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The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document  Dan Robinson      PART ONE:  Writing and Speaking     


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The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document            

 


Submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of PhD The University of Leeds School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies The candidate confirms that the work submitted is his own and that appropriate credit has been given where reference has been made to the work of others. This copy has been supplied on the understanding that it is copyright material and that no quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement Dan Robinson May 2007, revised December 2008, July 2009 Published by Grizedale Arts, July 2009 This PhD was supported by funding from the AHRC Cover: Dan Robinson photographed by Polly Braden at Thinking Space for the North in September 2005 All text and images copyright Dan Robinson except where otherwise stated. Additional image credits: p.79 Pistoletto Foundation; p.168 Pope and Guthrie; pp.176-178, 183 Andy Stagg; p.209 Ruth Todhunter; pp.212-214 Bryan and Laura Davies; pp.220-221 Dr John Stell; pp.238-241 Ben Cain; pp.242-246 Jasin; pp.251, 256-258, 282 Jonty Wilde; pp.263-265 Beryl Begon, HervĂŠ Beurel; p.281 John Griffiths; pp.287-289 The Allotment ProjectÂ

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The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document   Dan Robinson    PART ONE:  Writing and Speaking

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Parts of the thesis outside of this book

PART TWO:   Collected Ephemera Loose material in archive box   Brotherton Library, University of Leeds (2003 − 2008)    PART THREE:  Thinking Space for the North Website   www.thinkingspacenorth.org (2005 – present)  [see also pp.137‐144]    PART FOUR:  Centre for International Success Website   www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween (2003 – present)    PART FIVE:  Virtual Grizedale Exhibition  A Foundation, Liverpool Biennial (15th Sep – 26th Nov, 2006)  [see also pp.177‐182]    PART SIX:  To the Left of the Rising Sun Exhibition  Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (30th June – 12th Aug, 2007)  [see also pp.201‐212 and Collected Ephemera]

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Laura, Arthur and Frank. Thanks also to Liz Stirling, Åsa Andersson, Cecilia Andersson, Ben Cain, Tom Betts, Lucy Gibson, Joe Robinson, Charlie Jeffery, Kwong Lee, Clarissa Corfe, Hilary Thorn, Adam Sutherland, Alistair Hudson, Lisa Stewart, Jon Arden, Polly Braden, Laura Davies, Fred Dodd, Joe Keirs, Christopher Hirst, John Stell, Silvia Magini, Ken Russell, Vanalyne Green, Catherine Karkov, Emma Rushton, Chris Taylor, Barbara Engh, Will Rea, Roger Palmer, Jeremy Harmer, Charles Esche, Mika Hannula, Raphaële Jeune, Nicky Doyle. Thanks to Castlefield Gallery, Leeds City Art Gallery, PM Gallery, Lucy Mackintosh Gallery, A Foundation, Cittadellarte - Pistoletto Foundation, Art to Be, Galerie HO, Safari, University of Leeds, Leeds College of Art & Design, AHRC, Art to Be, Arts Council of England. Thanks to Bryan Davies and Grizedale Arts.

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Contents

PART ONE:   WRITING & SPEAKING 

11 Acknowledgements 12  Contents 15  PhD Abstract 17  Introduction     SECTION ONE: Utterance 

34 Manifesto Poster and text for sound intervention 40   The World has a Voice Spoken address

54 The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document PhD upgrade paper to music   64  International Poster (Leeds) Poster 70  Floodlit Platform Lecture and golf-themed party 94  Here Voice Disap Seminar presentation     SECTION TWO: Dialogue  106  Vodka / Redbull / Cocaine Residency proposal 110  Leisure Allotment Poster 118  Photography from Thinking Space for the North Exhibition of photographic prints 130  Photography from Thinking Space for the North Press release 134  Thinking Space for the North Website 142  It was a Dark and Stormy Night Newspaper article 150  Thinking Space for the North: a dark, dank, derelict dump Projection with spoken commentary 174  Virtual Grizedale Installation 180  Supersocial Opening event 184  To the North! Reading at exhibition 192  The Return of the Seven Samurai Installation 198  Swap Cumbria, Take the Pennines Poster and labour-swap 210  Thinking Space Parlour Interior    

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SECTION THREE: Conversations   218   Spatiality Research conversation 224   Spatiality in Design Research cluster overview 228   This is Civic at Sant Agusti Correspondence 236   Ne Je Island: Score for a Complex Scene Catalogue text 244   Near Island: Not an Island Performance speech 248   Mud Office Rules Text routed in veneered plywood 254   What if We Change the Organisation? Drawing (intervention within Porte Spazio) 260   Mud Office Does Lunch Designs, sculptures and smashed furniture 266 Labour Force Survey Telephone interview

SECTION FOUR: Pedagogy  272  BA (Hons) Art & Design Interdisciplinary Course marketing poster 278  Interview − between the art academy and society Blurb (for Situation Leeds Catalogue) 284  Teaching Land Abstract (for an ‘Agri-culture’ conference) 292  Permission Granted Exhibition proposal 298  Sidekick, HK and the Fine Art PhD Thesis note   305  Evaluation 315  Appendix A: Related practice-research outcomes 317  Appendix B: Original doctoral proposal to AHRC, 2003 319  Appendix C: Leeds University Fine Art PhD guidelines and suggested amendments 323  Appendix D: Note on collaboration 325  Bibliography and References 337  Footnotes 

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PhD Abstract The project explores how an artistic practice-research might develop contexts and objects in dialogue through a series of complex process-based, site-specific art projects. In order to articulate different possible models of dialogic art practice, Dan Robinson has worked collaboratively with institutions, organisations and individuals. Among these are the Italian Cittadellarte – Pistoletto Foundation, the UK-based Grizedale Arts and individual partnerships including the artist Bryan Davies. The study engages with current practices and debates working with/in a variety of cultural spaces, for example: the exhibition, art festival, taught module, conference and biennial. It operates with/in a variation of social, textual, modal and architectural spaces: galleries, art schools, a farm, manifestos, online and in print. The outcomes are recorded as texts, artefacts, images and events. Elements of artistic practice − exhibition, writing, talk and event − are collapsed through a volatile interplay of fiction, proposal and documentation. The research engages with recent work on the role of art institutions and academies (Charles Esche, Miwon Kwon, Claire Doherty, Irit Rogoff, Maria Lind, Nicolas Bourriaud); legacies of Joseph Beuys’ Social Sculpture and the Free International University; Julia Kristeva on Bakhtinian dialogism and intertextuality, Italo Calvino on multiplicity and reflexivity; theories of voice, subjectivity; spatiality; deconstruction and the production of meaning. The thesis employs ambivalence as a critical praxis. It collates performative utterances as: poetry, art, knowledge and criticism, while using diverse methodological approaches; photography, text, furniture, renovation, pedagogies, drawings, posters, installations and social actions. This study is a

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resource in the context of practice-based research and pedagogy while contributing to wider debates on the role of site-specific, dialogic and socially engaged art. The thesis is presented as academic and other writing, printed material, transcripts of spoken texts, artworks and related documentation in six parts: a book Writing and Speaking; loose printed material; two exhibitions Virtual Grizedale, A Foundation, Liverpool Biennial (2006) and To the Left of the Rising Sun, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (2007); and two websites Thinking Space for the North [www.thinkingspacenorth.org] and Centre for International Success [www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween]. Part one Writing and Speaking also serves as a guide to events, artworks, web pages and other material presented in the broader thesis.

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Introduction This book Writing and Speaking is intended as a record and manual of my art practice‐research. It  forms part of a PhD submission and presents my work to art audiences and the general reader. The  book contains four sections: Utterance, Dialogue, Conversations and Pedagogy. These sections are not a  rigid structure, but more a guide to key themes and narratives. Every section is made up of discrete  fragments in different modes, for example: a manifesto, a letter, a poster or a speech. Individually, the  pieces sound a call and response among wide‐ranging voices and originating conditions. At every  stage, the project pays attention to ‘the social space in which enunciation takes place’.1 Each fragment  stands alone as a site, score and document. Assembled with and through a wider project − to make this  book and PhD − and interwoven with further reflexive commentary, these works realign as a new  event. Below I introduce The Noise of Fiction as an unsettled archive, an accumulating manifesto. As  with most introductions, you may choose to skip directly to the material.     A thesis in six parts  The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document is a thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy  in Fine Art. The thesis is presented in six parts: part one, Writing and Speaking, is the book you are  now reading; part two, Collected Ephemera, consists of loose printed material; part three, Thinking  Space for the North, is a website [www.thinkingspacenorth.org]; part four, Centre for International  Success, is also a website [www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween]; part five, Virtual Grizedale, is a group 

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exhibition in Liverpool (2006); and part six, To the Left of the Rising Sun is a group exhibition in  Manchester (2007). Writing and Speaking is intended as a compact resource connecting the various  components. Cross‐referencing invites the reader to move between all six parts with the book as  guide. Further work is also referenced outside these six parts. A full list of outcomes is presented in  Appendix A.2     There are many established precedents informing the kind of art I make. The importance of Sophie  Calle’s ‘autobiographical factual/fictional narratives’ is internationally recognised. She and a younger  generation of artists and art‐entities such as Emma Hedditch, Ryan Gander, Delia Brown, Chris  Evans, Walid Ra’ad, Elizabeth Price, Static, Chicks‐on‐Speed, The Yes Men or Grizedale Arts pursue  various strands of organisational, fictive, photo‐documentary, process‐driven, social, multi‐voiced,  performative and dialogic art practices. But they don’t all deal with academia.  The position of my  project as a PhD is partly what defines it.    What is it about?  When asked this I sometimes say, ‘Site‐specific art practice’. Or, ‘It’s about dialogues with spaces:  architecture, cultural spaces, modes of expression…’ and then mumble something under my breath.  Other times I say, ‘It’s practice‐based so it is about making my own art: I work with events, drawings,  photography, sculpture and collaborative projects, sometimes with education and then I work quite a 

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bit with how these things are represented through writing and images…’ These are fairly cursory  answers. The question, ‘What is it about?’ can seem too big. ‘I haven’t got a clue. It is about the whole  world, everything, me‐in‐the‐cosmos, language and art, meaning.’ Would you buy that? Ask me  again, ‘What’s the PhD about?’ This time I say, ‘It is a philosophy of art methods and meaning. A  major thread explores artistic production as dialogue with/in contexts. Contexts include  organisations, architectures, modes, subjectivities, spaces and texts. Another theme is infrastructures  of artistic production. In particular, the study experiments with time‐scales and hierarchies between  site, proposal, event and documentation’.    Background to research questions  Two previous research projects informed my doctoral proposal. In 2000, I was involved in Subway  Special, an exhibition and publication.3 The exhibition  (in the disused Aldwych Underground station)  set out to question site specificity, the significance locally and globally of small interventions, and the  viability of non‐gallery showing spaces. Important to this thesis, the curators asked ‘What is involved  in the act of responding to a given space?’4 Then, from 2002‐03, during my Masters degree in Fine Art  at Leeds University, the taught modules, Society, Culture, Sign, Text, Subject and The Voice, developed  my understanding of theories of dialogue, textuality and subjectivity. Informed by these two projects,  my practice‐research PhD set out to explore the nature of site‐specific practice, from basic ideas of  response to space, to more complex dialogues with institutions, geographies and administrations. I 

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proposed to analyse a model of site‐specific practice where author‐artist responds to a given context  in relation to textuality. Could my artistic practice develop contexts and objects in dialogue?5 Or  accepting that all art practice, to some extent does this, what would it mean to use this question as an  explicit locus of enquiry?    The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document  What does the title mean? I’ll start with Noise of Fiction. This came from reading Barthes, ‘the rustle of  language forms a utopia… a music of meaning… a vast auditory fabric.’6 He describes a utopia,  without meaning being ‘dogmatically foreclosed’. Barthes wrote, ‘Text is experienced only in an  activity of production.’7 So the production of meaning generates a noise. This noise is an excess or by‐ product, a froth of meaning making. Think of perpetual motion and alchemy. We’re back in a school  science class: The Energy Cycle. Heat and sound energy are released through friction. Energy is  neither created nor destroyed but merely changes state. No something‐from‐nothing. Karl Marx’s  Capital identifies human labour as the productive force in capitalist society. Labour produces surplus  capital. Barthes’ labour of making meaning emits a sound: a noise of fiction.     Fiction   Experiencing text causes movement or friction. My art making process consists of perpetual  translations between modes. The sovereignty of any single viewpoint is consistently withheld. For 

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example, International Pedestrian8 is very slight, almost nothing. Life tinged with art: a website  announces an event, the event involves my family bouncing a ball, passers‐by join in, this is  photographed, a screen‐printed broadsheet captures it in drawing and text, the broadsheet is folded  and handed over, conversations take place, written accounts appear in various contexts and so this  continues. The event isn’t located in a civic plaza in Barcelona. The event is the cycle of  announcement, action, documentation and retelling. The noise of fiction is the audible excess of  accumulating narratives. The method emits a tone. I read something from Bartlett School of  Architecture9 about a student having licked the Mies Van Der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona for an  assignment. The tutor felt this was an inspired response to this seminal piece of modernist  architecture. (This building is a stone’s throw from the site of International Pedestrian.) After Barthes,  how do we approach reading as an activity of production? Reading in this example − tongue pressed  against exterior wall − is made explicit as subjective physical activity. Not passive‐in‐the‐foyer awe  inspired by shiny surfaces.10 Not paying three euros to a uniformed guard to have a look. Walk right  past him as though you own it. Authorise each reader to devise his or her own response. This is what  Barthes gives us, in simple terms.    In my project, each documentation and representation of projects, images or statements becomes a  rewriting or re‐enactment for a new context. My thesis becomes a fiction.11 The thesis employs and  generates performative utterance,12 poetry, meaning, art, knowledge, language and criticism. My use 

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of fiction is a reflexive strategy. The friction of different versions of an event generates noise. Noise  vibrates matter, unsettles knowledge, and realigns meaning. ‘Fiction has a particularly transgressive  role in challenging the primacy of the specialist…’13 The presence of fiction, incidental  communication and the carnivalesque within my thesis should not be mistaken for a lack of a search  for meaning. My thesis resists perceived binaries such as instrumental language against poetry or  clarity versus ambivalence. These terms are held in tension.14     Site, Score, Document   The triplet echoes Barthes’ Image‐Music‐Text and Kristeva’s Word, Dialogue and Novel. In her chapter of   Revolution in Poetic Language Kristeva develops Bakhtin’s theory of carnival into a theory of dialogism  (more on this in section one).     Site  Site‐specific art. Dialogue with specific sites: a civic space; a building; a type of room; a subject; a  protocol; a set of rules; an organisation; a media; a format; a tone.     Score  Music, manifesto, graphic proposal and live event. Play it. Write it down. Play it out. Alter it. Start  again. Write a proposal, a manual or a constitution. Call‐and‐response. Work‐in‐progress.  

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Document Texts, photographs, drawings and objects. Step outside of a situation to record it. The effect this has  on the situation. The activity of documenting. My use of documentation as event and as art object  acknowledges a cluster of Leeds University Fine Art PhD projects by Elizabeth Price, Hayley  Newman and Joanne Tatham. The exploration of documentary tropes and fiction is informed by: US  artist Delia Brown’s pencil drawings of parties with art dealers and Hollywood stars; Documentary  Fictions, an exhibition at Caixa Forum, Barcelona, 2004; and Hayley Newman’s series Connotations:  Performance Images.    This is my real voice. This is what everything means  A basic idea was to experiment with the role of writing and speaking, weaving in and out of the  practice. I wanted to avoid the method of making some art, then writing some theory about it.  Institutional lack of confidence over the Fine Art PhD [pp.301, 315] risks favouring default scientific  case‐study models, defensive conservatism and dull overly self‐justifying documents − a general  ʹcovering your ass’ that can all too easily go too far. 15 Can the particular form and method of my art  practice bring something unique to the research table? My specialism isnʹt critical, theoretical or  historical writing, but a critical art practice. It is a complex multi‐voiced approach expanding  theoretical writing with other visual, text, event and object‐based practices. My analysis of the terms  ‘free thought’, ‘context’, ‘dialogue’ or ‘creating a space for free thought’ only goes so far within my 

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critical writing, but is explored in greater depth through and in the nuances of the whole. Contextual  commentary is kept fast and cursory to allow the work itself to speak.    Knowledge and space  This study has involved working in various roles, such as artist: researcher, designer, student, maker,  teacher and project manager. I worked with organisations and individuals on process‐based projects  in social spaces.16 The findings of my thesis are presented as texts, artefacts, images and events in  galleries, at universities, a farm, online and in print. This last statement could be misconstrued as an  oversimplification of the relation between knowledge and space.17 My thesis does not present  knowledge as a deposit within space. My practice‐research develops contexts and objects in dialogue,  and therefore spaces themselves can be seen as outcomes.18 My reflexive praxis unravels itself with/in  its sites of production.19 As a method of presenting doctoral research, the six parts of the thesis reflect  moments within active and open‐ended engagements.20 For example, the website  [www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween] is an online interface to a broader organisational identity Centre for  International Success. The centre develops art and educational projects in collaboration with  individuals and organisations often in parasitic or other symbiotic relationships. The centre’s  ambiguous identity − bordering between artwork and organisation − and its questioning of the  legitimacy of international success21 acknowledges the following: the fictional institutions of Vera  Frenkel and Walid Ra’ad; the ambivalent organisation as artwork by Chris Evans; and the symbiosis 

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with host institution in Mongrel’s net art commission for Tate (2000) and Protoacademy at Edinburgh  College of Art (1998‐2003). Two projects ‘hosted’ by Centre for International Success: Interview (2005)  and Teaching Land (2006‐07) both develop experimental spaces for university art students to work  outside the walls of the institution.22 Interview [p.281] sets up exchanges between Leeds College of Art  & Design and four external partners in both art and non‐art sectors, to ask, ʹHow can collaboration  between the art academy and society work to create spaces for thought, action and change?ʹ Teaching  Land [p.287] uses the paradigm of the garden, the community plot, a place where things grow and  where physical work is done, to explore alternate spaces for artistic production and concepts of  community. The allotment as cultural space leads to critical thinking on other sites of cultural  production and distribution.     Theories of writing and speaking  Henri Lefebvre tells us, ‘Every discourse is emitted from a space.’23 Newspaper article [p.145],  conference paper [p.153], manifesto [pp.35, 187, 251] and conversation [pp.221, 231] are positioned  together, emphasising the fact that none of these forms function as a transparent conduit for  meaning.24 Within individual texts this explicit negotiation with form is variously foregrounded or  sidelined, but always present. The writings communicate meanings situated beyond the immediacy  of their location. Texts recount events that have occurred elsewhere. The writings are also  performative utterances, resonating within sites of enunciation, as a critical and reflexive 

Introduction | 25


investigation into possible relationships between site and voice. A seminar presentation Here Voice  Disap discusses the format of the ‘artistʹs talk’, whilst also trying to represent artworks; a conference  paper Thinking Space for the North: a dark, dank, derelict dump shows photographs to communicate a  project narrative whilst undermining the integrity of photography to describe a social practice: a dry‐ stone wall is rebuilt during a photo‐shoot called Building the Dry‐Stone Wall. [pp.128, 162] These forms  of writing and speaking are thus seen as spaces or sites with their own specific resonance, accents,  protocols and effects.25 My original question, ‘What is involved in the act of responding to a given  space?’ becomes a question of inhabiting given textual modes. Collectively the texts interrogate the  spaces of PhD writing and research writing. After Bakhtin, ‘ambivalence of writing’26 is a means to  criticality.27 The texts avoid monologic argument, dogmatic closure, and regime of truth, as a means  to open up the field.28 They seek both to inhabit Heidegger’s problem that, ‘language speaks itself’,29  and to overcome this in order to communicate ideas. The aim of each text is double: both to  communicate intelligibly and to unravel its own context.30 This methodology, where language is seen  as at least double, is informed by Julia Kristeva on dialogism, Mikhail Bakhtin and Menippean  discourse.31 Plato says there are ideas out there; Saussure says the system of language is ‘…a tissue of  differences, a jumble and mess. Language is a social fact; it constructs the world and constructs us.’32  Further devices, ideas and authors informing the written work include: a sequence of papers as  records made at the time in Bram Stoker’s Dracula;33 the translation of a found manuscript in Miguel  de Cervantes’ Don Quixote;34 models of models in Jorge Luis Borges’ Labyrinths;35 multiplicity, 

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 26


lightness and the polyphonic novel with Italo Calvino;36 textual description as objectivist poetry with  Paul Auster and Charles Reznikoff;37 architecture‐writing with Jane Rendell;38 dystopian cityscapes  with JG Ballard.  In looking to poetry, fiction and theory I sought to explore various dynamics of  writing and knowledge. Flow − analysis − depth − laughter − weight − precision: How could these  coexist? Poetic gestures may remain aloof, open to suggestion and implicit. The joke rejects its  introductory disclaimer. Panic. Is it all flawless and fully explained? When is explanation  overcooked? Is it probing, stuttering in the dark, messing about? Is there some space to breathe?     Findings?  My original question: ‘How might an artistic practice develop contexts and objects in dialogue?’ leads  to other enquiries, such as: What is context? What is involved in the act of responding to it? What is  free thought? What happens in the clash between subject and system? How is meaning produced?  The lecture and event Floodlit Platform [p.71] is about conflicts between rhetoric and reality in novels  and institutions: in particular, a moment of utopian manifesto and institutional reality experienced at  Unidée, Pistoletto Foundation. My approach doesn’t claim a model of free thought or provide new  theories, but reflexively and intuitively tests these notions with the foundation’s students and staff:  through an exhibition of posters, a lecture and (in collaboration with artist Bryan Davies) a golf‐ themed party. The findings of the thesis are not epistemological definitions or final artworks  produced by an artist in the studio, nor are they conclusions of a controlled research environment, 

Introduction | 27


nor results of monastic scholarship. This is not to negate their contribution to knowledge but merely  to say that these findings are open‐ended, unfixed and contingent.      My thesis develops methodologies of art as practice‐research within and beyond academia, and more  specifically in relation to the art‐practice PhD. The majority of Fine Art PhDs have so far approached  exhibition, documentation and writing as three distinct categories39, each assigned roles and values in  relation to the others.40 In these models exhibition is seen as a primary encounter with art, whereas  ‘written work represents the theoretical component’.41 My thesis departs from university guidelines  to call these functions and relations into question. As a critique of the practice thesis as archive this  study collapses exhibition, documentation and writing into each other. Theory, practice, research and  art making are entangled. Findings and format are one. So this book isn’t a PhD: it is part of one.  Much of the work is elsewhere: processes, objects, artworks, exhibitions and events that exist in the  public domain for a passing moment. These have an awkward status in the thesis. They are part of it,  but cannot be archived. If you missed it, you missed it. Documents stand in, noisy and tainted.     Manifesto (2004)  The first piece in section one inadvertently announces the direction and intention of the whole thesis.  As a skeletal gesture in institutional poetics it is underwhelming, immediate and informal. Invoking  the tremor of the organ as sculptural object, toolkit of creative production, platform for response, 

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 28


playful insertion into the institution: it strives for a moment when the minimal becomes revelatory. A  partially obscured text alludes to vast ideas and meanings: the cosmos, global socio‐politics,  philosophy, nothing, noise. A poster says, ‘Manifesto for a poetic infrastructure’. The work sets the  imperfect cry of utopian aspiration against institutional death. It is a manifesto‐in‐progress, a short  fanfare for the work that follows. 

Dan Robinson Leeds, December 2008

Introduction | 29


The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 30


SECTION ONE:  Utterance 

                   

SECTION ONE: Utterance | 31


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SECTION ONE:  Utterance 

SECTION ONE: Utterance | 33


Manifesto Poster and text for sound intervention   

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 34


7th International Artist’s Book Fair, Dean Clough, Halifax Dan Robinson March 2004 (Full text) The text overleaf is displayed as an interpretive exhibition panel within the installation it describes. The poster [following page] forms part of the installation.

SECTION ONE: Utterance | Manifesto | 35


A tatty 1970s club organ and speaker cabinet hum with anticipation. Scrambled  through the whirring and rattling of the speaker itself, we hear voices resonating in a  public hall. On the wall by the organ, hangs a stark black and white poster, with dark  angular silhouettes and a manifesto message: ‘for a poetic infrastructure’. A second  poster, again in black and white, oscillates with the sound of the speaker cabinet, to  which it is attached. This poster bears a text leading off the page’s edge. Closer  inspection reveals, in delicate type, a paragraph about voices vibrating and  disappearing in the cosmos. The combined presence of sounds, texts and objects can  only call for an intuitive reading. There is no punch line here. Rather, this is some  kind of open model for a poetic framework, institution, or mindset. 

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 36


MANIFESTO          

for a poetic infrastucture

CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS

SECTION ONE: Utterance | Manifesto | 37


The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 38


SECTION ONE: Utterance | Manifesto | 39


The World has a Voice Spoken address (English / Italian) 

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 40


Symposium Entrepreneur-ner, Artist House42 Dan Robinson − Centre for International Success th 13 February 2004

(Extract) There are a dozen people around a table. The presentation is based on theories of aurality and subjectivity drawn from ‘The Voice’, a cultural theory reading list assembled by Barbara Engh. The intention is to experiment with vocal delivery and a perceived distance between experiences of speaking and listening. Each phrase is delivered slowly, deliberately and with a pause, as though a series of news headlines. Between these phrases, a translator gives an Italian version. This is followed by a presentation of artworks and discussion not included here.

SECTION ONE: Utterance | The World has a Voice | 41


The nature of the voice‐subject relation is changed by its roving location in everyday  spaces.    

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 42


Structure and poetry are one and the same. 

CALVINO, I. 1992. Multiplicity, In: Six Memos for the next Millennium. Trans. from the Italian by CREAGH, P. London: Vintage, p.121.

SECTION ONE: Utterance | The World has a Voice | 43


The world has a voice.    

BLUMENBERG, H. 1979. The Legibility of the World. (Edition unknown) cited by CALVINO, I. Ibid., p.113 and DOYLE. A. C. When the World Screamed. In: The Lost World and Other Stories. London: Wordsworth Classics. pp.437-461.

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 44


Rules and regulations are inaugurating spaces for voice.     

For discussion of ‘enabling constraints’ see: BUTLER, J. 1997. On Linguistic Vulnerability. In: Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. New York: London: Routledge, p.34. For discussion of subjects clashing with power see: FOUCAULT, M. 1977. The Life of Infamous Men. In: MORRIS, M. and PATTON, P. (eds.) Power, Truth, Strategy. Sydney: Feral Publications, p.80.

SECTION ONE: Utterance | The World has a Voice | 45


The voice is a tool for listening.    

RÉE, J. 1999. Sound, Voice and the Soul. In: I see a Voice: Language, Deafness, and the Senses. London: Harper Collins, p.16. and BUTLER, J. On Linguistic Vulnerability. Op. cit., p.1.

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 46


The interpellative name may arrive without a speaker.    

BUTLER, J. On Linguistic Vulnerability. Op. cit., p.34. See below, p.81.

SECTION ONE: Utterance | The World has a Voice | 47


Space is not absolute; rather it is determined in relation to a subject.    

STELL, J. 2003. [personal communication] Research discussion with the author. Department of Mathematics, Leeds University, October 2003. [minidisc recording in possession of the author].

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How do these ideas relate: to spaces and models of artistic production and  distribution? To institutional models: the academy and museum? To models of  critical dialogue: seminar, symposium, conference and journal? To models of  production: commissions, residencies and research?     Artistic production or thought always has a relation to the culture of its production.  The work to redefine relationships between artistic production or education and  cultural infrastructures redefines what can be thought and said.   

SECTION ONE: Utterance | The World has a Voice | 49


What space is available for failure and experimentation?    

For a discussion of the importance of spaces for failure in art education see, FISHER, J. 2000. The Success of Failure. In: BEE, S. et al. (eds.) 2000. M/E/A/N/I/N/G: An Anthology of Artists' Writings, Theory, and Criticism. USA: Duke University Press, p.106.

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What is the institutional voice, how can it be heard?    

SECTION ONE: Utterance | The World has a Voice | 51


How can we hear the difference between the rhetoric and reality of an institution?   

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 52


How is a poetic infrastructure developed? 

SECTION ONE: Utterance | The World has a Voice | 53


The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document PhD upgrade paper to music 

SECTION TWO: Utterance | The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | 54


Postgraduate conference, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. University of Leeds Dan Robinson nd

2

June 2004

(Extract) A walkie-talkie is placed on an overhead projector tuned to the University’s maintenance channel. The paper is read out at a lectern. Occasional bursts of sound from the walkie-talkie interrupt its delivery. After the first page, Ravel’s Boléro starts playing quietly. The steadily increasing volume of the Boléro eventually makes it difficult to hear what I am saying. The presentation lasts approximately twenty minutes and is followed by a discussion, not reproduced here. The upgrade event is an examination at the end of the first year of PhD study.                  

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I am going to read a series of fragments, an accumulation of different voices.    I’ll begin with a basic difficulty I face here, as an artist about to speak about my  practice. On the one hand I want to inform you about, and give some insight to my  work. On the other hand I want to explore how speaking about practice works and  equally how it breaks down. Unsettling the author’s sovereignty creates a demand  for methods of writing or speaking about practice other than monological narrative.  These and other ‘problems’ or ambivalences of authorship are where much of my  work starts. So this moment or space here in this lecture theatre has a useful tension  that seems to have a momentum of its own. I want to test in this paper a noise  generated by collisions and translations as practice moves between site, score and  document.     Barthes:  …the speaker moves into the infinitude of language, superimposes on the simple message  that everyone expects of him a new message that ruins the very idea of a message and,  through the shifting reflection of the blemishes and excesses with which he accompanies the  line of the discourse, asks us to believe with him that language is not to be reduced to  communication… The choice is gloomy: conscientious functionary or free artist, the teacher 

The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing and Speaking | 56


escapes neither the theatre of speech nor the Law played out on its stage: the Law appears  not in what is said but in the very fact of speech. In order to subvert the Law (and not  simply get around it), the teacher would have to undermine voice delivery, word speed, and  rhythm to the point of another intelligibility. Or not speak at all…43 

I’m not trying to reinvent speaking; I am seeking a mode of address appropriate to  my practice.    The nature of the voice‐subject relation is changed by its roving location in everyday  spaces. Spaces or sites of inauguration are legible and audible. The term ‘site’ is  ambiguous. It can be a physical space, a moment, a subject, a language or any  meeting of (or space within) these examples. The term ‘site‐specific art’ usually refers  to work made or exhibited beyond the gallery where a relation to site is perhaps  more explicit, more theatrical. Yet signification is always in some sense site‐specific.44  According to Kristeva, Bakhtin puts poetic analysis, “at the intersection of language  (the true practice of thought) with space (the volume within which signification,  through a joining of differences articulates itself).”45

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Sound Intervention Leeds Town Hall Dan Robinson, 2004

Duet for Town Hall  The vestibule resonates in silence.  Keys from his belt to a metal gate in darkness,  Cold steps scare pigeons into rain and the city,  Wadding is strapped to the bell hammer dampening the chime.  A taut line falls from the tower to a walkie‐talkie in the hall.  Occasional voices burst from around the building. 

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A walkie‐talkie handset is suspended in the Town Hall entrance  vestibule. The walkie‐talkie is set to broadcast all audio traffic from  around the building. Above the statues of Victoria and Albert, and  beyond a grate in the high ceiling, the bell waits to chime each hour.  Wadding is strapped to the bell hammer. This is applied with great  care so as to dampen the chime, but without preventing it from  sounding. The front and side doors are not interfered with, allowing  sporadic bursts of street noise, squeaks and slams. Between these and  other interruptions the vestibule resonates in silent anticipation. 

Dear Sir, Thank you for your email of 2nd July. Bell metal is a brittle alloy formed by mixing copper and tin with roughly 22% tin and the balance copper.

Damage should not occur

provided the bell is permitted to vibrate freely after it has struck.

It therefore

makes sense to muffle the hammer rather than to muffle the bell. Yours faithfully, p.p. Whitechapel Bell Foundry Limited. Alan Hughes

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I am thinking of a model of practice that is roving through spaces, ambivalent  and double, a model of practice that relies on the anonymity of the author,  that is not a deposit of author‐subject meaning, that is not an argument, or  monologue, that is not true46. In my practice, a number of author voices are  inaugurated in different works, implicit in their fiction. As you listen you  might imagine that I’m not here.      Calvino:  I am the man who comes and goes between the bar and the telephone booth. Or, rather: that man is  called “I” and you know nothing else about him, just as this station is called only “station” and  beyond it there exists nothing except the unanswered signal of a telephone ringing in a dark room  of a distant city.47    It is obvious that I am a subordinate, I do not seem the sort of man who is travelling for personal  reasons or who is in business for himself; you would say, on the contrary, that I am doing a job, a  pawn in a very complicated game, a little cog in a huge gear, so little that it should not even be  seen: in fact, it was established that I would go through here without leaving any traces; and  instead, every minute I spend here I am leaving more traces. I leave traces if I do not speak with  anyone, since I stick out as a man who won’t open his mouth; I leave traces if I speak with someone 

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because every word spoken is a word that remains and can crop up again later, with quotation  marks or without. Perhaps this is why the author piles supposition on supposition in long  paragraphs without dialogue, a thick, opaque layer of lead where I may pass unnoticed,  disappear.48 

Ravel described his ‘Boléro’ as ‘a piece for orchestra without music.’49 It is a  study in orchestral crescendo, consisting of a two‐part musical theme repeated  eighteen times.    Kristeva:  By the very act of narrating, the subject of narration addresses an other; narration is structured in  relation to this other… The subject of narration (S) is drawn in, and therefore reduced to a code, to a  non‐person, to an anonymity (as writer, subject of enunciation) mediated by a third person, the  he/she character, the subject of utterance. The writer is thus the subject of narration transformed by  his having included himself within the narrative system; he is neither nothingness nor anybody, but  the possibility of permutation from (S) [subject of narration] to [the addressee (A) – the other], from  story to discourse and from discourse to story. He becomes an anonymity, an absence, a blank  space, thus permitting the structure to exist as such.50     

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Auster: If the poet’s primary obligation is to see, there is a similar though less obvious injunction upon the  poet – the duty of not being seen.51    Barthes:  …the rustle of language forms a utopia. Which utopia? That of a music of meaning; in its utopic  state, language would be enlarged, I should even say denatured to the point of forming a vast  auditory fabric in which the semantic apparatus would be made unreal; the phonic, metric, vocal  signifier would be deployed in all its sumptuousity, without a sign ever becoming detached from it  (ever naturalising this pure layer of delectation), but also – and this is what is difficult – without  meaning being brutally dismissed, dogmatically foreclosed, in short castrated.52    Borges:  Why does it disturb us that the map be included in the map and the thousand and one nights in the  book of the thousand and one nights? Why does it disturb us that Don Quixote be a reader of the  Quixote and Hamlet a spectator of Hamlet? I believe I have found the reason: these inversions  suggest that if the characters of a fictional work can be readers or spectators, we, its readers or  spectators, can be fictitious.53 

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International Poster (Leeds) Poster 

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Fly-posted around Leeds. Commissioned by EmergeD as part of [Shift], an exhibition in the Merrion Centre market. Dan Robinson March 2004 (Full text) The text below is printed in four languages, English, Spanish, German and French, on an A1 size poster which is fly-posted on poster columns around Leeds. The poster also contains a line drawing of a figure fly-posting to a poster column with brush and paste-bucket. Hovering above the drawing is a solid black geometric trapezoid.

Â

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Whenever I got on a bus in Leeds there was always this chocolate wrapper, behind a glass pane, near the front door. I never see them anymore, I don't even know if the new buses have that same window. It was sort of like that window above the driver, where you could see the destinations backwards, only this one was nearer the door. Anyway it was just this kind of window onto nothing, with a light on, and there was always this wrapper just sitting there. It was nearly always a Toffee Crisp, and it would look totally natural like it had just landed there on its own. It took some time to realise someone was carefully placing them, and after a while I'd be disappointed if the window was empty. If I were away and met someone from Leeds, I'd ask them about it, and when they'd noticed, it was always a good sign. But the other day someone said it was Harvest Crunch, and that sounded familiar. And he said he saw one last week. Â

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À chaque fois que j'ai pris le bus à Leeds, il y avait toujours ce papier d'emballage coincé derrière une vitre en verre, proche de la porte d'entrée. Je ne l'ai plus jamais revu, je ne sais même pas si les nouveaux bus possèdent cette même fenêtre. C'était cette sorte de lucarne, au-dessus du chauffeur, où l'on pouvait voir les destinations, celle qui était près de la porte, peu importe. C'était simplement cette ouverture qui donne sur rien, avec un éclairage, et, il y avait toujours cet emballage de chocolat à cet endroit précis. C'était, quasiment à chaque fois, un papier 'Toffee Crisp'. C'était comme s'il venait d'atterrir ici par lui-même. Il faut un moment pour réaliser que quelqu'un l'a placé avec soin, et après un bref instant je réalisais que je serai déçu de voir ce panneau vide. Si j'étais à l'étranger et que je rencontrais une personne originaire de Leeds, je lui demanderai son avis à ce sujet. Je suis sûr qu'il l'aura également remarqué. Mais l'autre jour, quelqu'un m a dit que c'était un papier de chocolat 'Harvest Crunch', et cette marque m'était familière. Et il m'a dit qu'il en avait vu une la semaine dernière.

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Floodlit Platform Lecture and golf‐themed party 54 

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[www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/flood.htm]

Unidée, Cittadellarte, Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy Dan Robinson th 10 September 2004

(Full text) After Symposium Entrepreneur-ner at Artist House [p.40], Bryan Davies and I begin working together on various ideas. Bryan arranges my invitation to give a lecture at Unidée. The lecture questions rhetoric and reality at Cittadellarte and wider international institutions and practices. Comparisons are made between leisure and lifestyle identity, posturing, vogueing, documentary practices and spatial phenomenology as a strategy to think critically about ‘art as responsible social transformation’ and more specifically ‘spaces for free thought’. The lecture and event are announced in advance with a poster [overleaf]. The lecture, in the afternoon, takes place in a grandiose music studio with baroque plasterwork, amplifying a sense of academic ritual and affectation. The discussion afterwards is intense, but language difficulties lend an obtuse direction to the debate. Later that evening Bryan Davies and I instigate a golf-themed party on an area of waste-ground linked through an emergency exit to a theatre. We construct a platform amongst the debris outside and set up halogen spotlights. We provide alcohol and a selection of balls, fruit and other small objects to be driven with a golf club to the other side of the river. The scene is video-projected live into the theatre with loud thrash metal music (provided by resident Peter Verwimp who is also behind the video camera). Later on, electrical cables and the golf club are burned as the party develops into drunkenness, dancing and guttural chants.

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Systems, Spaces and Subjects  I will talk about relationships between systems, spaces and subjects in the production  of meaning. Examples focus on moments of dialogue between host organisations and  subjects, mostly in the art world but also in broader contexts such as lifestyle  subcultures, the market, language, subjectivity, voice and signification − all systems  of meaning production. I am using the term ‘space’ in a broad sense: A lecture  theatre occupied by a speaker and audience; a residency opportunity for ideas  development; an imaginary architecture existing only in words. We might  understand fictional space to be set up by novels, poetry or manifestos: imagined  and idealised spaces are authored and to varying degrees followed as instructions.  Where such works become models for human action, we could consider this simply  as cause and effect, a one‐way street. Lefebvre calls for a critical reading of space.55  Space is not a neutral and empty container, rather it is packed with socio‐political  meaning.56 I propose we should understand these relationships as dialogues – back  and forth between drawing board and experience, rhetoric and reality, model and  test run, art and life. Meaning is continuously reinterpreted, adjusted, improved,  shifted, and re‐lived. Whether weʹre reading science fiction or a political manifesto, a  tension is felt between an idea of a space and the language used to communicate it.  This leads us to consider collisions of space and language. Michel De Certeau wrote, 

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ʺspace is a practiced place.”57 Science proposes that space is not absolute but is  determined in relation to a subject. Deconstruction, Post‐structuralism, Textuality  and Dialogism are all theories suggesting a loosening of fixed meanings, where the  work of reading is a production of meaning. Subjectivity is realised as a dialogue  with systems − language system, or spatial systems, as a kind of mutual unravelling,  the result being that both sides of the relation are transformed by the encounter.     Is it possible to create a free space for the production of meaning? What would free  mean in this instance? Uncompromised? Undialogic? Uncontingent? Unattached?  Isolated? Is it significant that these are all negatives? How can complex relationships  between spaces and meanings be understood or challenged? Loosened, tweaked,  probed, or improved? With these questions in mind I would like to consider  ʹresponsible social transformationʹ and how this relies on a kind of double activity,  both deconstructing meanings whilst making intelligible proposals. What does  ʹresponsible social transformationʹ signify? Activities of resistance or signifying  practices need to work to transform relations to language as much as to capital…    

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Google image search results for ‘dialogue, discussion, group, party, parliament, round table.’

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Free Thought  Can a space for free thought be created simply by declaring it exists? And if such a  space exists, does it have a voice of its own? (And what is free thinking? A whole  other question) Identifying translation as an activity makes clear that language has  no absolute meaning, rather it is a surface. Spoken accents, inflections, nuances,  dialects, jokes lose and gain meanings through translation. Language does not fix  meaning; statements exist poetically, logically, rhythmically. I am not going to define  the term ‘free thought’ but to spend time with it.    Urban Jumble, Leeds (2004)  For this project with undergraduate art & design students58, we aimed to create an  ambivalent space in order to sidestep the authority of any single role or institution.  As a result each participant had multiple roles, possibly allowing a more productive  collaboration. This is not to say the group dynamic is anarchic or non‐hierarchical,  simply that roles are shifting and multiple. The project focused on social and leisure  group ideologies to explore relations between individual expression and wider  organisational and economic systems. The result was a gallery installation informed  by three identified sites: an allotment, a BMX bike community and a housing estate. 

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In the gallery the three elements interacted in a live event. The BMX ramp doubled  up as a performance platform, reading room, viewing area. Uses overlapped each  other: a BMX rider dodges an art student performing potting‐up‐seedlings, the joint  spectacle is projected live on the gallery window broken by silhouettes of the  audience. Tripods and documentary hardware become part of the image.  Conversations become a shadow play set to live music.

Bryan Davies:  We were interested in how an event could frame the paradox where a BMX biker is aware of  himself as a biker, as fulfilling the image/ style/ trend of the BMX biker portrayed in magazines  etc, whilst also being genuinely into the actual biking. The ʹlifestyle imageʹ of BMXing could be  seen as the rhetoric of the BMX biking community. It is created by often a large commercially  viable organisation, say behind the bike magazines etc, which in a way conflicts with the  counter culture, DIY side to the sport.59   

We were also aware of how we as artists were subject to the same paradox: could we  contrive the ʹlookʹ of the event whilst it being a genuine investigation relying on the  commitment and engagement of the group? Urban Jumble highlighted for us an  implied binary between reality, activity, participation, lived experience on the one 

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hand and artificiality, rhetoric, language at a remove, on the other. The project aimed  to loosen the binary ‘activity: rhetoricʹ, as a strategy to create new spaces and  possibilities for action, thought and communication.   

Rhetoric calling for free thought  The production and display of relational art works sometimes sets up activities that  knowingly conjure rhetorical images to underline the work’s intended meaning. For  example Charles Esche as former curator at Rooseum, Malmö, invited artist Mark  Bain to produce work [above] making the walls vibrate and removing the walls of  the institution60 − a metaphor for what the curator wanted to communicate.     Charles Esche:  Now, the term ʹartʹ might be starting to describe that space in society for experimentation,  questioning and discovery that religion, science and philosophy have occupied sporadically in  former times. Therefore the institutions to foster it have to be part community centre, part  laboratory and part academy, with less need for the established showroom function. They  must also be political in a direct way, thinking through the consequences of our extreme free  market policies.61 

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A Building Speaks #2  Residency   

Parkinson Tower and Buidlings,  Woodhouse, Leeds   

Dan Robinson and Leeds  University Gallery   

October 2002 – May 2003

Picture Pistoletto’s Mediterranean Mirror Table or images on the Cittadellarte website  of discussion taking place around brightly coloured tables. Regardless of what  conversation takes place, the images perhaps look like the conversation is somehow  utopian? So what does that mean? Revealing semantic and organisational  mechanisms behind such creations of meaning, does not undo meaning or even  cause it to falter. Yet investigating and understanding these mechanisms may enable  more complex strategies for negotiating and developing meaning. Conscious of the  events’ appearance from a distance, my work A Building Speaks [above] consists of  both a live drawing event and documentation of the same event in image and text.    Space, Voice, Fiction  Having made extensive use of the term ʹsite‐specificʹ in reference to my practice, the  term has become increasingly meaningless to me. I have begun to feel that  everything is in some sense site‐specific or has a relation to its context, and that  spaces we inhabit determine what we feel, think, say. So how does language, the  academy or employment define us? Express us? Are we inaugurated, enabled by our  position within such spaces?      

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[www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/thepoint.htm]

Meeting at the Point! Fieldwork   

BT Communications tower and nearby  playing fields, Cookridge, Leeds   

Dan Robinson and Liz Stirling   

August, 2002

Judith Butler:  The interpellative name may arrive without a speaker – on bureaucratic forms, the census,  adoption papers, employment applications. Who utters such words? The bureaucratic and  disciplinary diffusion of sovereign power produces a terrain of discursive power that operates  without a subject, but that constitutes the subject in the course of its operation.62  

How does the location of a thought or dialogue determine its content? In  Meeting at the Point! we carried out highly visible ʹfieldworkʹ at a local  landmark, described at the time as follows: 

The Point!:  We are curating a series of encounters and dialogues in civic space. For a recent field trip to  Cookridge Tower, we invited a painter and a writer to work with us. We set up camp next to  this communications tower, prominent on the Leeds skyline and drew attention to ourselves  with a tent, tripods, easels, binoculars and conspicuous activity on the grass verge. A dialogue  was established with staff of the tower. Evidence was collected as sound recordings,  photographs, a painting and written accounts.63

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[www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/department.htm]

Novel & Institution  How is meaning created in translations between space and language? Translation  disguises itself as a neutral objective mechanics, but is perhaps closer to writing or  authorship. Here are some instances of translation of model spaces into languages  and utopian languages into realities. JG Ballardʹs Super‐Cannes is set in Eden‐ Olympia a kind of tainted utopia of a business park:     Lured by tax concessions and a climate like northern Californiaʹs, dozens of multinational  companies had moved into the business park that now employed over ten thousand people.  The senior managements were the most highly paid professional caste in Europe, a new élite  of administrators, énarques and scientific entrepreneurs. The lavish brochure enthused over  a vision of glass and titanium straight from the drawing boards of Richard Neutre and  Frank Gehry, but softened by landscaped parks and artificial lakes, a humane version of  Corbusierʹs radiant city… It looks very civilised in a Euro kind of way. Not a drifting leaf in  sight. It’s hard to believe anyone would be allowed to go mad here… I peered through the  wrought iron gates at silent tennis courts and swimming pools waiting for their owners to  return. Over the immaculate gardens hung an air of well‐bred catatonia that only money can  buy.64 

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[www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/ped.htm] International Pedestrian Event   

Telefonica Mast & Olympic  Plaza, Montjuic, Barcelona  

Dan Robinson, Laura  Robinson, Joe Robinson  and Claire Robinson   

May 2003   

 

Super‐Cannes proposes a fictional space, a culture, a community, an architecture − a  space where each character’s motivations unfold in relation to this anti‐model  community. This is a simultaneously seductive and repellent vision. It is interesting  to consider here, this dystopian language alongside ideological statements of  curators and founders of institutions, such as Pistoletto’s Progetto Arte:    Unidée places artistic creativity at the centre of research directed towards the responsible  transformation of society... Art is the most sensitive and comprehensive expression of  thought, and the time has come for the artist to assume responsibility for establishing  communication between every other human activity, from economics to politics, from  science to religion, from education to behaviour, in brief to all areas of the social fabric… The  project is not a pre‐established and formalised design, it is a free, dynamic, fluid, supple sign  that fits between the old trenches to form a capillary connection in the flesh of a new,  complex, self‐designing body.65   

A persistent fascination with such tensions − in the clash of voices, spaces, plans and actions when subject meets institution − informs my projects Centre for International Success and Department of Inbetween. Both are semi-fictional organisations realising actual collaborative and participatory projects in the public realm.

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In ‘The Model of Models’, Mr Palomar, (1983). Calvino writes:  In Mr Palomar’s life there was a period when... He had to be able to bear in mind, on the one  hand, the shapeless and senseless reality of human society, which does nothing but generate  monstrosities and disasters; and, on the other hand, a model of the perfect social organism,  designed with neatly drawn lines.   

Documentary Fiction / Poetic Objectivity   How do we move between life and language? Or live encounters and language? Art practice relies  on various timescales between ʹliveʹ event, installation, printed page or photographic documentation.  An event may come after a proposal, score or manifesto. Or documentation might result from an  event. Simultaneous presentations of ʹliveʹ and ʹsecondaryʹ images also occur such as live action  video projection. Documentation has an implied objectivity or truth but can equally be a poetic or  fictional space.66 As part of the infrastructure around practice, documentation and proposal are key  moments for production of meaning. Iʹm thinking of documentation as a kind of translation. An idea  might exist in an image and then as a text, as a conversation, an event. For me a sense of authorship  accumulates between these forms. The documentary photograph, the curatorial statement, the  subsequent review: all contributing to the fiction. These mechanisms are acutely felt in relational art  events, where the momentum created by reading the internal relations of the artwork might spiral  out into the wider universe of relations.  

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The Voice Of Space   There is a fascinating dynamic between an individual voice here (at Cittadellarte)  and the wider rhetoric of the foundation itself. Does space have a strong sense of  meaning in itself? Lefebvre would say so in The Production of Space. And how is a  voice within that space heard? Whilst being sceptical of these rhetorical images, they  also seem useful in creating spaces for free thought.     In Futurology a project by Hewitt and Jordan using Creative Partnerships funding,  whereby artists work in schools, Dave Beech asked pupils to ʹthink about what they  want to change in their immediate locality.ʹ The project organisers argued, ʺAt the  root of Beechʹs project is the belief that the ability to articulate what you want to  change cannot be underestimated as a step in the process of making things  happen.ʺ67 The relative success or failure of such a project is difficult to assess. How  could we evaluate whether or not Dave Beech and his pupils made something  happen? The significant outcome of such a project is the conversation itself: the  thinking and talking about desire for change as a potentially transformative  experience. One of these pupils might change something in twenty years time, or not.   

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Subjectivity is a Dialogue   The Individual is a ʺlocus in which an incoherent plurality of relational  determinations interact.ʺ68 Once we begin to really look and analyse an object and its  relations to the universe, we spiral out into ʺinfinite relationships between  everything and everything else.ʺ69 Calvino, on the multiplicity of the writeable  describes, ʺthe contemporary novel as an encyclopaedia, as a method of knowledge,  and above all as a network of connections between the events, the people and the  things of the world.ʺ70 Such ideas move away from the idea of subjectivity as single,  one, fixed and instead to a notion of subjectivity as dialogic, relational and multiple.  Kristeva argues for intersubjectivity and cites Bakhtin to develop a model of  subjectivity as dialogic, polyphonous and carnivalesque.71     Calvino:   Think what it would be to have a work conceived from outside the self, a work that would  let us escape the limited perspective of the individual ego, not only to enter into selves like  our own but to give speech to that which has no language, to the bird perching on the edge  of the gutter, to the tree in spring and the tree in fall, to stone, to cement, to plastic…72 

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B(in) 14 April 1996    

New York, Photographer unknown   Black & White photographic print 39 x 39cm   

Sitting in a bin bag waiting for bin men to pick  me up in New York. When the bin men arrived  at 4pm, I jumped out of the bag and ran home.        Hayley Newman  Connotations ‐ Performance Images (1998)

Poetic objectivity How is an experience translated into a poem? Is this an objective mechanism? Hayley Newmanʹs  series of photographs, Connotations – Performance Images (1998) are photographic constructions of  fictional performances. Hayley Newman’s B(in) references the following Chris Burden Performance:     Deadman  12 November 1972  Riko Mizuno Gallery  Los Angeles, California   At 8pm I lay down on La Cienega Boulevard and was covered completely with a canvas  tarpaulin. Two fifteen‐minute flares were placed near me to alert cars. Just before the flares  extinguished, a police car arrived. I was arrested and booked for causing a false emergency  to be reported. Trial took place in Beverly Hills. After three days of deliberation, the jury  failed to reach a decision. 

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Of Burdenʹs description, Newman says, ʹIt seems the cool detachment of the text  copies the factual authority of the camera in its documentation of the work…ʹ73   This authority created by a fictional objectivity also seems present in Charles  Reznikoffʹs ‘imagistʹ or ʹobjectivistʹ poems, where text describes moments:   

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April The stiff lines of the twigs  Blurred by the buds.   

Moonlit Night  The trees’ shadows lie in black pools in the lawns.   

The Bridge  In a cloud bones of steel.    (1927)     

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In his essay on Reznikoff titled, ʹThe Decisive Momentʹ, Paul Auster writes, ʹThe  point is that there is no point… Their aim, quite simply, is clarity. Of seeing and  speaking.ʹ74    In a process of describing image‐events these poems invite the reader to witness the  production of meaning. Could this be responsible social transformation? Could these  poems alter our relation to the world around us? If so, could we use poetic language  as the basis of institutional structures or mechanisms? Some institutional  experiments such as Proto‐academy, Free University, or Cittadellarte, seem to react  against a notion that bureaucratic systems and audit culture restricts creativity. How  would a poetic audit be implemented?  To summarise, I have tried to highlight and confuse the role of fiction within  translation, objectivity and rhetoric, in order to loosen a kind of false binary  opposition, and to focus attention on this as an area of creative possibility and a  method of creating spaces for free thought. 

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The floodlit platform sings empty at dusk. Glaring bulbs fix your gaze to its surface, a void shouting anticipation. This is space turned on, amplified to the hilt. It wants your slightest gesture to trigger its feedback: its screaming noise and full bodily vibration; its infinite network of contacts to the surrounding universe. All this against a drunken alpine backdrop in a northern Italian town.

Afternote What does it mean to embrace an imagined look of an event as a means to organising  a collaborative event / party?  Can we imagine the architecture, location, clothes,  stances, platform, lighting, photographic style, performance? 

  

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Here Voice Disap

Seminar presentation 

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Safari, University of Leeds Dan Robinson th 7 May 2004

(Extract) A group of Leeds PhD students in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies get together to discuss work in progress (Simon Morris, Leonor da Silva, John Crossley, Paula Farrance, Lisa Joyce, Sue Wilks and myself). We establish for a few months a very productive forum to share and exchange our research through informal and experimental presentations. These are then opened to the wider faculty through a series of events under the heading Safari. For my presentation, a script containing 37 numbered items (texts, image or sound) is passed round the dozen or so seminar participants. Each person is allocated one or more texts to read. Occasional voices and sounds are played through loudspeakers. Images are projected very briefly: these are flashed onto the projection screen rhythmically. It lasts about 30 minutes.

  

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8. IMAGE: (LEEDS−LIVERPOOL CANAL)

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I’m not sure about the format of artist talks, what the rules are or how  they’re best done. On the one hand there’s the synoptic chronological  narrative approach, where a spoken commentary is prompted by a  prepared series of images of the artist’s work. At its best, the speaker can  get quite involved and the audience witnesses an unravelling of ideas. In  these cases, it can seem the artist is actually generating new connections  and understandings of their work, live, in front of the audience. A  downside can be that the audience doesn’t share the speaker’s excitement,  but at times this approach can provide a candid insight. Another  approach might be a performance, but this comes with its own dangers;  possibly excluding the audience through too much control, or giving a  feeling that the real speaking subject is no longer present. 

23. UNKNOWN VOICE: (ME, FROM NOTES)

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24. SOUND: (GUITAR FEEDBACK)

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It’s amazing how often as an audience member I  turn up on time in the right place and find  there’s nothing for me to do. The artists have  everything completely under control...there I am  in the audience with no responsibilities except  to wave a little flag and cheer… I’m supposed to  just stand back and admire as this sleek art  product rolls by without me. 

25. QUOTED VOICE: (FROM A BOOK)

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I want to focus on the presence here of the presentation  space, not to argue for a particular method, or to make us all  too self‐conscious but to test whether this particular space  has a voice of its own, whether it feeds back, amplifies or  deadens speech. My research considers voices, fictions and  practices as played out in relation to infrastructures or  contexts. The presentation is one such format, calling a tense  or excited voice into being. This tension has energy, both  enabling and constraining. I want to hear the presentation  speak, but I don’t want this noise to drown me out. 

31. SPEAKER VOICE: (ME, FROM NOTES)

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A loosely‐affiliated group of curators, many of whom emerged in the early  ‘90s … are now at the forefront of redefining the concept and structure of  exhibitions and art institutions. Among their number are Hans Ulrich Obrist,  Hou Hanrou, Maria Lind, Jérôme Sans, Nicolas Bourriaud, Jens Hoffmann  and Barbara Vanderlinden. [They are] …critical of art institutions limiting  their activities to those of the ‘showroom’ and ‘archive’. The talk now is of the  exhibition and museum as ‘construction site’, ‘laboratory’, ‘think‐tank’ and  ‘distribution channel’. ‘Utopia Station’ represented a virtual inventory of new  curatorial gestures. Curated by Molly Nesbit, Obrist and Rirkrit Tiravanija,  performances and lectures started up intermittently on structures that were  themselves artworks. Tiravanija’s exhibition architecture contained works by  a large number of artists, while its walls were covered by posters and works  on paper by many more. Artists formed semi‐autonomous zones that acted as  exhibitions within the exhibition. 34. ART JOURNAL:

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The black sloop at anchor Has a light in the rigging;  The waters of the river  Twinkle;  The stars spring up  On the smooth twilight.  37. REZNIKOFF POEM:

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SECTION TWO:  Dialogue 

       

Footnotes | 325


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SECTION TWO:  Dialogue 

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Redbull / Vodka / Cocaine  Residency Proposal                                   

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Grizedale Arts, Cumbria Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies October 2004 (Extract) After our joint project, Floodlit Platform, Bryan Davies and I make an application to Grizedale Arts for an artists’ residency. This successful application leads to our subsequent project Thinking Space for the North.    

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We propose developing and consolidating our collaborative investigation along the lines presented  in the following notes in response to time spent at Grizedale.    To develop a series of events:  •

Within built temporary environments, platforms, stages, shelters 

Using video, photography, lighting, props 

Inviting specific interest groups from locality 

Conversing with multiple identities of Grizedale, the Lake District, the outdoors 

Working with lifestyle images and values, inter‐group dynamics (e.g. art/business, city/rural,  traditional/new, etc) 

Questioning and testing affinities between:  •

roles − participant, collaborator, volunteer, audience, actor, author 

event identities − party, performance, workshop, field trip, fashion shoot 

Retelling the events in different contexts:  •

Through different pictorial languages (fashion magazines, Sunday supplement, business  reports, art magazine, research findings 

To develop simultaneous truths, multiple perspectives and identities around projects 

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Subjects / Images / Props:  (TICK BOX)   ‰

Psychotic business event 

‰

Cathartic outdoor leisure 

‰

Precarious activity tower (knowledge) 

‰

Homemade tannoy / PA system 

‰

Redbull / Vodka / Cocaine 

‰

Dolce & Gabbana, Range Rover, Vogue 

‰

‘Swedish’ massage 

‰

Diesel generator fumes 

‰

Model wears sheepskin rug, own stilettos 

‰

Fire / chanting / bivouac 

‰

Spotlights, tripods, reflectors, headlights 

‰

Dangerous overhead cables 

‰

Business leadership and creativity 

‰

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Leisure Allotment  Screen‐printed poster 

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Low Parkamoor Farm, Cumbria Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies May, 2005 (Extract)   At the end of our research and development residency, Grizedale Arts invite us to make a proposal. We present our ideas to Grizedale directors Adam Sutherland and Alistair Hudson in a series of meetings and texts. I produce a poster [overleaf] presenting the project idea during my participation in the workshop Negotiating Us, Here and Now [p.249]. The poster is displayed on the door to the farmhouse, in tourist offices in Cumbria and in an exhibition at Leeds City Art Gallery.                  

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www.thinkingspacenorth.org

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Photography from Thinking Space for the North  Exhibition of photographic prints                         

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Artist House, Leeds Thinking Space for the North and Polly Braden April 2006 (Extract)   Bryan Davies and I begin working as Thinking Space for the North [see Note on Collaboration, p.323] and through visits to the farm and working jointly in Leeds, begin to develop a mythology around the farm’s operational identity. The project uses the image of Low Parkamoor, a disused farmhouse in an idyllic rural setting, to entice the responses and engagement of diverse interest groups. This complex process engages participants, audiences and collaborators in the conceptual and material development of the farm. Photographic and other documentation is deliberately dramatised and presented as art products. In September 2005, following a successful bid to the Arts Council, we open up the farmhouse for ten days as a public visitor centre. We commission photographer Polly Braden to collaborate with us on a series of medium format and digital photographs representing the project at the farm. The resulting images become central to the project. They are reproduced as a series of postcards, used throughout the project website and exhibited first at Artist House, Leeds and later at A Foundation, Liverpool; Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; and Galerie Lucy Mackintosh, Lausanne, Switzerland.          

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Photography from Thinking Space for the North  Press release                  

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[www.thinkingspacenorth.org]

Artist House, Leeds Thinking Space for the North March, 2006 In September 2005, as part of the Coniston Water Festival, we open the farmhouse as a ‘Centre for Imagined Futures − an environmentally sensitive public interface to a network of interest groups and imagined futures.’ In 10 days the farmhouse hosts more than five hundred visitors arriving by foot, mountain bike, horse and 4x4. A full-page advert in the Westmorland Gazette invites public opinion. Ideas for the future are expressed through drawings, multiple-choice surveys, letters and in person. Results are then distributed as a set of photographic postcards [see Collected Ephemera]. The text below is sent to the international press to publicise both the broader Thinking Space for the North project and specifically the photographic exhibition at Artist House, Leeds. There is a small amount of press coverage. World of Interiors ask us to keep them informed on progress.

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IMAGINE THE FUTURE Art brings new life to   disused Lakeland farmhouse    Thinking Space for the North is an art project by Dan Robinson and Artist House to  create a new identity for a remote Lake District farmhouse above Coniston Water.  The exhibition Photography from Thinking Space for the North features a selection of  large‐scale photographs from the project made in collaboration with Polly Braden,  2003 winner of the Jerwood Photography prize. This exhibition will run at Artist  House, Leeds, from 3rd March ‐ 30th April 2006.     The art project Thinking Space for the North is creating new understandings of the siteʹs  heritage whilst developing its imaginative future as a hybrid artist retreat/hotel space.  The project explores artʹs function in wider society as a catalyst towards achieving  imaginative regeneration from redundant buildings and economies.        The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing & Speaking | 132


The exhibition of large‐scale photographs is part of Thinking Space for the Northʹs aim  to raise the level of public awareness and dialogue about the site in transition. In  pictures of physical renovation work, magnificent views across fells, decades of dust  and debris, or simple moments of reflection; these documentary scenes suggest  narrative fictions. In one image, a young man in jeans carries a rock partially covering  his face, behind him a young woman in waxed jacket completes a dry‐stone wall, the  sky closes in over the landscape. These photographs make room for open readings  and framed here, within the story of Thinking Space for the North, this contemplative  space relates to the wider ambition of the project ‘to celebrate the imaginative  potential of the site.’ 

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Thinking Space for the North  Website                                 

       

           

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www.thinkingspacenorth.org Dan Robinson (with Bryan Davies) 2005 (Extract) We set up a website as an interface to our ongoing project narrative. When first launched in 2005 this website functions as an integral part of the emerging development and presentation of a new identity for the farmhouse. It is a useful tool to generate interest and provoke responses and dialogue around the subject of the evolving building. The website is targeted both directly at those with a stake in the farm’s future and also at more remote national and international audiences. Broader interest in the project comes through a wide range of interests, for example: methodologies of process-based, site and context-related art practices; photographic narratives; uses of websites in relation to projects outside urban centres; economies of art and business; alternative technologies; garden and landscape design; outdoor pursuits; utopian art centres; cultural geography; art practice research. Through time the role of the website shifts towards becoming a document of the project. By 2007, Thinking Space for the North sits within a network of web-based projects and ideas that form the Grizedale Arts virtual home. The virtual presence is a significant part of Grizedale Arts ‘new idea for an art institution existing as a growing network of projects and ideas brought together through this website.’

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By summer 2008, the farmhouse is in regular use and new content appears on various

blogs within the virtual network of Grizedale Arts.

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Imagine the Future Survey To canvass local public opinion regarding the future use of the house, we create a questionnaire as the back page of the Coniston Water Festival newspaper [see Collected Ephemera]. This is sent free with the Westmorland Gazette to over 30,000 local inhabitants. Many write back to us with ideas and concerns over the future of the building.

 Walking and Thinking Circuit Instructions in the Coniston Water Festival newspaper guide walkers from the solar boat at Coniston, across the lake to Parkamoor jetty, up through Dodgson Wood past the Scout hut and beyond, following flags. Once visitors reach the centre they are invited in to discuss the proposed changes to the house, and see the work we have started. The exercise circuit then leads over the tops to Lawson Park, the new home of Grizedale Arts. There follows a walk to Ruskin’s Brantwood house and gardens, completing the circuit by steam launch to Coniston.

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Making the compost toilet Holes are drilled in a plastic container to form part of the eco-friendly compost toilet. Taken from The Humanure Handbook, the design uses local green sawdust as a base to produce ‘pleasant-smelling light loam compost' over a year.

Clearing rubble The last permanent resident died in the 1940s during a blizzard. His body was left frozen in the barn for six weeks. Whilst the interior is still in good condition, there is plenty of evidence of previous occupants.

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Dry-stone walling George, a professional dry-stone waller, carefully restores the boundary walls. Thinking Space volunteers Victoria and Jon build an additional dry-stone wall to shelter the eco-toilet compost.

Temporary kitchen The reinstatement of the old farmhouse kitchen makes it once again the centre of house activity, room enough for eating, sleeping and work. Temporary camp furniture is used, along with a constantly lit fire, creating an inviting atmosphere for walkers and other visitors. Understanding how the house used to work, and the functions best suited to each room informs the architectural decisions for the future conversion of the farmhouse.

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Interior fresco A fresco is painted to depict symbols and figures organised by the landscape. The image is intended as a visual encyclopaedia of the site’s potential, from equipment, interests and land use, to weather and economic systems. It includes a map of the approach by foot from the lake below.

Art collectors club Taking models from existing art-collection schemes and art-loan clubs, we propose that rooms of the cottage could be used as a site for art viewing and purchase. Informed by a previous proposal for the lease of the building as an Orienteering club, a network of interested art collectors could stay at the house for short weekends, meet artists, utilising the unique location of the site to view the landscape and artwork.

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Mountain bike stop-off café On day one of Low Parkamoor’s opening as a temporary visitor centre, 300 mountain bikers race through the farmyard. We offer a provisional stop-off, giving out spare inner tubes, first aid and water. Mountain bike related proposals score highly in our survey (4% of positive votes), reflecting the high visitor numbers from this group. Of the bikers, most like the idea of a café/stop-off with a possibility to sleep over.

Exclusive boutique lifestyle hotel Could such a room make sense at Low Parkamoor? Could its existence provide a useful contrast to a neighbouring no-frills bunkroom, highlighting in stark contrast the value systems, lifestyles and desires of contradictory user groups? This idea is the least popular according to our survey scoring 21% negative votes.

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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night Newspaper Article  

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The Independent Magazine The Weasel: Christopher Hirst 8th October, 2005 (Full text) Towards the end of our 10-day public opening as Centre for Imagined Futures, Thinking Space for the North hosts a fireside evening and press event. This comes about through Grizedale Arts commissioning a London-based PR company to publicise the Coniston Water Festival. The PR firm use Ken Russell’s presence to secure interest from journalists. Guests include Grizedale Arts director Adam Sutherland, filmmaker Ken Russell, artists Olivier Plender, John Arden, Karen Guthrie, Bryan Davies and myself, art critic Sally O’Reilly, newspaper columnist Christopher Hirst and curator Jenny Brownrigg. The event and its subsequent criticism in Hirst’s article [below, and in Collected Ephemera] articulates this study’s aim to develop complex dialogues with institutions, geographies and administrations. The inclusion of Hirst’s text in this section is in deliberate counterpoint to the sometimes self-mythologising rhetoric of the surrounding texts. In his critique of ‘Centre for Imagined Studies’ [sic] and Grizedale Arts, Hirst highlights some of the contradictions and difficulties of the project. Rather than being purely about developing a farm for the public good (a valid project, just not this one), Thinking Space for the North critically explores socially engaged art practices and their self-representation, complex dialogic events and carnivalesque spectacle. In its articulation of problems between his expectations as a London journalist visiting a rural ‘art event’ and the ‘piffling

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reality’ he witnesses, Hirst’s article lays out the difficulty of unravelling such a complex scene. A far more negative response would be not to write anything at all. His critique contains useful references to Folkloric figures from Grizedale mythology (Millican Dalton, Kibbo Kift) and clearly communicates some key Grizedale Arts aims despite mocking them. In his critique of this event Hirst knowingly casts himself within the narrative, adding to the sense of pantomime − ‘…dressed in my London clothes…’, ‘…I fell in a stream’. His character emerges as journalist-cum-fool (think Policeman in The Wicker Man, Punch and Judy or Hogarth). Far from undermining the project this article is an important response, useful in its ambivalent partial presentation of the project to a national readership and sensitive in its ambivalent articulation of a dysfunctional meeting of socially engaged projects with a media audience.

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IT PROMISED to be terrific fun. Instead, I found myself howling obscenities on top of  a Cumbrian fell in the middle of the night. Iʹd been invited to spend a weekend at the  Coniston Water Festival, a revival of an ancient celebration in this dramatically  gorgeous corner of the Lake District. It proved to be a bizarrely footling exercise paid  for out of the public purse. My view of the event may have been tainted by the fact  that I was damn near killed off by the organisers, an outfit called Grizedale Arts that  was described by its deputy director as ‘a cutting‐edge R&D facility for the arts’. God  knows what this drivel means, but I have come to the conclusion that there is an  echoing gulf between the specious language of Grizedale Arts and the piffling reality.    After a six‐hour journey from London to the festival, just one art event took place  during my time there. This was a ʺBoat Dressingʺ competition, in which five Coniston  Water rowing boats were decked out in various ways. One boat, festooned in black  ribbons, was being bailed out by the director of Grizedale Arts, who managed to puff  on a fag despite wearing a full‐head mask made of tree burrs. The winner was a boat  carrying a wind‐up gramophone and towing a tiny floating castle. Apparently, it was  a tribute to the Werner Herzog film Fitzcarraldo.    

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Viewing this soggy parade were two dozen mystified locals and Ken Russell. The  film director was taking part in an event on the following afternoon, after I was due  to depart. He was going to impersonate a cave‐dwelling local called Millican Dalton  (1867‐ 1947) in a parade and seminar about the Kibbo Kift, a long‐defunct quasi‐ Fascist scouting organisation. ‘I lived near Daltonʹs cave for 15 years. Then I got  divorced,’ the auteur explained. ‘Dalton encouraged office workers to enter  dangerous situations and climb impossible heights.’     We were, I learned, due to see more of Mr Russell later that night. He was going to be  present at a party in Grizedale Artsʹ grandly titled ʺCentre for Imagined Studiesʺ,  located in an isolated house called Low Parkamoor. The organisationʹs PR person,  who had accompanied me from London, explained we could either take a steep 20‐ minute walk to the house or I could be driven. Since I was dressed in my London  clothes and have an antipathy to climbing Lakeland fells at night, I expressed a  preference for the latter. After a hefty pub dinner, the PR person collected me in her  hire car and we followed a mini‐bus driven by the deputy director of Grizedale Arts,  who was taking a party of young artists to the house. We drove round Coniston  Water and parked in a murky spot.  

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After walking for 10 minutes in the pitch black (a few torches were provided) along a  forest track, it became evident that the house was not as near as Iʹd hoped. The path  became extremely steep. I crossed a stream in my new shoes. As the climb went on  and on, I asked the deputy director what the hell was going on? ‘Sorry, thereʹs been a  breakdown in communications,ʺ he said. ʺWeʹre walking up there.’ Having passed  the point of no return, there was no alternative but to press on. I felt to be in the  hands of a mad Millican Dalton. Twenty years older than everyone else doing the  climb, I was soon gasping for breath. I thought of Robin Cook. Towards the end of  this insane trek − which took 45 minutes rather than 20 − I fell in a stream.     Later, I discovered that we had ascended through 18 contours on the OS Explorer  Map: a 180‐metre climb. One of the five streams we trudged through was large  enough to be marked on the map. When we finally reached Low Parkamoor, the  deputy director revealed that Ken Russell had already left. (He had been driven up  and down in a 4x4.) After entering the ‘Centre for Imagined Studies’, I could see why  his stay was so brief. Lacking electricity, it was a dark, dank, derelict dump. When the  deputy director said we would have to walk down again, I expressed my feelings  forcibly. One of the artists lodged in this decaying squat kindly gave me a lift back to  Coniston in his 4x4. ‘I wouldnʹt recommend walking here in the dark,’ he said.  

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In its literature, Grizedale Arts says that the Coniston Water Festival is ‘the central  event for our 2005 programme’. Along with the Kibbo Kift parade, the boat dressing  and the ‘Centre for Imagined Futures’, the festival comprised a version of Itʹs a  Knock‐Out and a performance on a slate xylophone. Last year, the arty boneheads of  Grizedale received £98,592 from the Arts Council and more from local authorities.  The Grizedale Arts website boasts that its director (the man in the burr mask) ‘has  recently been researching in Japan’. I doubt if he walked there. 

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Thinking Space for the North: a dark, dank, derelict dump Photo projection with spoken commentary 

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Researching Cultural Spaces conference, London Royal Holloway University Dan Robinson rd June 3 2006

(Full text) The conference provides an opportunity to present Thinking Space for the North as a practiceresearch project within a context of interdisciplinary academic debate. Keynote speakers at the conference are Professor Tim Cresswell (Geography, Aberystwyth) and Dr Jane Rendell (Architecture, The Bartlett, UCL). The conference is positioned between geography and architecture. The audience is made up of academics from diverse disciplines, not necessarily familiar with art practice or discourse. I employ a conventional mode of delivery for an academic paper, with the slight variation that I declare the projected images to be my dominant text, and the spoken commentary to be ‘the illustration’. This paper contains only minimal textual analysis. It deliberately emphasises photographic images as the dominant voice whilst phrases are delivered in a semi-performative mode. The text gives basic contextual information and references to discourse around the project, such as ‘dark, dank, derelict, dump’ from Christopher Hirst’s article in The Independent Magazine. The spoken narrative slips between performing the narrative mythology of the site, suggesting possible interpretations of images and reflecting on methods of ‘researching cultural space’, in relation to some artists work with site, landscape, performance and photography.

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.

                     

This paper will present Thinking Space for the North, an ongoing art project, through a series of projected photographs and a spoken commentary.

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.

Welcome to Thinking Space for the North, located at Low Parkamoor, a remote and previously derelict farmhouse in the English Lake District. We are developing the site and its imaginative future through hands-on renovation work, designs and new dialogues. Low Parkamoor farmhouse is situated in a beautiful landscape with views over Coniston Water, the Crake Valley and the Coniston Fells, at the birthplace of historic ideas of Romanticism and English landscape.

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.

Now owned by The National Trust, Low Parkamoor has been recently leased by Grizedale Arts who invited us to develop its use and future potential.

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.

The last permanent resident, a farmer, died in the 1940s during a snow-storm. Until around 10 years ago, the farmhouse was used occasionally as a bunk barn by orienteers, scout groups and academics. In 2005, a series of break-ins highlighted the farmhouse’s dereliction; every window was smashed, then boarded up and broken into again. There is no road access (unless by off-road vehicle) and no services, the site borders on one side to forestry commission land and on the other to the Brantwood Estate, John Ruskin’s final home. Ruskin also owned Low Parkamoor’s sister farm, Lawson Park, about two kilometres over the ridge, which will soon become Grizedale Arts new headquarters. Thinking Space for the North might be seen as: a cultural space; or as architecture, landscape, site or text; or as a base for an organisation, a project, a fiction; a space for and the object of research, imagination and work.

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.

To give some project background, I got involved with the farmhouse following an artists’ residency with Grizedale Arts in 2005, where I worked in collaboration with another artist Bryan Davies. We made a proposal to work with the then derelict farmhouse, to develop its identity and use over a 2-3 year period of transition from dereliction to new use.

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1.

Grizedale Arts is a commissioning and residency agency based in Grizedale Forest, Lake District. It is well known for work by Andy Goldsworthy in the 1980s, and many other sculptures in the forest made with wood, stone and natural materials. About six years ago a new director, Adam Sutherland, was appointed and he explicitly broke with this legacy and moved the organisation’s focus more towards the social, cultural and economic context of the Lake District. Invited artists were working with video, performance, intervention and context related work such as Jeremy Deller’s Folk Archive and Matt Stokes’ work with cave raves. This process and context related work continues today. Very different projects are brought together and showcased at annual events often with a festival, carnival or fête format. Grizedale have used the term ‘cultural car crash’ to describe such events (for 81 example, in a press release for Virtual Grizedale.) The overall programme features artists at varying career levels and brings together work by amateurs, professionals, local artists, artisans and craftspeople in complex and ambivalent ways, appropriately respectful or disrespectful in equal measure regardless of artist status. Grizedale operate at the extremes of local and international scales.

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.

The research context of Thinking Space for the North relates to my fine art practice PhD exploring site specific practice as dialogue, and draws ideas from a range of sources such as architecture writing, fiction and theories of textuality, spatiality and the user. To very crudely relate these concerns to the title ‘researching cultural spaces’, might be to think of this ‘researching’ to be interpreted as activities of reading, making, using, occupying, writing, designing or naming.

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.

To give examples of some strategies employed by Thinking Space for the North, I’ll begin with photography. Some of the images you see are semi-staged; a dry-stone wall is rebuilt during a photo-shoot called Building the Dry-Stone Wall. Here, image-making drives actual activity. This is partly a practical strategy - images of imagined futures used to help bring those future into existence − but it is equally about the images themselves, about a fascination and unease with their power. There is a reflexive questioning here, of relationships between fiction and reality, and of a tendency of ‘socially engaged art projects’ to become commodified documentary images in glossy art journals and international art markets: community projects as lifestyle editorial.

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.

This is the Thinking Space room.

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Delia Brown  Getting Hung Up at a Collector’s House on Route to the Museum  (Sara and Me on the Living Room Floor)  Watercolour on paper   25.4 x 34 cm  2003  2. 

Looking briefly at two artists whose use of imagery might be relevant: we read in Elle Magazine, ‘Brown, 35, made her gallery debut with a series of painterly yet unsettling watercolours depicting bikini-clad fashionistas lounging by an azure pool wearing Paris Hilton pouts, sipping champagne, and dripping in bling. The women in the paintings, the press release noted, were the artist and her girlfriends. And as if that weren’t enough, the show bore the rather provocative title What, Are You Jealous?’ (GELL, A. 2004. Bad, Bad Delia Brown. Elle. December 2004 issue, p.72.) The exhibition What, Are You Jealous? Was at D’Amelio Terras gallery, New York in October, 2000.

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Jeff Wall  Insomnia  Transparency in lightbox   172 x 213.5 cm  1994  .     

   

In his recent retrospective at Tate Modern we are told, ‘Wall extends the cinematic tendency in his work, creating claustrophobic and hermetic worlds of fantasy and strangeness. Literature and philosophy have been an important influence for Wall and two of these images refer directly to particular texts. He calls such pictures 'accidents of reading'’. th Tate Modern. [online]. [Accessed 29 October 2008] Available from World Wide Web <http://www.tate.org.uk>

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.

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Other methods employed as part of Thinking Space for the North include public presentations of posters, a website, placards, exhibitions, and a ten-day public opening as a visitor centre. These methods are about articulating imaginative possibilities.

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Stalker / Osservatorio Nomade  Immaginare Corviale  Rome, Italy  2004 ‐ 2005  .   

A similar approach is taken by Stalker/ON, a group of artists based in Rome, their project Immaginare Corviale, was realised in a kilometre-long housing project in Rome. Speaking about this project Lorenzo Romito of Stalker said, ‘…Working in the collective imaginative construct and overturning it or attempting to overturn it through the involvement of the residents can definitely contribute even more than concrete interventions to the transformation of Corviale…’ PIETROMARCHI, B. (ed.) The (Un)common Place: Art, Public Space and Urban Aesthetics in Europe. Actar: Barcelona, 2005. (Video interview on DVD).

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.    

We place a newspaper advert in the Westmorland Gazette and a placard on-site, both suggesting possible future uses. The newspaper advert invites readers to tick favourite / least favourite proposals and send in other suggestions. By highlighting clashes between different uses, we are interested in how a range of ideologies might inhabit the same space, whether it could become a space for economic or cultural exchange. Proposed futures are further illustrated, for example: exclusive boutique lifestyle hotel.

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.

Or mountain bike stop-off cafĂŠ.

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.

                     

We open the farmhouse as a public visitor centre during the Coniston Water Festival.

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.

Other projects for the festival involve a local version of Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a Knock-out hosted by artists Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope.

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 .

We build a 'Humanure' compost toilet; the design uses local green sawdust as a base.

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We give the farmhouse a spring clean, patch up windows and clear rubble from one of the rooms.

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Some visitors stay a number of days. For example, Jane George and daughter. George, a freelance director, writer and media artist, comes to interview me about Thinking Space for the North as part of her PhD, Performance of Place as En/countering Narrative with Globalization, at University of Winchester.

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.

Ken Russell calls in for a fireside evening and press-night with Olivier Plender modelling her Kibbo Kift radical camping attire. Christopher Hirst reviews this in Independent Magazine as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a dark, dank, derelict dump.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; [See It was a dark and stormy night. p.142]

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[See also PART FIVE: Virtual Grizedale]        

Virtual Grizedale  Installation

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[www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/virtual.htm]

Virtual Grizedale, A Foundation, Liverpool Biennial Thinking Space for the North (Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies) September 2006 . [Images] The exhibition Virtual Grizedale is presented as one of the six parts of this thesis [see p.9]. Curated 79

by Grizedale Arts ‘as the acting-out of a website’, Thinking Space for the North.

80

my contribution is a presentation of the project

Within the context of Virtual Grizedale − which re-enacts, documents

and exhibits projects with ‘an ambition to make a constructive impact on communities and suggest alternative approaches to regeneration’81 − Bryan Davies and I used the opportunity to produce bespoke furniture and an interior design scheme for the parlour at Low Parkamoor farm. Exhibited 82

pieces included an Ettore Sottsass inspired writing desk by Davies

and a shelving unit with sliding

oak and cherry veneered door panels, by myself. The panels are decorated with drawings (some in 83

ink, others engraved) depicting real and imagined scenes at the farm.

At A Foundation these

bespoke furniture pieces are exhibited with five framed photographs taken at Low Parkamoor. Three of these photographs are adapted into a side-table: for drinks, leaflets and other incidental material; guiding visitors into the exhibition space; and demarcating an area approximating the proposed layout of the farmhouse parlour. The remaining two photographs are hung over the windows, lowering the light levels for projection.

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Â

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SuperSocial Opening event 

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Thinking Space for the North (Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies) Liverpool Biennial Conference Static th 19 October 2006

[Images] During the run of the Virtual Grizedale exhibition, Thinking Space for the North was invited to host the opening reception of the Liverpool Biennial Conference, City Breaks? Art and Culture in Times of Expediency. The conference set out to explore the idea that ‘Increasingly, culture is supported as a purveyor of economic development and a tool to remediate social inequality.’

84

Our invitation came

through Cecilia Andersson’s SuperSocial, a platform of events hosted by artists and curators during the Biennial.

85

The venue was Static: ‘an organisation that promotes its ideas through the disciplines

of art, architecture, critical writing, business and trade.’ outdoor kitchen and served a Scouse Revival Pot.

88

87

86

Thinking Space for the North set up an

to over sixty people, from a specially commissioned Saxon

The pot and a related set of improvised eating and drinking vessels (billy-cans, plastic

frog bowl, rusty tins, plastic Halloween-themed skeleton wineglass, and unfired bowls thrown on the wheel in A Foundation) were displayed on a stand outside Static under the banner: Low Parkamoor Design Collection. This collection was then added to the Virtual Grizedale exhibition, before being 89

taken up to the farm.

As a small manifestation of Thinking Space for the North, this event was an

improvised practical intervention; a social dialogue around value of objects, functionality, collection and display; as part of a wider reflection on artistic production, economy and regeneration.

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To the North!  Reading at exhibition      

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 Virtual Grizedale A Foundation, Liverpool Biennial Dan Robinson th 25 November 2006

(Full text) Read out at the closing event of Virtual Grizedale, the following quotes anticipate the articulation of Thinking Space for the North for a subsequent group exhibition at Castlefield Gallery. Entitled To the Left of the Rising Sun and curated by Cecilia Andersson, this exhibition brings together work by a range of artists from Northern Europe related by the theme of the North as generator of myths. The text To the North! draws from a range of legacies and visions for the North of England. More specifically it considers relationships between rural Cumbria and Northern cities. The quotes are positioned together in the spirit of dialogue. Diverse voices clash to suggest a joint vision. The polyphonic form of this text reflects that of the wider document.

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The Northern Way  

Modern Manufacture and Design  

Economic Strategy 

Lecture  

John Prescott 

(Later published in ‘The Two Paths’) 

2004

John Ruskin  Bradford   March 1859

The Northern Way is an ambitious economic 

All the greatest art, which the world has 

strategy to ‘Market the North to the world’. It 

produced, is thus fitted for a place, and 

is driven by the three northern Regional 

subordinated to a purpose. There is no existing 

Development Agencies and their partners, 

highest‐order art but is decorative. The best 

which aims to improve the economy of the 

sculpture yet produced has been the decoration 

North of England by focusing upon specific 

of a temple front − the best painting, the 

priorities to make a transformational change 

decoration of a room. Raphaelʹs best doing is 

over a twenty‐five year period to bridge the 

merely the wall‐colouring of a suite of 

£30bn output gap between the North and the 

apartments in the Vatican, and his cartoons 

England average.90 

were made for tapestries. Correggioʹs best doing 

is the decoration of two small church cupolas at 

Parma; Michael Angeloʹs [sic] of a ceiling in the 

Popeʹs private chapel.91 

The central theme of Ruskin’s theories of art was 

that contented individuals… produce fine and 

noble art, while corrupt and despondent 

individuals… produce inferior art.92 

 

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The New Parlour   Proposal for new interior  Dan Robinson  Low Parkamoor Farm  2006 

• Writing bureau inspired by Ettore Sottsass 

farmsteads and land ownerships. Elsewhere a 

• Sliding panel doors in oak and cherry veneer 

group of figures sit either in a council chamber 

• Curtain designs – figurative miniatures in 

or market hall, a central table holding models in  miniature of buildings, livestock, vehicles and 

black and white   • Far Eastern ‘local slate’ floor 

folios presumably to be bartered. Insignias and 

• Colour‐coded archive and living 

coats of arms suggest overlapping interests 

encyclopaedia

within the group.  Looking again it seems more 

• Camp bed 

abstract. Where I had seen livestock and 

• Open fire, neatly stacked green oak 

weather systems, now I see triangles, half‐

• Plasma screen Bloomberg news‐feeds 

moons and parallelograms over washed 

• Half‐finished fresco 

grounds.93  

Further details of the fresco: The lake in the  valley below, my approach up the hill marked  by flags, the farmhouse against distant hills, the  open doorway and entrance hall, this room, the  table, wooden counting blocks, my figure in  silhouette. The image of Coniston village reads  also as a map of community hierarchies of  committee structures, familial relationships, 

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The New Countryside 

News from Nowhere 

Programme Introduction 

Utopian Novel 

Martin Fritz 

William Morris 

Festival of Regions, Austria 

1890

2005

The new countryside has already been 

In the book, the narrator falls asleep after 

incorporated into the TV cable, internet and 

returning from a meeting of the Socialist League 

transportation systems. Here it is only the 

and awakes to find himself in a future society 

weekend visitors who switch off their mobile 

based on common ownership and democratic 

telephones in order to devote themselves to the 

control of the means of production. William 

proverbial peacefulness of the countryside. On 

Morris tackled one of the most common 

their bicycle tours they meet those who live 

criticisms of Socialism − what incentive is there 

here… The main stereotypes can be quickly 

to work hard in a communist society? Morrisʹ 

listed: The national socialist hell, the untouched 

response is that all work should be creative and 

landscape shaped by the peasantry and finally  

pleasurable.95  

the ‘ennoblement’ by top‐class country 

restaurants, revived handicrafts and timber 

felling and processing synchronised with the 

phases of the moon.94 

 

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Sanderson Hotel: London 

Mondrian Hotel: San Fransisco 

Interior design 

Interior design  

(described on website) 

(described on website) 

Phillipe Starck 

Phillipe Starck 

2000

1996

A lavish ʺUrban Spaʺ in the heart of London’s 

By uniting a love of nature, the outdoors, and 

West End, Sanderson offers a retreat from the 

casual living with a profound sense of glamour 

bustle of the city into a world of fantasy and 

and fantasy, Mondrian captures the 

well‐being. The landmarked 50s building has 

quintessential California lifestyle. Mondrianʹs 

been transformed by Philippe Starck into a 

lobby is an inspired and surreal stage set with 

surreal Cocteau‐like dreamworld with a lushly 

diaphanous curtains, glowing glass walls, 

landscaped interior courtyard garden, world‐

eclectic furnishings, and a stunning 

class gourmet restaurant by Alain Ducasse, and 

Indoor/Outdoor Lobby that seems to magically 

the extensive facilities of the renowned Agua 

transport the indoors out and the outdoors in.97 

Bathhouse. Sanderson epitomises a “new 

luxury” that is smart, pared down, and  tempered with a healthy dose of wit and irony –  in short, a hotel with modern sex appeal.96             

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Land Rover Experience  

Monte Verità

Publicity

Historical account 

Official Land Rover website 

Hilltop commune 

2006

Switzerland   Early 20th Century

• 4x4 driving events  

Monte Verità is a splendid natural site 

• Off‐road adventures  

dominating Lake Maggiore hilltop in Ascona, 

• Blindfold driving  

Switzerland.  Monte Verità received its name at 

• Trailer reversing  

the beginning of the century when the hill was 

• Gateway driving 

inhabited for the first time by a small 

community of people in the search for an 

We’ll let the vehicles do the talking themselves, 

alternative way of life, new and healthier. 

leaving you free to fully enjoy your experience. 

Vegetarians there lived in close contact with 

Whether you just want to see what a real 4x4 

nature, exposed their naked bodies to the sun, 

can do or, as a business user or professional 

built their huts and houses with their own 

driver, you’d like to develop your driving skills 

hands while dreaming of a more peaceful 

through to advanced level, our nine prestigious 

future. The community, its evenings of 

Land Rover Experience centres can help. On 

discussion, its concerts and its performances, 

your own, with your family or friends, or as part 

became soon a curiosity not only for people of 

of a corporate hospitality or team building 

Ascona but also for travellers of all Europe who 

group or business meeting, we guarantee you a 

started to visit this unusual place.99 

warm welcome and an unforgettable day of 

confidence‐boosting off‐road driving  challenges.98 

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BLAST   Manifesto statement  BLAST… Review of the great English  vortex. No. 1  Wyndham Lewis  1914

BLAST FIRST from politeness ENGLAND,  Curse its climate for its sins and infections,  Dismal symbol, set round our bodies, of  effeminate lout within, Victorian vampire, the  London cloud sucks the town’s heart.  A 1000  mile long, 2 kilometre deep body of water even, 

     

is pushed against us from the Floridas, to make 

us mild, Officious mountains keep back drastic 

winds, So much vast machinery to produce…  CURSE The flabby sky that can manufacture no  snow, but can only drop the sea on us in a  drizzle like a poem by Mr Robert Bridges,  CURSE The lazy air that cannot stiffen the back 

   

of the serpentine, or put aquatic steel half way 

down the Manchester canal. But ten years ago 

we saw distinctly both snow and ice here. May  some vulgarly inventive, but useful person, rise, 

and restore to us the necessary BLIZZARDS, 

LET US ONCE MORE WEAR THE ERMINE OF  THE NORTH.100 

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[www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/seven.htm]  

The Return of the Seven Samurai  Installation                           

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Galerie Lucy Mackintosh, Lausanne, Switzerland Thinking Space for the North March 2007 [Images] Following Thinking Space for the North’s commission for Virtual Grizedale at A Foundation, Liverpool, we are invited by Grizedale Arts to exhibit the work in a private gallery in Switzerland. Here, the photographic prints and sliding doors are both used as temporary room divisions. The wider Seven Samurai project began in July 2006, when Grizedale Arts sent seven artists to live for one month in the village of Toge, Japan. As part of the Echigo-Tsumari Triennial art festival (designed to regenerate this rural area through the introduction of site-specific artworks) and in reference to Kurosawa’s film, the artists were asked to help the farmers, in their struggle with change. This exhibition at Galerie Lucy Mackintosh shows some of the work produced in Toge with selected work from other projects (including Thinking Space for the North.) The curators’ exhibition blurb reads: All the work in this space has not been made for consumption as art product, it has been made with a constructive purpose in mind; to have a dialogue with the people we work with and to effect change in real situations. The form of the Lucy Mackintosh gallery installation reflects an alternative to traditional aesthetic values. A kind of shanty town: where everything has its use, where even the pictures can be used to make a wall. Lucy Mackintosh gallery has participated in this project because, like Grizedale or Toge, Lausanne is a place nearing an «idealised rurality», which uses culture to gain a position in the global world today. 101

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[See also PART TWO: Collected Ephemera and PART SIX: To the Left of the Rising Sun]                       Swap Cumbria, Take the Pennines  Labour‐swap and folded poster                                   

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To The Left of the Rising Sun, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester Dan Robinson and Joe Keirs June 2007 (Extract) As a visual manifesto for Thinking Space for the North, the folded poster is mailed out with the exhibition information for To the Left of the Rising Sun, curated by Cecilia Andersson at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester. Our work for the exhibition involves swapping the gallery invigilator’s desk for a barn door from the farm, offering ourselves as labourers on gallery building maintenance, closing the gallery to take staff on a residential visit to Low Parkamoor (physical work in return for an experience of the rural idyll, food and accommodation), a public call to swap furnishings and objects needed for the parlour in return for artworks, artefacts from the farm and services and artefacts in the gallery such as an adapted office chair with holly and hazel branches. Our exhibition blurb asks ‘how an ongoing offsite art project can best be shown in a gallery space whilst contributing in a productive way to the ongoing project, rather than solely its representation.’ The presentation To the North! [p.184] delivered at the closing event of Virtual Grizedale [p.174] articulates related voices and ideas connecting Thinking Space for the North with the overall theme of this group exhibition: ‘What kind of imagery does the North evoke? And what does it mean when the notion of land has an association with a culture, and not necessarily with a country?’

102

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Thinking Space Parlour  Interior                                 

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Thinking Space Parlour Low Parkamoor Farm, Grizedale Arts 2006 − 2008 [Images] The images overleaf show the installation of shelves with sliding panels, green PVC floor, writing desk and stove in the parlour at Low Parkamoor. At the time of revising this edition (2008), Thinking Space for the North is in the process of conclusion. Responsibility for the management of Low Parkamoor is now with Grizedale Arts. Recent work on the parlour includes installing extruded polystyrene chairs by Mud Office; Ettore Sottsass inspired curtains by Laura Davies; and the stove. Low Parkamoor is now up and running as a mixed-use project space within the wider Grizedale Arts programme. The parlour has a double purpose: a room-as-artwork, in the tradition of Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbarn;

103

and a multi-functional space (archive, study, meeting room, interpretation room) to be

further developed over time. Both functions overlap and are jointly intended as a living interface to the site’s identity, users and ongoing reinvention.          

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SECTION THREE:  Conversations 

SECTION THREE: Conversations | 215


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SECTION THREE:  Conversations 

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Spatiality Research conversation                                   

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Dan Robinson and Dr John Stell Department of Computing, University of Leeds 2003 − 2005 (Extract)

In 2003, following my presentation at a science and art collaborative research meeting at Leeds University, Dr John Stell (Computing) approaches me suggesting we share a common research interest in ‘space’. Over the next three years we hold regular meetings to explore this subject from the different, yet overlapping, perspectives of our subjects. The disciplinary boundaries of our discussion are further complicated by the fact that Stell is an artist and enrols as a Fine Art undergraduate student during the period of our discussion (all the more interesting given this study). Our discussion of spatiality (with theories of subjectivity, textuality, site-specific art, theoretical physics, spatial reasoning, computer science and mathematics) finds an important thread: space is not considered absolute but rather is determined in relation to a subject. Dr Stell makes drawings during our conversations to illustrate scientific concepts of vagueness, indeterminate regions, granular partition, fuzzy geometry and qualitative space. I draft an abstract of our joint research questions [overleaf]. Stell then develops these ideas to form a Spatiality in Design research cluster [next section].  

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Spatiality Abstract  Theories of space and place are prevalent in cultural theory and art practice. Spatial  representation is also a key area in geography, theoretical physics and computer  science. How might we affect meaningful dialogue between these areas?  Could such  a dialogue generate new meanings, understandings and practices of spatial  experience and representation? Of particular interest is a dialogue between ideas of  textuality in cultural theory and spatial reasoning in mathematics. In both fields,  space is not defined on a symbolic level or attributed with absolute values but rather  determined in relation to a subject. Can space be analysed as a text as opposed to an  object? What different value systems govern spatial representation: accuracy,  reliability, poetry, aesthetics, evocation?  Are measurements such as points, paths,  contours and labels sufficiently informative spatial representations? How do we  account for the lack of resemblance to the subject’s spatial experience and how might  this difference be addressed?   

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Spatiality Conversation  DR: I went to the Bartlett on Wednesday to the seminar I mentioned.104 There is another research group there called Curating Architecture. For me it threw up all sorts of links to this spacethinking and some practical examples into how you might start ‘doing’ some of the research. There were two speakers, Dr Andrea Phillips an art historian talking about curating in relation to architecture and artist Kathrin Böhm who works with other artists and architects in a group called Public Works – they built this sort of mobile shop, trolley, display unit, furniture thing that they used in the park outside the Serpentine Gallery: it was a kind of interface to the general public and was used in all sorts of different ways. It was quite an interesting way of finding an intervention into a space through a physical object. JS: Well that clearly fits in with some of the things we want to do with the spatiality cluster. DR: It made me think a bit of last week when we talked about this idea of research being an ongoing process and trying to think about different methodologies for interpreting that, making it available to other people – either the general public or other researchers, or just finding a way of articulating this moving thing. JS: Yes, there does seem to be a need to develop some sort of map of what these people are doing, because they all relate to each other but finding out about these various projects that are going on is not that easy. They span so many traditional disciplines.

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DR: Yes, and for me when the research becomes exciting is often when it meets a different area and there’s some sense made between different disciplines. There’s something about that spanning of disciplines that has the potential to create new meanings, to be surprising. JS: I’m not sure that ‘bringing it together’ is quite right, because that suggests some sort of act of moving things, whereas the analogy is more some sort of connection really, but you can certainly see that as some sort of curatorial activity, from a traditional scientific viewpoint it looks like straightforward research – finding out what the background literature is, finding out what people are doing, finding out what they have done − but from an arts point of view, it would seem that that activity is more about linking things up in a particular way. But that linking up is not free from values and choices, so there is always the making of decisions and putting on a particular interpretation. So one is taking all these things that are going on and constructing something new out of them. DR: Yes. JS: You are building some sort of a map, but I think the scientist would still see it as a relatively objective activity, whereas the artist would recognise this much more as a particular interpretation − this is a much more subjective way of building, this is how the map could be but it’s not the only way to deal with all of these things out there. All of these people out there are doing all these things and you may come along and say ‘Well I’m going to take this and show how it fits into my notion of spatiality’, or whatever…

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Spatiality References    BARTHES, R. 1977. From Work to Text. In: Image‐Music‐Text. Trans. by  HEATH, S. London: Fontana Press.    BITTNER, T. and Smith, B. 2001. A Taxonomy of Granular Partitions. In  MONTELLO, D. (ed). Spatial Information Theory, Proceedings of COSIT 2001,  Berlin/New York: Springer.    CERTEAU, M. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. by RENDALL, S.  Berkeley: University of California Press.    KRISTEVA, J. 1986. In: MOI, T. (ed). The Kristeva Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.    LEE, P. and TVERSKY, B. 1999. Pictorial and Verbal Tools for Conveying  Routes. In: FREKSA, C. and MARK, D.M. (eds). Lecture Notes In Computer  Science. London: Springer‐Verlag.    LEFEBVRE, H. 1991. Social Space. In: The Production of Space. Oxford:  Blackwell.    SMITH, B. 2001. True Grid. In: MONTELLO, D. (ed). Spatial Information  Theory, Proceedings of COSIT 2001, Berlin/New York: Springer.

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Spatiality in Design  Research cluster overview105  

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Part of the Designing for the 21st Century Initiative Dr John Stell 2005 [Extract] Dr John Stell is appointed principal investigator of a Spatiality in Design research cluster at the University of Leeds. This brings together a number of research teams spanning the disciplines across the arts and the sciences around the common theme of space. Spatiality in Design is one of st twenty-one research clusters set up in 2005 by the Designing for the 21 Century Initiative (D4C21)

and receives £70k funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). In view of the previous exploratory conversations on this subject between Dr John Stell and myself [p.218], one could ask ‘who owns what?’ This basic question crops up again and again in this study and indeed any project employing dialogue as a strategy for ideas generation.          

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This research cluster aims to bring new spatial ideas into design and to develop a  cross‐disciplinary community of designers and experts in aspects of spatiality from  other disciplines. The notion of space, and its applications in both art and science,  extends far beyond the two‐ and three‐dimensional properties of Euclidean space  which have always been – and remain – important for product design and graphic  design, for example. There are now new and exciting ways of thinking spatially about  cognition, of understanding spatial metaphor in language, of exploring information  spatially (cyberspace), of visualising design space, of reasoning with qualitative  spatial relations (alongside, near, part‐of, etc), of formalising aesthetic knowledge, of  understanding architecture, of using space in art, of dealing with spatial information  that is vague, uncertain, granular, fuzzy etc, etc. The cluster aims to disseminate these  new ideas106 and to explore their application to design. 

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This is Civic at Sant Agusti  Correspondence             

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With Ben Cain, Joe Robinson and Sílvia Magini January 2006 (Extract) The following personal correspondence proposes to develop a project for Centre Civic Convent de Sant Agusti, Barcelona. This never happened, but some of the ideas developed here inform a different project for PM Gallery, Zagreb.        

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Leeds January 2006 

Dear Ben,  Picture a whale‐grey polished floor with inset marble shapes; one like a rounded arrow and the other more like a  rectangular tomb. There you are, lying on a purple yoga mat, talking someone through a set of slides. Above you  an ornate ceiling vaults the entire space with baroque extravagance. As you talk, your images glance the ceiling  roses, curls and ovals. Further to your right a glass door leads to two smaller rooms. In the first, bent plywood  chairs are stacked against a wall. In the next, and through more glass, you can see a meeting table and more  chairs. (I think you’d like the chairs.) Above this there is some kind of mezzanine floor that you can’t quite see. It  looks like you get to it by a beech‐lined staircase in the corner.    This is Centre Civic Convent de Sant Agusti in the old town district of Barcelona. The centre is used for  workshops, community events, music, and art exhibitions. I think I might even have told you about this space  before, but anyway, when I went there last week it made me think it would be fantastic to do a project here;  something about the shapes in the floor, the plywood chairs, the glass divisions of rooms, the exterior courtyard,  the democratic access policy. It might go well with your cylindrical echo‐rumour space in Zagreb, with student  projects (Leeds or Zagreb), or I donʹt know what, maybe a fiction?    Maybe we could make a proposal and you could think about this space from a distance without having visited it?  I won’t send you the photos I took, they’re of the marble shapes on the floor, the decorative ceiling, the chairs and  meeting rooms, the reflective glass… but you could just imagine these. Anyway I just wanted to tell you about it,  it made me want to do something.    Yours,    Dan 

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Zagreb. January 2006

Hi Dan, Some of it is in the form of notes and questions − thinking aloud, and other areas are much clearer. I’ve tried to write as if it’s something like an open letter, public and private. Maybe think of it as the bones of a proposal: a story about a meeting between two people, a poster produced as part of the work, a voice recording, and a set of signs. Imagine all of what you described: the whale-grey polished floor; that floor inset with marble shapes; the proximity and division between the rooms; the democratic access policy; the communities who use the centre; its location…Think of the space, how it looks and works, and at the same time imagine that the process and responsibility of imagining what else might happen if the space of Convent de Sant Agusti is handed over to those who visit the Convent. First, imagine that you’ve never heard of nor seen this space before, and that you’re in another country while you imagine being at this civic centre. After reading your letter several times over, and trying to picture the space, as well as the work that we might develop for it, I began to feel as if I already knew the space, as if I could almost remember it, see it – the floor details, the ceiling, the chairs, men and women walking through, and especially the building’s functions. Thinking like this, you start to build your own picture of it, and it’s this idea of somehow encouraging people to develop and integrate their own picture of it that I thought we could concentrate on. Imagine that there is a story being told in the Sant Agusti via loudspeakers. The story is a pre-recorded spoken voice. The story tells of a meeting between two people, and takes place in the spaces of the Sant Agusti. Imagine that this voice only tells parts of a story, and that the remainder of this story is left to be imagined by an audience.

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What if this story were supported by physical additions to the space – such as signs and symbols similar to those on the marble floor? A microphone? Silhouettes representing the two characters in the story? Chairs? Could these added signs also be used on the posters? The fiction will take the form of a script, a dialogue between two people which also includes narration that talks directly to the listener as if the listener is being given descriptions and blueprints of the Convent. This might include guidelines such as ‘You are free to use any or all of the rooms’, and might continue, ‘…imagine a mid to dark whale-grey polished floor with inset marble shapes, one like a fat rounded arrow and the other more like a tomb, another like a microphone, and others like silhouettes of human figures’. We might also invite particular members of the public to respond to the exhibition. What if these people were writers, of novels and short stories? What if these people could write something that completes or continues the story that we have started? They could respond to the spaces, sounds, the signs and symbols on the floor, the activities in the spaces, the parts of the story told via loudspeaker. Accompanying this sound work is an A1 poster to announce the exhibition and emphasise an important subject of the project, i.e. the idea of merging distant spaces, people, and activities. The poster will also include details relating to the preparation of the show such as the letters that passed between the artists, extracts from the written story, and initial drawings. The poster will be produced in collaboration with graphic designer Tom Williams, and will be printed in a large edition so that it can be posted around the city and can be available for the public to take away. A narrator speaks to the visitor or listener as if they are the person who will decide on the visual elements that accompany the story. For example, they might be asked questions such as: how will the lighting be changed? What is she/he wearing? Where will each scene take place? What sorts of props are necessary? Imagine the main elements again, the whale-grey tiled floor, the marble inlays, the vaulted ceiling, the ambient sounds, the story of two characters, the voice that addresses the listener, the public access policy, the poster emphasising that policy, the soft tone of voice, the invited writers, the event at which the invited writers read their work… I know there is some repetition, and that some sentences leave things un-said, but I hope that the most important points are clear, the points about other people taking part in the story, about the interest in the public determining the functions of the Centre, and about how this might extend to art. Not sure how to finish it…. I’ll look again later… All the best, Ben.

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Original Message ----- From: "Dan Robinson" <mundyrobinson@hotmail.com> To: <programacioconvent@transit.es> Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 9:51 AM Subject: This is Civic Dear Sílvia My name is Dan Robinson. I am attaching a proposal to exhibit at Convent de Sant Agusti in collaboration with Ben Cain. We are very fascinated by the space and have made a proposal specifically for the Convent. We have also sent this proposal by post (including a CD of images) to arrive this week. The proposal and images are also on a website for you. Please visit http://www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/agusti.htm with kind regards, Dan Robinson From: Programació <programacioconvent@transit.es> To: "Dan Robinson" <mundyrobinson@hotmail.com> Subject: Re: This is Civic Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 21:51:33 +0100 Hi!! If you are able between 17 - 29 January we can meet at the convent... the phone number is 933103732...and we can speak about. Thanks. Sílvia [Phone call:] Yes, my brother speaks Catalan and Spanish. Yes, it would be great if you could speak to him. He will be able to translate the letters for you. From : mundyrobinson@hotmail.com Sent : 13 February 2005 13:22:20 To : Joe Robinson Subject : Sant Agusti Joe, Claire said Silvia had been in touch and you were maybe gonna meet this week? Great! I really like the idea of you explaining it in

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Spanish. I was just sort of imaging the conversation you might have and got me thinking about the proposal and other potential things ...

From : Joe Robinson Sent : 17 February 2005 13:22:20 To : mundyrobinson@hotmail.com Subject : Sant Agusti Hi Dan, Well stage 1.02 has been completed. I went to see SĂ­lvia yesterday and we discussed your plan. She told me a little about the convent & what it is currently used for. I also got to look around some of the other spaces. The space hosts various tallers (workshops) many in using music software such as Cubase etc. Here are some of the descriptions of what goes on in various different tallers. - experimental music & interdisciplinary relations - spontaneous painting - anti DJs (construction, deconstruction, collage, sampling) - experimental art - tai chi - qi gong - flamenco - social video - breakdancing - yoga There is already a collective of international artists using the "space of creation" upstairs as a base for interventional activities within the old town, more details here: http://www.conventagust.com/mapagusti You should probably contact them. I saw their space upstairs. On the wall was a collection of questionnaires in a very flat/civic style with

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the general public's ideas of what it means to be Catalan. The convent is also gathering stories, anecdotes etc. from the old town which they intend to exhibit in spring. This may be a useful source of text/fiction/non-fiction. Sílvia said she could send you plans of the space which I thought you'd like. I am currently translating letter 2 (from Ben to you) to send to Sílvia, so she can put forward your proposal more easily. I hope to have this done this afternoon (Victor permitting!). I will send it to Sílvia & ask her to proofread it before I send it to you. If you like I could go back & take some pictures of some of the spaces you didn't see. There's one room in particular that I really liked. It was more functional than the bit you saw with stacks of chairs & a noisy air conditioner next to some ancient Roman looking stonework. The main points Sílvia raised were that the space is open to the public & that at any given point they could not say what would be happening there. Examples of other events that happen as well as the tallers are: - political party presentations - children's fancy dress parties - concerts Sílvia was concerned about security issues concerning any of your stuff that would be in the space. Also there are obvious issues regarding practicality of putting things in the space if they need to use it for something else. She said they didn't have much money & that the issue of presenting art there was in debate. She also said that she could send you some plans of the space which I thought you’d like. Over & Out, Robinson.

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Ne Je Island: Score for a Complex Scene  Catalogue text                   

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Near Island: Not an Island, PM Gallery, Zagreb Dan Robinson th 24 Feb 2006

(Extract) A text is written about a building in another country without having visited that country.

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They say that PM is a fortress island protected from the reality of outside.  From inside its walls we look out in all directions, to the world. In the  surrounding vicinity, passers‐by invent banal fantasies of the work within.    He described the interior space of the gallery as ‘slightly celestial, very white,  and empty, with echoes.’ It is certainly disorientating and maze‐like in terms  of sound and architecture (and this is exaggerated with the ‘whispering  gallery’ effect giving it a magical, illusory feel). When I’m walking around the  space (it is a circular corridor), I find myself surprised to discover that I have  arrived again at where I started, or sometimes I miss the point where I began  and so start to wonder whether I have over‐shot, or not yet arrived, or are  unknowingly repeating my steps…    The physical effect of the building somehow easily relates to memory, to  recalling and forgetting things, to the past becoming distorted, leading to  fiction, story‐telling: a local story being told in a way that seems relatively  abstract…    In a fourth‐floor kitchen, a cold cloth pushes soapsuds round a breakfast  plate. Its owner’s gaze tracks a familiar path to the square, climbs brilliant  The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing & Speaking | 240


steps towards a focal rotunda and glances across evenly spaced columns,  scanning this way and that, unable to rest. A figure emerges from behind a  wall, then another. A bus speeds up then slows down, a pigeon takes off, and  attention is returned. Back inside, water circles debris round the geometric  perforations of the drainer. The year he worked that roof, he lost her in those  circles. Each day three new glasses, like wine‐bottle bases. Cement and the  repetitive chipping and scraping of surfaces. Finishing each one and then onto  the next. Ten thousand eyes, lost in each other…    We identify the building (geometry, history, texture, tone, memory) as the  form of the organisation within. What administrative function, economic  mechanism or new social venture would best inhabit these walls? Would  renaming the building (in print, by word of mouth, on the fabric of the  building) alter the identity of what happens here? Would the introduction of  new furniture, pictures, interior furnishings, and décor and room divisions  shape the end purpose? Can choreographed to‐ings and fro‐ings, dances  called ‘meeting’, ‘filing’, ‘sitting’, ‘standing’, ‘moving from one room to  another’ direct a good day’s work?     

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Resonant with theatre, this celestial building sings. If it has a tone‐of‐voice, it  is pompous and proud, touched with the sublime, but still a fanfare to itself.  Every comment is finished with gusto, as if to say ‘So there you are!’ Behind  this façade, structural faults record a history of trauma, upheaval, transient  relationships and unstable identity. Nevertheless, these so‐called flaws add  warmth, complexity and timbre. Let me tell you, when it whispers you hear  everything, I mean really, EVERYTHING.    Dreamlike‐abstraction‐of‐everyday‐civic‐administration; data gathering,  interview, census, documentation.                      The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing & Speaking | 242


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Near Island: Not an Island  Performance Speech                                   

       

           

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Near Island: Not an Island, PM Gallery, Zagreb Dan Robinson th 24 Feb 2006

(Extract) A formal speech marks the opening of the exhibition. I had asked organisers Ben Cain and Tina GveroviÄ&#x2021; to invite an appropriate local dignitary representing the City of Zagreb to receive our thanks and formally open the exhibition. My short performance utterance is simply a thanks for the opportunity to respond to the building. This is followed by turning on a smoke-machine and playing an atmospheric Dire Straits track, loud, through a PA system. This is a very slight performance, almost nothing. It adheres to standard protocol of generic opening events. At the time of revising this edition, this event in Zagreb informs current work with Mud Office. In May 2008, Mud Office performs a one-day workshop at Les Ateliers de Rennes including short bursts of disco and announcements through a PA system [Mud Office Does Lunch, p.260].

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Naima Balic, Deputy Culture Minister, Zagreb:      On behalf of the City of Zagreb, it is my pleasure to welcome four artists  whose project brings to life this, (gestures) one of our treasured buildings…    Dan Robinson, Artist, UK:  On behalf of the four of us, I am very grateful to be invited here to Zagreb and  given this wonderful opportunity to respond to such a magnificent building…    (SMOKE MACHINE ON)    (PRESS PLAY)107 

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Mud Office Rules  Text routed in veneered plywood

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[See www.mudoffice.eu and PART TWO: Collected Ephemera]

Negotiating Us, Here and Now, Leeds City Art Gallery Mud Office (Dan Robinson and Charlie Jeffery) Two panels each 240cm x 120cm April 2005 (Full text) Mud Office is founded (April 2005) by Charlie Jeffery and myself during a four-week workshop at Artist House, Leeds. The workshop Negotiating Us, Here and Now takes place during Situation Leeds− Art in the Public Realm, and sets out to investigate critically ideas of ‘responsible transformation through art’ as proposed by Michelangelo Pistoletto. The workshop takes place at Artist House, Holbeck and is followed by a show at Leeds City Art Gallery. Participating artists are Will Kwan, Charlie Jeffery, Juan Esteban Sandoval, Raphaëlle De Groot, Julie Fiala and myself. Jeffery (based in Paris) brings to the workshop a project to create Mud Factory, a visceral sculptural experience to make and throw mud, within temporary wooden structures constructed in and around the gallery. My involvement here is complex and begins before the project is established. Following discussions around Symposium Entrepreneur-ner [p.40] and Floodlit Platform [p.70] I am invited to a Situation Leeds planning meeting at Leeds City Art Gallery where I suggest the gallery could commission a well-known artist alongside several lesser-known artists to produce work in dialogue during Situation Leeds. Artist House then develops, curates and manages the project Negotiating Us, Here and Now in partnership with the Pistoletto Foundation. Later, I am commissioned as a participating artist. My roles within the workshop include the following: collaborating with the other five artists as local negotiator and host; introducing them to sites and organisations in Leeds (I was the only artist based in the UK); and rearticulating each artist’s work through texts and posters. I also SECTION THREE: Conversations | Mud Office Rules | 249


set up a link between the Negotiating Us, Here and Now workshop and students on BA Art & Design (Interdisciplinary) at Leeds College of Art & Design [pp.272, 278]. My contribution to the workshop established reflexive dialogues on an organisational level (the aims and structure of Cittadellarte were explored in relation to selected organisations in Leeds, such as The Common Place collective social centre) and on an individual level (working with each artist). From this complex experiment in collaboration and negotiation, various outcomes important to this study include the creation of founding principles and manifesto for the Mud Office

108

[below]; a day of talks and events within the

workshop run by students I supervised at the College; and a drawing inserted within an installation by Michelangelo Pistoletto [p.257].

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MUD OFFICE (ORGANIC ORGANISATION)

MUD THE POETICS OF ‘MUD FACTORY’ (AN ARTWORK BY CHARLIE JEFFERY AS A WORK AND LEISURE SPACE FOR MAKING AND USING MUD)

MUD THE STRUCTURE OF ‘THE COMMON PLACE’ (A COLLECTIVE SOCIAL CENTRE IN LEEDS RUN BY PROCESSES OF CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING)

MUD THE DREAM OF ‘CITTADELLARTE’ (AN ARTWORK BY MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO AS AN ORGANISATION TO CONNECT ART WITH SOCIETY)

- MUD OFFICES IN ALL OF THE ABOVE - MUD NEW PLATFORMS AND CHANNELS - MUD PROVISIONAL METHODS - MUD UTOPIA VERSUS REAL LIFE The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document | PART ONE: Writing & Speaking | 252


MUD DECLARATION: - ANYONE IN THE WORLD CAN JOIN - MEMBERSHIP COSTS 2 EUROS PER YEAR - ALL MEMBERS HAVE EQUAL CONTROL (OF THE MUD) - THE ORGANISATION IS IN CONSTANT FLUX - THE FOUNDING PRINCIPLES ARE SET OUT IN ‘MUD MANIFESTO, 2005’ - THE OFFICIAL TYPEFACE FOR THE MUD OFFICE IS ARIAL BOLD

MUD RULES: MUD FAST MUD LESS MUD METHOD MUD BUREAUCRACY MUD STATIONARY MUD PROTRACTORS MUD UNDERLINING IMPORTANT WORDS MUD FACSIMILES MUD IDIOTS MUD VANS MUD FERRIES MUD NOISE MUD AMBITION MUD LIFE MUD MUD SECTION THREE: Conversations | Mud Office Rules | 253


What if We Change the Organisation?  Drawing (intervention within Porte Spazio)

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Negotiating Us, Here and Now, Leeds City Art Gallery Felt-tip on paper, 15cm x 20cm Dan Robinson April 2005 [Images] A small pink drawing on paper hangs on the back wall in conversation with the Porte Spazio installation. Porte Spazio by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Cittadellarte and Calc is a representation of the office structure of Cittadellarte and its aim to integrate art with other realms of society. Producing and displaying artwork in explicit critical dialogue with another artist’s work is by no means groundbreaking. Yet, this might be a useful example of a basic methodology within the art practice PhD that can be overlooked by some of the protocols and guidelines assuming distinct roles for writing or exhibiting in relation to critical engagement with fine art [see pp.298-314].      

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Drawing

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Mud Office Does Lunch  Designs, sculptures and smashed furniture:  performance, installation and workshop 

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[See www.mudoffice.eu and PART TWO: Collected Ephemera]

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Valeurs CroisĂŠes, Les Ateliers de Rennes, France Mud Office (Dan Robinson and Charlie Jeffery) April 2008 [Images] This project takes place around the time of revising this book (2008) and is partially included for reference.

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Labour Force Survey  Telephone interview 

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Dan Robinson and Office for National Statistics nd

2

February 2007

(Extract) A dialogue with a telephone operator records my status as artist in national archives.

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ONS:

Regarding your job as an artist. Is this a permanent job?

DR: 

Errm, yes. 

ONS:  

What kind of art do you make: is it paintings, drawings? 

DR: 

I make site‐specific work in a range of media. 

ONS: 

How many hours did you work in this second job, week ending 24th  December 2005? 

DR: 

24.

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SECTION FOUR:  Pedagogy 

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SECTION FOUR:  Pedagogy 

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BA (Hons) Art & Design Interdisciplinary  Course marketing poster           

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Leeds College of Art & Design Dan Robinson Graphics by Design Project February 2006 (Extract) The poster is written in my role as course leader (2006-08) of the BA (Hons) Art & Design Interdisciplinary course at Leeds College of Art & Design. It signals a dialogue between my practiceresearch and my pedagogic work around ideas of interdisciplinarity, collaboration and methodologies of fine art and design. My work towards this course’s development − since 2003 when it began offering full-time degrees – and my role in rewriting the course curriculum as part of an external revalidation process (2006-07) had a somewhat unexpected influence on my practice-research. See for example: the dislocated craft object in SuperSocial [p.180]; furniture and interior designs in Thinking Space Parlour [p.210]; Furniture and design of ‘audience flow’ as a service to curators in Mud Office Does Lunch [p.260] These and other works animate craft, design and art objects within wider dialogues and problem solving. Such broad ideas and strategies resonate between this course, my practice-research and further collaborations with Grizedale Arts, Bryan and Laura Davies and Mud Office. Drawing attention back to the course poster itself: as a piece of institutional marketing it is an ironic counterpoint to earlier graphic works playing with institutional fiction such as Manifesto [p.34], Leisure Allotment [p.110] or International Pedestrian [pp.82-85].

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Interview − between the art academy and society  Blurb (for Situation Leeds catalogue) 

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Situation Leeds Catalogue Dan Robinson Centre for International Success May 2005 (Extract) Interview is developed around a 2nd year 'collaborative strategies' module on the BA (Hons) Art & Design (Interdisciplinary) course at Leeds College of Art & Design. The project responds to Protoacademy’s call for an art institutional structure ‘to take advantage of the wealth and knowledge of a particular city and serve as a meeting point for artists and various academic specialists, cultural producers, politicians, business leaders and citizens…’ The four Interview exchange projects are as follows: Negotiating Us, Here and Now [p.248] with Artist House, Leeds City Art Gallery, the Pistoletto Foundation and six artists (a workshop and exhibition of new site-specific artwork in Leeds); ResourceCITE with EmergeD (a moveable archive of print material relating to site-responsive artworks plus talks); Art 4 Life with Oxfam (a charity art auction and engagement with wider Oxfam organisation); and Pinderfields with Leeds NHS Trust and Tonic (a nurse-led transformation of a hospital discharge lounge into a patient focused environment including the integration of artwork). Interview is part of a network of projects under the banner of Situation Leeds 2005 − festival of art in the public realm. The diagram and text below introduce the project to participants and audiences.

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Interview is relevant to this research as a dialogue between artist, teacher, student, participant and audience. It is problematic to audit or claim responsibility for outcomes from such open collaborations.

109

Results of such a project rely on the initiative and commitment of the individuals nd

involved. As an example of positive outcomes for one Interview participant, Yvonne Carmichael (2 year undergraduate at the time) is partnered with artist/curator Lucy Gibson and goes on to

collaborate with her for the next three years on a research project to investigate fringe activity around British Art Show 6, and the founding of 42 New Briggate Gallery, Leeds. Interview also introduces Carmichael to Artist House and the Pistoletto Foundation who go on to award her a scholarship with Andy Abbott for the international Unidée residency.

     

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How can collaboration between the art academy and society develop spaces  for creative thought, action and change? In 2005, Interview sets up exchanges  between Leeds College of Art & Design and four external projects in both art  and non‐art sectors. Why start dialogues across disciplines and interest  groups? These exchanges allow individuals and organisations to learn about  each other and generate new ideas and visions together. Interview recognizes  the potential of an art institution to take an active role in creatively engaging  the city. Surely working with collaborators and participants in society raises  questions around authorship and ethics? These questions need asking.  Today’s use of terms such as ʹsocially engaged, relational, site‐specific, art  interventionʹ in varied and conflicting art practices is a reminder that such  ideas are not fixed, and need testing.     

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Teaching Land    Abstract for Agri‐culture conference

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School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. University of Leeds (LU) Professor Vanalyne Green November, 2006 (Full text) I propose using an allotment as part of the art school curriculum to Professor Vanalyne Green (Lead supervisor for my PhD). Green bases the first year BA (Hons) Fine Art programme at LU on this idea and invites me to co-teach the project with her. I also run an allotment project concurrently with first year students on BA (Hons) Graphic Art & Design at Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU). Each institution uses its own plot − 100 metres apart − on Woodhouse Moor. Both groups also contribute to cultivating a new vegetable plot at Oxley Hall (base for LU Estate Services and a student residence). During the project, Green writes this abstract for a paper describing and analysing ‘a pedagogical project space using the English allotment, or public garden, as a medium to apprehend aesthetics and art making, concurrent with courses in Cultural Studies and the History of Art.’ Green’s abstract here represents a voice within a negotiated space for pedagogic art practice. My involvement with Teaching Land is part of a wider project I established for Situation Leeds 2007 festival of art in the public realm. In contrast with my previous Interview project, my role in both institutions is visiting tutor rather than co-ordinator. Although I have instigated the idea, I am a participant in something wider: overseen by Professor Vanalyne Green at LU and Dr Liz Stirling at LMU. Project outcomes include a virtual allotment in Second Life <http://slurl.com/secondlife/leedsmet/127/127/21/>; blogs:

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<gadcommunity.blogspot.com> and <theallotmentprojects.blogspot.com>; a publication: Ka-myoo’nite, 2007 (LMU); an exhibition: Slug, 2007 on an allotment as part of Situation Leeds 2007; events: Rosebank Millennium Green Community Garden Clean Up and a picnic for students from both institutions. A small group of undergraduate students at LU, including Mark Whiteman, who played a lead role in the allotment project go on to set up The Dirty Collective: ‘emerging curators… embracing down-and-dirty elements’

110

Afternote: In 2008 I am evicted from the allotment for lack of cultivation and late payment of rent. Not so utopian? Note the earlier ‘activity: rhetoric’ debate [p.79].

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Key words:  Land Art.  Scatter Art.  Social Sculpture.  Relational aesthetics.   New genre public art.  Public gardens.  Land enclosures.  Globalization.    As contemporary artists increasingly make work about borders, immigration,  biopolitics, nomadism, and the participatory form, the public garden is a  fitting entry point to current art practices, given its origins in migration and  land enclosures (see below).  The strategy of the public garden/art laboratory  is understood via such discursive practices as the dematerialization of the art  object and the deprivileging of vision (Lippard and Jay, e.g. as theorists;  Hirschorn and Long as artists). Vegetables and fruits are acceptable topics for  such international art magazines as Cabinet (issue 23, 2006), and curator Nato  Thompson, Mass MOCA, e.g., refers to the Potato Growers Manifesto as  background for his curatorial scope.      The allotment movement, begun during the Napoleonic Wars, was intended  to foster interior colonization and to inculcate a work ethic. It served to  reclaim wasteland and to enable peasants who, because of land enclosures no  longer had enough food, to find sustenance. Recently, allotments have  resurfaced as cultural phenomena with blogs, books, and television programs 

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about how to keep and maintain gardens.  Allotments are sites where  communities police and judge behaviour. People are evicted from their  allotment if they grow flowers or don’t weed. The model of the public garden  offers opportunities for students to question commonly held assumptions  about the pastoral, as well as to think through compromise and negotiation.     Working with public gardens creates a course that links learning, visceral and  cognitive, to histories of landscape painting and corresponding references to  the sublime, utopian thinking, Romanticism, as well as Land Art, social  sculpture (Beuys), art championed by Bourriaud (Relational Aesthetics), and  defined by Lacy (New Genre Public Art) and Kwon (One Place or Another). The  idea was Dan Robinson’s, a PhD student at the school. The module leader,  Professor Vanalyne Green, has adopted the concept for one academic year.  Robinson’s Thinking Space for the North (http://www.thinkingspacenorth.org/)  is a reference point.    The course leaders procured two ‘allotments’ in which students can work:  a  public garden, subject to the rules of an allotment, and a ‘studio allotment’ or  commonly shared space to work and display art. The first‐year fine art 

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program is weighted toward cultural studies and art history. Students have  only 20% of their assessment in art making; they’re heavily involved in  learning social histories of art and cultural studies and incorporating theory  into their art making.    Along with interrogating the thinking and terms of the course and the  philosophic and aesthetic movements underpinning it, related contemporary  art practices, and questions such as why public gardens have returned to  public visibility, the paper will include students’ work.     

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Permission Granted   Exhibition Proposal                   

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Apex Gallery, New York Professor Vanalyne Green February 2007 (Full text) In response to a call for projects at Apex Gallery, New York, Professor Vanalyne Green and I develop an idea for a group exhibition around ideas, politics and histories of teaching as art.

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“…we are following in the footsteps of recent art practice’s self authorizing to take on any format that works to circulate its questions and proposals: from giving guided tours, to establishing Think Tanks, to founding art academies, to providing essential social services, to performing faux conferences and ghost exhibitions.” A.C.A.D.E.M.Y

“Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach.”   As much as artists and art institutions have shifted the terms for how people  understand social space, the teacher who teaches art has remained curiously distant  from this contemporary re‐authoring and outside consideration of art teaching as art  making, Joseph Beuys’ work and life notwithstanding.  There could be many reasons  for this, not the least of which would be the implications for higher education  management and the art market were teaching art to be considered art.  And yet…   Current writing about collaboration – e.g., Trebor Scholz’s article in Curating  Immateriality, Florian Schneider’s Collaboration:  The Dark Site of the Multitude, and  Otolith Group’s unapologetic collaborative stance ‐‐ is but one entry point into a  consideration of where teaching and art making map on to each other.   There are  other circumstances, such as the search for meaning/self/voice, the non‐instructional,  a revelry in sublime, intuitiveness or objective‐intensive, faith, learning through  doing, wishes for provisional utopian moments, mistakes, discovery, validation of  small gestures and the otherwise insignificant endeavour, that are created by the  platform of the teaching situation.      In what ways can an exhibit about teaching and art unstick the historical assumptions  that bind teaching (art) to mediocrity?  About serving and making?  The exhibition 

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Permission Granted doesn’t claim that teaching art is art, though it might be, instead it  invites viewers to undo the notion that teaching is a priori different or less than art. It  seeks to suggest that there is something to be gained from closing the conceptual  distance between teaching art and art making.  If they are not opposites, or  unavoidable partners, then what rich, new and potential actions, collaborations,  philosophies ‐‐ what other types of relatedness might be available to us?   Leading up  to this show are precedents indicating the almost frantic interest in art academy  (Documenta 12, for example).  The exhibition Permission Granted comes at an optimal  time when it can be a part of and contribute to the accelerating dialogue about art,  artists and the academy. Permission Granted is comprised of two artefacts (one  artwork, one teaching image) each from six artists who teach, a time line (Ruskin, St.  Francis of Assisi, Beuys, Cage, Chicago, etc.), syllabi, sociograms, and manifestos.      Artists:  Doug Ashford:  Though he produces exhibitions and publishes articles  independently, Ashford describes his primary creative practice as teaching.  Jon Cates is an extreme network sharer, artist and teacher, whose practice between  these activities flows back and forth, quite visibly in his on‐line presences.  

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Phyllida Barlow:  Sculptor, is currently Head of Undergraduate sculpture at the  Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, who has described teaching as reciprocating her  activities as an artist.  Dan Robinson is an artist who most recently showed his collaborative work (with  Artist House) in the Liverpool Biennial and who has taught a class as an artwork.   Feel Tank Chicago is a Chicago‐based group composed of activists, artists, and  academics that engages both in critical research and political activism with an  aesthetic perspective through such activities as the Annual International Days of the  Politically Depressed.  Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, cultural director of the Fondazioni Adriano Olivetti,  curator and filmmaker whose work as an arts administrator, critic, and maker has  been a model for thinking across disciplines.     Curator:   Vanalyne Green 

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Sidekick, HK and the Fine Art PhD  Thesis note

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Department of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds Dan Robinson 2008

The text below acknowledges the particular relevance to this study of two previous Fine Art practice PhD theses at the University of Leeds: A demonstration of a relation between thinking and doing: sidekick; and other unfinished work; undead (Elizabeth Price, 1999) and Heroin Kills: context and meaning in contemporary art practice (Joanne Tatham, 2004). Both were useful references for this study.

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Given ongoing debates in academia and beyond over art education111 and more  specific debates over practice‐led PhDs in the arts112, it is not surprising that the  Leeds University Fine Art PhD guidelines, their subtexts and interpretation are  problematic. Doctoral research protocols and regulations are almost exclusively  based on the thesis as written work. The guidelines and problems these raise merit  further discussion, as they are symptomatic of broader debates around the methods  and roles of art education and research.113 Some in British academia argue that  Doctor of Art or Professional Doctorate in Fine Art is a more appropriate doctoral  model for the practising artist.114 Although this seems a valid option, I would argue  art practice‐research can offer an independent and original contribution to  knowledge, of value to a level of a Doctor of Philosophy. The Fine Art PhD at Leeds  has seen some useful experiments with the written component of the thesis.  Elizabeth Price presented ‘Sidekick’ an artwork as prose presented as the written  component of her doctorate.115 This contains no bibliography or reference to theorists.  Significantly, The School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies has  changed its stance since this thesis was submitted: it has been suggested the thesis  would no longer be allowed were it submitted today.116 Joanne Tatham plays a  complex manoeuvre in her thesis submission, placing a publication entitled HK ‘as a  found object sited within the thesis’.117 Tatham’s Afterword is a timely and useful 

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critique of the current departmental guidelines118 and their relation to broader  discrepancies between contemporary art practice and academia. ‘The current model  fails to reflect the wider context of production and exhibition.’119 She questions the  idea that the context of a PhD in Fine Art can somehow present a neutral space  within which to engage in contemporary art practice and she challenges the assumed  roles of exhibition and writing. Referring to the dominance of the Art History and  Cultural Studies PhD thesis model within the department, Tatham writes ‘in this  scenario, the exhibited work is mute.‘120 The guidelines state ‘the writing represents  the theoretical component of the PhD’. They list ‘record of work leading up to the  final exhibition’ and ‘final exhibition’ as two separate components. Tatham’s critique  points to a model of practice implied by the guidelines, where: ‘exhibition’ is the  primary encounter with the work; ‘final exhibition’ is assumed to represent a peak of  excellence; artwork is non‐theoretical; documentation is transparent; writing is  theory, not art; preparatory work is not actual work; documentation is not art. As  such, the guidelines are flawed and possibly inappropriate for the complexities of  much practice‐research in the contemporary field of art.    

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Though sharing Tatham’s concerns about the inappropriate subtexts of the  guidelines, and having discussed with the department the need to update them,121 I  have nevertheless found them workable.  By listing the various forms the submission will take, the guidelines do not state that  these forms must be presented separately.  If they are collapsed into each other, then  artwork can also be theory, writing can also be art, documentation can also be a  primary encounter, an exhibition can also be documentation, a final exhibition can be  less important than a first exhibition, and so on. These are all necessary possibilities  for art practice‐research. In terms of meeting the criteria for written work to provide  historical context and critical commentary, I argue that the writing in all six parts of  this thesis is ‘historical’ in that it refers both to the chronology of my artistic activity  and to broader histories of cultural and artistic practice and theory and is ‘critical’ in  that it questions artistic research methodologies in a range of contexts. 

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Evaluation and Appendices

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Evaluation

This project begins with the question, ‘How might an artistic practice‐research explore contexts and  objects in dialogue?’ Now at the end, where are we? Answering this − as a basis for summary and  reflection − involves returning to ground covered earlier: The overall project contributes to the  debate around the role of art within society, and the roles of site‐specific, dialogic and socially  engaged art practices. The Fine Art PhD becomes both the context for and the object of critical  analysis, and the resulting thesis contributes to the potential of conducting an imminent critique  within academia.     But let us, for a moment, derail this evaluation, before it gathers momentum − speaking itself in and  through my thesis − by asking, now at the end, where do we expect to be? If research culture  demands an archive of critical analysis, rigour and output, what does this negate?122 The practice‐ research thesis has a particular potential for opening up what it means to ‘research’ and the  significance of this question extends beyond the discipline we call Fine Art. This is not to deny the  potential of theoretical writing to radically unravel meaning, but a reminder that in counterpoint to  this evaluative writing, artworks themselves read and write as critical knowledge. Academic writing  in this practice‐research thesis is one voice amongst others, rigorous yet unsettled. Criticality  emerges across the project, between explication, collage and parable.    

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That said, I set out to investigate the emergence of fictions between elements of practice and its  infrastructures.123 Were I to start this project again I might narrow the following terms: contexts and  objects in dialogue; space for free thought; site‐specific; fictions; infrastructures; elements of practice;  subject and system; and production of meaning. These are somewhat vast and indeterminate  concepts. Although a narrower enquiry might produce a more focussed result, such broad themes do  have enduring relevance for philosophy, theory and art making. Further deliberation might call for a  spatial phenomenology of research adjectives: open‐ended, far‐reaching, narrow, in‐depth. For my  own reasons (rather than to meet research criteria), were I to write a research proposal today, I might  focus more explicitly on particular types of site, score and document, for example: manifesto, speech,  artwork caption,124 discussion room, constitution, or particular values and nuances within these,  such as: multiplicity, ambivalence, proposal and slightness.     In spite of what I might now do differently and in the spirit of defending my PhD, the introduction  and evaluation offer a written account of how and why this project contributes to knowledge. The  following is a snapshot of the work through and beyond the four sections of this book, Writing and  Speaking.    Utterance  How to speak? And hear the response? My practice‐research has performed, spoken, embodied and 

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inscribed theories of dialogism, intertextuality, multiplicity, voice and meaning in dialogue with  subjective experiences as an artist, researcher, designer, student, maker, teacher and project manager.  To ask ‘how’ this project might develop contexts and objects in dialogue, wide ranging voices are  employed, for example: a poster text, ‘Manifesto for a poetic infrastructure’ hangs beside a 1970s club  organ [p.36]; a dozen people listen to a faltering spoken address informed by theories of aurality and  subjectivity [p.42]; a PhD upgrade paper is accompanied by a soundtrack of Ravel’s Boléro and  Leeds University’s building maintenance walkie‐talkie channel [p.56]; a text appears in four  languages on an A1 size poster, fly‐posted on poster columns [p.66]; a lecture and golf‐themed party  at the Pistoletto Foundation explores modes of expression and behaviour employed by the  institution, the artist‐subject and the leisure‐subject [p.72]; a script containing 37 numbered items  (texts, images or sounds) is passed round a group of seminar participants and each person is  allocated one or more texts to read [p.96].     The thesis does not aim to extend the work of Kristeva, Calvino, Beuys or Bourriaud within a written  theoretical or historical mode. Section one Utterance inscribes critical engagement with such work  through an exploratory and reflexive practice‐research with/in socio‐spatial encounters.      Dialogue  A substantial part of the doctorate is framed by the project Thinking Space for the North. I have 

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developed sustained working relationships with artist Bryan Davies and organisation Grizedale Arts  towards the exploration and development of Low Parkamoor farm as physical building, imaginative  construct and virtual interface. Thinking Space for the North engages with further sites and spaces,  through its articulation in exhibitions, for example: in Liverpool, Lausanne, Leeds and Manchester.  The remit of this practice‐research does not include case study analysis of Thinking Space for the  North, or Grizedale Arts, nor does it include art historical commentary on related site‐specific or  dialogical art practices [p.338: footnote 5]. The PhD has facilitated reflexive development of this  sustained art project within and between volatile boundaries of critical practice‐research and wider  professional art practices, as follows: after Floodlit Platform, we (Bryan Davies and I) make an  application to Grizedale Arts residency programme [p.106]; we establish Thinking Space for the North,  an art project to create a new identity for a Lake District farm [p.110]; Thinking Space for the North  commissions photographer Polly Braden to collaborate on a series of photographs depicting the  project at the farm [p.118]; the first stage of work with Low Parkamoor is to open it to the public:  inviting discussion of its future potential [p.130]; a conference provides an opportunity to present  Thinking Space for the North as a practice‐research project within a context of interdisciplinary  academic debate [p.150]; towards the end of Centre for Imagine Futures − a ten day action, Thinking  Space for the North hosts a fireside evening and press event [p.142]; To the North! juxtaposes  conflicting voices and visions of rural and urban North. Here, collage operates as critical analysis  [p.184]; Swap Cumbria, Take the Pennines is a visual manifesto and labour‐swap as part of the Thinking 

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Space for the North contribution to a group exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester [p.198].  Thinking Space Parlour is a room‐as‐artwork, a multi‐functional space and an interface to a site‐ narrative125 [p.210].    Thinking Space for the North is important for the thesis and of direct relevance to its original aims of  exploring complex dialogues with institutions, geographies and administrations. Amongst the many  possible interpretations of what constitutes ‘the object’ or ‘the context’ for this project, the farmhouse  is both: an image‐object in the landscape drawing varied responses; a context for an engagement  with the local legacies (tourism, Ruskin, romanticism); a social space for artistic and dialogic project  work; a virtual space; or a fiction re‐presented through image and text. As a key part of this practice‐ research project, Thinking Space for the North is established at Low Parkamoor as a context for and  object of critical and reflexive artistic practice‐research, production and pedagogy. The final design  scheme for the parlour sets it up as a multi‐functional space, loosely articulated as a study,  discussion space and archive. This open‐ended status is intended to leave an opportunity for current  and future users to contribute to its further spatial, aesthetic and conceptual development. A  subsequent and separate project The Wonderful North126 by Bryan and Laura Davies further develops  some of the project themes (Northern myth, ideology and post‐industrial legacy) and methods  (virtual interface and public consultation).   

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Conversations This section traces experiments in call and response between people, buildings, institutions, spaces,  subjectivities and administrations, as follows: at a speculative ‘science and art’ research meeting  (2005), Dr John Stell suggests we share a common research interest in ‘spatiality’ from the different,  yet overlapping, perspectives of our disciplines [p.218, 224]; a personal correspondence proposes to  develop a project for Centre Civic Convent de Sant Agusti, Barcelona − the project does not happen  [p.228]; a text is written about PM Gallery, Croatia, without the author having visited that country  [p.236]; a formal enunciation marks the opening of an exhibition [p.244]; Mud Office is founded in  April 2005 by Charlie Jeffery and I during Negotiating Us, Here and Now, a four‐week workshop to  investigate ideas of responsible transformation through art as proposed by Michelangelo Pistoletto  [pp.248‐265]; an incidental interview becomes a doctoral inscription [p.266].    Amongst these exchanges a range of collaborative, interrogatory, performative, improvised and  negotiated dynamics are tested. These contribute to practice and debate within site‐specific, dialogic  and socially engaged art practices.127 Scores, proposals and manifestos are employed reflexively to  direct and respond to unfolding encounters. Sites are brought into play through physical actions,  announcements and descriptions. These speculative encounters accumulate as an experimental  testbed for dialogic techniques, tools and processes. Some of these lead to further dialogues beyond 

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the thesis. For example, Mud Office Does Lunch and Mud Fast (2008) are only partially represented in  this document, but offer a sense of what follows [p.260].    Pedagogy  My thesis has developed pedagogic projects within and without the art institution, drawing from the  legacies of Beuysʹ Free International University, Black Mountain College, Protoacademy,  Cittadellarte and critical writing on the art academy (Rogoff, Esche, Thompson, Rifkin). Pedagogy  presents exploration of the research questions, ‘How could a space for free thought be created?’ and  ‘How is meaning produced?’ with and through a range of educational contexts as follows:  statements made in my role as course leader of BA (Hons) Art & Design (Interdisciplinary), are  positioned within this thesis [p.272]; Interview is a pedagogic project developed for the same course  around a second‐year module about collaborative strategies and is informed by Protoacademy’s call  for the art academy to be ‘a meeting point for artists and various academic specialists, cultural  producers, politicians, business leaders and citizens’ [p.278]; my proposal for a pedagogic allotment  project with art schools was employed as the first year Fine Art programme at University of Leeds  with myself co‐teaching the project and as a four‐week project with undergraduates on BA (Hons)  Graphic Art & Design at Leeds Metropolitan University [p.284]; my analysis of the Leeds Fine Art  practice PhD guidelines128 with reference to Elizabeth Price, Joanne Tatham and the dominance of art 

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historical and cultural studies PhD thesis models [p.298] contributes to broader debates around the  methodologies and format of art: practice, research and pedagogy, within and beyond academia.    The practice‐research has informed pedagogic work, for example: teaching and re‐writing an Art and  Design undergraduate degree curriculum129; experimental projects with other institutions; and  reflection on the Fine Art PhD. Current debates around interdisciplinary pedagogy, practice‐research  and dialogues between the art academy and wider society are active.130 The full significance of the  pedagogic aspect of the doctorate is not anticipated in the original research proposal.     PhD guidelines‐in‐progress  Intricacies and nuances of University Fine Art PhD guidelines plainly aren’t that interesting until one  is actively dealing with them. 131 The guidelines were important to my study, initially as obstacles,  then as workable and ultimately useful problems. Such problems would be relevant to any PhD but  are amplified given my study’s particular attention to rules, manifestos and institutions and my  original proposal to push and prod at the study’s own context − ‘considering the university as a text:  its official and unofficial voices, architecture, archives, oral and written histories, events, dialogues  and artefacts.’ [p.307]. The guidelines then are a map to certain flaws inherent in protocols and  infrastructures of pursuing art practice‐research as academic knowledge production. Mika Hannula  calls this ‘turning the problems into your friend’.132 As a further ambiguity at Leeds: the same 

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guidelines Joanne Tatham discredits as outmoded and irrelevant in 2004 are those I am working to in  2008 [pp.298, 319].     Unsettled guidelines may constructively echo the ambiguities and limitations of knowledge. Equally,  flawed or misunderstood guidelines can limit the potential ambition and relevance of artistic  practice‐research. Such ambiguities are not unique to the Leeds PhD. This is a wider national and  international debate extending to contested relations between professional art world production and  academic research culture. Were flawless written guidelines to exist there would still be a need for  constant scrutiny and debate over questions such as: What are the expectations and limits? How far  can speculation and experiment go? Are ‘failure’ or ‘loss’ eligible as research criteria? Can practice‐ research writing leave out explicit reference to theorists [Price, p.298]? How can an artwork function  as a thesis, or as a research outcome? What are the necessary qualities of a practice‐research  outcome? How is this measured? Does good practice‐research equal good art?     The Fine Art PhD is still nascent. Current ambiguity of expectations warrants further  interconnectedness of work and debate between candidates (past and present), supervisors and  examiners. Without this, the viva exam is potentially the only platform to explore critically the  expectations and potential of the PhD in a sufficiently rigorous and joined up way.133 Also, if  universities are not responsive to the work already done in the field of the art practice PhD, then  fundamental problems − including those already unpacked by previous candidates − may resurface, 

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again and again. The same applies if guidance goes unchecked. Difficulty is part of the terrain and  such problems elicit new ways to tackle and present knowledge. Yet, with Fine Art, it remains to be  seen whether academic institutions, systems and practices can become more responsive to the new  and complex forms of knowledge they seek to champion.     My thesis  My thesis collapses exhibition, documentation and writing into each other − interweaving theory,  practice, research and making. Critical reflection and knowledge are inscribed across and between  these modes. Findings and format are one. The inter‐contextual richness of the study contributes to  theories of textuality, the production of meaning and spatiality. The written part of the thesis is not a  smaller version of a theoretical PhD, rather it is a distinct and unique voice interwoven through and  in experiences beyond theoretical writing. Writing and documentation are exhibited. Exhibitions  retell art encounters elsewhere. Fictions, meanings, theories and narratives accumulate and interact.  To quote Martin McQuillan, ‘Deconstruction likes mess, contamination, impurity, impropriety…’134  This is a thesis founded on contingency: ambivalence and multiplicity are set beside monologic  argument as a critical praxis.135 The study foregrounds the interstices, employs negative space and  amplifies the rustle and nuances between juxtapositions. The thesis exploits the slippery potential of  different kinds of reader and reading. It reads and writes at the same time. The outcome is a resource  for further work, proposing and unsettling forms and methods of research, pedagogy and art  practice. 

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Appendix A: Related practice-research outcomes

Exhibitions Mud in Your Eye, Mud in Your Garden*. Labo HO, Galerie HO, Marseilles, France, 2008. Mud Office Does Lunch*. Valeurs Croisées, Les Ateliers de Rennes, France, 2008. * To the Left of the Rising Sun . Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, June 2007. The Return of The Seven Samurai. Lucy Mackintosh Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland, Feb 2007. Virtual Grizedale. A Foundation, Liverpool Biennial, 2006. Photography from Thinking Space for the North, with Polly Braden. Artist House, Leeds, 2006. Inner Island: Art of Survival. Collateral Event – 51st Venice Biennale, 2005. Negotiating Us, Here and Now. Exhibition and workshop. Leeds City Art Gallery/Artist House, 2005. Websites Centre for International Success. <http://www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween>. Thinking Space for the North. <http://www.thinkingspacenorth.org>. * Mud Office . <http://www.mudoffice.eu>. Projects and events * Labour Swap . Castlefield Gallery and Low Parkamoor farmhouse, 2007. The Mud Office. 2005-08. Centre for International Success. 2003-ongoing. Thinking Space for the North. 2005-2008. Supersocial. Opening event for City Breaks conference, Liverpool Biennial, 2006. Near Island: Score for a Complex Scene. PM Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia, 2006. Centre for Imagined Futures. Coniston Water Festival, Grizedale Arts, 2005.

*

produced after the first edition (May 2007)

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Grizedale Arts Residency. 2005. Open Invitation. Garanti Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey, 2004. Floodlit Platform. Pistoletto Foundation, Biella, Italy, 2004. Manifesto. A/V commission, for International Artists Book Fair, Dean Clough, Halifax, 2004. Pedagogic projects Allotments for Art Schools. University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University and Situation Leeds, 2007. Teaching Land. Pedagogic allotment project with Vanalyne Green, University of Leeds, 2005-07. Interview. Between the art college and society, Leeds College of Art & Design and Centre for International Success, 2005. Talks Methodologies of the art practice PhD. University of Sunderland, May 2007. To the North! Closing event for ‘Virtual Grizedale’ at A Foundation, Liverpool Biennial, 2006. Visiting artist talk. Leeds Metropolitan University, March 2006. Thinking Space for the North: A dark, dank, derelict dump. Paper for ‘Researching cultural spaces, interdisciplinary postgraduate conference’, Royal Holloway University, London, June 2006. Fwd. S1 / projects. A series of talks by artists and curators in Yorkshire, Sheffield, July 2004. Floodlit Platform. Lecture for Unidée, Cittadellarte - Pistoletto Foundation, Biella, Italy, 2004. Residency Grizedale Arts, 2005.

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Appendix B: Original doctoral proposal to AHRC, 2003 Fine Art Practice: site-specificity, dialogue and fiction My research will explore the nature of site-specific practice, from basic ideas of response to space, to more complex dialogues with institutions, geographies and administrations. A model of site-specific practice where author-artist responds to a given context will be analysed in relation to textuality: how might an artistic practice develop contexts and objects in dialogue? I am intrigued by the emergence of multiple fictions between elements of practice and its infrastructures. Where context and administration become included in these fictions, questions of authorship are fascinating and problematic. The practice’s relation to theory, or to the practicalities of production and distribution will be explored as dialogues. I aim to negotiate this architecture of artistic production, with particular relation to ideas of collaboration, site-specificity and curating. Are these inclusive fictions? My research will test these ideas through dialogue, sound, sculpture, text, websites and installation, in relation to public contexts of exhibition. Theory will provide a framework for documentation, analysis and critical debate. The proposed relationship of my research to the University: 1) Considering the University as a text: its official and unofficial voices, architecture, archives, oral and written histories, events, dialogues and artifacts 2) The Department as critical support base and resource from which to explore dialogues in local, national and international contexts, with outside organizations and systems, such as galleries, academies, publications and the internet

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Research context of this proposal: 1) The School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies promotes theory and practice in collaboration and themes of aurality, textuality and subjectivity are primary concerns of the AHRB CentreCATH 2) Dialogue, textuality, and the everyday will be studied with De Certeau, Foucault, Bakhtin, Kristeva, Barthes 3) Researching site-specific practice will further my previous work with the AHRB ‘Subway Special’ project 4) Researching collaborative and contextual strategies of artistic practice will further my previous work as founder of Bluetit creative practice My involvement between 2000-2002 in the AHRB funded ‘Subway Special’ project, developed my engagement with specific questions of site-specificity demanding further study. Subway Special questioned the nature of site-specific practices, the significance locally and globally of small interventions, and the viability of showing spaces. These questions were addressed in relation to an architectural space. I wish to expand these and other questions of space to address further contexts of artistic production: institutional, regional, theoretical, virtual and commercial. Longer term, I see this focusing my continued engagement with artistic production, as a practitioner, researcher and lecturer.

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Appendix C: Leeds University Fine Art PhD guidelines and suggested amendments Exisiting PhD guidelines - Fine Art Postgraduate Handbook, 2006/07 The final submission will take the form of:

An exhibition taking any form appropriate to the media or means of communication chosen by the candidate, from a conventional hanging to installation, performance, screening, virtual or electronic presentation. The exhibition will be examined by a panel comprising both Internal and External examiners.

A permanent record of the exhibition must be prepared (see below). A dossier representing the work leading up to the final exhibition containing an archive both of theoretical reflection and previously exhibited work. The dossier should be a comprehensive record of the work including photographic, video, written or other forms of documentation where appropriate and must be submitted in a final, and library-worthy format (see below).

Written work of between 15,000 and 20,000 words in length. This writing represents the theoretical component of the PhD project and should provide both the historical context and a critical commentary.

An oral examination with Internal and External examiners.

Submission of documentation prior to examination: The following documents must be submitted to the Research Degrees and Scholarships Office prior to the final examination:

The dossier submitted in final and library-worthy format bound in the approved University colour. Three copies are required in bound volume or storage box (normally A4 but A3 may be

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used). If a storage box is used, it should be large enough to contain the written work and the record of the final exhibition in due course.

The written work submitted in temporary bound form.

Any associated catalogue or publication connected with the final examination.

Submission of documentation after the examination and before the Senate Research Degrees Committee may consider the award of the degree: Three copies of the following documents, bound in the approved University colour, must be submitted to the Research Degrees and Scholarships Office, after a successful examination and amendment where appropriate. The record of the final exhibition documented by means of photography, catalogue, invitations and where possible a video of the installation and any other form of documentation that is necessary to ensure the adequate record of the project and its final outcome.

The written work submitted in final and library-worthy format in the approved University colour.

The above documents must be either housed in a box, which will be shelved upright with the appropriate lettering on the forward edge (equivalent to a spine on a thesis) and on the front cover of the box (a list of contents must be pasted in this box lid) or be presented in the standard thesis format in separate volumes if appropriate (instructions of format of theses are available from the Research Degrees and Scholarships Office). All candidates are advised to consult the University instructions on the format of theses.

All photographic material must be supplied in forms suitable for preservation.

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Suggestions for possible amendments to guidelines79 Dan Robinson. May, 2006. [Amendments are marked in italics.] The final submission will incorporate the following:

Research-Practice outcome(s): a presentation taking any form appropriate to the media or means of communication chosen by the candidate worthy of public scrutiny, e.g. exhibition of works, installation, book, writing, performance, screening, virtual or electronic presentation or other appropriate format. Suitable arrangements should be made for this work to be examined (by a panel comprising both Internal and External examiners) by visiting the work on its own terms, for example visiting an exhibition site.

Dossier: A permanent record of the research-practice outcome(s) and related work must be prepared representing, for example, work leading up to a final exhibition, documentation of working processes, theoretical reflection, previously exhibited work, papers, etc. The dossier should be a comprehensive record of the work including photographic, video, written or other forms of documentation where appropriate and must be submitted in a final, and library-worthy format (see below).

Written work of between 15,000 and 20,000 words in length. This writing represents a theoretical component of the PhD project and should provide a critical and contextual commentary, or subject to approval by the graduate board or other committee empowered by the Senate, another textual form appropriate to the research questions.

An oral examination with Internal and External examiners.

Submission of documentation prior to examination: The following documents must be submitted to the Research Degrees and Scholarships Office prior to the final examination:

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The dossier submitted in final and library-worthy format bound in the approved University colour. Three copies are required in bound volume or storage box (normally A4 but A3 may be used). If a storage box is used, it should be large enough to contain the written work and the record of the Research-Practice outcomes in due course.

The written work submitted in temporary bound form.

Any associated catalogue or publication connected with the Research-Practice outcomes.

Submission of documentation after the examination and before the Senate Research Degrees Committee may consider the award of the degree: Three copies of the following documents, bound in the approved University colour, must be submitted to the Research Degrees and Scholarships Office, after a successful examination and amendment where appropriate:

The record of the Research-Practice outcomes documented by means of photography, catalogue, invitations and where possible a video of the installation and any other form of documentation that is necessary to ensure the adequate record of the project and its final outcome.

The written work submitted in final and library-worthy format in the approved University colour.

The above documents must be either housed in a box, which will be shelved upright with the appropriate lettering on the forward edge (equivalent to a spine on a thesis) and on the front cover of the box (a list of contents must be pasted in this box lid) or be presented in the standard thesis format in separate volumes if appropriate (instructions of format of theses are available from the Research Degrees and Scholarships Office). All candidates are advised to consult the University instructions on the format of theses.

All photographic material must be supplied in forms suitable for preservation.

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Appendix D: Note on Collaboration

Collaboration with Bryan Davies I first worked with Bryan Davies for the symposium Entrepreneur-ner at Artist House, Leeds (2004). Since then we worked together on various projects in galleries, art schools and at Grizedale Arts. The nature of our collaboration varies from project to project. Bryan’s full-time working partnership is with 136 Laura Davies at Artist House, Holbeck. As we both work, in part, under organisational identities (Davies with Artist House and I with Centre for International Success) these also come in to our collaboration. Working with Davies and Artist House has been significant to my doctorate. In particular, his positioning as critical artist-designer within economies of urban development, regeneration and the free market has enabled us both to develop reflexive dialogues between academia, the art world and other professional and socio-cultural contexts. This collaboration has been of great value to the development of my art practice-research between 2004-2008 and in enabling me to realise my doctoral aim ‘to explore complex dialogues with institutions, geographies and administrations.’ Collaboration with Grizedale Arts I began working with Grizedale Arts after a successful application to their residency programme (2005), with Bryan Davies [p.106]. Since then, Grizedale Arts operate as a research and production 137 agency. Their support, ideas and methods have had a significant impact on my practice-research. In particular, I have found useful their curatorial approach questioning exhibition formats, functions of art and the usefulness of artists to society; their willingness to engage in complex collaborative projects; their support of artists from diverse career trajectories; their respect for complexity, contradiction and the carnivalesque; and their critical work with the socio-politics of community engagement, regeneration, rural Romanticism and the legacies of Ruskin and the Arts and Crafts movement. The opportunity, through Grizedale Arts, to work with the remote Low Parkamoor Farm has been uniquely challenging and inspiring. The practical difficulties of the terrain have usefully

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provided a dramatic backdrop for a series of experiments to develop contexts and objects in dialogue. The opportunity to work with Grizedale Arts between 2005-2008 has significantly enabled the realisation of my PhD proposal to explore the nature of site-specific practice, from basic ideas of response to space, to more complex dialogues with institutions, geographies and administrations. The project Thinking Space for the North represents a major part of my PhD. Credits for Thinking Space for the North outcomes: Thinking Space for the North website. Concept: Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies. Writing, design and editing: Dan Robinson. Photography: Polly Braden, Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies Programming: Tom Betts Virtual Grizedale, group exhibition, A Foundation, Liverpool. Curated: Adam Sutherland, Alistair Hudson Installation concept: Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies Writing desk: Bryan Davies Sliding Panels and contextual print material: Dan Robinson Photographs: Polly Braden, Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies To the Left of the Rising Sun, group exhibition, Manchester Curated: Cecilia Andersson Exhibition concept and installation: Dan Robinson and Bryan Davies. Visual Manifesto: Dan Robinson Illustration: Joe Keirs (main drawings) and James Callahan.Â

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Bibliography and References

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BLANCHOT, M. 1982. The Two Versions of the Imaginary. Blanchot, Maurice. In: The Space of Literature. Trans. SMOCK, A. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. BLUMENBERG, H. 1979. The Legibility of the World. (Edition unknown) cited by CALVINO, I. BORGES, J.L. 1970. Partial Magic in the Quixote. In: Labyrinths. Middlesex: Penguin. BOURRIAUD, N. 1998. Relational Aesthetics. Trans. from the French by PLEASANCE, S. et al. France: Les Presses du Réel. BUTLER, J. 1997. On Linguistic Vulnerability. In: Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. New York: London: Routledge. BYATT, A. S. The Biographers Tale. London: Chatto & Windus, 2000. CALVINO, I. 1982. If On a Winter’s Night A Traveller. Trans. from the Italian by WEAVER, W. London: Picador. CALVINO, I. 1992. Multiplicity, In: Six Memos for the Next Millennium. Trans. from the Italian by CREAGH, P. London: Vintage. CALVINO, I. 1993. Cosmicomics. London: Picador. CALVINO, I. 1974. Invisible Cities. Trans. from the Italian by WEAVER, W. London: Secker & Warburg. CERTEAU, M. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. from the French by RENDALL, S. Berkeley: University of California Press. CALVINO, I. 1996. Multiplicity. In: Six Memos for the Next Millennium. London: Vintage. DEBORD, G. 1994. Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone Books. DERRIDA, J. 1997. Of Grammatology, trans. SPIVAK, G.C. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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RAVEL, M. Bolero. Columbia (composed 1906). PhD theses TATHAM, J. E. 2004. Heroin Kills: context and meaning in contemporary art practice. PhD thesis, University of Leeds. PRICE, E. M. 1999. A demonstration of a relation between thinking and doing: sidekick; and other unfinished work; undead. PhD thesis, University of Leeds. NEWMAN, H. 2001. Locating performance: textual identity and the performative. PhD thesis, University of Leeds. Unpublished BARTLETT SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE. 2005. Notes for Curating/Architecture research seminar on 16th February 2005. Unpublished GREEN, V. 2006. Teaching Land [abstract]. Unpublished. ROBINSON, D. 2005. The New Parlour. [proposal]. Low Parkamoor: Unpublished. UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS. 2006. School Research Postgraduate Handbook 2006-2007. School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies. Unpublished.

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Footnotes

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Footnotes

Introduction 1 KRISTEVA, J. 1986. The System and the Speaking Subject. In: MOI, T. (ed.) The Kristeva Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, p.25. 2 The exhibitions Virtual Grizedale and To the Left of the Rising Sun are visited by the PhD examiners in person. Further exhibitions listed in Appendix A are not visited by examiners but are documented across all six parts of the thesis. The choice of exhibitions visited by examiners is governed by practical logistics. The viva voce (oral PhD exam) takes place at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, on 3rd July 2007 within the exhibition To the Left of the Rising Sun. The location of the viva is partly due to ease of access. My earlier proposal for the viva to take place in Low Parkamoor Parlour, Coniston was less convenient. The location of this exam is significant, not so much because examiners can view physical artwork close-up (though this is important) but because it acknowledges that the viva itself is a negotiated site-specific dialogue. Situating the viva in an artist-led gallery, rather than in the university, acknowledges the powerful role played by architectural and institutional location of a conversation. The realisation of the viva echoes the form and content of the thesis and plays out its method of setting contexts and objects in dialogue. A wider narrative is played out: the artist-led gallery and the university, as rival sites for production of art practiceresearch. The viva exam is itself a ‘performative utterance… part of, the doing of a certain kind of action’ [the examination of the PhD]. AUSTIN, J.L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p.5. The viva is discussed on [p.316]. 3 JAMES, S. and BROWN, F. (curators) 2000. Subway Special. London: AHRB and Wimbledon School of Art. 4 BARRON, J. 2000. Revisiting a Space In: Subway Special. London: Wimbledon School of Art, p.90. These questions were addressed in relation to architectural space. My thesis broadens space to include social, textual, subjective, institutional, theoretical, virtual and geographic aspects of space. 5 Rather than referring to the users or communities of a site, the term ‘dialogue’ is used here in a broader sense, encompassing the whole process of project development involving architecture, site, text, users, subjectivity and geography. Forms of dialogue explored include for example: human-human, site-human, human-text and organisation-human. Theories of dialogism are discussed further below. The original research proposal used the term ‘artistic practice’, this has developed into ‘artistic practice-research’. The proposal continued as follows: “…I am intrigued by the emergence of multiple fictions between elements of practice and its infrastructures. Where context and administration becomes included in these fictions,

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questions of authorship are fascinating and problematic. The practice’s relation to theory, or to the practicalities of production and distribution will be explored as dialogues. I aim to negotiate this architecture of artistic production, with particular relation to ideas of collaboration, site-specificity and curating. Are these inclusive fictions? My research will test these ideas in relation to public contexts of exhibition.” Robinson, D. AHRC Application Form, 2003. (see Appendix B) 6 BARTHES, R. 1986. The Rustle of Language. In: The Rustle of Language. Trans. from the French by HOWARD, R. Oxford: Blackwell, p.192. 7 BARTHES, R. 1977. From Work to Text. In: Image-Music-Text. HEATH, S. (trans.) London: Fontana Press, p.157. 8 See Collected Ephemera and p.86. 9 ‘Ganit Mayslits… and I asked our students to occupy a building in Barcelona, in a manner that was unexpected but exposed qualities latent within the architecture. Carolyn Butterworth chose to lick every surface in the Barcelona Pavilion, recording the experience in a set of photographs and analytical drawings.’ HILL, J. 1998. An Other Architect. In: Occupying Architecture. London: Routledge. p90. For a description of Butterworth’s project (and image of her licking the Barcelona Pavilion) see GODBER, B. The Knowing and Subverting Reader. In: Ibid., pp.179-193. 10 See also Lisa Lambri’s photographs of Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion (2001). Reproduced In: Untitled (Experience of Place). NEUERER, G. 2003. (ed.) London: Koenig Books, p49. For further discussion of ‘reading architecture’ see BORDEN, I. and RENDELL, J. 2000. From Chamber to Transformer: Epistemological Challenges and Tendencies in the Intersection of Architectural Histories and Critical Theories. In: Intersections: Architectural Histories and Critical Theories. London: Routledge. 11 ‘In poetry we are no longer referred back to the world… The poetic word is no longer someone’s word. In it no one speaks and what speaks is not anyone.’ BLANCHOT, M. 1982. Mallarmé’s Experience. In: The Space of Literature. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, p.41. 12 AUSTIN, J. L. Op. cit., p.5. 13 Katherine Shonfield discusses pollution taboos in the Old Testament book of Leviticus with Mary Douglas to develop an argument for fiction as a critical method. SCHONFIELD, K. 2000. The use of fiction to reinterpret architectural and urban space. In: BORDEN, I. and RENDELL, J. 2000. (eds.) SCHONFIELD, K. 2000. p.303. 14 Joan Didion is compared to ‘a neurasthenic Cher’, for her comments ‘I prefer not to know… nothing matters’. HARRISON, B. G. 1980. Joan Didion: Only Disconnect. [online]. [Accessed 23rd April 2007]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/103/didion-per-harrison.html>. ‘The

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laughter of the carnival is not simply parodic; it is no more comic than tragic; it is both at once, one might say that it is serious.’ KRISTEVA, J. Op cit. p.50. 15 See HANNULA, M., SUORANTA, S. & VADÉN, T. (eds.) 2005. Artistic Research – theories, methods and practices. Sweden: University of Gothenburg / ArtMonitor. 16 It is not within the remit of this thesis to survey the historical development of site-related or dialogic art practices. For methodological discussion of ‘social practice art, social sculpture, littoral art, dialogic art, new genre public art…eco art’ in relation to Joseph Beuys, Caroline Tisdall, Suzanne Lacy and Grant Kester; see HEIM, W. 2003. Slow activism: homelands, love and the light bulb. Sociological Review, 51(s2), p.185 and footnote 4, p.200. For further ‘distinction between …working methods in contemporary art concerned with human interaction: …working with other, interactive activities, collective action and participatory practice…’ see KRAVAGNA, C. 1998. Cited by LIND, M. Actualisation of Space: The case of Oda Projesi. In: DOHERTY, C. (ed.) 2004. Contemporary Art, from Studio to Situation, London: Black Dog, p.117. For discussion of ‘dialogical fieldwork’ see KWON, M. 2004. One place after another: site-specific art and locational identity. Cambridge, Mass., London: MIT, p.138. For an overview of ‘process-related… behavioural… interactive, user-friendly and relational concepts.’ see BOURRIAUD, N. 1998. Relational Aesthetics. Trans. from the French by PLEASANCE, S. et al. France: Les Presses du Réel. 17 ‘Social space can in no way be compared to a blank page upon which a specific message has been inscribed.’ LEFEBVRE, H. 1991. Social Space. In: The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell, p.142. 18 ‘Language in the Menippean tradition is both representation of exterior space and “an experience that produces its own space’’’ KRISTEVA, J. 1986. Word, Dialogue and Novel, In: The Kristeva Reader, Op. cit., p.54. 19 ‘There can be no philosophy without a critique of philosophy and a refusal to philosophize. Equally, there can be no science without a critique of the scientific canon and science in general…’ LEFEBVRE, H. 1961. Introduction to Modernity. Cited in BORDEN, I. and RENDELL, J. 2000. Intersections: Architectural Histories and Critical Theories. London: Routledge, p.17. See also BYATT, A. S. The Biographers Tale. London: Chatto & Windus. 20 Open-ended findings may be expected in an art context. In a doctoral thesis, findings play a more defined role, as answers to research questions, archived for future reference. My comment on findings is intended to emphasise the particular nature of my findings as negotiated sites and discourses that extend beyond the boundaries of my thesis. 21 ‘The more we travel… more we feel validated, and relevant.’ KWON, M. 2004. One place after another: site-specific art and locational identity. Cambridge, Mass., London: MIT, p.156. 22 But within the remit of a taught undergraduate module.

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23

LEFEBVRE, H. 1991. Social Space. In: The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell, p.132. Such a transparency may wrongly be assigned to forms such as ‘essay’ or ‘logical argument’ within a written thesis. 25 ‘Every word... tastes of the content and contexts in which it has lived its socially intense life.’ HIRSCHKOP, K and SHEPHERD, D. (eds.) Bhaktin and Cultural Theory. Manchester University Press, p.16. 26 ‘Bakhtinian dialogism identifies writing as both subjectivity and communication, or better, as intertextuality. Confronted with this dialogism, the notion of a person-subject of writing becomes blurred yielding to that of ambivalence of writing.’ KRISTEVA, J. 1986. Word, Dialogue and Novel. In: MOI, T. (ed.) The Kristeva Reader. Op. cit., p.40. The title ‘Word, Dialogue, Novel’ informs part of my thesis title, ‘Site, Score, Document’. 27 On ‘Criticality’ see ROGOFF, I. 2007. Academy as Potentiality. In: Academy. NOLLERT, I. and ROGOFF, I. (eds.) Frankfurt: Revolver, pp.6-19. 28 DERRIDA, J. 1997. Of Grammatology, trans. SPIVAK, G.C. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 29 HEIDEGGER, M. (1971). Poetry, Language and Thought. (A. Hofstadter, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row, p.192. 30 ‘What pivot is there, I mean within these contrasts for intelligibility? A guarantee is needed – Syntax - … an extraordinary appropriation of structure, limpid, to the primitive lightening bolts of logic. A stammering, what the sentence seems, here repressed… The debate – whether necessary average clarity deviates in detail – remains one for grammarians.’ MALLARME, S. 1945. Oeuvres Completes cited by KRISTEVA, J. Revolution in Poetic Language. In: The Kristeva Reader. Op. cit., p.97. The double aim of each text in Writing and Speaking is further discussed below, p.13. 31 ‘Menippean discourse… seems fascinated by the double and with the logic of opposition replacing that of identity in defining terms. It is an all-inclusive genre put together as a pavement of citations.’ KRISTEVA, J. 1986. Word, Dialogue and Novel. In: MOI, T. (ed.) The Kristeva Reader. Op. cit., p.53. 32 ENGH, B. 2002. ‘Sign’, [Lecture] as part of the topic ARTF5600 Society, Culture, Sign, Text, Subject. University of Leeds, Old Mining Building on 13 Nov 2002. ENGH, B. is paraphrasing SAUSSURE, F. Saussure’s work is today known via the notes his students made rather than by his own writings. 33 ‘All the records chosen are exactly contemporary, given from the standpoints and within the range of knowledge of those who made them.’ STOKER, B. 1897. Introductory Note. In: Dracula. Ellmann, M. (ed.) 1996. Oxford: Oxford University Press p.5. 34 ‘Cervantes created a fictional origin for the story in the character of the Morisco historian, Cide Hamete Benengeli, whom he claims to have hired to translate the story from an Arabic manuscript he found in 24

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Toledo's bedraggled old Jewish quarter.’ WIKIPEDIA. 2007. Don Quixote. [online]. [Accessed 17th May 2007]. Available from World Wide Web <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Quixote>. 35 See below, p.63. 36 Multiplicity., and Lightness. In: CALVINO, I. 1996. Six Memos for the Next Millennium. London: Vintage. See also below, p.91. 37 See below, pp.94, 105. 38 RENDELL, J. 2004. [Introductory comments to Critical Architecture symposium]. London: Bartlett School of Architecture, 26th November 2004. Comparing architecture-writing to art-criticism, Rendell asks, ‘are these hybrid forms? Can we think of one in terms of the other? …Can writing change architecture? …Is criticism critical? In Writing in Place of Listening. (RENDELL, J. 2002. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University / Site Gallery, p.15.) Rendell describes how she quotes and re-appropriates her own ‘old’ work as ‘new’ work. I employ this strategy throughout my thesis. 39 For examples of previous theses at Leeds University following this model see Jane Callow, Judith Tucker and Nichola Bird. This is reinforced by departmental guidelines that list these requirements as distinct categories. 40 ‘It is implicit that the relationship between exhibition, documentation and writing is incontestable and that these are discrete concerns with clearly defined functions.’ TATHAM, J. E. 2004. Heroin Kills: context and meaning in contemporary art practice. PhD thesis, University of Leeds, pp.58-9. 41 School Research Postgraduate handbook 2006-2007. School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies. University of Leeds, p.22. Writing as an artwork in itself is not accounted for in Leeds University's guidelines. I discuss these guidelines and the components of the Fine Art practice submission in more detail below.

     

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SECTION ONE: Utterance  42

ARTIST HOUSE. 2004. Entrepeneur-ner [symposium notes]. Unpublished: ‘The Symposium considers Ute Meta Bauer’s comments on the changing face and restructuring of cultural production outside of art colleges for European art graduates in her essay; ‘Education, Information, Entertainment’ ‘More and more activities devoted to ‘earning a living’ are becoming incorporated into current forms of art practice, as artists grow weary of neglecting their everyday realities in the hope of achieving the kind of art market success that was possible for even younger artists during the prosperous years of the 1980s.’ Bauer goes on to describe art education, art institutions, galleries, funding structures, and public arts patronage as potential key players in the reshaping of how culture is made and supported. If there is any way to radically reshape and re-define these structures and the artworks they produce towards creating a space for free thinking within society, it must take account of economic realities of capitalism. The benefits and downsides of the value of art within its various systems such as city developments and marketing, and attribute the pressures that these place on the artist. Similarly this implicates the alternative, the politics of state and institutional support. Therefore to work towards new models means developing a complex awareness of the bigger questions of arts relationship to capitalism. ‘Symposium Entrepreneur-ner’ sets out to do this through bringing together professionals that are knowledgeable and already working alternatives in this field, within their artworks, curatorship, economic and political theory. Speakers included Charles Esche (Keynote), Nevan Petrovich, Dirk Flieschmann, Francesco Bernabei.’ 43 BARTHES, R. 1977. From Work to Text. In: Image-Music-Text. Trans. from the French by HEATH, S. London: Fontana Press, p.192. 44 ‘Speaking generally it is always necessary that the circumstances in which the words are uttered should be in some way, or ways appropriate…’ AUSTIN J. L. 1962. How to do things with words. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p.8. Austin introduces numerous kinds of sentence which he deems not to be truthevaluable, in particular he develops a concept of ‘performative utterances’ whereby the act of speaking in appropriate circumstances does not merely say something, but does something. 45 KRISTEVA, J. 1986. Word, Dialogue and Novel. Op. cit., p.36. 46 At least, not ‘truth-evaluable’. Ibid. 47 CALVINO, I. 1982. If On a Winter’s Night A Traveller. Trans. from the Italian by WEAVER, W. London: Picador, p.15. 48 Ibid., p.17. 49 RAVEL, M. Quoted on the sleeve notes to Boléro. Columbia (composed 1906).

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50

KRISTEVA, J. 1986. Word, Dialogue and Novel. Op. cit., p.45. AUSTER, P. 1997. The Decisive Moment. In: The Art of Hunger. New York: Penguin, p.38. 52 BARTHES, R. 1986. The Rustle of Language. In: The Rustle of Language. Trans. from the French by HOWARD, R. Oxford: Blackwell, p.192. 53 BORGES, J.L. 1970. Partial Magic in the Quixote. In: Labyrinths. Middlesex: Penguin, p.231. 54 Floodlit Platform came about through an invitation by Artist House for the author to create an event for Unidée. The Poster and Lecture are by the author and the Golf event is a collaboration with Bryan Davies. A previous version of these notes with the images that accompanied its original presentation is online. Available at World Wide Web: < http://www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/paper2.htm>. 55 LEFEBVRE, H. 1991. Social Space In: The Production of Space. Op. cit., p.92. 56 Ibid., p.131. 57 DE CERTEAU, M. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. from the French by RENDALL, S. Berkeley: University of California Press, p.117. 58 BA (Hons) Art & Design Interdisciplinary. 2004. Leeds College of Art & Design. 59 DAVIES, B. 2004. [event description]. Unpublished. 60 BAIN, M. 2001. Stark Act of Removal. Malmö: Rooseum. 61 ESCHE, C. 2001. New Mission for Rooseum. [online]. [Accessed 1st September 2004]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.rooseum.se>. Claire Doherty asks, ‘If, as Esche suggests, the conventional gallery or museum is becoming a social space rather than a showroom, do we run the risk of creating a new set of conventions – the convention of role-play or prescribed participation – in a wider socio-political context of impotent democracy? And consequently do the art institutions of the future risk becoming more frustrating, less potentially contemplative or active spaces for the visual imagination?’ DOHERTY, C. 2004. The Institution is dead! Long live the institution! Contemporary Art and New Institutionalism. In: Art of Encounter, Engage Review. Issue 15, p.7. Commenting on the potential gap between the rhetoric and reality of pedagogic art institution, Charles Esche cites Oskar Schlemmer, ‘the construction and architecture class, which should be at the core of the Bauhaus, does not exist officially, but only in Gropius’ private office…its aims directly opposed to the schooling functions of the workshops.’ SCHLEMMER, O. [date unknown] cited by ESCHE, C. 2000. [online]. [Accessed 22nd November 2002]. Now unavailable at World Wide Web: <www.protoacademy.org>. 62 BUTLER, J. On Linguistic Vulnerability. Op. cit., p.34. 63 THE POINT! 2002. [online]. [Accessed 8th September 2004]. Available online at World Wide Web: <http://www.leeds.ac.uk/inbetween/thepoint.htm>. 64 BALLARD, J. G. 2000. Super-Cannes. UK: Flamingo, p.5. 51

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65

PISTOLETTO, M. 1994. Progetto Arte. [online]. [Accessed 19th May 2007]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.cittadellarte.it/citta2005/pdf/pub/ProgettoArte_manifesto.pdf> This manifesto serves as the founding document of Cittadellarte, Fondazione Pistoletto. 66 For examples of artists loosening the binary ‘documentary − fiction,’ see Documentary Fictions. 2004. [exhibition]. Barcelona: Caixa Forum, or the work of Sophie Calle, Hayley Newman, Alan Currall or Lindsay Seers. 67 HEWITT, A. and JORDAN, M. 2004. Futurology. [exhibition leaflet]. Walsall: New Art Centre. 68 CERTEAU, M. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. from the French by RENDALL, S. Berkeley: University of California Press, p.11. 69 CALVINO, I. 1996. Multiplicity. Op. cit., p.112. 70 Ibid., p105. 71 KRISTEVA, J. 1986. Word, Dialogue and Novel. Op. cit., pp.34-59. 72 CALVINO, I. 1996. Multiplicity. Op. cit., p.124. 73 Ibid., p.93. 74 AUSTER, P. 1997. The Decisive Moment. In: Hand to Mouth: a chronicle of early failure. London: Faber and Faber, p.36. 75 HARKER, J. cited by CHEEK, C. 2002. In: KENNEDY, D and TUMA, K. Additional Apparitions. Sheffield: The Cherry on Top Press, p.114. 76 FARQHUARSON, A. 2003. I Curate... You Curate... We Curate... Art Monthly. No 269, September 2003, pp.7-10. The article surveys contemporary trends in curatorial practice. 77 REZNIKOFF, C. 1974. By the Well of Living & Seeing: New and Selected Poems 1918-1973. Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, p.72.

         

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SECTION TWO: Dialogue  78

GRIZEDALE ARTS [online]. [Accessed 5th May 2007]. Available at World Wide Web <http://www.grizedale.org/>. 79 Virtual Grizedale. In: A Foundation. 2006. [online]. [Accessed 5th May 2007] Available from World Wide Web <http://www.afoundation.org.uk>. 80 Commissioned by A Foundation for Liverpool Biennial, 2006. 81 Virtual Grizedale. In: A Foundation. 2006. [online]. [Accessed 5th May 2007] Available from World Wide Web <http://www.afoundation.org.uk>. 82 DAVIES, B. 2006. Untitled, Cedar, Ash and MDF, 150 x 80 x 100 cm (approx). Collection Low Parkamoor, Cumbria. For image see [online] <http://www.axisweb.org/seWORK.aspx?POP=1&WORKID= 47984&VISUALID=53217&PID=414> [Accessed 5th May 2007]. 83 ROBINSON, D. 2006. Untitled, Oak and Cherry veneered MDF, 320 x 200 x 4 cm (approx). Collection Low Parkamoor, Cumbria. 84 ‘This trend has produced a contradiction for art whereby accountability and visibility jar with selforganisation and open-ended processes of valorisation.’ Liverpool Biennial 2006. [online]. [Accessed 30th October 2008.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://2006.biennial.com/content/Programme/Conference.aspx> 85 ‘Werk is a curatorial agency based in Stockholm. With emphasis on artists working across disciplines and with socially engaged processes, Werk collaborate internationally to organise, produce, stage, publish and promote contemporary artworks. SuperSocial, a subsidiary of Werk, operates as a travelling unit to facilitate and host temporary platforms and events…As a travelling unit and under the name SuperSocial, Werk facilitate and host temporary social platforms and events that work to promote discussion and exchange of information between a variety of practitioners in the arts. One small but continuous way of doing this is to cook and serve meals in different contexts and in different cities. SuperSocial gathers artists, curators, critics, gallerists, collectors and others with a professional involvement in the arts. Werk was established in 2003 by Cecilia Andersson.’ Werk. [online]. [Accessed 30th October 2008.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.werkprojects.org/homepage.htm> 86 Static. [online]. [Accessed 30th October 2008.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.statictrading.com/> 87 A traditional Liverpudlian stew. 88 WAIT, L. and ROBINSON, D. 2006. Saxon Revival Serving Pot, ceramic, 45 x 45 x 35 cm (approx). Collection Low Parkamoor, Cumbria.

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89

For Virtual Grizedale at A Foundation, a related press release, see Collected Ephemera. PRESCOTT, J. 2004. The Northern Way. [online]. [Accessed 20th November 2005.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.thenorthernway.co.uk/>. See also DAVIES, B. and DAVIES, L. The Wonderful North [online]. An online art project commissioned in 2007 by Arts Council England and funded by the Northern Way. [Accessed 22nd June 2008.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.thewonderfulnorth.com>. 91 RUSKIN, J. 1859. Modern Manufacture and Design In: The Two Paths. PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK. 2003. [online]. [Accessed 24th November 2006]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext05/7ttpa10.txt>. 92 PARLOR PRESS. 2004. [online]. [Accessed 24th November 2006]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.parlorpress.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=52>. 93 ROBINSON, D. 2005. The New Parlour. [proposal]. Low Parkamoor: Unpublished. 94 FRITZ, M. 2005. The New Countryside. Austria: Festival of Regions. 95 WIKIPEDIA. 2006. News From Nowhere. [online]. [Accessed 24th November 2006]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_from_Nowhere>. 96 SANDERSON HOTEL. 2000. [online]. [Accessed 24th November 2006]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.sandersonlondon.com/>. 97 MONDRIAN HOTEL. 1996. [online]. [Accessed 24th November 2006]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.mondrianhotel.com/>. 98 LANDROVER. 2006. [online]. [Accessed 24th November 2006]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.landrover.com/gb/en/Adventures/Experience/Corporate%20Events.htm>. 99 http://www.fileane.com/english/monte_verita_english.htm 100 LEWIS, W. 1992. Blast. Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, pp.11-12. 101 The Return of the Seven Samurai. [online]. [Accessed 30th October 2008]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.lucymackintosh.ch/archives.php?id=36>. See also <http://www.sevensamurai.jp/> 102 ANDERSSON, C. 2006. (curator) To the left of the Rising Sun. [exhibition statement, online]. [Accessed 18th May 2007]. Available at World Wide Web: <www.manchesterinternationalfestival.com/festivalevents/event-details.aspx?id=69724>. 103 SCHWITTERS, K. 1948. 3rd Merzbau. Elterwater. ‘Working on the raw stone walls of the barn, he used wood, stones, string, guttering, the rose from a watering can, and various other pieces found on country walks, embedding them in plaster applied directly to the stone.’ HATTON GALLERY [online]. [Accessed 5th May 2007]. Available from World Wide Web: <http://www.ncl.ac.uk/hatton/collection/schwitters>. 90

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SECTION THREE: Conversations  104

BARTLETT SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE. Notes for a research seminar on 16th February 2005. Unpublished: Dr Andrea Phillips Curating/Architecture and Kathrin Böhm Lay-out-Fitting-SPACEMAKERS and other projects. Dr Andrea Phillips is an art historian and Assistant Director of the Curating Programme, Department of Visual Arts, Goldsmiths. She has written and lectured internationally on questions of spatial production, ethics and contemporary art and is currently working on a publication, Walking into Trouble: Contemporary Art and the Pedestrian. Curating/Architecture, a research project developed in the Department of Visual Arts, Goldsmiths, examines the critical connections between architectural ideas, artistic practices and developments in contemporary curating. Curating can be defined as the process of creating organised space, and as a mode of dissembling and asking questions of that space. As architectural theory and practice has developed through the 20th century, it has influenced and perhaps in turn been influenced by questions asked by artists and more recently curators about the organisation and production of the built environment. This talk will interrogate the contemporary meeting point of these disciplines. Kathrin Böhm is an artist whose practice often involves collaboration with architects, curators and other artists. She trained in London and in Nuremberg and some of her recent solo projects include: 2002: Lay-out, Gasworks Gallery London; Fitting, Fire Station Riem, Munich; SPACEMAKERS, The Architecture Foundation, Bristol; 2001: Millions and Millions, The Showroom, London; Cut and Paste, London; 2000: Mobile Porch, NKAT, London; Walls On Wheels, British Council, Prague. 105 Designing for the 21st Century [online]. [Accessed 6th June 2008.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.design21.dundee.ac.uk/Phase1/21Clusters/Spatiality_in_Design.htm> 106 See Stell, J. G., Cameron, L. And Hay, K. G. (2007) Spatiality in Design. In Inns, T. (ed) Designing for the 21st Century. Ashgate: 2008. and Spatiality in Design [online]. [Accessed 6th June 2008]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.leeds.ac.uk/SiD/wiki/pmwiki.php>. 107 DIRE STRAITS. 1984. Telegraph Road. On: Alchemy: Dire Straits Live. UK: PolyGram Records/Vertigo Records. Vinyl. 13:37min. The track was played through a PA system. Cyclists circled the balcony, causing smoke to spill to floor below and throwing plastic airflow golf balls. 108 In Architecture and Utopia. TAFURI, M. cites BENJAMIN, W. describing the Dadaist revolution as the ‘end of the aura…the integration of the subjective moment with the complex mechanism of rationalisation…’ p.56. Discussing the form ‘manifesto’ he continues, ‘The plan tends on the one hand to be identified with the institution that supports it, and on the other, to be set forth as an institution in itself.” p.61. Wikipedia’s article on ‘Art Manifesto’ quotes Tristan Tzara: ‘A manifesto is a communication made to the whole world, whose only pretension is to the discovery of an instant cure for political, astronomical,

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artistic, parliamentary, agronomical and literary syphilisâ&#x20AC;Śâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; WIKIPEDIA [online]. [Accessed 12th May 2007]. Available at World Wide Web: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_manifesto>. Dadaist, Futurist, Vorticist and Surrealist actions loosely inform several works in this thesis: The World has a Voice [p.42], the use of the Bolero during Floodlit Platform [p.72], Vodka / Redbull / Cocaine [p.108], the collage of found texts in To the North! [p.182], and Mud Office Rules [p.240].

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SECTION FOUR: Pedagogy  109

In May 2008, I took part in an evaluation with Julie Crawshaw commissioned by Situation Leeds executive. Her MSc in International Development (The Management and Implementation of Development Projects) at Manchester University introduced her to methodologies for understanding complexity that she has adapted for the purpose of evaluating the value and impact of the artist and artist-led project. She is about to begin a PhD in an attempt to develop new methodologies for evidencing the value of the artist at the School of Environment and Development, Manchester University. With Jason E. Bowman she has recently completed, Made Visible a significant study of the East Midlands, to evidence the value of visual arts practice in rural locations. She has also recently completed an organisational diagnostic of Vane (Newcastle) and an evaluation of Reputations a public art programme in Castlemilk (Glasgow). 110 See You’ve Got Some Explaining To Do. [online]. [Accessed 19th June 2008.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://youvegotsomeexplainingtodo.com/>. 111 For recent initiatives beyond the academy that debate the role of the art academy see Manifesta 6, cancelled in Nicosia, Cyprus, Summit, forthcoming in Berlin, Future Academy, Unidée, Protoacademy, Cork Caucus and Academy. Beuys’ Free International University is an important reference for all these projects. Irit Rogoff describes ‘...the extreme bureaucratisation and increasingly result-oriented culture overtaking British higher education...’ (ROGOFF, I. 2006. Academy. Frankfurt: Revolver, p.14.) Dieter Lesage writes “So I give you images, and you give me that fucking doctorate.” (Ibid., p.222.) In UK higher education, debates over delivery and regulation of art education are still coming to terms with modularisation and a new management vocabulary of ‘basic skills’, ‘learning outcomes’ and ‘employment destinations’. See Jon Thompson’s talk at a conference on art education, Tate Britain. (THOMPSON, J. 2004. Art education: from Coldstream to QAA In: Critical Quarterly, 47, September 2004, p.217.) 112 Current UK and international debate over the specifics of practice PhDs in the arts is to a large extent taking place online via various discussion lists, arguably a problem in itself. See <http://aces.shu.ac.uk/ahrc/index.php>, <http://www.herts.ac.uk/artdes1/research/papers/wpades/>, <http://www.herts.ac.uk/artdes1/research/papers/wpades/vol1/vol1intro.html> and Design Research Society discussion list: <http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/DRS.html>. 113 ‘Process and investigation are everything and the possibility of establishing hard and fast ‘outcomes’ that testify to the successful completion of a training or educational apprenticeship are virtually impossible to arrive at.’ ROGOFF, I. 2006. Academy. Frankfurt: Revolver, p.14. 114 University of East London now offer Professional Doctorate in Fine Art. For further debate around differences between PhD and DA see AHRC. 2006. AHRC review in practice-led research art, design and

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architecture. June-July 2006. [online]. [Accessed 29th March 2007] Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/AHRC-WORKSHOP-PL.html>. 115 PRICE, E. M. 1999. A demonstration of a relation between thinking and doing: sidekick; and other unfinished work; undead. PhD. thesis, University of Leeds. 116 GREEN, V. 2007. [personal communication]. 23rd April 2007. 117 TATHAM, J. E. 2004. Heroin Kills: context and meaning in contemporary art practice. PhD thesis, University of Leeds, p.62. 118 The University of Leeds Fine Art PhD guidelines at the time of Tathamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s submission (2004) remain unchanged at the time of revising this edition (2008). The department is in the process of revising them. Guidelines are reproduced in full in Appendix C [p.322]. 119 TATHAM, J. E. 2004. Heroin Kills: context and meaning in contemporary art practice. PhD. thesis, University of Leeds, p.61. 120 Ibid., p.60. 121 At a meeting with Chris Taylor on 19th May 2006 we discussed the inadequacies of the University of Leeds Fine Art PhD. guidelines. The following week I circulated some provisional amendments to the guidelines within the School as a starting point for discussion. 26th May 2006. [p.322]. I also circulated photocopies of TATHAM, J. E. 2004. Afterword. In: Heroin Kills: context and meaning in contemporary art practice. Op. cit., pp.57-74.

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Evaluation and Appendices  122

See RIFKIN, A. Writing as a way out. Art History, Special Issue 2. Blackwell: London, forthcoming 2009. Certain images from this text − reflecting on research culture’s criteria for writing − feedback through my questioning of evaluation protocol. Rifkin’s essay juxtaposes ‘the function of the parable to resist explanation’, ‘the speculative’, ‘the verb to lose as a research criterion’ and ‘the protocol of research questions and speculative quasi certainties that are the peer culture of our time’. He adds, ‘Hypostatised as authors, we write on the surface that we call a discipline... But this surface is a topology in which closeness and distance, presence and absence interchange, concealing and revealing the shifting relativities of difference, and the art of writing is its negotiation.’ 123 At the end of the study I recognise these terms are imprecise. In this study ‘elements of practice’ means for example, proposal, manifesto, documentation, exhibition or presentation. By ‘infrastructures of practice’ I refer to systems of narrative and meaning constructed through relations, layering, juxtapositions and hierarchies of such elements. ‘Infrastructures’ also means organisations and institutions such as the University or its rules; organisations tinged with fiction such as Centre for International Success and less tangible notions such as the art world or language. 124 By ‘artwork caption’ I mean the form of short text usually following the format, ‘title, date, medium, dimensions and blurb’, as in: a label beside an artwork (in a gallery or in print), or a caption to a photograph. A critical poetics of this literary genre in and of itself could form the basis for a whole new project. 125

With Jane Rendell’s hybrid term architecture-writing in mind [see above, footnote 38], Thinking Space for the North attempts to understand Low Parkamoor through site and narrative being constantly entangled.

126

See The Wonderful North [online]. “After a full month trundling along the roads of the North in a camper van, researching amazing places and people, our artists are now ready to invite you to visit the Expo. There are 5 pavilions for you to explore in this virtual exhibition, dedicated to Geography, Economy, Society, Culture and International. Inside you'll discover a series of brand-new works of art created by Bryan and Laura, all celebrating life in the Wonderful North. It's a unique and extraordinary idea, bringing artists, the public and the internet together in one place.” [Accessed 22nd June 2008.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://www.thewonderfulnorth.com>. The project was commissioned in 2007 by Arts Council England and funded by the Northern Way. 127 In evaluating what has been left out of the thesis, I recognise a significant historical thread that has not been fully explicated is the legacy of Feminism after Modernism. The thesis does not attempt a historical analysis of feminism’s contribution to art history. Rather, the strategies, modes and questions of the

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practice-research project weave in Feminism’s critical foregrounding of social, relational, and processbased responses to history’s “patriarchal and phallocentric thought and formations.” POLLOCK, G. 2003. Introduction. Vision and Difference. New York: Routledge. Cited by GREEN, V. 2006. Vertical Hold: A History of Women's Video Art. In: Feedback: The Video Data Bank Catalogue of Video Art and Artist Interviews. Horsfield, K. and Hilderbrand, L. (eds.) 128 It is the view of the author that my Suggestions for possible amendments to guidelines (May 2006) [p.321] are themselves flawed and insufficient. These have not been revisited at the time of editing, as this would have been a substantial task beyond the remit of the doctorate. The suggestions are presented both within the thesis and to the School of Fine Art as a potential stimulus to further debate and review. (In November 2008 this review is ongoing.) 129 In 2007, in my role as course leader of BA Hons Art & Design (Interdisciplinary) at Leeds College of Art & Design, I rewrote the course document as part of an Open University validation process. The course was ending its previous accreditation by University of Leeds to be revalidated by The Open University. 130 For example, today (24th May 2007) debate is focused in Berlin: Summit. Non-aligned initiatives in education culture. [online]. [Accessed 24th May 2007.] Available at World Wide Web: <http://summit.kein.org/> and in Leeds: Chances and Challenges, Practice-Led Research Symposium. University of Leeds, 2007. 131 In the last stages of my doctorate Dr Beryl Graham invited me to present my research to a group of practice PhD students at the University of Sunderland. This provided an opportunity to critically reflect and evaluate the doctoral work. I was specifically invited to discuss methodology. I referred to Joanne Tatham’s critique of the Leeds University guidelines within a questioning of methodologies and formats of the Fine Art practice PhD, and discussed in detail the project Thinking Space for the North. The group were particularly interested in discussing the format of the thesis presentation, in particular my employment of different textual modes within the writing and my negotiation with/in a complex range of constraints and public outcomes. 132 HANNULA, M. [online]. Message to: Dan Robinson. [18th May 2009]. Personal communication. 133 Anecdotal evidence during my PhD at Leeds suggests that in most, possibly in all, Fine Art practice PhD oral exams between 2003-2008 there have surfaced significant differences of opinion between examiners, supervisors and candidates over what the practice thesis should do. In my case, the viva exam provided a significant platform to debate fundamental expectations of a Fine Art thesis. This prompted further work to unpick and collapse the thesis into its current integrated form. Present at the viva were Charles Esche (External Examiner), Professor Roger Palmer (Internal Examiner), Professor Vanalyne Green (Lead Supervisor) and Dr Will Rea. [see also p.337, footnote 2].

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134

MCQUILLAN, M. 2002. Text. Lecture as part of the MA module ARTF5600 Society, Culture, Sign, Text, Subject. University of Leeds, Old Mining Building on 20th November 2002. McQuillan is referring to Paul de Man. See also SHONFIELD, K. Op. cit., p.298. 135 Although the field of cultural studies widely recognises post-structuralist theories of textuality, deconstruction and dialogism to contest the authority of phallo-logo-centrism, ‘logical argument’ is still widely cited as a necessary criterion for a doctorate. See BIGGS, M.A.R. 2000. Editorial: the foundations of practice-based research. In: Working Papers in Art and Design [online]. [Accessed 20th April 2007]. Available from World Wide Web: <http://www.herts.ac.uk/artdes/research/papers/wpades/vol1/vol1intro.html>. 136 Artist House changed its identity to Bryan and Laura Davies Studio in 2007. 137 The complex working relationship with Grizedale Arts as host, commissioner and collaborator is discussed throughout SECTION TWO: Dialogue. For further discussion of the role of the ‘production agency’ within contemporary art see FROST, C. 2008. (ed.) Production Lines. In: A-n Collections. Newcastle: Louise Wirz, 2008. Also available [online]. [Accessed 29th March 2007]. Available from World Wide Web: <www.a-n.co.uk/production_lines>.

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The Noise of Fiction: Site, Score, Document  

Writing and Speaking. Part one of a six part art Phd

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