As my time as Longhouse guest editor draws to a close, I’ve been considering how I’ve found the online residency and what impact it has had on the development of my practice.
It’s been a fascinating experience which I have thoroughly enjoyed throughout the two months. Looking back on my plan for the site, it’s clear that the content I produced developed in different ways than I first imagined - different opportunities opened up while other paths shifted course. I’m happy with how it developed in this way and think it’s helped me realise the benefit of having a plan that is able to respond over time. I’ve also learnt a great deal about just how much time needs to be dedicated to developing focussed online content, either for an organisation or individual artist and I’m now eager to build on this experience going forward.
The most valuable element of the residency has been the framework for writing about ideas and sharing experiences and interests surrounding working in the public realm. It is this focussed space which has allowed me to recognise trends and identify patterns in my own work and the work of others. Making contact with lots of fellow public realm artists has also been particularly rewarding and the diversity of artistic backgrounds people have come from has broadened my appreciation of what a ‘public realm artist’ might be.
Predictably, the time has flown by leaving me wanting to carry on and add more info to the site. On the technical side, I’ve learnt a great deal about working behind the scenes with websites and now feel I have developed a much better appreciation of how to write in a style that suits different online contexts. A more painful learning experience has been to understand the value of backing up laptops on a regular basis – last week my hard drive failed resulting in me loosing a great deal of my work – a lesson to artists everywhere!
I’ve recently added a few more organisations to the ’Networks’ page which is looking pretty comprehensive as a resource now and two additional artists, Tom Milnes and Kerry Morrison have been added to the ‘Artists’ section - two of Tom’s videos can also be viewed in ‘No Comment’.
Thanks to Longhouse and everyone else who’s helped me out with things. I’m looking forward to following the next guest editor’s take on the role!
Some good case studies of projects where artists have engaged new thinking and practices for the built environment and public space. The subject is refreshingly addressed in part from the artists’ perspective.
More info here
This is a great little book and one which I found very useful when developing my ideas about the places we inhabit.
First published in 1992 and reissued with a new introduction, anthropologist Marc Augé’s book is a haunting analysis of modern life and in particular those homogenised “non-places” where we spend so much of our time: airports, railway stations, superstores, motorways and international hotel chains. Unlike conventional “anthropological places” (the symbolic site of an altar), these “spaces of circulation, consumption and communication” exist beyond history, relations and the game of identity. Yet, as Augé shows, the anodyne and anonymous solitude of these non-places offers the transitory occupant the illusion of being part of some grand global scheme: a fugitive glimpse of a utopian city-world. The forces of globalisation and urbanisation are creating ever more of these Ballardian non-places, symptoms of a Muzak-filled supermodernity in which “people are always, and never, at home”. Unsettling, elegantly written and illuminating: essential reading for anyone seeking to understand our supermodern condition.
More info here
Hybrid Space, How wireless media mobize public space
The public domain is a place where people act and create a ‘communal world full of differences’. This space has become ‘hybrid’ in nature: a complex of concrete and virtual qualities, of static and mobile domains, of public and private spheres, of global and local interests. Last but not least, hybrid space is formed by wireless and mobile media like GSM, GPS, Wi-Fi and RFID. These media are deployed as control mechanisms, but also as alternative tools for increasing and intensifying public agency. A select company of artists, designers, architects and urban designers is investigating its implications and possibilities and putting them to the test.
This this available to download here
By Dennis Hardy
Cities that don’t cost the Earth offers a review of why we need to build sustainable cities and looks at ways of doing so. The task ahead is not just to build new cities but also to adapt existing ones. Links are made with the original idea of the garden city and, through a conversation with the reincarnated Ebenezer Howard, this prototype for a sustainable city is updated.
More Info here:
In the last week I’ve been to two degree shows; first the BA show at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford and then the MFA show at the Royal College of Art in London (both the Sculpture and Painting).
Coincidently both institutions have seen changes in recent years with new studio and exhibitioning premises. In the case of the Ruskin, the contrast is quite marked with the degree show moving from a historic premises in the heart of Oxford to a modern building within an industrial estate. The RCA Sculpture and Painting studios have also moved in recent years to similar converted industrial spaces in Battersea.
The question of how a college’s architectural identity affects artists and the development of their work is an interesting one. I guess artists are influenced by everything around them and a good studio should support the ambition of the artist without getting in the way or hindering it. The size, shape, facilities and light of a studio does play a part though and it can surely influence an artist’s work ethic.
I was up at Glasgow School of Art recently and was struck by the contrast in the choice of studios - some were within a museum-type setting with no windows while others inhabbited a fourth floor block with panoramic views over the city and mountains beyond.
Books of the Day: ‘As Big as a House’, ‘If you can’t find it, give us a ring – public works’ and ‘Collective Space’Posted on June 26th, 2010, by James Winnett
Three for the price of one today – these are very useful publications exploring the increased integration of artists in regeneration practices.
1) As Big as a House… – Richard Woods. In his first book-based artwork, Richard maps urban habitats, examining branding and vernacular languages within cities and towns. The book contains an interview with the artist alongside Sarah Chaplin and Eric Holding’s essay, Manufacturing Authenticity, which explores and challenges some of the assumptions upon which we base our notion of authenticity, highlighting the architectural contrivance at work in creating new city identities.
2) If you can’t find it, give us a ring – public works. Art and architecture collective, ‘public works’, revisit their project Park Products. The theme of community is taken up by exploring the space and informality of networks found in institutions and public space. The book contains an interview with the artists and an essay by Doina Petrescu, Working towards a real public space, which revisits the notions of community, public and participation.
3) Collective Space – Lucy and Jorge Orta. This book explores the theme of neighbourhood and the concern for the street as an environment where people live. Collective Space contains an interview with the artists, looking at their staging of public dinner parties and proposals for the setting of the 50th meal in the ‘70 x 7′ series. It also includes geographer and activist Paul Chatterton’s essay/manifesto Retrofitting the Corporate City: Five Principles for Urban Survival.
More info here:
Searching for Arts New Publics
This is great new book, edited by Jeni Walman, explores the ways in which artists seek to involve, create and engage with new and diverse audiences: from passers-by encountering and participating in the work unexpectedly, to professionals from other disciplines and members of particular communities. Bridging the gap between practice and theory, this exciting book touches on issues of relational aesthetics, but also offers an illustrated artist-based approach.
More info here
The Social Impact of the Arts: An Intellectual History
Authors: Eleonora Belfiore and Oliver Bennett
More info here
I’ve decided that I should share some titles which I think are relevant to artists working in the public realm. Most of these are books I own, others have been recommended to me.
1. Place (Art Works)
Authors: Tacita Dean and Jeremy Miller