Drawing Postal Project

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DRAWING POSTAL PROJECT Exhibition 16 April – 20 May 2021 Student Union Gallery Camberwell College of Arts London

CC BY-ND-NC 2.0 Organised and edited by Rupert Norfolk Installation photography by Ellen Lysmo Catalogue designed by Eva Titherington and Will Nicholls, POLVO Press Website: polvopress.co.uk Email: polvopresslondon@gmail.com Instagram: @polvo.press


Preface The Drawing Postal Project was initiated in response to the restrictions of England’s third national lockdown in March 2021. Since March 2020, Camberwell students and staff, like most of the world, have endured unprecedented disruptions to day-to-day life, as well as university activities. Needless to say, at an individual level, the global Covid-19 pandemic affected different students in different ways, but everyone came to experience loss and profound isolation from friends, families and loved ones. From the standpoint of art education, the impossibility of studio or workshop access, and the cancellation of exhibitions was challenging to say the least. The impact upon the social lives of the student community was no less difficult. It has been extraordinary to witness the grit and inventiveness with which students and staff team embraced the necessary pivot to online teaching and learning. Our ongoing critical conversations and lively camaraderie certainly kept me going through this demanding year. However, viewing art only through a screen can have a flattening effect. Just as correspondence via digital platforms lacks what EM Forster called ‘the imponderable bloom’ of direct contact. The Drawing Postal Project offered a practical way to connect the self-isolating and internationally dispersed members of Camberwell’s drawing community and bring their work together physically. All students and staff from BA Drawing, as well as FAD Drawing and Conceptual Practice, MA Drawing and MA Printmaking, and Graduate Studio Assistants, were invited to participate. Understandably, under the circumstances, not everyone had the capacity to take part. Nevertheless, a large number of artists did respond and were each mailed an A4 sheet of cartridge paper with a stamped addressed envelope, and asked to post a new drawing by return. There were no other constraints and those who were unable to post a physical work could email a digital image to be printed at Camberwell. This format was inspired by the biennale fundraising auctions organised by The Drawing Room, London. These exhibitions regularly capture the diverse range of leading international artists working with drawing, and help support the gallery’s non-profit public programme. However, since a majority of artists in the Drawing Postal Project are not yet established, and their drawings were not presented for sale, the project’s spirit might also have something in common with the inclusive pragmatism of the early mail and Xerox exhibitions of the 1960s. In April 2021, the easing of restrictions allowed the Drawing Postal Project to be exhibited in the Student Union Gallery in time to be seen by students and staff returning to Peckham Road for the summer term. The drawings were arranged in alphabetical order, irrespective of academic course, year, or status. Whilst hanging the show, I was blown away by the sheer variety of approaches and sensibilities – no two drawings are alike. It was tremendously gratifying to recognise the love and care invested in these artworks. Throughout the exhibition, I frequently noticed those using the building take pause whilst passing through the gallery and remain for a considerable time paying close attention. At the end of the day, this is what it’s all about. You take the trouble to arrange some materials according to your own particular curiosity and then you present the result for other humans to engage with, and perhaps discover a new relation to the reality we share. Concurrent with the Drawing Postal Project, we ran a series of reading workshops that were open to all BA Drawing students. Guest practitioners were invited to share a text (or texts) with students and subsequently discuss its ideas, implications and questions during an hour of informal conversation. I thought it would be interesting to introduce excerpts from these disparate texts among the various 2


drawings reproduced here. They have been inserted regularly in the order the workshops occurred. To my mind, their tangential relationships to art reflect the thoughtful and surprising ways that this community of artists engage with the world through drawing.

Acknowledgements This publication was made possible with a grant from the CCW Learning and Teaching Fund. The project was only feasible with the patient administrative support of Libby Pollock. I’m grateful to Elsa Money and Agnes Von Kindt Rohde for volunteering to help scan the drawings. My gratitude also to Eva Titherington, Demi Stiles and Tom Alexander for assisting with the exhibition installation and deinstallation. Ellen Lysmo did a marvellous job photographing the installation views – including those featured here. Thank you to Will Nicholls and Eva Titherington at POLVO Press for their sensitive design and careful attention to detail. I’d also very much like to thank our guests for sharing their reading insights with such warmth and generosity: Peter Fillingham, Tina Gverović , Radhika Khimji, Kerri Jefferis and Sophie Chapman, David Musgrave, Liza Fior, Joel Peter-Ayo, Dr Amy Cutler, Jade Montserrat, Kelly Chorpening. Special thanks are due to Dr Marsha Bradfield, who curated and hosted the reading workshop programme with consummate wisdom. Finally, I wish to extend my utmost gratitude to all the artists who entrusted their work to this, relatively impromptu, undertaking. After an arduous year for us all, thank you for reminding us what it is all about.

Rupert Norfolk, Course Leader BA Drawing June 2021

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Text excerpts

Reading workshop 1 with Peter Fillingham Guy Brett, Lived in & David Medalla, MMMMM… Manifesto Page 24 Reading workshop 2 with Tina Gverović Abdulkareem Kasid, My Life Page 38 Reading workshop 3 with Radhika Khimji Roland Barthes, Cy Twombly: Paintings and Drawings Page 52 Reading workshop 4 with Kerri Jefferis & Sophie Chapman Rachel Anderson, talk AIR* Expanding fields Page 66 Reading workshop 5 with David Musgrave Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power Page 80 Reading workshop 6 with Liza Fior Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations Page 94 Reading workshop 7 with Joel Peter-Ayo Gautam Bhan, Notes on a Southern urban practice Page 108 Reading workshop 8 with Dr Amy Cutler Dr Amy Cutler, Square Eyes, Square Landscapes Page 122 Reading workshop 9 with Jade Montserrat Jade Montserrat, Drawing as Contagion, from A Companion to Contemporary Drawing Page 138 Reading workshop 10 with Kelly Chorpening Kelly Chorpening & Rebecca Fortnum, A Companion to Contemporary Drawing (Introduction) Page 148

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Emma Victoria Ahlberg Parasite People (from series) Pencil, textured paper

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Tom Alexander A life wi people Digital drawing

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Ishwari Satej Ambavane Built Environment Watercolour, colour pencil

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Hannes Andersson Doomscrolling Pencil

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Ali Shamim Ansari Ali in London Digitally drawing

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Manae Araki Untitled Ink, technical pen

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Afrah Omar Babkair Untitled Ink, watercolour

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Yijia Bai GT-3 Acrylic, gold leaf, sulfuric acid paper, receipt, fluorescent package tape, plastic glitter, kitchen foil

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Ruby Claude Bailey A Moment Digitally produced

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Lauren Bauer Untitled Monoprint, lino print

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Venetia Bell Family Torn to Pieces Collage, thread

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Sophie Boggis-Rolfe Sleeping Acrylic, black card

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Lived in

We know how poorly we see the things amongst which we live and that it is often necessary for someone to come from a distance to tell us what surrounds us Rainer Maria Rilke * I know that, for example, among the Native Americans of the plains, an individual’s dream or vision was cryptically inscribed on their shield. The design was normally hidden by a cloth and only uncovered for the owner to gaze upon just before battle, in order to gather the maximum of a uniquely personal power. Such hiding of an image for the sake of its potency— for the rare, highly charged moment—contrasts with another kind of efficacy, the solace to be gained from the continuous visibility and familiarity of a work lived with for a long time. * There is already a big difference, among private collections, between those that aspire to be museums, and others that are labours of love— the amorous relationship you feel when you go into a room where everything is cherished, including, as I remember from one such visit, the dust that had settled over years. This dispels the assumption that home and occupant are necessarily congruent in their appearance. One person may emerge dishevelled from a very tidy dwelling, while another may emerge immaculate from a complete mess. The person who let the dust settle is among the bestdressed people I know.

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Mmmmmm… Medalla! What do you dream about? -I dream of the day when I create sculptures that breathe, sweat, cough, laugh, yawn, smile, blink, sigh, dance, walk, crawl ... and move between people like shadows move around people ... Sculptures that preserve the secret dimensions of a shadow, not its servile behaviour ... Sculptures without hope, with waking hours and hours of sleep ... Sculptures that migrate en masse to the North Pole in certain seasons. Sculptures as a translucent mirror without the translucency of the mirror!

Guy Brett, Lived in, from Charlotte Moth, Bleckede 2009 / Rochechouart 2011 (2011). Sternberg Press

David Medalla, MMMMM… Manifesto (1965)

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Olivia Bouzyk Rheum Pencil

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Agnes Brandstaetter Untitled Watercolour

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Merle Butler Ruskin Park Etching

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Sayan Chanda Circumambulate Blended yarn, handwoven cotton

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Kelly Chorpening Walking Man no. 4 Pencil, acrylic paint, pastel, tea and rainwater, Chinese dragon cloud paper

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Chelsie Coates Untitled (Stop Asian Hate) Digital scan

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Paul Coldwell Mirror Graphite

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Missy Crewe Small Things Pen ink, pencil

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Grace Davies 484 Beans Pen

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Mar de Matos Alves Bees Acrylic, oil pastels

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Beatriz de Sousa Mendes Costa Alive Photograph

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Brian D Hodgson Landscape imagined whilst locked down in Peckham Engraving, drypoint

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My Life

Like that swimmer Who carries his cloths in one hand And swims with the other I cross the river of life

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A short poem by Abdulkareem Kasid, My Life, from his collection Sarabaad (2015). Reproduced with kind permission of Shearsman Books

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Mia Dove It’s a fierce strength to carry people when they’re most down Collage

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Gabe Duarte Grapes in 09 Monoprint

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Tim Ellis Systems and Parallels - Money Tree Ink, shredded bank note paper

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Nicholas Feldmeyer Study for Cataclysm 3D rendering, giclee print

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Joe Ford Koestler’s Vision Pastel

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Noa Gabriel Rodriguez Caos controlado en el escurridor Lino print

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Yiran Gao The Garden Flourescent inkjet printing

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Elisha Gill Balance Fine Iiner

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Jin Han Lee Untitled Pastel, watercolour

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Rhianna Hanworth Conversation with myself Fine liner, marker

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Eli Hauser La Divina and Her Decorator Gouache

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Emily Hobbs Untitled Pressed flowers, PVA glue

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The Wisdom of Art

botched, inconsistent: I don’t understand it. But this touch of color works in me, unknown to myself; after I have left the painting, it comes back, becomes a memory, and a tenacious one:

Whatever the metamorphoses of painting,

everything has changed, the picture makes me

whatever the support and the frame, we are

happy retrospectively. In fact, what I consume

always faced with the same question: what is

with pleasure is absence: a statement which is

happening, there? Whether we deal with canvas,

not paradoxical if we remember that Mallarme

paper or wall, we deal with a stage where

has made it the very principle of poetry: “I say:

something is happening (and if, in some forms

a flower, and musically arises the idea itself,

of art, the artists deliberately intends that

fragrance which is absent from all bouquets.”

nothing should happen, even this is an event, an adventure). So that we must take a painting

The fifth subject is that of production, who

(let us keep this convenient name, even if it is

feels like reproducing the picture. Thus this

an old one) as a kind of traditional stage: the

morning of December 31, 1978, it is still dark,

curtain rises, we look, we wait, we receive, we

it is raining, all is silent when I sit down at my

understand; and once the scene is finished and

worktable. I look at Herodiade (1960) and I have

the painting removed, we remember: we are no

really nothing to say about it except the same

longer what we were: as in ancient drama, we

platitude: that I like it. But suddenly there arises

have been initiated.

something new, a desire: that of doing the same thing; of going to another worktable (no longer *

that for writing), to choose colors, to paint and draw. In fact, the question of painting is: “Do

There is the subject of culture, who knows how

you feel like imitating Twombly?”

Venus was born, who Poussin or Valéry are; this subject is talkative, he can talk fluently. There

As the subject of production, the spectator of

is the subject of specialization, who knows

the painting is then going to explore his own

the history of painting well and can lecture on

impotence - and at the same time, as it were

Twombly’s place in it. There is the subject of

in relief, the power of the artist. Even before

pleasure, who rejoices in front of the painting,

having drawn anything, I realize that I shall

experiences a kind of jubilation while he

never be able to reproduce this background (or

discovers it, and cannot quite express it. This

what gives me the illusion of a background):

subject is therefore mute; he can only exclaim:

I don’t even know how it’s done. Here is Age

“How beautiful this is!” and say it again. This

of Alexander: oh, this single splash of pink...! I

is one of the small tortures of language: one

could never make it so light, or rarely so much

can never explain why one finds something

the space that surrounds it. I could not stop

beautiful; pleasure generates a kind of laziness

filling in, going on, in other words spoiling

of speech, and if we want to speak about a

all; and my own mistake made me grasp what

work, we have to substitute for the expression

wisdom is in the actions of the artist.

of enjoyment discourses which are indirect, more rational - hoping that the reader will feel in them the happiness given by the paintings of which we speak. There is a fourth subject, that of memory. In a Twombly picture a certain touch of color at first appears to me hurried, 52


Roland Barthes, Cy Twombly: Paintings and Drawings. (c.1979). Whitney Museum of American Art. pp. 54-77

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Jasmine Hohbein Green Human Nature Collage

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Kayleigh Holden The Rye Etching, aquatint

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Yingzhi Hu Door Online drawing

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Kat Hudson Sky Was Blue Collage, watercolour

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Trixie Hunter Untitled Pencil, ink, thread

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Vince Ibay Jocko’s Daily Healthy Habit Countdown Digital print

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Thori Ingles 1 hour 11 minutes Pencil

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Sara Jarrahi The Cave Pen, ink, wax

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Joy Jindu The Aquatic Design Centre Oil, canvas

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Jake Kaye Untitled Digital photocopy

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Kishwar Kiani Untitled Pencil

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Koper Air 2020 Collage, sponge, acrylic

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Collaborative practice

collaborate with others. I’m going to name the very obvious things now, but I don’t think that we can name them enough:

A key to artistic practice and definitely a key

We live in a white supremacist society,

to collaborative practice is to embrace your

We live in patriarchy,

vulnerability, to take enormous risks, and to be

We live in a heterosexist society,

utterly truthful…

We live in a society that is divided by class, even though it doesn’t acknowledge it.

I think that as a producer, my job is to take

We live in a society that discriminates

everyone (artists, participants, collaborators,

against age and ability.

myself) out of our safety zone, to the point

And we live in a capitalist society.

that we can’t really stand on our own anymore, because we need support. And in a way we all

These are the dominant power forces that

have to prop each other up in order to make

affect us everyday, and affect us individually

this work, because we are totally unfamiliar

deeply, and our understanding of that and our

territory. And if anyone is on firm ground and

own exploration of that is very varied. Some

does know the territory then we are not being

of us find it easy to cope with and some of us

truthful and we are not taking enough risks. So I

struggle deeply… and when we go out and work

truly believe that we have to go to very insecure

with people that we don’t know this is what is

space to make this kind of work and for it to be

going to come into the room. Understanding

as powerful as it can be…

your own place within those power systems is important.

We are in no way ever in an even playing field when we collaborate. We are never equal. We

The arts is predominantly white middle class

are never even. We are all very different and

and the power is with men even though the

we all have different experiences. We live in a

work-force is female. I think it is very important

society that is full of separation and isolation

to think about Capitalism in terms of collabora-

and inequality and injustice and we have to

tive practice.

always be mindful of those contexts that we are working in. But we can set an intention to create another space where work can happen, and we can do something transformative…. I don’t think that we can talk about collaboration at all without talking about power or violence and understanding… an exploration of power and violence. It feels like an enormous field to go into to start talking about what it means. * We have to begin with understanding who we are and what we’re going into when we start to 66


Rachel Anderson, a talk given as part of AIR* Expanding fields (2012)

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Rafaella Lazarou A difficult joy; but it is called joy Coloured pencil, watercolour

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Antony Lee Lockdown No. 3 Felt pens, pencil

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Claudia Lehmann er kov/in memory of Inkjet print

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Tommi Dai Leigh-Smith The Scowl of Combustion Digital print

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Anais Leung What Lies Beneath the memory Mixed media pencils

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Zizhen Li Lanterns and European architecture Ink, soft cut polymer sheet

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Yi Lin Dose god loves people? Paper, pen

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Ziyan Liu Evade Digital

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Johanna Love Untitled Digital print, transfer, pencil

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Larissa Loy She was walking home / We will remember you Sarah Everard Photograph

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Jiayi Lu Farewell Watercolour, pastel, tracing paper, tissues

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Yanran (Amaris) Lu Cooperation Template pen

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The magnetic pull that social media exerts

Life in the Hive

on young people drives them toward more automatic and less voluntary behavior. For too many, that behavior shades into the territory of

“I felt so lonely… I could not sleep well without

genuine compulsion. What is it that mesmerizes

sharing or connecting to others,” a Chinese

the youngest among us, lashing them to this

girl recalled. “Emptiness,” an Argentine boy

mediated world despite the stress and disquiet

moaned. “Emptiness overwhelms me.” A

that they encounter there?

Ugandan teenager muttered, “I felt like there was a problem with me,” and an American

The answer lies in a combination of behav-

college student whimpered, “I went into

ioral science and high-stakes design that is

absolute panic mode.” These are but a few of

precision-tooled to bite hard on the felt needs

the lamentations plucked from one thousand

of this age and stage: a perfectly fitted hand

student participants in an international study

and glove. Social media is designed to engage

of media use that spanned ten countries and

and hold people of all ages, but it is principal-

five continents. They had been asked to abstain

ly molded to the psychological structure of

from all digital media for a mere twenty-four

adolescence and emerging adulthood, when

hours, and the experience released a planet-

one is naturally oriented toward the “others,”

wide gnashing of teeth and tearing of flesh that

especially toward the rewards of group recogni-

even the study’s directors found disquieting.

tion, acceptance, belonging, and inclusion. For

Capping the collective cri de coeur, a Slovakian

many, this close tailoring, combined with the

university student reflected, “Maybe it is

practical dependencies of social participation,

unhealthy that I can’t be without knowing what

turns social media into a toxic milieu. Not only

people are saying and feeling, where they are,

does this milieu extract a heavy psychological

and what’s happening.”

toll, but it also threatens the course of human development for today’s young and the genera-

The students’ accounts are a message in a bot-

tions that follow, all spirits of a Christmas Yet to

tle for the rest of us, narrating the mental and

Come.

emotional milieu of life in an instrumentarian society with its architectures of behavioral con-

The hand-and-glove relationship of technology

trol, social pressure, and asymmetrical power.

addiction was not invented at Facebook, but

Most significantly, our children are harbingers

rather it was pioneered, tested, and perfected

of the emotional toll of the viewpoint of the

with outstanding success in the gaming indus-

Other-One as young people find themselves im-

try, another setting where addiction is formally

mersed in a hive life, where the other is an “it”

recognized as a boundless source of profit.

to me, and I experience myself as the “it” that

(Psychologist B. F.) Skinner had anticipated the

others see. These messages offer a glimpse

relevance of his methods to the casino envi-

of the instrumentarian future, like the scenes

ronment, which executives and engineers have

revealed by Dickens’s Ghost of Christmas Yet to

transformed into as vivid an illustration as one

Come. So shaken was Scrooge by his glimpse of

can muster of the startling power of behavioral

bitter destiny that he devoted the remainder of

engineering and its ability to exploit individual

his life to altering its course. What will we do?

inclinations and transform them into closed loops of obsession and compulsion.

* *

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fusion with the machine; consoles “mold to No one has mapped the casino terrain more in-

the player’s natural posture,” eliminating

sightfully than MIT social anthropologist Nata-

the distance between the player’s body and

sha Dow Schüll in her fascinating examination

frictionless touch screens: “Every feature of

of machine gambling in Las Vegas, Addiction by

a slot machine—its mathematical structure,

Design. Most interesting for us is her account of

visual graphics, sound dynamics, seating

the symbiotic design principles of a new gen-

and screen ergonomics—is calibrated to

eration of slot machines calculated to manip-

increase a gambler’s ‘time on device’ and to

ulate the psychological orientation of players

encourage ‘play to extinction.’” The aim is a

so that first they never have to look away, and

kind of crazed machine sex, an intimate closed-

eventually they become incapable of doing

loop architecture of obsession, loss of self,

so. Schüll learned that addictive players seek

and auto-gratification. The key, one casino

neither entertainment nor the mythical jack-

executive says in words that are all too familiar,

pot of cash. Instead, they chase what Harvard

“is figuring out how to leverage technology to

Medical School addiction researcher Howard

act on customers’ preferences [while making]

Shaffer calls “the capacity of the drug or gam-

it as invisible—or what I call auto-magic—as

ble to shift subjective experience,” pursuing an

possible.”

experiential state that Schüll calls the “machine zone,” a state of self-forgetting in which one is

There is much that we can grasp about the

carried along by an irresistible momentum that

lived experience of the hive in the challenges

feels like one is “played by the machine.” The

faced by the young people whose fate it is

machine zone achieves a sense of complete

to come of age in this novel social milieu in

immersion that recalls Klein’s description of

which the forces of capital are dedicated to

Facebook’s design principles—engrossing, im-

the production of compulsion. Facebook’s

mersive, immediate—and is associated with a

marketing director openly boasts that its

loss of selfawareness, automatic behavior, and

precision tools craft a medium in which users

a total rhythmic absorption carried along on a

“never have to look away,” but the corporation

wave of compulsion. Eventually, every aspect

has been far more circumspect about the

of casino machine design was geared to echo,

design practices that eventually make users,

enhance, and intensify the hunger for that sub-

especially young users, incapable of looking

jective shift, but always in ways that elude the

away.

player’s awareness. Schüll describes the multi-decade learning curve as gaming executives gradually came to appreciate that a new generation of computerbased slot machines could trigger and amplify the compulsion to chase the zone, as well as extend the time that each player spends in the zone. These innovations drive up revenues with the sheer volume of extended play as each machine is transformed into a “personalized reward device.” The idea, as the casinos came

Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The

to understand it, is to avoid anything that

Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power,

distracts, diverts, or interrupts the player’s

Chapter 16: Of Life in the Hive

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Aija Lukosjus Rock Paper Pen Pen

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Keyan Ma Wind Ink, fibre tip, gold marker

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Hanna Magalit Spill Graphite

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Lilly Mann Looking to Sea Ink

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Nicole Stephanie Mantilla Gutierrez HAY PICK CHAIR FOURS COOL Pencil, ink

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Claire Marsden Walking Through Minnie’s House to Get a Sense of The Place Pencil

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Ioanna Mavromichali Fountain Birds Composition Digital collage

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Effie McFadyen Kitchen Lino print, soft pastel

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Vicky McIlroy Wilted Ink

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Tom McVeigh Charming Cat Has A Moustache Pencil

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Katherine Medeiros A woman schlepped her bags down the aisle towards the back of the bus. They contained her entire life. I wanted her to sit next to me. Instax square SQ6 polaroid 92


Zoë Mendelson WFH Watercolour, collage, pen, printed vinyl sticker

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Meaning is Use

35… To repeat: in certain cases, especially when one points ‘to the shape’ or ‘to the number’ there are characteristic experiences and ways of pointing—’characteristic’ because they

31. When one shews someone the king in chess

recur often (not always) when shape or number

and says: “This is the king”, this does not tell

are ‘meant’. But do you also know of an expe-

him the use of this piece—unless he already

rience characteristic of pointing to a piece in a

knows the rules of the game up to this last

game as a piece in a game? All the same one can

point: the shape of the king. You could imagine

say: “I mean that this piece is called the ‘king’,

his having learnt the rules of the game without

not this particular bit of wood I am pointing to”.

ever having been shewn an actual piece. The shape of the chessman corresponds here to the sound or shape of a word. One can also imagine someone’s having learnt the game without ever learning or formulating rules. He might have learnt quite simple boardgames first, by watching, and have progressed to more and more complicated ones. He too might be given the explanation “This is the king”,—if, for instance, he were being shewn chessmen of a shape he was not used to. This explanation again only tells him the use of the piece because, as we might say, the place for it was already prepared. Or even: we shall only say that it tells him the use, if the place is already prepared. And in this case it is so, not because the person to whom we give the explanation already knows rules, but because in another sense he is already master of a game. Consider this further case: I am explaining chess to someone; and I begin by pointing to a chessman and saying: “This is the king; it can move like this, ... . and so on.”—In this case we shall say: the words “This is the king” (or “This is called the ‘king’ “) are a definition only if the learner already ‘knows what a piece in a game is’. That is, if he has already played other games, or has watched other people playing ‘and understood’—and similar things. Further, only under these conditions will he be able to ask relevantly in the course of learning the game: “What do you call this?”—that is, this piece in a game. 94


Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (1958). Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 15-17

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Andreja Mirosevic-Sorgo Betty in Pink Lino print

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Elsa Money Pines at Firle Photograph, tracing paper

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Isabelle Morton Home, Away from Home Digital

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Jessica Nichol “Can you hear them?” Linoprint

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Daniel Norie Untitled Digital collage

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Emily North Sundays in Suburbia Pencil

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Nikita O’Grady 2017 Pencil

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Josh Oseman hand study Graphite

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Priscilla Pang Ventilation Acrylic paint, paper, collage

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Uni Pang Inundated Digital

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Janette Parris Untitled Inkjet print, compact disc

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Olivia Parsons Who to Follow Mixed media

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Squat

so long, informality remained discursively the domain of otherness, vulnerability and exclusion until several scholars pointed out the empirical reality of elite informality, and

It is now well established that squatting –

argued that informality had to be understood

the process of occupying and incrementally

as a regime of rule. What would a reframing of

building urban inhabitation on land or in

squatting as a practice more widely deployed

structures to which residents do not hold legal

look like?

title – is the mainstay of how auto constructed cities are inhabited. The literature speaks of

Photo 1 shows a mohalla (neighbourhood)

squatting mostly as, in Alexander Vasudevan’s

clinic. These clinics, a state intervention in the

words, a “response to and an expression of

delivery of public health, are the brainchild

housing precarity”. The housing that results

of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government

from squatting – often mistakenly reduced

of the National Capital Territory of New Delhi.

to a catch-all category of “slum”– is perhaps

Over a hundred have been established all over

the single most recognizable marker of the

the city, providing consultations, diagnostic

landscapes of Southern cities and of writing

tests, and medicines at minimal cost. The

on them. This remains empirically true of all

clinics are built simply, cheaply and quickly,

contemporary Indian cities – and, indeed, for

usually with prefabricated materials. In both

many of these cities, Simone and Pieterse’s

process and form, they hold more than a

description of the vulnerable urban majority is

passing resemblance to the auto-constructed,

both apt and accurate.

incrementally built homes that dominate the low-income neighbourhoods they serve.

Recent scholarship has usefully shifted the focus from the materiality of the dwellings that

The mohalla clinic scheme’s ambitions are

squatting creates to the mode of producing and

grand – over a thousand were planned by

inhabiting urban space. Vasudevan reframes

March 2017, although only about 110 are in

squatting as a set of practices, arguing that

operation. The delay isn’t due to a lack of

we need to better understand the dynamics of

resources or will, but the inability to find

a “makeshift urbanism” that results from the

adequate land in dense neighbourhoods.

juxtaposition of both structural exclusion but

Here is the dilemma of a Southern megacity:

also the possibilities of “endurance and social

geographies of auto-construction overlap

transformation”.

with those of formal ownership to make land scarce. How then does one move forward?

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Scholarship from practice – particularly the

A decision to use public resources to

work of organizers, residents and activist

expand access to healthcare for the poor is

federations – has shown and rallied behind

precisely within Vasudevan’s twin hopes for

in-situ upgrading, for example, as opposed to

squatting: the enabling of endurance and

either eviction or redevelopment as modes of

social transformation. Yet how should the

practice that begin from and affirm squatting

government of a city-region proceed against

as a core form of producing urban space.

the challenges?

Yet even here, squatting remains a mode of

Many clinics moved forward any way they could.

practice associated with the marginalized,

The one in Photo 1 occupies the sidewalk,

another weapon of the weak. Just as, for

sharing space with a street vendor. Two uses of


sidewalk space are thus juxtaposed: one that

wants, and within its timeframe, squatting is

we recognize immediately as “informal,” while

their only option. As with income-poor urban

the other is, in fact, a formal and public health

residents who cannot afford to buy or rent legal

dispensary. Inevitably, this has landed the

housing, squatting is the only mode though

clinics in the middle of a tenure security battle.

which the government can move forward at

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation – ruled

scale. In doing so, it is using a mode of practice

by the AAP’s rival Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP),

that fits with squatting and its uncertainties:

also the ruling party at the centre – has argued

build quickly in a material form that can come

that mohalla clinics are unauthorized structures

down as quickly as it goes up, and in the inter-

and continually threatens to demolish them. In

im, survive as long as possible, knowing that

response, the AAP health minister’s response is

the longer you survive, the more legitimacy you

that the structures are, in fact, not “structures”

gain.

at all. Being “temporary”, he argued, they needed no permission.

My intention here is not to debate which government is “right”, nor to draw a simplistic

Consider this set of practices: building a “tem-

equivalence between a mohalla clinic and a

porary” structure; using a particular set of ma-

pavement dwelling. It is to show that squatting

terials and construction techniques that reflect

as a practice has a set of logics that make

an uncertain temporality; building knowingly

it both effective and necessary for reaching

in tension with regimes of law, property and

certain outcomes in the specific historical

planning (the health minister did not deny that

and spatial contexts of Southern urbanization.

one could not build on a sidewalk); proceeding

Taking Southern practice seriously means

without resolving these tensions or knowing

seeing squatting not just in its tensions with

if a resolution is possible; and simultaneous-

formal logics of law and planning, nor merely

ly defending one’s occupation on moral and

in the material forms of housing, but as

ethical grounds (this is, after all, a public clinic)

mode of practice that embraces uncertainty,

as well as technicalities (this is a “temporary”

measures itself against limited temporalities,

structure). This is a familiar set of claims and

and operates to move forward incrementally

processes. The government of Delhi is, to put

in any way it can. This mode of practice is

it bluntly, squatting on the land of the North

claimed here as an equal possibility for state

Delhi Municipal Corporation. It is entirely pos-

action – for policies, programmes and plans –

sible, reading the health minister’s response,

and not just for subaltern urban residents. To

to argue that they know precisely that they are

use Solomon Benjamin’s conceptualization,

squatting. In responding as they did, one can

squatting is a practice that can allow even

argue that the AAP government is challenging

planners within state structures to become

the central government to demolish – in public

occupancy urbanists. This results in new forms

space and public view – what is, after all, not

of planning practice from within the state

a form of private appropriation, but a public

apparatus.

health centre. Legally, the municipal corporation is right. Yet the clinic draws its staying power more through a claim to legitimacy than to legality. Why has this situation come about? To build

Gautam Bhan, Notes on a Southern Urban Practice (2019).

the number of clinics that the AAP government

Environment and Urbanization 31(2), pp. 643 - 645

109


Amber Pearson The “Samba” Pen

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Grace Penton Consider The Ravens Printer ink, film, cardboard

111


Salvatore Pione Runner Acrylic, pencil, watercolour, oil pastel

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Lucy Provenzano Shower Tile, hair, PVA

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Constanza Pulit Single Mum Indian ink

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Indigo Randolph Gray A Moment of Loss Pencil

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Tamar Reavenall-Cashmore Preserving Tradition Oil, tissue paper, chalk, toned paper

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Shuyang Ren Closet Crayon

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Annette Robinson Untitled Clay, wood dye, emulsion, collage, inkjet print, pencil, digital drawing

118


Helena Rodriguez Crespo Untitled Charcoal, pencil, graphite

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Jemima Sara (Hand) Locked up - For Life Oil pastel, pencil

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Zoe Schneidereit Somewhere Over the Rainbow Graphite

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Square Eyes, Square Landscapes

method, with live coded algorithmic half and double-time beats. In terms of moving images, a film of a landscape

The story of landscapes is both easy and

is another kind of translation of sensation; film,

hard to tell. Sometimes it relaxes readers

as a “science of light”, restores a landscape

into somnolence, making us think we are not

to us as a shadow, a reflection, a projection,

learning anything new.

a fable, or a remembered journey. These configurations play on the original “problem of

Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End

landscape”; that it is a strange composite text,

of the World: On the Possibility of Life in

while also dangerously over-familiar. One of the

Capitalist Ruins, 2017

problems of continuity in both visual editing and sound design is the association it builds

Although I’m uncertain whether they are

between landscapes and matter-of-factness,

better described as letters, postcards, or

assenting to the easy legibility of cliché. What

windows, my understanding of the 115 posted

we need is not more documents of landscape-

A4 topographies of the DRAWING POSTAL

as-articulated-fact, but instead, new “avant

PROJECT is shaped by my practice as an artist-

docs” of landscape – diagnosing the ways

geographer. Geography combines geo- and

in which we make some landscape readings

grapheme in its literal meaning, earth-drawing.

more legible than others, from the complexity

As a discipline, it rests on a history of maps,

of assemblages of government reduced to a

diagrams, lines, and visual anthropology. Yet

single border, to the mobile, transformational

the resulting drawing created is, often, a map

ecological relationships hidden or reduced in

without a full key, impossible to fully decode

the Homogenocene (Suckling, 2015) to land

from more than one perspective.

definitions focussing on extractive resources.

My work often draws on old instructive manuals,

Perhaps even more than others, a public film

found diagrams, and geographer’s toolkits

text – like a found footage or archival film –

for both fieldwork and armchair work. More

rehearses these rubrics; the ways in which

often than not, it involves me working both

nature and environment exist in our discursive

with and against the rectangular landscape

lives, and that we train ourselves to see them in

– of the page, the postcard, the viewfinder,

certain ways. Between the geo-grapher (land-

the quadrat and transect field site, or even

drawer) and the projectionist, painter, or film-

the cinema itself. We no longer simply accept

maker, then, the telling of stories of landscape

‘what cartographers tell us maps are supposed

requires all of our learning practices. So does

to be’, and the complexity of geography as a

the undoing of these stories.

composite visual discipline leads to layered

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experiments between the four corners of both

My own films often concern stagnant

still image and moving image forms. This is also

landscapes, mired between the reflective

related to the actual handiwork of geography as

and the immersive, or mental geographies,

a discipline of “copying” and draughtsmanship.

mixing dreams, novels, projections, visions,

In one recent short film, PILOTS 29, I turned a

flash-backs, vigils, and walk-throughs. One

classic geographer’s handbook on diagrams

of the things I am invested in in my work,

and manual contour-tracing into a new,

both in collaborations and in solo works, is a

multiply-traced and layered film-as-book

return to forms of public film, like the nature


documentary, as an audio-visual training for

forces, and the ways in which landscapes

the modern world; a suspension of disbelief,

haunt us, but we also simultaneously haunt

and a relentless green-screening, as backdrop

our landscapes – with laws, cartographies,

to the proposed scientific authority. How can

histories, and invisible elements, from lethal

we work to restore the eerie in this green-

contaminates to state power. Whenever we

screen landscape of nature documentary? And

witness a territorial mapping of particular

by eerie, I mean the part where our narratives

forms of narrative and voice, it is important to

and ways of knowing fail; where the legibility of

ask – which versions of landscape are being

the environment accepts a gap or pause.

empowered, and which dis-empowered?

In particular, I follow the Iranian philosopher

Landscape, like the techniques and expec-

Negarestani’s use of the metaphor of a “plot of

tations of film-making, is an always already

land”, as well as a “plot-hole”, in Cyclonopedia:

inhabited view. All the landscapes we expe-

Complicity with Anonymous Materials. Can we,

rience are constructed to some extent, and a

after Negarestani, find ways of becoming-

film might show exactly how precarious these

vermin in these pedagogies – learning new

constructions can be – a set of habits, mirag-

ways to “plot holes instead of the wholesome

es, versions/visions, and our own training in

narratives that cover them up”?

various kinds of landscape vernaculars. The taken-for-granted concepts of environment

The story of landscape seems very simple. Just

by which we live rely on the fact that we are

then you realise you have been sleepwalking.

all highly trained; as audio-visual consumers, and as experiencers of landscapes, horizons,

As an artist-film-maker and geographer, my

and broadcasts. Geographies which go beyond

work concerns bad framings of landscape;

passive forms of reception of landscape are

commonplaces about common places, or those

those which make visible (or even deliberate-

received ideas and power systems we seem

ly trespass against) our unconscious rules for

to sleepwalk through. Reading the landscape

construing, and judging, topography: say, the

– the phrase around which the new cultural

phobia of wetlands and “untamed” landscapes,

geography has organised itself – also means

or the expected scale we use when looking at

re-reading the landscape; de-coding its riddle.

certain phenomena – a forest, a fungus, a body,

In fact, the verb “read”, in its earliest Anglo-

a fractal coastline, a national border, a long-

Saxon form, ræd, means both to solve, but

range cyclone seen via televised prediction

equally to pose, a riddle, as the late Nicholas

models.

Howe observed in Writing the Map of AngloSaxon England. Landscape is less a discipline

Landscape in moving image work draws on

than a metaphor for the ways we build our world

these forms of amateur training as much as on

view – so the stakes of this riddled world, and

fields of expertise. We are all already experts in

its modes of multiple authorship (and species-

our rhetoric of landscape – living in the same

ship), are high.

ambient collective mindspace which requires telling landscape “as it is”, which really

I am interested in the problems of landscape,

means, navigated according to the same

and nature, as a subterfuge or cover operation

white lies of cartography, continuity, framing,

for a number of other undisclosed forces. Both

the temporalities of video, technologies of

geography and film-making give us particular

vision, the picturesque, land ownership, legal

visual tools to understand or even unseat these

definitions/classification, etc. Rhetorical and

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visual emphasis on seamlessness can mask the uncanniness of these agreed, pre-designated, never quite perfect techniques. The seeming trustworthiness of “landscape, noun, a unit of land large enough to be of telluric significance” hides its own history and continuity errors as different forms of an agreed understanding – as landskip, or as landschaft – with its strained relation to morphology, making/scaping, and the scenery of painting traditions. Or, in these 115 postcard-like compositions, the quick impressions of glances and windows, or the frozen time of souvenirs. In film and film editing, the same range of problems arise with a landscape approach, drawing on the disparate records which make up a social collage of a place, or a time, or a memory; the balance of collective forms, or oppressive erasures; the inherent difficulties of film as an accounting of an environment via certain patterns and filters of human and technological witness, from the monologue or voice, to the rectangular-eye view of the modern cinema screen (compared in film studies to anything ranging from a car window to a display aquarium). Individually and collectively, we may explore ways of tripping up some of these normal way-marking habits in both still and moving images – offering alternative travelogues, in which the landscapes are obstructive, tactile, radicalised, or dreamed; either way, not as reliable as we seem to think they are.

124


Dr Amy Cutler, Square Eyes, Square Landscapes (2021)

125


Tasala Seifi The Fall Acrylic

126


Yao Shi Dream and Memory Pencil

127


Anouska Sokolow When We Marry Monoprint

128


Ruichen Song <You should> Watercolor, paper

129


Thomas Southard Untitled Ink

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Demi Stiles Gato Acrylic

131


Eleanor Street Drawn By The Light Digital photograph

132


Powel Tajer Untitled Inkjet

133


Kate Terry Plan for DPP Watercolour, pencil, tape

134


Gemma Thompson Untitled (sound walk) Graphite

135


Sid Ullersperger UNTITLED (Experiment No.5) Ink, graphite

136


Laura Vidal Berbara Save Me Bras, photograph, digital drawing

137


Drawing as Contagion

potentials of drawing are opened up through language and the way most people think about “drawing out,” as a way of thinking through something, an actioning or a movement. I’m

…There’s an implication that I’m asking the

arriving at this formulation that drawing is more

audience to become this drawing with me,

like performance, we’re leaving a trace and that

because the drawing material itself will leave

trace can be a conversation. I find it difficult

a trace on the audience, so they’re implicated.

to divorce writing from drawing, because they

If they’ve come to see the work they become

both demonstrate how we interact with one

part of the work quite naturally because the

another. I’m seeing that there’s a connection

carbon is already in the air, they’re going to be

between us all, through dialoguing there is a

absorbing it. I struggle to find the boundary

line, there’s a thread. The beauty of charcoal

between writing or drawing which perhaps

is that it has this contagious aspect. It’s fun-

is to do with language. So many people talk

damental to our life on the planet, just like how

about drawing figuratively – “drawing out,”

our interactivity is, we can only really strength-

“drawing from,” “drawing with,” and I think as

en if we are working together. If your thinking is

an idea that that’s really what my performance

informed by an ethics focused on human rights

is about, because it’s not conventional

or sustainability it allows a certain freedom – all

drawing but it’s using the tools of traditional

the things that maybe could be embarrassing or

conventional drawing. And because the drawing

risky can be overcome, because I see drawing

also becomes part of anyone who enters that

almost as a formal way of approaching my art

space, it becomes relational. Taking that further

practice. Thinking of drawing in that way allows

introduces the notion of life drawing; people are

me to feel creative and take every experience as

observing my body in a traditional way of life

a valuable experience and be quite present in

drawing, so it means that also the observations

each situation.

that are made could become drawing, that is drawing without a material process but with

*

the perceptual process. The drawing is also located in the choreography of the body around

I like that contagion is considered a negative

the space, so there are layers kinds of drawing;

word but that I can use this. We think of the

some will leave material traces, some will leave

spaces that we occupy as utopian when they

traces of memory. It becomes useful to think

deal with sterility and architecture, but coming

of drawing as a mode of being or a mode of

back to the charcoal again, entering a space

operating, because I think it’s kind of forgiving.

can be risky. Once you’ve entered a space, you have no control over what material will land

138

The reason I have been able to arrive at an idea

on you, even if the trace is invisible. I think if

of drawing as an expanded process is because

my purpose is to try and work out how I can

I’ve gone through a certain type of education

contribute to transformative justice in this

and my mum emphasized the importance of

world, the work asks me to center strategies

life drawing, observational drawing, drawing

of decolonization, to try and unpack and

with charcoal. Although I’m saying drawing

absorb writing theory around blackness and

is democratic and generative and has these

anti‐racism, and what the charcoal does is

possibilities, in practice it doesn’t work unless

implicate everyone in that blackness – like

we’re all up to speed with the idea that crea-

the idea of contagion. In a perverse way I like

tivity can happen at any point. I think that the

the thought of people being troubled with


the material. I like that you might be unaware that when you’re washing your hands, you’re taking the blackness off. One can ignore that quite easily and it might make no impact but for some people it might be the germ of the conversation with which they’ll say, “Isn’t that annoying? It’s dirty to me, I’m dirty, my clothes are covered in this.” I like that because you can’t escape, you can’t shed that skin, you’re viewed as almost contagious just bringing up racism or decolonization. Thinking how we have pathologized blackness, both in the US and here in the UK, one thinks of these big pharmaceutical companies that take over everyone’s lives. * ... Not divorcing writing from drawing allows me to frame a world of creativity and possibility. Drawing is something that we’re taught to do in school, it’s something that we do as a child, it’s accessible, so it allows me to be thinking about democracy and speak on layman’s terms – it doesn’t need to be art. Through drawing you’re mapping, you’re editing, or tracing something. I’m also making an appeal that no drawing is wrong. Because I think that sense of doing things wrong is what limits everyone’s access, not just to the spaces for creativity, but also to our own potential for creativity. It’s like we’ve unlearnt creativity. When I perform “No Need for Clothing,” there are pauses, I breathe in and out for three seconds, it isn’t showy, but I just pause and breathe, so that I can keep going for the remaining time. I sometimes think about how we unlearn how to breathe fully, it wasn’t until I went to yoga, that I was taught again how to breathe in to my tummy so that it expands and then to breathe out again. I think we put limits on our imagination similarly, because we’re breathing in this constant state of suspense or anxiety, that this world creates

Jade Montserrat, Drawing as Contagion, from A Companion

around us.

to Contemporary Drawing (2020). Edited by Kelly Chorpening and Rebecca Fortnum, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp.163-166

139


Agnes Von Kindt Rohde The Absence of You Graphite pencil

140


Denni Waterhouse Self Portrait 15 Coloured fine liner

141


Florence Webb Under the Surface Fine liner

142


Saskia Wong Pluck Pencil, foil, stickers, plastic wallet

143


Sarah Woodfine Stem Lithograph

144


Xiao Yue Blooms Acrylic paint

145


Marta Zanatti Untitled Collagraph, transfer paper

146


Jinhong Zhang Daily Life during the Lockdown Marker pen

147


The Thinking Hand

embodied experience, as an artist in the world creating drawings that demand from the whole self, and not just the hand. Richmond remarked that ‘in drawing you have to be in it, in that you

The shared positioning of ‘failing’ but still

can’t think about drawing. It’s difficult to talk

‘wanting to go on’ creates a dialogue between

without thinking about what to say. You almost

its practitioners. Yves developed this notion

have to be beside yourself to draw. The daily

of community by suggesting, ‘one learns from

practice of drawing – it’s done with the whole

watching others in the practice of drawing.

body – all our body is involved.’ What Richmond

For example, in the life room, you are in the

seems to be describing here, is drawing as

practice of looking at the marks you have put

thinking, that is, a form of thinking that doesn’t

down, but also the marks that others have put

necessarily use words. This led him to speculate

down.’ The suggestion was that the life‐room is

on drawing’s difficult fit within university

not just about learning technique, but also the

frameworks:

exercising of empathy, or as John phrased it, ‘approaching work from a position of wanting

‘I suspect drawing was eliminated in quite

to know more.’ In this it is clear that the Bergers

a few colleges because certain alarm bells

are describing how an ethos of drawing begins

started ringing. People started to say that

to take hold, urging the individual to approach

it wasn’t part of the rational discourse.

work (and life) from a position of acknowledging

I think it goes back to Plato, the notion

both an absence of knowledge and a desire for

that there is something irrational about

it. Attempting a fuller definition, John said:

art that’s hard to defend, and it has to be defended in a rational manner. It’s an

‘I completely understand this category

inherent contradiction.’

of ‘observational drawing’ because that means that we are there drawing

In the current UK educational climate when all

and there’s something there that we

forms of creative thinking can appear under

are drawing. But there is something

siege, Richmond’s reflections seemed to us to

also about the term ‘observational’

have considerable traction. It is thus important

that seems to me not quite precise.

within education to define drawing as a meeting

Because actually, as soon as one starts

point or articulation of a cross‐section of

to draw, as soon as the process begins,

histories, skills and intellectual enquiry. As the

it’s a process or rather an experience of

theorist Thierry de Duve has said:

astonishment, because whatever it is that one is drawing, however ordinary, or

“I want to plead here for the maintenance

exceptional, the more one starts following

of art schools conceived as crucibles

one’s look, the more astonished one

in which technical apprenticeship,

is [in terms of the discovery involved].

theoretical instruction and the formation

Astonishment is at the heart of drawing

of judgment are brought together to

and astonishment is at the heart of living.

create a unique question of address.”

Here drawing and life are quite close. The

(Madoff, 2009: 24)

word observational doesn’t insist upon this astonishment.’

As both artists and educators, we might usefully describe teaching drawing as a wish to further

Our discussion that day explored drawing as 148

the understanding of the relationship between


form, materiality and a philosophical quest that is both malleable and elastic enough to suit the purposes of the diverse backgrounds and ever‐shifting ambitions and priorities of artists today. We believe the artist’s ‘thinking hand’ is capable of addressing, in both immediate and protracted ways, any subject the world might care to provide.

Note: this extract recounts a discussion between the artists John Berger, his son Yves Berger, and Miles Richmond during a day of drawing and discussion with Drawing course staff and students in 2007.

Kelly Chorpening and Rebecca Fortnum, A Companion to Contemporary Drawing (Introduction) (2020). Edited by Kelly Chorpening and Rebecca Fortnum, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. PP.7-8

149



Anonymous Project Afterimage Biro, cutout paper [installed after the exhibition opened]

151