This is a painting from 2005 that I have made into a new artwork by making it the site for a fireworks display. The fireworks were attached to the painting with oil paint and discharged on Guy Fawkes night in 2016 in London Fields. It is from a series that take finished paintings and alter their meaning by making them functional, the site of an activity or otherwise redefined.
Portals in the Urban Terrain: excavating the virtual ruins of rendered architectural propositions
Monumental billboards concealing construction sites have become commonplace in towns all over the world, with images envisaging desirable, aspirational and unfathomably clean living and working environments. On closer inspection however, these projections quite literally disintegrate. This practice-led research addresses the spatial inconsistencies provided by simulated architectural propositions, and challenges their material status when they intersect the post-industrial landscape. We are at a key moment in image production, where as the software that is used to produce computer generated imagery becomes more readily available, the rendered image starts to break down. Through the interdisciplinary nature of my practice, I am arresting images that although temporal, have a lasting impact on the social and economic fabric of the urban landscape. I am paying particular attention to the ‘slippage’ that occurs in these propositions, and it is this unintentional error that I am adopting as my methodology for creating new photographs and installations.
‘They don’t do much in the cane-hole way’ Representing Caribbean Whiteness and the Irish Diaspora in Jamaica through visual and material culture.
My research harnesses post-colonial and archival theory to analyse the migration of the Irish diaspora to Jamaica.
Through re-examining and documenting this largely unknown and unaddressed history, my research traces the migration of the Irish from 1835 to 1842s and their arrival in Jamaica through narratively reconstructing this history through its archival traces. This research addresses fragmented identities via archival and postcolonial frames and the creolization of the Irish in Jamaica and the resulting legacies in contemporary Jamaica.
Through postcolonial theory and archival theory, I analyse and respond to the cultural legacies of colonialism and the human consequences of imperialism. And I seek to determine new historical narratives in response to the dominant “master narratives” of Western nationhood, identity and culture. The repercussions of colonial rule can still be felt today, and my work focuses on the rewriting of histories of the dominated “Other” and returning a voice, which had been rendered mute.
Situating my practice within the historiographic turn in contemporary art discourse and in relation to the archive, notably through the examination of unrecorded, private and disregarded histories, my multi-disciplinary approach to the research, the archival record and the archival image questions the legitimacy of the archive and falsification or lack within the recorded image and text.
Beautility: printed matter, moving image and the question of Use
My research takes as its framework the beauty-utility opposition in aesthetics to then probe and explore how the formulation of aesthetic distance is constructed conceptually and echoed socially. This study will be pursued theoretically in written research, and practically through an expanded conception of publication as practice, investigating mechanical and digital reproduction in the widest sense. This research will practically interrogate the formal representation of aesthetic theory, and question what is at stake in the notion of aesthetic distance, producing both printed matter and digital video that address the social and political implications of concepts of taste, value, and judgement itself.
I am undertaking a series of audio field recordings of subterranean machinery. Collected during London Underground’s night turn engineering hours these recordings reveal the inner workings of the city’s sub-surface; a deep level microcosm with its own rules, behaviours and hierarchies that runs parallel with the city it serves. My approach is to use these mechanical underground sounds as a metaphor for the invisible worker. This also questions the rise of automation and the normalisation and acceptance of the ever-increasing levels of surveillance and control in everyday life. By doing so I aim to link the surface of technological consumer society with the dehumanisation and mechanisation of the sub-surface worker.
I am asking the following questions: How does the texture of mechanical sound connect the surface and sub-surface of technological consumer society? What are the global-political and cultural implications of the anthropomorphism of machines? How does this relate to the 21st Century commodification of labour?
My PhD aims to address the question of how the value of a gesture is determined in a painting. In my approach I have considered contemporary debates around paintings post-condition and its aggregate nature, as well as research into the value form of negative gestures of withdrawal. I have developed new bodies of work that aim to make visible the invisible procedures of labor in the production of painting and exhibition making (as the framing device of the painting). My PhD is developing a language around gesture that envisions it as fluid, and uses the philosophy around early cinema to determine where a gesture happens (between images). This PhD aims to expand the discussion of value around contemporary painting, focusing on how painting gestures are both a conduit for the movement of value to and from certain spaces in the contemporary art world, but also as a potential fluid conduit for outsider, radical positions which question the role of value distribution through terms such as ‘author’ and ‘genius’.
Among the Living: Articulating Craft Methodologies Beyond Ornament and Skill in Contemporary Art Practice
My research examines how the use of applied art and handicraft techniques in the production of artworks can focus a spotlight on and put forward new ways of understanding how nodes of instability and conditionality within the definition of craft offer it as a crucial social tool for understanding the ever-changing propositions of material culture.
Unconscious and pre-programmed systems of influence and their implications within art practice
Daniel Shanken is an artist from Los Angeles, living and working in London. Recently his work has been shown at Studio RCA Riverlight, Art Basel Hong Kong, Yvonne Lambert Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, CCA Glasgow, Nottingham Contemporary, CFCCA Manchester, Kiasma Helsinki, and CGP London.
As a young Iranian artist living in the UK, the examination of my position in the cultural space that exists between the West and the Middle East is an instrumental voice in my research. In order to address and disarm the habitual notions of Islamic Identity I have adapted subversive approaches to my practice including Maddahi singing, choreography with mirrors and cameras, and performances with fake explosives.
My work questions the ideas of self as a site of conflict between an entity and its projected re-presentation, and explores underlying assumptions and clashes between artistic intensions and viewer’s perception. This is stimulated by the tension present between the presumed role of an active artist being mistakenly recognised for a terrorist
I’m looking at how to fabricate the ideal city, using a methodology that I’ve called the Tablescape. This is a form of architectural model making that employs found and repurposed materials to create fictive spaces that become a springboard for different forms of publicity. To fabricate is both to make and to fake, and the ambiguity of the word is key to my research. I am making, through the process of assemblage; I am faking, by constructing stories about the ideal city from these fragments.
This is not based on an abstraction. I grew up in a modernist utopia called Milton Keynes, an ideal living environment planned for 250,000 people on a large area of North Buckinghamshire. My research considers the possibility of vision in the public realm, moving between art, architecture and design. A testing ground for this is a project called City Club, an ambitious scheme to remodel and curate an area of Central Milton Keynes according to the utopian perspective of the city’s first architects and planners.
What happens to a sculpture when it is filmed and photographed?
What happens to a sculpture when it is filmed and photographed? How is it effected and changed by this process of capture and representation? Can sculpture and media act together to produce something which has its own particular force and existence? Can a mediated object be considered as an art object in its own right?
This practice-led enquiry will open out the possibilities of the pictured sculpture, conceiving of the act of mediation as integral to the creation of the art object, a radical transformation and fundamental constitutive act without which the object would not be what it is. Using various representational media – still, moving and virtual – I will test the power of the media to transform the sculptural object giving to it unexpected qualities, altering its perceived scale and materiality, finding ways for the pictured sculpture to exceed its origins entering into the viewer’s perception as something distinct yet inseparable from the process of mediation.
This research will take into account key philosophical debates around the nature of objects and of representational media, alongside phenomenological analysis articulating the complex and intertwined relationship of object, and the media through which it reaches the viewer, not merely as something seen visually but perceived bodily. This will be underpinned by an analysis of how the art object has been forged historically in relation to the photographic image and how artists over the past century have used representational media to put the integrity of the art object into question. This research will create new understandings of the nature and possibilities of the pictured sculpture, establishing it as a locus of practical and theoretical inquiry which is at the heart of image production in contemporary art.
Devotion and absence: towards a cinematic écriture féminine
This research proposes to investigate the intersection of documentary, experimental video and ethnography within the context and theory of Helene Cixous’s écriture féminine, exploring how socio-political and allegorical narrative is channelled through the self as implicated in the wider social structure.
Bringing into dialogue feminist theory and cinematic auto-ethnography as a device for challenging the assumptions attached to identity in order to open up new forms of writing, alterity and resistances within the system. I aim to research both practice-based and theoretical constituents of feminist cine-writing, developing film pieces testing these investigations into emergent, poetic relationships between visual text and speech act.
What is trembling? Where is it to be found, can it be produced and can it be productive? This research proposes a notion of trembling that articulates encounters with the present accessed through the study of specific encounters with technology. I aim to evolve a language of trembling that is both produced from, and moves between technical, formal, narrative and creative registers; bringing a range of narrative and non-narrative instances into relation with each other. Materialist filmmaker Lis Rhodes said, Only the permitted is really visible in a culture that equates real with visible; the unreal becomes invisible; I see is synonymous with I understand; reality cannot explain itself. (1996). Using moving image and archival strategies of contemporary art practice I aim to bring trembling to the screen.
Charlie Tweed’s practice based PhD research project ‘Re-writing the overcode’ has developed from in depth research around the history, materialities and agency of machinic technologies and their relationship with theories of control. During the PhD he firstly created a number of video works which have tested out particular ‘escape routes’ and new forms of machine assemblage voiced by various non human personas. For the final output he has developed a large scale audio work ‘The Signal and the Rock’ along with an accompanying publication that channels the utterances of the post-human ‘ghosts’ of obsolete and decaying technologies from a fictional research space located below one of the world’s largest e-waste sites.
Charlie Tweed (GB), born in 1974, is an artist and academic based in Bristol. He has an MFA in Art Practice from Goldsmiths, London, and is currently completing his Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD at Kingston University. Recent solo shows include: “Notes I, II & III” at Spike Island, Bristol; “Animate Projects” and “Alma Enterprises”, London; “i am algorithm” at Aspex, Portsmouth and Exeter Phoenix. Recent group shows include: WRO Media Art Beinnale: Draft Systems (2017); “Selected VI” (videoclub touring programme); “Both Sides Now III: Screenings in East Asia” (videoclub); “Silent Signal” (multiple venues); Oberhausen Short Film Festival; “Cold Bodies, Warm Machines”, NRW-Dusseldorf; Inland Art Festival; “dragged down into lowercase” (Sommerakademie) at the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland; “The Box Season 5”, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales; “The London Open”, Whitechapel Gallery.
I am a Stylus: Play, Erase, Replay and Overdub as Strategies for Contemporary Fine Art Practice
Climbing the stairs and stepping out, its pitch black. I’m disorientated, my eyes are wide open, but I can’t make anything out. Once they become accustomed, I make out tiny lights winking blue and yellow coming from banks of electronic equipment, linked together by long black wires. Thinner brightly coloured wires hang in coils across the space, looping down between the equipment, a series of receivers, amplifiers and tuners, the debris of an abandoned radio station. I notice that everything is connected.
The air is soft, malleable, and as I start to feel my way around my fingers leave small indents. How to convey this? ((((((((((((((((())))))) ((((((((((((((((()))))))))))))))) I turn up the sound and you hear a woman’s voice softly humming on a repeated loop.
Casting for the voice of Strength || Austin Spare and the cultures of cartomancy
This project takes direction from a forgotten deck of fortune-telling cards, hand-painted circa 1906 by the English artist and mystic Austin Osman Spare, and recently rediscovered within the collections of London’s Magic Circle museum. Seen more broadly as one of many contested sites of enchantment within late modernity, this directive object here prompts its own historical overview, and a range of contingent fictocritical readings.
Esther Windsors’ PhD, Ugly Beast, is a practice led project in contemporary fine art, framed by a lived experience of a curatorial history. It uses manifesto, novel and exhibition as strategies of research, which repositions the curators voice and agency, questioning the expanded field of curating, social sculpture and subjectivity.
Ugly Beast Manifesto responds to her curatorial archive, held on www.estherwindsor.com proposing life as art. It was informed by: 70’s feminist practice; Stuart Hall & CCCS; New Left Review; Kaprow’s Happenings; Irigaray’s psychoanalytic language; Warhol’s pragmatic address book and personal experience of BANK, in tabloid, fax backs and events in 90’s Shoreditch, London. Ugly Beast Novel tells a story of art world characters, a teacher, artist, dealer and gallery director.
Esther Windsor is a curator, artist and writer, teaching critical theory on MFA at Kingston with specialism in subjectivities and psychoanalysis.
She has curated at The ICA, Camerawork Gallery and Darkroom, The Photographers’ Gallery and established two art school galleries, the waiting room, University of Wolverhampton and mirror, LCP London. She was director at Hull Time Based Arts and co directed 1000 000 mph, London.