Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019

While New Contemporaries is celebrating its seventieth anniversary this year – having been initiated by the Arts Council in 1949 – as well as the fact that Bloomberg have supported the organisation for two full decades, this year is also the first in which new writing is properly embraced as a form of artistic practice. This is not me having a dig at the organisation, on the contrary: it is a sign that with the adoption of publishing as a whole as artistic practice, and the proliferation of courses dedicated to writing as art, writing by artists as (part of) their practice has indeed gone mainstream and is now fully acknowledged as such.

Once again, I am working on the publication as copy-editor (the sixth year in succession, for those who are counting), which by extension is becoming a more fully integrated part of the ever-expanding range of activities that New Contemporaries as an organisation is undertaking, all to nurture and make visible work by emerging artists. It’s been great to see how activities now comprise a wide range of partnerships for different strands of its programming, including studio bursaries, residencies, a mentoring scheme, engagement with The Syllabus, opening up submissions to artists from non-accredited courses, symposia, and, last but not least, a collaborative PhD that explores the organisation’s own history with Nottingham Trent University. This year the exhibition – with work by 45 artists selected by Rana Begum, Sonya Boyce and Ben Rivers – will open at Leeds Art Gallery in September, before travelling on to the South London Gallery, where it was shown for the first time last year. Like the last two years, Hato are the designers.

 

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Tinkering with text

I have known Isabel Nolan for about a decade now, and fell in love with her artworks when I first encountered them, and have been following her practice closely ever since. I have also been intrigued by the odd speech I have had the pleasure of hearing her deliver/perform.* I laughed heartily at her introduction during the inauguration of her work at the Mithraeum in London last year. So no surprise then to be delighted to be asked to work with Isabel on a volume that will contain a selection of her writing. Due date tbc, as we decided it would be a good idea to take our time and do it right. As it should be.Isabel-Nolan-Rock-founded-place

Image of the work Rock Founded Place as installed at Isabel’s solo exhibition at IMMA in Dublin in 2014.

If you’re interested in hearing/seeing her do a talk, try here.

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 mainly 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 they are engaged with in great depth.

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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, which is now online (see the introduction here) on the revamped website. 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 space!

 

 

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, Ntone Edjabe and David Morris, Liam Gillick, Alison Greene, Prem Krishnamurthy & Emily Smith, Emmanuelle Lainé, Nkule Mabaso, Qalander Bux Memon, Morad Montazami, Paul-Emmanuel Odin, Vijay Prashad, Kristin Ross, 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.