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INTRODUCTION

In 2016 Jennifer Bailey, Mark Bleakley, Anastasia Philimonos, Katie Schwab and Hamish Young took part in Collective’s Satellites Programme. They applied through our annual open call and were selected by artist Tessa Lynch, curator George Vasey and directors of Konsthall C, Jenny Richards and Jens Standberg. The group met in Edinburgh and Stockholm for two retreats, then in each other’s studios over one year, providing moments of interruption and reflection while developing new public commissions with Collective. 

Satellites is discursive and practicefocussed. With close support from artist James N. Hutchinson and Collective’s Siobhan Carroll, myself and a much wider cast of contributors and staff who make it possible, Satellites offers space to test ideas, expand and question the production of new work. This publication aims to open out the intimate development process by bringing together texts compiled by Anastasia and Katie over the course of the programme, with uniquely produced contributions from each participating artist. f r a n c e s s ta c e y


SATELLITES PROGRAMME 2016 e d i t e d b y Anastasia Philimonos and Katie Schwab p r i n t e d Push Print, Glasgow; GotPrint, Maastricht; Jessops, Glasgow; Clydeside Press, Glasgow All images courtesy of the artists, Collective, Alexei Schwab and Merav Israel. d e s i g n Maeve Redmond t y p e fa c e Life, Jean-Luc isbn

978-1-873653-21-0

Š Collective, the artists and writers March 2017 e d i t i o n o f 50 b y Collective, City Observatory and City Dome, Edinburgh. published

www.collectivegallery.net collective would like to thank ;

a rt i s t a n d fa c i l i tat o r : James N. Hutchinson s e l e c t o r s : Tessa Lynch, Jenny Richards, Jens Strandberg and George Vasey t h e i n s t i g at o r s at e a c h

r e t r e at : Ruth Barker, Julie-Ann Delaney, Petra Bauer, Josephine Wikstrom, Johan Pousette, IAPSIS, Konsthall C p r o d u c t i o n s u p p o rt : Alastair Clark, Joe Etchell, Tom Nolan and the Collective team.


together in a room katie schwab 20.02.16 – 24.04.16


______________________________________________________________________________ //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Dedicated to my great teachers, [Door opening. Steps] And we are going to start in here. [ii]

Opening on 9th July 1934, it was not only the first modernist block of flats in Britain, but Marcel Breuer, designer of modernist furniture, and László Maholy-Nagy, head teacher of

It’s about eight stories I think.

The floor above, I think there’s a business there; a nursery, a crèche. [iv]

In 1936 we moved to Berlin… I started Art School at the “Contempora” located at Emerstr. 4 over several buildings, with large balconies running along all classrooms. During the first year

It used to be run by a tenan

It was taken over

The communal buildings were placed centre stage by Jacobsen, as he wan She was very, very modern in design. [ix]

Is t

Is there sco

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


_____________________________________________________________________________ /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: the weavers of ancient Peru. [i]

t also the home of notable émigrés, including Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, art at the Bauhaus school. [iii]

] Those are original, those chairs. [v]

42—44, which was quite close to our apartment. That school was on the top floor, stretching r I had to do a general art course, but after that I specialised in Textile-Design. [vi]

nt management association. by Islington council last year. [vii]

nted these meeting places to be at the heart of the educational body. [viii]

there a well-controlled and clearly understandable hierarchy of public and private spaces?

ope for the users/occupants to make their own changes and ‘personalize’ the building? [x]

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

[xi]


[i] Anni Albers, On Weaving (London: Studio Vista Publishers, 1974), p.5. [ii] Caroline, tour guide at the home of Carl and Karin Larsson, Lilla Hyttnäs, Sundborn, Sweden, 2015. [iii] Skandium, ‘London’s Isokon Building has opened a gallery to tell its rich history as the home of modernist designers, writers and spies’, The Skandium Blog (July 17, 2014), un-paginated. Accessed February 17, 2016. URL: http://www.skandium.com/blog/archives/2518. [iv] Madeleine Ladell, interview, Phoenix Pottery, London, 2015. [v] Becky Lewin, tour of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, 2015. [vi] Mia Schwab, memoir, London, 1999. [vii] Madeleine Ladell, interview, Phoenix Pottery, London, 2015. [viii] Skandium, ‘Celebrating St Catherine’s College’, The Skandium Blog (May 9, 2012), unpaginated. Accessed February 17, 2016. URL: https://www.skandium.com/blog/archives/1187. [ix] Caroline, tour guide at the home of Carl and Karin Larsson, Lilla Hyttnäs, Sundborn, Sweden, 2015. [x] Eileen Adams and Colin Ward, ‘Critical Skills: Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation’ in Art and the Built Environment (Essex: Longman for the Schools Council, 1982), pp. 59 – 75, p. 61. [xi] Anni Albers, ‘Study made on the typewriter’ in On Weaving (London: Studio Vista Publishers, 1974), p. 119.

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Katie would like to thank: Madeleine Ladell, Becky Lewin, Alexei Schwab, Simon Worthington, Glasgow Masters Series, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Hospitalfield Arts, RSA John Kinross Scholarship and everyone at 58.

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A Nude Descends into a Lump Mark Bleakley 07.05.16 – 19.06.16


the endless possibilities of an imagescape

Playing inside the gallery, artist Mark Bleakley’s site-specific audio installation A Nude Descends and Other Gestures invites the viewer, and in turn listener, to locate herself in front of the window. This location naturally allows her a specific view, one that ultimately triggers the beginning of eight stories; when one story ends the voice relocates her to the start of a new narration. The narration emerges from, and builds on, the existing scenery of Calton Hill to describe the actions of five figures who never actually meet despite their spatial proximity – at least they don’t in the recited story, which is, as we shall see, receptive to alterations. [1] The backdrop against which the listener/viewer is prompted to visualise the recorded stories can be seen through the screen, which is the gallery window; the work is a kind of imagescape. [2] The concept of imagescape comprises elements of three-dimensionality and (occasionally) sound: in this instance, the view outside the window and the recording, respectively. Still, the artwork holds another feature of the imagescape that is one of fluidity (in its form and in the experiences that it generates). In cultural theorist Ron Burnett’s words, imagescapes ‘have enough fluidity that meaning is never just a function of what is in images, what has been intended, or what has been constructed for the purpose of display’. [3] The temporal dimension of the work and the framing of the existing landscape are those that permit its profound contingency. Naturally, Calton Hill is not a static space, let alone when it is experienced over the course of time that is required to listen to the whole audio work. Anything is possible as the recording plays forward and the hill is there to be seen ‘ripening’ in real time. [4]

[1] To listen to A Nude Descends and Other Gestures, go to https://soundcloud.com/mark-bleakley/ a-nude-descends-into-a-lump. [2] For a concise analysis of the concept, see Ron Burnett, How Images Think (Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005), pp. 39-56. [3] Ibid., p. 41. [4] The term ‘ripening’ alludes to Thomas Mann’s study of time in his book The Magic Mountain. There, Mann famously proclaimed that ‘[t]ime is active, by nature it is much like a verb, it both “ripens’’ and “brings forth’’. And what does it bring forth? Change!’ – Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain: A Novel, trans. John E Woods (New York; London: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), p. 409.


Another conditional element of the work is its very narration, which is formally finite but not so when it is imbued in the subjectivity of the listener. The beginning of the narration meticulously describes the aberrant movement of the artist’s first character who ‘[stands] on the ledge of the monument’ (the existing National Monument), forcing the listener to accurately visualise the recounted events. Nevertheless, as one listens further into the audio, the scientific, scrupulous description wastes away to give place to an oscillating story. [5] A few minutes into A Nude Descends and Other Gestures, the phrasing becomes nebulous, free associations activate the stream of consciousness and latent questions expect the listener/viewer’s reply (or not) – ‘a boy stands for a rock [or] a rock stands for a boy [?]’. [6] Furthermore, imaginary objects densely appear – a swimming pool, a wet tiled floor, a molten rock, two coffee cups, a disembodied arm and so on. All these additions to the initially eerie yet explicit description of gestures and the perpetually changing views outside the window make the listener/viewer’s attentiveness to the audio a strenuous task. A Nude Descends and Other Gestures replaces traditional ideas about contemplative spectatorship, in which one looks onto an object from a distance (whilst trying to understand a given meaning), with a more dynamic encounter between spectator and artefact. Here, the spectator is placed within the zone that the work (symbolically) occupies: the gallery and its immediate surroundings. Grounded in this space, the spectator acts within, and/or departs from, the potentials generated by the work. She would utilise the recorded story and/or the unforeseen span of life unfolding outside the window to imaginarily create a (theoretically) infinite amount of stories or even to proceed to (real) actions that would be less or more relevant to the audio. The possibilities are, indeed, endless. a n a s ta s i a p h i l i m o n o s

[5] The concept of scientific description is borrowed from the author Alain Robbe-Grillet who used it to describe the density of the thorough description, which is followed by no exegesis, as it is to be found in his novels. As cited in Ben F. Stoltzfus, ‘A Novel of Objective Subjectivity: Le Voyeur by Alain Robbe-Grillet’, PMLA, Vol. 77, No. 4 (September 1962), pp. 499-507, p. 499. [6] In literature, free association is a mode of writing that, by bringing together random objects, activates the stream of consciousness.


ock for a R nds in med at ta S y o r erfo ,AB leakley 016. [P Mark B ersa, score, 2 V or Vice e, 2016. v rcell Collecti r a c k Sam Pu kley, Philip t le o rk B a e Miller, audi s Ma ti rmer o f ald, Ka r pe Mcdon r e d n a . Alex ioli] 5/2016 a Rava l, 28/0 a e r s I Carolin tes erav d no ph M t at e ogra n, to anno g phot / in t n n u sey Pen acco a C n e d t n writ ney a nn Dela Julie-A 2016.

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Mark would like to thank: Philip McDonald, Katie Miller, Carolina Ravioli, Kim Donohoe, Sam Purcell, Luke Pell, Josh Wilson, DanceBase, Chambers Studio and Basic Mountain.


Will I Make a Good Father, Mother, Sister? Jennifer Bailey 09.07.16 – 04.09.16


Being Outside and Within, Hidden and Present

A lilac schematic female body is painted directly on the wall in a precise and trim manner. Its torso is an elongated circular form and its limbs are straight lines, which diagonally pierce the torso ending in the prints of artist Jennifer Bailey’s hands and feet. This diagrammatic body is pulled (and, hypothetically, is there to be pulled more and more) to conform to the dimensions of the wall – the latter alludes to an unavoidable fixation with a rigid, pre-described way of being, in which the former appears to be flexible. Gendered by the colour, the diagrammatic body speaks for what is commonly known as the feminised labouring subject of post-Fordism. [1] Feminised partially because the contemporary worker experiences the blurring of the line between work and non-work, a distortion long omnipotent in women’s lives. One aspect of the processes of feminisation related to, and explored by, Will I Make a Good Father, Mother, Sister? is that women often hold a waged (secondary) position that would allow them to perform their unwaged domestic labour; similarly, artists (being flexible enough), often undertake more than one job to support their underpaid or unpaid artwork. [2] Artists can exemplify the flexible subject since their working habits – which are in a persistent precarious oscillation – are now hegemonic to broader

[1] Whereas a Fordist economy is based on the production taking place at the assembly-line of the factory, during which labour is orientated towards a defined result, a post-Fordist economy predominantly depends on the immaterial commodity (affective and intellectual labour). PostFordism, whilst bringing into the centre of economic development the so-called creative professions and the alleged liberation they promise, it also amplified and diffused the insecurity that characterises those professions. Therefore, insecurity and absence of regulation, familiar to the intellectual labouring subjects, became the working reality of a significant part of the workforce. Simply put, post-Fordism is characterised by the expansion of the freelance market, long and malleable working hours, the blurring of the distinction between leisure and production time, intermittent jobs and the obligation of holding more than one job to secure one’s reproduction. For a thorough discussion about the contradictions within ‘liberated’ professions, see Andrew Ross, Nice Work if you Can Get it: Life and Labour in Precarious Times (New York; London: New York University Press, 2009). [2] For a succinct discussion on this topic, see Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd, ‘Introduction: ‘‘The Last Instance’’ – The Apparent Economy, Social Struggles and Art in Global Capitalism’ in Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd (eds.) Economy: Art Production and the Subject in the 21st Century (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015), pp. 1-30, pp. 18-21.


labour conditions. Falling into the ideology of ‘being exceptional’, their (art) labour fosters precarity and often comes with the (romanticised) mythology of the creator who willingly sacrifices (and could also work for free because she does something ‘exceptional’). [3] Flexibility is essential for succeeding in the (art) market as organised within advanced capitalism. As Marxist philosopher Paolo Virno put it, the subjects are ‘[…] being constantly confronted with a phantasmagoric ensemble of simultaneous opportunities, to be negotiated with flexibility’. [4] This ‘phantasmagoria’ grounds the artist in the ideology of the possible. Namely, it is both likely and unlikely to find an (artistic) job. [5] Therefore, she would cut across the world to find a job, move to find a fixedterm internship and move again to take up appointment at a residency, then send a few of her works to an exhibition. Naturally, those (artistic) occupations would be intermittent, would not come in harmonious succession. Hence, the artist, to enable her artwork (and secure her reproduction), would seek another position (ideally part-time) to allow time for the production of her artwork. [6] To underline the intersection between paid work and (sometimes) unpaid or underpaid art-work, Will I Make a Good Father, Mother, Sister? evokes office-environments: the wall drawing references mind-maps used by workers to increase productivity; the simple circle of the torso and lines of the limbs suggest shapes found on office-papers, whereas the X configuration – formed by the crossing of the hand-and-leg-lines in the middle of the elongated circle – points to the backgrounds of graphic-design software very often used by admin-

[3] Sociologist and philosopher Maurizio Lazzarato pondered away the discontents of ‘exceptionality’ commenting on how the so-called ‘exceptional flexibility’ of the artistic subject is falsely used to justify a resulting exceptional insecurity. Maurizio Lazzarato, Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity, trans. Joshua David Jordan (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2014), pp. 150-153. [4] Phantasmagoria is a form of theatre during which frightening images are projected with the help of a lantern. The use of the word phantasmagoria has a particular significance, it implies something ostensibly positive that could be, however, deeply disturbing. Paolo Virno, ‘Post-Fordist Semblance’, SubStance, #112, Vol. 36, No. 1 (2007), pp. 42-46, p.45. [5] Virno refers to the ideology of the possible to describe a set of beliefs that naturalise the uncertainty in which the (artistic) subject operates. This ideology sustains and is sustained by, the promotion of self-actualisation, which, supposedly, entails the acceptance of self-responsibility. Ibid. [6] For an analysis specifically about the precariousness of artistic labour, see Alberto López Cuenca, ‘Artistic Labour, Enclosure and the New Economy’, Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry, #30 (Summer 2012), pp. 4-13.


workers. Hung on different walls of the gallery are four white ceramics, each of them combining two distinctive and opposed parts: a base, which looks like a replica of what might be an electronic hand-device, and straps that display on their surface the prints of the artist’s fingers and nails; the base-device supports the straps shaped by the artistic, individualised sensitivity. A glossy, colourful photograph depicting a (professional) woman reservedly smiling, with her hands loosely crossed, resembles photographs of employees published on corporate websites or brochures. In this instance, the artist, instead of creating an idiosyncratic photographic portraiture, appropriates the aesthetics of corporations to further emphasise the dependence of her artwork on the structures that support it. The knowledge that the portrayed woman is the artist’s sister once again underpins the parallel between unpaid domestic labour and unpaid art-work by commenting on the entanglement between women and the home and, more particularly, between women artists and the home. Will I Make a Good Father, Mother, Sister? grounds our attention on the conditions of its making by disclosing them through its very form. The displayed artworks deplore these conditions by revealing the subject of art production – the body – to be uncannily stretched. The ceramics, by bearing on the surface the fingerprints of the artist – the artist’s hand – contradict the office-aesthetics to expose, through their (aesthetic) clash, art as the result of the dialectical tensions between artists’ desire to transgress socio-economic structures and their unavoidable confinement within them. In light of this, art is simultaneously outside and within hegemonic economic structures and the social relations allowing its creation, albeit being often pedantically hidden, are always present. cker, Insert loss sti a n a s ta s i a p h i l i m o n o s

Jenny would like to thank: Alex, Alva, Geneva and Lauren.

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Excavation hamish Young 17.09.16 – 20.11.16


making matters

To follow the material means not to discuss aesthetic issues of quality, expressiveness or symbolic content but to investigate transpersonal societal problems and matters of concern. [1] All objects in artist Hamish Young’s Excavation are carved in marble or are covered with its chiselling residue: a hand grips a piece of stone; a crude piece of marble and a series of screen prints, made using ink blended with marble dust, portray the silhouettes of men standing amidst the dramatic marble formations in the quarries of Carrara, Tuscany. Arranged loosely and in proximity to one another, these objects (re)present different instances of the same material: from the unprocessed, rough formation to the meticulously carved hand. The marble occupies the gallery as it does in the city and mountains of Carrara from where it was mined. Returning from his visit to Carrara, Hamish commented that ‘[the] material dominates the surrounding area: in a visual way, vast quarries, sculptures, marble dust roads etc. but also in a historical, economic and cultural way’. Carrara’s appearance and underlying reality – political and economic – are forged by the being of this very marble. Yet, it is rather unusual that an encounter with the sculptures can readily call to mind the enthralling sight of the mines, for, as marble and sculpture have long been entwined, the former is very often (mis)recognised as a material which landed in a vacuum in the artist’s studio. Nevertheless, in philosopher Theodor W. Adorno’s words, ‘[c]learly there exists, perhaps imperceptible in the materials and forms which the artist acquires something more than material and forms. […] For the forms, even the materials, are by no means merely given by nature […]. History has accumulated in them, and spirit permeates them’. [2] Squaring with Adorno’s postulation, Excavation displays an analytical process of dissecting the (artistic) end-result – in this instance, the refined hand that holds the piece of rock, grasping tightly its

[1] Petra Lange-Berndt, ‘Introduction//How to Be Complicit with Materials’ in Petra Lange-Berndt (ed.) Materiality, Documents of Contemporary Art Series (London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2015), pp. 12-23, p. 16.


materiality in an attempt to focus our attention on the very matter – to unravel the multiple layers of history that preceded it, to provoke thought more on the material than on the deciphering of the formation presented by the artist. The (art) object, to quote anthropologist Tim Ingold, ‘[is] a complete and final form that confronts the viewer as a fait accompli. It is already made’. [3] On the contrary, to comprehend something as a material ‘is to see it as a potential – for further making, growth and transformation’. [4] Indeed, when we refer to materials (and, for instance, not to a sculpture or a painting), very often we do so to proceed into a discussion about an intentional creation. In the specific case of this exhibition, the crude piece of marble brings forth the (historical) reality of the matter before its conversion into a fixed, carved object. Therefore, it invites reflection on the temporality prior to the production of Excavation – namely, what defined the passage of time between raw matter and refined object? Karl Marx wrote in his Grundrisse that ‘labour is the living fire that shapes the pattern; it is the transitoriness of things, their temporality, their transformation by living time’. [5] For this, the screen prints touch upon the actuality of the quarry as a site of production and thus on the entanglement between human agency/labour and matter, both being in a relation of interdependence. The screen prints eloquently evoke the correlation between marble and human agency, indicating them as concomitant parts of an intricate historicity. In the screen prints the marble appears to be the sole constituent of the landscape, imposing its magnificent articulation in the male figures that rather look like small vertical lines within an expanding scenery. The amalgam of ink and marble dust, used to make the screen prints, further suggests the reciprocal affect/effect between human and matter and the agency of the material as it travels – through ecology and history – to ‘land on’ the former. To deepen the history (and temporality) of the marble, the grasping hand indicates not only the labour taking place in the quarries but also the labour in the artist’s studio.

[2] Theodor W. Adorno, ‘Functionalism Today’ (1967) in Neil Leach (ed.) Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory (London; New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 5-18, p. 12. [3] Tim Ingold, ‘Toward and Ecology of Materials’, Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 41 (October 2012), pp. 427-442, p. 435. [4] Ibid. [5] Karl Marx, Marx’s Grundrisse, tans. and ed. David McLellan (London: Macmillan, 1971), p. 89.


The hand, a demonstration of virtuosic craftsmanship, further references exercises undertaken by sculptors to advance their skills. [6] American artist Carl Andre suggested that ‘[m]atter as matter rather than matter as symbol is a conscious political position I think, essentially Marxist’. [7] Echoing this, Excavation foregrounds the contingency and fluidity of matter. By this virtue, matter is not only becoming, altering, travelling, affecting, clashing but is also altered, travelled, affected, clashed and essentially laboured. Hamish recounts the stories of the marble occurring before this ultimate display and thus locates viewers’ attention in the socio-political and economic relations that shape and are shaped by the matter. Excavation allows an understanding of materiality not merely in philosophical terms – grounded on the premises of the ‘circle of life’ and the pure physicality of the matter – but also in terms of an everlasting connection between subject and object. Ultimately, it transforms the gallery from a space of aesthetic consumption to a space of fluid knowledge pertaining to marble’s ‘accumulated history’. a n a s ta s i a p h i l i m o n o s

[6] Indeed, Hamish drew his form from a photograph, taken in the studios of Carrara, that depicts a wall embellished with marble hands – filled or empty – fingers and arms. Those ‘fractions’ of the human body are the products of observational studies intended to increase sculptors’ artisanship. For the photograph, see Joel Leivick, Carrara: The Marble Quarries of Tuscany (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999). [7] As cited in Dominic Rahtz, ‘Indifference of the Material in the Work of Carl Andre and Robert Smithson’, Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1 (2012), pp. 33-51, p. 37.

Hamish would like to thank: Silvio Corsini, Cecilia Biancalana, Federica Forti, Edinburgh Printmakers and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.

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a Carrar vation, card, 2017. a c x E , y g h Youn rinted on gre Hamis reen p c s le b mar


W.W.W. (Whole World Working) Anastasia Philimonos 03.12.16 – 05.02.17


Ah Love! could you and I with Fate conspire To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire, Would not we shatter it to bits – and then Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire! Omar Khayyam [1] W.W.W. (Whole World Working) alludes to a condition that is as distant, fleeting and implausible, as it is promising, radical and longed for but, more importantly, to a condition that (still) seems utopian. One could say utopia is the opposite of pragmatism or, for that matter, the opposite of politics. And yet, as Marxist political theorist Fredric Jameson once wrote, utopian imagination can trigger political thinking and subsequently action. [2] This is because utopian thinking, being holistic, fundamentally questions our ways of, and the tools we employ for, forming our being and the structures within which we navigate. Being holistic and all-encompassing, it provides us with the (theoretical) equipment to question the forces that define the era of globalisation. So-called globalisation came with the promises of universal integration and yet, also brought forth the realisation of newly configured regimes of power and exclusion. [3] Currently, borders of all kinds – political, economic, racial, gender-based, religious – are colliding with the erstwhile hopes of global emancipation. Within this context, Whole World Working aspires to offer a small contribution to current discussions on the potential uses of existing digital technologies to facilitate new ways of dwelling and working in global cooperation. [4] In 1968, American polymath R. Buckminster Fuller, years before the information society was solidly established, wrote his Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. [5] In this text, he argues that the only way to achieve global [1] Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, trans. Edward Fitzgerald (Boston: International Pocket Library, 1992), p. 29. [2] Fredric Jameson, ‘The Politics of Utopia’, New Left Review, Vol. 25 (January – February, 2004). [3] For a thorough discussion on the issue of the possibility of global social integration initially promised with the advent of globalisation – occurring after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union – and its clash with globalisation’s actual integration only at the level of economy, see Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s germinal books on this topic Empire (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000) and Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin Books, 2004). [4] For a critical analysis of this topic, see Benjamin H. Bratton, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2016).


affluence is to avoid categorising factors arising from state sovereignty. That is, simply put, to circumvent borders and operate ‘Spaceship Earth’ with the aim of a universal, harmonious co-existence. Fuller posited that the computer operating outside economic and political stakes could offer solutions to existing disparities and unevenness. In W.W.W., extracts from Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth are printed and bound in an oversize format that resembles an actual manual. As opposed to the commonplace manual, which is handy, useful and provides lucid information applicable in the very immediate future, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth shifts between arcane statements and conceivable notions that appear inapplicable in our contemporary context. Nevertheless, Buckminster Fuller’s radical imagining elicits profound thought on the reasons why society is still defined by questions such as ‘‘Where do you live?’’, ‘‘What is your race?’’, ‘‘What is your nationality?’’ and so forth. Discussing the widespread propagation of the internet and computers in the mid-1990s, Professor of Communications at Stanford University, Fred Turner, wrote that when ‘[t]he Internet and then the World Wide Web swung into public view, talk of revolution filled the air. Politics, economics, the nature of the self – all seemed to teeter on the edge of transformation’; a new society was about to appear, one that would be ‘decentralised, egalitarian, harmonious and free’. [6] Illustratively, on 8 February 1996, John Berry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, published the now (in)famous ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’. [7] Here Barlow celebrates the possibilities of global communication as afforded by the internet and the latter’s (ostensibly) absolute detachment from the existing world order. He wrote that ‘[g]overnments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. […] Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. […] It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions’. [8] Barlow’s words contradict Turner’s critical position on the topic, that within this cybernetic picturing of the word ‘the material reality could

[5] R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2008). [6] Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2006), p.1. [7] John Perry Barlow, ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’, Electronic Frontier Foundation (February 8, 1999), un-paginated. Accessed November 3, 2016. URL: https://www.eff. org/cyberspace-independence.


[surprisingly so] be imagined as an information system’. [9] Indeed, within the spirit of the so-called Technological Utopianism of the late 20th century the idea of a universally diffused, harmonious living facilitated by the World Wide Web was considered feasible. This, however, requires the abolishment of existing borders; to those borders Turner alluded when commenting on ‘the material reality’. Echoing the tensions between material terrain and networked, technological edifice, in 1999, developer Ben Russell wrote the ‘Headmap Manifesto’ – an illustrated digital manifesto that advocated the usage of location-aware devices to create a global community whose members would come together in clandestine spaces, invisible to the non-networked eye. Connected individuals would use technology to augment reality, thus creating an alternate one, which would not fall under the existing laws of ownership and jurisdiction. Still, Russell, by the time he wrote his manifesto, had already realised the paradoxes existing between a global, networked site and the material plane. Hence, ironically referring to Starbucks and McDonald’s, he concludes his utopian vision by emphasising what cuts across the content of his whole manifesto: the involvement of technology in corporate structures. ‘Headmap Manifesto’ is shown in this exhibition mediated by a computer application (2016), made by Yorgos Stavridis and Dimitris Aatos Ellinas, that disturbs but also underlines its ambivalent content. The application temporarily changes the manifesto’s language and deletes its content, alluding to the limits of, and limitations imposed upon, information technologies: their inability to overcome borders and their limited accessibility – in this instance, realised in linguistic shifts and moments of void content, respectively. Alessandro Di Massimo’s Borders (2014) comments on the arbitrary nature of maps and the various powers that forge their borderlines. Mappe Mundi, one of the drawing series comprising Borders, features nine variations of world maps. Spanning from 194 BC to 2014, the images juxtapose earlier visualisations, informed by a philosophical/religious perception of the world, to current, dominant representations with clearly delineated geographical borderlines. In addition, nine drawings placed underneath Mappe Mundi – showing maps from

[8] Ibid. [9] From Counterculture to Cyberculture…, p.5.


the construction of the Berlin Wall to the political map of Europe as appeared in 2014 – comment on the historical conditionality of borders, as defined by various geopolitical alterations. Completing Borders is a large drawing accompanied by three smaller ones, that depicts a revised European map; Alessandro plotted this map by overlapping the stock index of three catastrophic economic crises – the Great Depression (1929 – 39), Black Monday (1987) and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis (2008) – onto the political map of European countries. Overall, Borders functions as the antithesis to idealised perceptions of borderless technological structures, which might (partially) cut across geographical borders but cannot eliminate their overdetermined function. Namely, in Marxist philosophers Étienne Balibar’s words, ‘[…] no political border is ever the mere boundary between two states, but is always overdetermined and, in that sense, sanctioned, reduplicate and relativized by other geopolitical divisions. […] Without the world-configuring function they perform, there would be no borders – or no lasting borders’. [10] Concluding the exhibition, Michel de Broin’s film Keep on Smoking – Kreuzberg (2007) follows a bicycle around Kreuzberg, Berlin. The bicycle leaves behind lines of smoke created by a generator which transforms the cyclist’s physical effort into electric current. As Michel has described it, the work twists the traditional ‘green’ discourse, ‘proposing a sculpture that produces the sign of pollution’, using, however, alternative energy. In the context of W.W.W., Keep on Smoking metaphorically underscores the importance of questioning traditionally dominant narratives and the construction of new ones – processes that are essential to the realisation of, for instance, Fuller’s utopia; whilst it alludes to a dystopic condition in which those alternative narratives are precluded from coming into being. a n a s ta s i a p h i l i m o n o s

[10] Étienne Balibar, Politics and the other Scene (London; New York: Verso, 2002), p.79.


Works by Michel de Broin, Alessandro Di Massimo. Texts by R. Buckminster Fuller and Ben Russell. Design by Kaisa Lassinaro, Dimitris Aatos Ellinas and Yorgos Stavridis. Devised by Anastasia Philimonos. Anastasia would like to thank: Vasso Zaouri, Kikis Philimonos, Yorgos Stavridis, John White, Panos Kompatsiaris and Thomas Aitchison.

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7. p, 201 old Ma ssandro Di W e iv of Ale ers, (pen, ehens Compr nned images rd ries Bo sh pins, ca e s s h g it in W w pu a r r, e d o’s pap Massim mp, tracing of the artist. ta s y s r courte rubbe d for is Images tch use 2014). MaxMSP pa orgos Stavrid of .W by Y d .W te W Photo a r e r inas fo tion c applica itris Aatos Ell , Collective, g) im in D k r d an Wo World (Whole 017. 2 2016 –

Satellites Programme 2016 Publication  

Satellites Programme is Collective’s development programme for emergent artists and producers based in Scotland. In 2016, the practitioners...

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