Contemporary Art Research Centre

Director: Jo Addison
Centre Co-ordinator: Volker Eichelmann

The Contemporary Art Research Centre aims to build and provide an intellectual and creative milieu for innovation in contemporary fine art. Drawing on a legacy of the radical imagination and conceptual practices, we seek to imagine and enact possibilities for art with respect to the social sphere, technology, models of knowledge and modes of experience.

Centre for Useless Splendour

Andre Breton argued for the transformative power of the imagination, that it might operate to change social circumstances, and yet that it remains in important ways excessive to instrumental application – absurd and radically profane. The Centre aims to house a rich range of imaginative material and symbolic invention; for discussion and action towards this end a virtual institution operates – The Centre For Useless Splendour – divided into five interconnected conceptual spaces:

The Foyer – art and social context

Work in this area is concerned with cultural agency, institutional and political practices, education and the testing of hybrid modes of socially-sited production. The social function of art is explored and demonstrated through critical analysis and documentation, with models of the public sphere being generated in collaborative and curatorial projects, in forms such as photography, writing and broadcasting.

The Machine Room – art and technology

Work here is concerned with how technologies and technological processes might be understood, utilised and reinvented. There is attention to the intellectual and manual labour of fabrication, but also to how propositions of the imagination can lead to inventive or perverse uses of technology and material. Diverse reprographic, diagrammatic, kinetic and recording technologies are utilised and adapted towards new experiences.

The Hall of Records – art and epistemology

Work in this area considers how histories and bodies of knowledge might be generated, re-imagined and re-inscribed, through work with archives and physical collections, found objects, philosophical concepts, theoretical schemas, constitutions, laws and manifestos. Acting on official, unofficial, propositional and fictional undertakings, opportunities are propagated for historical contextualisation, expanded meanings, and narrative complication.

The Lumber Room – art and materiality

This place is for experience, matter, noise and the body. It is for knowledge developed through embodied temporal encounters. Attention is given to the possibilities of materiality and process, unfolding in the making of images and objects, through accident and event. Abstraction and performance meet over play, profanity, philosophy, eroticism and waste.

The Forum – art, the still and moving image, documentary transfiguration, philosophy and the image

Lens based practices and associated research projects encompassing still and moving image exploring a range of potentials: of touch, sense and contact; art and documentary: expanding or defying genre; transfiguration, philosophy and the image; the animated cusp of still and moving image.

Within individual and collaborative research projects CARC researchers move freely across these areas.