A project by Neil Cummings, for Arnolfini’s 50th anniversary
1831 Bristol Riots, Queen Square
The great experimental physicist Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction when he wraps two insulated coils of wire around an iron ring and finds that, upon passing a current through one coil, a momentary current is induced in the other. He uses this principle to construct electromagnetic rotary devices which suggest the possibility of electric motors, generators and transformers. Through his research we come to understand electromagnetic force, which exists everywhere and in all things, as one of the four fundamental components of our universe.
Self Portrait: Arnolfini
1832 Discovery of electromagnetic current, Michael Faraday
Riots ensue as the House of Lords rejects the Representation of the People Act. Commonly known as the Reform Bill it intends to give greater representation in the House of Commons to the many cities that have expanded during the Industrial Revolution. Bristol has been represented since 1295, but by 1830 only 6,000 of the 104,000 population were eligible to vote for their MP.
Provoked by local magistrate Sir Charles Wetherell’s opposition to the Bill, riots break out and continue over three days. The Mansion House in Queen Square is looted, the Bishop’s Palace set on fire, and the prison destroyed. Dragoon guards violently suppress the riot by charging through Queen Square with drawn swords. Hundreds were killed or severely wounded.
Left: Soldiers subduing the riots in Queen Square, Bristol. Above: Michael Faraday
1837 Government School of Design
1835 Narrow Quay warehouse extended to store tea and dry goods
1832 Acraman’s builds warehouse at Narrow Quay
1836 Bristol Zoo
Merchants and ironmongers Acraman’s acquires the leases of three houses at the south end of Prince Street, Bristol. Bordered on two sides by the dock walls of Bristol’s Floating Harbour, where the River Frome once flowed into the River Avon along St Augustine’s Reach, the site is at the heart of the city’s international trading quarter. Acraman’s pulls the houses down, building a new property described as “warehouses, lofts, cellars and compting houses”. 2
The company of Acraman Bush Castle & Co. is formed specifically to take advantage of the recent removal of the East India Company’s tea monopoly. Designed by Richard Shackleton Pope in local pennant stone, the warehouse is extended to accommodate expected future trade. Its monumental construction, later described by Andrew Foyle as “the forefather of the Bristol Byzantine style”, will attract the attention of architectural critic and historian Nikolaus Pevsner, in his Buildings of England series.1
The Industrial Revolution established Britain as a world leader in manufacturing and enabled British products to generate vast internal and international markets. By the 1830s these markets are threatened as European, Indian and American goods compete alongside British products with increasing success, a success often attributed to their design superiority. Feeling their livelihoods at risk, British manufacturers lobby Parliament, and in 1835 a Select Committee is set in motion to “Enquire into the best means of extending a knowledge of the Arts and the principles of Design among the people, especially
the manufacturing population of the country.” The following year the Committee concludes that successful international competitors are funding public design education, while Britain is not, recommending that Parliament invest £1,500 to establish a central school of design in London, with further annual funding to establish a network of provincial schools in the major industrial centres of the country. The Government School of Design is established at Somerset House in London in 1837, and Art & Design becomes the first form of publicly-funded education in Britain.2
On 7th January, members of the French Académie des Sciences are introduced to an invention that will change the nature of visual representation forever. The astonishingly precise pictures are the work of Louis-JacquesMandé Daguerre, a Romantic painter and printmaker. Each daguerrotype is a remarkably detailed, unique image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper sensitised with iodine vapours, exposed in a large box camera, developed in mercury fumes, and stabilised (or fixed) with saltwater. Daguerre is required to publish detailed instructions of the process, but retains patents on the equipment.
1839 First patented photographic process, Louis Daguerre
The Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society opens Bristol Zoological Gardens, only the fifth zoo in the world, and the first outside a capital city. Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Joseph Fry are among the 220 original shareholders responsible for raising the capital to build the zoo on a modest 12-acre site in Clifton. Amongst the 40 species on display the zoo boasts a zebra, a leopard, monkeys, a pair of sloth bears, fallow deer, a camel, an elephant and an Indian tiger which soon becomes the star attraction.
Left: Etching used in the Acraman’s letterhead, c. 1835. Above: Louis Daguerre. Right: Boulevard du Temple, 1838, Louis Daguerre, the earliest known photograph featuring living people
1846 Free trade formalised
1843 SS Great Britain
1844 Bank Charter Act establishes gold standard against which British bank notes are issued
1846 Warehouse renamed Bush House
1841 Bristol to London railway
The first major British railway, the Great Western Railway (GWR), runs for the first time between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington. Facing stiff competition from Liverpool, city merchants have been keen to protect Bristol’s status as the dominant port of trade with America. Following an Act of Parliament in 1835 and the appointment of Isambard Kingdom Brunel as engineer, the railway is constructed in six years, terminating at Bristol’s beautiful Tudoresque station, the world’s largest single-span building. .
Also designed by Brunel, the SS Great Britain is launched in Bristol for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service. The Great Britain, together with the GWR, provides an integrated transport system between London and New York. The first iron-built ocean liner equipped with screw propellors, the Great Britain is by far the largest vessel afloat. With her massive 1,000horsepower engine, she easily breaks all previous speed records on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic.
Throughout the 1820s, different bank notes secured against different units of account were issued by local and regional banks throughout the United Kingdom. This practice was restricted in 1826 when the Bank of England was allowed to set up regional branches, and brought to a close in 1833 when Bank of England notes were made legal tender. The Bank Charter Act finally establishes Bank of England notes, fully backed by gold, as the national legal standard. British finance is now a coherent system.
The various Corn Laws of 1815 to 1846 were essentially import tariffs designed to protect cereal crop prices in the United Kingdom against competition from cheaper foreign imports. Aristocratic landowners who benefit from high prices claim that middleclass manufacturers want to drive prices down so they can lower workers’ wages and increase profits. On the third reading of the Bill of Repeal (Importation Act 1846) Members of Parliament vote by a majority of 98 to abolish the Corn Laws. This landmark decision marks a significant step towards the ideology of managed free trade between nations, and signals the start of the exponential growth of a middle class.
Above Brunel’s beautiful, wooden, single-span train shed. c. 1843, engraving by John Cooke Bourne. Right: View of Harbour Docks with Bush House in the middle distance, c. 1835. Far right: Fry’s ‘Five Boys’ chocolate bar advertisement
The Acraman’s trading empire was bankrupt by 1842, and the business was slowly broken up. After several changes of occupier, the Narrow Quay warehouse is bought by bonded warehouse keepers George and James Bush, who rename the building Bush House.
In 1841 a collection of prominent Bristol businessmen, the Society of Merchant Venturers, established the Merchant Venturers Water Works. Backed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the group sought to supply water to Clifton and the wealthier parts of Bristol. In 1845 a rival group of prominent local citizens is formed, concerned that these plans would not provide water for the poorer, more densely-populated areas of the city. The group includes William Budd, a pioneer in sanitation; chocolatier and philanthropist Francis Fry; and George Thomas, a Quaker merchant active in repealing the Corn Laws. The government weighs up the rival schemes and narrowly comes down on the side of the new group, so on 16th July the Bristol Waterworks Company is formally established by an Act of Parliament.
The Bristol factory of J.S. Fry & Sons on Union Street produces “Chocolat Delicieux a Manger”, the first solid chocolate bar for mass consumption.
1846 The Bristol Waterworks Company
1847 Fry’s first commercial chocolate bar
Samuel Finley Breese Morse, with co-inventor Alfred Vail, patented a simple dotdash code and devices for encoding, transmitting, receiving and decoding human readable text in 1840. Morse’s code and single-wire telegraph system (running along railway lines to minimise property-rights negotiations) now reaches a 20,000-mile network in the United States, and is adopted as standard across Europe – except Britain, which stays loyal to the home-grown needle telegraph system of William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone.
“A great people invited all civilised nations to a festival, to bring into comparison the works of human skill. The organisation of this giant enterprise; the inclusion of every type of process of manufacture; the successful appeal to all classes of the population; the stimulation of trade, will commend this Exhibition to our ancestors, as it now does to ourselves.” Henry Cole
1851 Samuel Morse telegraph system de-facto standard
Right: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations 1851, The British Nave. Lithograph by Joseph Nash. Below: Alphabet and numbers in Morse Code
1851 Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations is a spectacular celebration of modern industrial technology, art, design and manufacturing. Opened by Queen Victoria on 1st May, six million people, equivalent to a third of the entire population of Britain, visit before it closes six months later. The influential Henry Cole is a driving force at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, which is 6
instrumental in organising the exhibition of some one hundred thousand objects in Joseph Paxton’s prefabricated cast-iron and glass Crystal Palace. It is a temporary building so vast it encloses mature elm trees. (Isambard Kingdom Brunel will use the same technology to build Paddington Station three years later.) In a performance of the free trade ideal, fourteen thousand exhibitors from all around the world competitively display their
goods. Inside, the air resounds with the noise of machinery and music as manufacturers display their processes; producing and exhibiting the latest weapons, ceramics, clocks, glassware, jewellery, leatherwork, lighting, metalwork, sculpture, textiles, wallpaper, furniture and much else besides. The Great Exhibition merges art, industry and commerce in a previously unimagined space of exhibition and leisure, as the traditional distinctions
between things dissolve in entertainment. During the following century a tsunami of spectacular exhibitions encircle the globe, and the Great Exhibition is the template for every museum, department store, shopping mall and trade fair thereafter. As historian Donald Preziosi suggests, “We have never left the Great Exhibition.”3
Following the process initiated by the 1835 Select Committee to encourage and nurture art and design education, The Bristol School of Practical Art opens at the Academy for the Promotion of Fine Arts on Queen’s Road, Clifton. It later becomes the Royal West of England Academy.
1859 On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin 1853 Bristol School of Practical Art
1858 Lehman Brothers cotton bank opens in New York
As one of the prime movers behind the Great Exhibition, and inspired by the 1935 Select Committee report, Henry Cole is intent on using some of the £186,000 Great Exhibition profit to improve design and art appreciation. Land is purchased in South Kensington and many exhibits from the Great Exhibition are acquired to form the nucleus of a collection, as Cole (who is also Head of the School of Design) orchestrates a magnificent new museum. The museum is imagined as an ‘educational’ institution, part of a innovative system of popular education. It is initially organised into departments of Art, Machinery, and Materialscum-Manufactory, although a section on Domestic and Sanitary Economy is soon 8
added exhibiting tools, handicrafts, artefacts for instruction and recreation, and building materials. The new museum absorbs the collection of the Architectural Museum of plans, drawings, models and plaster casts; and finally the collection of the Sculptors’ Institute, consisting of plaster casts of exemplary contemporary and historic art works. Officially opened on 22nd June, Cole is the first director and introduces late night openings, “to ascertain practically what hours are most convenient to the working classes.” In 1899, Queen Victoria lays the foundation stone of a new building that will give the museum a grand façade and main entrance. To mark the occasion, it is renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum.4
1857 South Kensington Museum opens in London with artefacts bought from the Great Exhibition
Above: An early display at the South Kensington Museum, c. 1858. Opposite: Portrait of Charles Darwin, c. 1874
Charles Darwin’s publication of his field research and its analysis, changes the world forever. Darwin’s book painstakingly introduces the scientific theory that all animal and plant populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection, through which mutations that enhance a species’ survival or reproduction become, and remain, more common in successive generations. His research proves that the rich diversity of life arises by common descent, from a single ancestral cell, rather than from godly creation. He concludes “There is a grandeur in this view of life [that] from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
In 1844, 23-year-old Henry Lehman, son of a Bavarian cattle merchant, emigrated to Montgomery, Alabama, where he opened a drygoods store. In 1850, following the arrival of his brothers Emanuel and Mayer, the company is renamed Lehman Brothers. During the 1850s, cotton is one of the most important crops in the United States. Utilising cotton’s high market value the brothers begin to accept raw cotton as payment for merchandise, and to extend cash loans to farmers. Within a few years cotton trading and banking become the most significant part of their business. In 1858, New York City is the centre of cotton trading and Lehman Brothers opens its first bank branch in Manhattan, at 119 Liberty Street.
After years spent experimenting with inherited characteristics in artificially fertilised pea plants, Gregor Mendel realises that similar characteristics would invariably reassert themselves across generations. The fact that living things inherit traits from their parents has been used since prehistoric times to improve crop plants and animals through selective breeding. Mendel’s work is key to understanding that inheritable ‘elements’ (he does not use the word ‘gene’) are consistent with, and are indeed the mechanisms by which evolution by natural selection proceeds. Our knowledge of genetics begins.5
The world’s first postal savings system is initiated by the British government with the aim of enabling workers “to provide for themselves against adversity and ill health.” It also provides the government with access to new capital to fund debt repayments.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is finally opened, five years after the death of its designer and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The initial idea for the bridge came from Bristol
wine merchant William Vick, who had bequeathed a sum of money in 1754 towards its construction. The competition to find a suitable design was eventually won by Brunel in March 1831, and the bridge’s foundation stone was laid that June. But the Bristol riots in October knocked business confidence within the city and the project, dogged by contractual and financial difficulties, was abandoned. Following Brunel’s death in 1859 the Institution of Civil Engineers
began the process of raising the funds to complete the project as a memorial to the pioneering engineer. Now completed, the bridge spans 214 metres across the gorge, 76 metres above the River Avon. Brunel made precise calculations as to the minimal gauge required to maintain maximum strength between the 4,200 links that make up the bridge’s chain. The chain itself is recycled from his bridge at Hungerford, which is being demolished.
1865 Experiments with inherited characteristics, Gregor Mendel, Germany
Five attempts to lay a communications cable across the Atlantic are made over a nine-year period, before lasting connections are finally achieved using Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ship the SS Great Eastern. The new cable, transmitting at a speed of eight words per minute, is some fifty times faster than its 1858 prototype.
1867 Capital, Karl Marx
1866 First permanent transatlantic telegraphic cable
Karl Marx publishes the first volume in his analysis and critique of the systemic accumulation of capital, through a close study of the technologies dominating the political economy. He accumulates evidence by which the means of societies’ production are privately owned and operated for profit, at the expense of equality, liberty and wellbeing. This analysis, meticulously assembled through concepts like use, exchange and surplus value, commodity production, alienation, class, the bourgeoisie, etc., leads Marx to suggest that only through a dialectical struggle between classes will society, economics and politics progress. However the point of Capital for Marx, is not merely to analyse or ‘interpret’ the world but to change it. He agitates for the working class to assume control of the means of production, to overthrow capitalism with a new system: Socialism. The first English translation of Capital follows 20 years later, four years after Marx’s death.
1864 Clifton Suspension Bridge 1861 Post Office Savings Left: Etching of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, c. 1870. Right: Peas, genetically related to those of Mendel.
Partly inspired by, and an inspiration for Marx, the Paris Commune is the first experiment in governance by a working class during industrial capitalism, briefly governing Paris between 18th March and 28th May. After France is defeated in the Franco-Prussian war, the workers and the lower-middle classes of Paris seize power. Free elections are held and an elected council that declares Paris an independent commune, suggesting that the rest of France should organise as a confederation of communes. The Commune initiates a radical reorganisation of social relations and public services; principally they turn factories into co-operatives. On 21st May, loyal government troops enter the city and engage in seven days of bitter street fighting. The Commune is overthrown and 30,000 Communards slaughtered. The specific conditions in which it forms its controversial decrees, its experimental organisation and violent end, make the Paris Commune one of the most important political episodes for models of selforganisation.
Charles Babbage dies of kidney failure, aged 79, having constructed a small part of his Analytical Engine. The Analytical Engine is an important incident in the narration of machine assemblies. The design for a general-purpose mechanical engine was first described by Babbage, working with Ada Lovelace, in 1837. Instructions to the Engine’s programme is via punched cards, an idea borrowed from the Jacquard loom used for weaving complex patterns in textiles. The Engine has a ‘store’ where numbers and intermediate results are held, and a separate ‘mill’ where the arithmetic processing is performed. It is capable of various arithmetical functions and has a variety of outputs, including hardcopy printout, punched cards, graph plotting and a bell. The logical structure of the Analytical Engine – the separation of the memory (the store) from the central processor (the mill), and facilities for inputting instructions and outputting data – influences the evolution of all future computational machine assemblies.6
‘The analytical engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jaquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.’ Ada Lovelace
1873 Colt 45 handgun pioneers interchangeable mass-produced components
1876 Telephone, Alexander Graham Bell
1871 The Analytical Engine, prototype computer, Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace
1871 Paris Commune
Below: Communards executed by Army of Versailles firing squad during the Bloody Week, May 1871. Right: Colt Single Action Army revolver, 1873
As part of Britain’s museum expansion and following the merger of the Bristol Institution for the Advancement of Science and Art with the Bristol Library Society in 1871, a new combined library and museum opens at the top of Park Street, next to the army reserve’s drill hall. It is demolished in 1905 to incorporate the new City Museum and Art Gallery. 12
1872 Bristol Library and Museum
The Colt Single Action Army, also known as the Colt 45, is a single-action handgun with a revolving cylinder holding six bullets. It is designed by Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, which pioneers the development of weapons assembled from interchangeable parts: pre-fabricated components that are, for all practical purposes, identical. Machine-
made components are manufactured to fine specifications to ensure the efficient assembly of new weapons and the easy repair of existing weapons, while minimising both the time and skill of the worker. The interchangeability of standardised components is crucial to the introduction of continuous-flow serial production, vital elements in modern manufacturing.
Telegraphic message traffic is rapidly expanding, and in the words of Western Union President William Orton, has become “the nervous system of commerce”. Eminent scientist and inventor Alexander Graham Bell builds a transmitter consisting of a diaphragm of thin animal skin stretched over an armature of magnetised iron. Fixed to its middle is a Faraday-derived electromagnetic circuit. This assembly is then attached by a telegraph line to a second membrane-device for use as a receiver. On 10th March Bell is in one room, while his assistant sits with the receiver in another. Bell speaks into his instrument: “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you”, and Watson hears the words clearly. Spoken word has passed through the telegraph and the telephone is initiated. 13
Left: The Horse in Motion, automatic electro-photograph, Eadweard Muybridge, 1878. Below: Bristol Rovers Football Club, 1904–5
1883 Black Arabs FC founded
1878 The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post
1881 Population of Bristol: 206,874
Lehman Brothers expand into commodities trading. One of the founders of the New York Cotton Exchange in 1870, and member of the Coffee Exchange as early as 1883, the bank is instrumental in convening the emerging market for railroad bonds in the 1880s. The Brothers grow an investment division to facilitate corporations and governments in raising capital by underwriting or acting as agents in the underwriting of securities. They join the New York Stock Exchange in 1887, and underwrite their first public offering, the stock of the International Steam Pump Company 12 years later.
1887 Lehman Brothers add Investment Division to Credit and Loan banking
1879 High-speed camera and sequential images, Eadweard Muybridge
“You press the button, we do the rest.”
Previously a complicated and exclusive practice, the introduction of the Kodak box camera, the first simple commercially massproduced camera, turns photography into an easily accessible form of art. The initial model has a fixedfocus lens, capturing circular images 2½ inches in diameter on a roll of film capable of recording 100 exposures. Once the cellulose film is exposed it is posted back to the company for processing, they then return the negatives and prints. Kodak’s camera and processing system marks the advent of popular photography.
1888 Kodak box camera popularises photography
The rapid rise in the population of Bristol, brought about as a result of the city’s prosperous trading activities, contributes to the decision to merge the Bristol Daily Post and the Bristol Mercury, creating a new daily newspaper with a total circulation of 25,000.
The former Governor of California Leland Stanford, a railway investor, racehorse 14
owner and businessman, decides to try and settle a popularly-debated question, whether all four of a horse’s hooves are off the ground at the same time during a gallop – the so-called ‘unsupported transit’. He hires Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer already known for his pioneering work with sequential images. Muybridge uses a series
of large glass-plate cameras placed in a line, each triggered by a long thread as the horse gallops past, and captures a stunning series of sequential images. The images are later copied onto a disc and viewed, spinning, in a machine called a zoopraxiscope. The seed of motion pictures is sown, and unsupported transit verified.
Founded in the Eastville district of Bristol, the name of the club derives from a conflation of the black shirts worn by the players, and a rugby club known as the Arabs, who play on an adjoining pitch at Purdown. They play their first friendly match against Wotton-underEdge on 1st December, losing 6–0. They are renamed Eastville Rovers in 1884, then Bristol Rovers in 1899. 15
Left: Illustration in Harpers Weekly of the panic scenes in Wall Street on Wednesday morning, 14th May 1890, drawn by Schell and Hogan. Right: Kinetoscope Parlor, San Francisco, c. 1894–95.
Barings Bank was founded in 1762 by three brothers, sons of a wool trader from Exeter. Barings gradually diversified from wool trading into many other commodities, eventually providing all the necessary financial services to facilitate the rapid growth of international trade. Barings is increasingly involved in international securities and has invested heavily in underwriting the railway expansion and debtbond issues of Argentina. The Argentine economy is in recession, president Miguel Juárez Celman is forced to 16
resign, and the country is close to defaulting on its debt repayments. This exposes the vulnerability and indeed recklessness of Barings’ positions. Lacking sufficient capital reserves to make good on its promises, the bank teeters on the brink of collapse. There is panic, and fear of possible contagion. An international consortium assembled by the Bank of England scrambles together a £17 million fund to guarantee Barings’ debts. Without this, London’s entire private banking system would collapse, precipitating an economic catastrophe.7
1890 The Panic. Financial turmoil, Barings Bank rescued by £17m bailout from the Bank of England
An encounter with the work of Eadweard Muybridge appears to have inspired inventor, scientist, and businessman Thomas Edison to pursue the development of a motion-picture system. On 25th February 1888, Muybridge gave a lecture that may have included a demonstration of his zoopraxiscope, a device for viewing sequential images from a spinning disk which produces the illusion of motion. In October, Edison filed a preliminary claim, or caveat, with the US Patent Office announcing his plans to create a device that would do “for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear”. The proposed motion-picture machine, the Kinetoscope, assembles a series of innovations and protocols; principally that of conveying a strip of perforated film bearing sequential images over a light source through a high-speed shutter. The machine is a big box-like structure, with a binocular viewing device. The first film strip for the Kinetoscope, Monkeyshines No. 1, depicts an employee of Edison displaying physical dexterity.8
Owned by its members, a mutual organisation or building society is a financial institution to help individuals secure loans, especially mortgages, to buy property. Fraudulent lending societies, so-called ‘promoter’ societies, emerge with small capital reserves and few assets, so they are dependent upon aggressive new mortgage sales and the cash flow they provide to keep the society solvent. Once the flow of fresh mortgages and cash dries up, societies fail and members lose their money, and often their property. The strengthened Building Societies Act closes loopholes and legislates against ‘pyramid’ selling schemes.
Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory) is a movingimage film made by Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean Lumière that consists of a single 46-second scene in which workers are seen streaming from their photographic factory in Lyon. The Lumières hold their first public screening, projecting ten short films, on 28th December at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. Each film is 17 metres long and hand-cranked through a projector. This is the moment when the apparatus of cinema, its recording and projecting structure, its actor and audience relations are crystallised.9
1891 The Kinetoscope, Thomas Edison
1894 Building Societies Act outlaws ‘pyramid’ mortgage selling
1895 First public film screeening, Lumière brothers, France
Bristol South End turns professional and changes its name to Bristol City FC. They recruit Sam Hollis from Woolwich Arsenal as manager, awarding him a transfer fund of £40 with which to assemble a squad of players to compete in the Southern League. They continue to play games at St John’s Lane, Bedminster, until the 1900 merger with Bedminster FC and move to Ashton Gate.
Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi conducts experiments, building much of his own equipment, to use radio waves to create ‘wireless telegraphy’. This is not a new idea, numerous inventors have been exploring wireless telegraph technologies for the past fifty years; however Marconi assembles and improves a number of existing components, and adapts them into a coherent working
system. He is granted the world’s first patent for a system of wireless telegraphy in 1896. On 13th May 1897, in a demonstration for the British government, Marconi broadcasts the first wireless telegraph communication over open sea, a distance of four miles from Lavernock Point in South Wales to Flat Holm Island in the Bristol Channel. His message reads: “Are you ready?”
1897 Radio transmission, Guglielmo Marconi 1897 Bristol City FC founded
Nearing the end of his life, Sir Henry Tate, a sugar magnate, philanthropist and major collector of Victorian art, offers his collection as a gift to the nation. Parliament declines. Tate then offers to fund a gallery to house his collection and to initiate a National Gallery of British Art, providing the government donate a suitable site, and undertake the gallery’s administration. After much debate, Tate’s offer is accepted. The site chosen is the disused Millbank
Penitentiary, a huge prison near the Thames. It is demolished and the three acres allocated to the construction of a new ‘palace of art’. Alongside Tate’s collection, the gallery absorbs 109 paintings from the Chantrey Bequest and the Turner Bequest, and soon becomes the repository for the national collection of British painting of all periods. In 1932 the name will change to the Tate Gallery in recognition of Tate’s generosity and commitment.
1897 National Gallery of British Art opens
1901 Population of Bristol: 330,000
In response to aggressive competition from James Buchanan Duke and his American Tobacco Company, William Henry Wills of W.D. & H.O. Wills of Bristol initiates the amalgamation of 13 British tobacco and cigarette companies. Lambert & Butler, John Player & Sons and Franklyn Davey & Co. all participate in the merger, under the umbrella organisation The Imperial Tobacco Company. Wills becomes the new company’s first chairman.
1901 Imperial Tobacco Company founded
Right: Marconi’s American patent application, 1897. Above right: Wills Cigarette cards c. 1912
In 1881 the vicar of St Jude’s in Whitechapel, London, Canon Samuel Augustus Barnett and his wife Henrietta organised an art exhibition in their church hall, believing that art “would educate people so that they might realise the extent and meaning of the past, the beauty of nature, and the substance of hope.” The exhibition proved astonishingly popular, attracting some 10,000 visitors, persuading the Barnetts of the need for a permanent exhibition space. When land adjacent to the new Free Library in Whitechapel High Street became available, Barnett purchased it and commissioned Charles Harrison Townsend to produce a distinctive arts and crafts building. The Whitechapel Art Gallery, one of the first publicly-funded galleries for temporary exhibitions in Britain, will “bring great art to the people of the East End of London.” Its first exhibition in March 1901 attracts over 200,000 local people.
Above: First powered, controlled, sustained flight, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville Wright is at the controls of the machine and Wilbur runs alongside. Right: Cary Grant c. 1932
1901 Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
Debonair, charismatic, and charming, described as the “most handsome man in the world”, Cary Grant would star in over 70 films and marry five times. Born Archibald Alexander Leach in Horfield, Bristol, he is expelled from Fairfield School aged 14. He moves to the US two years later, performing as a stilt walker in a touring stage troupe. He adopts the name Cary Grant in 1931 at the request of Hollywood executives at Paramount Studios who want to mould a new movie star. Grant becomes Hollywood’s quintessential leading man, starring in films such as Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest.
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, develop the world’s first aeroplane and make the first powered and sustained heavier-thanair human flight on 17th December 1903 at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Using thin spruce frames and stretched muslin for surface coverings, carved
wooden propellers and a purpose-built gasoline engine fabricated in their bicycle shop, the Wright Flyer I, flown by Orville, flies 120 feet in 12 seconds, at a speed of 6.8 mph. The historic flight is recorded in an iconic photograph by John T. Daniels, one of only five witnesses present.
1903 First machine flight, Wright brothers, USA
After Faraday, innate attractions and repulsions joined size, shape, position and motion as physically irreducible properties of matter, these properties existing in a flat, homogeneous, isotropic space. In 1905 this essentially 200-year-old ‘Newtonian’ understanding of our universe is blasted wide open. The Special Theory of Relativity proposed by Albert Einstein demonstrates that time is linked, or related, to matter and space. Because space and time are part of a single physical entity, the space-time continuum, you cannot move through space without moving through time. The measurement of space and time also changes depending on the relative motion of those observing it. The only constant is the velocity of light, even if the observers are moving toward or away from its source. From now on, we inhabit a relatavistic universe, with few fundamental metrics, an essentially ‘curved’ spacetime that allows for the relativity of simultaneity. Einstein receives the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.
Asked why he entered the field of synthetic resins, Belgian chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland answers, “To make money.” In 1907 he sets out to find a replacement for natural resins used in assembly-line manufacturing by exploring the reactions of phenol, fillers, heat and moulding technologies. He produces a versatile thermosetting hard ‘plastic’ material, a phenolic that he called Bakelite. Because of its high heat resistance and low electrical conductivity, Bakelite becomes synonymous with electrical devices: telephones, clocks, radios, gramophones, toasters, and eventually televisions. Moulded plastic objects are perfect for mass-production and Bakelite goods soon pour from factories into the emerging domestic, consumer market.10
1905 Special Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein
1904 Screen actor Cary Grant born
“Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.”
1907 Bakelite, first mass-produced synthetic material, Leo Baekerland, USA
Hermann Minkowski 20
1908 Model T car, assembly-line production and time-and-motion discipline, Henry Ford
American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford introduces the Model T car, a tough and versatile vehicle produced through standardised components and assembly line mass production, and sold in astonishing volumes. ‘Fordism’ will come to designate a specifically 20thcentury organisational regime. On the production side, a vast bureaucratic organisation administers continuous mechanised production. This is allied to the scientific management of time and motion, resulting in deskilled labour, extreme workplace discipline and phenomenal productivity. In turn, increased production demands expanded consumption, which requires higher wages. Hence the significance of Ford’s famous offer of $5 a day to workers who will comply with the alienating, disciplined work conditions at Ford Motors. Assembly line workers, Ford Motor Company, 1922
Following generous endowments provided by the Fry and Wills families, and the purchase of the Blind Asylum for use as a site, Bristol University receives its Royal Charter. Henry Overton Wills III is appointed the university’s first chancellor. The university will come to be dominated by the Wills Memorial Building, with its neo-gothic tower designed by Sir George Oatley. Commissioned by Wills’ sons George and Harry in 1912 in tribute to their father, the tower is topped by an octagonal belfry that houses ‘Great George’, England’s sixth largest bell, tolled on the death of each chancellor. The university motto is “Vim promovet insitam” ([Learning] promotes one’s innate power).
Founded by Sir George White, chairman of the Bristol Tramway and Carriage Company, the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company begins production of the Bristol Boxkite in a former tramway shed in Filton. A range of beautiful and innovative aircraft will follow, including the Bristol Scout and the Bristol Fighter, both of which will see action in the First World War. Reinstituted as the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1920, the company’s next success is the Bristol Bulldog, which becomes the RAF’s main fighter plane from 1930 to 1937. The company will later merge into the British Aircraft Corporation (1959), British Aerospace (1977), and BAE Systems (1999).
To pay for the war effort, Britain cashes in its extensive investments in American railroads and then begins to borrow heavily on Wall Street’s financial markets. The National Debt leaps from 25% to 135% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
1914–18 First World War, 19 million killed
1909 Bristol University
1910 British and Colonial Aeroplane Company founded
Above: Bristol Aeroplane Company logo. Above right: Black Watch marching down Park Street, to War. Right: October Revolution poster, c. 1920
In the first major war between industrialised countries, advanced technologies and mechanised weapons combine with 19th-century military strategies with horrifying results. There are unprecedented casualty levels. More than 70 million military personnel are mobilised, of whom 9 million are killed and 21 million wounded, along with an estimated 10 million civilian deaths. The youths of nations are literally
1917 October Revolution, first socialist state, Russia
used as cannon fodder, consumed by machines. The long 19th-century obsession with technological and social progress lies abandoned in the bloody trenches. To manage the war, the British Government expands its influence. New ministries and institutions are created, new taxes levied, new laws enacted, and rationing imposed, all in order to harness society’s creative and productive power to pursue the war effort.
1914 UK debt leaps from £1 billion to £7 billion to finance war
1918 Representation of the People Act, majority of men enfranchised
Following the horrors of war, millions of young British soldiers are returning home, but are not entitled to vote. This poses a dilemma of legitimacy for the Government and the political process; how can they deny the vote to men and women who had fought for freedom, democracy and to preserve the British political system? As a consequence, all adult males over 21 years old who are resident householders gain the right to vote. Some married women over 30 who meet minimum property qualifications are also enfranchised.
Formed and led by Vladimir Ilyich Ulianov – known as Lenin – the Bolsheviks are a revolutionary socialist party committed to the ideas of Karl Marx. Following the overthrow of the Tsar earlier in the year, Russia installs a Provisional Government, which proves very unpopular, and the first Soviet appears in the Russian capital Petrograd. Inspired by the Paris Commune, Soviets are basically rowdy, chaotic, self-organised councils elected by workers, soldiers and sailors. Lenin is convinced the time is ripe for the Bolsheviks to seize power. On 24th October, units of the Red Guards take control of key buildings, power stations, railway and tram stations in Petrograd. On the night of 25th October, the Red Guards storm the Winter Palace and arrest the Provisional Government. Lenin proclaims a new Soviet government of Russia. 25
1919 The Economic Consequences of the Peace, John Maynard Keynes
1920 League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations
In the aftermath of war, Paris is effectively the centre of a world government as diplomats from 29 allied countries meet to discuss the terms of peace. One of the major outcomes of the Paris Peace Conference is the Treaty of Versailles, agreed on 28 June 1919. John Maynard Keynes, a British Treasury representative drafting the treaty, argues that there should be no punitive reparations or that, at worst, German reparations ought to be limited. Continuing the war by economic means will inflict long-term harm on Germany, and as a consequence harm Britain and its allies. He also suggests that the US Government launch a vast credit programme to help restore Europe to prosperity. Keynes advocates planned international economic management. His advocacy is ignored and he resigns in frustration. His resulting book is a critique and warning; if the victors enforce economic humiliation, then a world financial crisis will ensue, triggering a second world war. 26
1921 Whiteladies Picture House
The government licenses Britain’s six major radio manufacturers, including Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company, to merge into one entity, and begin the world’s first national radio broadcasts. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC), financed by a Post Office licence fee of 10 shillings and supplemented by royalties on radio sales, first broadcasts from London on 14th November. John, later Lord, Reith joins a month later as general manager and oversees its establishment under Royal Charter as the British Broadcasting Corporation in January 1927.
The Treaty of Versailles demands 132 billion gold Marks from Germany (around £6.6 billion) in war reparations, an amount in excess of its total gold reserves and foreignexchange holdings. Germany’s currency begins to devalue. Foreign currency is bought to meet the debt, which in turn increases the speed of devaluation. The Government prints more Marks. A vicious vortex is produced, in which more and more inflation is created with each iteration of the everaccelerating money printing cycle: hyperinflation.
Designed by James Henry LaTrobe and Thomas Henry Weston, and combining elements of Art Deco and Bristol Byzantine styles, the Whiteladies Picture House on Whiteladies Road, Clifton is opened by the Duchess of Beaufort on 29th November. Clifton’s first purpose-built cinema also boasts a vast ballroom and restaurant. Over 1,300 people gather on the opening night to watch ‘America’s Sweetheart’ Mary Pickford in the silent classic Pollyanna. In 1978, the large screen will be removed and the building split into three mini cinemas. As part of the ABC chain, it is later absorbed by the Odeon group and shut down in 1999.
At the Paris Peace Conference, the diplomats declare Germany defeated and guilty: they weaken its military, partition the country, and require reparations to be paid to the victors. To ensure future peace, they agree to form a League of Nations whose primary goal, as stated in its covenant, is to prevent war through collective security, disarmament, and
the settlement of international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. The conference concludes with the inaugural General Assembly of the League of Nations. The League has no military power, and so is dependent on international cooperative armed action to enforce its resolutions, rulings and economic sanctions.
1922 German hyperinflation
1922 British Broadcasting Company formed
Far left: Allies around the conference table producing the Treaty of Versailles, Paris, 1919. Left: Whiteladies Picture House
1923 Tokyo earthquake
The Great Kantō earthquake devastates Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, and causes widespread damage throughout the Kantō region. Its power and intensity are astonishing: 7.9 on the Richter scale, and a duration of between 4 and 10 minutes in which time between 100,000 and 140,000 people are killed and cities devastated.
Architect Frederick Kiesler creates the L+T (Leger und Trager) system, a flexible and independent display structure for presenting objects, images and artifacts. Conceived as an alternative to the rigid constraints of traditional museum displays, the L+T system is composed of interconnected vertical and horizontal battens that support vertical and horizontal rectangular panels. For the Vienna exhibition,
some six hundred unframed drawings, posters, marionettes, photographs, designs, and models of avantgarde theatre productions are exhibited. Freestanding structures, some with hinged panels, others cantilevered, produce an interactive, fractured collage-like exhibition experience that Kiesler terms a ‘varied transparency’.13
1924 International Exhibition of New Theatre Techniques, Frederick Kiesler, Vienna
Alexander Dorner becomes Director of the Landesmuseum in Hanover. In this museum, as in all museums, the past is displayed in the same monotonous way, salon-style and disconnected from the present. Dorner sets about changing the museum, deciding that each epoch should be exhibited simply and clearly within its own specially arranged room, and the routes through the
Throughout the early 1920s, Florida has an image of a tropical paradise, due in part to the publicity paid for by audacious developers. As homeowners and investors rush to buy properties, prices rise rapidly, developers speculate, and a land and property bubble ensues. By 1925, Forbes magazine warns that property prices are based solely upon greed, not any actual value. The bubble bursts: entire new cities lie abandoned, thousands are bankrupt, and failed developments are scattered throughout the state.
museum narrate a chronological history of art. The last room in this narrative, devoted to the most avant-garde art, is designed as an Abstract Cabinet by El Lissitzky. The Cabinet proposes an interactive exchange with visitors, and the modern museum is reimagined as a dynamic institution, engaged in a productive encounter with the past, through the present.14
1925 Revolutionary reorganisation of the Landesmuseum, Hanover
1925 Florida land ‘bubble’ bursts, USA
Above: Devastation to Yokohama City immediately after the earthquake, from the hill of Minami-Ohtamachi. Left: Frederick Kiesler’s freestanding L+T display system, International Exhibition of New Theatre Techniques, Vienna
“Not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay.” Miners’ slogan
1927 Live image transmission, John Logie Baird
1926 General Strike, Britain
The General Strike called by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is in support of striking coalminers in Wales, the North of England and Scotland. Miners are making a stand against enforced pay-cuts and detrimental working conditions imposed by a coalition of mine owners. In the largest industrial action ever coordinated, some two million workers go on strike in sympathy across Britain. In London, dockers, printers, and power-station, railway and transport workers aim to bring the capital to a halt and force the government to intervene on behalf of the miners. The government has prepared for the strike over the previous nine months, and does whatever it can to keep the country moving, including deploying armed forces and volunteers to maintain basic services. Slowly the strike crumbles and reluctantly the TUC General Council announces its decision to call off the coordinated action. Quickly, the government passes a Trade Disputes Act, outlawing the sympathetic strike action that enabled the General Strike. 30
The campaign for women’s suffrage, begun in 1872, is finally achieved with The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act, ensuring women’s electoral equality with men. Women over 21 years old, and paying rates to a local government, are now able to participate in the political process.
1928 Women’s enfranchisement
Scottish engineer and inventor John Logie Baird demonstrates the first televised images in motion at Selfridge’s department store in London. Television consists of an assembly of optical, mechanical and electronic technologies to capture, transcribe and display moving images. Baird successfully transmits pictures of the head
of a ventriloquist’s dummy nicknamed ‘Stooky Bill’ in a 30-line vertically scanned greyscale image, at five pictures per second. He visits the Daily Express newspaper to promote his invention. The news editor is terrified, saying: “For God’s sake, get rid of this lunatic. He says he’s got a machine for seeing by wireless!”15
Scottish biologist and pharmacologist Alexander Fleming is a specialist in bacteriology and immunology. Working in his laboratory, Fleming notices that an opportunist fungal colony has grown on an agar plate streaked with a bacterium. Astonishingly the fungal colony inhibits the growth of the bacterium. Fleming has devoted much of his career to finding methods for treating wound infections, and immediately recognises the importance of a fungal metabolite that can inhibit disease-inducing
bacteria. Once synthesised and mass-produced, penicillin is a ‘wonder drug’ saving millions of lives from common infections.
The Wall Street Crash is the most devastating financial collapse in history, initiating the Great Depression throughout industrialised countries. The crash follows an eightyear speculative boom in which hundreds of thousands of Americans are encouraged to invest their savings in the stock market, many of whom borrow money to buy the stocks. In October, the market finally turns down, panic selling starts, and major banks and investment companies buy stocks in an attempt to shore up confidence. There is a pause, but the panic returns, trust evaporates, indices nosedive. The effects of the crash are devastating because every sector of the economy is tied
up in bank loans and share issues. A network of overindebtedness, infectious and reckless speculation, burst asset bubbles, mass debtdefaults and runs on banks slowly unravels. America has also lent huge sums of money to South America and European countries and these loans are suddenly recalled, which has a terrifying impact on the increasingly global economy. European banks collapse, 25% of people are unemployed, industrial production drops by 45%, house-building falls by 80%, and the entire global banking system teeters on the brink as 5,000 banks go out of business. Homelessness, malnutrition and despair seeps through populations as confidence deserts finance.16
1928 Penicillin developed, Alexander Fleming
1928 Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression Left: John Logie Baird Above: Diagram of the chemical structure of Penicillin
The idea for a Museum of Modern Art is developed by three powerful women, Abby Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Sullivan. They want to use their influence to establish an institution devoted exclusively to modern art. Together they rent a space in the Heckscher Building at 730 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, appoint Alfred H. Barr as Director, and open to the public on 7th November. Barr is familiar with Dorner’s Landesmuseum and Kiesler’s exhibitionary experiments as he embarks on his influential organisation of the museum. As well as traditional departments to collect and exhibit painting, sculpture, drawings and prints, he adds architecture and design, and film and photography. Under his directorship, the museum establishes the popular conception that modern art is a linear progression of ‘isms’ with blockbuster exhibitions of iconic modernists like van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Cézanne and Picasso.17
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is established to facilitate money transfers relating to German reparations arising out of the Treaty of Versailles. It’s the first intergovernmental organisation of central banks, an über-bank, set up to “foster international monetary and financial cooperation” to settle exchanges and loans between nations.
Innovation follows innovation as the BBC pioneers a range of radio broadcasts across arts, education and news, launching the Empire Service (forerunner of the World Service) and moving to a new home at Broadcasting House. With advice from John Logie Baird, the BBC experiments with TV broadcasts from Alexandra Palace, finally launching the BBC Television Service on 2nd November 1936, offering “regular programmes twice a day, from 3 to 4pm and from 9 to 10pm, except on Sundays.”
1929 Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York
The Great Depression hits Germany in 1930. Unable to agree on countermeasures the coalition government breaks up, replaced by a minority cabinet, the Weimar Republic disintegrates. Lacking a majority, policies are implemented by emergency decrees. This rule by decree becomes the norm over a series of unworkable parliaments and paves the way for democratic abuse. Leading German bankers and businessmen (some of whom work at the BIS) financially support the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and urge the Party Leader, Paul von Hindenburg, to appoint Adolf Hitler to the government. Hitler finally becomes Chancellor, and in the elections of March 1933 takes effective control of the party and government. He quickly passes the Enabling Act, allowing him to make laws without consulting parliament, and after the death of President Hindenburg, declares himself the Führer, or supreme ruler.
1932 First national TV broadcast, BBC, London 1930 Bank for International Settlements, Switzerland
Above: Cubism and Abstract Art exhibition catalogue, MoMA, New York, 1936. Right: Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany c. 1933
Disney brothers Walt and Roy founded Walt Disney Productions in 1923, quickly establishing the company as a leader in the film animation industry with the introduction in 1928 of Steamboat Willie, a cartoon featuring Mickey Mouse and the first-ever synchronised sound. In 1932, Disney signs an exclusive contract with Technicolor to produce cell-animation cartoons in colour, releasing a number of short films whilst planning the first feature-length animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which premieres in December 1937. Its boxoffice success finances the construction of Walt Disney Studios at Burbank, California. Aggressive copyright protection, repetitive assembly-line production processes, tight film distribution contracts and continual expansion establish a Fordist approach to production at the emerging media conglomerate.
1932 Disney Corporation and Technicolor films
1933 Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany
German engineer Konrad Zuse begins construction of the Z1 calculating engine in his parents’ living room in Berlin from almost 30,000 components. The Z1 is a binary mechanical calculator with limited programmability, although unlike most calculating engines, the Z1 performs all its internal calculations in binary, using a floating-point system based on a semi-logarithmic representation. This makes it possible to calculate quickly with very small and very large numbers, enabling the Z1 to perform a staggeringly wide variety of engineering and scientific applications. The Z1 is the first freely programmable, binary, floating-point, generalpurpose mechanical calculator, and its success installs binary as the de-facto machine standard.
Adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany, Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) is a term used to denounce virtually all modern art on the grounds that it is un-German. Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, authorises a commission to ‘cleanse’ and confiscate from museums and art collections throughout Germany any art deemed modern, degenerate, or subversive. Over 5,000 works are seized, and these are presented to the public in an exhibition intended to incite further revulsion against the ‘perverse Jewish spirit’. El Lissitzky’s Abstract Cabinet at the Landesmuseum, Hanover is destroyed. On 19th July an exhibition of Degenerate Art, consisting of modernist art works chaotically hung and accompanied by text labels deriding the art works, opens in Munich, subsequently touring several cities in Germany and Austria.
The first hospital blood bank opens at Cook County Hospital, Chicago. Members of the community are able to give blood, which is preserved and stored at the hospital, and made available for transfusion to any person who needs it. Instigated by the hospital’s director of therapeutics, Bernard Fontus, the concept is soon copied around the country and across the world; the coming brutalities of the Second World War serving to reinforce its vital significance. “No one acquainted with the situation constantly arising in large general hospitals doubts its value,” his obituarist LeRoy Sloan MD asserts in 1940. The blood bank initiates a medical commons; it’s at the heart of the idea of a public good, and public health provision. In this specialised gift economy, the donor gives without the expectation of an interested return.18
Marcel Duchamp designs a radical exhibition, where the exhibition itself is conceived as a site-specific, total installation. Featuring over 60 artists from different countries, the exhibition consists of around 300 paintings, various sculptures, collages, photographs and appropriated objects. To enter the galleries visitors pass through a long corridor lined with artist-decorated or defiled shop mannequins. The ceiling of the main exhibition space is hung with 1,200 coal sacks, and beds in each corner are brought from Paris brothels. The floor is covered in sand and autumn leaves, and the rooms so dimly lit that visitors are given torches to navigate the installed art works. Against the rational, planned, accumulative and restricted economy of capital, the exhibition proposes a surreal general economy of generosity, waste, loss and transgression.19
1939–45 Second World War, up to 70 million dead
1937 Exhibition of Degenerate Art, Munich
1936 Z1 binary mechanical calculator, Konrad Zuse, Berlin Programme accompanying Entartete Kunst, the Nazis’ 1937 exhibition mocking ‘degenerate’ avant-garde art
1937 First public blood bank, Chicago
1938 International Surrealist Exhibition, André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Galérie des Beaux-arts, Paris
Nazi Germany secretly re-arms. Adolf Hitler makes it perfectly clear that he will break the ‘unjust’ terms of the Treaty of Versailles, and that he intends to reunite all Germans into one nation. Three years of mounting international tension – encompassing the Spanish Civil War, the Anschluss (union) of Germany and Austria, and Hitler’s occupation of the Sudetenland – culminate on 1st September 1939 in the German invasion of Poland. The League of Nations disintegrates, Britain and France declare war two days later and slowly Europe, and eventually other world nations are drawn into confrontation. The Second World War is a global conflict in which the world’s nations form
two broad opposing military alliances. It’s the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised. The entire creative, economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities of all the participating nations are in the service of the war effort: a ‘total war’. The distinction between civilian and military resources are erased, death is rationalised and industrialised as Fordism finds its inverse in the Holocaust. In total, somewhere between 50 and 70 million people are killed.
The Pilgrim Trust was set up as a result of a gift of £2 million by Edward Harkness, an American railway millionaire, to help conserve the social, intellectual and material heritage of Britain. At the end of 1939, the Trust appoints a Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts to support the arts through wartime with annual support of £25,000. In 1940 the committee becomes the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, formally appointed by the President of the Board of Education.
IMF mission statement
1945 International Monetary Fund
1940 Filton and Bristol targeted by German aircraft 1942 Nuclear reaction, first atomic bomb
1940 Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA)
Above: Atomic bomb detonates above Nagasaki, 9th August 1945. Far right: IMF logotype
“Working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty.”
1944 Bretton Woods Agreement. Guidelines on financial standards and managed free trade between 44 nations
As a major port city with a large aviation industry led by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in Filton, Bristol is an important target for the German Luftwaffe. On 25th September, 168 bombs are dropped in 45 seconds on Filton. 91 people working at the aeroplane factory, and another 69 people living in the surrounding area are killed. 900 houses are damaged or destroyed. There are six major bombing raids on the city between 24th November 1940 and 11th April 1941. During this time over 1,400
people are killed and much of the built environment of the city centre is destroyed. In the first raid, during six hours of sustained attack, many historic buildings, churches and a quarter of the old medieval city, including the main shopping areas around Broadmead, are all ruined. Much of Park Street and the Triangle, including the city museum, are gutted by incendiary bombs. 207 people are killed, 187 seriously injured, over 10,000 homes are damaged and 1,400 made homeless.
When the nuclei of atoms collide and split, tremendous amounts of energy are released. Initiating and controlling a sustained nuclear reaction leads, through positive feedback, to a self-propagating chainreaction of apparently limitless energy. Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1) is a nuclear reactor – a pile of uranium and graphite blocks – built under the abandoned West Stand of the University of Chicago’s sports stadium, to experiment with harnessing nuclear chainreactions to produce energy. CP-1 achieves criticality on 2nd December 1942, and the technology is commandeered as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear weapon. Three years later, on 6th August 1945, American B-29 aircraft the Enola Gay drops the “Little Boy” bomb on the city of Hiroshima. In a split second 70–80,000 people cease to exist, radiation and related disease will slowly kill another 100,000. Three days later another B-29 drops a second bomb, ‘Fat Man’, on Nagasaki, instantly killing at least 40,000. Soon after, Japan surrenders and World War II officially ends.
The Bretton Woods Agreement establishes rules for trade and financial relations among the world’s major industrial states. While World War II is still raging, 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations gather at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and prepare to build a new global economic system. The delegates, including John Maynard Keynes representing Britain, institute a system of rules, protocols and institutions – including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) – to regulate the financial economy. The main instrument of the Bretton Woods system is an obligation for each country to ‘peg’ or maintain the exchange rate of its currency in relation to the US dollar, and that the dollar is convertible to a fixed value of gold. The dollar takes over the role that the gold standard had played in the 19th century: to accelerate managed free trade, facilitate the flow of international capital, and increase foreign investment opportunities.20
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is conceived to supersede the BIS to oversee and manage the new global financial system. Principally this is to stabilise exchange rates, facilitate the world’s international payment system, and manage loans to member states with temporary payment imbalances. In return for loans, countries are required to initiate reforms which generally seek to install the managed free trade ethos. The role of the state is limited to tax collection, basic public provision and the enforcement of private ownership contracts. The IMF is formally organised on 27th December 1945, when 29 countries sign its Articles of Agreement.
An idea for a future United Nations emerged in declarations from the Allied nations towards the end of World War II. It comes into being on 24th October 1945, comprising 51 member states. The UN, like the IMF, is an intergovernmental organisation. It works for global peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the wellbeing of all people. The UN is not an independent, homogeneous organisation; it is made up of sovereign states, so actions depend on the will of its members to accept, fund and carry them out. Especially in matters of peace-keeping and international politics, it requires complex, often slow, processes of consensusbuilding. It has five principal organs: the General Assembly is the main deliberative and legislative chamber, composed of representatives of all the member states; the Secretariat provides the research and administration; the Security Council is charged with maintaining peace and security among all countries; the International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ to settle international disputes; and the Economic and Social Council promotes international economic and social co-operation and development.
American engineer and science administrator Vannevar Bush publishes an essay, “As We May Think”, that describes a theoretical microfilm-based machine called memex. A “device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanised so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.” He envisions the ability to retrieve several articles or pictures on a screen, and to write comments that could be stored and recalled. The ability to create links between related articles, to save the links to share with others he terms ‘hypertext’.21
1945 United Nations
1945 Hypertext and memex data retrieval, Vannevar Bush, USA
John Maynard Keynes, Chair of CEMA since 1941, realises the need extend support for the arts into peacetime. He proposes a new organisation, The Arts Council. Funding for the arts is to be taken out of the capricious influence of private wealth and made the responsibility of government, financed by the Treasury through grant-in-aid. Keynes does not want to initiate a new government department, instead he advocates a novel ‘arm’slength’ management principle as a defence against state-supported art used for political propaganda.
1945 Arts Council of Great Britain
1946 Bristol Old Vic opens at the Theatre Royal, King Street
Below left: UN logotype. Above: Vannevar Bush at his desk. Above right: John Maynard Keynes (right) greets Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary, US Treasury, at an IMF Board Meeting, March 1946
The same year as the University of Bristol founds the first university Drama department in the country, the newly formed Arts Council establishes the first regional subsidised theatre company, sending a group of actors from the London Old Vic to set up home at the Theatre Royal in Bristol, the oldest continually operating theatre in England.
1947 Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London
A loose group of artists, poets and writers including Roland Penrose, Peter Watson, Herbert Read, Richard Hamilton, and Eduardo Paolozzi start the ICA as a ‘laboratory’ or ‘playground’ for contemporary arts. With no permanent collection, the ICA is a counterpart to the idea of a Museum of Modern Art; a multidisciplinary space where artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and scientists can exhibit, perform, screen and debate ideas outside of disciplinary confines. The first exhibition, entitled 40 Years of Modern Art: A Selection from British Collections, is held in the basement of the Academy Cinema in Oxford Street. This is closely followed by 40,000 years of Modern Art, which adds an international and ethnically diverse context to the original selection.
The future French Minister of Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, publishes Le musée imaginaire, which will be translated as Museum without Walls. With the invention of colour printing, Malraux believes a supermuseum has been created, a collection comprising any art work that could be photographed and reproduced. He sees the musée imaginaire as part of a logical progression. Firstly the museum tears works of art from their sites of origin, severing all connection to the uses, representations or rituals for which they are intended. Secondly, through their endless reproduction (in books and lectures; on TV, postcards, posters, T-shirts, tea towels, etc.), art works, whether tiny or colossal, whether ancient or modern, are both equalised by the democratising effects of the camera, and distributed outside of the museum’s control: we live in a permanent exhibition.22
At the centre of the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council is its engine, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a network of 23 countries and Free Trade Organisations. Signed by the majority of the world’s trading nations, these agreements are documents that provide the legal groundrules for international commerce. They are essentially contracts, binding governments to minimise barriers to international trade and facilitating managed free trade policies. Britain’s preferable trading contracts with its colonies and former colonies have to be dismantled. GATT enables multinational companies to access different regional economies, mineral wealth, goods and services, and concomitantly those regions become integrated through ribbons of trade into a global market; the architecture of globalisation. GATT will be replaced by the World Trade Organization in 1993.
During the Second World War, Norbert Wiener worked on missile technologies, specifically guidance systems. He developed a fascination for systems using feedback, as when a missile adapts its flight pattern in response to changing realtime information fed back into the guidance system. He now identifies this ‘circular causal’ relationship as ‘cybernetic’ and notices that cybernetic principles are at work in simple assemblies of energy, resources, plants and animals, and in supercomplex ecologies. It also seems to describe our relationship to one another, to technology, and us to it.24
1948 Cybernetics, Norbert Wiener
1948 Foundation of the Welfare State and process of nationalisation
1947 Le musée imaginaire, André Malraux, Paris 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
The William Beveridge Report of 1942 was a manifesto for cradle-to-grave social reform which identified five ‘giant evils’ in British society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease. Clement Attlee’s 1945 Labour government pledges to eradicate these evils. In exchange for higher taxes, the new Welfare State is a series of interrelated public services, embracing a commitment to public housing, education for all through a comprehensive system, social security for those without work via a National Insurance Act and State Pension, and minimum health standards through a National Health Service. In its first year, the NHS treats some 8.5 million dental
patients and dispenses over 5 million pairs of spectacles. The government continues its process of nationalisation, taking crucial industries and services into public ownership. In principle, this enables people to exercise full democratic control over the provision of public goods such as electricity, water, transport and healthcare. Nationalised services are seen to operate efficiently in the public interest, with social benefits valued more highly than financial profit. Having brought the Bank of England, the coal industry, Cable & Wireless and the central and regional electricity boards into public ownership in 1946, British Railways, British Road Services, and British Waterways now follow.23
Australian delegate, Herbert Vere Evatt (left), and Anthony Eden, Chairman of the United Kingdom Delegation at the United Nations trade declarations, Washington, DC
1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1949 Europe-wide adoption of the Welfare State
1949 China declared Communist State
During World War II the allies adopted ‘Four Freedoms’ as their basic war aims: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from fear and freedom from want. The United Nations Charter “reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person” and committed all member states to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” The Universal Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th December 1948 by a vote of 48 in favour, 0 against, with 8 abstentions. 42
Inspired by the British model, many European nations initiate Welfare State systems. In Germany, the emphasis is on a social market economy, with economic development identified as the key mechanism to achieve social welfare; the French system is based on solidarity and interdependence; while the Swedish stresses institutional care and egalitarianism.
1950 The Turing Test for Artificial Intelligence, Alan Turing
The extraordinary life of the British mathematician Alan Turing involves contributions to the foundations of modern mathematics, the theoretical assembly of a universal machine, artificial intelligence, and participation in the cryptological war against Nazi Germany. The famous Turing Test appears in his paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” published in the philosophical journal Mind. The point of the test is to suggest that intelligence of a human level could be evinced by a suitably programmed machine. The test imagines a person and a programmed machine in two separate spaces competing to convince an impartial human judge, using textual messages alone, as to which is the human being. If the judge cannot be sure of the difference, the machine assembly, the computer, must be credited with human-like intelligence.25
Below: Alan Turing, 1951. Right: Map of Korea 27th July 1953. 38th parallel reset as boundary between communist North and anti-communist South. Gen. Mark W. Clark says he has “the unenviable distinction of being the first US Army commander to sign an armistice without victory.”
During the peace negotiations at the end of World War II, Korea, a Japanese colony since 1910, was occupied north of the 38th parallel by Soviet Russia, and to the south by a US military administration. In the north, Russia and its satellites, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) back a Stalinist regime and create the North Korean People’s Army. In the south, America backs an administration that openly declares a will to impose national unity by force. After several years of increasingly
bloody frontier incidents, the North Korean People’s Army sweeps south, overwhelming all opposition. The South retaliates, Britain and the United Nations enter the war, communist China joins the North and a bitter conflict ensues, that eventually ends in a bloody stalemate. This is the first military confrontation between two emerging and opposing ideological blocs, the command economies – primarily the USSR and China – and the managed free market economies of the United States and its allies. We enter the so-called Cold War.26
After years of war with Japan, and immediately following World War II, a bitter civil war had broken out in China. On 1st October, the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong declares the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Continuous war has ravaged industry, money is valueless, the countryside is experiencing food shortages, and towns have high unemployment. The Communists set out to rebuild Chinese society as a modern nation through a centrally planned economy: a command economy with government ownership and administration of distributive markets, industry, agriculture and information.
1950–53 Korean War
1951 Bristol population: 422,399 “We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields.” Alan Turing 43
1954 Racial segregation outlawed, USA
1951 Festival of Britain
Planned in 1947, the Festival of Britain promises to provide a cultural counterpart to the social benefits of the Welfare State. In a centenary echo of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the festival provides an opportunity to showcase the collective achievements of Britain. Although much of London is still war-bombed ruins, the main South Bank exhibition site celebrates history, technology, science and the arts as well as various aspects of everyday life. The exhibition attracts 8 million visitors, and in an uncanny premonition of theme parks to come, most complain bitterly about queuing.
1954 90-day treasury bills issued as Ghana moves towards independence
Racial segregation in the US has been endorsed since 1896 by the Supreme Court ruling that as long as the separate facilities for the separate races are equal, segregation does not violate the Constitution. This is overturned by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, a landmark decision of the Supreme Court declaring that separate public schools for black and white students are unconstitutional. The Court’s decision states that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”, adding impetus to the civil rights movement’s campaign to outlaw racial discrimination.
“A tonic to the nation” Gerald Barry, Festival of Britain Director 44
The Gold Coast, set to become the Republic of Ghana in 1957, is the first subSaharan African country to develop a constitution, initiate self-government and force independence from Britain. In preparation, Ghana produces the institutions, laws, markets and confidence necessary to issue treasury bills to mark the beginnings of securitised finance on the continent.
Architect and writer Theo Crosby, in collaboration with members of the Independent Group of theorists, artists, architects and designers who meet regularly at the ICA, curates the seminal exhibition This is Tomorrow. Young and ambitious, they intend to explore a ‘modern’ way of living using popular media representations, new technologies, and innovative exhibition practices. The 38 participants – artists, designers, theorists and architects – form 12 groups and are encouraged to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries. The exhibition marks the first eruption of popular everyday experience, so-called ‘pop-art’, in Britain.27
1956 This is Tomorrow, Whitechapel Gallery, London
1956 Quantity theory of money, Milton Friedman
The best way to administer finance, argues economist Milton Friedman, is not as Keynes had done, to plan and regulate markets, but rather to think of individuals as making rational choices about how to maximise their wealth and resources. Although much of his work to date has been done on price theory – modelling how prices are determined in individual markets – Friedman is synonymous with the Chicago School of economists and monetarism. He proposes to resurrect the quantity theory of money, which suggests that the price of goods and services depends on the money supply. For Friedman, “the elementary truth is that the Great Depression was produced by government mismanagement.” He advocates managed free markets, lower taxes, and argues that many of the services performed by government could be better provided by the private sector.28
Left: Festival of Britain shot glass, gift of Frank Dade. Above: Independent Group page from This is Tomorrow catalogue, Whitechapel
Above: Sputnik 1 commemorative postage stamp, USSR. Below: Britain’s most popular dish, Chicken Tikka Masala. Far right: Founding benefactors recorded in stone, Guggenheim Museum, New York
Created by the signing of the Treaty of Rome, the EEC (also known as the Common Market) is a co-operation between Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany to form a common market of 185 million people. The EEC has two objectives. The first is to transform the conditions of finance, trade and manufacture – this means ending trade restrictions between members, developing a common trade tariff towards the rest of the world, and enabling the free movement of labour and capital. The second is the construction of a more politically unified and administered Europe.
History deviates on 4th October when the Soviet Union successfully launches Sputnik I, the world’s first machine assembly to leave our atmosphere. It’s an artificial satellite about the size of a beach ball (23 inches in diameter) that takes about 98 minutes to orbit the earth on its elliptical path. The launch ushers in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments, and the start of a space race between the two Cold War superpowers.
Feroze Ahmed, originally from Sunamgonj in the northeastern Assam region of the Indian subcontinent, opens the Taj Mahal in Stokes Croft.
Curator Pontus Hultén and a few friends organise a small studio for experimental exhibitions and film screenings in Stockholm, Sweden. The friends expand into a wide cultural network, and in 1956 arrange an exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and the 93 sketches that accompany the painting in a former drill hall on Skeppsholmen, an island in the centre of the city. Their A Museum of Our Wishes exhibition, in which ‘ideal’ works to initiate a national museum are exhibited and later bought by the government, generates the impetus to open Moderna Museet, the first modern art museum in Europe, on 9th May 1958.
1957 Sputnik earth-orbiting satellite, USSR 1958 Taj Mahal, first Indian restaurant in Bristol 1957 Treaty of Rome establishes the European Economic Community (EEC)
The 26th of July Movement is a revolutionary organisation planned and led by Fidel Castro. On 1st January 1959, after years of armed struggle, the rebels overthrow the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista’s government in Cuba. The Movement transforms into the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution, which in turn becomes the Communist Party of Cuba; a socialist satellite in America’s backyard.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is a charitable organisation founded in 1937 by American mine owner and philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim. The
Foundation expands to become the preeminent private collection of modern and contemporary art. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, a landmark spiral structure, commissioned from architect Frank Lloyd Wright and named in Solomon’s honour, opens on 21st October to manage, preserve and exhibit the collection. From Guggenheim’s initial approach to Wright in 1943, the project evolved into a complex struggle pitting the architect against his clients, city officials, the art world and public opinion. Both Guggenheim (November 1949) and Wright (April 1959) would die before the building’s completion.
1959 Guggenheim Museum, New York 1958 Moderna Museet, Stockholm
1959 Cuba declared a Communist state
“Not since Frost and Reed tentatively raised their conservative shutters in 1808 has a gallery of such promise and singleness of purpose emerged from this city.” Derek Balmer, Western Daily Press
1961 Arnolfini opens above a bookshop on the Clifton Triangle
Annabel Lawson, Jeremy Rees and John Orsborn in front of Child with Tricycle by Peter Swan, on show in Arnolfini’s inaugural exhibition
In 1954, aged 16, Jeremy Rees had been apprenticed to Bristol printers Allen Davies, who paid for him to study at the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts. In London, Rees pursued his interests in the arts, often visiting theatres, cinemas and galleries, especially the ICA, which became a particular inspiration for Arnolfini. The ICA was not, however, the first multidisciplinary arts centre Rees was exposed to; Rees’ mother had co-founded Bridgwater Arts Centre, Somerset, the first Arts Council-funded arts centre in Britain. 48
Whilst in London, Rees meets Annabel Lawson, a textile artist who studied at the Central School of Art. On Rees’ return from National Service in Sierra Leone in 1960, Rees and Lawson begin living together in Bristol, marrying on 16th September. It is also in London that Rees sets up his own publishing imprint, the Jan Arnolfini Press, named after Jan van Eyck’s painting The Arnolfini Marriage, hanging in the National Gallery. Jeremy and Annabel, together with their friend, painter John Orsborn each invest £100 to purchase the
lease on a former joinery workshop above Roberts’ Bookshop at 42 Triangle West, with the aim of opening a gallery. Arnolfini’s inaugural exhibitions are by Josef Herman and Peter Swan. Herman arrived in Britain at the start of World War II, coming from a working-class Jewish family in Warsaw and settling amongst the mining community in South Wales. The physical labour of workers is central to his figurative pictures, and he is best known for his mural Miners which featured in the “Minerals of the Island
Pavilion” at the Festival of Britain in 1951. Included in the Arnolfini show are 18 small pen-and-wash drawings, in which “one is made aware of an acute sympathy for the earthy dignity of the labouring man” (Guardian). Shown alongside Josef Herman are nine paintings by the young Bristol-based artist Peter Swan, winner of the William Pratt bequest for painting in his final year at St Martin’s School of Art. The paintings, on the theme of “Mother and Child”, are based on observations of his young family. Swan’s work will be exhibited several times at
Arnolfini during the next five years. Over 200 people crowd into the gallery on the opening night, 3rd March. Within its simple whitecube space, naturally lit from above, Arnolfini promises a mix of exhibitions by national, international and local artists; many with strong connections to the South West, and to Cornwall in particular. The award-winning design of Arnolfini’s publicity and marketing materials is a defining feature of the gallery, as are regular shows of contemporary jewellery and prints.
“Our mission”, Director Jeremy Rees writes, is “to seek out challenging, often controversial and sometimes relatively unknown artists and performers, and to provide a vital showcase for their work.” In conjunction with the New Bristol Arts Club and, later, poetry magazine The Resuscitator, a programme of jazz, poetry, talks, and play-reading events commences at the gallery. Laurie Lee, John Sharkey, Michael Hamburger, John McGrath and Derek Moore are amongst those who feature. 49
“We were no longer confined to the boundaries of the earth.” Yuri Gagarin
Voskok 1 takes off at 6:07am on 12th April from the desert steppes of Kazakhstan, and ten minutes later leaves our atmosphere. Vostok 1 separates from its delivery rocket and makes one orbit of the earth in 108 minutes. Yuri Gagarin is on board, the first man to leave our planet. During reentry the craft’s hatch opens, he ejects and parachutes down to earth, landing slightly southwest of the town of Engels in Saratov Oblast, Russia. The working-class cosmonaut becomes a Soviet hero and an international celebrity, travelling the world to promote the Soviet Union’s achievements. Above: Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin after touchdown, 1961. Below right: American Standard Code for Information Interchange, ASCII
Arnolfini’s first open painting competition is judged by the art critic George Butcher, who also makes the selection of entries for the accompanying exhibition. The principal prizewinner is John Furnival with Monument to Benny Peret. Additional prizewinners are John Phillips, Linking Shape, Black and Mauve and Darton Watkins, Praia da Carroeira.
Young social worker Paul Stephenson leads a boycott of the Bristol Omnibus Company, protesting against its refusal to employ black or Asian drivers or conductors. Inspired by the example of Rosa Parks, who refused to move off a “whites only” bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, Stephenson organises a 60-day boycott supported by thousands of Bristolians, forcing the company to revoke its colour bar. In September, Raghbir Singh becomes Bristol’s first nonwhite bus conductor. The following year Stephenson will achieve national fame for refusing to leave a public house until served, resulting in a trial on a charge of failing to leave a licensed premises. In 2007 Stephenson is made a Freeman of the City of Bristol, and in 2009 awarded an OBE for “services to equal opportunities and to community relations in Bristol”.
1962 John Furnival wins Arnolfini Open Painting Competition
1961 First man leaves earth’s atmosphere
1964 Jennie Lee appointed first Arts Minister by Harold Wilson
1963 ASCII language translates human readable text into standard machine code
1963 Paul Stephenson leads Bristol bus boycott over racism
“Political control is a shortcut to boring, stagnant art: there must be freedom to experiment, to make mistakes, to fail, to shock– or there can be no new beginnings. It is hard for any government to accept this.”
When writing instructions for machines, the instructions need to be translated into a binary code for the machine to process. Many different binary codes are in use, so it is difficult and time-consuming to exchange information and instructions between the various diverse machine assemblies; and these assemblies are proliferating. A standardisation committee convenes, adopts and implements the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). ASCII is the agreed international code for the binary values for all the glyphs of the alphabet, numbers, and other symbols and functions that machines need to process. Its first commercial use is as a seven-bit teleprinter code.
The Labour Government appoints the first minister specifically for the arts, and although Jennie Lee works closely with the Arts Council Chairman, Lord Goodman, she is adamant that the founding ‘arm’s-length’ principle for funding will still pertain. Under Lee’s tenure, the Arts Council expands a network of core funded client organisations across the country, although they remain more or less autonomous in their operation.
1964 INTELSAT global satellite system
INTELSAT, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, is an intergovernmental consortium set up to own and manage a constellation of communications satellites to provide an infrastructure of international transmission services. On 6th April 1965 Intelsat I (nicknamed Early Bird) is placed in geostationary orbit over the Atlantic to provide direct and nearly instantaneous contact between Europe and North America.
1965’s solo exhibitions at Arnolfini include Terry Frost, a member of the Penwith Society of Artists, who is on the teaching staff at the Bath Academy of Art at Corsham where Jeremy Rees is currently lecturing; the assemblages by Bridgwaterborn member of artist collective The London Group, Matt Rugg, who will go on to be an inspirational tutor at Chelsea College of Art and Design; and Ceri Richards, whose paintings are inspired by a love of music and poetry cultivated during his Welsh childhood. Arnolfini is supported by the Arts Council for the first time, which acts as guarantor against financial loss.
1965 Terry Frost. Matt Rugg. Ceri Richards
In 1963 Jeremy and Annabel Rees are introduced to the collectors of contemporary art, Peter and Caroline Barker-Mill, by London gallerist Leslie Waddington. Although living at Wookey Hole in Somerset, near Bristol, the Barker-Mill family have been influential and wealthy Hampshire landowners for over 500 years, and Peter and Caroline become generous benefactors of Arnolfini. On 28th May 1966, at the home of Jeremy and Annabel in Canynge Square, Arnolfini holds its first Council of Management meeting where Peter Barker-Mill is elected Chairman. Joining them are Bristolians Ronald Alley, Keeper of the Modern Collection at the Tate gallery and Anne Hewer, Chair of Western Ballet Theatre. The other members of the committee are retired plant pathologist Lawrence Ogilvie, Annabel’s mother Gwen Lawson, and Paul Weychan. James Treen, who is also a member of the committee of the Nottingham-based artist collective The Midland Group, is elected Company Secretary.
Arnolfini operates an innovative Picture Loan Scheme, enabling the public to borrow art works on a basis similar to that of a subscription library. Once an annual subscription of 10 shillings is paid, individuals, businesses and schools can borrow individual works from the gallery’s stock of contemporary paintings and prints for a monthly charge of eight shillings. “An excellent and inexpensive way in which to enjoy in your own surroundings, pictures which you have liked,” suggests writer Patricia Stokes.
John Latham and Barbara Steveni initiate the Artist Placement Group (APG) to place artists, as outsiders, at boardroom level into industry, business and government. They intend their social interventions to engage and transform institutional structures. At the same time, it’s a means to explore contexts for art outside of traditional gallery exhibitions and museum collections. Artists are placed in the Home Office, the National Coal Board, Scottish Television, British Steel and other major organisations.
1966 Picture Loan Scheme widely used
1966 Arnolfini becomes a limited company and registered charity
1966 Artist Placement Group (APG), John Latham and Barbara Steveni
1966 Five-year retrospective: The Golden Mile, Kinetic and Concrete Poetry
Left and above right: Arnolfini’s distinctive catalogues and private view invitations, designed by director Jeremy Rees
Arnolfini organises a retrospective to celebrate its fifth anniversary, including work by Anthea Alley, Gillian Ayres, Henry Cliffe, Paul Feiler and Bryan Wynter. The Golden Mile: Kinetic and Concrete Poetry is organised by John Furnival and features Benedictine monk and ex-spy Dom Sylvester Houédard (‘dsh’) from Prinkash Abbey in Gloucestershire. Together they founded the experimental Openings Press in 1964, where dsh’s celebrated work Frog-PondPlop, a translation from the Japanese Haiku of Matsuo Basho (1644–94) was presented in the form of a child’s origami fortune-teller. dsh’s practice explores the typewriter’s machinistic possibilities for generating a kind of visual poetry, the ‘typestract’; Furnival subjects the reductive qualities of Concrete poetry to accumulative ‘cut-up’ techniques as used by Surrealist artists in the 1920s, and subsequently by Beat writers including William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. 53
1968 Peter Barker-Mill endowment fund. Jeremy Rees becomes full-time director
1967 First human heart transplant, Christiaan Barnard, South Africa
1968 Arnolfini initiates groundbreaking New British Sculpture exhibition, distributed throughout the city centre
At the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, Christiaan Neethling Barnard leads a surgical team to perform the first human-tohuman heart transplant. The patient, Louis Washansky, is a 54-year-old grocer suffering from diabetes and irreversible heart disease; his donor Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old woman who was fatally injured in a car accident. After surgery, drugs to suppress Washkansky’s immune system leave him susceptible to infection, and 1eight days later he dies from double pneumonia. 54
The scheme of investment prepared for the Peter BarkerMill endowment fund to part-finance Arnolfini is accepted by the Charity Commissioners. Income from the trust enables Jeremy Rees to become full-time director of Arnolfini, and he resigns his teaching post at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham.
When Arnolfini opened in 1961 Jeremy Rees had wanted to put a sign up above the entrance declaring, “Enjoy Yourself!” His desire for contemporary art to be seen and enjoyed by as many people as possible is realised in his daring exhibition New British Sculpture/Bristol, which locates colourful contemporary fibreglass sculptures by artists, many of whom had taken part in the 1965 New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, in prominent sites in central Bristol. It is the first time in Britain that a temporary sculpture exhibition is distributed in such public city-centre locations, and marks a move away from the tradition of sculpture as architectural decoration, or permanent monument dedicated to a famous individual or event. Most Bristolians are unsure what to make of it, and although national art critics are excited by the exhibitions’ ambition, most recognise it is not an unqualified success. In The Times, Guy Brett notes: “there is a fatal gap between the [gallery] spaces the sculptures were conceived for and the spaces found for them in Bristol.” This is not to say that the sculpture cannot be shown outside; only that “the context has to be considered – not only considered, but necessary.” Nevertheless, Rees generates the impetus for a City Sculpture project with eight regional British cities. Francis Morland will go on to use his sculptures as vessels in which to traffic hashish from Morocco to America. New British Sculpture/Bristol poster wins British design award. Photograph by Derek Balmer, design by Jeremy Rees, and featuring Babar by Garth Evans
Left: Harold Cohen, Untitled, 1969. Computer print-out with coloured pen and ink. Right: Concorde mid-flight, c. 1969
1968 Roger Hilton. Harold Cohen
1968 Race Relations Act
The Race Relations Act of 1965, which outlawed discrimination in public places, is strengthened; making it illegal to refuse housing, employment or public services to people on “grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins”. The Act extends the powers of the Race Relations Board to deal with complaints of discrimination, and to promote “harmonious community relations”.
Roger Hilton is a pioneer of British abstract art. He moved to West Cornwall in 1965 becoming prominent member of the St Ives School. His exhibition fills the Arnolfini with his large, beautifully coloured lyrical abstractions. Harold Cohen and his brother Bernard were both selected for inclusion in the British Pavilion at the 1966 Venice Biennale, along with Anthony Caro, whose work had been seen in New British Sculpture/Bristol. This year, as well as showing paintings and screenprints at Arnolfini, Harold Cohen travels to
America on a visiting lecturership at the Visual Arts Department, University of San Diego in California. Whilst there he is introduced to the work of the computer science department, sparking a lifelong interest in cybernetic art. Cohen will become the author of the celebrated AARON progamme, an ongoing research project to instruct a machine to paint. Cohen’s exhibition will tour to Dartington Hall in Devon, one of many exhibitions which Arnolfini arranges for venues throughout the region.
On Wednesday 10th July over five inches of rain fall on Bristol in less than 24 hours. Much of south Bristol is under water. By 5am almost every stream, brook and river in the area has burst its banks, causing death, devastation and despair. Seven people lose their lives, hundreds more suffer a terrifying ordeal of hardship and loss, bridges that had stood for centuries are washed away or severely damaged and countless houses, shops, factories and other properties are engulfed. The tobacco factory of W.D. & H.O. Wills at East Street is brought to a standstill as floodwaters engulf machinery, destroy stocks, cut off power and telephones, and damage the firm’s £500,000 computer. Large quantities of cartons of flooddamaged tobacco and cigarettes are removed to the Corporation Refuse Tip at Lawrence Weston, from where they are salvaged by local residents. Front parlours and outhouses are quickly transformed into tobacco warehouses, and for a considerable time afterwards a steady and lucrative trade in cut-price cigarettes is carried out in local pubs.
Cybernetic Serendipity is inspired by Norbert Weiner’s cybernetics and specifically, the feedback loops between technology and creativity. The curator Jasia Reichardt organises the exhibition into three sections: computergenerated work: visual arts, poetry, music, film and animation; cybernetic devices: robots, and painting machines; and machines demonstrating a use of cybernetics. Reichardt is clear: “We are dealing with an exploratory field, all attempts at a historical perspective or firm evaluation are out of place. The exhibition therefore, is essentially a reportage of current trends and developments.”29
Concorde 001 makes its first flight from Toulouse on 2nd March, captained by chief test pilot André Turcat. Powered by four Olympus 593 engines, built jointly by Rolls-Royce in Bristol and Snecma in France, the test flight reaches 10,000 feet and speeds of less than 300mph. The first British Concorde, Concorde 002, built at BAC’s Brabazon hangar in Filton, will fly the following month, although it will be November 1970 before the Concordes reach speeds of Mach 2, twice the speed of sound.
1969 Concorde’s maiden flight
1968 Disaster Day: The Great Floods, Bristol
1968 Cybernetic Serendipity, Jasia Reichardt, ICA, London
“As a solution to the difficulties arising out of packing, transporting and insuring works of modern art [...] the Compack is an aluminium box measuring 75cms cube that fits exactly into the rear of a Ford 5cwt van or a Renault 4L. The box contains a complete show of medium-sized pieces including paintings, sculptures, multiples, drawings and prints. Our intention is to take the box over the Channel by car ferry and from there on each gallery which shows the Compack, repacks and passes the box on to the next gallery. The first box was delivered to a Brussels gallery last November and we hope to have four of these boxes in circulation throughout Europe and the UK by the end of this year. One box fills an average gallery; more than one box can be sent when necessary.” Compack exhibition catalogue
In 1961, with the Cold War at its iciest, the Soviet Union launched Yuri Gagarin into space, and the United States was shocked to find itself second in the race to space. President John F. Kennedy promised: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” The US subsequently unleashed the most intense burst of collective creativity; with 400,000 people employed in research at government departments and universities, and $24 billion spent in the largest long-term investment ever made in peacetime. Just eight years later, at 9:32 am on 16th July, a Saturn V rocket launches Apollo 11 into the sky from its base in Florida. After one-and-a-half orbits of the earth, thrusters flare and the command-andservice module Columbia with three astronauts aboard
Swiss curator and art historian Harald Szeemann pioneers exhibitions in which the exhibited art works are assembled to explore a particular curatorial interest. Installed at the Kunsthalle Bern, and then at the ICA in London, Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form promises to trace ideas as they find form through a material presence; and through its subtitle, WorksConcepts-Processes-SituationsInformation, describes a range of possible methods. The exhibition introduces many of the productive dematerialised machines of Conceptual Art, and also the radical material economy of Minimal Art. It also signals a profound change in the public role of the curator, from someone who ‘takes care’ of existing art works in a collection, to a person who creates, initiates, produces, finds funding and intervenes in the production of an art work or exhibition.30
Bitterly unhappy with how his art work is exhibited, Greek kinetic sculptor Vassilakis Takis physically removes one of his sculptures from the Museum of Modern Art. In sympathy, a loose-knit group of over 300 artists, critics, writers, and arts administrators form the Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC) to present MoMA with a list of 13 demands, including a public
hearing on museum practice and reform. They are refused. In response, the AWC question the political economy of the art world, the function of artistic autonomy, and the lack of representation of women and those of different ethnicities in exhibitions and collections. It’s the beginning of the artistic critique of the institutions of art.31
1970 Move to Queen Square
1969 Compack, Group One Four (John Berry, Roy Grayson, Mauro Kunst and Brian Yale)
1969 Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form, Harald Szeemann, Kunsthalle Bern 1969 First moon landing, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
begins its three-day journey to the moon. On 19th July, Columbia enters lunar orbit, and eventually Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin board the Eagle lunar module, detach from Columbia (where Michael Collins remains orbiting) and descend to the moon’s surface. On 21st July, Armstrong steps out of the lunar module onto the moon’s surface, soon to be joined by Aldrin. After 21 hours collecting samples, conducting experiments, taking photographs – and planting the American flag – the lunar module blasts off to re-dock with Columbia, and with all three astronauts and lunar samples safe, they begin their journey back to earth. On 24th July the command module re-enters the earth’s atmosphere, at 24,000 feet parachutes deploy to slow Columbia’s descent and it safely splashes-down in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of Hawaii.
1969 Art Workers’ Coalition, New York
And Babies anti-Vietnam War poster created by the Art Workers’ Coalition. AWC members demonstrated in front of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica at MoMA in 1970
In 1968, Arnolfini’s Council of Management had turned down the opportunity to purchase Bush House on Narrow Quay for £50,000, wary of proposed plans for a new road scheme that would cut through the corner of the site. They devise a proposal to relocate Arnolfini adjacent to a proposed new City Museum and Art Gallery on a large derelict site in Wine Street, close to Bristol Bridge, as part of a scheme drawn up by architect Hugh Casson. Whilst awaiting the decisions of the Bristol Corporation
regarding the Casson proposals, John Pontin of Design-Build Group JT, and member of the Council of Management, suggests Arnolfini temporarily move to a warehouse on the corner of Queen Square, which JT had recently acquired for redevelopment, and which could easily be converted for Arnolfini’s purposes. Given the planning delays arising from City Dock redevelopments, he is able to guarantee a tenancy of at least a year, rent free, and probably longer. 59
In October 1969 Jeremy Rees informs the Council of Management that there is no place or organisation in Bristol concerned with the performance of new music and, anticipating the move to the larger premises at Queen Square, he feels Arnolfini could fill this need. At Rees’ suggestion Richard Hawkins, music critic, composer, accomplished cook, and onetime editor of the Bristol Evening Post, is elected to the Council of Management to oversee its organisation. Established as a club, with priority bookings, special events and other promotions and benefits to members, the intention is for the
programme to be selffinancing. Arnolfini Music is officially launched with a concert given by the Fidelio String Quartet, Paul Crossley (piano) and Mary Thomas (soprano), in the presence of the composer Michael Tippett, at the Theatre Royal, King Street, with wine afterwards at the Arnolfini Gallery in Queen Square. This ambitious programme of experimental music will provide the impetus for the development of the Contemporary Music Network (CMN) founded by Annette Morreau in 1971.
1970 Arnolfini Music avant-garde music programme. Inaugural concert, Michael Tippett
In the Falkland Islands, an ambitious salvage operation is launched, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain is refloated using a submersible pontoon and towed back to Bristol. She had lain abandoned since 1937, after spending more than forty years being used as a floating coalbunker. Thousands of people gather along the portway to watch as the ship passes beneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge on her way back to the dry dock where she was built, launched, and now rests. It would take 35 years to complete the painstaking conservation and restoration.
The United States Department of Defense is concerned about the ability of communications networks to survive a Cold War nuclear first strike. Research scientists conclude that the strongest communication system is a distributed nodal network, where each node is capable of receiving, encoding and parcelling messages into small ‘packets’, and then to send these ‘packets’ along any functioning pathway to their nodal destination. Here they can be received, decoded and reassembled into coherent wholes. The system is implemented as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the world’s first operational packet-switching network and the core network of what is to become a global internet.
Left: Poster advertising an Arnolfini Music event with John Cage. Above right: Arnolfini staff at Queen Square, 1970
1970 ARPANET digital information network
1970 SS Great Britain returns
Jeremy Rees is concerned that there is no art bookshop in Bristol, and the move to the larger premises at Queen Square enables Arnolfini to establish a specialist bookshop. Arnolfini Books sells exhibition catalogues, monographs, posters and prints, artists’ books and limited editions. Through Unlimited Press they produce artists multiples by Takis, Liliane Lijn, Kenneth Martin, Lygia Clark and Michael McKinnon.
1970 Arnolfini bookshop opens
Peter Maxwell-Davies presents a talk/recital/ discussion at Arnolfini. In 1967 he formed the Pierrot Players with Harrison Birtwhistle, to give performances of contemporary music. Amongst the equipment he uses during the evening at Arnolfini are a harpsichord and a collection of stone gargoyles. As is customary, many of the audience are seated on cushions on the gallery floor. “Possibly the most important one-man show of the week was not, for a change, in London but in Bristol, where the Arnolfini Gallery – who in nine years have achieved that sort of reputation – are showing Howard Hodgkin’s new paintings in their spacious warehouse premises.” Michael Shepherd, Sunday Telegraph
1970 Peter Maxwell-Davies. Howard Hodgkin
Fascinated by geology, crystalline structures, monuments, ruins and the concept of entropy; and driven by a desire to locate art works outside the commercial confines of a gallery network, Robert Smithson installs art works directly in urban or rural landscapes. Purchasing a plot
of land on the northern shore of the Great Salt Lake, Utah, he constructs in the bloodred, algae-tinted water, an enormous spiral 460 metres long and 4.6 metres wide from 6,650 tons of basalt rocks, earth and salt crystals. ‘Land art’, ‘earthworks’ and ‘site-specificity’ enter the lexicon.32
1971 Bretton Woods Agreement collapses
1970 Spiral Jetty, Robert Smithson, Utah
1971 Matrix exhibition and programme of generative, conceptual and system-based art works and music
Matrix is an exhibition by artists who have a particular interest in conceptual generative systems, visual art and in other creative disciplines such as music, mathematics and linguistics. Several of the artists were included in Systeemi, an exhibition of syntactic art from Britain at the Amos Andersons konstmuseum, Helsinki, in 1969. In the music event, medieval vocal music is heard alongside contemporary works for two pianos. The music makes use of systems of rhythmic modes – repeating patterns through which the flow of melody is articulated in largescale units, or into which alterations are gradually introduced in such a way that each change is heard as part of a developing process. Michael Parsons and Christopher Hobbs play their own two-piano works and are joined in the vocal pieces by Howard Skempton and Michael Nyman.
Spiral Jetty, near Rozel Point on the north-eastern shore of Great Salt Lake, Utah. Robert Smithson, c. 1971
On 15th August, without prior warning, President Richard Nixon announces in a Sunday evening televised address that the US is abandoning the Bretton Woods agreement, and removing the dollar from fixed-rate convertibility to gold. Inflation in the US, the vast expense of the war in Vietnam, a growing American trade deficit and increasingly vast amounts of finance capital circulating outside of government control, are all pressurising the value of the dollar. With Bretton Woods abandoned, the dollar is allowed to ‘float’, that is, to fluctuate against other currencies, and it promptly recalibrates. The collapse of the Bretton Woods system exposes a deepening contradiction between the tendency of finance capital and managed free markets to develop on a global scale, and the nationstate as a system of governance and administration.
1971 Britain decimalises and ‘floats’ currency
Financial markets have expanded. Governments lack the regulatory technologies to administer the flows of finance through transnational markets, and so torrents of capital sweep away the Bretton Woods fixedexchange-rate system. As a consequence the pound is floating freely in relation to other national currencies and at this moment the British Government ditches the Imperial pound, shilling and pence system (in use since 1066) to launch a new, modern, easier to convert, decimal currency with 100 ‘new pence’ to the pound.
Member of the Artists Placement Group, David Hall creates seven three-minute video art works to be inserted like adverts as interruptions into regular TV programming. They are broadcast unannounced by Scottish Television; the first examples of ‘time-based’ art works on television, and an equally formative moment in the emergence of video art.
1971 Seven Television Pieces, Scottish Television, David Hall
1971 Music by John Cage, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Christian Wolff
Following the success of the New British Sculpture; Bristol exhibition in 1968, Rees had proposed to the Arts Council an exhibition of sited sculpture in regional cities. In collaboration with the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation, he is finally given the opportunity to organise the City Sculpture project. Together with Anthony Stokes, Rees commissions new sculptures for locations in Plymouth, Cardiff, Cambridge, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton,
enabling “a number of sculptors to make works in relation to the sites on which they were to be shown.” Inspired by the Sculpture in Environment show in New York (1967) and the possibility that several of the works commissioned might be retained permanently by the cities, Rees suggests that the works will be sited for an initial period of six months, at the end of which the cities will have the opportunity to negotiate for their permanent retention.” However, few of the sculptures are retained.
1973 Ways of Seeing, John Berger
1972 Peter Stuyvesant Foundation City Sculpture project coordinated by Jeremy Rees and Anthony Stokes
“Following the most successful concert with Kevin Ayers & The Whole World performing David Bedford’s The Garden of Love in the Victoria Rooms, Arnolfini Music returns to the gallery. Electronics, pianos, bells, etc. will be liberally distributed throughout the gallery and besides the problem of finding room for the audience there is also that of finding time for 12 items of music. The solution is to play several simultaneously. All through the concert a rival attraction, Alison Knowles’ Chair Piece for George Brecht will be performed, and beyond revealing that it is obviously for a chair, the rest had better remain a mystery.” Arnolfini News, February 1971 64
1972 Steve Reich
Right: City Sculpture commission, Gorilla by Nicholas Munro, Birmingham Bull Ring. Far right: Ways of Seeing, 1973
Made by English art critic, novelist, painter and author John Berger, Ways of Seeing is a four-part BBC television series and accompanying book. Berger introduces Marxist cultural studies, a social history of art, and feminist criticism to art history and a growing media ecology of publicity and advertising. Seeing, Berger suggests, is inflected by class, gender, ideology and economics; all the forces traditional art history obscures.
In the summer of 1970 Steve Reich studied drumming with a master drummer of the Ewe tribe at the Institute of African Studies in Ghana. Speculating on the future of music, Reich is quoted in the programme notes as saying “Electronic music as such will gradually die and be absorbed into the ongoing music of people singing and playing instruments ... The pulse and the drone will re-emerge as basic sources of new music.” Two years on, in one of only three appearances in the UK, Reich, with Steve Chambers, Jon Gibson, Russ Hartenberger, Art Murphy and James Preiss, plays a programme of his own music at Arnolfini, including
Drumming Part 1 and Drumming Part 3. Judith Serota, now working with Richard Hawkins on programming Arnolfini Music, is visited by her brother Nick, who is impressed by Arnolfini’s ambitious plans to convert a delapidated waterfront warehouse into a new home for the contemporary arts. As he would later write, “For those of us working outside of London in the 1970s, Jeremy [Rees] was the prime example of someone who showed how to realise a bold vision with an unusual combination of conviction, personal charm and persistence ... He was far ahead of his time.”
“According to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome, the social presence of a woman is different in kind to that of a man […] One may simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” John Berger
1973 Secondary banking crisis
In the midst of a financial downturn, and on the eve of their divorce, Robert and Ethel Scull decide to sell 50 art works from their amazing collection of American pop and Abstract Expressionist art at Sotheby’s auction house in New York. The Sculls began collecting in the mid-1950s, when there was virtually no interest or market for contemporary art, with funds derived from a taxicab business founded by Ethel’s father. When Jasper Johns first exhibits at the Leo Castelli Gallery, none of the art works sell, Robert Scull is invited by Castelli and he buys the whole exhibition.
The auction sale realises an astronomical $2,242,900. Thaw, a combine-painting by Robert Rauschenberg that the Sculls bought for $900, sells for $85,000; Andy Warhol’s large-canvas Flowers, bought for $3,500, sells for $135,000; and Jasper Johns’ Double White Map, bought for $10,000, fetches $240,000. The shock is not just from the Sculls’ unbelievable profits, but also from the realisation that contemporary art is a viable investment vehicle. A speculative market for contemporary art is launched.34
Against a background of the pound losing its value in foreign-exchange markets, inflation devaluing the pound in people’s pockets, and the number of people out of work and claiming benefit rising above one million (for the first time since the Great Depression of the 1930s), there is a dramatic property price crash. The crash causes many smaller, or ‘secondary’ banks to peer over the brink into bankruptcy. Banks were lending based on the escalating house prices of the 1960s, and themselves borrowing heavily to loan against the housing assets. A sudden downturn in the housing market, coupled with hikes in interest rates, leaves these smaller institutions with increasing numbers of debt defaults. Unable to meet their borrowing obligations, and holding loans secured by property with lower asset values, they enter negative equity. The Bank of England bails out around thirty banks, and has to ‘assist’ thirty more at a combined cost to the taxpayer of some £100 million. 66
1973 Robert Scull Collection sold at Sotheby’s New York, first speculative financial market for contemporary art
Below left: Souvenir catalogue of the legendary Scull auction, Sothebys, New York. Above: Arnolfini moves to W Shed
1973 Move to W Shed, café/bar opens
1973 Arnolfini Film ‘critical cinema’ programme begins
John Pontin’s JT Group acquires a short-term lease on W Shed, the last in a series of nineteenth-century transit sheds linked to Temple Meads station. The sheds were built to store cargo brought in and out of the Floating Harbour. The move provides Arnolfini with the opportunity to extend its artistic programme. With support from the British Film Institute (BFI), a 106-seat cinema is created, and the oil-skin trestle table used at Queen Square on Arnolfini Music evenings is transposed into a full-blown restaurant serving soups, pies, omelettes, special icecreams, gateaux and cheeses. Everything is homemade wherever possible, with the exception of proprietary drinks: wines by the glass and bottle, light beer, aperitifs and spirits from the bar.
Arnolfini Film announces itself as a ‘critical cinema’, “engaged in an ideological critique of cinema, a running commentary on ways of seeing, which are produced, reinforced or negated in the changing relationships between audiences and films past, present and future.” The first feature is La Salamandre (1971, dir. Alain Tanner). In the opening brochure for W Shed, Arnolfini’s new cinema programmer David Hopkins writes, “the overriding characteristic of [film] is the combination of ... artistic attributes with an unavoidable, and, at the present time, imperative involvement with how society sees and recognises itself. It is a characteristic that cinema holds in common with television. It is within this ideological common ground between cinema and television that Arnolfini Film finds the focus of its critical activity ... in the coming months [Arnolfini Film will] be paying particular attention to two neglected fields: films made for television, and short and animated films.” 67
“Something to get us going again.”
1973 Britain joins the EEC
Prime Minister Edward Heath
• 1973 First dance event: Strider Dance Group and Majorca Orchestra
1974 State of Emergency declared with widespread strikes, power-cuts, and three-day working week
Arnolfini’s first dance event, promoted by Another Bath Festival in association with Arnolfini Music, features Strider, a new dance group that has appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the International Carnival of Experimental Sound and in the ICA’s The Body as a Medium of Expression. Strider has worked with a variety of artists, including the sculptor Barry Flanagan and composer Anna Lockwood. Now the group teams up with the Majorca Orchestra, an offshoot of the Portsmouth Sinfonia, whose members include English composer Gavin Bryars. As with the Ross and Cromarty Orchestra and Portsmouth Sinfonia, the Majorca Orchestra aims to make popular music 68
independent of technical ability. The Portsmouth Sinfonia’s distinctive approach to the classics recently gained notoriety with the group’s discordant rendition on an Omnibus programme of Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra. Martin Lewis, the Sinfonia’s manager, would later recall, “The Portsmouth Sinfonia pre-dated punk. We used to say that it embraces musicians of all ranges of competence, from those of symphony-orchestra standard to those who don’t know which end of a violin to blow. Four years later, you had punk: the same notion of people picking up instruments they couldn’t play.”
Britain is finally accepted into the EEC, well over 20 years since the project of integration first began, and 12 years after they had first applied to join. Politically and economically Britain is spiralling downwards, just as the six original Common Market countries are consolidating and thriving. Now, the institutions and protocols of Europe are well established, and unsurprisingly, they have not been developed with the British economy in mind. Painful concessions have to be made, particularly over preferential agriculture and trade subsidies with the Commonwealth, which still accounts for nearly half Britain’s overseas trade. Ireland and Denmark also join.
The government introduces pay freezes to offset the effects of inflation, which, since wages were already struggling to keep pace with price inflation, causes widespread dissatisfaction amongst trade unions. The National Union of Mineworkers encourages its members to work to rule – and as a result, coal stocks slowly dwindle. The government enters into negotiations, but to no avail. 1.6 million workers strike in support of the TUC’s call for a “day of national protest and stoppage”, 290,000 civil servants and 47,000 gas workers strike, as do 7,000 London dockers. The government announces petrol and fuel deliveries will be reduced to conserve supply, electricity is limited to three consecutive days each week, and a “ThreeDay Work Order” is imposed on factories, schools, hospitals, and public services. Military generators keep hospitals functioning and candles illuminate the dark nights. Even motorists are asked to observe a voluntary 50 mph speed limit. Eventually the Government declares a state of emergency as the electricity shortages bite, schools and workplaces close, and piles of rotting rubbish clog the streets.
Organised by Independent Cinema West, an open collective of independent filmmakers and enthusiasts in the South West, the first Festival of Independent British Cinema’s selection panel includes Tony Rayns, Laura Mulvey, William Raban, Peter Sainsbury and Arnolfini film programmer David
Hopkins. Work is organised into three categories: films by individuals, films by groups, and work using ‘expanded cinema’ formats, which is shown in the gallery. Ian Breakwell, Tony Hill, Derek Jarman, Malcolm Le Grice, Liz Rhodes and Peter Whitehead are among those whose work is shown.
1975 First Festival of Independent British Cinema Arnolfini Cinema programme poster, designed by director Jeremy Rees
Bernd and Hilla Becher’s flat, frontal photographs of industrial structures, grouped according to type, are exhibited in W Shed. Following its exhibition at the ICA, the show tours to the industrial cities of Hartlepool, Cardiff, Bristol, Bradford, Nottingham and Hull. Jeremy Rees suggests Ed Ruscha as a candidate for the Arts Council of Great Britain’s series of one-man touring exhibitions. Edward Ruscha, Prints and Publications 1962– 74 gets its first showing at Arnolfini. The show includes a range of lithographs and silkscreens, as well as all his books since 1965. Ruscha and Mason Williams’ iconic 1969 photo bookwork Crackers is on sale for £3.50. Among the films screened at Arnolfini in June are Luis Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Fear Eats The Soul.
Artists Over Land is the first time that the work of Richard Long, who was born and lives in Bristol, has been shown at Arnolfini, and the last exhibition at W Shed before the move to Narrow Quay. Long is shown alongside Hamish Fulton, Marie Yates and Phillippa Ecobichon. Arnolfini’s exhibition organiser Clive Adams writes:
1975 Bernd and Hilla Becher. Ed Ruscha. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise, Fear Eats the Soul
“The exhibition has been organised in order to represent the work of artists who have for some years been working in landscape situations. It attempts to conjure up a greater awareness of our own ‘presence’, as exemplified by four artists who have had particular perceptions of ‘being’ in the natural landscape.”
1975 Artists Over Land, Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, Marie Yates and Phillippa Ecobichon
After protracted negotiations JT is finally able to purchase Bush House, which had been offered for sale again to Arnolfini, this time for £200,000. Outline planning consent for the conversion of the warehouse, now a Grade II listed building, had been sought on the basis that JT develop the derelict site for mixed use, with Arnolfini occupying 18,000 sq ft on the ground and first floors, and the floors above fitted out for commercial office use. Costing over £1 million, Arnolfini’s share of the development costs is £431,000, £250,000 of which is made up from donations, largely from Peter Barker-Mill, with other funds coming from Arts Council, Gulbenkian Foundation and British Film Institute grants. JT agrees a 125-year lease to Arnolfini, with an annual peppercorn rent of 5p a year, and the two
organisations share the building’s service charges.36 The design and build work is led by the architects Roger Mortimer and Mike Duckering, together with structural engineer Bob Evans. Externally, the building’s pennant stone façades are cleaned and restored, and new window frames and glazed doors inserted. Inside, the space is gutted and the old wooden floors and cast iron Doric columns replaced by a reinforced concrete structure of columns and ‘waffled’ ceilings, all supported on new concrete pile foundations driven through the river silt. A large gallery is created on the ground floor, together with a café/bar and bookshop, with smaller galleries and offices occupying the first floor. An auditorium with raked seating for over 200 people, equipped with retractable
seating, lighting rig, sprung dance floor, large projection screen, and quadraphonic sound system, is designed for multiple use, including cinema, dance and music. The development receives widespread critical acclaim. William Feaver, the Observer art critic, calls it “the grandest arts centre in the country, and probably the best appointed.” The move leads the way in the revival of Bristol’s desolate docklands – one of the first examples of how the arts can stimulate economic and social regeneration. A report commissioned by the University of the West of England in 2002 will highlight Arnolfini as “one of the first examples in the UK of the arts being used for encouraging inward investment and economic regeneration leading ... to a likely total investment in the site of £600 million and the creation of over 3,500 jobs.”
Above left: Artists Over Land exhibition preview card, featuring an artwork by Hamish Fulton. Below left: Ed Ruscha and Mason Williams’ iconic photo bookwork Crackers, 1969. Right: first Arnolfini programme after the move to Bush House
1975 Move to Bush House, leased from JT Group, a model of urban renewal
Arnolfini is reopened on Friday 17th October by Lord Esher, Rector of the Royal College of Art and Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain’s Art Panel. The first exhibition, sponsored by IBM, features paintings by Howard Hodgkin. To mark the reopening, Arnolfini publishes a new four-colour screenprint by Hodgkin, based on his painting Artificial Flowers. The Grimethorpe Colliery Band, founded in 1917 by a group of South Yorkshire miners, is an acclaimed exponent of brass band music. The Band, conducted by Elgar Howarth, performs at the Victoria Rooms in Clifton, a larger venue, to mark the reopening of Arnolfini at Bush House. Works by Byrd and Holst feature alongside contemporary work by the Australian composer David Lumsdaine and Derek Bourgeois, who is teaching at Bristol University. The first concert in Arnolfini’s new auditorium, held the following month, is four parts from Music in Twelve Parts, performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble.
In March, five school friends with an average age of 16 form the loud and raucous band the Cortinas. Future academic Jeremy Valentine (vocals), soon-to-be Clash member Nick Sheppard (guitar), Mike Fewings (guitar), future Turner prize nominee Dexter Dalwood (bass), and Daniel Swan (drums) – son of Peter Swan, band manager and Arnolfini's inaugural exhibition artist – burn brightly in the early firmament of Punk. After releasing two classic singles Fascist Dictator and Defiant Pose they splinter in June 1978.
1975 Arnolfini reopens. Howard Hodgkin. Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Philip Glass Ensemble
Below left: Cortina’s “Fascist Dictator” picture sleeve, 1977. Below right: Ian Breakwell, from the exhibition poster for Continuous Diary
David Nash, a British sculptor working with wood, trees and the natural environment shows Loosely Held Grain from October to November 1976: “The weight of the trunk squeezes the cut, pinches the saw. Wedge the cut open. Hammer in the wedge, bang it down hard; the trunk lifts up and opens the cut. The blade glides through as smoothly as at the beginning. The trunk holds to the last grain, then gives, cut clean through.” David Nash Arnolfini organises the seminar “Art Education, Galleries and Art Today”,
1976 The Cortinas, Bristol’s first punk band
Patrick Caulfield’s Recent Paintings and Prints runs from February to March. William Packer, writing in the Financial Times, notes how Caulfield’s paintings are “extremely simple and straightforward, but there is the rub; for they are disconcertingly so, the paint flat and unmodulated, the colour crude and tasteless, the drawing effected by a thick and unvarying black line ... Caulfield leads us wryly and calmly into his world of cafés and hotels, and tourist souvenirs, making us test responses, and by extension our attitudes.” Rosemary Butcher studied at Dartington before travelling to the USA. Her Bristol performances follow her acclaimed performance at the Serpentine Gallery earlier in the year, with a number of the pieces being worked specifically for the spaces used, including the quayside outside Arnolfini. “It is the influence of the environment on movement, and also how moving affects the environment, that is the basis of my work-indevelopment,” she writes.
bringing together the head of a Fine Art department, a gallery director, an art critic, an artist, and a representative from the Arts Council, in the belief that the issues involved in the existing ‘art system’ merit serious reassessment. Despite the new academic status of Bachelor of Arts Degrees with Honours in Fine Art, very few graduates are managing to continue as fulltime artists. This is chiefly to do with the disadvantageous ratio of graduate numbers to probable opportunities, but a contributing factor is that most students are ill-prepared to succeed.
1976 David Nash. Seminar: “Art Education, Galleries and Art Today”
Ian Breakwell describes his practice as including “collages, visual texts, drawings, photo-collage, events, theatre performances, film, film performances, tapes, installations, environments, video, objects, photo-text sequences, film/slide projection sequences with accompanying sound, photoassemblages, writing and reading of prose.” Continuous Diary is the first of three presentations (the others being the ICA in London and the Midland Group in Nottingham) held in places where Breakwell has lived. Included in the exhibition is the film The Journey, made following an assignment with British Rail at the instigation of the Artists' Placement Group. A collection of 130 of Robert Smithson’s drawings, originally brought together in April 1974 nine months after the death of the artist in a plane crash near the site of his final ‘Earthwork’ Amarillo Ramp in Texas, are shown together with the films Spiral Jetty and Swamp. This is the first time the drawings have been shown in England.
1976 Patrick Caulfield. Rosemary Butcher Dance Company
1977 Ian Breakwell Continuous Diary exhibition and readings. Robert Smithson
1977 On Site exhibition of interventions in rural and urban settings
An exhibition of works and proposals particular to natural landscape and urban sites in and around Bristol, On Site exhibits works by artists for whom site is indivisible from the work itself: site specificity. The featured artists include Ian Breakwell, Phillippa Ecobichon, Hamish Fulton, Tim Head, Richard Long, Albert Mayr, Peter Randall-Page, David Tremlett, Gerry Whybrow and Terry Wright.
In the year after Marcel Broodthaers’ death, an exhibition of his editions, books and films are brought together at Arnolfini. Martin Parr last exhibited at Arnolfini in 1975 with his degree show Home Sweet Home. Beauty Spots is a photographic survey exhibition of the most famous natural attractions in Britain and the people that visit them.
In Oldham General Hospital, Greater Manchester, a human egg is fertilised by an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) process. In IVF, egg cells are removed from a donor (although this could also be the potential mother), fertilised by sperm, cultured until having reached the six to eight cell stage (zygote) are then transferred to a future mother to establish a successful pregnancy. Louise Joy Brown is the first person conceived and born through IVF, a ‘test-tube baby’. The most precious act between humans is technologised.
Tony Sinden and David Dye take over Arnolfini’s main gallery to present film installations; Dye using mirrors as part of the projection process, Sinden combining projected images and real objects to create an environment the spectator will share. Continuing the programme of jewellery exhibitions that started in 1961, Arnolfini presents the work of recent graduates Esther Knobel, Gillian Sternbach, Ian Burch and Victoria Diehl. 74
Canadian artist collective General Idea performs Glamour at Arnolfini. Since 1972, AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal have biannually published File magazine (an anagram of Life, whose cover layout it apes). Their Glamour manifesto states: “We knew that if we were famous and glamorous we could say we were artists and we would be ... We knew Glamour was not an object, not an action, not an idea. We knew Glamour never emerged from the ‘nature’ of things. There are no glamorous people, no glamorous events. We knew Glamour was artificial. We knew that in order to be glamorous we had to become plagiarists,
intellectual parasites.” Marc Chaimowicz, Stuart Brisley and The Ting perform at Arnolfini as part of a series of events, films and talks, under the title Rites and Roles. Chaimowicz performs Doubts, a sketch for video camera and audience, Brisley a four-day durational piece entitled Bodyspace, Drawing and Context, involving a bodily exploration of the gallery space “to include drawing, sculptural and painterly means”, and The Ting performs Going, Waterfall 3 and Rape of the Mind. Writing in the Arnolfini Review, Sarah Kent describes The Ting’s work as “both serious and ridiculous at once – a macabre mixture of the everyday and the surreal.”
Far left: Poster for On Site an exhibition exploring site specificity. Below left: Stuart Brisley performs Bodyspace, Drawing and Context. Above: The Stanford Cart, Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) c. 1979
A primitive autonomous machine is a robot that is able to move in unknown environments, sense data, extract knowledge, calculate, reason, and finally, act. The machine is given simple rules to obey, and is able to learn through experience. Unassisted, the Stanford Cart successfully maps out and crosses a chair-filled room. The use of computers to control robots introduces behavioral complexity to the technological domain.
1977 Tony Sinden and David Dye. Jewellery Class of ’77. Marcel Broodthaers. Martin Parr
1978 Louise Brown, first ‘test-tube baby’
1978 General Idea. Marc Chaimowicz, Stuart Brisley and The Ting
1979 Primitive autonomous machines
From Peter Barker Mill’s substantial family estates in Hampshire he makes a gift of agricultural land, cottages, and other property under short-term tenancy, to Arnolfini. The benefits of the gift are transformed into an endowment. Rents are received from Ashley Manor Farm and Cottages, Hordle Manor Farm, Becton Farm, Newlands Manor Farm and Cottages, Sansomes Cottage, Keepers Cottage, holiday houses and beach huts, as well as monies earned from grazing and shooting. For the year ended 31st March 1981, Arnolfini’s balance sheet lists the net income from the Ashley Clinton Estate as £12,087.40.
Britain begins the deregulation of its major financial markets by abolishing controls on the purchase and sale of foreign currency. This is coupled with favourable tax incentives to attract overseas banks and financial institutions, and a change in legislation making international investment, acquisitions and mergers easier. The City of London becomes a major hub for global finance and its institutions.
Filmmaker Peter Greenaway and composer Michael Nyman present past and current work arising from a collaborative investigation into the alliance of music and film. The programme revolves around four projects: 1–100, a music and film collaboration engineered to structure the numbers 1 to 100 arranged chronologically giving no one number more film space than another; Vertical Features Remake, an attempt to reconstruct a supposedly lost structural film featuring 121 images; A Walk Through H, a journey, real or imagined, taken on the evidence of 92 maps; and current work on a small area of a new feature-length project funded by the British Film Institute called The Falls.
With “Modern Art In Public Galleries – Who Decides What?”, Tony Haworth, curator of Southampton Gallery, leads an open discussion accompanying the Bristol Sample exhibition, in which all the artists have been invited to participate on the basis that they had been part of a Gulbenkian Foundation-funded Enquiry into the Economic Situation of the Visual Artists. Arnolfini is now coordinating the cinema programmes at Arnolfini and Bristol Arts Centre, King Square. Women and Film is a season of feminist cinema, including The All-Round Reduced Personality, The Left-Handed Woman, Jeanne Dielman and In the Realm of the Senses.
1979 Peter Greenaway and Michael Nyman
1979 Peter BarkerMill establishes Ashley Clinton Endowment Fund
1979 Britain abolishes financial market controls, London becomes centre of global financial trading
Arnolfini presents its own Dance Umbrella Festival as an offshoot of the London Umbrella which takes place at the same time at the ICA and Riverside Studios. Dance Umbrella brings together a selection of contemporary dance groups from the USA, Canada and Britain. Presented in conjunction with the Bristol Musicians Co-op, the festival centres around audio installations in the gallery by Max Eastley, alongside a programme of events. Performers include David Toop, Maggie Nicols, Alvin Curran, Trevor Wishart, Ian and Will Menter and Lily Greenham. Bill Packer, art critic to the Financial Times, has spent two years selecting work for
the first British Art Show. He describes his brief: “to travel as widely as possible through England, Scotland and Wales, and to select from the wide variety of work that I saw whatever I thought to be the best, or the most interesting, of current painting and sculpture. And if it turned out that everything I chose or nothing came from London, or that every artist was famous and well established or entirely unknown, so be it.” Already seen in Sheffield and Newcastle, the British Art Show comes to Bristol in April, where it is shown at the Royal West of England Academy and the City Museum and Art Gallery, as well as Arnolfini.
1980 Dance Umbrella Festival, first British Art Show
Left: Stills from Peter Greenaway’s A Walk Through H, a 40-minute journey, unfolding entirely through voice-over and drawn maps, about the mysterious Tulse Luper. Peter Greenaway, 1979. Above: Advertising for the 1980 British Art Show
1979 Discussion: ‘Modern Art In Public Galleries’, Women and Film
In a direct and angry reaction to the Allen Jones retrospective at London’s ICA, which shows fetishistic images of women inspired by pulp comics and pornography, Jacqueline Morreau, Joyce Agee, Catherine Elwes and Pat Whitehead, all members of the Women’s Art Alliance, organise two exhibitions of women’s art designed to “put history into reverse”. Women’s Images of Men features painting, drawing, sculpture and photography, and About Time includes artists working in performance, video and installation. Maedee Dupres, a young dancer/choreographer, who danced with Rosemary Butcher between 1975 and 1978, performs a series of solo dance performances at Arnolfini, including Sally Potter’s Crowd Scenes, to music by Lindsay Cooper.
The niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, Peggy Guggenheim is a passionate and knowledgeable collector of contemporary and modern art. Exhibiting her collection at the 1948 Venice Biennale, artists such as Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko were shown in Europe for the first time. The following year Peggy bought Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal, where she took up residence, held exhibitions of sculptures in the garden, and began to open her home and collection to the public each summer. Peggy died at the age of 81 on 23rd December 1979. She had given the palazzo and her collection to the Guggenheim Foundation three years earlier, paving the way for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to open for the first time under the Foundation’s management.
1980 Women’s Images of Men and About Time. Sally Potter’s Crowd Scenes
1980 Guggenheim Venice, beginning of corporate museum experiment
Left: The Western Daily Press reports the St Pauls riots. Below: Sony Mavica, 1981: the beginning of the end of 35mm film
1981 MS-DOS operating system and distributed computing 1981 First commercial digital camera
1980 St Pauls riots: alienation amongst black youth leads to increasing racial tension
Unemployment, poor housing and the police’s heavy-handed use of Stop and Search laws are all contributing to rising tension in the predominantly AfroCaribbean community of St Pauls. Riots erupt on 2nd April when police raid the Black and White Café on Grosvenor Road in the heart of St Pauls. After several hours of disturbance in which fire engines and police cars are damaged, 130 people are arrested and 25 taken to hospital, including 19 policemen and a cameraman and photographer from the Western Daily Press. The Black and White Café will be closed for good in March 2005, and subsequently demolished to make way for new homes.
Early computers were built to perform a series of single tasks, like a calculator. An operating system (OS) is software that enables the same assembly to perform multiple tasks; managing programs, computer hardware resources and peripheral devices. In July 1981, International Business Machines (IBM) assigns a company called Microsoft to develop a 16-bit operating system for its range of desktop machines. Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS DOS) 1.0 consists of about 4,000 lines of code and is designed with a modular architecture to run on any generic machine assembly. 50 companies license the proprietary OS, and it quickly becomes a worldwide business and administrative standard.
In August, Sony announces the Sony Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera), the first commercial digital still camera. Its CCD sensor converts optical images into an electronic signal
and produces images at a resolution of 570 x 490 pixels written to floppy diskettes capable of holding 50 still frames. The images are viewed on a television screen. 79
First recorded on 5th June, when the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports a cluster of unusual lung infections in five homosexual men in Los Angeles, a new virus is traced to primates in the west of subSaharan Africa, probably jumping species and transferring to humans during the early 20th century. The acronym AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is adopted in July 1982, and defined by the CDC the following September. The syndrome is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Below: Digital model of HIV retrovirus responsible for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Right: Arnolfini’s Video Library catalogue
pass the virus to others through the exchange of intimate bodily fluids. By the beginning of July 1982 there are a total of 452 cases. That December a 20-month-old child who has received multiple blood transfusions dies from AIDS-related infections, sparking widespread public concerns about the blood supply. AIDS slowly becomes a pandemic. Thirty years later there will be 33.3 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS, with 2.6 million new HIV infections per year and 1.8 million annual recorded deaths.
Like most viruses, HIV reprogrammes host cells to make new copies of itself. HIV has just nine genes (compared to more than 500 in a simple bacterium). Three of them contain information to make proteins for new virus cells. The other six control the ability of HIV to penetrate a host cell, and then code the host to copy the virus into the cell’s nucleus, from where it is spliced into life’s operating system, DNA. From there the virus spreads rapidly through the human body, wrecking the immune system. Once a person is infected, they can
1981 HIV AIDS, first viral pandemic, identified in USA
With video technology increasingly being used by artists, Arnolfini opens the first library of artists’ work on U-matic videotape to provide public access to audio-visual materials not yet generally or easily available. Users can select, programme and watch a broad range of experimental tapes, including works by independent filmmakers (transferred onto videotape) , Maureen Paley’s Homework is billed as a “cool and witty reappraisal of an East Coast ‘home town’, where the simple presence of ‘mom’ adds a surreal note to photographs of typical buildings.” As part of the Spring Festival of Dance and Performance, dancer and choreographer Siobhan Davies is in residence at Arnolfini, where she delivers public classes and workshops, school visits and a “day of dance for schools” alongside two evening performances with her dance company.
A two-part exhibition, cocurated by Lewis Biggs Sandy Nairne and Iwona Blazwick is shown concurrently at Arnolfini and the ICA in London. Objects and Sculpture contrasts the strictly formal concerns of much sculpture from the 1960s and 1970s, by exhibiting new work that incorporates modified objects in everyday use. Artists in the exhibition include Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Richard Deacon, Edward Allington, Margaret Organ, Jean-Luc Vilmouth and Bill Woodrow. As well as traditional Javanese music, The English Gamelan Orchestra plays new work commissioned by English composers Michael Parsons and Mark Lockett. Moniek Toebosch’s Bristolscream performance for the Festival of Improvised Music, juxtaposes poetry, vocalisation, and works with a crackle-synthesiser organ developed especially for her at STEIM studios in Amsterdam.
Britain’s first dedicated media centre opens in June, in Arnolfini’s old home of W Shed, on the opposite bank of St Augustine’s Reach. Watershed’s main focus will be new developments in film and photography.
Figurative Jewellery presents work by artists including Vicki Ambery-Smith, Tom Saddington, Catherine Mannheim and Lynn Prendergast, whose jewellery miniaturises recognisable objects, often with wit and humour. Arnolfini’s Saturday Art Club for Children regularly sells out. Katy MacLeod, Education & Information Assistant, works with artists to create workshops in response to Arnolfini’s exhibitions. A selection by Paul Rodgers of work by nine contemporary painters working in France, The Subject of Painting tours to Arnolfini from the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford.
1982 Watershed Media Centre opens
1981 Video Library opens. Maureen Paley Homework. Siobhan Davies Dance Company residency
1981 Objects and Sculpture exhibition. English Gamelan orchestra. Festival of Improvised Music, Moniek Toebosch Bristolscream
1982 Figurative Jewellery. Children’s Art Club. The Subject of Painting
1983 Rational Theatre/ Malcolm Poynter: Orders of Obedience
Savage, graceful, menacing and seductive, Malcolm Poynter’s sculptures, on show in Arnolfni’s main gallery, are the inspiration for Orders of Obedience, a collaborative production with Rational Theatre.
1982 Artificial heart transplant
1983 Grameen Bank, first microfinance organisation and community development bank, Bangladesh Below right: ‘Hand in Hand’ microfinanced family enterprise of traditional sari weaving in Tamul Nadu, India. Far right: Arnolfini’s Bush House features on a postage stamp celebrating urban regeneration
Started in Bangladesh by Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Banks are community-owned microfinance organisations and community development banks that make small loans (known as microcredit) to impoverished people (particularly women) without requiring assets as guarantees. Grameen financial organisations believe that charity creates dependency, whereas loans offer people the opportunity to take initiatives, providing earnings and enabling them to pay off the debt. Grameen Banks utilise trust and peer-pressure to ensure that borrowers are obligated to repay the loan. They also accept deposits, provide other financial services, and run development-oriented businesses including fabric, telephone and energy companies and agricultural smallholdings.
“The source of my work is nature. I use it with respect and freedom. I use materials, ideas, movement and time to express a whole view of my art in the world. I hope to make images and ideas which resonate in the imagination, which mark the earth and the mind.”
1984 Bush House features on postage stamps celebrating urban renewal
Richard Long, Touchstones, is published by Arnolfini on the occasion of Selected Works 1965–1983, Long’s first one-man show in Bristol. Other highlights of the year include Stephen Willats’ Under Cover and Paula Rego’s first UK exhibition outside London, a series of large works containing multiple images based on operas; stories that are extraordinary, absorbing and sometimes ridiculous. Annual visitor numbers surpass 200,000 for the first time.
On 2nd December, a surgical team headed by William DeVries at the University of Utah performs the first artificial heart transplant. Dentist Barney Clark is given a second life with the Jarvik-7, a mechanical pump made of plastic and titanium, powered by compressed air. The air is delivered by a large external compressor through two tubes that pass into Clark’s body via incisions in his abdomen. The system leaves Clark open to infections, and after surviving 112 days with the heart still beating, he succumbs to a virus.
1983 Richard Long. Stephen Willats Under Cover. Paula Rego. 200,000 visitors
1984 Kate Blacker Second Sites. Geometry of Rage. Architecture and Continuity. Pandora’s Box. Jazz Festival workshops
The success of the project by Arnolfini and JT Group to convert Bush House, which pioneered the development of Bristol’s dock area, is recognised in one of a set of four commemorative stamps on the theme of urban renewal.
Kate Blacker’s Second Sites is a set of landscape metaphors about discovering peace and beauty in nature and our ability to pollute and destroy it. Bringing together the work of Denis Masi, Deanna Petherbridge and Michael Sandle, Geometry of Rage suggests a future of alienation in which dominant images are of conflict, decay and political disintegration. Four lectures on the theme Architecture and Continuity, accompanied by a small exhibition, are arranged in association with the Bristol Society of Architects.
Organised by Women’s Images, Pandora’s Box uses painting, sculpture, drawings, photography and printmaking to explore “an alternative view of cultural history; spotlighting the basis of many embedded prejudices and fears affecting society at large and the individual psyche” as exemplified by the myth of Pandora. Accompanying a weeklong festival of evening jazz concerts, a programme of daytime workshops is organised, led by Will Menter, Roy Asbury, Ben Baddoo and John Stevens. 83
More than half the country’s 187,000 mineworkers are on strike. The dispute began over an announcement by the National Coal Board that 20 ‘uneconomic’ pits would have to close, putting 20,000 miners out of work. The government of Margaret Thatcher had prepared against a repeat of the effective 1974 industrial action that brought down the Edward Heath administration by stockpiling coal, and recruiting fleets of road hauliers. The strike is a desperate struggle between the remnants of Fordist unionised labour and a government determined to introduce deregulated markets as a disciplinary force. For many, the strike is a defining moment for contemporary Britain. A year later, the UK’s most powerful union, the NUM, is defeated, and unionised labour is broken. The strike exposes deep divisions in British society and causes considerable bitterness, especially in Wales where whole communities are devastated.
1985 Free Software Foundation and the General Public License (GPL), Richard Stallman
1984 Miners’ strike, bitter struggle between unionised labour and free-market ideology
1985 Savings and Loan Crisis, systemic debt default, USA 1985 Graffiti Art in Bristol. The Wild Bunch. Late de Chirico
1985 A Noise in your Eye sound sculpture
To prevent computer operating systems and programs from being copied, modified or shared, manufacturers have stopped selling human-readable source code and distribute only machine-readable binary copies, protected by patents and copyrights. Software engineer Richard Stallman worries that private property restrictions on machine assemblies will stifle creativity. On several ARPANET mailing lists in 1983 he announced plans to produce a GNU operating system, free for anyone to 84
Below left: NUM’s Coal Not Dole campaign pin badge, c. 1984. Below: Installation view of the Graffiti Art in Bristol exhibition, celebrating the vibrant street culture of graffiti, music and dance
use, modify and share with others. He initiates the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to host the GNU project, and build awareness about the freedoms at risk in the copyright of essential languages and processes. To protect these resources he develops a piece of legal code to protect core creative freedoms; the General Public License v1. enshrines four core freedoms to run, change, redistribute and release improvements to programs to fellow users. The free, libre or open-source software (FLOSS) movement is born.
A Noise in Your Eye is an international exhibition of sound-producing sculptures and installations to be heard as well as seen. It includes work by Ken Gray, Hugh Davies, Peter Appleton, Max Eastley, Martin Riches, Alvin Lucier, David Keane, Sonde, Paul and Limpe Fuchs, and the brothers Bernard and François Baschet, two of the most important initiators of sound-art, whose approach to art is summed up in a phrase they like to use: “Amusezvous!”
Inspired by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s photographs of New York subway graffiti, and the film Wild Style, large colourful graffiti has begun to appear in public spaces in Bristol. Working in secret at night, the local artists quickly gain a reputation for being at the forefront of graffiti culture in Britain. Arnolfini commissions a number of them – 3D (Robert Del Naja, later of Massive Attack), Z-Boys, Bombsquad and the London based artist Pride – to spray their work directly onto the gallery walls. The show, one of the first by a public gallery of graffiti art, is hugely popular. Alongside the exhibition are live displays of breakdancing in the gallery, where The Wild Bunch, the Bristol sound system out of which will come Massive Attack and music producer Nellee Hooper, also perform. Covering the period 1940– 1976, Late de Chirico reappraises Giorgio de Chirico’s later paintings, sculpture, drawings and graphics, and his concern with Baroque and the neometaphysical. This is the first time that much of this work has been seen in the UK.
Savings and Loan banks (S&Ls) expanded rapidly in the two decades after the Second World War, as servicemen returned to their civilian lives and the resultant ‘baby boom’ saw a surge in suburban home construction. Like UK building societies, S&Ls are specialist banks that use low-interest deposit and savings accounts to fund mortgages. In a climate of deregulation and risk, the slow, dependable, government-backed and regulated S&Ls are pressured to become more financially profitable. They raise interest rates to generate more capital, start making commercial as well as residential loans, and speculate with their increased capital in other markets. For example, some work closely with the investment bank Solomon Brothers, who invent, create and sell mortgage-backed bonds or collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). Essentially they are repackaging individual mortgages into variegated bundles, and issuing bonds offering insurance on the risk of default, and access to the interest as a revenue stream. By 1982 these new financial practices accounted for over half of S&Ls’ business, and now 10% of the previously solvent banks are technically bankrupt. As more banks go under, fearing a systemic financial collapse, the US government agrees a bailout of $50 billion to close failed banks and stop further losses. But in the next decade over 1,000 banks with total assets of over $500 billion will eventually fail, with taxpayers contributing $124 billion in bailouts. The Savings and Loans Crisis is the biggest banking collapse since the Wall Street Crash in 1929. 85
Organised to complement the Royal Institute of Philosophy conference on “Philosophy and the Visual Arts: Seeing and Abstracting”, and specially curated for Arnolfini by Guardian art critic Waldemar Januszczak, Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue? takes its name from the famous painting by Barnett Newman, in which the three primary colours boldly confront the viewer in large vertical bands. The exhibition explores an undercurrent of abstract art which draws its inspiration from the work of Yves Klein and Barnett Newman, and which explores the spiritual and emotional resonances of colour, seen in isolation and divorced from form and content. Works by Alan Green, Gerhard Merz, John Murphy, Anish Kapoor and Zadok Ben-David feature, alongside Adam Barker-Mill’s Chromat 1 light box, which demonstrates the magical effects of mixing colour. Neil Jeffries: Sculpture “uses the sheet metal and bright colours of cheap imported toys to construct his distinctive tableaux of contemporary life. Getting married, a holiday abroad, a steamy kitchen, or a visit by the milkman are subjects surveyed into great sagas of jumbled detail.”
1985 Les Immatériaux, Jean-Francois Lyotard and Thierry Chaput, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1986 Big Bang: digitally networked global financial markets ‘freed’ from state regulation, exponential market expansion
1985 Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue? Neil Jeffries
Above: Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue? exhibition poster. Right: The end of ‘open call’ financial trading with the implementation of digital technology. Chicago Mercantile Exchange, c. 1985
Co-curated by philosopher Jean-François Lyotard and design historian and theorist Thierry Chaput, Les Immatériaux at the Pompidou consists of an exhibition; music performances including the world premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kathinkas Gesang; a film programme curated by Claudine Eizykman and Guy Fihman; a three-day seminar on the relationship between architecture, science and philosophy; and five new
publications, including an experimental catalogue produced solely by a computer. Lyotard intends the project to be a centre for research, a place to practise with philosophical concepts including the role of technology, time, matter and being, and to explore how these intersect with ideas from the discourse of aesthetics of ‘exhibition’, ‘presentation’, ‘showing’ and ‘appearance’.
While London is still a global centre of finance, The City’s firms are failing to compete with foreign institutions. The government identifies two problems: overregulation, and the dominance of a cosy, elitist, old boys’ network of specialist financial firms. Inspired by Milton Friedman, they see that the solution lies in a freemarket doctrine of unfettered competition. They break the ancient monopoly of the London Stock Exchange, and new universal banks move in. These are financial conglomerates, such as Deutsche Bank and Lehmann Brothers, offering all types of financial services. At the same time, building societies are demutualised and become banks, some department stores sell stocks and shares, issue credit cards and lend money, and many manufacturing and service companies grow investment and brokerage departments The so-called ‘Big Bang’ lays the foundation of modern finance, designating the explosive growth of finance and trading technologies that are faster, networked and ‘always on’. As a consequence financial markets grow exponentially and penetrate all aspects of contemporary life. National frontiers, which once ensured that market management would be responsive to government oversight and supervision, are increasingly permeable.
Taking over as Chair of Arnolfini, entrepreneur and heir to chocolate fortune Jeremy Fry pays tribute to Peter and Caroline Barker-Mill for their “interest, enthusiasm and generosity”. He informs Arnolfini’s Council of Management that since 1966, the Arts Council has contributed £1.3 million in revenue, and £80,000 in capital funding. Peter and Caroline, through income from the £1.25 million trust fund they set up for the benefit of Arnolfini, contributed £500,000. The revenue-producing trusts set up by Peter and Caroline are in perpetuity; but Arts Council funding is not. Arnolfini has a cash flow problem. Revised Arts Council strategy expects any offers of grants to be matched locally, and Arnolfini is required to find an additional £50,000 for the next financial year. For the year ending 31st March 1986, the Bristol City Council grant is set at £5,400.
1985 Peter Barker-Mill resigns as Chair of Trustees, replaced by Jeremy Fry
Above right: Encapsulating the ‘greed is good’ ethos of the decade, Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Below right (l–r): Jeremy Fry, Barry Barker, David Chipperfield and Bruce McLean
1987 David Chipperfield refurbishes Bush House, collaborates with Bruce McLean on café/bar 1987 Wall Street Crash II: contagious global financial crisis
1986 Jeremy Rees resigns as Director after 25 years, replaced by Barry Barker
The sudden resignation of Jeremy Rees comes as a shock. The Bristol Evening Post, recognising that Rees has guided Arnolfini to its current status as “an internationally-known showcase for the best in the living arts”, reports on the tensions between the two Jeremys; Chair and Director. In its words, Rees wants Arnolfini to remain “a flagship for the experimental” whilst Fry wishes “Arnolfini to pay more of its way and to get out of the never-ending battles with a philistine council which regards anything above church-hall drama as elitist and unnecessary.” “In all my time here,” Rees tells Venue magazine, “my one disappointment has
Financial market deregulation and rapid expansion generates a widespread belief that financial technologies are exceeding government oversight; and as a consequence insider trading, destructive asset-stripping, and leveraged buyouts of viable companies with borrowed money are dominating financial practices. There is a loss of confidence, trust evaporates, and on ‘Black Monday’, 19th October, the world’s stock markets collapse after a frenzied round of panic selling. The crash begins in Hong Kong and spreads west to Europe and then the
United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) plummets by a record 508 points, registering a percentage drop of 22.6%, or $500 billion lost in single day. The crash in confidence is exacerbated by the networked computers of large institutional investment companies performing automatically triggered rapidsell executions. The losses are far worse than the infamous 1929 crash. The contagion jumps previously distinct markets, between stocks, derivatives and bonds, and trading has to be throttled back and even suspended to enable the avalanche of trades to be processed. By the end of October, stock markets around the world have tumbled. Although the DJIA is positive for the calendar year (opening at 1,897 points on 2nd January and closing at 1,939 points on 31st December), it takes another two years to regain its closing high of 25th August 1987 of 2,722 points.
The Charity Commission authorises expenditure from the Barker-Mill endowment fund of up to £350,000 for the discharging of certain liabilities and to modify Arnolfini’s premises. Barry Barker invites David Chipperfield to remodel Bush House. Chipperfield brings a warm minimalism to Arnolfini’s interiors, with hung ceilings and beautifully understated finishes using marble and wood. Bruce McLean, whose furniturebased sculpture has recently been exhibited at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery, collaborates with Chipperfield to create a dynamic and playful café/bar, working McLean’s distinctive graphic drawings into welded steel, floor inlays, the terrazzotopped bar and the vertical glass screen that runs behind the length of the bar. The most important things are, McLean says, “the mood and the food”. Stylish and sophisticated, the café/bar is enthusiastically received in the design press.
been that the City and County have failed to make a realistic contribution to what has, in effect, been provided as a public service. Whatever one’s feelings about individual elements of Arnolfini’s programmes, the important thing is that there have been opportunities to see this sort of work. If you ask, ‘What do people want?’ the answer, as we would all say if we’re honest with ourselves, is that we want the familiar; something that doesn’t challenge our perceptions. Arnolfini is about challenging perceptions.” Rees is replaced by Barry Barker, former exhibitions officer at the ICA in London and the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton. 89
Moments of the Sun is an exhibition of paintings, drawings and watercolours by Maggi Hambling celebrating the sunrise and the sunset. A stage littered with junkshop furniture becomes a space of infinite possibilities. Station House Opera’s Cuckoo explores beyond the boundaries of everyday space; where dark wardrobes, chairs and carpets are a constantly adjusting framework, and where familiar objects have their own surreal identity. DV8 Physical Theatre presents Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men, loosely based on Brian Masters’ book Killing For Company, exploring the actions and motives of serial murderer Denis Nilsen. Bits & Pieces was assembled by Joseph Beuys for Caroline Tisdall, from the 1970s until his death in January 1986. It is neither large in scale – though it is
in scope – nor immediately splendid in appearance. What is unique is that it was deliberately given to Caroline piece by piece to build up a miniature archive of his concerns and working processes. It is characterised by Beuys’ attitude that there is no separation between art and life, since the process of living itself is the most creative art form.
In part inspired by the Anolfini’s role in regeneration, and in co-operation with the Merseyside Development Corporation, the ‘Tate of the North’ opens in May in the previously abandoned but now regenerated Albert Dock, one of the largest groups of Grade I listed buildings in Britain. Tate Liverpool becomes the northern home of the ever-expanding national collection of modern art, with a remit to attract a new, younger audience.
Richard Wilson radically transforms the front gallery with an installation using steel grilling which brings the floor sloping up to the quayside window. As part of Feminist Book Fortnight, experimental American novelist, punk poet and performance artist Kathy Acker reads from her new novel Young Lust. Makonde is a selection of individual wood figures and masks by the Makonde peoples of East Africa from the Malde collection. Originally used for ritual dances, the playful figures employ themes such as spirits and demons, family and sexual relations, politics and colonialism. Part of the Bristol Print Festival, Electronic Print is an exhibition of computergenerated prints from over 30 contemporary artists and printmakers worldwide who draw on a mixture of traditional and new creative techniques..
1988 Tate Liverpool
1988 Maggi Hambling. Station House Opera. DV8. Joseph Beuys
1989 Richard Wilson. Kathy Acker reading. Makonde sculpture from East Africa. Electronic Print
While consulting for The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee realises the need for a network “to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will.” He designs and installs the world’s first web server, writes the first web browser, and makes the first web page. In the process, he develops three essential technologies, which are to become the architecture of web 1.0: the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), a system of globally unique identifiers for resources; the publishing language Hypertext Markup Language (HTML); and the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to enable communications between clients and servers. He refuses to claim property rights over his innovations, and donates his work for others to utilise. The world wide web (www) is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via a global system of interconnected computer networks, the internet.
1989 Tim BernersLee designs architecture and releases protocols of web 1.0
In an abandoned Docklands warehouse, 16 young artists participate in an exhibition organised by Damien Hirst, a student from Goldsmiths College. Freeze encapsulates a trend. Unable to enter the tightly controlled circuit of commercial galleries, young, ambitious and entrepreneurial artists self-organise exhibitions in abandoned warehouses or factories. This will become a familiar practice over the following decade, as Hirst and the majority of the Freeze exhibitors go on to become known as the Young British Artists (YBAs).
1989 Freeze, London
Top: Tim Berners-Lee, architect of the world wide web at CERN, Switzerland. Above: Freeze exhibition catalogue
“The world is leaving one epoch and entering another. We are at the beginning of a long road to a lasting, peaceful era. The threat of force, mistrust, psychological and ideological struggle should all be things of the past.”
1989 Cold War ends: collapse of European Communist states, dissolution of the USSR
1990 Barry Barker resigns. Richard Long. Adventures in Motion Pictures
Barry Barker resigns, moving briefly to the South Bank Centre before becoming a director at the Lisson Gallery. With the support of Arnolfini’s Chair, Jeremy Fry, Valerie Lloyd becomes interim Director. Lloyd had previously worked on the Green Park Station project in Bath, a property development which invested all profits into the arts. 1989 Turner Prize winner Richard Long returns to show work at Arnolfini. Other artists shortlisted included Richard Wilson and Giuseppe Penone, both of whom have recently shown work at Arnolfini. Barry Barker was on the fiveperson jury. Commissioned by Arnolfini Live!, resident company Adventures in Motion Pictures presents The Infernal Galop choreographed by Matthew Bourne, a piece ripe with sexual innuendo, stylised romanticism and sleazy backstreet encounters, together with a new dance piece by Jacob Marley.
Left: Fragment of the Berlin Wall. Right: Massive Attack’s Blue Lines album; birth of the Bristol Sound
Since the mid-1980s President Gorbachev has managed dramatic convulsions in the USSR, promoting liberalisation of the political landscape (glasnost) and enabling competitive markets in the previous command economy (perestroika). Waves of reform ripple throughout the Communist bloc, grassroots organisations such as Poland’s Solidarity movement rapidly gain popularity and influence. The Communist governments in Poland and Hungary are the first to negotiate the organisation of free democratic elections. In 92
Czechoslovakia and East Germany, mass protests unseat entrenched Communist leaders; the regimes in Bulgaria and Romania also crumble. Several Soviet republics seek greater independence from Russia’s rule: agitation for independence in the Baltic states leads to first Lithuania, then Estonia and Latvia declaring their independence. The tidal wave of change is encapsulated with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November, which symbolises the collapse of Eastern European Communist governments
and the ideological divide of Europe. On 3rd December, the leaders of the two world superpowers, the USA and the USSR, declare the end of the Cold War after two days of summit talks in Malta. On board the Soviet cruise ship Maxim Gorky, Presidents Bush and Gorbachov announce big reductions in troops and weapons in Europe. The Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe is signed in November 1990, establishing parity between East and West,
Bruce McLean challenges the traditional areas, both spatial and stylistic, in which an artist makes an exhibition. Not limiting himself to the galleries, McLean takes over Arnolfini’s entire building from bookshop to café/bar to cinema. Award-winning dance company the Cholmondeleys are in residence for five weeks rehearsing their new production, commissioned by Amolfini Live! and premiered as part of Dance Umbrella ’90. On tour from Chisenhale Gallery, Rachel Whiteread’s Ghost is a monumental cast of an entire room taken from a deserted house in Archway. Also included in the exhibition is a series of new works cast in plaster from baths and doorways.
Massive Attack’s debut album Blue Lines, released on 8th April, is generally considered the first ‘trip hop’ album, though the term wouldn’t be coined until several years later. A fusion of electronic music, hip hop, dub, 1970s soul and reggae, the album establishes Massive Attack as one of the most innovative British bands and founder of the ‘joyfully melancholic’ Bristol Sound.
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications
1990 Bruce McLean Vertical Balcony. The Cholmondeleys. Rachel Whiteread
Standards Institute (ETSI) to describe technologies for a circuit-switched digital mobile phone network. The first network is built by Telenokia and Siemens, and the first GSM call is made on 1st July 1991 by Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri to the mayor of Tampere, Kaarina Suonio. The system will also enable the short messaging service (SMS or ‘text message’). The rise in mobile phone usage as a result of GSM is explosive. Four years later the network accounts for 80% of the global mobile market, some 10 million users.
1991 GSM mobile phone network, Finland
1991 Blue Lines, Massive Attack
Frieze magazine is launched in June by Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover with artist Tom Gidley. Published eight times a year, it includes essays, reviews and adverts by writers, artists, curators and galleries.
Tessa Jackson arrives at Arnolfini from her role as Visual Arts Officer for Glasgow City Council during its highly successful 1990 City of Culture programme.
1991 Frieze magazine
Left: front cover of the pilot issue of Frieze magazine, Summer 1991 Above: Tessa Jackson. Below right: Trophies of Empire poster designed by Tony Arefin
1991 Jack Butler Yeats. Art & Language. Keith Khan. Shobana Jeyasingh
Political activist and installation artist Fred Wilson takes social justice as his subject and the museum as his medium. Artists, such as Wilson, associated with ‘institutional critique’ examine, question, deconstruct and intervene in the traditional display of art and artifacts in museums. Mining the Museum, commissioned by The Contemporary, Baltimore and installed at the Maryland Historical Society, gives Wilson his first opportunity to intervene in an actual museum and its display practices. He invites visitors to question the limitations of cultural institutions, to reflect on their role in the interpretation of history, and recognise the rhetorics of display.
Conceptual Art, Art & Language was formed in 1968 and has continuously questioned the role of art and revolution, modernism and the museum. Celebrated by galleries around the world, the group deconstructs the art institution from within its walls. Keith Khan is in residence in July, devising Flying Costumes, Floating Tombs, his latest public extravaganza combining dance, sculpture, costume and music. Derived from the Trinidadian festival of Hosay, a Caribbean manifestation of the Shia Muslim Remembrance of Muharram, the performance
A collaboration between Arnolfini, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool and Hull TimeBased Arts, Trophies of Empire presents new commissions by 15 artists, investigating the legacies of empire. Using a range of art forms including sculpture, photography, video and mixed media, issues such as
the Atlantic slave trade, Third World exploitation and the diaspora of black communities are explored. The first opportunity for British audiences to see a comprehensive exhibition of work by the French artist Annette Messager, Telling Tales brings together a coherent body of her work from the past ten years alongside significant earlier pieces and a new site-specific wall drawing. The notion of fragmentation is omnipresent in her work, reflecting the diversity of demands that she feels disjoint a woman’s life. Using irony and humour, Desperate Optimists’ Anatomy of Two Exiles examines the transient nature of contemporary Irish life and interrogates the stereotype of the typical Irish emigrant.
1992 Guggenheim Soho, New York
1991 Tessa Jackson becomes Director The younger brother of poet W.B. Yeats and a close friend of Samuel Beckett, Jack Butler Yeats is the most highly regarded Irish painter of this century. Yeats' paintings are based on years of observation of life in Ireland. His art is a poetry of memory that encapsulates the breadth and spirit of the Celtic peoples and landscapes. This solo show is his first exhibition in a British public gallery since 1960. Touring from the ICA, Art & Language 1987–1991 is an opportunity to see four major new series of work. Considered fundamental in the development of
During renovations and expansion of the Frank Lloyd Wright building, the Guggenheim opens a small satellite branch in a 19thcentury Soho warehouse remodelled by architect Arata Isozaki. Installed in two floors of the building, the museum features a Prada store, as well as galleries exhibiting the collection, and temporary exhibitions. The enterprise closes in 2002.
fuses contemporary and traditional aspects of celebration. During the residency Khan works with local artists, groups and schools to create the costumes. Shobana Jeyasingh presents New Cities, Ancient Lands, a vibrant triple bill featuring work by Jeyasingh and Chandralekha, India’s foremost contemporary female choreographer. Spanning three cities, new ideas and ancient traditions, the programme juxtaposes revolutionary dance work with pristine traditional Bharathanatyam choreography.
1992 Fred Wilson: Mining the Museum, The Contemporary, Baltimore
1992 Trophies of Empire. Annette Messager. Desparate Optimists
Linux version 0.01, one of the most prominent examples of FLOSS software, is a complete operating system released under the General Public License version 2 (GPLv2). Inspired by the GNU project of Richard Stallman, Linux is conceived by Finnish computer science student Linus Torvalds and rapidly accumulates thousands of developers and users around the world, who adapt code from other FLOSS projects to expand and improve the new operating system. A software commons is emerging, powered by a gift economy of distributed innovation, and protected by the GPL. Linux is ported to many different platforms and adapted to multiple uses. It becomes the OS of choice for many mission-critical machine assemblies. Through mutating into Apache server software, the FLOSS ethic produces and manages the majority of the hardware infrastructures of the world wide web. 96
1991 Linux operating system, core component of the fledgling knowledge commons
Several recent works by Mona Hatoum are brought together, including two large-scale installations. Commissioned by Arnolfini Light Sentence, consists of two double rows of wiremesh lockers of more than human height which run down the centre of the room. Bobby Baker presents How to Shop: The Lecture, a complete guide to the art of successful shopping. Packed with handy hints and tips, How To Shop prepares us for the ultimate shopping experience – shopping for life. Curated and selected by Sunil Gupta as his first project for the Institute of New International Visual Arts, Disrupted Borders invites fifteen artists from Britain, Asia, Europe and America to illustrate a range of political and cultural issues using photography and other media.
1993 Mona Hatoum. Bobby Baker “How to Shop”. Disrupted Borders
Jonathan Harvey, a founder and co-director of Acme Studios in London, becomes Arnolfini’s new Chairman. Acme was set up in 1972 as a not-for-profit organisation providing lowcost studios and living spaces for artists.
1993 Jeremy Fry stands down as Chair, replaced by Jonathan Harvey
Top: Poster advertising Bobby Baker’s performance lecture “How to Shop”. Left: Linux logo
In 1939, with the outbreak of war, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth settled in picturesque St Ives in Cornwall. Soon joined by Naum Gabo and other émigré artists, they founded an outpost for the international abstract avantgarde, strongly rooted in the local landscape. After her death in 1975, Hepworth’s home and studio were gifted to the nation. When Tate took over the management of the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in 1980, art works from the Tate Collection were used to curate themed and complimentary exhibitions. The success of Liverpool encouraged Tate to consider a Western expansion of the ‘family’. The site of a former gasworks overlooking Porthmeor Beach was chosen and architects Eldred Evans and David Shalev commissioned to design a sensitively-appointed new building. “You can see the landscape at the same time as the painters’ visions of it,” says Eldred Evans. “The plan of the gallery,” she says, “is reminiscent of a Ben Nicholson painting.” Tate St Ives opens in June 1993, attracting 120,000 visitors in the first six months.
“The practices currently characterised as ‘project work’ do not necessarily share a thematic, ideological or procedural basis. What they do seem to share is the fact that they all involve expending an amount of labour which is either in excess of, or independent of, any specific material production and which cannot be transacted as or along with a product. This labour … in economic terms would be called service provision.” Helmut Draxler and Andrea Fraser’s Services is an evolving exhibition and ongoing working group discussion organised by Draxler and Fraser, originating at the Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg, and then touring to Stuttgart, Munich, Geneva, Vienna, and Hasselt, Belgium. The resulting publication becomes a manifesto for the second generation of artists working with institutional critique. It suggests that it is no longer productive to attack an arts institutions from without (as the Art Workers Coalition had attempted). What’s necessary now is working critically and homeopathically with their practices, protocols, organisation, and management.38
1993 Tate St Ives
1994 Services, Helmut Draxler and Andrea Fraser, Lüneburg
One of Britain’s most exciting sculptors, the cornerstone of Cathy de Monchaux’s work is her skeletal superstructures of metal built up with intricate bolting, folding, overlapping and latticing of sumptuous velvet, rich leather and lengths of silky ribbon. Commissioned by Matt’s Gallery in London, Willie Doherty’s The Only Good One is a Dead One is about living with the fear of being assassinated, presented through a video installation combining fiction and documentation. Doherty draws on the current affairs of Northern Ireland, forcing the viewer to choose between innocence and guilt, Catholic or Protestant. “History of Arnolfini” invites Jeremy Rees, founder and first director, to talk about how Arnolfini came about. The present director and programming staff also share their ideas for the future. Selected from an exhibition by Oriel 31 gallery, Five Voices from Spain includes work by Eva Lootz, Angeles Marco, Jaume Plensa, Manuel Saiz and Antonio Sosa. In their different ways they each reflect current Spanish sculptural as well as historical social and cultural preoccupations.
1994 Cathy de Monchaux. Willie Doherty. “History of Arnolfini”. Five Voices from Spain
As part of the Chicago Oh Chicago season of performance, video and music from the Windy City, mesmerising performance group Goat Island give a survey presentation of work from the past five years, reflecting the tumultousness of those years in the United States’ relationship with the world. They perform We Got a Date, Can’t Take Johnny to the Funeral and It’s Shifting, Hank. Over a period of twenty years, Goat Island will perform all their touring works in Bristol.
1994 UK National Lottery, percentage of profits funds ‘capital’ cultural projects
1994 Goat Island retrospective
Private company Camelot Consortium wins the contract to run Britain’s first national lottery, which starts in November. The group predicts it will generate a total of £32 billion during the seven years of its licence. 50% of income is returned to players as prize money, while 28%, or £9 billion, will be divided between the lottery’s five ‘good causes’: charities, the arts, sport, national heritage projects and a Millennium Fund. The share for the arts is £1.6 billion. Lottery funding initiates a remarkable transformation in the arts in general, and museums in particular. It is the greatest investment in the fabric of existing public museums and the building of new regional galleries since the expansion planned by the select committee of 1835, and delivered by Henry Cole and others during the Victorian era. 98
Working for Barings in Singapore, head derivatives trader Nick Leeson is seeking to profit from differences in the prices of Nikkei 225 futures contracts in the Osaka Securities Exchange in Japan and the Singapore International Monetary Exchange. Such arbitrage involves buying futures contracts on one market and simultaneously selling them at a higher price in another. The margins are thin, and consequently the volumes traded to gain a meaningful profit are enormous. Through an absence of oversight, Leeson is able to open an ‘error’ or ‘hidden’ account to prevent the London office from receiving the standard daily reports on trades, prices and profits or losses. Using the hidden account, Leeson is aggressively trading, routinely losing substantial sums, hiding the results, and reporting back to London
substantial profits. When the Kobe earthquake in January 1995 sends the Asian financial markets into a terrifying spiral, Leeson bets on a rapid recovery of the Nikkei that fails to materialise. By December 1994, Leeson had already lost Barings over £200 million, yet had posted a £102 million profit. The following February, Barings Bank auditors finally discover the error account, and its £827 million (US$1.3 billion) of losses: twice the bank’s available trading capital. Similar to the Great Panic of 1890, The Bank of England attempts a bailout, although this time it fails. Barings is declared bankrupt and sold, while Leeson is sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison in Singapore. While the catastrophe is recorded as a ‘rogue’ event, there is a lingering suspicion that it evidences a systemic weakness in financial institutions.39
1995 Barings, Britain’s oldest investment bank, is ruined by trading in obscure futures
1995 Patrick Heron. Minky Manky. “Postmodernity and its Discontents”
One of the leading artists of his generation, Patrick Heron’s Big Paintings consists of large canvases produced in his studio in St Ives in 1994. Suffused with colour and dynamism, the works evoke and reflect the visible, the world we know, through colour and a calligraphic play of line across canvases ranging from 11 to 17 feet in length. Arnolfini commissions Heron to produce a design for Arnolfini’s brochure. Organised by and first shown at the South London Gallery, sponsored by Beck’s Bier, and curated by Carl Freedman, Minky Manky brings together work by Gilbert & George from the 1970s with new work by Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Damien Hirst and Mat Collishaw – the Freeze generation of YBAs. Organised by Arnolfini Education and Bristol University’s Continuing Education Department, “Postmodernity and its Discontents” is a series of lectures that present a variety of critical perspectives on key controversies in postmodernist theory.
Left: National Lottery winner Victoria Jones promotes a triple rollover draw, 2004. Above: Ewan McGregor as Nick Leeson in James Deardon’s Rogue Trader. Right: Installation view of Minky Manky featuring works by Damien Hirst (left) and Gilbert & George
Produced between 1993 and 1995, Michael Simpson’s Bench Paintings are large, measuring up to 18 feet in length. As well as being a fixed coherent form for grounding the painting, the bench acts as a metaphor for human forbearance, provoking Beckettian images of endless waiting, suffering and death. A foundation of these works is the death of poet and philosopher Giordano Bruno, who was burnt alive for heresy in 1600. Louise Bourgeois: Sculpture brings together work from the late 1940s to the 1990s. Two recent works in the exhibition are Mamelles, a sensuous, curvaceous wall relief in pink rubber, fibreglass and wood; and Spider, a giant looming creature nearly three metres in height, anticipating the later nine-metre Maman. In her recent work Bible, Dorothy Cross drilled a perfect hole through the body of a leather-bound, giltedged family bible. The hole interrupts the biblical etchings at poignant points and reintroduces physicality to this potent religious icon. Even focuses on confusing accepted patterns of inheritance authority.
Initiated by the Richard Salmon Gallery in London and touring to the Arnolfini and New Art Gallery Walsall, Plastic is an exhibition which explores the polyvalent nature of this most ubiquitous category of manufactured materials.
Previously known as 6LL3 and born nine months earlier at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, in April 1997 Dolly the sheep is introduced to the world as the first mammal to have been successfully cloned from an adult cell through somatic cell nuclear transfer. In this process a cell’s nucleus is placed in a de-nucleated ovum, the two cells fuse and develop into an embryo, which is implanted in a
surrogate mother. The DNA of the nucleus dominates, making an exact genetic copy, a clone of the somatic cell’s donor. Although rudimentary and wasteful – there were 277 failed attempts in producing Dolly – the astonishing potential of cloning is selfevident. Prized livestock can be copied to optimise efficiency, useful plants reproduced, and species facing extinction revived. Logically, cloned humans are a possibility, although the legal and ethical issues are so thorny this seems unlikely in the short term. More likely are experiments with cloned procedures for human medicine, including disease, disorder and virus management.
1997 Dolly the sheep, first cloned mammal
1996 Michael Simpson Bench Paintings. Louise Bourgeois. Dorothy Cross Even 100
1997 Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance. “How to Be Your Own Art Dealer”. “Art and Psychoanalysis”. ACE!
Between 1917 and 1934 Harlem became the centre for a resurgence of black cultural activity. Alongside cabarets, clubs and parties, Harlem blossomed with new art and writhed with political debates and divisions. The voice of the New Negro emerged in the work of many artists, musicians and writers from Aaron Douglas to Bessie Smith to Langston Hughes. The Rhapsodies in Black exhibition is organised by the Haywood Gallery in London, and co-curated by Richard J. Powell and David A. Bailey. In “How to Be Your Own Art Dealer”, Jacob Sutton leads a problem-solving and confidence-building workshop for artists, covering what they can do to be their own dealer/agent, obtain funding and sponsorship, attract media interest, motivate audiences, and sell and market their work, all on a low budget. “Art and Psychoanalysis” is a lecture series looking at the relationships between psychoanalytic theory and performance, cinema, and visual imagery in literature; ACE! is a diverse selection of new purchases made by the Arts Council Collection between 1989 and 1995.
Left: The first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, on display at National Museums Scotland. Right: Guggenheim Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, initiates the ‘museum effect’. Below: Blues, Archibald J. Motley Jr.’s, 1929, part of the Rhapsodies in Black exhibition
1997 Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
In the late 1980s, in common with many other industrial centres, the port city of Bilbao was dilapidated and unemployment rampant. The Basque authorities embarked on an ambitious redevelopment program, including a new airport and subway system. The centrepiece of the plans is the invitation to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to bring a new Guggenheim Museum to Bilbao. On 19th October 1997, the spectacular museum structure made of titanium, glass and limestone, hailed as the most important building of its time, opens to the public. Frank Gehry’s innovatively designed architectural landmark initiates the ‘museum effect’: a new funding model for cultural institutions whereby public money pays for the design, building and running of a museum, a private institution curates exhibitions, and a city is regenerated through cultural tourism. 101
Less than a month after the Bilbao opening, on 7th November, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Deutsche Bank celebrate the public opening of the Deutsche Guggenheim. In contrast to the spectacular new build at Bilbao, the new museum is hosted in a single 350-square-metre gallery space designed by architect Richard Gluckman on the ground floor of a Deutsche Bank building constructed in 1920 on Unter den Linden, in what was formerly East Berlin. Each year Deutsche Bank’s curators organise one exhibition from its extensive collection, and the Guggenheim three from the Foundation’s. These then travel to other museums in the global Guggenheim network. The exhibitions are complemented by
The newly formed Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) aims to improve the quality of life for all through cultural and sporting activities, to support the pursuit of excellence, to champion tourism, and nurture the creative and leisure industries. Its responsibilities include the listing of historic buildings, the scheduling of ancient monuments, management of the Royal Parks, export licensing of cultural goods, national telecommunications policy and delivery, press freedom and regulation, and management of the Government Art Collection.
1997 Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin
1997 Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
educational programming and commemorated by a limited-edition art work, produced and sold in conjunction with every exhibition.
1997 Asian financial collapse, contagious national bankruptcies
Asia is attracting almost half the total capital investment of developing countries as local market expansion, high productivity and attractive interest rates suck in international capital. As a consequence, asset prices inflate, especially land and property. But national economies slow. Suddenly Thailand has a foreign-debt burden it cannot repay. The country is effectively bankrupt, and in a desperate measure the government floats the currency, which swiftly loses half its value. The crisis spreads: Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand are infected, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Laos and the Philippines see plummeting currency evaluations, devalued stock and asset markets, and a precipitous rise in the cost of debt. Foreign debt-to-GDP ratios had risen from 100% to 167% in 1993–96, and now shoot beyond 180%. The IMF initiates a $40 billion loan programme to stabilise the economies of South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. Widespread rioting follows a sharp increase in food prices, growth slows, stutters, and then stops amid fears of a worldwide economic contagion. The breadth, speed and impact of the crisis directly impacts on the livelihood of millions, and it all unfolds within a mere few months, while international institutions seem powerless to intervene.40
The Russian financial crisis is triggered in August. Contagion from the continuing Asian crisis results in a sharp decline in world commodity prices. A decade of rapid reforms, from a command to a managedmarket economy, means petroleum, natural gas, metals and timber account for more than 80% of Russian exports, leaving the country vulnerable to adjustments in world prices. On 13th August the Russian stock, bond and currency markets collapse as a result of fears that the government would devalue the rouble, default on domestic debt, or both. When the market closes, it’s down 65%. On 17th August, the rouble is devalued, the government defaults on domestic debt and declares a moratorium on payment to foreign creditors.
1998 Banking crisis, Russia
1998 Tracy Moffatt. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. Jo Stockham. Eija-Liisa Ahtila. John Hilliard
Above left: The Department for Culture Media and Sport logotype. Above: Freshly printed 100 rouble notes
“I like to create my version of reality, the work comes from me, what I know. Things I have seen and experienced, and things I think I have seen and experienced. Maybe it's just an exaggerated version of my reality,” says photographer and video artist Tracy Moffatt about her first major UK show. Shobana Jeyasingh returns to Arnolfini with a new piece, Intimacies of a Third Order, taking its inspiration from the northeast Indian tribal martial dance form Chhau, and accompanied by live music specially composed by Michael Gordon. It is performed as part of a double bill with Intertense, created by guest choreographer Wayne McGregor. Jo Stockham’s installation No News develops from an ongoing series of works that play with light and shadow, photographic and projected imagery, and notions of
truth and fiction in media reportage. The gallery becomes a Victorian playground for shadows produced by small figures cut from newspapers. In Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s austere installation Me/We; Okay; Gray, the audience is invited to sit and experience a short fiction film trilogy which alternates on three screens. Experimental narrative and storytelling techniques leave no doubt about the ambivalent relations between technology and subjectivity in the late 20th century. John Hilliard works methodically to question the limits of photographic technology and analyse the problems and possibilities of representation. This retrospective exhibition includes works from 1969 to more recent work that frequently uses montage and explores voyeurism and pornography. 103
Peter Doig paints artificial landscapes by the most conventional means, oil paint, which have a handmade quality yet are inescapably influenced by the various technologies of the 20th century, including cinema and photography. His work is shown alongside Udomsak Krisanamis’ paintings, which range from the small to the cinematic in scale. His all-over compositions consist of thousands of strips of cut-up US newspapers, and more recently, Korean newspapers, supermarket receipts, blankets and transparent cellophane noodles, bound onto the canvas and painstakingly coloured out. Peter Lord and Brian Sibley, authors of Cracking Animation, come to Arnolfini to talk about the history and achievements of Bristol’s Aardman studios within the tradition of 3D animation, and about the processes involved in its creation, from character, storyboard and sets, to shooting the film. The talk is followed by six animated shorts: Going Equipped, Rex the Runt, Pib and Pog, Wat’s Pig, Angry Kid and Creature Comforts.
The growth of information available on the world wide web – the sheer volume of data – is making navigation difficult, even impossible. People, algorithms and new software develop into ‘search engines’ which crawl, index and search to help users find things. ‘Web crawlers’, also known as ‘spiders’, automatically browse the web. They find every page, and follow every link on every page to another page, and so on. Endlessly. The contents of each page are analysed, data extracted, then indexed and stored in vast databases in server farms. Conventional search engines return search queries by counting how many times the requested terms appear on a web page. Google initiates an algorithmic pageranking system that evaluates the links to the pages containing the search request. In no time at all google becomes a default navigation tool, and ‘google it’ becomes a common injunction.
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google
Accelerator brings together an international group of contemporary artists concerned with the transient fashions of modern life. The only sure thing about the issues that concern these artists is that they are subject to continued and unavoidable change. Each responds to the visual and cultural impact of the latest musical sensation, the newest catwalk label or glossy magazine. Hilary Lloyd, Sylvie Fleury, Karen Kilimnik, Graham Dolphin, Ako Sasao, Jeremy Deller, the Bernadette Corporation and Regina Möller are among the artists whose work is shown. Tessa Jackson leaves Arnolfini to become Director of the Scottish Arts Council. She is replaced by Caroline Collier, who leaves the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-onSea having just completed a major renovation project of this modernist icon.
No region in the world has gone through such profound and rapid economic and cultural change as Asia in the last decade. Torn between tradition and modernity, extreme poverty and supreme wealth, Asia’s cities epitomise the concept of ‘urban chaos’, responding constantly to technological innovations and economic challenges. This rapid growth is reflected in an anarchic proliferation of new cities in countries including China, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. Cities on the Move at the Hayward Gallery presents the Asian city as a force of disruption and an intense
Far left: Caroline Collier. Left: Installation view of Liam Gillick’s exhibition Renovation Filter: Recent Past and Near Future
concentration of energy. Including the work of over 100 artists, architects and filmmakers, much of it unfamiliar to a European public, it explores themes of communication, ecology, migration, speed, traffic, density, growth, boom and bust in a new global economy. The exhibition has multiple iterations – in Vienna, Bordeaux, New York and Copenhagen – before coming to London, mutating at each venue.41
Paul McCartney has been a committed painter for two decades. Arnolfini hosts the launch of his new book, Paintings, hangs a selection of his work in the downstairs gallery, and McCartney comes to Arnolfini for a discussion with Brian Clarke. The event makes the front page of the Daily Mail. Renovation Filter: Recent Past and Near Future, Liam
1999 You Can’t Touch This
1998 Google Search released 1998 Peter Doig and Udomsak Krisanamis. Aardman book event
John Frankland’s dramatic transformation of the downstairs gallery plays with notions of building development, as Arnolfini starts to look forward to its next refurbishment. His installation You Can’t Touch This elegantly suggests a plush lift lobby, the swanky reception of a top hotel or bank. It confuses our immediate perceptions of surface and space, and challenges assumptions of importance and permanence, parodying how institutions choose to present themselves.
1999 Accelerator. Caroline Collier replaces Tessa Jackson as Director
Gillick’s first major UK solo show, offers audiences the opportunity to explore the subtle logic and rigour of Gillick’s conceptual practice that falls between art, design, architecture, literature and politics. “I am interested in art as provisional constructions that project a space where ideas can be reassessed,” he says. Lie of the Land offers a particular perspective upon a subject explored over a long period within Arnolfini’s exhibitions and live programmes: the intimate and difficult relationship between human beings, the material world and the organic environment. Against a backdrop of the developing cultural and political impacts of feminism and environmentalism, the exhibition spans a period in art pervaded by the influence of conceptualism and of lens and computer media.
2000 Paul McCartney. Liam Gillick. Lie of the Land 1999 Cities on the Move, Hou Hanru and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Hayward Gallery
2000 Tate Modern, London
2000 Javier de Frutos Dance Company, Bristol Poetry Festival
2000 Sequenced human genome ‘working draft’ released into public domain
Below: View over the City of London from the Tate Modern restaurant. Right: Cover of Typographica by Rick Poynor
Javier de Frutos returns to Arnolfini with his company to present his latest work Montana’s Winter, inspired by the life and work of Tennessee Williams. “The way I am pushing the dancers is the way that Tennessee’s world would push people – on the sexual, on the emotional, on the physical, on the extreme ... Montana’s Winter deals with the impossibility of relationships.” Tom Paulin, Ralph Hoyte, Rosalyn Chissick, Glenn Carmichael and Evan Evans are among those who perform at Arnolfini as part of the Bristol Poetry Festival. 106
On the south bank of the Thames opposite St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London, Tate Modern opens in a vast, abandoned, former electricity power station originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron convert the building, and the stunning former turbine hall, 35 metres high and 152 metres long, becomes a dramatic entrance, as well as an exhibition space for large installations. Former boiler houses on three levels are converted into galleries. A decade earlier it was clear that the Tate National Collection had outgrown the original Tate Gallery on Millbank, and a new exhibition space was needed to display the expanding international contemporary component of the collection. Now for the first time London has a dedicated museum of modern art which, by attracting some five million visitors in the first year and generating an estimated £100 million in economic benefits to London, initiates its very own ‘museum effect’.
Often referred to as biology’s moonshot, the rapid acceleration in the pace of DNA sequencing results in the compilation of the first ‘working draft’ of more than 90% of the human genome. The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international scientific research project to sequence the 3 billion DNA letters in the human genome, the ‘software of life’. Following centuries of scientific tradition, and in keeping with the FLOSS ethic, all of the sequence data is deposited into public domain databases and made freely available to scientists around the world, with no restrictions on its use or redistribution. The ‘working draft’ of the genome is finished and announced jointly by US president Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on 26th June 2000. Ongoing sequencing leads to the announcement of the essentially complete genome in April 2003, two years earlier than projected. In May 2006, another milestone is passed, as the sequence of the last chromosome is published in the journal Nature.
“Biology is being transformed into an information science, able to take comprehensive global views of biological systems. With knowledge of all the components of the cells, we will be able to tackle biological problems at their most fundamental level.”
Launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger on 15th January, Wikipedia fuses a FLOSS ethic of open, free and distributed production with specialist software to devastating effect. It runs on FLOSS software that supports the collaborative production and editing of pages, archive every edit and use the GPL to protect the software and the content it enables from property restrictions. Wikipedia quickly dwarfs proprietary encyclopedias, and will expand in the next decade to include 19 million articles in over 200 languages, written by millions of users and countless anonymous contributors worldwide.
Influential American artist Vito Acconci has recently worked with a team of architects, artists and engineers to design proposals for town squares, pedestrian malls and other public spaces. Para-Cities: Models for Public Spaces includes architectural models, audio components, photographic materials, text panels and projected images. The Reading Room is an opportunity to see Arnolfini’s unique archive of artists’ books which date from the present back to the 1970s, along with selected old and new titles from art publisher Book Works. Herbert Spencer’s 1960s Typographica magazine was a boundary-blurring investigation of modernist experimentation, typographic history, visual poetry and street photography which anticipated many of the concerns of contemporary designers, artists and imagemakers. Rick Poynor, founder of Eye magazine and author of Typographica, shows how this material fused to form a publication which soon established itself as a ‘work’ in its own right.
“Hello World” Jimmy Wales’ first Wikipedia entry
2001 Wikipedia, popular precursor of iCommons project
2001 Vito Acconci Para-Cities. The Reading Room. Typographica Rick Poynor
Francis S. Collins, leader of the Human Genome Project 107
Arnolfini has the opportunity to purchase Bush House from property developer Ivory Gate for £5.4 million, cashing in £2m of its endowment in order to raise the match funding required by National Lottery awards. The purchase will enable Arnolfini to expand its gallery spaces across a third floor, and provide an income stream from the letting of the upper floors. Redevelopment pushes the total cost to £12m. Responding to the palazzolike exterior, architect Robin Snell introduces a central circulation space, like an internal courtyard, from which the public spaces of Arnolfini are accessed. His design will also see the introduction of a double-height gallery uninterrupted by pillars on the first floor.
2001 Purchase of freehold of Bush House, major redevelopment
Peer-to-peer (P2P) networking is a system architecture that distributes resources to, or enables contributions from, each node on the network. Each node is equally privileged: a peer. In contrast to the traditional server-client model of social organisation, peers are equally able to both supply and consume . P2P ecologies are popularised in digital filesharing systems and open knowledge projects like wikipedia, but not restricted to digital environments. P2P dynamics facilitate multiple social processes including micro-loans, blood banks, co-operative building projects, educational initiatives, timebanks, environmental justice movements and much more besides. Theses are not new social phenomena, but their scale and effectiveness are amplified by digital networks.
2001 Web 2.0, peer-to-peer networks
“Our ‘War on Terror’ begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” President George W. Bush 108
2001 War on Terror declared
On 11th September, terrorists hijack four commercial passenger airliners after take-off from Boston, Newark and Washington, DC. Two crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and thousands of those working in the buildings. Both towers collapse within hours. A third plane crashes into the Pentagon, and the fourth is brought down in a field in rural Pennsylvania en route to Washington, DC after passengers attempt to retake control. There are no survivors from any of the flights, and nearly 3,000 victims in total. The US claims that Osama bin Laden and the terrorist group al-Qaeda were behind the attacks, and makes an ultimatum to the Taliban in Afghanistan, demanding the handing over of all of the leaders of al-Qaeda. The Taliban insists there is no evidence linking bin Laden to the attacks. On 7th October, a ‘War on Terror’ begins as US and British forces start aerial bombing campaigns against Taliban and al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. Ground forces, backed by massive US air support, subsequently oust the Taliban regime from power in Kabul and most of Afghanistan in a matter of weeks, although the War on Terror continues. Ground Zero, New York City, 17th September, 2001
Michael Snow is a cult figure for many with an interest in film, photography or conceptual art, whose Wavelength (1967) is one of the most influential experimental films ever made. Snow’s primary concern is with perception, which is evident in the enormous variety of his production, including painting, photography, sculpture, installation and music. Serious consideration of his work is long overdue in Britain given the surge of renewed interest in timebased work, cross-art-form exploration, narrative and the nature of film. Almost Cover to Cover focuses on the ‘filmic’ aspects of Snow’s work, while giving an overview of his artistic practice since the 1960s. Key works are also shown at Station, Phoenix Wharf and Bristol Industrial Museum. Arnolfini presents the first Inbetween Time Festival of live art and sound, a packed weekend of experimentation and entertainment exploring the chemistry, mystery and pure anarchy of live art. Performances take place at Arnolfini, the Wickham
2001 Michael Snow Almost Cover to Cover. First Inbetween Time Festival
Theatre, the Cube and other sites around the city of Bristol over four days of action, performance, publication, installation, intervention, film and sound. Highlights include Quizoola! by Forced Entertainment, a comic interrogation composed of 2,000 questions; The Ball Show by Markus and Seppo Renvall, in which hundreds of mirror balls turn home movies and CCTV into dazzling projections; Film by Uninvited Guests, a live reconstruction of illremembered movie scenes in a world where film is banned; and SET by Plane Performance, a deeply unEnglish reworking of Brief Encounter.
The Guggenheim Hermitage Museum opens in Las Vegas. A partnership between the Guggenheim Foundation and the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, its distinctive mission is to present works from the permanent collections of both institutions which together trace the trajectory of art from prehistoric times to the present. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and adjacent to the main entrance lobby of The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, the exterior façade and interior gallery walls are made of Cor-Ten steel, a material with a rusted surface evocative of the velvetcovered walls in the 18th-century classical galleries at the Hermitage. Four symmetrical galleries each measure 1,500 square feet. Paintings are hung on the steel wall surfaces by means of a sophisticated series of magnets. The first exhibition is Masterpieces and Master Collectors: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings from the Hermitage and Guggenheim Museums.
Above left: Detail from Almost Cover to Cover catalogue. Below left: Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas. Below: Former Enron CFO Andy Fastow in a still from Alex Gibney's film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
2001 Guggenheim Las Vegas 2001 Enron, seventh largest global corporation, declared bankrupt after derivative trading fraud
2001 Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Las Vegas
“America’s Most Innovative Company” Fortune magazine
The Guggenheim Las Vegas opens simultaneously with the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, also at The Venetian. It presents special exhibitions ranging from contemporary painting and sculpture, to architecture and design, and new-media art works. Again designed by Rem Koolhaas, the 63,700square-foot exhibition space opens with The Art of the Motorcycle, with more than 130 motorcycles on display. The exhibition is designed by Frank Gehry, whose buildingwithin-a-building features enormous, curved polished stainless steel walls, towering chain-link curtains, and glass floors and partitions. In a gesture to the Las Vegas aesthetic, Koolhaas covers the underside of the skylight with a large-scale facsimile of the central scene from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Enron Corporation started as a gas pipeline provider in Nebraska, later moving to Houston, Texas where, encouraged by financial deregulation, it evolved into an energy broker that traded supply and futures of gas, electricity, water, broadband internet services and other commodities. Enron, whose corporate strategy was to be light in assets but heavy in innovation, became hypersuccessful, employing 21,000 people in more than 40 countries and posting revenues of over $100 billion, ranking as the seventh largest global corporation.
On 8th November, Enron publicly admits to having overstated earnings, and to having created hidden offshore limited partnerships to hide $3 billion of losses and debt. Institutionalised accounting fraud is uncovered, investors lose confidence and Enron stock, which had been worth $90 per share in 2000, plummets to less than $1. The company is bankrupt. Thousands of employees lose their jobs, retirement savings and pension funds, while investors and lenders lose millions of dollars through defaults on loans.42 111
2001 “Battle of Orgreave”, Jeremy Deller 2002 Population of Bristol: 400,000
On a sloping field on the edge of a village in Orgreave, South Yorkshire, hundreds of people are shouting. There are charges, chanting, the throwing of surrogate stones, skirmishes, dogs are used and protestors arrested. The confrontation becomes violent, a terrifying battle rages, cars are overturned and set on fire, mounted police gallop down the road followed by a hail of thrown rocks and debris. Beautifully
choreographed violence leaves bloodied and injured men scattered along the road. Twenty years ago, during the miners strike, 4,000 miners from across the UK tried to stop coal being delivered to a coke works and were confronted by a force of 3,000 police brought in by the government. The pitched battle that ensued was one of the most bitter of an already desperate struggle between the remnants of unionised
2002 Shimmering Substance. The Multiple Store. Victor Burgin. Dance Live! labour and a government determined to introduce deregulated markets as a disciplinary force. Jeremy Deller’s The English Civil War Part II, colloquially known as the “Battle of Orgreave”, recreates this defining moment for a de-industrialised Britain, and in so doing fuses some of the legacies of institutional critique with art works that engage directly in social processes.43
Co-curated by Barry Schwabsky and Catsou Roberts, Shimmering Substance is an international group exhibition investigating the substance of art: its physical properties, surface and material quality. This is the first in a series of shows exploring the practice of painting. The title is taken from a 1946 painting by Jackson Pollock. Investigating properties particularly associated with painting but also including work in a variety of media, it is an exhibition about the “ecstasy of matter”, which is expressed not just in paint, but in the water, foam, clay, glass and glitter present in the exhibition. From June to December a range of new, limited-edition multiples are displayed in the Arnolfini bookshop. All the art works are commissions from The Multiple Store, an independent company set up in 1998 to provide new opportunities for emerging and established artists; and to encourage new collectors of high-quality contemporary art at affordable prices.
Police charge striking miners in a scene from Jeremy Deller’s The English Civil War: Part II, 2002 – the “Battle of Orgreave”
Victor Burgin has stimulated critical debate about photography and the moving image. His early work explored relations between image and text, first using photography, then video. Burgin combines both media to produce spectacular projections that examine relations between personal and social history. This solo show, coinciding with Burgin’s return to Britain after 13 years in the US, is his first in a UK gallery since 1986, when he was nominated for the Turner Prize. A new work, Listen to Britain, is presented along with a selection of older works. You dancin’? We’re askin’ … Dance Live! Bristol is an opportunity for residents of Bristol and visitors to the city of all ages and abilities to enjoy and participate in a month-long celebration of dance. Visitors are invited to salsa with the penguins at Bristol Zoo, watch the cyclists ‘dancing’ in the Lloyds Amphitheatre, boogie in Broadmead, and see their favourite dance films at Arnolfini.
2003 Jonathan Monk. Recognition: Part One, Anna Barriball and David Musgrave
Jonathan Monk generates a humorous brand of conceptualism. His work, such as his film versions of well-known art books, or his re-enactments of seminal images by post-war artists, are a gentle poke at the Modernist canon and an attempt to demystify the creative process. Nostalgia and romanticism also play a strong role in Monk’s practice as the artist draws on his own history, incorporating snapshots and mementos from the family archive. He works with a range of media, including film, sculpture, video, photography, installation and performance. While Monk has exhibited extensively across Europe and the US, he remains largely unknown in the UK. Arnolfini hosts his first major solo exhibition in England. David Musgrave and Anna Barriball share an interest in drawing, but use this means of working in different ways. Their modest approach to artmaking involves the use of diverse media, including graphite, perspex and light, and it results in work that is minimally present; the quiet product of intensive labour. In Recognition: Part One, Musgrave’s anthropomorphic forms tantalise our desire to find the human in what we see. They often result from a process of visual translation: a figure made in tape is deformed and then rendered in paint; putty becomes photocopy, becomes biro marks. Anna Barriball’s drawings arise from interactions with everyday objects, from kitchen tables to rubber balls, in which she uses drawing as a form of physical communication. Her dialogues result in works that question the objects that surround us whilst revealing previously ignored histories. 113
With a faint echo of the Great Exhibition, the publishers of Frieze magazine, Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover, partfunded by the European Union’s Culture 2000 programme and Arts Council, England, open the four-day Frieze Art Fair in a temporary bespoke structure designed by architect David Adjaye in Regent’s Park, London. It features 124 internationally renowned contemporary art galleries, attracts over 27,000 visitors, and reports sales of £20 million. Frieze differentiates itself from other art fairs through the Frieze Foundation, which oversees Frieze Talks, a programme of panel discussions and lectures; Frieze Projects, a curated programme of site-specific projects by artists in and around the fair; Frieze Music; Frieze Education; and Frieze Film.
A major new project presented at Bristol Industrial Museum’s L Shed during Bush House’s closure for refurbishment, Wonderful emerges from the discussions and realisations of artists and scientists working together collaboratively. The project strands explore the languages and assumptions of art and science, and look at what happens when these research interests fuse. Rather than addressing science-fiction utopias and dystopias, Wonderful presents visions of the future as it may be in five, ten or thirty years as it is informed by today’s developments. Investigating science within a broad cultural and philosophical framework, it invites visitors to consider their own position in relation to ethical issues emerging from transformations in technology and scientific research.
“This show marks a moment – for the building and Arnolfini. It’s a celebration and a commemoration. We chose and installed the works in a way that was very specific to the new spaces… the building itself is integrated into the heart of it.” Martin Clark, Curator, Exhibitions
The first exhibition to mark Arnolfini’s reopening explores themes of progress, history, memory and loss. It includes paintings, photography, drawings, installations, film, video and sculpture, many of which have never been seen in the UK before. This Storm Is What We Call Progress asks how, why and what we remember. Invoking ghosts, spectres, phantoms and angels, these works explore our complex relationship to the past as well as our responsibility to the present. The title comes from Walter Benjamin’s response to a small painting by Paul Klee. Writing about this painting, Benjamin conjures up the image of the “Angel of History”. For him this figure symbolises the inevitable and irrepressible drive of progress, the storm in which we are all caught up, which propels us blindly forward and leaves a traumatic and cataclysmic wreckage in its wake. With Arnolfini’s refurbishment complete, Caroline Collier joins Tate, becoming Head of National Initiatives, and later Director of Tate National. She is succeeded by Tom Trevor, who moves to Arnolfini from Spacex in Exeter.
Visitors encounter Julie Mehretu’s Renegade Delirium (left) and Jyll Bradley’s panoramic installation (above), both from the exhibition This Storm Is What We Call Progress. Below: Tom Trevor
2004 Wonderful: Visions of the Near Future
2005 Arnolfini reopens after refurbishment. This Storm Is What We Call Progress. Caroline Collier replaced as Director by Tom Trevor
2003 First Frieze Art Fair, London
Black Mountain College was one of the most exciting experiments in the arts, education and community of the 20th century. Starting at Zero: Black Mountain College 1933–57 is the first UK exhibition on this subject. It traces the emergence of avant-garde art in post-war America, when many now well-known artists, composers, dancers and writers gathered at the college.
With It is You, Mark Titchner presents a survey of work from the last ten years alongside two new commissions produced for Arnolfini. On the evidence of the exhibition the artist is nominated for the Turner Prize. Led by artist and curator Mark Beasley, “A Rough Guide to... Linguistics” is a study day examining the role that artists play in the development and deconstruction of the written and spoken word. Beck’s Futures, launched in 2000 by the ICA and Beck’s Bier as Britain’s richest contemporary art prize, closes. The final prize is awarded to Matt Stokes for his 16mm film about northern soul fans, Long After Tonight.
An influential five-yearly survey of British art, the sixth British Art Show opens at Baltic, Gateshead, before travelling to Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol. The exhibition, curated by Alex Farquharson and Andrea Schlieker, is presented at Arnolfini and various other sites throughout Bristol. Material City is programme of interdisciplinary conversations and fieldwork led by Claire Doherty’s Situations in partnership with Arnolfini and the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol. The programme includes performance-lectures, conversations, symposia and screenings.
2005 Enthusiasm, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 2005 Starting at Zero: Black Mountain College
2007 Molecular reproduction, UK Stem Cell Bank
2007 Foreign Exchange market reaches $516 trillion, nine times world GDP
Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska, in collaboration with 51% studios, transform the lower galleries of the Whitechapel Gallery into a social club, three cinemas, and an archive lounge showing Polish amateur films made by factory workers in the Communist era. The amateur, enthusiast or hobbyist works invisibly within the relentless flow of ‘official’ culture, frequently adopting a counter-cultural tone of tactical resistance and criticism. Through curating the films into themes of Love, Longing and Labour, the programme explores both the ethusiasms of the filmmakers, and how cinema can be represented in a gallery context.44
Far left: Enthusiasm exhibition catalogue, Whitechapel Gallery. Below left: It Is You I Love the Most limited edition print, Mark Titchner
The Triennial Central Bank Survey of Foreign Exchange and Derivatives Market Activity, published by the Bank of International Settlement, suggests that $3.2 trillion is traded daily in global foreign exchange markets. Growth in turnover is broad-based across all instruments, although especially in foreign exchange swaps, which rose 80% compared with 45% over the previous three-year period. Notional amounts outstanding went up by 135% to $516 trillion at the end of June. The aggregate value of all goods and services produced globally (Global GDP, or Gross World Product/GWP), is estimated at around $60 trillion. So volumes on just one of the big five financial markets, Foreign Exchange, dwarfs the annual production of all material goods on the planet.
2006 It is You Mark Titchner. “A Rough Guide to... Linguistics”. Beck’s Futures closes. British Art Show 6. Material City Situations
The UK Stem Cell Bank is established to provide a repository of human embryonic, foetal and adult stem cell lines for research. Its role is to provide quality controlled stocks of these cells, and to prepare stocks of ‘clinical grade’ cell lines as seed stocks for the development of therapies. In order to avoid conflicts of interest, the Code of Practice developed by the Steering Committee specifically states that the Bank will not conduct discovery research on stem cell lines deposited in the Bank. This is interpreted as requiring the Bank to avoid research in basic molecular reproduction and ‘nearmarket’ commercial research.
2007 Recording Iraq, Ken Stanton Archive. Free Noise
2007 Port City: On Mobility and Exchange. Encounters, Manuel Vason. The Ghosts of Songs
To coincide with the 200th anniversary of the parliamentary abolition of the slave trade in Britain, Port City: On Mobility and Exchange consists of an exhibition, off-site projects and a programme of talks, symposia, performance, music, walks, film and literature. The project “explores the port city as an interface between a physical ‘homeland’, the place where workers and consumers reside, and the ‘non-place’ of global capitalism.” Encounters is an exhibition of photography by Manuel Vason, where the body is heightened as a means of expression. Theatrical-style lighting and a red carpet walkway around the gallery 118
2007 Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Las Vegas closes
emphasise the experience of looking as a performance in itself. Collaborating artists include Franko B, Kira O'Reilly, Stuart Brisley, Miguel Pereira and Ron Athey. The Ghosts of Songs is curated and produced by Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of The Otolith Group. It is the first exhibition devoted to the work of the Black Audio Film Collective (BAFC). Until the collective dissolved in 1998, BAFC produced internationally acclaimed, award-winning films, photographs, slide works, videos, installations, posters and interventions. The space is divided into screening chambers designed by Adjaye Associates.
In 2003, just before the coalition invasion of Iraq, independent film producer Michael Burke purchased satellite time from the Reuters news agency and made an open request for video recordings made during the first weeks of the ensuing war. As the conflict continued Burke travelled to Iraq, meeting contacts and establishing a network of paid and volunteer sources. Ken Stanton Archive (KSA) followed the development of the recordings; researching and cataloguing tapes, and considering how the material might be seen or displayed outside conventional formats. Recording Iraq presents over 200 hours of unedited footage – recordings made by civilians, human shields, doctors, aid workers and photojournalists – as a rolling programme of projected video and as a searchable archive on computer. Displayed alongside are tape logs, a newspaper archive, notes on translation and a transcript based on recorded interviews with Burke. Free Noise is a first-time Arnolfini collaboration with music programmers Qu Junktions, featuring major names from the Noise and Free Jazz scenes on both sides of the Atlantic. Over two sets, and through a series of improvised combinations, these two unorthodox music forms converge. The line-up includes Evan Parker, who performed with the Music Improvisation Company in April 1970 at the first Arnolfini music event to be held at Queen Square, Paul Hession, Yellow Swans, John Weise, C. Spencer Yeh, Metalux, John Edwards and Culver.
On 11th May, after seven years, the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum at The Venetian, Las Vegas, closes its doors. Thomas Krens steps down as the Guggenheim Foundation director, although he continues as Senior Advisor for International Affairs, developing and overseeing all aspects of the projected Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Foundation’s largest and most complex project to date. Krens had overseen the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin as well as the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum. Guggenheim Las Vegas had already closed after just 15 months, citing lack of funds and low attendance. The Art of the Motorcycle was its only exhibition.
2008 Hedge fund consortium pays $50m for Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God
Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, a life-size cast of a human skull in platinum, covered entirely by 8,601 flawless pavé-set diamonds, is displayed for sale at the White Cube gallery, London in the exhibition Beyond Belief. The published $50 million price tag is apparently met on 30th August by an anonymous hedge fund consortium which includes Hirst himself.
The twenty-year house price bubble peaked in 2006 and began a steep decline; refinancing mortgages became more difficult and defaults soared. Securities backed with mortgages, collateralised mortgage obligations (CMOs) including subprime mortgages, and their evolution into collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) and other extensions of debt by financial instruments, lose most of their value. In fact, there are no mechanisms to value them. In August, financial institutions around the globe write down their holdings of subprime-related securities by $501 billion. These losses wipe out much of the capital of the world banking system, which impacts on the money markets. With no liquidity, the credit freeze brings the global financial system to a sudden halt, and governments are forced to intervene. In July, two giant Savings and Loan banks in the USA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are taken into government ownership.
“Enormous sums, especially for contemporary art, have invaded this tiny market from investors disillusioned with the far slower returns on the stock markets. They have pushed some artist prices to previously unimagined heights.”
Far left: Taped material from Michael Burke’s Recording Iraq. Left: For the Love of God, Damien Hirst
Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s
2008 Twenty-year debt bubble bursts with threat of systemic global financial collapse
2008 Persepolis 2530, Michael Stevenson. Far West. Brilliant Noise, Semiconductor. Goat Island The Lastmaker
Michael Stevenson’s Persepolis 2530 revisits the site of an infamous three-day party held in 1971 by the Shah of Iran for invited monarchs and heads of state among the ruins of the ancient Persian city. Reconstructing part of the temporary lavish architecture built for the celebrations (itself now a ruin), Stevenson looks at this pivotal moment in Iranian history which led towards the subsequent cultural revolution. Far West is an experimental project that transforms Arnolfini from an arts venue into a distinctive ‘concept store’, exploring the shifting of the economic centre of the world to the East. The store provides customers with the experience of interacting with, producing and then purchasing a selection of specially branded products, designed by artists or inspired by artists’ projects from ornaments to music, comics, food, toys and art works. 120
Semiconductor’s stunning sound and video installation Brilliant Noise investigates our perception of the natural world via the data vaults of solar astronomy. After sifting through hundreds of thousands of computer files, made accessible via open access NASA archives, Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt bring together some of the sun’s finest unseen moments. These images are kept in their most raw form, revealing the energetic particles and solar wind as a rain of white noise. After twenty years of creating challenging and highly acclaimed performance, much of which has appeared at Arnolfini, The Lastmaker is Goat Island’s ninth and final piece, a fitting conclusion to the company’s journey. The performance is structured around the form and iconography of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, a site that has been a Byzantine church, a Mosque and a museum over its history.
2008 Lehman Brothers, largest global financial institution, fails, leading to global credit crisis
The collapse of the 158year-old Lehman Brothers is the biggest corporate default in history. Lehmans has incurred unprecedented losses in the continuing subprime mortgage crisis, reporting losses of $2.8 billion in the second fiscal quarter and the forced liquidation of $6 billion in assets. As a consequence, Lehmans’ shares lose 73% of their value. Rumours of a buyer (the Korea Development Bank) rallies the market’s evaluation, but the deal falls through. Investor confidence continues to erode, the Dow Jones slides 300 points, and although Lehmans is considered “too big to fail”, the US government declines to assist the struggling institution. On 15th September, Lehmans files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following the massive exodus of most of its clients, drastic stock losses, and devaluation of its assets by credit rating agencies.
Defying classical economic theory, historically the art market has two distinct parts. The primary market offers art works as they emerge from artists’ studios, that is, they are on sale for the first time. Access to the primary market is via ‘gallerists’ who nurture, promote, exhibit and represent artists and art works. The secondary market, by contrast, involves the resale of art objects, either through private dealers or auction houses. This market is perceived to have very little interest in artists, and high prices, acquisitions, investment and profit are an end in themselves. This historic division collapses when secondary market giant Christie’s auction house buys ‘bluechip’ primary market gallery Haunch of Venison in London. The two monopolists of the secondary market, Sotheby’s and Christie’s are taking very different approaches to market consolidation. While Christie’s acquires a gallery, Sotheby’s presents a ‘primary auction’, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, which sells work by Damien Hirst straight out of his studio for recordbreaking prices. The two-day auction begins the same day Lehman Brothers implodes.
In the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, governments move to prop up the ailing financial sector. With public ‘sweeteners’ Bank of America agrees to purchase Merrill Lynch; and American International Group (AIG) is saved by an $85 billion government capital injection. As the contagion from arcane debt instruments spreads, most large British banks – also known as ‘universal banks’ – are implicated through complex debt-linked instruments which recklessly increase exposures. Barclays and HSBC obtain generous funding from the Bank of England’s special liquidity scheme to stay afloat during the crisis. By October, the
British taxpayer has the following investments in four banks: 100% of Northern Rock (£20 billion); 100% of Bradford and Bingley (£37 billion); 84% of Royal Bank of Scotland (£45.5 billion); and 41% of Lloyds Banking Group (£20.3 billion). In total, the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and other central banks purchase US$2.5 trillion of ‘toxic’ private assets and place them in quarantine. This is the largest injection of public money into the financial markets in world history. And it’s not over: as contracts and obligations unwind, the IMF estimates losses will top $2.8 trillion in 2009 and cumulative losses globally are predicted to exceed $4 trillion.
2008 Christie’s buys commercial gallery, blurring the division between primary and secondary art markets
2008 Banks propped up by massive state injection of public funds
Above left: Goat Island’s final performance, The Lastmaker. Left: The Royal Bank of Scotland becomes 84% owned by British taxpayers
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Moderna Museet Stockholm commissions a series of special artists’ projects. Concerned that the celebration could be viewed as a task of mourning, Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska fast-forward to the museum’s centenary. Museum Futures: Distributed is a machinima record of the centenary interview with Moderna Museet’s executive Ayan Lindquist in June 2058. It explores a genealogy for contemporary art practice and its institutions by reimagining the roles of artists, museums, galleries, markets, manufactories and academies.
Conceived by Christiane Berndes and Director Charles Esche, and curated by Berndes and guests, Plug In aims to reimagine the collection of Eindhoven’s Van Abbemuseum. For eight months the collection’s 3,000 art works will be shuffled, curated, reinstalled and reanimated through a series of independent, unitary exhibitions in the galleries, each representing a specific ‘episode’. Artists and guest curators are invited to participate. Plug In refers to the modular structure of the series of presentations, and is also an invitation to visitors to participate by negotiating a self-initiated route through the museum.
In October, Iceland nationalises its three largest banks, which are defaulting on $62 billion of foreign debt. At the height of the global debt bubble the banks had accessed $100 billion in debt to finance foreign acquisitions. When the global credit crisis throttles lending, the country is unable to service the debt repayments, and foreign investors flee Icelandic bonds, prompting the value of the króna to drop 50% in one week. The four international credit rating agencies which monitor Iceland’s sovereign debt all lower their ratings and the country is effectively bankrupt. An IMF-led $10 billion bailout keeps Iceland’s finances afloat.
2008 Iceland bankrupt, largest national default
2008 Museum Futures: Distributed, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Arnolfini presents a retrospective exhibition of Angus Fairhurst (1966–2008), one of the most challenging and thoughtful members of the Freeze group of Young British Artists (YBAs). Futurology is a research and exhibition programme exploring projections of the future through the role of architecture and the infrastructure of the built environment. The programme starts with The Good Life, in which Belgian artists Katleen Vermeir and Ronny Heiremans propose a future landmark building for the Arnolfini site, continues with Tommy Støckel’s Art of Tomorrow, and finishes with the group exhibition Sequelism, Part 3: Possible, Probable or Preferable Futures.
The artist/activist group Platform presents C Words: Carbon, Climate, Capital, Culture, a two-month collaborative investigation into issues around climate change and social justice. C Words is part of Arnolfini’s 100 Days programme, marking the countdown to the 15th UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Copenhagen on 7th December, and is part of the Artist/Activist season. Also part of Artist/Activist is the exhibition Craftivism, consisting of projects developed by artists and collectives that work with craft-based traditions and activist practices to question and disrupt the prevailing codes of mass consumerism. Craftivism is an Arnolfini/ Relational project.
2009 Angus Fairhurst. Futurology. Artist/Activist season: C Words, Craftivism
2008 Plug In, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
WikiLeaks is a non-profit organisation dedicated to publishing submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Using distributed funding and organisational structures, and a FLOSS ethos that “information wants to be free”, it provides an innovative, secure and anonymous way for independent sources around the world to contribute information to the public domain. Although launched in 2006, WikiLeaks comes of age in July 2010 when it releases the Afghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 ‘secret’ documents about the war in Afghanistan. In October, it releases almost 400,000 documents entitled the Iraq War Logs, a cache of previously secret US military field reports of the war in Iraq, and in November WikiLeaks begins releasing US State Department diplomatic cables. The radical transparency and accountability encouraged by P2P networks throws into contrast the dark-pool practices of many governments and other apparently public organisations.
2010 WikiLeaks, division of information into ‘dark pools’ and the public domain
Left: Still from Museum Futures: Distributed, Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska. Above: The Problem with Banana Skins Divided/Inverted, Angus Fairhurst, 1998
Me Myself and I brings together Otto Zitko’s expansive wall-drawing intervention, made in situ by the artist in the central circulation areas of Arnolfini, and a set of intensely personal, psychologically charged drawings by Louise Bourgeois entitled JE T’AIME (2005). Before the end of the exhibition, Louise Bourgeois dies of heart failure aged 98. The Old Media season at Arnolfini includes a series of exhibitions along with film screenings, events and performance. The season focuses, from various perspectives, on the impact of technology in relation to ‘progress’, consumerism and globalisation. Old Media includes the exhibition Fun with Software, curated by Olga Goriunova, which looks at the history of software art and its relation to play; and Kerry Tribe’s solo show Dead Star Light, which continues the artist’s philosophical enquiry into memory, presenting three new commissions and a selection of older audiovisual works. The exhibition is part of the 3 Series: 3 Artists, 3 Spaces, 3 Years, a collaboration between Arnolfini, Camden Arts Centre and Modern Art Oxford.
2010 Procesos de Archivo research project, Intermediæ, Madrid 2010 Otto Zitko and Louise Bourgeois. Old Media season: Fun With Software, Dead Star Light, Kerry Tribe
Intermediæ is an experimental programme for contemporary creative practice developed by the Cultural Department of the Madrid City Council with the aim of constructing an immanent institution. Its work is based on three fundamental ideas: creation as a means of exploration, research and experimentation; and process and participation as formulas for development. Procesos de Archivo is a set of artistic projects that explores the construction of a radical, realtime, generative and participatory archive of Intermediæ’s activities.
Above: Core researchers at work on the Proceso de Archivo project, Intermediæ, Madrid. Left: Detail of Dead Star Light exhibition installation, Kerry Tribe. Right: Installation detail of Self-Portrait: Arnolfini, Neil Cummings
2011 The Apparatus. Cosima von Bonin. Magical Consciousness. Museum Show Parts 1 & 2. Self Portrait: Arnolfini
Two years after Lehman Brothers became the biggest victim of the financial crisis, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) appoints Christie’s to hold an auction of art work and memorabilia from the company’s London office. Works by Gary Hume, Lucian Freud and Gabriel Orozco are offered for sale. £1.6 million is raised, a small dent in the estimated $22 billion being sought by Lehmans’ European creditors. In the same week an auction of fine art from Lehman Brothers’ New York office raises more than $12 million (£7.6 million) at Sotheby’s. Having spun off to become an independent production company, the Inbetween Time Festival returns to Arnolfini after a hiatus of nearly five years. Over 75 events involving 130 artists make up a programme of live art, dance and theatre works. Arnolfini begins its 50th anniversary programme, investigating the philosophical notion of The Apparatus. The programme focuses on the conditions of the art world today, particularly its systems of
2010 Lehman Brothers’ art collections sold at auction to repay creditors
belief and valuation, its role within society, and its relationship to the wider political economy. The Apparatus is about the “makings of' artists, of art works, of institutions, and of a culture infrastructure”. Exhibitions include the first solo presentation in the UK of work by Cosima von Bonin, the group exhibition Magical Consciousness co-curated with Runa Islam, and the collaborative historical survey exhibition Museum Show Parts 1 & 2.
Artist-in-Residence Neil Cummings undertakes a year-long project entitled Self Portrait: Arnolfini – a series of ‘data portraits’ of the organisation developed in response to the archived past, living present, and projected futures of Arnolfini. Produced in collaboration with designer Stephen Coates, the project consists of a relational timeline, a map, an index of people and money flowchart installed throughout the public spaces of the building. 125
2011 The Sea Wall, Haegue Yang and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. M Shed opens
Governments servicing their borrowing in the sovereign debt markets are coming under systematic attack by bond market vigilantes. These vigilantes disagree with the social policies of the elected governments – usually welfare and public infrastructure provision, although lately bank bailouts account for much of the borrowing – and in protest short-sell bonds, driving up the cost of borrowing. In April, rating agency Standard & Poor’s slashes Greek debt to the first levels of ‘junk’ status. As a consequence Greece’s five-year bonds are jacked up 280 basis points higher to 6.35%, which chokes the economy and causes social unrest. In turn, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy are
The Sea Wall is conceived as a conversation between the work of Felix GonzalezTorres and Haegue Yang. Gonzalez-Torres’ Untitled (Water), 1995, is an iridescent blue beaded curtain presented throughout the galleries, in dialogue with a selection of art works by Yang from the last ten years. The exhibition is titled after the novel The Sea Wall by Marguerite Duras, which recalls the author’s childhood in colonial-era French Indochina during the 1930s. In June, the M Shed opens on the dockside in the extensively renovated building that had housed Bristol Industrial Museum from 1974 to 2006. A grant of £10.27 million was obtained from the National Lottery, contributing to the estimated £25 million development. M Shed is managed by Bristol City Council, to “tell the story of Bristol” from prehistoric times to the present day. 126
all subject to ‘market restraint’ as the cost of their borrowing soars. Then on 5th August, for the first time in history, the US loses its AAA credit rating. Some $14 trillion of sovereign debt becomes dramatically more expensive. World financial markets plunge, panic ensues; almost £150 billion is wiped off the value of the FTSE 100 in a single day. The European Central Bank intervenes by spending €22 billion (£19.4 billion) shoring up targeted nations, principally by buying Spanish and Italian bonds, and also introduces restrictions to restrain destructive ‘shorting’. The 150-year-old practices of financial markets unrestrained by social responsibility, where profit is privatised and risk socialised, start to be reined in.
2011 Bond vigilantes in sovereign debt markets trigger tighter financial market controls
2011 Guggenheim Second Life paywall experiment
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation commissions the New York architects Autostrade to design and implement a new Guggenheim Second Life. This is the first phase of a three-year initiative to construct a navigable threedimensional spatial entity accessible online in tandem with real-time interactive
components installed at the various Guggenheim locations. Typical museum services: exhibitions, talks, events archives, collections and commerce; as well as its objects, spaces, and buildings, will be constructed, navigated, experienced, and manipulated through a paywall-protected global network.
Jim Shaw’s solo show is his first major survey exhibition in Britain. Developed semicollaboratively with the Baltic, Gateshead, Kill Your Idols focuses on his extensive series of dream drawings as well as a new installation about freemasonry. The accompanying music programme sees the reunion of his proto-punk band Destroy All Monsters. The small presentation of framed art works by Alighiero e Boetti, consisting mainly of his Mappa drawing studies, includes the rare exhibition of the last drawing made before his death in 1994. Anglo-German
performance troupe Gob Squad return to Bristol for a live film event based on the premise of reimaging John Carpenter’s Escape From New York as if it had taken place in Bristol. In Absentia is an experimental monographic exhibition about Damien Hirst that doesn’t include works by the artist. An expansive collection of art works, artefacts and ‘evidence’ are brought together to investigate the practice, persona, career and media phenomenon that is Damien Hirst. “I never thought I could be so interesting,” he comments.
2012 Banking conglomerates demerged into retail ‘social’ banks, and ‘investment’ banks for financial speculation 2012 Jim Shaw. Alighiero e Boetti. Gob Squad. Damien Hirst In Absentia
Olivier Blanchard of the FSA announces the increase in bank regulatory capital, London, 17th November 2012
In September, after years of research, a Bill passes through Parliament legislating structural and regulatory reform of the British banking sector. There are two main clauses in the act; the first provides for breaking up the largest ‘universal’ banks; a separation of the investment and speculative operations from their retail deposit-taking functions, thereby insulating a bank’s retail (social) business from its much riskier investment banking operations. In November, the second clause comes into operation when the FSA and Bank of England propose an immediate increase in bank regulatory capital from the Basel III recommended level of 7% of risk-based assets to 20%, to dampen speculation. Financial institutions engaging in retail deposit-taking in Britain are required to operate through a separately capitalised subsidiary whose capital would be more or less ring-fenced from the rest of the banking group. The laws also apply to foreign banks trading through London markets.
Disaffected by national representational democracy, and inspired by the distributed assemblies of Spain’s 15-M movement, a broad coalition of 233,000 social enterprises and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from over 47 countries network into the Multitude. They develop infrastructural protocols for local governance and administration, including experiments with real-time dissensus and resource management. In October the Multitude lobbies the United Nations to amend Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), extending freedom of opinion and expression to include free access to information. The revised Article 19 enshrines the freedom of everyone to participate in the cultural life of the community by specifying intellectual freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of access to knowledge, information and culture and compliance with the principle of ideological, political and religious neutrality.45
2013 iCommons knowledge and cultural meshwork, precursor to Composite
2012 Foundation of the Multitude global civil society coalition, Article 19 Declaration of Human Rights revised
Named after an art work by Gordon Matta-Clark, the group exhibition Anarchitecture considers artistic practices that offer experimental and playful perspectives on architecture. With the aid of artist and ‘experimental conspiracy theorist’ Peter Fend, the exhibition remodels both the interior and the exterior of the Arnolfini, and provides a plunge-pool viewing space for an underwater dockside gallery. Berlin-based video, print and performance artist Olivia Plender presents a major survey of her research-based projects from the last 15 years into alternative belief and social organisational structures. Seminal performance-art collective of the 1970s and 80s, Theatre of Mistakes, considers its conceptual practice afresh in collaboration with Hayley Newman, Station House Opera and Zhang Huan. Critical Practice, a cluster of artists, researchers and academics, has a year-long residency jointly resourced by the Free University of the West of England to create an exhibitionary think-tank to consider the evolution of ‘the social contract’.
Initiated by the Multitude, protected by GPL v4 and encouraged by the enhanced Article 19 of the UDHR, the iCommons begins as an index of all resources currently in the public domain. Traditionally defined as elements of the environment, the commons consists of forests, air, rivers, fisheries and grazing land. To these are added the so-called cultural commons: text and images; artefacts, systems and processes; music and sound (as source or assembled); all embedded plant, animal and
bodily knowledge; languages; scientific and medical research, and all possible ecologies of these resources. Aggregated by the viral heart of GPL v4; open educational initiatives, Free Universities, open law and medical research, systems design research, open access publishing and free culture communities around the world are able to share and contribute to a pool of collective resource. Creativity is nurtured and challenged on a scale unimagined since the Apollo space programme.
As the world continues to recalibrate its financial systems, the two major players in the secondary art market, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, along with China’s emerging Bonhams franchise, report a steep growth in their business. Buoyed by new market liquidity from China and Brazil and a strong auction commission margin of almost 20%, Sotheby’s is able to report consolidated sales of $12.3 billion, more than doubling the previous year’s sales, and smashing the previous record in 2010.
As traditional vehicles and reservoirs for wealth appear unreliable, contemporary art continues to grow both in appeal and demand. Aggregate auction sales are rocketing in North America, Europe and Asia, and the houses continue to strengthen relationships with key global clients, especially the Gagosian, White Cube, Hauser & Wirth and Frieze franchises. There is even pressure on smaller public institutions, the De La Warr Pavilion, Serpentine Gallery and Spacex are all subject to hostile takeover bids.
2013 Anarchitecture. Olivia Plender. Theatre of Mistakes. Critical Practice
2013 Auction franchises ‘land grab’ commercial galleries in art market shake-out
Above left: The Free University of San Francisco, currently 4,102 undergraduates and 8,026 graduate students, make it one of the largest in the network. Left: Telephone bids at the day auction of smaller galleries, Sothebys, London
The UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) observes a global tipping point as an estimated 58.7% of the world population live in cities. Suburban sprawl causes widespread damage to environmentally sensitive areas including the coastline adjacent to Lagos, Nigeria, the Altiplano mountains surrounding Mexico City and the water basins of the Ganges, India.
In financial markets, securities that exhibit similar characteristics, and are subject to the same laws and regulations, are deemed an asset class. Traditionally there are four main asset classes: equity securities (or stocks), fixed-income securities (or bonds), cash equivalents (or money market instruments), and commodities (real estate and derivatives). The maturation of the art market sees art works added by investment banks to the commodity asset class, and included by institutional investors as a component in their diversified portfolios.
The flow of capital through art works increases, as does the volume of trades. The price of art can now be seen to fall, as well as rise.
“Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the situation is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation.” John Maynard Keynes After years of debate, punctuated by a tentative 2010 IMF report entitled A Fair and Substantial Contribution by the Financial Sector, the 1972 Tobin Tax is reanimated by the IMF and major market regulators as a blanket micro-tax of 0.05% on every financial transaction. Implemented on 17th August, there are two express purposes: to curb the volatility of high-volume short-term speculative trading; and to create a bespoke system of fair and equitable tax collection in the global financial sector. The more arcane instruments of financial markets are
Above right: View from the south, from an early model of Tate v2.0, London. Below right: Transaction Tax placard, from the mass demonstration, London
2013 60% of global population live in a metropolis
2013 Art market deregulated, art works defined as asset class commodity
repurposed to be more socially productive, and taxes begin to flow from speculation into public domain resources.
The iconic new building by Herzog & de Meuron opens to the south of the existing Tate Modern. It creates more galleries for displaying the collection, and dedicated liveart and performance spaces. Reclaimed oil tanks offer possibilities for changing sitespecific installations. Learning is at the heart of Tate Modern v2.0, reflecting Tate’s commitment to increasing public knowledge and understanding. There are new facilities for interpretation, informal discussion, private study, participation, structured workshops and practicebased learning. Tate Exchange provides a dedicated suite of learning and research spaces for visitors, groups, visual arts professionals and staff across two floors of the new building. Tate Archive is opened to public access, with visitors able to research, study, create and share digital works.
2013 Tate Modern v2.0, London
2013 Transaction Tax stimulates flow from financial transactions to public-domain resources
2014 Personalised gene sequencing
14 years ago, when the ‘working draft’ human genome was released, it was composed of aggregate results from several donors and cost $4 billion. In 2007, Craig Ventner had his individual DNA sequenced at a cost of $10 million, and in 2009 Applied Biosystems mapped the genome of an anonymous Nigerian for $60,000. Today, deCODE is able to take a DNA mouth swab and scan a million singlenucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) – the points at which the genetic code varies between individuals – and use the results to assess the risk of more than 20 common diseases such as
cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. This low-cost technology enables individuals to readily take preventative lifestyle measures. Individual genotype mapping is generating research into bespoke or ‘designer’ drugs engineered to treat the abnormal chromosome sequences that produce genetic disorders or mutant proteins. The traditional pharmaceutical business model of selling vast numbers of generic drugs is being overwritten by the supply of pharmogenes to specific genetic niches.
Android was unveiled by a group of companies known as the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) in 2007. Since then, it has developed into a lean FLOSS software stack for mobile devices. Easy to install, adapt and modify, it quickly became the default mobile operating system. Its modular architecture means it can be easily ported between devices and retrofitted to run on otherwise obsolete hardware. In sub-Saharan Africa, parts of India and the rest of Asia, it has revolutionised medical, agricultural and banking practices, extending networked connectivity to the previously disenfranchised.
The centenary of the beginning of World War I initiates a year-long season of activity at Arnolfini, including four major exhibitions. First is an exhibition of early works of the Vorticists, and a solo exhibition by Danh Vo. In the summer there is the major historical exhibition War Shapes Lives: Anthem for Doomed Youth, in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, exploring responses to conflict. This includes a major teleconference on the role of the artist in times of crisis. In the autumn, Freedom explores the role of women in war and the struggle for
enfranchisement, and finally War Logs is a collaborative mapping project to chart global conflicts through time and space. Much of the exhibition and its source data are available through the online archive.
The Arnolfini is one of the first major public institutions to join the iCommons meshwork. By negotiating GPL v4 compliance for their archive holdings, they open the host servers and allow public research access and participation.
2014 War Child: A Century of War 2014 Networked mobile devices accessed by 50% of the global population
The latest branch of the Guggenheim is located in the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Saadiyat Island is undergoing a remarkable transformation. The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is tasked to make a world-class leisure, residential, business, and tourist centre, whilst maintaining an environmentally sensitive philosophy. An entire district on Saadiyat Island is devoted to culture. Unprecedented in scale and scope, its key institutions are Zayed National Museum – the national museum of the United Arab Emirates, telling the story of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, his unification of the UAE, the history of the region and its cultural connections across the world; Louvre Abu Dhabi – the first universal museum in the Arab world, designed to house the aesthetic expressions of different civilisations and cultures, from
the most ancient to the contemporary; Performing Arts Centre – the home of a multiplicity of genres and traditions of music, dance and theatre; and the Maritime Museum – a testament to the Arabian Gulf’s maritime heritage. The cornerstone of the development is the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, designed by internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry. The 450,000 sq ft museum houses its own major modern and contemporary art collection, organises exhibitions, and generates research and scholarship into the interconnected dynamics of transnational contemporary art practice. The museum invites world-class artists to produce site-specific commissions for dedicated galleries and select exterior locations. In addition, it is a catalyst for scholarship in a variety of fields, principally the history of art in the Middle East of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The decision-making structures organisations typically use are closed: individuals are unaccountable, abuses of power are hard to prevent and knowledge is hoarded. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the power structures found in political and corporate bodies, and in many voluntary and activist groups. On 5th September at the iCommons Governance Summit in São Paulo, Brazil, guidelines are drafted, proposed and implemented on Radical Transparency. Developed through the experience of many Multitude organisational clusters, Radical Transparency encourages openness, communication and accountability through open public meetings, open budgets and full financial disclosure, and public ownership of knowledge, to build truly participative communities. Exceptions to full transparency typically include data related to personal privacy, security, and passwords necessary to carry out publicly negotiated darkpool projects.
2014 Arnolfini becomes foundation node in fledgling iCommons cultural meshwork
2014 Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
2014 Radical Transparency
Entrance lobby (showing temporary installation by Hassan Khan), Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island
In February, the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIE) produces a benchmark report identifying 244 key institutions in the emerging global network of Microfinance Organisations (MFOs). They include national policy institutions, commercial banks and NGOs in Nigeria, Uganda, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Chile, Pakistan, the Philippines, Europe and Vietnam. The report analyses outreach, scale, funding and performance for a basket of MFOs, and finds that typical loan portfolios grow at 60%, delivering long-term, positive and stable returns. Asian MFOs lead other regions in their ability to leverage substantial equity, with many operating in densely populated areas serving several million clients.
International prices for most agricultural commodities have increased in recent months, some sharply. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)’s Food Price Index reaches 300 points for the first time in June, sparking violent protests across subSaharan Africa and South America. The pressure on prices to rise is first felt in the cereal market, most notably for wheat and barley, although rice and maize are also affected. There is emerging consensus that the global food system is becoming more vulnerable and susceptible to episodes of extreme price volatility, with terrible effects on the global poor. Similar effects are reported in energy, water, and other vital resource markets. As markets are increasingly integrated in the global economy, shocks in one can impact in another. Among the root causes of volatility, the FAO in co-operation with the IMF has identified “growing linkage with outside markets, in particular the impact of the futures markets”. An index of key resources markets is prepared by the FAO, and these are firewalled from automated speculative trading technologies.
As part of the aftermath to the £6 billion overspend on the 2012 London Olympics, the government embarks on a round of pre-election cuts to the budget of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Arts Council England is disbanded exactly 70 years after its foundation. Following 3 years of negative press, and scandal surrounding its unauthorised biographical exhibition about Bristol-based celebrity Carol Vorderman, the M Shed is forced to close. Bristol City Council puts the building on the market, and a period of sustained public protest ensues following a leak that retail giant Tesco is in discussions to take over the premises.
2015 Arts Council England disbanded. ‘Vordermangate’ closes M Shed
2015 Glocal microfinance organisations
2015 Resource markets firewalled from speculative financial technologies
Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC), through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) set out radical proposals to guide the direction of modern societies. In contrast to the conventional narrow focus on economic indicators, they call for governments to directly and regularly measure people’s subjective wellbeing. The Wellbeing coalition will produce two new contentment indices. Inspired in part by the Bhutanese concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’, the Social Wellbeing Index (SWI) measures how people experience their connections with others and the strength of those relationships. It is comprised of component indicators which measure supportive relationships, trust
“GNP measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
and belonging. These can be thought of as representing people’s experiences of their ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ relationships: ‘thick’ relationships representing the strong connections people experience with those who are close to them, and ‘thin’ relationships the more numerous connections people establish with those they encounter in broader social spheres The Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) measures people’s sense of how they are feeling within themselves and experiencing their lives. It’s a combination of five component indicators which measure emotional wellbeing, the extent to which people have a satisfying life, vitality, resilience and selfesteem, and positive functioning.
2016 Brazil, Russia, India and China form networked Wellbeing coalition
Arnolfini’s innovative 1960s Picture Loan Scheme inspires a new P2P project via the iCommons meshwork. Some of the original pictures are traced, their trajectories mapped and 1:1 images, some in the recently enhanced HD3 format, made available through the exhibitionary platform of the Arnolfini archive.
Far left: Hussain Saidi’s distributive market co-operative, initiated with microfinance loan, Lamu, Kenya. Below left: Browsing the picture library at Bush House. Above: Representatives of the BRIC countries launch the Wellbeing coalition, Delhi
Robert F. Kennedy
2016 Arnolfini Picture Loan Scheme reimagined: participants exchange and loan shared resources
2016 Tate, Doha
While oil and gas contribute to the backbone of Qatar’s economy, alongside other United Arab League (UAL) states, and driven by the reforms of the Arab Spring, the country has been stimulating education and research initiatives to develop a ‘knowledge economy’. Principally, this is based in the capital Doha at the Multitude Science & Technology Park, linked to Education City. At the heart of Education City is Tate Doha, which opens on 5th September. The new building, a twin of the 11-storey pyramid of Tate Modern v2.0 by Herzog & de Meuron, has a façade that echoes regional architecture; its perforated brick lattice a veil through
which the interior and exterior can exchange, and through which interior lights glow in the evening. Beautiful new galleries have a variety of configurations, there are larger spaces for temporary exhibitions, and an advanced Media Lab. Tate’s mission of integrating exhibitions with high-quality spaces for learning and interpretation is exemplified by the Tate Exchange network of interactive study centres, designed for visitors, students and professionals to research, exchange skills and exhibit ideas. Resources are shared with the nearby Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, which opened in 2010 after 20 years of planning.
2016 African clusters exploit solar energy farms
SoCal Edison, a worldwide energy resource developer based in Aranjuez, Spain, announces it will partner with emerging clusters in the African Multitude to invest $23 billion over the next 10 years in solar energy projects on the continent. These mixed-use energy farms combine silicon wafer photovoltaic panels with thirdgeneration clustered wind turbines capable of outputting 200 gigawatts of power. Excess energy will be sold to the European Grid.
The United Arab League, reconfigured by the Arab Spring, now consists of 30 members from North Africa and the Middle East together with six observer states with substantial Arab communities including India, Brazil, Britain and the USA. The main goal of the league is to “draw closer the relations between member States and coordinate collaboration ... to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to foster prosperity in Arab countries and cultures.” The UNESCO Forum, in its report The Impact of Higher Education and Research in the United Arab League, notes that education, research and development, and cultural and tourist visits now account for a greater proportion of UAL GDP than carbon exports.
Although the 1979 Ashley Clinton Endowment Fund is still extant, many of the fixed assets generating the endowment have been dispersed, and its financial contribution is negligible. The astonishing resource flows raised from the fully functioning Transaction Tax are being distributed through public infrastructural projects and iCommons meshworks. The fledgling West of England Multitude decides to reactivate the Ashley Clinton Fund to provide a real-time resource pool for Arnolfini.
Arnolfini substantially leaves Bush House, and begins distributing and reimagining itself as 21st century art institution through a networked cluster of organisations. The first
2017 Ashley Clinton Fund reactivated, augmented by Transaction Tax resources
co-operation opens in April with Tate Doha, as Arnolfini participates in the local ecologies restructuring of resources from carbon to knowledge. In June, the Mumbai node emerges with the Ex Habere three-year research project in co-operation with several self-organised research institutions – Nowhere based in Moscow, the Critical Practice consortium in London, and Sarai in Delhi. Shanghai launches in September, and then the Guangzhou node goes live in November with La Part Maudite: Bataille and the Accursed Share, exploring the ethics of waste and expenditure, and the love and terror implicit in a general economy of uninhibited generosity.
2017 Arnolfini no longer buildingbased but mobile and distributed
2017 United Arab League (UAL) moves from carbon to knowledge economies
Above left: Tate Exchange Library, part of the suite of interactive study areas, Tate Doha. Below left: SoCal Edison trial farm, near Agadez, Niger. Right: View from the Arnolfini Café, Shanghai
Right: Redistribution of source, Cybernetic Serendipity catalogue from 1968. Below: Corn Law cluster protest, Bangalore, India. Below right: AQUclear nanotech membranes in operation, Chandannagar, India
A political economy dominated by financial institutions operating independently of national boundaries, and the emergence of the Multitude (in co-operation with a repurposed UN and IMF) as a P2P system of governance and organisation exposes increasing tensions. Nation states can no longer be considered as distinct economic identities with autonomous decision-making power. Either they freely aggregate into larger federal
structures (such as the EU, UAE, OECD or USA) or they dissolve. In a final bid to exert influence, some of the remaining national governments, especially Russia, restrict the free flow of goods and services through their economies in order to discipline the growing Multitude On 10th April, small mobile adhocracies aggregate into Corn Law clusters to contest the struggle over political aspirations through economic means.
Following the logic of cybernetics, where present actions are adjusted by past performance, the Arnolfini feeds back to the source, the legendary Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition at the ICA in London, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. In collaboration with Tate/ICA (Tate purchased the ICA’s archive, in 2010 and is in the process of making the material available via TateGPL), Whitechapel and the Micropolitics network, Arnolfini reconvenes the exhibition through a yearlong process of reflection. The original curator Jasia Reichardt, now 85, contributes expert advice as machines and processes, both analogue and digital, are emulated through a variety of media ecologies. The project is not simply archival, it’s productive and creative, and enables Arnolfini to initiate a whole new strand of recursive programming.
The recursive programming strand also produces the jubilee celebration of the groundbreaking New British Sculpture/Bristol. Remembered as the first contemporary sculpture exhibition, located throughout Bristol’s city centre, Arnolfini coordinates a reanimation of the original exhibition. Working from archival sources, many of the original sculptures are traced or reconstructed in their previous locations, although the Magistrates’ Court, Queen Square, College Green, and Bristol & West Building Society have all been enclosed by the various shopping complexes in the city centre and are no longer outdoor venues.
Waterborne pathogens cause between 10 and 13 million deaths worldwide and there is a growing threat, exacerbated by demographic drift and urbanisation, of emerging pollutants and antibiotic-resistant pathogens contaminating water resources. There are fears of a pandemic, and in June armed struggles erupt in parts of South Sudan and Somalia over access to clean water. Developed by AQUclear, cheap nanotech membranes are deployed to clean up water supplies and alleviate scarcity. They are the first in a line of nanotech technologies specifically designed for advanced water purification
and desalination. There are essentially two types of membranes: nanostructured filters, where carbon nanocapillary arrays provide filtration; and nanoreactive membranes, where silver or titanium dioxide catalysts provide chemical filtration.
The 19th century ideological construction of the artist has reached its absolute limit. An ideological model that privileges creative exchanges between artist and media in a studio, the results of which are then distributed through competitive trade and exhibitionary institutions – commercial galleries, auction franchises and private dealers
2017 Asymmetric exchange between emergent Multitudes and disintegrating nation states triggers trade skirmishes
– has become increasingly circular. At best this model extends a small measure of creative agency to the encounter between audiences – often referred to as passive ‘viewers’ – and art works at exhibition. But as configured, art as a creative process has ceased to innovate, inspire or have any critical purchase. Competitive markets thrive on artificial difference and managed risk; they are too limited a technology to nurture, challenge or distribute genuine creativity. Art practices therefore bifurcate into artefacts produced as market assets, and emergent creative practice.
2018 Cybernetic Serendipity jubilee distributed through growing exhibitionary cluster 2018 Nanotech water purification
2018 New British Sculpture jubilee reanimates source exhibition 2018 Art market and commercial distribution system diverges from emergent creative practice
Having helped produce and then adopted the Transparency guidelines for Multitude organisations, Arnolfini opens all its archive holdings and functional processes to the iCommons meshwork.
The Multitude takes control of and manages a range of free telecommunications infrastructures, including satellite, cellular and fibre communications. Through the Free Infrastructure
Foundation (FIF) they manage the Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) and Metropolitan Area Exchanges (MAEs) that direct internet traffic between networks, the licensing of infrared waves, ultraviolet light, radio waves and copyright and patent systems. On 12th June, to encourage creative reassembly, copyright reverts to its original term (as set-out in the 1709 Statute of Anne), granting property restriction for 14 years.
2018 Arnolfini archive of exhibitions, music, live art, film and administration joins iCommons
2019 Singularity Art Bond issue 2019 Free telecom and public infrastructures introduced by the Multitude
Right: The FIF installs new fibre infrastructure, Fishponds, Bristol. Far right: Researchers inspect trials of EGRI-pharmed bacteria, Almería, Spain
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, in co-operation with Morgan Capital Management of the Cayman Islands, issues the first Singularity Art Bond. The Bond is introduced in response to strong private investor demand for greater access to singularity. In an effort to raise capital to continue growth the Guggenheim, the ThyssenBornemisza Museum, Madrid and Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, along with other Tier One private museums, designate specific art works in their collections as singular, and guarantee they will never be replicated, loaned or reproduced. The market index is linked to 125 museums and some $12.2 billion of capital is in play. In the first quarter of trading the Guggenheim bonds offer an initial risk premium of 215 basis points over Treasury yields. After investors show little interest, the museum fattens the stakes by padding the spread with 15 basis points, but even at 230 basis points over Treasuries, investors are slow to react.
“We are very excited to be partnering with the Guggenheim to launch this new market. There has already been considerable interest from issuers, member firms and private investors, and we look forward to further facilitating that growing interest as the market establishes itself over the coming months.” Anusha Shrivastava, Morgan Capital Management
2020 Ex Habere: The Practice of Exhibition distributed through iCommons meshwork
2020 ‘Smart’ bacteria used for antibody delivery and biofuel production
The three-year research project hosted by Arnolfini is complete, and the findings are activated on 5th March. The project enables participants to uncompress the Latinate root of exhibition, ex habere, to reveal the intention of ‘holding out’ or ‘showing’ evidence in a legal court. Implicit in the genealogy of ‘exhibition’ is the desire to show, display and share with others. By grafting this ancient drive to desires for P2P creative co-production, exhibition as a practice remains core to Arnolfini’s aspirations. To source, participate, co-produce and share, to generate nonrivalous resources, is also vital
to the constitution of the iCommons public domain meshwork – and indeed, of a civil society. Ex Habere: The Practice of Exhibition distributes these values, and they replicate at an astonishing speed.
Because of their ability to grow quickly and the relative ease with which they can be manipulated, bacteria are workhorses for research and biotechnology. Carmen Moran García at the European Genome Research Institute (EGRI) has been coordinating mutations in bacterial DNA and examining the resulting phenotypes, to determine the
“When you think of all the things that were made from oil and the chemical and fuel industries – if in the future we will find bacteria to replace most if not all of these processes, the ideal way would be to do it by direct design.” Carmen Moran García, EGRI
function of genes, enzymes and metabolic pathways in bacteria. EGRI-pharmed bacteria, ‘booted up’ with a retrovirus, enable a range of human therapeutic processes such as the production of insulin, stimulation of growth factors, or installing antibodies to be replicated by the host. Genetically-engineered prokaryotic cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) have already been commercially developed to use seawater, sunlight and CO2 to produce ethanol and fresh water in an expanding global network of biorefineries. 149
The newly imposed Transaction Tax of a full 1% on financial market exchanges is designed to redirect trillions of dollars of resources to public domain infrastructures, cultural organisations, NGOs, and governments newly committed to electoral reform. Although given the tradition of tax avoidance in financial institutions, enforced compliance and collection proves sporadic. The average daily trading volume of the US bond market alone is $822 billion, yet taxes logged barely reach $10 billion per day. The Multitude, in collaboration with the UN and IMF, is tasked to manage compliance, collection and distribution.
Arnolfini’s innovative research with the New Economics Foundation, including their pioneering development of P2P knowledge production with the Free University of the West of England, is franchised. Tom Trevor steps down as Director after 16 years to take up a post as consultant to the Avon Wellbeing Initiative. Rachel Chan, based in Dalian in Northeast China, takes over on a fixed five-year term.
To mark its 50th anniversary, Matrix, the 1971 exhibition of generative, conceptual and systembased art works, is reinstalled as software in the hardware that is the Arnolfini. Throughout the year, the programme generates, composes and constructs a new iteration of Matrix.
“I suspect exhibition agency and governance are my real strengths. I will look to mine the rich legacy, and build a creative future for Arnolfini" Rachel Chan
Stem-cell therapies and DNA biotechnology have developed a range of regenerative medicines. The pluripotency of Embryonic Stem (ES) cells enables them to differentiate into all derivatives of the 220 cell types in the adult human body. Additionally, ES cells are capable of propagating themselves indefinitely, enabling scenario-planned trials for combatting diseases and viral pandemics. On 5th September, at the Lagoon Clinic in Lagos, Nigeria, ES cells cloned from Aaron Ewedafe pharmed into a replacement left ventricle and aorta are transplanted during a six-hour procedure. While cloned protein-coding genes and part-synthetic bacteria have been manufactured and assimilated for some time, this is the first
Ahead of assuming its full incorporation into the Multitude in July, Sweden completes its ambitious 15-year plan to replace all fossil fuels with renewables, and is verified ‘carbon-free’ by the Carbon Ratings Agency. Badly hit by oil price rises in the 1970s, the country was one of the first to enact carbon taxes in 1990, and now sources its entire energy supply from hydro, wind, geothermal, solar and biofuels.
cultured major organ assembly. Dr Joachim Krueger of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research in Potsdam-Golm has developed a nano-composite and manufacturing process for a corneal prosthesis. The artificial cornea fulfils almost contradictory specifications: on the one hand, the material fuses with surrounding cells and tissue; on the other, no cells can graft with the optical region of the new cornea, since this would severely impair the ability to see. In addition, the outside of the implant has to be continually moistened with tear fluid, so the eyelid can slide across without friction. Dr Krueger designed and manufactured the solution using a hydrophobic nano-composite. It is available from November.
“Sweden is the first industrial country to present a very clear route to make ourselves independent of carbon and reduce emissions to the levels climate measures require.” Andreas Carlgren, Minister for the Environment, 2009
Above left: The new Arnolfini fixed-term executive, Rachel Chan. Right: Energy farm off the coast of Umeå, Sweden
2021 Knowledge franchise. Tom Trevor steps down as Director, replaced by fixedterm executive Rachel Chan 2021 Jubilee recollection of Matrix exhibition of generative art works 2020 The Multitude coordinates higher-rate Transaction Tax
2021 Regenerative medicine and nanoprosthesis
2021 Sweden declared carbonfree
“The Multitude believes that authority and power must be matched by responsibility.” Founding Charter
Two teams at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IITM), led by Professors Judith Armitage and Dilip Ballal, take the first steps towards engineering a synthetic bacterial cell that senses and responds to novel environmental cues. The technology, described in the July distribution of Science, can overwrite specific DNA sequences by using a findand-replace function. The researchers can make hundreds of targeted edits to the Streptomyces genome, then install synthetic sensing circuits inside the cell, Once ‘booted up’, the assembly writes and replicates the new biosensors. Armitage and Ballal have created the largest man-made DNA structure to date.
Above: Armitage and Ballal’s largest man-made DNA structure. Right: The Multitude logotype, adapted by Felix Spira. Far right: Sergei Andreev, first-year student at the Frieze Art Academy, Beijing
The Multitude has proved astonishingly productive, its granular organisational architecture enabling it to operate at a variety of scales. It is organised through free co-operation via Assemblies, Coordination Groups, adhocracies and individual working groups, each focused on a different aspect of governance, but united by common aspirations and guidelines. There are currently five regional Assemblies of the Multitude, which exist to oversee legal and financial integrity. The Assemblies review and monitor the finances of the Multitude and discharge the standard statutory responsibilities (such as delivering accounts). Election to each Assembly is on a five-year fixed term. Abridged minutes of Assembly meetings are published in real time, and accounts are held in common for public scrutiny by the Secretariat. The Coordination Groups are made up of the leadership
of regional adhocracy and working groups. The Coordination Groups deal with all adhocracy and working-group related matters including incubating, approving, retiring, monitoring progress, etc. At least one Assembly member sits on the Coordination Group. Adhocracies and working groups have autonomy over the running of specified and time-bound projects; although responsibility is devolved. Adhocracies and working groups are the chief decision-making units. Open disenssus allows the most promising ideas to come to the fore, and real-time consensus is used for decision-making. Differences are recognised as a creative force: dissensus, when discussed openly, enables an adhocracy’s processes to be clarified and implemented. All adhocracies and working groups are involved in promoting iCommons infrastructures, knowledge and resources.
2022 Organicsynthetic assemblies
Arnolfini leads a critique of the 19th century museum model, in which an exhibitionary institution has to constantly expand, commission signature buildings, and evolve huge administrative hierarchies for exhibition, education, support and management. It resolves to begin instituting – in the ancient sense of the word, of founding and supporting – creative practice. As a creative institution, its driving principle is to play, risk, co-operate, research and rapidly prototype – not only through research and distributed exhibitions, but also with its governance and organisational structure. Some values are lost, and others produced, maintained, nurtured and cherished. With Intermediæ in Madrid, Arnolfini learns to invest, longterm, without regard to an interested return. It devolves locally (with Spacex, Eden Project and the Free University of the West of England) and networks globally with new partners in Vietnam, Australia, Iceland, West Africa and the West Indies. There are some failures and mistakes, where exhibitions can’t convene the necessary resources, although even these failures are productive.
2022 Governance through local adhocracies and real-time consensus
On 18th October, the Frieze Art Academy opens in an elegant building by architect Vern Yip, on the leafy Yuanda Road in the Haidian district of Beijing. Concerned about the scarcity of assets in the art market, and in its Fair franchise, the Frieze Foundation announces the opening of an art academy to ensure a measure of value-atrisk control over its newly-produced assets. In collaboration with Deutsche Bank, the Academy
offers 1,200 students a diverse range of courses at all levels, from undergraduate to postgraduate and research. Its 43 teaching staff, all active professional artists, gallerists, dealers, agents, critics or theorists, deliver creative and experimental practice alongside sound business strategies. The combination of a varied student group, cutting-edge research and highly experienced staff creates a unique, multifaceted learning experience.
2022 Frieze Art Academy, Beijing
2022 Networked governance, exhibitionary research nodes
“This crisis is not about having too little water to satisfy our needs. It is a crisis of managing water so badly that billions of people – and the environment – suffer badly.” World Water Vision, 200046
More than two billion people worldwide live in regions facing water scarcity, and in India this is a particularly acute crisis. Nearly 70% of discharge to the River Ganges comes from Nepalese snow-fed rivers. Himalayan glaciers are shrinking, and as a consequence water supplies to hundreds of millions of people in the Bay of Bengal is diminished. In February resources are becoming scarce. In August tensions among different user groups intensify, conflicts erupt, and an estimated 3,500 people are killed in disputes over access. Regional tensions are heightened. In early October, the recently constituted Indian Multitude and the World Water Council join forces in response to the growing threat and deploy AQUclear membranes to enable the use of previously undrinkable water.
Financial resources are flowing into sub-Saharan countries from energy sales, self-managed mineral wealth and Transaction Tax redistribution. In February, participants in the fledgling Multitude decide to grant a Standard Social Wage to lift millions of the continent’s poor above poverty. Just $15 a day would transform the lives of 80% of the continent’s population. The Multitude’s organisational structure is patchy, and as a result the distribution of a fair wage is unequal, management opaque, and corruption rife. Distraught at the waste of resources, on Wednesday 19th July the Nigeria Labour Congress announces a threeday warning strike over non-implementation. Nigeria’s air space, energy
Left: Drought-ravaged farmland in a normally fertile plain near Dumka, Jharkhand. Below: Crated art works in storage at Guggenheim New York, awaiting iCommons transfer to the MACBA network
2024 Virus infects dark-pool financial trading algorithms, futures markets seize
2024 Guggenheim corporate collapse, collection reverts to public domain
2023 Standard Social Wage movement 2023 Indian water crisis
farms, financial sector, petroleum industry, and mining sectors are all shut down. In August an indefinite strike is called, and the action spreads to neighbouring Cameroon, Congo and Ghana, coordinated by local Assemblies. Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya soon follow. At the beginning of September, with economies seizing, regional administrations accede. The revised Standard Social Wage, equivalent to $300 per month, is introduced as a legal standard throughout the region. The success of the Standard Social Wage, especially on the lives of women, is transformational. The minimum standard ripples globally through the regional Multitude.
2024 Transactional Aesthetics
Initiated in January, Transactional Aesthetics is a landmark project for Arnolfini. As artists rethink their practices through P2P meshworks, they recognise themselves as a nexus of complex social process; realising that creativity is inherent in every conceivable transaction producing that nexus, whatever its intensity, and regardless of the scale of the assembly. The huge challenge to everyone involved is to attend to the lines of force, the transactions, and not be dazzled by the subjects, objects or institutions they produce. Through Transactional Aesthetics, artists’ practices merge with the creative forces released by Arnolfini through the Networked Governance project, into relations of mutual co-production. Arnolfini redefines itself as an institution subject to constant critical and creative exploration, immanent to the logic of networks.
On 10th January, the spectacular 65-year rollercoaster ride of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is over. Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, New York, Venice, Bilbao and the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, together with unfinished projects in Shanghai and Moscow, are all taken into receivership. Guggenheim Foundation was the largest private museum in the world. Its demise triggers turmoil in global art markets, though the repercussions reach much wider. Auction franchises, investment banks, commercial galleries and local city authorities in need of regeneration all have dealings with the Foundation. Unwinding its complex financial obligations, especially
its Singularity Bond issue, will take months if not years, and many galleries and investment banks don’t know for sure to what extent they are exposed. As the Foundation is broken up, the vast collection is distributed through the iCommons to sympathetic public institutions. The MACBA network, Reina Sofía Latin America, and MOMA Mumbai all spectacularly benefit.
Dark pools of liquidity – essentially bespoke markets closed to non-members – have grown rapidly over the past decade. Convened by large financial institutions, the logic is that large executions of stock transactions are performed without traders moving the market against themselves. They are also obscured from Transaction Tax scrutiny. There are two kinds of pools: independent companies like Short-Term Capital Management and u-Invest offering to convene specialist boutique markets; and broker-owned dark pools where clients of the broker interact, most commonly with other clients of the broker, in conditions of anonymity. Although the whole point of dark pools is to be secure, in May a breach and infection occurs at two of the largest, Pulse Trading and RiverCross. A polymorphic retrovirus enters the pools, writing a unique encrypted copy of itself within each recorded transaction. Since no parts of the encryption remain identical between infections, the retrovirus is virtually impossible to detect. Within four hours the dark pool markets seize, and the code jumps to the futures market to devastating effect. There is no known cure for the infection, only ongoing management. 155
The African Multitude (AM) is a free co-operation, with Assemblies, Foundations, adhocracies, clusters and working groups active in and through some 53 states. Constituted on 4th July, the AM is the successor to the African Union (AU), and has grown through local energy adhocracies and standard social wage struggles. The AM secretariat and fixedterm Assembly is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where it meets quarterly. The Assembly is convened by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, former President of Equatorial Guinea, who is elected Executive Emeritus
2024 Global transit crisis
The UN-Multitude’s 2024 World Transit Report on Human Mobility records that almost 400 million people are currently residing outside their place of birth. The number of people in transit in the world has more than doubled since 2010, with most living in Asia (93 million), North America (81 million) and Europe (78 million), according to findings from the UN-M Population Division. As the issue of transit is thrust to the forefront of resource management, the need for accurate, timely and comparable information and analyses on transit levels, trends and policies acquires unprecedented urgency. 156
at the first Ordinary Meeting in January 2026. The AM’s Coordination Group consists of 265 members. Its first executive is Idriss Ndele Moussa from Chad, a past President of the AU’s PanAfrican Parliament. The four main objectives of the African Multitude are: to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent; to promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples; to achieve peace and security in Africa; and to promote participatory institutions, good governance and human rights.
2025 Natural Language and thought recognition interface, intellectual and emotional firewalls
Transition is an essential part and consequence of different intensities occurring in ecologies of networked interests. The needs of those in transit have to be factored into Multitude resource management to assist in general economic wellbeing. Just as protectionism in exchange needs to be avoided, so should protectionism in transit be resisted. In December, the International Organisation for Transition (IOT) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) prepare an iCommons survey on transit and its consequences, with tools to collect real-time data.
Natural language interfaces such as Apple’s early 21st century Siri personal assistant, combined with gesturerecognition programs, have dominated interaction with most machine assemblies and environments to date. On 13th June, Teresa Schuette, coordinator of interaction for Social Interface Inc., launches the company’s neural headset. The headset learns, translates (filtering out noise), and eventually predicts electrical signals produced by neurons, nerves and muscles and turns these into intention. Currently the neural headset requires a training phase of two to three days, although this is expected to be reduced to a matter of hours in the near future. The possibilities opened by the neural headset also raise important issues of personal security. Advanced cryptographic techniques are needed to secure organic networks. To safeguard information, emotions and attention from unauthorised access or manipulation, Social Interface begins trialling intellectual and emotional firewalls.
Following the demise of the Guggenheim and the slump in the Singularity Bond market, other hyper-resourced private museums are in trouble. The Akzo la Caixa Collection, the Generali Foundation in Vienna, the former Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, and MOCA Shanghai all file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection with the UNMultitude. In November, art works from the failed museums devolve to the Multitude and enter public museum collections. In a spectacular reverse of resource flows, tens of thousands of art works pour physically and virtually into public collections from previously private institutions. Tate benefits enormously from a spate of default donations, as do Musée du Louvre, Museu Contempora, Rio de Janeiro, MOMA New York and Nairobi, and the National Art Museum of China. Far left: Persons in transit, Kairouan, Maghreb region. Left: The first meeting of the African Multitude Assembly, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
“We invite and encourage the full participation of those people in transit as an important part of our Continent, and in the building of the African Multitude.” The Constitutive Act of the African Multitude
2025 African Multitude formed
2025 Avalanche of donations to public-domain museum collections
Blue Nano, a company with a long tradition of fabricating biomedical sensors, announces a breakthrough from its research hub in Grenoble, in the European Multitude. Using modified RNA to carry instructions, and carbon as the source material, a varied combination of logic gates, protein motors, amino switches and peptide sensors have been made to cohere, through covalent bonding, into supramolecular assemblies. These processes have been core to Blue Nano’s manufacturing for some time. The breakthrough, announced in May, has been to cluster these organic-synthetic assemblies, and instruct them to
fabricate other molecular mechanisms. It’s the first primitive nano-manufactory.
Encoding information in DNA strands and replicating the information with each reiteration has been possible for some time; the difficulty has been the transcoding mechanism. Coordinated by Dr Slaven Garaj at MIT Open iLabs, and exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery in September before touring internationally, researchers successfully deploy graphene nanopores to array single DNA strands for both coding and decoding. Using lossless codecs, there is no deformation, astonishing storage volume and near instantaneous retrieval.
The Arnolfini-initiated Ornament exhibition in March in Shanghai provides the impetus for new informal local clusters. As Arnolfini’s iCommons collection, exhibitions and activities expand – along with those of other institutions in the network – an ethic of public generosity is distributed, nurtured and encouraged. Everyone benefits. Increased resources, along with the gifts, donations and reversions from failed private museums, enable Arnolfini to distribute collected art works, and build new partnerships. In April, Arnolfini merges with the Lalit Kala Akademi across India, Tianyi Pavilion Heritage Group in China and National Museums of Brazil, to create what becomes fondly termed the Bristol Cluster.
2026 Blue Nano announces first nanomanufactory
The Great Refusal, coordinated through the Multitude, is a mass boycott of government elections in many European countries. Starting in Spanish Assemblies, the movement spreads throughout the EU-M to Italy, Portugal, Poland and the Balkans. Even in Belgium, Greece and Turkey, where voting is compulsory, voter registration and attendance collapse. As governments try to produce the citizen best suited to fulfil their own policies, there is a loss of trust in elected officials, and the institutions through which government actions are exercised. The decline in participation in representational democracies, the removal of their legitimacy, is accompanied by a huge rise in civic participation: attendance in Assemblies, foundations, local adhocracies, membership of NGOs, fraternal organisations, interest groups, mutual societies, credit unions and microfinance organisations – and especially the deliberative democratic processes coordinated by the Multitude.
2026 DNA storage devices
Left: The first evidence of selfassembling structural nanopolymers. Right: Judith Rice from MCM announces the suspension of the Singularity Art Bond, New York
2026 Arnolfini clusters emerge in Indian, Chinese and Brazilian Multitudes
With the slow unwinding of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s liabilities still in process, and the collapse of many private contemporary art museums and collections, Morgan Capital Management announces the suspension of the Singularity Art Bond. Since January volumes of trade and
investor confidence have tapered away. On 16th February, as just over 2% of the bonds change hands, MCM withdraws. Economies convened through artificial scarcity, enforced through legal technologies, no longer have any agency. Singularity as a quality has lost its value.
2027 The Great Refusal, mass boycott of representational democratic processes
2027 Market collapse leads to withdrawal of Singularity Art Bond
Operating System: Governance is the result of a two-year research thread into exhibition as technology, and immanence as an institutional logic. The project concludes with the realisation that Arnolfini needs radical revision to add an executable function to its research and exhibitionary core.
“To enact. To be more agent than immanent.” Larissa Riquelme, fixed-term executive
In March, most regional assemblies, city administrations, local authorities, NGOs, civil and cultural institutions, implementing Transparency and Multitude organisational guidelines, roll out real-time disenssus in decision-making processes. Used at a local level for over a decade, the process allows people to participate in governance in real time, browse the raw vote count from recent decisions, and quickly drill down to a provincial, district, adhocracy or working group view.
2028 Real-time dissensus replaces majority voting in governance
2029 Carbon tipping point. Global carbon use peaks, emissions: 12.7 billion metric tons.
2028 Operating System adds executable function to Arnolfini’s exhibitionary core
Orbitec, based in Star City, Moscow Oblast, designs and implements the architecture of the first Self-Sustaining Resource Colony (SSRC). It is located near the Shackleton crater at the Lunar south pole. Chemical analyses performed on previous Lunar samples indicate the non-radioactive isotope Helium-3 (He-3) is in high concentration, in quantities of 0.01 to 0.05 ppm. He-3, an essential fusion fuel for thermonuclear reactors, can now be harvested.
2029 Lunar Helium-3 resource colony 2029 Self-aware organic-synthetic assemblies
Left: Prototype real-time dissensus voting interface. Right: DX-crystallographic scan of the neural network in ‘Sara I’, the first SA organic-synthetic assembly
The Sarai research cluster at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IITM) led by Judith Armitage and Dilip Ballal claims another first. The team assembles a selfaware (SA) intelligent agent, an organic-synthetic assembly which senses, is able to act upon an environment, and directs its activity towards acquiring knowledge, and achieving and revising its goals. ‘Sara I’ is unveiled at the Special Conference on Nano Science and Technology on 13th October. 161
Being a spectator means looking at a spectacle, and looking is the opposite of knowing or doing – it’s a state without any power of intervention. Being a spectator means being passive, and passivity has dominated the reception of art for much of its recent history. The effect of the Radical Transparency guidelines, the P2P networks of the multitude, and co-produced exhibitionary networks is that spectatorship is overwritten by engagement and participation, and in turn representation is replaced by presence.
There’s been a linear growth in life expectancy over the last 200 years, increasing at a rate of three months every year since the 1830s. At the Free University of Southern Denmark, Kaare Christensen’s Ageing Research Centre team claims life expectancy will continue to rise indefinitely. Whilst current life expectancy is 100, the team calculates that half the children born in 2031 will live past 120.
“Ageing processes are modifiable and people are living longer without severe disability. This finding, together with technological and medical development and redistribution of work, is important for our chances to meet the challenges of ageing populations.” Kaare Christensen, Ageing Research Centre 162
In January an all-time carbon-price peak of $187 is recorded. Despite being firewalled, prices of essential commodities such as vegetable oil, wheat, potatoes and North Atlantic fish reach record levels in the first half of the year; there is a leaking away of social capitals of wellbeing, trust and generosity, a rise in electricity prices due to increased demand in the African Multitude, and attention is under threat. The EU-M Sustainable Development Strategy estimates that recent prices have caused an additional 75 million people to suffer from resource shortages. In September there are widespread protests and riots. Many uncertainties exist in the availability of resources. For renewables, short-term conditions are hard to predict and as for non-renewables, the quantity remaining is unknown and the enlargement of reserves is dependent on investment, research and innovation.
2031 Radical Transparency, and Transactional Aesthetics result in the end of spectatorship
Trust circulating through economies of attention is a key vector in the new political economy. Through attention, and the technologies for regulation, distribution, competition and accumulation, we can glimpse a new horizon of value. Attention is both a power and a communicative medium, and nothing moves outside of its sphere of influence; everything is permeated by attention. By the same token, no exchange, no matter how small and intimate, or vast in volume and scale is possible without trust. Arnolfini
commands trust, trust organises, and as it organises becomes an immanent value in economies of attention.
In April at the Academy for Organic Architecture at Filton, a prototype self-organising organic-synthetic assembly displays the ability to sense, calculate and act. The assembly is able to consider and recognise importance (simple salience), detect and respond to hazard, and grapple with rudimentary autonomy. Early interactions suggest an evolving consciousness, self-awareness, sentience and sapience.
These evolving traits open an ethical dilemma, since an assembly with consciousness may be judged to accrue legal rights.
On 6th February at the Ferguson Research cluster at the Manchester Open University, an organicsynthetic assembly participates in the Turing Test. In an examination that lasts more than three-and-a-half hours, a panel of judges is unable to agree on which participant was the human subject, and the assembly, is credited with human-like intelligence.
2031 Life expectancy reaches 100 2033 European resource crisis
Left: Escalating prices for European wheat trigger a resource crisis. Above: Judges on the Turing Test panel credit the first organic-synthetic assembly with human-like intelligence
2036 Self-organising organicsynthetic assemblies
2035 Arnolfini becomes a key value in economies of trust and attention
2037 Organicsynthetic assembly passes 1950s Turing Test
Coinciding with the distribution of the UN-Mbacked Global Accord on Conflict and Terrorism, the archival exhibitionary network Ecology of Fear considers crisis and anxiety between communities, and in resource ecologies.
On 12th January, Arnolfini inhabits the first in a series of affinity buildings from Sapience Habitat Ecologies. It is located in downtown Fortaleza in the Ceará region of Brazilian Multitude. As well as nestling sensitively in the local permaculture (it uses upcycled materials), the building explores biotic responsiveness. It senses emotional excess within guests, or emotional excess towards others, and environmentally responds.
In the 13 years since the first primitive DNA storage devices were assembled, they have evolved at an astonishing speed. Once hardwired to nanosynthetics, they replicated quickly to become the memory architecture of the iCommons. On 11th December the unthinkable happens; a memory-resident retrovirus is malevolently introduced, corrupting the Primary Source Archive. Although distributed and firewalled at every mirror, each query reiterates the retrovirus. Unlike common viruses, the RF.3 corrupts the reflexonomies – the relational databases of queries, preferences, choices and annotations, the metadata. Without metadata, there can be no recall of the source material.
2038 Ecology of Fear research and exhibitionary network explores conflict, war and terror
Energy from nuclear fusion finally comes on stream and contributes to the global grid. A consortium from the United States, the EU-M and Japan builds the first fusion reactor, The Faraday Experimental Reactor (FER), at the Cadarache Research Centre in southern France. Driven by the code of Albert Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence, a super-heated gas, condensed into a plasma is squeezed into an ever-decreasing ring by an electromagnetic field until particle fusion occurs. Harnessing the controlled fusion of Helium-3 (He-3) supplied from the SSLC v1 Lunar resource colony, and deuterium (2H) – also known as heavy hydrogen – produces a Helium-4 (He-4) nucleus and almost unlimited quantities of heat energy.
2039 Viral pandemic amongst organic-synthetic assemblies, mass data loss
2049 62% of population resides in Asian Multitude
2039 Affinity buildings, responsive to emotional economies
2049 Nuclear fusion, second-stage energy resource
The annual report of the International Organisation for Transition (IOT), released in April, amasses evidence that South and East Asia contain 62% of the global human population, concentrated along the coast and the river valleys of China, and along the plains of the Indus and Ganges rivers in India.
Left: Nanoprint of They Don’t Want To by Francisco de Goya from the Disasters of War series, c. 1810
“We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields.” Alan Turing
To coincide with the centenary of Turing’s seminal paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, and in celebration of the recovery of most of the mass data lost in the 2039 pandemic, Arnolfini coordinates an exhibition of resources. The history of human philosophical inquiry presupposes an already constituted subject, a conscious, self-present, sovereign individual in possession of private property, anterior to communal relations. In contrast Almost Real: Composite Consciousness is an
2050 Almost Real: Composite Consciousness, Alan Turing centenary
exploration of openness to others, an openness that precedes and establishes communal relations, the very condition of interpersonal and communal existence. Composite consciousness is a gift that constitutes the social identity of those that reciprocate, and in that reciprocation, the gift is the interval (or difference) between those present, and those not. The time of the disinterested gift is the time of the archive and memory – it shifts the present into the future, or recollects the past into the present. 165
The pioneering work of Armitage and Ballal at IITM in Mumbai led to the development of pharmafactories throughout the Asian Multitude. They routinely produced bespoke pharmaceuticals, organic sensors, algae for renewable energy production and storage, water purification devices, DNA storage systems and anti-pollution devices. In February the first experimental nanofactory begins production, grafting a class of nanotechnology (atomically precise manufacturing processes – APMs) to organic manufacturing. At the Exponential Manufacturing Centre in Nagoya, Japan, using convergent assembly architecture and generalpurpose replicators, molecularly precise, endlessly reproducible, inexpensive, three-dimensional products of arbitrary size flow from the factory. The possibility of large-volume nanoscale materials enters the logistics supply chain. Simple aggregated assemblies are produced, along with primitive nutritional samples.
To attend is to invest, to take care, and to socialise attention for others. Creativity is to attend to things not yet known, a long-term disinterested investment in common goods. And creativity co-produced by a multitude of authors and distributed through the iCommons is a semantic storm of agonistic attentions that clash and compete, merge and dissolve into novel assemblies. Time, trust, generosity, prestige, love, gifts and respect are the currencies of these economies.
“In an informationrich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Herbert Simon
2055 War of Attention
2052 Materials, artefacts and food assembled in nanofactories
There are aspects of private interests and retail culture that strive to capture attention, that thrive on minimum, short-term, quantified, calculated investment; attention to be sold. The long-term disinterested attention of creativity, love and generosity are at always at risk. Skirmishes break out over the currencies in play, often escalating into local conflicts for social capitals. There is a diffused sense of permanent emergency, a low-grade war in the political economy of attention.
2056 Article 39: Declaration of Human Rights proposed to redefine personhood and extend to organicsynthetic assemblies
The agent cluster of Arnolfini is campaigning for a new Article in the UNMultitude Declaration of Human Rights. According to Article 6 of the UN-MDHR, all humans are persons under the law. But there is a philosophical and legal distinction between humans and persons. ‘Humans’ are those that fall within the biological classification Homo sapiens, whereas a ‘person’ refers to those with certain traits or characteristics. Since John Locke in 1689 defined a person as a “thinking intelligent being that has reason and reflection and can consider itself as itself”, the criteria for personhood include self-awareness, selfcontrol, sophisticated cognitive capacities such as problem solving and analytical thought, a sense of past and future, and the ability to relate to others. Since organicsynthetic assemblies meet the criteria for personhood, but not humanhood, Arnolfini petitions through research and exhibition to add a 39th article to the UN-MHDR extending human rights to such assemblies.
With the evolution of assemblies for replication, singularity is overwritten by difference. Everything can at once be narrated into singularity. Yet nothing is singular, everything can be seen as a flow of precedents and antecedents. It only exists at the level of ideology; it disappears as we advance towards it. The singular is in essence a generic artefact, assembled from the minute and relative differences from within a defined series. And this drive to replicate, image for image, object to object, sound to sound, word for
Left: Garden-like peas, the first primitive nutritional assembly. Right: A visitor browses the retro section of the Museum of Their Wishes exhibition, Moderna Museet network
2056 Composite is live
word, is how we make the known world,and make that world known to one another.
Our Composite meshwork is live. All data, information and knowledge protected by the GPL v4, every archive, database, digital collection and DNA storage device accessible to iCommons is available live and in real time.
The collection of the first public modern art museum in Europe, Moderna Museet in Stockholm was proposed by Pontus Hultén with the Museum of Our Wishes exhibition, in which ‘ideal’ works to initiate a national museum were exhibited, a fund aggregated, and most of the art works purchased. This exhibition was revisited in 2006 by then Director Lars Nittve with The Second Museum of our Wishes, which addressed the lack of women artists within the core collection. Museum of Their Wishes, organised by Ayan Lindquist to mark the museum’s centenary, is assembled in co-operation with organic-synthetic composites.
2058 Museum of Their Wishes, centenary of Moderna Museet, Stockholm
2056 Singularity is overwritten by difference
Self Portrait: Arnolfini Over the course of Arnolfini’s 50th anniversary year, artist Neil Cummings developed a series of self-portraits of the organisation using data from our archive. Recalled from composite memory on the eve of our centenary in 2061, Self Portrait: Arnolfini is a vast relational timeline of three principal strands: social and financial organisation, technological change, and art and its institutions.
2059 Nanotech swarms mine off-world resources
Traditional fireworks cascade over the Arnolfini Bristol, European Multitude
Extended and produced by our technologies, the Multitude distributes desire, care, attention and contribution. Our diffused and collective consciousness is arrayed in myriad networks of production, and concentrated in multiple locations – in concrete social assemblages of persons, institutions, technologies, and geographies.
Self-Sustaining Resource Colony v1 (SSRC v1) is used as a launch site for SSRC v2, to extract and process mineral deposits on Mars. Orbitec, in 168
2059 UN-MDHR Article 39 adopted 2058 Consciousness is distributed
co-operation with Mittal Minerals from New Bangalore, finances a swarm mineralprocessing colony. The alkaline soil has a basic pH of 8.3, and contains immeasurably rich deposits of iron, magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride.
Our final draft for Article 39 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, extending human rights to organic-synthetic assemblies, is approved on 19th October.
Throughout Arnolfini, in all our intensities, we celebrate.
2061 Arnolfini centenary
Art Social and financial Technology
Published on Jul 10, 2014
As part of the Arnolfini centenary celebrations in 2061, we produced a beautiful celebratory heritage paper publication, designed by Stephen...