Neil Mulholland ‘Shift/Work: Speculations’, in L. Campbell (ed.), Leap into Action, New York: Peter Lang. 12th December 2019. pages 21-26; 39-40; 59-60 ISBN 9781433166440
Shift/Work is a performative paragogics (Corneli 2011) that supports the active peer production of Open Education Resources (OER) for artists. Shift/Work arose from participatory action research (PAR) into art education’s hidden (anti-)curriculum as a means of intervening in the monadic culture of self-sufficiency performed by its atomising technologies of the self. An iterative practice continually re-performed like a musical score, Shift/Workers compose and play-test intersubjective workshops for one another prompted by a ‘gesture that interrupts’ (Biesta 2017, 36); a MacGuffin that playfully amplifies our different educational expectations in order to draw our collective attention to how learners are subjectivised as artists. Drawing on a paper presented at ISoTL17 in Calgary, this chapter delineates Speculations (Shift/Work 2017), a Shift/Workshop composed and performed in Scotland, India and Norway during 2017 and in Ottawa in 2019, the parameters of which were scaffolded by Dan Brown, Jake Watts and Neil Mulholland.
At SAW, Ottawa on November 9th 2019, the Confraternity of Neoflagellants (Norman Hogg and Neil Mulholland) will conduct a performance of Shift/Work [STATIC] Speculations, a score-scroll originally composed at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop to be performed at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale Biennale, India (March 2017). It has since been performed in Kristiansand (Norway), Malmö (Sweden), Edinburgh (Scotland) and Calgary (Canada).
Speculation is a ‘gesture that interrupts’ (Biesta 2017, 36); an ‘irritation’ (Ascott 2003, 145); ‘a corruption, a rupture of information’ […] ‘static, a parasite?’ (Serres and Schehr 2007: 3) The speculative parasite is one that stimulates paragogic play, materialising Shift/Workers’ learning expectations. In performing each other’s Speculations Shift/Workshops, Shift/Workers gain a metacognitive understanding of the speculative processes and challenges of artistic learning.
Scroll-score: To blackbox facilitation, Confraternity of Neoflagellants will scaffold play with a scroll-score, a minimal set of prompts that sets the parameters within which Shift/Workshop design is communally performed. Confraternity of Neoflagellants will be using a set of Speculations Playing Cards as parasites for interference, gestation, regurgitation and problem creation. Speculative materials, probes and props will be drawn directly from the pan-pan exhibition.
Re-imagining the Art School assesses the organisational development of the humanist ‘idea of the art school’ from the post-rationalist perspectives of constructivist and connectivist educational learning theory. It examines how recent internal (‘porous’) and external (‘para’) reforms have transformed the production of subjectivity in art schooling and pioneers the application of theories and methods of para-academia and paragogy in art education. It is the first book to be published on the future of the art school to develop an open access paragogy for artistic learning and research.
Reimagining the Art School will be published in 2019 by Palgrave Macmillan
Bourdon Lecture Theatre , Glasgow School of Art, Bourdon Building
Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6RQ View Map
@ACAD Alberta College of Art & Design – 1407 14 Ave NW, Calgary 🇨🇦 Tuesday v10th October, 1pm www.acad.ca
With Dan Brown, Neil Mulholland directs Shift/Work, a studio at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (ESW) that composes scores designed to encourage players to reflect upon and recalibrate artistic learning. Key to this is an open engagement with practice (work) as a means of both generating and transferring new knowledge (shift). ‘Shift/Work’ is an iterative process, a rolling workshop that can be continually re-performed like a musical score.
Neil will outline the genesis and aims of Shift/Work in relation to the rise of paragogy and para-academia (the ‘undercommons’ of contemporary art and knowledge). He will then focus on Shift/Work’s development of Speculations, a participatory workshop collectively composed at ESW to be performed as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India (March 2017) and at Teateret, Kristiansand, Norway (August 2017). He will demonstrate how to perform Speculations and provide a copies of its score as an open educational resource for artists to adapt and practise.
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.