I had an interesting conversation earlier in the week about where the art is in this project. I’m going to be doing a talk and discussion event for A-level students in the new year – a mix of art students and ethics & philosophy scholars – and there were questions about how the art students could relate to the project. How could it enrich or influence them, engrossed as they are in developing relatively traditional artistic skills and techniques for their A-level projects? Where is the art?
Although ultimately the project is to culminate in an exhibition which I’m curating, it is still important to me to be making my own work in relation to the research as well. Research has always been a central part of my working process, providing a focal point to keep returning to in the midst of the world of choices to be made in art-making. A feature of the way I work is that most often the work develops a bit behind the research – they are different parts of the art-making cycle, not simultaneous. First there’s a sort of gathering of ideas and information, followed by a sifting and settling of things in my mind – that’s not to say there is no art-making during this period, but it tends to have a rather scatter-gun approach and involve lots of mess and little to show for it in the end. Then (hopefully) follows a more focused time when the things that are important rise to the surface and begin to develop a life of their own.
An interesting development for me has been the idea of the event as artwork. I’ve been to a couple of “performative lectures” recently to try to understand what IS a performative lecture? I’ve come to the conclusion that all lectures are performative actually – so that hasn’t really helped me very much.
I’m really interested in the work Juneau Projects have been making recently based around an imagined future where an apocalyptic event has left people relatively undamaged but technology has been wiped out. I love the way the artists succeed in exploring this notion playfully, with a humorous take provided through the imagined misunderstanding and misinterpretation of surviving “relics” of technology (e.g. CCTV = Circuit of Cameras for Theological Vision) which form the basis for a new sort of belief system. Here’s a little video about their event Welcome To Happy Redoubt at Somerset House last year.