony.

I think this is stage one of this project. For stage two I would like to visit and explore communities that have been created with a similar philosophy in mind but instead of being built by local authorities they have manifested directly out of the desires of the people and communities that would occupy them.

The estates of you. 1, 2 & 3

monoprint, wood, fabric

The estates. Assemblage drawings.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

just a few more...

country living magazine, carbon paper, pencil 2012

emulsion, varnish and acrylic on floor boards 2012

Kitchen phallus

a consideration of domestic gender roles. Enough said?