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Neil Mulholland - Parallel Lines: Form and Field in Contemporary Artwriting

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Artists who write as part of their practice have long made a very significant contribution …

Artists who write as part of their practice have long made a very significant contribution
to art theory and criticism. Artwriting has re-emerged as a practice in
its own right and is growing in popularity and controversy among theorists, critics
and artists today, leading to a convergence of these professional roles. I use the
concept of mise-en-scène to investigate the ways in which artwriting might be
better understood as a practice, one that enables emerging creative practitioners
to manufacture a field within which to situate their form, to conceive of the production
of an imaginative writerly context for their practice as their practice. I
consider ways in which newly developing publishing media, practices and cultures
enable artwriting to flourish and speculate upon what impact this might have
on the hierarchical world of visual art practice as it integrates with new fields of
horizontal distribution. Slides to accompany Mulholland, N. (2009), ‘Parallel lines: form and field in contemporary artwriting’,
Journal of Writing in Creative Practice 2: 3, pp. 343–353, doi: 10.1386/jwcp.2.3.343/1

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  • David Carrier's term 'artwriting' has re-entered Anglophone art criticism in recent years in a way that signals a conservative backlash against his observations. [explain what they are briefly – they are in the slide…..] 'Artwriting' is often, inexplicably, used in the derogatory sense, as a means of registering the chagrin of many critics who perceive a 'crisis' in what they regard to be their 'discipline'. The terms of this debate in very recent years are exhausted in as much as they regard art writing as wholly mimetic, despite it’s supposed critical or evaluative role. There is no ‘crisis’; writing is just what we write. Writing is a practice – there are as many diverse ways of writing as there are of making art. Writing doesn’t have to squarely fit with recognisable genres such as 'criticism', 'theory', 'curating‘, ‘art practice’, ‘managerial’; nor does it have to be ‘creative’ (poetry, prose, drama, etc.) If we want to entertain the idea of writing to having a specific relationship with art then we will have to examine the concept of the 'parallel text' – of writing retaining its autonomywhile running along in a similar direction to art practice. Writing needs to be valuable in itself, or at least it needs to take some risks if it is going to be something that we want to embrace. I want to look at how art-related writing escape its normative tropes of advocacy, representation and critique by revisiting the dramatic concept of mise en scene.
  • Matt Hills Fan Cultures : “How can the mutual marginalisation of the imagined subjectivity of academia [=established artist] and the fan be challenged? p8. This might be enacted through a number of more polyglot approaches that emerge both from being a fan and a cult stud junkie, what Hills calls the elite hybridised “fan-scholar”. The fan-scholar can occupy any number of cultural territories with ease. In art criticism, this has become associated with writers such as Dave Hickey in the US who retain a strong connection with Gonzo/Beat writing; a style that dominates the music press.
  • MISE EN SCENE [slide] “ Mise en scene means two things, one obvious - the directing process; the other mysterious - the result of that process...” Jean-Louis Comolli (1965) [DON’T READ THIS] A basic definition of mise en scene might be the staging of action before the camera in a fictive context. The question of fictive context is crucial since mise en scene criticism revolved around a primary interest in narrative cinema. A more elaborate working definition of mise en scene in relation to art practice would be to consider the precise placement of objects before art audiences in various spatial, pictorial and rhythmic combinations. Read within the context of art practice, mise en scene could be construed as how artists and curators put things in the picture – how they compose or install work. This competes with theatre in its potential for the rigorous organisation of space. It can be conceived in theatrical terms in this way easily enough. Setting the scene is crucial in terms of how a text narrates. I’m interested specifically in examining how artists and writers create a mise-en-scene for their practice (rather than in how they might practice mise-en-scene).
  • I don’t want to simply represent this approach; rather I want to make it the subject of my practice, the motive for creating a mise en scene. To encapsulate this apparatus involves variable and ambiguous ‘juggling’ of a spectrum of critical impulses: the excitement of exploring the domain of stylistics, something Anglophone writing neglected for decades; and an eagerness to expand the horizons of writing, by igniting it as an autoerotic activity. Motivation for the practice of writing does not have to appear as a problem or question to be answered. Instead motivation may arise around any fertile stream of consciousness – it doesn’t have to have an explicit research outcome there just has to be a starting point. This has included things that are: haptic prohibitive Gay Numanoids Melacholic Technological Florid Sticky Stupid managerial Moustachioed mysterious Glasgwegian ambient The kind of taxonomy this produces, as in much art practice, doesn’t acknowledge conventional disciplinary boundaries. There are no genres to speak of except when we want to see them. We should not police writing; there’s just writing and play.
  • The auteurist artist, writer or filmmaker of the 50s and 60s wanted to endorse sophisticated authorship over and above the obvious and basic trademarks of storytelling that normally ensnared the public. Following the post-modernist and post-structuralist preoccupations of the 1980s, fascination with mise en scene in commercial cinema was reactivated, albeit in a tangential theoretical way, in conjunction with the new practice of cultural criticism, where the latter embraces a sort of critical gliding far removed from the traditional orthodoxy of interpretative decoding. [slide] “The tendency to reject auteurism because it is 'hopelessly contradictory' loses sight of the extent to which subsequent authorship theories of the production of ideologies in films [and in art practice] were at least inflected, if not initiated by these contradictions.” - John Caughie (1981) So implementing revised concepts of mise-en-scene in art practice might draw out some of these contradictions. This requires an engagement with what Susan Sontag called the ‘erotics of writing’ – a refusal to signify or at least a tendency to resist hermeneutics is valuable in so far as it might make the process of writing and reading enjoyable and less ‘problem’ oriented.
  • 1999 Becks Futures 1 Catalogue – Lucy McKenzie. [slide] [1] Don't be afraid if things seem difficult in the beginning. That's only the initial impression. The important thing is not to retreat; you have to master yourself. Unlock that funky chaindance. Tension mars the prettiest face. Suit the action to the word. You know how hard it is for me to shake the disease that takes hold of my tongue. Korbut Ware-Gore, 1980. McKenzie, Lucy (1970s-) Artist. Born in former Strathclyde Region, Europe. [slide] Size: 1.76 m. Bigoted critics were swift to intimate that McKenzie painted a medal because Scots like subsidy. They do select at an early age and train. In 1980, amongst all the superior painting ladies bestowing habitual elegance was a cheeky looking girl in pigtails, doing the most fantastic stuff! McKenzie was 18 when she pulled into Dundee School of Art waving callously at her nut-mother-father and her then younger sister. She attracted attention with her medals and youthful enthusiasm. Artists were influenced in some way by the Cold War, as students competed for a liebenswelt . McKenzie was interested anyway only in art instruction. With 4 years she was finally released, because it seemed with orange hairstyle too instruction she . Offering herself as scapegoat for Dundee's collective guilt, McKenzie packed, short, decided suitcases, for Glasgow. Gallery Charisma gave her an opportunity, letting her sketch Was Guten? (1999). McKenzie turned now to the exact opposite, the East European jet set. Stadium Towers (1999) [slide] looked Nazi showpiece gigantic, giving less Olympic, more swastikas bedecking. Each success of a 'McKenzie' was welcomed as a victory for seductiveness. McKenzie's 'lightning wine bar' painting Kultura (1999) - XIV Fifa World Cup'a'Culture - made for the first time, the press attentive. Not a painting with rose-pink Glitzer Livree, Rococo frill shirt or toupierter, Kultura was unemotional, analytical, almost regal in its deportment. At the Polish Eingangstuer Thronte, McKenzie knew no grace with unimaginative everyday life types and rejected them. Much against the principle that commanded that each artist is an amateur, McKenzie retorted: "Move out of my way it's time to make it happen." McKenzie's idea seemed to be inexhaustible. It constantly rooted in dusty costumes, lending a new lining, invariably occurring to the type with the thousand faces. With her hit paintings Olga [slide] and Big One , she was fanatically represented. With Untitled , [slide] a new mode developed - the 'New Look', gaining the sympathy of millions worldwide (accordingly making Untitled a household cognomen.) For many years, McKenzie led a secluded life in Glasgow, working as an artist, but she often felt bored. She claimed the Strathclyde authorities just ignored her after her retirement and she felt bitter.
  • Which voice is present in this text? The narrator is a character telling the story – he or she is a European catalogue text writer, someone who doesn’t understand where McKenzie comes from, doesn’t really recognise the references. Much of the text is lost in translation, much like McKenzie’s subject matter. [the broken syntax was generated by translation software] Is what way is the artist and their work represented. Not transparently, there is a mix of fact and fiction. What is the genre? – Catalogue text mixed with obituary – we don’t normally expect to find an obituary for an artist who has just graduated and who is in a ‘futures’ exhibition.
  • Is this a parallel text? A parallel text (or bitext) implies translation is taking place in a mimetic fashion – that what’s happening in the practice is being represented in the text, that the writing and practice are being aligned and matched blow by blow. Catalogue texts and monographs tend to adopt this mode of address. This kind of paralleling is being parodied here. While it contains we’d expect to get from a catalogue text – it doesn’t quite add up. Parallel text is taken here to mean a text that runs parallel to the practice, that shares its concerns but which behaves relatively autonomously. In this sense it doesn’t confirm the conventional demands of educational texts (very big in the UK due to New Labour). [mention how angry editors get when confronted by anything that’s non normative]. Where control of many of the phases of production is more or less automatic for esteemed artists, such a situation is not the norm in the carnivorous jungle of outlets for writing. Writers have to fight for and constantly negotiate and renegotiate their autonomy amidst completely rigid hierarchical, professional and business parameters. Collaborations with Charisma (Lucy McKenzie and Keith Farquhar) – e.g. Peter York’s ‘90s for Untitled
  • The next text can be seen to emerge from similar concerns: Scottish painter of portraits, landscapes, and fancy pictures, one of the most individual geniuses in European art. Born in Glasgow, h e showed an aptitude for drawing early and first was encouraged by his mother, who was a woman of well-cultivated mind and excelled in flower-painting. He went into town to train, probably studying with a French engraver or scene-painter . He remained in Glasgow and, when t he DSS brought an annuity, started his career as a portrait-painter in the city’s Anderson area. His work at this time consisted mainly of heads and half-lengths ( Mrs Sassoon; Wayne Allard ), but he also produced some small works in red public hair which are the most lyrical of all conversation pieces. He used to spend a lot of time outdoors, smoking. He developed a free and elegant mode of painting seen at its most characteristic in full-length portraits ( Paddy Joe Hill; Roger Winsor ). In later life, he further developed the personal style, working with light and rapid brush-strokes and delicate and evanescent colors. He was an independent and original genius, able to assimilate to his own ends what he learnt from others. He had no drapery painter, and unlike most of his contemporaries he never employed assistants. Which voice is present in this text? The narrator is another kind of character – a typical graduate of an old University art history department (pre-New Art History perhaps ) this time someone who wants to skirt around the fact that Fullerton’s paintings are ‘political’ and wants to link them to canonical concerns with mark making and representations of the rich and the powerful (things that Fullerton is actually concerned with I should add).
  • Is what way is the artist and their work represented? Again not transparently, there is a mix of fact and fiction, Fullerton appears to live in another century. [come to think of it, these paintings were painted in another century] What is the genre? – Old monograph written by a public schoolboy. Again, it’s not really a parallel text in the bitext sense, since it make Fullerton’s concerns explicit via parodying this mode of address. It takes the auteurism of the bitext to task. Let’s put this back into the context of auteurism in film theory:
  • Read out bit of Magnetic Promenade ….. + Shrigley Book (mention TV documentary) + Leckey book This text isn’t a parallel bitext either, (although it appears to be) rather it is non-representational. It actually forms part of the exhibition; it’s integrated with the work that writing would normally represent. The narrative voice is much more pronounced – a 50s beat critic who has aspirations to be a writer himself and gets a bit hyperbolic. The subject matter is fictional – led by the fiction around which the show was generated. The question this kind of writing was raising for me at the time was how it might go a stage further and become the basis for practice rather than a collaborative act. This would make the writing theoretical without having to adopt the literary tropes associated with theory. SEPTEMBER 2008 'Working Girl' Lucy Stein, Gimpel Fils, London. OCTOBER 2003 LondonAttella , Oladélé Bamgboye / Mark Leckey / It's in our hands, Migros Museum, Zurich.  
  • Mise en scene can consist of the “creation of a precise complex of sets and characters, a network of relationships, an architecture of connections, an animated complex that seems suspended in space […] what is seen is less important than the way of seeing, or a certain way of needing to see or be seen.” Mise en scene can consist of the “creation of a precise complex of sets and characters, a network of relationships, an architecture of connections, an animated complex that seems suspended in space […] what is seen is less important than the way of seeing, or a certain way of needing to see or be seen.”
  • Genre in practice – There is, however, no need to separate the ideological and social dimensions of art production from auteurism – they can be reconciled via the cybernetic concept of the artist as a social actor. This is the aim of the last two texts – to bring together a self-conscious concern with the mechanics of jobbing advocacy (the catalogue text as a ‘positive’ form of critique), with a focus on the role of writing in early career (which can often be a social contract offering mutal assistance between artist and writer) and the seldomly recognized perception of the catalogue text as a genre.
  • The idea of the text possessing a variety of leakages (real disparities and contradictions) need not be inhibited by the task of explicating the unified vision. Thus mise en scene can be harnessed to critically enhance this aim, in sync with the latter-day post-structuralist interest in textual disparities and tangents and the importance of synchronicity. A Superfiction is a visual or conceptual artwork which uses fiction and appropriation to mirror organisations, business structures, and/or the lives of invented individuals. The term was coined by Glasgow -born artist Peter Hill in 1989 . Often superfictions are subversive cultural events in which the artwork can be said to escape from the picture frame or in which a narrative can be said to escape from the pages of the novel into three-dimensional reality. Hill’s theory connects back to the idea of mise-en-scene and reconciles it with narratology (which, in the 70s replaced such auteurism). This can be understood as the ability of an artist or writer to mobilise a mise en scene and narrative address to offer an immediate and intensely alluring fictive world to their audience.
  • Harry Pye’s Frank Magazine
  • Sick Happy Idle – The Shaw Brothers
  • Tayto Shows: Republic of Leather (Peoples’) – Generator, Dundee (2000)
  • Tayto et Tayto cosmology / story world / conworld
  • Switch PowerPoints – show the New Internationalism at this point……
  • The texts I’ve used as examples are narrated by an implied author who is distinct from the author (me) and the narrator (might be Mr Tayto for example). The implications of the text paint a rather different picture of the author that might be deduced from their real life. Who expresses? Raises issue of the narrator. The narrator is a social actor . This is true of the artist and the audience alike, both are playing roles. We are all unreliable narrators (like the Wizard of Oz) since we are not omnipotent. We are both restrained and enabled by our argot - it is our world.
  • Cultural Logic of Ambient e.g. Viral This concerns how something is distributed. It can be carried by other host media e.g. word of mouth. It does not have to be distributed or enacted by the author/artist. It can have a greater impact if enacted by a larger number of participants. Each time the work is re-enacted it has a different timbre so the system creates difference rather than strict repetition.
  • Anyone can be Clifton if they wear the disguise, master aspects of the Clifton argot, if they learn the routine . Tony Clifton is therefore an example of a participatory media, a multiple narrator, a reproducible artiste social-actor.
  • There are problems with adopting tactics of mise en scene. In some hands it can give the impression of an imploding fictive world which some might construe as quasi-self-reflective. This is especially true of large scale, blockbuster exhibitions and biennales or in any juggernaught cultural product (unit) where there is an over production of information…. One way to engage with this danger is to embrace it as a mode of address – to push these characteristics in the direction of the wholly pseudo -reflective. The visceral and kinetic play of imagery and voice can be made to appear as a self-congratulatory mode of empty effects – against interpretation: The public’s insatiable desire for visual stimulation results in an image of ‘too much’. It’s important to recognize that in art and cinema now, mise en scene is rarely a process of sensuous visual accumulation; it is more often a relentless visual stream of sock-it-to-me, throw-away icons.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Artwriting
    • 2.
      • Can we speak of the following split in a meaningful sense:
      • Modernist dogmatism – prescriptive form of criticism that seeks to delimit the field of art.
      • 2) Postmodernist relativism – non-prescriptive, expands the field for art.
      Arthur Danto
    • 3. David Carrier's Artwriting , (1987) puts forward the proposition that art theory has been replaced by an emphasis on rhetoric. Was it rhetoric all along? What place does narrative play in persuading us?
    • 4. 1) Dogmatic/Prescriptive (Modernism = presence. Postmodernism = theatre) Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried, Lars Bang Larsen (pictured), and writers who explore social functionalism. 2) Critical/sceptical (Modernism is critical of theatre, Postmodernism of race, class and gender) e.g. Peter Suchin and JJ Charlesworth (pictured)?
    • 5. Peter Suchin: “….many critics no longer appear in any serious sense critical of anything at all.” Art Monthly 266 p41 Suchin argues that much criticism today implies a “model of criticism that is passive and lazy, proposing nothing that might be termed corrective or an alternative account.” Ibid Peter Suchin, Mannered Copy (1994)
    • 6. JJ Charlesworth also implies the need to contest : “ It’s precisely this exhaustion, the moribund institutionalisation of critical postmodernism’s ‘strident critical activity’, grounding criticism throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, which provides the conditions for the recent rise of ‘art writing’. The slip of terminology from art criticism to mere art writing in recent years is symptomatic of a growing indifference to writing’s polemic and contestative potential.”
    • 7. […]" The function or dysfunction of criticism thus finally depends on a broader recognition (or denial) of the possibility of change in society: If nothing is susceptible to change, or change is haphazard and outside our control, then there is no point to criticism, and opinion becomes trivial; criticism then becomes an unwelcome irritant to a cultural sensibility resigned to the status quo. .."
    • 8. 3. Affirmative (Modernism is affirmative of self-criticism; Postmodernism of irony/mediation) Tom Morton? Living Dust , Norwich Gallery, UK “Of all Superman’s superpowers, perhaps the most poetic is his ability to crush coals into diamonds with his bare hands. Involving the compression of messy black carbon into something new, clean-lined and beautiful, it’s in many ways close to drawing – which is odd, given that the Man of Steel is himself the product of drawing. It’s possible that this superpower serves a meta-purpose, allowing the comic book artist to speak about the materiality of his medium, something that becomes hidden once the penciled page has been overlaid with inks, colours and text. At any rate the image of Superman blowing stray particles of coal dust from his palms is hard to get out of your head.” Tom Morton
    • 9. A DIALOGUE. Part I. Persons: Gilbert and Ernest. Scene: the library of a house in Piccadilly, overlooking the Green Park. THE CRITIC AS ARTIST Gilbert: But, surely, Criticism is itself an art. And just as artistic creation implies the working of the critical faculty, and, indeed, without it cannot be said to exist at all, so Criticism is really creative in the highest sense of the word. Criticism is, in fact, both creative and independent. Ernest: Independent? Gilbert: Yes; independent. Criticism is no more to be judged by any low standard of imitation or resemblance than is the work of poet or sculptor. The critic occupies the same relation to the-work of art that he criticises as the artist does to the visible world of form and colour, or the unseen world of passion. Ernest: But is Criticism really a creative art? Gilbert: Why should it not be? It works with materials, and puts them into a form that is at once new and delightful. What more can one say of poetry? Gilbert: I am always amused by the silly vanity of those writers and artists of our day who seem to imagine that the primary function of the critic is to chatter about their second-rate work.
    • 10. Tom Morton’s […] piece in the March issue of frieze on Sir John Soane, quoted by Arnatt, is typical of what is wrong with much so-called criticism today. Morton gushes on about Soane’s museum as though it were a trendy wine bar: ‘Kurt Schwitters would have liked it, and so would Jorge Luis Borges. It’s a good place for second dates’— how could Morton know what Schwitters or anyone else would think about the place? He turns it into something trite, worth visiting only because it is ‘a secret everyone seems to know about’, a remark designed to flatter those who do ‘know’ and mock those who do not. Ostensibly a comment upon the museum, these words are little more than an oxymoronic attempt to come over as clever and cool. Peter Suchin
    • 11. J.R. Nicholas Davey Writing and the inbetween (University of Dundee) Writing opens and extends the horizons of the work. “ The aesthetic idea, like the artwork, must have an element of its being which is sensuous and another which is conceptual. The work hovers in the tension of these polarities. The task of writing in relation to the artwork is to keep this tension supple. Writing draws, tightens and slackens the line between the material and the intellectual.”
    • 12. Gonzo / Beat / Creative Non-fiction
    • 13. Challenges of artwriting:
      • To make the subject of work the motive for mise en scene. (Writing with art not for art).
      • To reconcile this with the lure of metafiction in art practice.
    • 14. “ Mise en scene means two things, one obvious - the directing process; the other mysterious - the result of that process...” Jean-Louis Comolli (1965)
    • 15. Two broad approaches:
      • Mimetic - To make a specific subject the motive for mise en scene.
      • Generative - To use mise en scene as the basis for further work: (i.e. to develop genres and narrators.)
    • 16. “ The tendency to reject auteurism because it is 'hopelessly contradictory' loses sight of the extent to which subsequent authorship theories of the production of ideologies in films were at least inflected, if not initiated by these contradictions.” - John Caughie (1981)
    • 17.  
    • 18. Don't be afraid if things seem difficult in the beginning. That's only the initial impression. The important thing is not to retreat; you have to master yourself. Unlock that funky chaindance. Tension mars the prettiest face. Suit the action to the word. You know how hard it is for me to shake the disease that takes hold of my tongue. Korbut Ware-Gore, 1980.
    • 19.  
    • 20.  
    • 21. FULLERTON, Michael Scottish painter of portraits, landscapes, and fancy pictures, one of the most individual geniuses in European art. Born in Glasgow, h e showed an aptitude for drawing early and first was encouraged by his mother, who was a woman of well-cultivated mind and excelled in flower-painting. He went into town to train, probably studying with a French engraver or scene-painter . He remained in Glasgow and, when t he DSS brought an annuity, started his career as a portrait-painter in the city’s Anderson area. His work at this time consisted mainly of heads and half-lengths ( Mrs Sassoon; Wayne Allard ), but he also produced some small works in red public hair which are the most lyrical of all conversation pieces. He used to spend a lot of time outdoors, smoking. He developed a free and elegant mode of painting seen at its most characteristic in full-length portraits ( Paddy Joe Hill; Roger Winsor ). In later life, he further developed the personal style, working with light and rapid brush-strokes and delicate and evanescent colors. He was an independent and original genius, able to assimilate to his own ends what he learnt from others. He had no drapery painter, and unlike most of his contemporaries he never employed assistants.
    • 22. Michael Fullerton Bibliography: Bergerac, Jim. World of Fullerton: Paintings and Drawings , Paris: Chatte Riche, 1990. Painting of Europe, XXI Centuries: Encyclopaedic Dictionary , London: Kellogg, 1965. Barrell, John. The Dark Side of the Landscape: The Rural Poor in English Painting , New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980. Manwearing, Willoughby. Fullerton: View of Faslane (World of Art) Edinburgh: Radical Vans, 2001.
    • 23.  
    • 24. Mise en scene can consist of the “creation of a precise complex of sets and characters, a network of relationships, an architecture of connections, an animated complex that seems suspended in space […] what is seen is less important than the way of seeing, or a certain way of needing to see or be seen.” Alexandre Astruc (1959) French auteurist film critic who coined the notion of the caméra-stylo or "camera-pen“.
    • 25. Two broad ways of working:
      • Mimetic - To make a specific subject the motive for mise en scene.
      • Generative - To use mise en scene as the basis for further work: (i.e. to develop genres and narrators.)
    • 26. Peter Hill – Superfictions A Superfiction is a visual or conceptual artwork which uses fiction and appropriation to mirror organisations, business structures, and/or the lives of invented individuals. The term was coined by Glasgow-born artist Peter Hill in 1989.
    • 27. Dear Paganini, I thank you for your letter but why should I? You didn’t thank me for mine . And please don’t call me ‘Steve’, it reminds me of the Bionic man, to whom I bear little resemblance. Robert Mackie, Words by Morrissey , October 22nd 1980.
    • 28. It is Thursday and time for you to sign on, but first make sure you’re decent! Trevor Lever and Peter Jones, Hampstead , Melbourne House, 1984.
    • 29.  
    • 30. School of Pigeon English
    • 31.  
    • 32.  
    • 33.  
    • 34.  
    • 35. Sick Happy Idle - House Hopping The Shaws
    • 36.  
    • 37.  
    • 38.
      • Tayto et Tayto facilitated shows:
      • Republic of Leather (Peoples’) – Generator, Dundee (2000)
      • Youg Young Dragons’ – Protoacademy, Edinburgh (2000)
      • Hampstead Achieved (2001)
      • Strategic Art Getts – Embassy, Edinburgh (2005)
      • It Takes a Nation of Liberals to Hold Us Under the Conditions of Late Capitalism – Hyperground, Edinburgh (2006)
      • It Takes a Nation of Liberals to Hold Us Under the Conditions of Later Capitalism – Flat 01, Glasgow (2007)
      • The New Medievalism, Embassy, Edinburgh (2010)
    • 39.  
    • 40.  
    • 41.  
    • 42.  
    • 43.  
    • 44.  
    • 45.  
    • 46. A key aspect of my research is concerned with the imaginative ways we re-develop narratives to engage with our changing environments. This research is explicitly concerned with adaptive hybridity and is resolutely interdisciplinary. “ First we shape our structures, then our structures shape us” Winston Churchill Here is Churchill, shaping the structure of the victory sign….
    • 47.
      • Right now, I’m looking at (what I think are) two related structures:
      • Cultural Logic of the Argot - Specialist cultural narratives.
      • 2. Cultural Logic of Ambient - New methods of narrative distribution.
      • How do these structures converge now and how they might converge in the future?
      • I’ll give some examples of this in relation to aspects of indie culture, self-organisation and of autogenerative-composition (autopoesis).
    • 48.
      • The sources I’m influenced by are diverse, they include philosophy, cultural theory, art and design practices, technologies, literature and performance.
      • Cultural Logic of the Argot
        • How do we express things?
        • I’m interested in how this question relates to the tendency towards the vernacular, to the use of constructed languages, neologisms, Babeltexts, etc.
    • 49. “ Could we also imagine a language in which a person could write down or give vocal expression to his inner experiences -- his feelings, moods, and the rest -- for his private use? Well, can't we do so in our ordinary language? -- But that is not what I mean. The individual words of this language are to refer to what can only be known to the person speaking; to his immediate private sensations. So another person cannot understand the language.” -- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations par. 243 = Language is cannot be private. While extraordinary , argots are social .
    • 50.
      • Who expresses?
      • Raises issue of the narrator.
      • The narrator is a social actor .
      • This is true of the artist and the audience alike, both are playing roles.
      • We are all unreliable narrators (like the Wizard of Oz) since we are not omnipotent.
      • We are both restrained and enabled by our argot - it is our world.
    • 51.
      • 2. Cultural Logic of Ambient
      • e.g. Viral
      • This concerns how something is distributed.
      • It can be carried by other host media e.g. word of mouth.
      • It does not have to be distributed or enacted by the author/artist.
      • It can have a greater impact if enacted by a larger number of participants.
      • Each time the work is re-enacted it has a different timbre so the system creates difference rather than strict repetition.
    • 52. Here’s Tony Clifton making an appearance on the Muppet Show with Miss Piggy. Q. Is this Bob Zuma or Andy Kauffman? Does it matter? A good example of this is the character Tony Clifton created by Bob Zuma and Andy Kauffman.
    • 53. Anyone can be Clifton if they wear the disguise, master aspects of the Clifton argot, if they learn the routine . Tony Clifton is therefore an example of a participatory media, a multiple narrator, a reproducible artiste social-actor.
    • 54. Web 2.0 is another kind of participatory media that enables this kind of multiple authoring.
    • 55.  

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