19th - 27th June
THE RULE OF EXCEPTIONS BY PAUL O’KANE ARTIST WORK THE SUPRAPOSITIONAL NETWORKED CATHEDRALS OF OUR DIGITAL LUDOCENE BY FRANCIS PATRICK BRADY ARTIST WORK OCCUPY UAL ARTIST WORK CENTREFOLD / YEAR PHOTO ARTIST WORK D-ACCELERATIONISM BY WHITNEY MALLET SOME THOUGHTS ON ARTWORK, ETHICS AND UTOPIA BY DAN SMITH ARTIST WORK ON HUMAN DANGERS BY IAN BOGOST ARTIST WORK TOUGH PARODY BY ALICE KHALILOVA HAHA BY HAHA GALLERY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS INDEX MAP
003 004 - 006 007 008 - 014 015 016 - 018 019 - 022 023 - 025 026 027 028 - 030 031 032 - 036 037 038 039 040
THE RULE OF EXCEPTIONS You have been asked to write about a show that does not yet exist, to find a way to predict and describe the possible appearance of a future event. The event is the Chelsea College of Arts, BA Fine Art degree show, 2015. Just how might you go about this task? Denis Diderot [1713 – 1784], the grandfather of modern art criticism, wrote partly as a service to those who might be far from Paris and who could not attend the exhibitions. Through this act of mediation and the craft of writing he made something impossible possible. It meant that those readers who would not otherwise be a part of the urban milieu, in which the formation of judgements and taste played an important part in shaping society, could nevertheless feel involved as observers and contributors. Today’s artists, writers and critics are connected by technologies in such a way that we can now see into each other’s exhibitions, studios and homes from the comfort of our own homes or phones and are even allowed to watch works being formed in the studio, before they are installed and launched. Furthermore, all of this tends to be ‘Liked’ –according to the lingo and rationale of social networking- a generally thoughtless affirmation that leaves little place for the privileged role of the expert critic operating to provide a distant art-lover with erudite and informed judgements. And yet the more or less noble, often disparaged role of the art critic persists in many guises today across the globe. We could say that the art critic’s role has always been to some degree prognostic, forward-looking, imaginary, and at best visionary. The art critic uses art history as a reservoir of precedents and potential connections from which to draw examples and construct theses concerning the value of contemporary art, but their aim is invariably also to predict, guide and shape the future, even at times when the future itself seems a worrying prospect or dubious notion. If you imagine (or simply ‘image’) Chelsea’s BA show, you might first think of the site, a grand, ex-military building on London’s Milbank constructed around a parade ground. Being of a certain age, you can’t help also recalling that Chelsea College of Arts wasn’t always here but was once housed in a purpose-built tower in Manresa Road (just off Kings Road) in what might be called ‘Chelsea proper.’ The current building, along with this memory, tend to stimulate the imagination, firstly because the current building is grandiose and ‘fantastic’ in the sense that its design incorporates several decorative flourishes, including turrets and domed towers. Its architecture is thus, like its neoclassical neighbour Tate Britain, not merely functional but florid, allegorical, symbolic of exotic values and suggestive of narrative. The nearby river Thames, whose ma jestic pace and width invariably invokes for you the paintings of Whistler and the artists and thinkers who once clustered around nearby Cheyne Walk and Tite Street, also helps carry away the mind on tides of evocative connection. As for memories of the old, Kings Road building, just to recall visiting Chelsea Fine Art shows in bygone years is also an act of imagination as much as a dialogue with factual history. Neither memory nor imagination can confidently claim to be accurate, both produce flattering, incomplete or otherwise distorted images, and yet they might justifiably defend themselves, arguing they may be as reliable as more factual information. Old photographs, architect’s drawings, recorded interviews all have their own inbuilt unreliability, technological shortcomings and mendacious seductions. It may seem inexorably predictable to say so but the most predictable thing about the 2015 Chelsea show is that it is unpredictable. Trying to describe a future show, as you have here been asked to do, is at least as unreliable and imaginative as looking back, looking from afar, or otherwise calling to mind for others what is not present in current reality. In an earlier age, when the authoritative academy or the cliquey taste of a dominant salon prevailed, such a prediction might have been easier, but since the dawn of modern art, when Charles Baudelaire explicitly condemned ‘the dogma of the studios’, art has tended to concern itself with thwarting expectation. Henceforth imagination, invention, experiment, transgression and speculation become a cultural cauldron that doubles as modern oracle by means of which to discern creative futures and careers as challenges to existing taste, value, perception and norms. Chelsea College of Arts has been a consistent and leading contributor to this dynamic modern project since
at least the 1950s and art classes were provided on the Manresa Road site dating back to 1895. So, what might you expect when visiting the 2015 Chelsea show? There will certainly be more than the building in which it is housed but Chelsea’s particular spaces and places are bound to influence both what you encounter and the way in which you encounter it. You might surmise that several students will have made video works, and could therefore safely gamble on the likelihood that these will be projected in dimmed spaces or shown on monitors, perhaps with headphones supplied. A series of small rooms in one ‘block’ (as sections of this ex-military building are still addressed) may once have been punishment cells but can now be readily transformed into installations within which aspiring Chelsea artists might comprehensively immerse your every sense. The gloomily named ‘Morgue’ (another ghost of the building’s past) is useful for creating larger and more complex installations of this kind. Meanwhile, the enormous central parade ground could be hi-jacked by a spectacular sculpture, a performative event, and/or a ‘Relational’ exotic bar or performance stage-as-artwork. Live, performative events (increasingly important and popular in contemporary art) are likely to vie for your time and attention, and so you might require a diary to get the best out of the show. Some studio spaces are renowned and revered for their particular proportions and the quality of their light and might be commandeered by the passionate painting fraternity that perpetuates its long and proud tradition at the college. Then there is the more portentous lecture theatre where a ‘reel’ of student films might be celebrated in their most cinematic incarnation, or where - who knows? - a lecture-as-artwork, parodic symposium or controversial conference may even enhance the packed agenda. Then there are official, utilitarian and interstitial spaces – offices, canteens, libraries and washrooms, workshops, staircases, nooks and crannies, ceilings and windows, corners, roofs, lifts and doors – any of which could become the site of an unexpected or perhaps barely noticeable intervention. And we shouldn’t forget to predict the use of off-site sites, virtual sites, web-sites and globally dispersed hi-tec networks that may be occupied by students’ works and readily accessed by today’s strolling, scrolling, selfie-snapping, smartphone-addicted, apped-up, socially-networked audience. Other than the few, possibly presumptuous assertions above, no-one can predict or foresee quite what will happen, what has happened at the 2015 Chelsea BA Fine art show, and so you must simply go, to see and to judge for yourself … and yet, all of this has thus far only alluded to forms, media and physical contexts for the art you will see at Chelsea. Above and beyond, around and about, beneath and within all this materiality, technology and spatiality you will surely also encounter rich and varied ‘content’ - culture, ideas, references, politics, language, concepts, questions, hypotheses and speculations - confronting the concerns of an as yet unknowable generation of emerging artists who see their role as, not only to translate and perceive the world anew, but to comprehensively rethink, re-question, re-programme and rearticulate it. To critique, shock and shape the world in this way ensures that the job of predicting what artists do next, and what art does next, remains necessarily and essentially impossible, and in this way the impossible is maintained as art’s strange goal, its ultimate, noninstrumental aim and its obscure economy, its insistent exception to whatever is currently decreed the rule, no matter what manifestation of the possibilities of society we are currently forced to contend with and endure. Whatever the pervading cultural climate, a great art school with a history as proud as Chelsea’s should always be allowed, supported and encouraged to nurture and perpetuate art as the rule of exceptions (alluding to the ‘pataphysics’ of Alfred Jarry ), as a unique realm where invention reigns and where play is taken seriously, as an idiosyncratic institution that should only ever be commanded to guarantee and academically underpin the excellence of its risks, speculations, and ultimately, yes, its surprises!
Paul O’Kane, 2015 okpaul.com 750wordsaweek. wordpress.com
Manipulated images (digitally or physically) causes the perception of the original image to be altered. Through memory and familiarity, signifiers can be identified and pieced together subconsciously to perhaps reveal remnants of the original image. Turning photographs into geometric 3D shapes causes the image to shift from static to one that holds movement. It is the tension between these two factors that forces the viewer to read the artwork in a new way and view the image as an object. Although distorted all my work still hold fragments of what was there, clues given from textures, shapes and patterns.
5 Within my practise I am exploring places that have been drawn to public attention as a result of a crime against an individual or group. Each of the locations documented in this index have been subject to external forces of governance, power, territory or religion.
For one or more of these factors, these sites have become containers of memory. I am interested in the way in which a crime can leave an indelible mark on the place at which it took place. In ‘Sites of Violence’ the viewer is presented with fifty locations and a corresponding factual text about the crime supposedly committed within each of them. There are multiple truths to every image depending on the contexts in which it is witnessed. Not everything is as it seems in each of these ‘Sites of Violence’.
Joanna’s practice is informed by curation, with the aim of drawing attention to the question of: ‘how do / should we approach art?’. The organisation of group shows, negotiation process and realisation of crossinterests between artists, often forms the basis for her own work that is then injected into an exhibition. She works across mediums to immerse viewers and encourage an engagement with the configuration of an art exhibition, as well as being sensitive to the reading(s) of individual pieces.
“One side of you wants your twin to be exactly like you in every detail, a perfect replica, but another side of you is struggling for air”. — Lawrence Wright (1997)
a matter of time a race against time a stitch in time saves nine all in good time all the time at one time or another at the same time bad time better luck next time caught at a bad time do time don’t waste your time down time facetime find the time for the time being from time to time give a hard time give it time give the time of day half the time have a good time have a hard time have a whale of a time have time on your hands have time on your side have time to kill high time in next to no time in the nick of time in the right place at the right time in time it’s about time long time no see make up for lost time no time like the present on borrowed time on time once upon a time out of time quality time race against time small time take your time there’s a time and a place there’s no time like the present third time’s the charm time after time time and a half time and again time flies when you’re having fun time for a change time is money time is of the essence time of day time off time out time to call it a day time to call it a night time to go time warp time will tell time works wonders time’s up two-time waste no time you’re wasting my time
THE SUPRAPOSITIONAL NET WORKED CATHEDRALS OF OUR DIGITAL LUDOCENE: An analogous understanding of media in our contemporary play-phase
comptant tes abattis lecteur tu te disloques toute chose pourtant doit avoir une fin
“Architecture [like that of the cathedral] was developed in proportion with human thought; it became a giant with a thousand heads and a thousand arms, and fixed all this floating symbolism in an eternal, visible, palpable form.” — Notre-Dame de Paris, Victor Hugo Today’s floating symbolism lies within the computational architectures of server banks and personal hard-drives that are parsing billions of electrical signals a second in and out of machine-readable and human-readable language codes. Our motions through these hallowed systems, down gold plated cables and copper wires that hold the lingering scent of ozone past the throbbing sound of cooling fans and the chill of a computer controlled climate, find us at ease in a familiar and comforting place. In another time our material life processes were lived amongst gigantic stone serverbanks in an exotic cold silence encapsulating a minutia of reverberating noises, the wooden pews are an knelt interface to a higher power plugged in below the giant vaulted ceilings overarching cosmological network of incense, stone and wood. Our daily phenomenological experience is always mediated by our constructs, I wish to, briefly excavate a reading of the cathedral as analogous to the monomedial systems of today. The digital bodypolitic is a Leviathan of networked hardware and software, a collected multitude of media, forged from strategies and systems that allow for a constant radical worldbuilding, a rethinking or replaying of thought models themselves. As we open ourselves up to the self-generative complexity of technological advancement the cyclical rhythms and feedback loops return all social and intellectual life to play; from game theory to cybernetics, we all partake in the quasi-natural rites and fables of a burgeoning Digital playphase, an epoch we might call the Ludocene.
Media are plural in their effect, beginning from a poetic whim to become reproducible and functional until finally they decadently extrapolate the logical pretensions of the medium, in that they become superfluous. Take, for instance the Baroque fashion for the wearing of wigs, introduced by Louis XIV, may have held some aesthetically thought through purpose for the framing of the face but notably move further and further away from the imitation of natural hair growth until the wig becomes ‘complete ornament’. To Emit, illude and collude with experience is the nature of media, that over time eventually becomes ludicrous, the latter three adjectives all share the latin root of ludus, relating to play, revealing a medial language pregnant with the characteristics of play. Consider the bioluminescence of microbes and enzymes or the seven velvet suits, worn consecutively, for seven years by the 20th century pianist Erik Satie, or whether the dress is gold and white or blue and black, or the painting ‘Charles II Presented with a pineapple’, as illusory or enciphered transmissions or in the case of the painting as a codified representation of a transmission. An understanding of our current paradigm needs to define ‘representation’ in its truest form as a re-presenting or mystic repetition of mixed media all occurring under the umbrella of the play-spirit. Zielinski in his book ‘Deep time of the media’ offers the anarchic and browsealogical approach of variantology as, what i’d deem, a necessary preconfiguration when thinking about media. An epistemological parallel can be drawn between the position the cathedral held as a sacred communicator within the social lives of medieval Parisians and the silicon carved medialogical edifice of today but their difference is akin to the transition from monophonic chant to polyphony of code, a pseudo-sacred/scientific reformation of state, objects and relations. On 4 October 2014 17:40, Shia LaBeouf wrote: actors live a thousand lives as do hackers Shia LaBeouf’s recent foray into contemporary art, and association with metamodernism, is typical of an increasing shift of cultural imagination away from fixed fields or disciplines, drifting away from the ‘narrative-imaginary vacuum’ of the late 20th century towards a positively myopic and geocentric playfulness that is transcendent, transdisciplinary and incalculable. This shift is present in Bruno Latour’s Anthropological turn or Graham Harman’s third table, we are embracing the paradox of the world being a particle and wave, penetrating the disorientating frameworks by utilizing ancient models of understanding, a poetic wisdom or metaphoric cognition that has genuine human ‘use-value’ as Walter Benjamin would term it.
“...culture arises in the form of play, it is played from the very beginning. […] this game is the living principle of all civilisation.” In excavating the resonating phases of media cultures civilisation can be seen to alternate between periods of playful discovery and solemn statecraft, the preservation of the, firstly magical, rites that helped forge archaic communities with systems of knowledge to ward off the dark unreasonable and incalculable forces of nature. The practical and complex building technologies that brought the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris into being, with its ogival ribbed vaults and flying buttresses, epitomise the acceleration of sacred and rapturous imaginations seeking to ejaculate a hyperbole of mind in a grandiose pomp of the gothic style. The play-character of the cathedral is anchored in stone, ossified into a solid state memory of myth and semiotics as, once completed, becomes separated from its point of conception and only through the vandalising or renovating of material can its codified image-bearing primes be truly changed. Architecture like the novel, artwork or scientific study, can be co-opted as a total ontological conveyor of meaning or, in other words, as an acute paraphrasing of the world; as the human eye is deemed a less accurate descriptor of distance than the telescope, verbal story is found a less reliable historical carrier than printed word and the Roman census (also censor) a less culpable supervisor of society than the intelligence agents in the NSA data centers working on total cryptographic surveillance. These virtual colonisations of reality are found to be lacking too in their perhaps pragmatic attempts to summarise and categorise a monopoly on human experience and transmission of meanings. Numbers, like language, are a method of division and transmission; a separation of bits from parts, fractions from integers, digits from hands, pixels from pictures to be assembled on the receiving end, we increasingly lean on the informational lode-bearing value of statistical storytelling : numeration as definition. I’d argue that codified into numbers is both their slavish exactitude and their generative multitude, the construction of algorithmic media allowed the surfing of microscopic and macroscopic surfaces perhaps best preconceived by generative literature works like that of Raymond Queneau’s ‘Hundred Thousand Billion Poems’ which through its structure generates 1014 different readings, a homogeneous conformity that belies its heterogenous infinity. you’ll come to miss the peasant in his smok one carts of debris marble from the block clear from the start the ending is foreseen.
The truly playful dramatic poetry or odyssey of today is housed in a vernacular of memetic reproduction, a thousand hands, or none, help birth its meaning, internet memes, from the genetic soup of 4Chan to the orderliness of Reddit, are typical of the merging of the professional and amateur; the professional does not play where as ‘the amateur can afford to lose’ and does so every second. 90’s Net-art with its un-slick appropriation of utopian new-age technophilia has moved away from the spectacle into a post-internet doublespeak, tumblr artists and gallery artists alike become proponents of a cynical magic which is no longer only an infallible decree of church and state, the hacker/artist has a shamanistic access, a knowing playfulness, to their own magic-circles of meaning. If the spectacle was the accumulation of capital then the accumulation of networked technologies could be seen to be the aesthetics of play, in a suprapostional embodiment of its functional positive and negative. It is present in both the cybernetic state of neoliberal ideologies and the crowds of Leftist opposition, as Richard Barbrook propagates a call-to-arms, in his book Class Wargames’, of Ludic Subversion, employing Guy Debord’s The Game of War to empower players with the skills to organise and strategize the future insurrection. Whilst at the same time we find the US military co-opting first person shooter games as a recruitment tool and corporate pay-to-play apps programmed to seek profit through the redirection of individuals play reflex. The Digital Ludic cartographers are mapping the map that conspires to fix every assemblage of digital culture to become a reverse creationism of sorts, beginning with stories, myths and rites that can impregnate the medial edifice. Without the privilege of context or history, in a proper sense, mediated artists, bloggers and citizen’s can all play a role in a radical reimagining of affect. Play is by no means a one way transformative function of empowerment nor a natural moral adjudicator unsusceptible to fascist processing or propaganda but can be a transgressive practice able to radicalise a political and intellectual worldbuilding, assembling cathedrals within cathedrals within cathedrals. Francis Patrick Brady, 2015
L’Amérique du Sud séduit les équivoques
16 Alexâ€™s practice focuses around the use of body language imagery which he uses to depict narratives that are often left open to interpretation. When there are no words or spoken language you have to rely on the image, particularly body language and the behaviour of the subjects to tell a story and express emotion. Although the scenes Alex paints are left open for interpretation they are far from accidental, each painting is the result of working from a composite image which he has assembled from cut and pasted photographs strategically placed to create an overall mood. The paintings often look ghostly, like the haze of a distant memory emerging from the fog in the back of our minds, immersing the viewer within the constructed scene.
Mask To Proceed Virtual reality, a recent common destination of electronic artificial experience that modern day technology offers, requires simple settings of laptops and visual goggles, it provides immersive stimulations in all human activity and mediates every human transaction while remain accessible to mass. I am interested in VR, because of the body of subject echo to the of practice civilian disobedience. For me, VR is a platform for a new social and political language, while gaming as it designs purpose. It embodies the capacity of a non-violent protest action, especially when the technology is still at its development and yet to construct a consumerist society, and capitalist interests discover a way to create real consumption from virtual experience. The tension of my work is to highlight the escape tendency and transfer viewers to a personal imaginative space.
I. Water once a myth II. Transform gently III. All objects are equal IV. All myths are real V. Fantasise beautifully vi. pluck myths with caution be careful
29 don’t disturb the dreaming objects
I forget where it was that I came from. I came here in search of ʻit’ but all I can find is ʻthere’. I don’t think ʻit’ has never been ʻhere’, but always, ʻelsewhere’.
The Smooth and Striated. Rough, smooth undulating grooves Up, down always around Air and wind producing forms and shapes Creating irregular patterns All over the place.
My practice explores the physical and non-physical boundaries that separate self from other and how the self is perceived to be defined by these boundaries. I am interested in how these boundaries are constructed and what happens when they are destabilised. The materials and processes I choose to use are paramount in allowing me to explore concepts through a physical means that is not contingent on a defining language, allowing a somatic connection that does not purely rely on a cerebral interpretation.
The stories in my works are not limited for specific individuals, but they are the things that can be shared with all of us, everyone in this world. I think that my goal as an artist is to communicate social issues and the stories in the world in my own way of expression and language. I also think that being an artist is becoming a member in a society and a journalist at first before working as a creator. A symbol and an object as a sign are similar to an abstracted poem. The work is a dialogue with people and it should be a channel to communicate with them.
The infant is in the drawer. I hid you in a drawer, Of course I loved you, But I had to hide you, even I don’t know why. It seems that you’re eternal, deathless and divine, I had forgotten you, but you were always there though you never aroused me, until my memory recalled. I can’t see you. No one talked about you. I found you in another drawer, a solid closed space full of darkness. Of course mother loved you.
I am concerned with phenomena that is present within and surrounding the human condition.
More specifically my work is based on concepts that are unfamiliar and difficult to represent and comprehend.
I convey these ideas through immersive installations, working across mediums, to enable the viewer to experience the aspect of humanity chosen.
26 Last month, Taco Bell tweeted “Taco Bae.” The cycle from early adopters to late-capitalist commodification from urban dictionary to corporate twitter seems to be accelerating at a quicker and quicker rate. Nothing seems safe or colloquial. Karl Lagerferd staged a women’s rights demo on the catwalk to sell clothes during Paris Fashion Week, and in Norway, there’s a reality TV show where fashion bloggers work in sweat shops, commodifying class difference in the global economy into entertainment value and tidy tear-filled emotional arcs sandwiched between commercial breaks. Some would see this all as a promising sign. If we can’t escape capitalism, if it’s too all encompassing, then maybe the only path of resistance is the exact opposite of resistance. Instead of trying to slow it down, maybe we need to speed capitalism up until it self-destructs. That’s the thinking behind accelerationism, anyways, an idea that finds its roots in the 19th century, authentically Marx by Karl Marx, but which has had several iterations since. Most recently it’s been tangled up with tech singularity, Bayesian rationality, and Silicon Valley bros of a certain persuasion, and at the same time it’s been a bit of an art-world buzz word used to make sense of the obsession with consumerism and branding we’ve been seeing the past couple of years with net art, from Jon Rafman’s Kool Aid man to Cory Archangels Applebee’s Giftcard, and which became more codified with Dis and The Jogging, the cycles are so fast, the moment I’m describing already feels a bit passé. No one says “net art” anymore, only “post-internet art,” and already that word has become a bit of a punchline. In the 90s, Nick Land, a British philosopher working in the intersection of nihilism and cybernetics, put accelerationism and the hyper-accelerated speed of capitalism in context with technological singularity, the idea that the ever-increasing speed of technological innovations would eventually mean that the difference between material and virtual reality, between human and machine would be eclipsed. There’s a strong libertarian thread to believing in either with conviction—an anti-interventionist ethic that contends we shouldn’t try to stop the snowball effect, that we shouldn’t try to slow down either, and that both would eventually reach a breaking point so the sooner the better. But beyond the parallels, the speed of capitalism and the speed of technological advancements can propel each other along, eg. Silicon Valley where strange subcultures and near-religious fervor for these sorts of philosophies and others like transhumanism is burgeoning. It’s not surprising this type of Silicon Valley bro would see the utopian potential in capitalism or technology, but it is a bit unexpected that the white dude who benefits from the social hierarchies of today
would put so much stock in the potential of the new frontiers of tomorrow. Ditto that a culture that still sees so much difference between man and woman would imagine a near-future where there’s little to no distinction between the biological and the digital. But maybe it’s just the latest iteration of a sort of bourgeoise nihilism. Those who are most removed from concerns with how to survive find nihilist philosophies the most appealing, and accelerationism certainly is a breed of nihilism updated for the 2.0 era. Arguably virtual realities still provide refuge for the disenfranchised more than their material equivalents—Black Twitter or Trans Teens on Tumblr. And even though these online spaces are becoming increasingly centralized, corporatized, and commodified, and as they are often old hierarchies are being re-mapped onto these new spaces, they are still less codified than our IRL systems and structures. Just a few weeks ago, we had a white male artist who has appropriated the image of a woman instagram model showing in a New York gallery while the group show of women (mostly) using their own bodies in their work is showing online. From the cyborg manifesto to the queer and transgender roots of transhumanism, there are exciting imagined possibilities for how tech and its sci-fi futures can be radical but these futures are not inherently nor inevitably radical. At the heart of accelerationism is a question of inevitability. If we feel like all of our alternatives and transgressions are subsumed into capitalism is that the same as believing that this incorporation is inevitable? And do we believe that some alternative is inevitable, as well, eventually? Whether all alternatives are doomed for failure but then ultimately success, is impossible to say without a crystal ball or natal chart, but the transgression de jour, anyways, seem to have lost its teeth. Appropriating brands, logos, and banal consumerism feels decidedly not radical—worse it feels passé. Capitalism insists on the new-new, but will the same forces that demand not just S/S and F/W but now Resort and PreFall collections compel us to find new better ways of dismantling that very system? Or is our constant desire for something fresh just a symptom of it? Even within accelerationism there are two schools of thought: one that capital’s evolution will come from within and the other that it will come from without after being confronted by a radical social force. Believing in the former feels a bit like benevolent negligence or irresponsible optimism, but the latter depends on there being the possibility for anything to exist outside a system that feels total and all-encompassing. Counter-culture is an anachronism. Art feels like the most promising space right now for one to contemplate and confront these grim realities but, as Chris Krauss explains in Lost
Properties, exorbitantly-priced MFA programs are also responsible for much of the sky-rocketing rates of student debt. But just because there seems to be no space outside capitalism, it’s not to say that capital is fixed or eternal. Capital and the commodity economy have been changing shape and adapting to technical innovations and our new networked digital realities. With what he calls the commodification of information, McKenzie Wark explains that “the new stage of commodification is less about extracting surplus value from labor as extracting surplus information from play. It extracts value by offering information for free, but extracting more information in return – surplus information.” I’ve argued before that the art-world obsession with Doritos logos seems nostalgic for a middle-class that doesn’t really exist anymore thanks to increasing class inequality. But it’s also maybe retrograde in that it’s been referencing an era of capitalism that is already outdated. Although it seemed transgressive for a moment to be as ultraconsumerist as possible, maybe it’s a trend that was backward-looking to begin with. Arguably more forward-looking than artists emulating corporate aesthetics and principals are artists, like Kari Altmann, who are interrogating the way information and images circulate in our current commodity economy, which Wark posits is defined by this commodification of information. Brian Droitcour made a case that the defining feature of “post-internet art” is art made to look good online, art that looks better in a browser than IRL in the gallery, and rather cynically acknowledged some artists fucking with this distinction. There was an angst, though, that pervaded Droitcour’s critiqued. He seemed “over it.” He called out the art world’s appetite to subsume the term post-internet, turning it into a marketing term and ultimately reinforcing their own power systems, but seemed oblivious to his own vulnerability to the same cycles of consumption that make us bored so quickly and always demand something crisper, fresher, newer, younger. Often it feels like even our attempts to criticize capitalism seem to fall victim to its accelerated cycles that are driving at more and more frenzied pace. In the face of this overwhelming machine churning at a faster and faster rate, resistance can feel futile, and thinking that this will all end in a delicious collapse and a better system will emerge from the wreckage is a comforting idea. But maybe it’s also a dangerous one, a mirage that ultimately dissolves us of any responsibility to be a part of any radical social force. Food for thot—at least until Taco Bell tweets that too.
Whitney Mallet, 2015 topicalcream.info/ editorial/d-accelerationism/
SOME THOUGHTS ON ARTWORK, ETHICS AND UTOPIA The horizons of an artwork’s ethical possibility are bordered by the pragmatics, limitations and practicalities of aesthetics. In short, these limitations are those that determine art as a culturally and institutionally specific form, with a set of histories, structures of judgement, institutional parameters and economic determinants. It is an imperfect set of conditions, but this constituted field of aesthetics does open up an expanded field of ethical conflicts and possibilities. The encounters offered by contemporary art are more than detached experiences. Art may be a long way from the centre of social life, yet it does offer encounters that are transformative, that generate an occasionally forceful influence upon subjectivity and thinking, and therefore change the possible tra jectories of action and agency. The redemptive power of artworks, if such a thing can be argued to exist at all, seems to depend upon a propinquity to utopian dimensions of impulse and agency. If impulses that aim towards the critical, and towards reworkings or reimaginings of the order of things, are to be found within contemporary art, then these political and aesthetic values could be addressed as a utopian dimension. There are intersections between utopia and ethical responsibility located within encounters with artworks. Responsibility to an artwork corresponds to both responsibility to self, and to other. To consider such an operation, I would like to consider Martin Buber’s articulation of the conflict between Ich-Du and Ich-Es, as articulated in his book I and Thou (1923). These terms - I-Thou and I-It - are, for Buber, redemptive ethical possibility and insidious individualism respectively. Ich-Du, I-Thou, offers an account of a mutually constituted subject, a subject made up of both me and an other. This is a relationship that underpins the experience of an artwork, but also performs a model for a universal and unambiguously concrete ethical encounter. The religiosity of the model is not to be dismissed out of hand, as it makes room for inclusions that move beyond cultural difference, allowing dialogue through apparently irreconcilable boundaries on the edges of conflicting fundamentalisms. It is a relationship without structure. This places the ultimate demand on utopia, which is here not given the luxury of depending upon system and framework.
Buber’s commitment to utopia is demonstrated in his book Paths in Utopia, (1949) which rethinks anti-utopianism through addressing the idea of utopian socialism within the legacy of Marxist thought, to offer an image of socialistic and cooperative community that tests and renews itself daily. This is a changing and constantly reevaluating tension between individuals, groups and collective order. I would like this to function as a resonant image in itself. What it resonates with is that play between encounter with artwork and collective responsibility. If this is a spatial dynamic, then it must be brought into an intersection with the temporality of process/production as past, the now of the encounter, and the projected future of social change. However, what I would like to offer here is a use of Buber’s thought regarding the definition of the ethical subject. The subject is defined by what Buber calls the primary word. The primary word is not actually a word as such, but a combination of words, itself open to a number of variable configurations. The word is the combination of Iv-Thou, with the principle variable of I-It, where It can be replaced by She and He. The subject is two-fold, defined by the twofold nature of this primary word; the I of I-Thou is not the same as the I of I-It. The former can only be spoken with the whole being, the latter cannot. Relation exists in the spheres of nature, other people, and the unknowable. This is a relation that does not use speech, but begets it. There is some transformation necessary here, to secularise Buber’s ethics. His relation does relate to God, but as a medium through which to generate a social field. We look outwards for an eternal Thou, but we might secularise this as the other, as the need for an eternal Thou, as that part that is missing when Ernst Bloch recognises humans as incomplete beings. The language may be theological, but it is the recognition of a desire. If we reorient that desire, this need for a relation that defines subjectivity can be brought into the earthly realm, but also into the realm of art. Buber addresses art and representation directly, in terms of the possibility that although in the realm of things, art can move out of this, into relations. To make is to draw forth, inventing is finding, shaping is discovering. The work produced can, sometimes, turn to face the beholder. We are then faced by a form that desires to be made, through us, into a work. Dan Smith, 2015 @utopianimagination
My work explores the relationship between our new digital profile culture and the modern conception of female beauty. With a current move towards an augmented reality, our fixation with being ‘plugged in’ collated with what is consumed online with mass female hyper visibility and sexism encouraging an unrealistic understanding of the female body. I discuss vision as predominantly filtered through the digital as an almost technological gaze, adapting how we now see and understand the female body and more.
78 What is impossible for you? A secret. Whatever remains invisible. But is that not what I have always been for you? You wanted to master that mystery. Cover, yourself; envelop, yourself. Folding me, enfolding me into a truth that was not my own. — (Irigaray 1992 65p) Elemental Passion
With frequent literal disruptions and frustrations of the female body, the glitched images highlight particular aspects of the online that disrupt our perceptions. My work is a tribute to the limits and endless frustrations of our new profile culture and the introduction of our virtual gaze.
81 The flaneur : Night passage : To collect the unseen “To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world...” — Charles Baudelaire
ON HUMAN DANGERS Prosperity and austerity in contemporary philosophy “Doesn’t object-oriented ontology risk turning our attention
of inquiry. Queer theory didn’t have to cede ground to allow
away from human suffering?”
for the advent of disability studies. Animal studies didn’t require the foreclosure of political economy. Instead, our theoret-
I won’t say this question baffles me, because it’s actually quite
ical attachments have a kind of quantum physical relationship
a reasonable question. Indeed, the fact that it’s a reasonable
to one another: we can be in more than one place at the same
question could be taken as part of its answer: OOO holds as
a premise that philosophy, theory, and culture in general has been too content in putting human affairs at the center of
I think I understand where the question comes from. It’s a
being and therefore discourse, and that instead we should
natural response to an unfamiliar proposal. If I can be a bit
allow all things (including people) to be of potentially equal
glib, it asks, essentially, how can you just stare at toasters
impact and concern. So, in that respect, OOO does ask us to
while children are starving in Africa? This is the same logic
expand our attention. And it makes this request on ontological
that leads folks to claim that OOO is “dangerous,” a conclusion
grounds, because it holds metaphysics to be an additive rather
Alex Galloway has recently reached while arguing that new
than a subtractive philosophical medium.
realisms amount to a poverty of philosophy. An OOO proponent might respond in a similar vein, suggesting that philoso-
What does baffle me is the assumption that taking the OOO
phies that take humans as the center of being are dangerous
position entails a turning away from human beings and human
because they miss everything else. The mere invocation of
suffering in particular. This concern does not always emerge
injustice isn’t equivalent to its eradication anyway. Whereas
in its most extreme forms, namely the accusation that OOO
staring at toasters is at least the first step in asking questions
might be used to justify violence or apathy, or that it amounts
about toasters—and maybe other things too. But such re-
to nihilism. More often, it emerges amid much more earnest,
sponses just spin us in circles, rehearsing the same arguments
reasonable questions, like the one first cited above.
over and over again. Nobody benefits, save maybe Twitter and Facebook and Google, who own the services that host our
Anyhow, what baffles me about this question is twofold.
The first thing that baffles me is the implicit assumption that
If the last fifty years in particular have witnessed a constant,
human suffering is our obvious, complete, and superordinate
slow increase in admissions of validity among worldly things,
topic of interest, subject to no further debate or consideration.
then OOO could be understood to propose: let’s just take that
It’s a bit like invoking “pro-life” as a verbal frame: no matter its
pattern for granted and get it over with all at once. Everything
consequences, such a phrase allows one to play a trump card
gets to be of potential interest and concern, not just for phi-
because, well, who wants to be “against life”? Likewise, who
losophers and economists and governments, but for every-
wants to be “pro suffering?” Nobody does, save the demented.
thing else as well. And if that sounds like a contradiction—when
But just as pro-choice proponents are not really against life,
everything is of possible interest, then nothing is—the point is
so OOO is not really “for suffering” just because it argues that
well taken. For me, an OOO perspective admits that there are
we might concern ourselves with fire or rebar or horse-flies.
fundamental conflicts involved in the infinite combinations of
Things are more complicated than that. In fact, maybe one
and relations between things in the world, and so we’d better
way to turn our attention toward human suffering, and even
pause before drawing easy conclusions or endorsing simple
to make greater progress in that process, involves relinquish-
shorthands (like, say, “human suffering”).
ing the fundamentals of human centrality, which is all that an object-oriented metaphysics proposes with respect to human-
Indeed, taking for granted, in advance, what actors and ap-
ity. Indeed, many recent methods for engaging with the very
proaches are of most appropriate use feels far more destitute
topic of human suffering (climate change, economics, health)
as a philosophy than opening the floodgates. Mark Nelson has
involve steering our attention away from it for a spell. Do we
quipped that “radical critique” involves applying well-worn
even know what “suffering” really is, even for humans? Who
tools in the conventional way to reach the expected conclu-
gets to decide? What actors are involved in facilitating it?
sion. Contrary to popular belief, such an attitude looks far
These answers are far from obvious.
more like nihilism than it does like revolution, or even liberation. By contrast, the realist position recommends greater
The second thing that baffles me the idea that we have some
attention and respect, not lesser. It admits that we have to do
finite amount of total attention to pay to things in the first
the work of really looking hard at all the things in the world
place. I suppose it’s true to some extent: there are only so
before drawing conclusions about what they mean for one
many hours in the day or in the decade. But even before we
another—or for ourselves. That’s not a poverty of philosophy,
consider the object-oriented position, hasn’t it been the case
at all. Just the opposite. A wealth, a cornucopia, a profusion,
that we’ve been able to stack or nest such concerns effec-
almost to the point of overwhelm.
tively in relation to human affairs? For example, critical race theory didn’t have to displace or upset feminism as a subject
Ian Bogost, 2012 http://bogost.com/
My practice has always been influenced by nature and involves imitating and recreating the natural environment through mixed media installations. I like to question how the viewer may interpret the artifice of the work. A key element that is continuously explored is the ongoing battle between mankind and the forever changing natural elements. I emphasize this within my work by questioning how we position ourselves within the uncanny world and how mankind tries to control the unpredictable and uncontrollable forces of nature. I have always lived in the city and have noticed plants and flowers growing through the cracks of the industrialized jungle I live in. No matter how much of the earth is covered with cement and concrete, nature will always fight and find its way through.
My work is based on various kinds of photographs and images from mountain and gemstone. Basically Iâ€™m interested in natural elements and I arrange them in new different angle and trying to organize in terms of harmonious. Also, my work is process driven and hand made construction is very important to me. In my work that presented mixed media that small pieces gathering together and comes out bigger sized one and it should be different or new scene from nature. My interest- natural patterns are divided into in many ways but I focused on repetitive characteristic. In particularly, selfsimilarity patterns are organized in my collage work. The working process of collage is also related to natural patterns physically, as well as metaphysically. In my work, I wish to people can find rocks or mountains in mountains and whole shape of gemstones. Because they are similar things in terms of natural element and they are included each other. And also they are part of result of geological movements.
My work explores memory, nostalgia and the psyche, through reinterpretation. I use found vintage photography and painting as mediums to explore the relationship between what is visible and what is not visible. My intention of remaking these photographs is to show what oscillates between what is present and what is absent within the image and our own psyche.
I construct works that capture intermediate moments of an action, predominantly through the use of hands and inanimate objects. The work often appears to approach touch and texture in a matter of fact way and is suggestive to the relationship of fingers to fabric. The physical method of my drawings allow a need for slowness. This is reflected within the work by showing the remains of an act in still frames, the movements have been separated into segments.
Elements of haptic perception are interwoven into the work and the activity of looking is important. The components chosen are installed with an awareness to sensitivity, but do not intend to have a closed interpretation for the viewer.
I have an intrinsic interest in questioning the context of objects that remind me of my childhood, forcing a transformation into the present while preserving their playful nature. The items that I cast are a reflection of this through the use of colour and multiple, but are also a response to my current situation and mood. I express my emotion through each iteration, making them all unique, an emotional diary related to both the present day and my childhood.
My work includes the process of making, with the final piece being evidence of the hand. It tells of the journey that the work took, from a single irrelevant readymade into a communication from my past that is relevant to my feelings today. The objects that my work includes often evoke a feeling of nostalgia, something that has been absent from my adult life. However, once the emotional connection has been re-established, is the newfound work missing something that the original object did not?
Speaking to Duchamp on the Big White Telephone
37 TOUGH PARODY The possibility to share, transfer,replicate,corrupt,mutate,access etc. and do this very quickly and from anywhere seems to have given the digital image an almost mystical, awe inducing significance. Within the dramatic architecture of the cloud the walls are adorned with them,don’t you know. It is in vogue to philosophise and politicise: resolutions and file types, automated image analysis, selfies, the efficiency of an image, the affect of a digital image, the effect of a digital image, the very special singular metaphysical identity of a digital image,its ontology, its materiality, the hierarchy of authenticity in regards to the digital image, the extension of the digital image. It is in vogue to romanticise the digital image.At their worst(which is regrettably a lot of the time) these discussions are reductive, skewed,fragmentised, rooted and bound in the most monotonous lacklustre crevices of western philosophical etiquette. Much too often also lacking in a concrete understanding of the very science,technology and industry that allowed for the discussions to be bought to the fore in the first place. At their best however, these discussions signify a desire to embrace radical flight paths and in turn an eagerness for change and the acceptance of change. Expressing a desire to recalibrate our tools of analysis and structures for creative production. Actions which are by all means necessary.
and magic(nature). Maya, is a kind of illusion that is not defined as the appearance of something that does not exist but rather as an entity which fluctuates and lends itself to cognitive misinterpretation. Also denoted as that which can be subjected to proof or disproof - Maya is one of, if not the oldest recorded ways of describing an experience of incomprehensible surfaces or phenomena. In terms of the digital image, if there was a hierarchy to maya which of course there is not -the digital image would definitely be a CEO of some other dimension beyond our imaginations.
“Oh I dunno Y i do, Y ido the things Ido I dunno how I do it why I do it how I do” The image is conceived as the appearance/representation of something or other for example a depiction of an event which is no longer occurring in real time, as superficial two or three dimensional information. Whether digital or analogue, printed,painted or on a screen images are illusionary entities inherently dislocated from their material composition or actual reality. A similar dislocation occurs between ‘content’, language and the physical act of writing. Or between body and mind.The digital image has a novel position due to the extent of its alleged dislocation with matter and time. Between its How? and its Why? Digital representation and image circulation is so malleable, its lifespan so flexible that oddly enough the scope of these material properties associate them with being a form of abstract representation of what their embedded content initially had the possibility to represent.
The digital image is a special sort of superficial that resonates acutely with the ancient concept of Maya. In the Vedic texts and Upanishads, the word Maya within a wider philosophical context came to describe a complex concept of illusionary entities concerning all matter. Maya can simultaneously denote concepts of wisdom and power
No, I am sorry, you cannot smear your body in Electromagnetic radiation, or tear up digital images,you cannot burn them or be burned by them burning. You can only represent these actions with a mathematical analogy. The lack of physical interaction you are capable of having with them, their unidentifiable locus is exactly the seductive gulf that perpetuates their illusory charm. Smooth and desirable, press a button and they are gone!Another click, back again. Disappearing and reappearing like magic. They feel so free - they just feel so democratic. Context? Digital images press fast forward. They don’t need commitment. Digital images are really easy to get on with. Easy to make, easy to get,easy to copy. Easy,easy,easy. Digital images have all this potential to really impact real world stuff too. Agency. They can make you famous or feel famous,make you rich or feel rich.Digital images can make you laugh, cry, fall in love, lust,break your heart, ruin your career and reputation. They can make us prosumers.They can be ideas and can do everything ideas can, but with more ease,speed, colours and devastating carbon emissions. The Upanishads thought of the trust in Maya as unsustainable for the soul,self (Atman). The pursuit of understanding the underlying workings of maya was seen as the only means to attain a unification with the Supreme Soul (consciousness). In short, the pursuit of this knowledge as an ends ,whether attainable or not - is the only option to choose from. Shame the Maya is a Maya. :( Alice Khalilova, 2015 alicekhalilova.com deepflatness.com
HAHA The HA HA Gallery is an independent and not-forprofit art space set up by Liv Fontaine and Jen Harris in their hometown of Southampton. These very hot chicks are dedicated to working with and exposing unrepresented, early career artists, providing a unique space that offers an alternative platform for contemporary art outside of London. Since opening a year ago, the gallery has enjoyed 8 wildly successful shows featuring works from international and UK based artists and has accommodated 2 artist residencies helping to pave the way towards a lively scene for emerging artists in Southampton. Liv says, “in this cruel world we know how hard it can be for the young people to catch a break. Selling everything just to get by. Austerity is very destructive. After graduating, I moved back to Southampton, working shitty jobs and trying to be an artist. I worked in a really shitty bar and no one wanted to look at my art. Anyway, it was in this bar I met a guy. He told me about a space, took me down the road and showed me an old empty gallery. By the end of my bar slut shift the keys to the HA HA were mine. The first show I put on featured all my friends from Chelsea. I just wanted a reason to make them come to Southampton and hang out with me here. Jen was in that show too. We weren’t friends, but we had both been to Chelsea, and we both lived in Southampton. It was a wild success, Jen
became Co-Director and 10 shows later the rest is history.” Jen says, “me and Liv met at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, a regular haunt for us both. The night we met, Liv was very drunk and I said ‘what is your name?’ and she said ‘isssliv’ and I said ‘SLIV? HUH?’ I thought she was called Sliv. Anyway, after this encounter we started working together at the HA HA, using all of Liv’s fabulous Chelsea contacts to put on shows. We do so much general admin, but it’s worth it.” The HA HA Gallery is an important resource for young artists outside of London. It is a space to realise your ambitions and to forge your own destiny. The shows aim to be critically engaged yet totally unpretentious, and we welcome everyone. It’s important to be relevant, but ultimately we just wanna hang out and have a good time.
Haha Gallery, 2015 @hahagallery facebook.com/hahagallery
2015 DEGREE SHOW WEBSITE CHELSEABAFA2015.COM This year’s catalogue is wholly edited, designed and put together by a dedicated core team of students in the Chelsea BAFA Fine Art third year. This catalogue encompasses and documents the journey and practice of 115 students and our artistic efforts over the last three years. We’ve included a series of relevant essays, ideas and contributions that serve not to charter the courses we’ve taken, but to allude to the influences and ideas of our near present and far future. View our website for photos of degree show work, and keep eyes open and ears keen for our voices, wherever they may take us.
EDITORS & DESIGNERS
LIBERTY HODES JOEY PHINN
SASKIA LITTLE CAROLINE GRAY
PAUL O’KANE FRANCIS PATRICK BRADY OCCUPY UAL [ ANDRE NEELY ]
[ TOPICAL CREAM ]
IAN BOGOST & thank you to everyone else
who helped out on the catalogue and
LIV FONTAINE & JEN HARRIS
[ HAHA GALLERY ]
Landmark Plc is proud to be associated with Chelsea College of Arts as sponsors of the Fine Art Degree Show Catalogue 2015. Landmark Plc is an independent company providing high-end serviced offices in the City of London and this year was listed by The London Stock Exchange Group as one of the top 1,000 companies to inspire Britain. The Landmark Collection currently boasts over 450 original pieces of work by established and emerging artists, many of which are student works and the company continues to add to the artwork on display across its City and West End offices. We wish all 2015 graduates every success in the future.
David Todd Chairman Landmark Plc landmarkplc.com
Richard Gill Managing Director
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