The publication of CONSCIOUS – UNCONSCIOUS in and out the reality check was published on the occasion of Stephen Willats’s fourth exhibition at Modern Art Oxford in 2013. Since the mid-1960s Willats has embarked on an investigation into the relationship between art and society, between artworks and the viewer, and between artist and art institution.
In this publication Stephen Willats talks about his new commission The Oxford Community Data Stream. Ute Meta Bauer discusses with Willats the nature of his work with communities, and in particular the example of real-time and real-space social interaction that it offers. Astrid Wege’s insightful essay highlights the multiple and complex methods Willats employs.
Having long been interested in Willats’s work, and with the renewed interest in cybernetics and ‘systems people’ in general it was great to be able to engage with the artists’ work through the texts in this modest, but very relevant book.
Having worked with Shezad several years earlier on the book Feature: Reconstructed (published as part of the Fabrications series at Book Works), he invited me to work on a publication for his Piercing Brightness project (see also Subplots to a City post).
Published on the occasion of his eponymous touring solo exhibition, Piercing Brightness is the first major monograph of British artist Shezad Dawood. Concentrating on his engagement with film, and particularly science fiction, the publication features illustrations of past exhibitions, projects and individual works.
The book contains a diverse series of texts, ranging from biographical fiction, to art historical and musical contextualisation, to film theoretical analysis. With contributions by Shumon Basar, Mark Bartlett, Matthew G. Gregory, Jean Fisher, Abdellah Karroum, Ghalya Saadawi, Elaine Speight & Charles Quick, Michael Stanley and Sam Thorne. Contrary to the classic catalogue raisonné structure of the artist’s monograph, the publication functions as a meta-text, highlighting recurrent ideas and themes in Shezad’s practice. In that sense it could be considered as coming closer to the notion of an artist’s book – even though all written contributions are by others – or rather stand-alone book, instead of it being a standard catalogue. This is a way of approaching publications that Shezad and I have both engaged with. See also the Black Sun entry.
Designed by Åbäke, published by Modern Art Oxford, distributed by Koenig Books, London.