Speculations is a two day Shift/Workshop. Speculations will be collectively composed and play-tested at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop on the 3rd and 4th of March 2017, a participatory action-research workshop ordained to fabricate speculative artistic research methods.
We will compose a workshop in which participants develop, learn and apply speculative artistic research methods. It is crucial that the genesis of this workshop is, in its own right, speculative. Our speculative process encourages artistic practices that cannot be held, observed or enacted without taking risks or experiencing their consequences. To this end, Shift/Work: Speculations will be collectively composed.
Speculative methods may include, but are not limited to: abduction, syncretism, forecasting, futurism, divination, becoming-rites, probing (making and employing actants), paradisciplinarity, ‘pataphysics, hyperstition, theory-fiction, mythopoesis, fabulation, fictioning, (mis)management, gaming / playing, versioning, licensing, servicizing, technés / technoetics, extended cognition (ExC), imaginative propositions, paper architecture, thought experiments, proposing, lateral thinking/feeling/knowing, weird-ing, speculative realism, mangle-practice….
Who are the Shift/Workers?
A compagon of ‘composers’ – comprising artists, curators, designers, musicians, producers, educationalists, social anthropologists, philosophers and futurists – will join us at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in March 2017 to scribe and audition Speculations. Working in three groups, participants will compose three iterative workshops. The three groups will then rotate, each participating in the workshops composed by their peers. Our post-workshop re-calibration of the three workshops will translate them into one workshop. Shift/Work will direct this ‘calibrated’ workshop at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale at the end of March 2017.
At the time of writing, we may only speculate on the form Speculations will take. We speculate that the workshop will enable participants to compose, experience and evaluate an iterative, action-based, peer-to-peer learning experience that is both theoretical and practical. We expect they will learn how their speculations (and their attendant risks and uncertainties) are co-affective upon the experiences of their peers. Like previous Shift/Workshops, Speculations will enact relevant discourses, practices and models of artistic paragogy to enable and inspire participants to adopt speculative methods and implement their own workshops.
We hope that you can come to ESW to take part in the composition phase of this workshop.
Neomedievalisms are cultural practices that breathe a bouquet of premoderns as permanent rehearsals of coming events. To the medievalist, medievalisms provide powerful indexes that reveal how post-medieval societies have variously imagined ‘little middle ages’ to suit current agendas. To the neomedievalist, however, medievalisms are theory-fictions that facilitate ludic speculation on non-modern futurities. Given its nonmodern condition, contemporary artistic practice has as much in common with the stasis of the middle ages as it does with the avant-garde of the 20th century. This lecture will present some of the ways in which The Confraternity have developed neomedieval materialisms with their own nonmodern lexicon, dense hypereconomic practices that combine production, transfer, consumption, humilitas and virtus.
The Confraternity will transfigure four scripts-into-flesh: When Transfiguration Became Commonplace, Thekarites, Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) and Let us know about anything wrong, or anything you don’t like about this review, and you could win a $50 Amazon voucher!
The Confraternity will also elaborate some of their curatorial projects (‘Thekaries’ / ‘Bokes’) and ways in which the quasi-neomedieval practices of their peers adopt ‘backward-thinking’ to develop possible premodern futures through a visceral, indulgent, lavish, liturgical and ludic materialism.
Rhubaba presents Still life with flying objects, a group exhibition that brings together new and existing work by artists including Tim Dodds, Susie Green, Emma Hart and Susan Mowatt. Thinking about objects and why we are drawn to make them, the show will present work by artists who paint, weave, make films and build. In Still life with flying objects liquid paint settles, takes form as a twig, shape-shifts into a piece of rope and later slips off as a snake; a tapestry keeps out the cold, hanging as a soft wall and holding collaged lumps in its weave; at home a camera pans scraping along the radiator, coming across an out of reach cobweb which reveals lost treasure. By reaching under the bed, knotting the yarn and looking through the porthole, the artworks in the show consider what the stuff we surround ourselves with is, how it is made and where it ends up.
A charrette is an intensive participatory group that engages a common enquiry. Atelier, Skye is a three-day charrette wherein a group of artists, curators, academic researchers and members of Atlas Arts will work with a series of common research ‘objects’ located in the north of the Isle of Skye (Trotternish, Waternish and Duirinish).
Working with the charrette curators, ATLAS Arts have identified a series of sites and objects that will facilitate and contrast different methods of visual and material enquiry. These objects range from artefacts in local museums, to areas of outstanding natural beauty. By engaging with ‘things’ in the custodianship of Atlas Arts, our charrette will enable us to map and improve conditions for cross-disciplinary collaboration, shifting the emphasis away from doing research towards the creation of research objects.
We aim to assist Atlas Arts in meeting their aims and obligations as the primary arts organisation for Skye and Lochalsh and thus to the local populace. We will enable this by enlisting Atlas Arts to collaborate directly with artists, arts professionals and academics in the creation of common research objects. The charrette will transform participants’ understanding of what material research is, what it can be and of who/what might participate in it. We also hope to use our visit to establish an open access online archive of the project, proxy distributed by Atlas Arts, that will ensure Atelier’s methods are available to artists, researchers and educators working with comparable community-based and site-sensitive organisations.
What is ‘Skye’?
For the purposes of this project, Skye functions as host environment for engaging a broader community of academics and non-academics in contemporary art and materialist research. It is both a slowly changing land mass and a more rapidly transforming series of agents, things and discourses. ‘Skye’ is a contingent object, one in an ongoing process of flow and growth. Following the material-turn, it is appropriate that we do not presuppose a singular thematic or disciplinary approach towards ‘Skye’. This is why participants will work only from things hosted by the island, discovering a varied flow of entanglements over the duration of the charrette. Our initial meetings with Atlas Arts Director Emma Nicholson established our objects of enquiry, the journeys our research group will make around the island, the iterative structure of the charrette research process and the ways in which we will document this.
What is ‘Atlas Arts’?
Based in Portree, ATLAS Arts seeks to be a pioneering producer and commissioner of contemporary art that will create connections between artists and audiences, and respond to the unique qualities of this region, its landscapes, its culture and its people. http://atlasarts.org.uk
Atelier warmly welcome Professor Richard Sennett, who will be discussing his seminal work The Craftsman at The University of Edinburgh. In this book, he shows how history has drawn fault-lines between craftsman and artist, maker and user, technique and expression, practice and theory, and that individuals’ pride in their work, as well as modern society in general, suffers from these historical divisions.
Sennett’s research has explored how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts – about the cities in which they live and about the labour they do. He focuses on how people can become competent interpreters of their own experience, despite the obstacles society may put in their way. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory. As a social analyst, Professor Sennett continues the pragmatist tradition begun by William James and John Dewey.
The Groundcourse is a two year foundation led by Roy Ascott at Ealing (1961-64), Ipswich School of Art (1964-67) and currently at Beijing DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai.
Groundcourse is a seminal educational experiment that is a key influence on Shift/Work. Prof Ascott will discuss Groundcourse before running a short exercise from it. This is a unique opportunity to experience the legandary Groundcourse at first hand.
1. Discussion of full Groundcourse programme, the theory behind it, and plenty examples of student outputs, both way back in Ealing/Ipswich and currently at De Tao.
Then comes the practice:
2. Each individual student will design and construct a machine that can calibrate changes in one’s individual environment and in one’s behaviour, producing for each user a severely limited repertoire of actions.
3. Organisms are identified, each consisting of five “calibrated” students , recognising their mutual dependancy in enabling the organism’s ability to produce thought and action.
4. Each organism then to design and build an environmentally-situated performative game.
5. Presentation: enactment of each organism’s game.
6. Organisms discuss their critical reflection of the process.
Professor Roy Ascott, Ars Electronica Golden Nica award winner, works with cybernetics and telematics on cybernetic art, focusing on the impact of digital and telecommunications networks on consciousness. He is President of the Planetary Collegium, and DeTao Master of Technoetic Arts at the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai. He is the founding editor of the research journal Technoetic Arts, an honorary editor of Leonardo Journal, and author of such the books as Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness.
Prof Ascott’s full biography can be reviewed here:
https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/roy-ascott and here