Meta PARSE

In the course of 2018 the Faculty of Fine, Applied, and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg has shifted its publishing approach. Rather than publishing PARSE Journal via distinct issues in both print and online, as it had done since its inception, it has gone entirely digital. As the new website states: ‘PARSE does not undertake or conduct research projects, but exists as a publishing, dialogue and conference platform for high quality international research that links the fields within the Faculty’. In practice that means that instead of thematic issues, longer-term research arcs explore specific themes that are announced and made manifest somehow on the website.

Coming up on the new platform will be essays related to three research arcs: ‘art and work‘, ‘art and migration‘ and ‘intersectional engagements in politics and art’. Where the open calls for contributions ‘encourages experimental forms of research publication including artistic research and practice led research’ the platform ‘invite[s] academic research articles (6000 – 8000 words), essays, creative writing, all forms of graphic visualization, photography, audio work, videos, interactive work, and other creative works. All contributions will pass through an open peer review process.’ The fact that the research topics are engaged with over a longer of time and through different modes of interrogation means that the themes are engaged with in great depth.

Over the summer I have been proofing (and copy-editing) essays mainly in relation to the last ‘normal’ issue, focusing on exclusion, led by Dave Beech, Erling Björgvinsson and Kristina Hagström-Ståhl, the first essays of which are now online (see the introduction here). More recently I have worked on texts related to the first research arc, led by Dave Beech, with editors Marina Vishmidt and Benjamin Fallon and Kirsteen Macdonald, and of which the last event took place on 5 December, titled ‘Never (Off) Work!‘. Watch this new metaparse space!

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The Lie of The Land

Throughout 2018 I’ve been involved as with a catalogue for MK Gallery in Milton Keynes. Following an expansion project by 6a architects, in close collaboration with artists Gareth Jones and Nils Norman, MK Gallery will reopen in March 2019. The opening show, titled The Lie of the Land, explores how the British landscape was radically transformed by changes in free time and leisure activities. Tracing a line between Capability Brown’s aristocratic gardens at Stowe and the social, urban experiment at neighbouring New Town Milton Keynes, the exhibition teases out the aspirations that underpin our built environments.

The catalogue includes essays by Anthony Spira, MK Gallery’s director, Jane Rendell, Jes Fernie, Owen Hatherley, Tom Emerson, and Cora Gilroy-Ware and Paul Gilroy, which explore aspects of landscape design and urban development, land ownership and access, housing, and how these are all interwoven in Milton Keynes’s history. It contains shorter texts by Claire Louise Staunton, Sam Jacob and Fay Blanchard. The book is designed by Mark El-kathib.

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The book is also a ‘proper’ catalogue, with many images of works in the show, accompanied by extended captions. Artists and designers whose work is part of the project include: Edward Alcock, David Alesworth, Archigram, Edwin Beard Budding, John Berger, James Boswell, Boyd & Evans, Thalia Campbell, Canaletto, Philip Castle, Ithell Colquhoun, John Csaky, Jeremy Deller, Sarah Ann Drake, Malcolm Drummond, Susanna Duncombe, Peter Dunn, Tracey Emin, Rose English, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Norman Foster, Elizabeth Frink, William Powell Frith, Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Gainsborough, Walter Goodall, Walter Greaves, Richard Hamilton, Emma Hart, Ebenezer Howard, Julius Caesar Ibbetson, Evelyn Grace Ince, Helmut Jacoby, Bob Jardine, Gertrude Jekyll, Gareth Jones, Michael Kirkham, Laura Knight, Mabel Francis Layng, Ann Lee, Loraine Leeson, Lawrence Lek, Linder, Joan Littlewood, Errol Lloyd, Jane Loudon, John Loudon, Laurence Stephen Lowry,  Edwin Lutyens, Andrew Mahaddie, Robert Medley, Brian Milne, Henry Moore, William Morris, Marlow Moss, Joseph Nash, Paul Nash, Balthazar Nebot, Nils Norman, Marianne North, Eduardo Paolozzi, Joseph Paxton, Olivia Plender, Ingrid Pollard, Cedric Price, Project Art Works, Jacques Rigaud, Bridget Riley, John Robertson Reid, William Patrick Roberts, John Ruskin, Benton Seeley, Yinka Shonibare MBE, David Shrigley, Alison and Peter Smithson, Jo Spence, Thomas Struth, Superstudio, James Tissot, James Walker Tucker, Joseph Mallord William Turner, John A. Walker, Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, Ed Webb-Ingall, Carel Weight, Stuart Whipps, Rachel Whiteread, Althea Willoughby, Audrey Weber, Stephen Willats, Harold Williamson, John Wootton, James Wyld, John Yeadon.

Gems

In the course of the last decade I have on and off worked on publications with writing by artist/jeweller Leonor Hipólito, designed by Arne Kaiser. I knew Arne through publications I’d worked on with curator Jürgen Bock, so via this string of connections I was invited to work on Leonor’s texts. The first one, überstein, published in 2009, was followed by Beyond Emotions (2012), 22 Reflections on the Dissolution of the Self (2015), Looking at Us (2017) and the next one, titled Writing Pad, is about to be published in January 2019, making it five in total. Where the first few showed the writing alongside single examples of material work, in the more recent ones they are interspersed with photographic imagery and installation shots.

Similar to her material work, which I see as a poetic spatial practice, Leonor’s writing is a kind of spatial poetics, with a strong philosophical undercurrent. Each publication takes shape at its own pace, with the writing evolving alongside Leonor’s material practice, following by often months of slow tinkering and toing and froing between us over choice of words, sentence orders, commas, semi-colons, etc. It is a delicate and collaborative process, but one that is suffused with strong decisions, and clear thinking. Working on Leonor’s texts offers an interesting change of scenery from the often long, much more academically inclined texts I tend to work on and with, although they may engage with similar topics.

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Curating After the Global

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Following on from How Institutions Think (2017), and The Curatorial Conundrum, What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice? (2016), I will shortly start work on Curating after the Global. Following a conference at the Luma Foundation in Arles in September 2017, the book aims to address curating with respect to questions of locality, geopolitical change, the reassertion of nation states, and violent diminishing of citizen and denizen rights across the globe.

It has become commonplace to talk of a globalised art world, with specific circulations of discourses, commodities, and individuals, and even to speak of contemporary art as a driver of globalisation. This universalisation of what art is, or can be, is often presumed to be claimed at the cost of local traditions and any sense of locality and embeddedness. But what exactly does it mean to be global, or to be local in the context of artistic, curatorial, and theoretical knowledge and practice?

The book will approach these questions in four sections, which include diagnoses of current conjuctures, exhibition histories, institutional repositioning and roadmaps for the future. The editors are Paul O’Neill, Simon Sheikh, Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson. Among the contributors are: Marwa Arsanios, Athena Athanasiou, María Berríos and Jakob Jakobsen, Qalander Bux Memon, Ntone Edjabe, Liam Gillick, Alison Greene, Prem Krishnamurthy & Emily Smith, franck leibovici, Nkule Mabaso, Morad Montazami, Paul-Emmanuel Odin, Vijay Prasad, Kristin Ross, Rasha Salti, Grace Samboh, Sumesh Sharma, Joshua Simon, Hajnalka Somogyi and Françoise Vergès. The book will be designed by Julia and is due out in 2019, published by The MIT Press.