SPACE | NARRATIVE | LEGACY

LIQUID LANDSCAPES | SUSANNA OLCZAK | Lightning Talk

An elemental journey beginning with light, moving to water, air and fire and ending with earth. The works explore ideas of time, fragility and spatial experience through consideration of the cosmological and the geological. Questions are be posed about the importance of our relationship to the elements within urban space.


EMERGING ISLAMIC STUDIO CERAMICS: REMAKING CULTURAL HERITAGE ARTEFACTS FROM ALHAMBRA PALACE | ZELAL BASODAN | Lightning Talk

This practice-based research is exploring ceramic geometric tiles and Arabic inscriptions from the world heritage site Alhambra palace, and also lustre technique found on Alhambra vases. These will be the key elements of this theoretical and practical research. This research focuses on Islamic Spain during the Nasrid period, which is known to be a lavish multi-cultural and artistic style. From the Studio Ceramics perspective, this area is under researched.

Moreover, based on personal experience Islamic art is merely considered history and cannot be a form of contemporary art, and many Muslim and Arab artists were influenced solely by Western cultures. Since heritage is not solely history, but a cultural process that continues to the present (Harrison, 2010; Harvey, 2018). Therefore, there is a need to revisit a cultural heritage context and adapt it in the current practice by contemporary artists.

Furthermore, with the development of new technologies interests have shifted from material to digital based disciplines. Ceramics was one of the fields that has been affected as it usually depends on hand skills techniques. However, ceramics had faced similar challenges and changes in its history starting with throwing, moulding and now 3D printing and other new technologies.

Therefore, this research is aiming to produce hybrid Contemporary Islamic Ceramics artefacts investigating the possibility of intertwining new technology with hand skills methods in a cultural heritage context. Since the clay material has a historical and cultural connotation the researcher aims to retain these cultural connections within the body of work. In the proposed talk the ambiguity, uncertainty and failure surrounding the ongoing process of the practice will be discussed.


THE VOICE OF MATERIALS: DEVELOPING CO-PRODUCTIVE PRACTICE | JEMMA MELLOR | Lightning Talk

My research and practice centres upon methodologies of co-production, material conformity and autonomy, and the role of materials, matter and stuff in artistic practice. My current research development focuses upon how the artist and designer can open up formal conversations with materials in the development of greater co-productive practice. My position is that we should consider the voice of matter and objects as speaking of more than form and instead encompassing histories, myths, political, social and even spiritual relations.

My talk builds upon this research, proposing a series of questions to develop material co-productive practice, for use in development and process in arts making to ensure that work is built upon deliberate colloquies with materials. The recommendation would be for the artist to use these questions to engage the materials they are working with in a colloquy (or formal conversation) before the beginning of artistic co-production. These materials and objects may be traditional, found, natural or manmade, but such a method would ensure a deeper understanding of the voice and language which material brings to the production table. 



REFLECTIONS ON NOT AN ARCHIVE: COMMISSIONING AS A PROCESS OF DISCOVERY | EMILY GRAY | Lightning Talk

Exploring perspectives on institutional archives, legacy and collective imaginary, this presentation explores the process of commissioning and artistic practice as a form of co-, collective or parallel research from the perspective of the curator-researcher. Responding to seven decades of activity UK platform for emerging artists, New Contemporaries, three new works were commissioned by artists Kobby Adi, Celia-Yunior and Suzanne van der Lingen. Asked to approach the history of the organisation through the lens of the archive, but one in which ‘the archive’ does not yet exist, the final collective presentation of their works was intended as an alternative ‘archive’ or point of access to the history of the organisation, an opportunity to expand the extant archival materials (Yiamouki, 2009), and explore its possibilities and potentiality. 

Established in 1949, New Contemporaries has gone through a number of significant changes, breaks and re-orientations with the longitudinal history often appearing dislocated from its present incarnation. In the absence of ‘an archive’, the PhD has been a process of piecing together a limited range of disparate materials, while paradoxically attempting to resisting the formation of a singular institutional narrative. From this position, the opportunity to open up the material to different perspectives and interjections was a point of deliberate disruption, inviting a reflexive process that followed multiple, unknown, trajectories. Placed within the lens of the curatorial – of working both with the artists and towards the exhibition – this perspective reflects the notion of curatorial or curating activity as a process of ongoing knowledge formation (Martinon, 2013; Sorensen, 2016). As a research methodology regarding a disparate and ephemeral archive, this process has offered new points of conjecture, orientations and ruminations.


AGAINST DISCIPLINE | PIERRE D’ALANCAISEZ | Lightning Talk

What does discipline mean in art? In an era of post-studio practice, distinctions between discipline-genres (sculpture vs painting vs video, for example) may seem obsolete. I want to argue, however, that even when these distinctions are put aside, art practice is unavoidably shaped by disciplinarity constraints and relationships, in the sense of classifications of academic disciplines, for example, those between visual arts and medicine. The power and epistemic relationships that separate, broadly, the arts and humanities, are more visibly at play than ever. 

Building on considerations of art’s attitudes to disciplinarity put forward by Holmes and Wilson, I discuss the formal disciplinary setting of art education and the anti- disciplinary attitudes that it often produces (for example, through the trend of deskilling). I observe that resultant art practice often eschews epistemological conflict by orienting its inquiry away from the fields already claimed by other disciplines and that such wilful blindness may be epistemologically counterproductive. 

How does studio art practice overcome this problem? How does the knowledge produced through artistic research contend with knowledges of other disciplines? I pose this question to the Material Encounters colloquium as a provocation in an attempt to test some of the presumed qualities of artistic knowledge-practice and to question whether they are formed by the power part of power-knowledge than by the knowledge. I suggest that only by actively overcoming disciplinary boundaries, can practice-led research become a partner to research-led practice. 


CREATING MYTH THROUGH ARTISTIC STUDIO PRACTICE WITH FICTIONAL NARRATIVE | KAREN DAVID | Lightning Talk

The fictional narrative centres on a commune based in the Southwest American desert with live/work pods where fictional characters are invited to make work and explore concerns during their residency. The narrative is located in a fictional architectural floorplan with pods representing an area of specific research: Healing, Illusion, 90s Science Fiction TV, American Desert, Ritual and Transformation.

Using this written narrative to navigate concerns parallel to her practice, the character’s imagined interactions, discoveries and discussions are observed and fed into the making of artworks. Through this methodology there is a blurring of fact and fiction where the fictionalised artwork that has been imagined undergoes a ‘trans-materialisation’ or a ‘re-materialisation’ as it is made in the real world. 

This paper begins by describing the fictional narrative employed in the research, the location, the characters and their conditions. It then notes how materiality reacts to the fiction, and ends summarising with theoretical structures and diagrams that underlie the research. Pivotal texts are Burrows and O’Sullivan’s 2019 Fictioning: The Myth-Functions of Contemporary Art and Philosophy and Lambert-Beatty’s 2009 Make-Believe: Parafiction and Plausibility.

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