Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Lost and Found Tracing

Moving along the with the idea of tracing, following, collecting, obsessing... I am proposing a treasure hunt of my own-one that we could all participate in.

Our mission would be to collect the lost (personal) items, which we find on our everyday journeys to work, school and/or to our daily activities (library, bookstore, cinema, theatre, etc..). Forms of transport can include: boat, walking, tram, train, tube, bus, taxi, bicycle, rickshaws, tour buses, car ferries....

These found personal items can include a number of things: ie, odd glove, letter, note, used/named envelopes, buttons, to do lists, pictures, train tickets, newspaper cutting, etc.

We can make our own ‘lost and found’ journey through London– by collecting items and then creating our own stories and narratives.

The overall aim would be to make a revised, malleable, interactive and very truthful Transport for London map – This visual map (much in the vein of my original serial killer map, but used in a much more inviting way :>) will be comprised of all of the lost items that we find on our numerous journeys through London!

At the same time we would also be entering into someone’s private space (unknowingly) within a public setting, and then creating a new private space...

another possibility?

I have been thinking about changes we could make to the underground theatre idea and also to the ideas of following people in public spaces. Perhaps we could set up a situation that we dont necesarily participate in by putting a post on the flash mobbing (or similar if anyone knows any) website and then observing and documenting the results whilst not actually being directly involved. we could be participants but only from a distance. a kind of mediated, indirect interaction with others. it could be creating a private space for others to interact in within a public space. perhaps this is just creating relations/interactions for the sake of it, but it could be fun to see what happens. it could be an experiment to start off other things.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Monday, 28 January 2008

to discuss...

It's great to see so many projects evolving on our blog! I'm sorry I missed last week, as it sounded very productive, and I liked some of the ideas that I heard about from Margit, Maria and Fatos. Its interesting how both reports of the meetings and the blog represent a variety of different perspectives and concepts, and we should keep on with this multiplicity. I really enjoyed making the tent experiment with Margit on Friday, and think its essential that everyone tries out their ideas over the coming weeks, however large or small. It sure feels good being creative!

This week it would be great to thrash out some of the ideas that are coming up - think about our methods, originality, appropriateness, criticality etc.

Looking forward to it.

Follow Your Desire...

In contrast to 'Regent's Canal Memories', 'Follow Your Desire' can be carried out anywhere at any time. This project can be replayed countless times and in a huge variety of locations. 'Follow Your Desire' has been constructed around notions of obsession and surveillance - both of which we have discussed at some length.

It is through the writing and documentation submitted to the blog by each participant, that we can begin to explore these experiences, perhaps putting together commonalities, similarities... experiencing the situations in completely different, subjective ways. Our explorations located in a physical public space will be carried out within the personal space of our own consciousness.

The choice of 'desire' is open to personal interpretation. We may desire to be like someone (their expression, looks, language they speak); we may desire what someone has (a child, a bag, a coat),etc etc. This intended openness allows us to 'choose', yet confines us to our own definition of desire/obsession. The nature of the 'following' can be as short or as long as we want - maybe just sitting on a bus behind someone, or walking with our friends in the same direction without telling them.

At the end of the lab project, we will collect all the documentational evidence and assemble it in some kind of order - Karen suggested a large map with photos, drawings, notes and Claudia has discussed some kind of interactive mapping. Suggestions welcome as to how this could be extended. This project is intended to be non-intrusive.

Location: Anywhere


1. Choose a person that you 'desire'
2. Follow them for as long as your paths are the same
3. Try not let them know you are following them
4. Record the route (this can be any format eg. a line drawing, a tracing, sat nav, drawing on an AtoZ)
5. Document the event in whatever means you desire- photography, sound, film, drawings, writing etc
6. Add an entry to this blog titled with 'location/date/time' for each person you follow - add text and accompanying documentation
7. Keep all hard copies of evidence and file them carefully as they will be requested by admin artists at a later date.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Regent’s Canal Memories

As part of our ongoing investigations into public and private places; play; negotiation and interaction, we have constructed an event to explore these notions. The event can exist at multiple times and is an ongoing event in which everyone can participate and which could (and hopefully will) extend beyond the limits of the Lab. There is no set number of times it can be followed, yet – as with every experiment – the more it is carried out and the more evidence we collate, the more interactions, disruptions and challenges will be experienced.

The instructions are given as strict guidelines and are to be followed to the best of our ability. Within these guidelines, there is room for negotiation, interruption and play (there is a certain expectation of subjective twists to both application and outcome). The rules are as follows:

Location: Regent's Canal, London (from London Central Mosque to St Marks Square)


1. Approach a member of the public
2. Introduce yourself and the project
3. Ask participant for a 'memory' of Regent's Canal
4. Record the meeting by any means agreed to by both yourself and the participant (eg. photography, collect objects, sound, prints, drawings...)
5. Give participant this blog address written on the specially designed card as an invite for them to add their comments and links in response to your documentation of the event
6. Record each experience separately on the blog with photos etc of each meeting if available

Regent’s Canal was chosen as a location due to it’s references to transport and to it’s span across the city. We needed to find a public place within the city where people could be approached and would be likely to respond to the request. A busy road or train station are not likely to give the participant the confidence or time. The request is one of privacy – a personal memory of the canal. How the participant responds to this will depend on a number of factors.

The recording of the event should be agreed by both ourselves and the participant. There should be some kind of negotiation. Although not specified on the instructions, we will collect ALL documentation and use this to construct a large scale map with objects/ photos/ drawings/ rubbings/ prints and sound pieces. Please keep everything from each meeting. The map is a way for us to recreate some of the meetings/incidents/performances in a physical, interactive manner rather than purely through a blog. Cards with the blog address will be issued to all SKOLP members. The blog is intended to be a place for us to document each event, but also a place where participants are invited to respond, correct, add links etc, as a potentially ongoing dialogue, open to change…

Nedko Solakov

At the BUREAU OF UNIVERSAL MERRIMENT (part of the Hayward’s 'Laughing in a Foreign Language' exhibition), Nedko Solakov gave a talk about his work. His stories - or interventions - are so minute, you really do have to get on your knees, stand on tiptoe and put some effort in to search out what's next. This gentle manipulation of the viewer, a humorous coercion perhaps, engages the viewer. Nedko's use of small toys, cartoons and writing to narrate his (absurd) stories of fictional characters is similar to that of a child when outplaying their intimate relations and desires.

The artists obvious enjoyment of 'Rivals' (2004), a competition played out on the gallery walls between himself and his curator to see which idea was to be shown (Ferran's favourite or Nedko's) was apparent in his explanation. The one who got the highest score would choose which project was to be done in the gallery (eventually). This idea of playing in the gallery, of game playing as art and for the competition itself to be the exhibition, appealed directly to me, especially within the context of our SKOLP approach to the Lab. There is a place for laughter!

The use of 'Play' as restored behaviour in Tino Seghal's This Success/This Failure

I have posted some writing on 'Play' on my blog if anyone is interested....

Negotiating in Silence

Starting from negotiations, commonly defined as ‘discussion aimed at reaching an agreement’, Marianne and I questioned communication in silence. Her initial text emphasizes the negotiation of ‘spaces, trains, people, machines and time’. We explored the feasibility of silent negotiations during the building of a shelter. We questioned the location, how to fix the fabrics, who is taking the photographs. Between flourishing camellias and green bushes, silently working, we re-enacted Marianne’s Moroccan childhood memory, the shelter, on a cold and windy Friday morning.

This installation and de-installation can be approached from different angles; as intervention in public space, even though the act of building the temporary shelter in a hidden corner of Victoria Park was not thought in terms of attracting public attention. It provided a windless, hidden space, which allowed for an unseen intimacy for drinking coffee and tea to warm our frozen bodies. Looking through the fluttering sheets, we sat silently next to each other and after a while Marianne’s expression was telling me, that she was thinking of de-installation and leaving.

Lines could also be drawn between Maria’s sound piece, contrasting last week’s conversation and the silence in the library, a knowledge production without any spoken word and small gestures are sufficient to understand. Yet the shelter could not have been built silently without careful preparation, spotting the place, providing a list of what was needed, sketching a draft, and setting a timeframe. Indeed, these prearrangements made all the single steps realisable: how to fix the fabrics, where to bind the shelter’s top etc.

Through the conversion of this experiment, the installation of the temporary shelter, we collectively addressed modes of inhabitation of various spaces and interrogated the borders of negotiation and production by operating in silence.

86 Elizabeth Road - Vikki's

8 Manningtree street - Veronika's II

Friday, 25 January 2008

Silent Shelters, Victoria Park

It was strange at first, keeping quiet. What happens when you meet someone and don’t ask how they are? We waited for Claudia, awkwardly, motioning that we were cold or hungry, and eventually that maybe it was time to start. Picking up sticks through the park we walked to the spot I had found yesterday and put down our bags.
At first we laid the orange cloth down and looked at each-other. Then Margit decided on a different space between three small trees, and we began to tie the corners of the orange cloth to them with string. 
Pegging and tying the other pieces of material to the roof of our tent, we battled with the wind and cheap clothes pegs that invariably popped open and sent the fabric flapping about. We cut lengths of string for each-other and took turns taking photographs. We became completely absorbed in our task, and so silent that I only spoke when a park warden came over and asked if we were taking it down: “yes” I nodded.
Sheltering in the tent we poured coffee and shared some food, and just relaxed looking at other people jogging by, the wind blowing all the dry leaves about. It was cold, but peaceful. More photos, coffee and cake. I took films of the floating walls, catching the moment when the blue blanket burst open like a sail.
When it was over, and our fingers were cold enough, we began to dismantle the tent, cutting the string and collecting the broken pegs, shaking out the cloths. I tried to catch the perfect picture of Margit as she folded them up, and failed each time. We walked to the park gates in silence, and gradually the thought of talking began to enter my head. The gates were our limit: “Shall we go to the pub?” I asked.

Thursday, 24 January 2008


Hello SKOLPers!

Just quickly around the notion of play - there is an online journal STATIC and the first issue was on Play and Violence. There are some articles there that could be of interest, but for me Steve Connor's overview of the history of play from Aristotle to Kant to Modrenity and Adorno.... paragraph above... anyway it is at

and the article is called Playstations or Playing in Earnest



Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Underground Theatre

A proposal building on the ideas of flash mobbing, game play and interventions in public space:

A group of us enter a public space separately, pretending not to know the other members of the group. If it’s a tube carriage for example, we could get on at different stops / through different doors. A member of the group creates a scenario to which the others, still pretending to be unrelated members of the public, join in. A drama unfolds, we see the reactions of the ‘real’ passengers, and perhaps they join in, not realising that they are involved in a performance. The scenario could be as simple or elaborate as we want. We can then diffuse it however we choose, perhaps improvised on the spot or using a plan made beforehand.

It would be simple, cheap, quick to do, and fun!

Amy and I are planning to try it out next week – does anyone fancy joining us? I think it would work better in a bigger group. Maybe we could discuss ideas for possible scenarios on Thursday?

Monday, 21 January 2008

Maman and the babies

I went to see the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Tate Modern yesterday. There were too many people there! It was very difficult to see the art. The gallery floors were filled with strollers. There were babies everywhere - crawling on the floor, rolling out of their seats, crying on their parent's laps, screaming as they have dropped their toys onto the floor, hiding behind the free standing sculptures, bumping into my legs, cutting me off as I tried to walk, trying to touch the art with their little hands, yelling at the artworks, which were obviously not responding back to them. I was very distracted. Angry almost.

Bourgeois' body of work draws on the themes of motherhood, reproduction, domesticity, childhood and family life. I was trapped in the middle of art meets life situation. I didn't want to leave the space because it was the last day to view the exhibition. So there I was, strategically walking along the paths with the least amount of strollers in them, wandering about how my expectations of a gallery visitation ritual became betrayed by the presence of these little beings.

I guess I have always secretly thought of public art galleries as private spaces.

Privacy in a public space

"There is no expectation of privacy in a public space" (

Since our last discussions and after reading Marianne and Amy's ideas I have been looking around on the internet for inspiration.  The last time we met I mentioned I was interested in the differences between public and private spaces.  I decided to look on wikipedia for a definition of a public space, which brought up some interesting points.

What constitutes a public space?
"Most streets, including the pavement are considered public space, as are town squares or parks.  Government buildings, such as public libraries and many other similar buildings are also public space." (

The sentence "There is no expectation of privacy in a public space" also appeared within this explanation of public space.  It seemed to particularly stand out and made me wonder how could we intervene and disrupt norms by bringing a sense of privacy to a particular public space.  Considering the question: What makes a place feel private?  Is it having your own belongings around you, being closed off from public view or somewhere that restricts who may enter?  Any of these elements could be taken to one of the public spaces noted above, therefore bringing privacy into a public space.  This could be an interesting activity to undertake.

Another statement I came across whilst searching on wikipedia was: "Measures are taken to make the public space less attractive to homeless people and young people, including the removal or design of benches to restrict their use for sleeping and resting, restricting access to certain times, locking indoor/enclosed areas.  Police forces are sometimes involved in moving 'unwanted' members of the public from public spaces.  Also, by not being provided suitable access, disabled people are excluded from some spaces." (

Maybe an interesting activity could be to make a public space such as a town square or a park more inviting to homeless, young or disabled people by creating a comfortable resting place (this could tie in with Marianne's idea) or an area for socializing or even transforming a popular area of London which is difficult for disabled people to visit into an easily accessible site.  For example, when visiting Trafalgar Square many people climb up to the base of Nelson's Column to gain a better view of the square or to have a rest, as far as I am aware there is no disabled access here.  There are ramps into Trafalgar Square from the side of the National Gallery however this is where the disabled access stops.  Placing a ramp at the foot of Nelson's Column so that disabled people would also be able to view the site in the same way as others would open this public place up to more people, and give us an interesting day out.


Hello everyone
In response to Marianne's post last week, I would also suggest to read Claire Bishop's article "Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics". I can bring a copy to the lab next week and we can discuss it the week after.
Jimmy Robert
Figure de Style
at CUBITT, 18/01/2008

Jimmy Robert’s performance at Cubitt gallery London invited the audience to remove pieces of whitish tape applied to the body of the artist. Dressed in a pair of jeans, the artist sat barefooted on a couple of white sheets of paper, outspread on the stone floor. Next to his hands, on each side of his body lay another piece of paper with what looked from the distant like a poem or a reminder of his script or even the script itself. I had enough time to count the exact number of people that had come to witness Robert’s performance. Robert himself looked down to avoid the glances of the audience, while the sloppily applied tape was bit by bit removed from his body. Now and then Robert commented a rip off by reading out a sentence from his script. I can’t refer in detail to what it said, but I remember names at the end and 1966 at the beginning. Now from a distance it could have been extracts from a review on Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece. Relating to the tradition of participatory performances Robert’s performance unveiled more about the audience than about the artist.
As nothing extraordinary exciting was performed, the beholders started to observe each other ripping of tape from Robert’s body. Some went twice, others didn’t even once. Some smiled, some concentrated, some grinned, others spilled their beer and wine. Some remained motionless on the floor observing the artist. Some smiled a knowingly smile while others smiled a painful smile, in empathy with the victim and in awareness of the power of a gaze.

I find it hard to tell what exactly happened yesterday night. I picture the artist entering the room from the back door, taking his position on the floor, and uttering in a soft, insecure intonation, “I now invite you to take a piece of paper.” Reacting to his request for participation two men started tearing of scraps of the paper Robert was sitting on instead of removing the tape applied to his body. Broken tension. Some started to laugh. I felt the dignity of the performer had been tarnished. Ten minutes later a girl picked for a single piece, but ripped off almost all the tape from the back. Embarrassed by her greed, she flushed and put the tape back were it belonged. Another girl spilled her beer on the floor, while she approached Robert. Some sneaked on tiptoes others staggered. The way up to the performer was unluckily too short for a close observation of outfits, gestures and mimics of the rippers.

Roberts didn’t look at their faces, but I was reminded, of churchgoers over enacting their habitual ritual gestures, demonstrating their engagement and respectfulness towards the performer. A woman I remember most clearly fought her way from the back to the front. She positioned herself slightly behind the performer. Akin to my German teacher, she gazed over Robert’s shoulder, trying to read his script.
Her appearance pictured Robert’s as a pupil. For her, at least she signalled that to rest of the audience, his performance had been legible apart from the notes he read out. For her his script presented the meaningful remainder of the performance.
The script could have formed content, a clarifying of what this was supposed to mean. Facing my German teacher vis-à-vis, I appreciated to stay unenlightened in regard of the scripts content. Instead, I participated and ripped off tape from a stranger’s body. I remained with the faces of my companions. I laughed when the mobile phone of a guy rang, and he, instead of turning it off, incidentally turned it louder. He blushed and as if he wanted to apologise for his misbehaviour, he quickly ripped of some tape from the artist’s body. The laughter increased and he flushed even harder.
But then again, it is only a game. One of us sat in the middle and he could have touched us. But we are all so used to be touched. Jimmy didn’t touch us we touched him. When it was over he left the room through the back door, and the guy in the yellow jacket who had been standing closest to him said: “Thank you for coming’.”
I am still confused whose performance I have seen.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Johannes Skolp

Scolvus (Jan z Kolna)
Portrait by: Artur Szyk
[Ed. Mythical] Explorer in service of Denmark. In 1476 he [supposedly] discovered the land of North America.

From: "Who's Who in Polish America" by Rev. Francis Bolek, Editor-in-Chief; Harbinger House, New York, 1943

SCOLVUS Joannes, Scolnus Joannes, Skolp Johannes in Poland popularly called Jan z Kolna [Jan of Kolno], a 15th century sailor who was to have reached North America in 1476, that is 16 years before Columbus. On the subject of this mysterious, not fully explained, and not fully researched personage there is a wide ranging, though controversial, body of literature. Even the name of the sailor and his nationality are not definitely known, though many foreign sources ‹ Spanish, Dutch, French, and Italian ‹ from the 16th to 18th centuries cite him to be of Polish origin. Among those authors are: F. de Belleforest, C. Wytfliet, J. I. Pontanus, C. B. Morisot, G. Horn, M. V. Coroneili, and F. de Charlecoix.

In the scientific works of the 16th and 17th centuries, and also on contemporary maps and globes, the name of this sailor appears in over 20 different versions such as: Scolvus, Scoluus, Scoluo, Scolus, Scolnus, Scolno, etc. It is impossible to establish the original version of the name without finding the primary source which was used by the authors in the 16th and 17th centuries, and which today is unknown. The first reports about this person most likely come from an unidentified Portuguese or Spanish source, not found to this day, and perhaps lost. This opinion is stated by, among others, F. Nansen in his Nebeheim (vol. 2, page 300).

The excellent Polish historian J. Lewelel rather freely, it seems, extracted from Johannes Scholnus the surname "Skolny" then "Szkolny" and finally "Jan z Kolna" which name then embedded itself in Polish histography, and even partly in that of other nations. This is the version of the name given by, among others, A. Humboldt and I. P. Magiodowicz. B. Olszewicz who devoted a thorough study to this personage, questions the Polish origins of this sailor. The Scandinavian authors G. Storn, S. Larsen and T. J. Oleson also question it strongly, they prefer to see him as a Scandinavian.

Storn and Larsen depreciate the information from the 16th and 17th century Spanish and Dutch authors who call the sailor a Pole. They put forth an unconvincing argument that the word "Polonus" is an error due to the misreading of the word "piloto." Larsen also accuses Lelewel, and there is some foundation to this, that he changed the name for patriotic reasons, but he himself does this as well, using a similar linguistic hypothesis and changing the name to "Skolp." He brings in a series of even more controversial ideas. Another Scandinavian author, H. Hermannsson, speaking of Larsen said that his "entire theory is built on such weak underpinnings that it is impossible to accept." The German author G. Frederici said that it "is full of hypothesis, possibilities, and likelihoods but without evidence." Finally the brilliant Soviet historian of geography I.P. Magidowicz makes the conclusion "There is no reason to reject the reports by two impartial writers -- a Flemish author in the 16th century and a Dutchman in the 17th -- about Jan's Polish origins."

Further out yet, in the field of linguistic speculation, is the Peruvian writer L. Ulloa who identifies Scolvus as Columbus. Similar hypothesis, which are based on lack of clarity in Columbus' biography, and also in the etymology of both names (Columbus for a time used the name Colon, which phonetically is similar to Kolno) are also put forth by modern writers.

It is impossible to mention all the theories, but on the basis of sources from the 16th and 17th centuries one can draw the following conclusions: about the year 1476 a sailor serving Denmark who had the name of Jan (nearly all sources agree on this), whose surname and nationality are not quite certain, was to have reached the shores of North America at a place that is not definitely specified (Baffin Island, Hudson Bay, Labrador?). Outside the mention of this in the literature of the 16th and 17th centuries, and even more so, on the globes and maps of that era, there are no documented details of the voyage. It seems that with the level of knowledge that exists no categorical statements on the subject can be made. The matter could perhaps be explained by conducting a detailed search through all Portuguese archives, and failing there the archives in Spain and England. To date nothing like this had been done. It is an unrefutable fact that several authors from the 16th and 17th centuries, that is sources close to the time of his voyage, called the sailor a Pole and this fact cannot be ignored. Up to the time that a search of the archives is conducted and a primary source found, the formulation any conclusions on the subject is risky and without basis. To this date the matter of Jan the 15th century sailor, whose surname is not quite certain; the supposed discoverer of America, is still open.


I was thinking it would be a good idea to create a map with all the places we have been and then set up a network of spaces that abstractly are connected because of our lab sessions. The map will be interactive so if you click on the first location (Goldsmiths educational building) then a sentence will appear like “some kind of location public” or something like that*; the idea it to play with the initials SKOLP (Some Kind Of Lab Project) and then form sentences more or less appropriate for the location. I don’t really know how to make a map but I think there are many links in internet to do it!!

I made a stencil that will be stamped near all the places we have been, so somehow it materialises our traces. The stencil as you will see it’s a set of cutlery (spoon, fork and knife) –related to the fact that we are going to have lunch every session- and a sentence: “follow skolp…” since we are moving and they have to follow us! ! I was thinking with Vikki to leave the firt mark in Godsmiths this thursday after the guest lecture when the light is gone! if anyone wants to join, that would be great!


  1. Goldsmiths, Educational Building
  2. Goldsmiths, LW 30 7 (Lewisham Way Buildings)
  3. Veronika’s bed room, 8 Manningtree street
  4. Vikki’s ?
  5. ...

*Some King Of Lab Project:

-some kind of liquidity place

-some kind of location private/public

-some kind of let’s play

-some kind of luxurious plate


We can link it to the work of Stephen Willats; check Victoria Miro's exhibitions,biog/

Moreover, I did some research on “SKOLP” and surprisingly there was an explorer of the Columbus time named Johannes Skolp that discovered some land in North America. The legend says that he discovered North America before Columbus but there is a mystery aura around his figure…!

Flash Mobbing

Flash Mobbing is a sudden gathering of people in a public place who perform an activity together (eg. a walkman rave in vitoria station or a pillow fight) for a short time and disperse again. The activity, location and time is posted on the internet or sometimes communicated through text messages so the people do not necessarily know each other.

Making our own version of 'Flash Mobbing' could be an interesting idea for gathering in a public space and creating a disruption. It could possibly be a good way of getting other people from outside the group involved. Perhaps if anyone has ideas for an activity we could post it on the website and see what happens.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Here is the painting...

For some reason I couldn't upload it on the same post!

silent shelters

I found this picture of my sister, cousin and myself lounging under a tent made from my Dad's Moroccan blanket a few years ago when I was going through some old photos at home, and I made a painting of it. We used to make a lot of tents in the summer, the simplest was constructed from a big green umbrella with some kind of sheet draped over the top to make it completely private. Then of course there were house-tents made with chairs and sheets, and filled with cushions.

I was talking with my sister this morning about making tents, and working in silence - two ideas that came to me out of the lab project meeting last week. I want to do a simple activity with others in silence; maybe to re-enact the enjoyment of making a temporary shelter with sheets and pegs, and explore working together without telling each-other what to do. Floss told me about her friend Dawn who has been on some two week long silence retreats, where speaking is forbidden and even eye-contact is discouraged. Eventually incredible closeness is created, though normal means of communication are frustrated: in this community incidental body contact produces a real intensity, quite apart from the bumping into each-other that we experience everyday that we even become numb to in our cover-crowded city.

I find this alternative communication really interesting, and I would like to propose getting together in a small group next Friday and making a very simple tent in silence. Other activities like cooking or lighting fires - quite basic communal tasks -could also be done this way, to explore communicating and negotiating without using voices. It may or may not work, but it could be an interesting experiment!

If anyone is interested in joining me next Friday in Victoria park with some blankets and pegs, reply to this post with a comment. I propose to document it with photography, and film or sound recording. If it rains, maybe we can make an indoor tent.

8 Manningtree street - Veronika's

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

'Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics'

Some of ideas here seems to be touching on Relational Aesthetics, by Nicholas Bourriaud. It might be good to interrogate the notion of interacting with a 'public' (who are they?) and creating relations as art from other angles. Clare Bishop's unpicking of his ideas and the artists used to exemplify them is very thought-provoking, and she also names some creators of rather more disturbing and tricky relations... she asks what kind of negative relations might be created in relational art, whether existing relations be simply affirmed, or curious types of non-relation be created?

It was on the reading list for one of Gavin's performance classes, so quite a few may have looked at it already:

'Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics', October, no. 110, Autumn 2004.

As an aside... maybe we can create our own -ism?

Liminal art?

I have been flying for many years now, and my first delay occurred last year. On December 17th my flight was delayed and for the first time I had to wait for a very long time in the airport. Once I have learned of the delay I ran to the airport's Starbucks along with a group of strangers waiting for same flight. We have occupied the big green comfortable chairs in the coffee shop. We took turns going to purchase more coffee and magazines, taking toilet breaks, and even napping, so that no one would take our places in the very desirable chairs. A first delay in sixteen years of flying...not bad.

I am interested in liminality in places. An airport is an example of such place. People don't actually live there, rather they occupy the space for a limited amount of time. For the travelers and passersby an airport is an in-between place of passage only, a threshold. Victor Turner (1920 - 1983), a cultural anthropologist and ethnographer, have written about rituals and rites of passage among tribes in central Africa. He noted that "in liminality, the transitional state between two phases, individuals were 'betwixt and between': they did not belong to the society that they previously were a part of and they were not yet reincorporated into that society." (Victor Turner, From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play (1982), PAJ Publications)

Can a gallery or an exhibition space where artworks are introduced, changed, installed for a limited time, be considered a liminal space? Are galleries simply a temporary places for the art, which will continue on beyond it, such as into the art market, to an auction house, destroyed by the artist, or stored in a vault? What is the artwork's final destination?

I like the notion of liminal spaces. I think we occupy them often. Does/can art?

Unravelling Heterotopias

Utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces yet existing parallel to society’s real space. Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopias points toward counter-sites with a utopian notion, they are outside places within society following their own rules. Exploring heterotopias could mean to look into defined spaces and reveal ruptures in society, question modes of inclusion/exclusion and read space and its inhabiting people.

Six principles shape this roughly sketched concept of a ‘placeless place’ and a short summary follows:
Heterotopias can be found on the ground of every society, emphasizing on spaces of human crises and deviation (e.g. psychiatric hospitals, rest homes, prisons). Within this concept Foucault refers to time as heterochronies. Traditional time is broken and he refers to slices of duration, which are transferred in museums, archives and libraries, these places are ‘indefinitely accumulating time’ and stress on eternity. Moreover, history can even change the function of heterotopias evident in the cultural space of cemeteries. In the 18th century a graveyard was placed in the centre next to the church, had a charnel house, a hierarchy of tombs and statues that led also in the church itself. On the other hand, the concept of time in its ‘most flowing’ form leads to festivals, fairgrounds or vacation villages. Besides the aspect of time, seen as temporal or eternal, heterotopias are also identified on restricted accession. Either one has to undergo rituals or need a special permission; the entry could even be compulsory as in prison. Furthermore, the concept encompasses spaces of illusion, brothels, spaces that are other, colonies, and floating spaces in time as in a boat.

Michel Foucault: Of Other Spaces (1967), Heterotopias.

1 2 3 4

1. I like the idea of producing, to elaborate on what is produced, and then produce again. (As we do now with the proposals)
2. I like the idea of having ‘negotiations’ as an overall theme (thanks to Marianne), as a working title for the project. To investigate, to be experimental (ja huu), make failures (oh no) and be critical, to mix those concepts and make suggestions about what is possible under the umbrella of negotiation.
3. I like the idea of producing different angles of knowledge, concepts, ideas, image, video, WHATEVER…..
4. I like the idea of the presentation as something that has been constantly negotiated throughout the project.

Encounters With Nomads; A Playful artLIFE Interaction.

It seems that the concepts “spatiality”, “game-play” and “obsession” appear in every Lab session. Due to that I was thinking about establishing a series of transformational encounters that can be done the same day of the Lab group or can be extended to other days, moments. This encounters would be organised through games where both the audience and ourselves will be involved. Obsessive encounters in the sense that they are repeated every week; I am not sure if they have to follow the same pattern, structure. The idea is to leave traces playing with the space and the mobility (As Candas suggests in a Monopolian configuration). So bringing art into the everyday life through possible and different spaces –I personally like the idea of inhabiting public spaces and making the community that live around participative, surprise them and let them surprise us. Create an interactive and sharing atmosphere that blurs the limits of the performer. Dealing with the notion of participation and even more important the idea of how do you communicate art and with art.

In a world where the imagery is overwhelming and so easily forgettable what remains here is the experience felt, the quality of this experience rather than the imagery object itself. So the uniqueness and authenticity of the performance, since being ephemeral and unrepeatable, becomes the key to avoid the idea of visual accumulation and to underline the importance of the message existing behind this encounter. A message that will be in progress along the , lets call it, “performance”. A playing game that will break the bounders of observing Art with a capital letter from the outside and will enter inside it making it happen by means of the exchange of experiences. An endless process that could even go beyond the academic deadline.

Create an archive: pictures, interviews with people, filming the actual event… and may be do something with this archive… I do not know what exactly...

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

How Do We Occupy Space?

I have been thinking about space (as this seems to be a common interest within the group). Primarily, personal and intimate spaces as were discussed by Claudia and Joakim. Initially all I could think about was Richard Billingham’s photographs of his personal space within his family home. However when considering how the notion of personal spaces could be conveyed within our project, I was thinking about creating a collaborative art work and moving away from traditional photographic documentary works.

Creating an art work as a final project after all the theory that has been discussed through the course I thought might bring a nice change. Obviously I am aware that many people in the group are interested in different ways of working. However, I think creating a collaborative art work based on the notion of how we occupy personal spaces as well as producing a guide to the work would suit those interested in theory as well as those interested in practice.

Considering further ideas of the way in which personal spaces are occupied I have been drawn to, shoes! Shoes are very personal, we generally choose them ourselves and when seeing a pair of shoes often their owner can be identified. Shoes are always found in our personal spaces, whether that is a bedroom in a family home, a hotel room, a flat or a house. When visiting friends or family we often leave our shoes by the front door but always claim the right pair when leaving. If we gathered in a large hall with 100 people and were all asked to remove our shoes and they were all moved around, the majority of people would be able to reunite themselves with their shoes. It might seem a strange starting point but when thinking about the words personal and space, shoes seemed to tie in nicely. I had in mind a kind of delicate Annette Messager style art work with shoes in a large space.

I think a lab project which considers the notion of how we occupy our personal spaces could be very interesting. I also think presenting our project in the form of an art work as well as an accompanying guide or programme would be beneficial as it would suit the majority of peoples interests.


(sorry Charlottle - I couldn't do the picture, needed to be a separate file)

From show and tell:exchange, interaction and food

From the formation of the lab group the elements, which continually emerge and seem to be fuelling the progression of the group are interaction and exchange. From this relationship the creation of new outwardly flows of information and connections are being formed and developed.

For myself the decision to merge the following meeting with the communal exchange of food seems the next natural stage. The coming together of a group of people to share a meal has always been an important, fruitful and intimate space to create discourse. The communal exchange of a meal from my own experiance has always acted as a spring broad for discussions. This is heighten within the intimate enviroment of the home, as we will experience at the following meeting. A quote which i have pulled out from a food magazine was a starting piont for the following proposal,

'I have open-house day on sundays, i make pancakes and my friends and family arrive with their own fillings. Then we all pig out'

I don't have a soild outline, more a fondation of an idea. I've always liked the saying, ' bringing the ideas to the table'

Idea: Recipe archive

To arrange a seires of gathering, where we make or bring food for a meal. Each person will bring a contribution. The recipe archive itself will be more than just containing granny's secret recipe. It should be viewed more along the lines of a living archive, an important part of the gatherings, rather than a documentation of past events. It should be created during the events.

elements of the archive; drawing, recordings, recipe's, photos, records of the dicussions, guest lists, music are just some of the components I have thought about.

This idea is far from a concrete concept. I hope to have outlined a starting point which i hope will stir some interest

A book which i enjoy and seems relevent to many blogs, 'The poetics of space' Gaston Bachelard

Also i wanted to add the link to the exhibition space i am a part of and which i talked about last week ( truck art)
What network culture means to me.
Network culture means nothing to me.
To research, produce and present means nothing to me.
I might better present something
Research it afterwards or even
Dare to produce without research.
Yes Yes

Everything is an experience.
And I have been given the freedom to experience myself together with you.
I have been given the freedom to research, produce and present whatever I want.

Say: Instead.
Think of a critical framework (research it, produce it and present it)
Draw me a line and I will erase it.
Showing you that you can draw with the same tool differently.
But given a pencil we will automatically start drawing a line.
What else could you do?


How do we move through a crowded train station or busy shopping street? It is often immensely frustrating: usually one simply ploughs ahead with one’s own interests in mind – can I get to platform one in four minutes and catch the next train to New Cross? Firstly I must negotiate my own belongings in order to find my purse and railcard, hiking my bag round from my back and opening the front pocket without dropping my coat, scarf and gloves on the floor. Failing to find the railcard option on the ticket machine I belt over to the ticket office, to negotiate my discount with the woman at the counter. Actually there is no need to plead my case – she informs me the option for Young Person’s Railcard is always there, it hasn’t disappeared as I suspected. Relieved to here the discount still stands, but mystified as to the reason it I could not find it, I negotiate my pride with her – insisting that the option was not on the screen where it normally is, whilst from the other side of the window she disinterestedly replies that it is always there. Realising I do not have time for this – one of us must admit defeat, it appears to be me – I shrug and take my change, thanking her kindly before dashing off, through the gates and towards platform one. I dodge slow walkers, and sprint up the tunnel, slowing down slightly at the sight of a platform wet and slippery with rain. With delicate steps, but still running, I jump onto the last carriage of the train. Now all I have to do is find a seat nearest the front in order to get out nearer the exit at New Cross.

This is exhausting - negotiating spaces, trains, people, machines, time – but it is how one gets from A to B. At a party on Sunday, someone told me of a London Underground map that has been designed to tell you exactly which part of the train to get on, in order to be at the right point to alight nearest the exit, or to change trains. Obsessive, but negotiating time and space just got easier.

It strikes me that there are many different kinds and ways of negotiation: through space, with time, relationships, reading, as communication, with language, to make a deal, even and especially with ourselves. The importance of negotiation first struck when I worked with an elderly artist on a re-enactment of a seminal protest work: Gustav Metzger’s 1961 Southbank Demonstration. Nothing could ever be recreated as it was, I would even say that every aspect of the work was completely different. Legendarily difficult to communicate with in every sense, Gustav behaved true to form. Discussions managed via a complicated set of negotiations: a letter sent from me asking him to call on Tuesday morning; I would try to wait at my desk for the phone-call, which I would invariably miss and try desperately to return, in case Gustav was still there, waiting in the telephone-box. Eventually the phone would ring again and after a pause, which instantly signalled the caller, Gustav’s small thin voice would begin: “yes, hello…” and continue to read the box’s number out to me in order for me to call it straight back. Quite often traffic noise or a faulty line would cause problems – he once spent a whole morning walking between boxes in South Kensington til he found one that worked. Negotiating the very means and time of communication often required patience and input from both sides, before we even began to discuss the work itself that came with a whole set of compromises, which I am indebted to the artist to making in order that the event actually came about. As we will spend most of our time at college negotiating ideas, hanging on to some, and letting go of others in order that we create something together, it might be interesting to think about negotiations in the every-day and expanded sense. What is negotiation? What is it for, and when do we use it? When did we learn it, are there times when we forget it? What is our motivation? What are the terms of negotiation, can we use it unselfishly? These are some of the questions that come to mind, googling on the internet came up with a good deal of other areas and questions…

Here are two to begin:

What is your limit?

everyday, is a new day for an immense production of imagery, to accumulate... The accumulating of things into our perception, our gaze, our senses as well as things around us: the piles of newspapers, the occupying space billboards... no need to mention the continuous broadcasting device: tv
what is the fact that today there is more image produced than to consume, happen to form?
what is your limit is not a question towards the image consumption - is a question posed to the content. the content carried out through imagery. till what extend do you choose to understand? is there a terminology called change? what is your limit of a possible change?
what is your limit of patience to talk about things...
shall we have a debate or a game?

Monday, 14 January 2008

Imagining New Spaces

Spending the last year and a half in Goldsmiths I have been amazed at how difficult it is to navigate …classrooms are all over the place, hallways are endless, doors lead to nowhere, signage and instructions are limited, entrances become exits.....

You can find a Goldsmiths Campus Map (which is a bit useless in itself)….but it is very difficult to find any printed version of the buildings' interiors. If one is in existence it is rarely distributed...

I propose to create a new Goldsmiths signage system for students, visitors, and teachers. It would be a system that is:
o Updated, modern, user friendly
o Interactive
o Highly visual and creative
o Simple for all ages
o Attractive and inviting

Starting with some proposals for the Main Building and, if successful, moving onto other buildings – eventually doing an improved ‘campus map’.

The first step would be to start doing an online survey to students and teachers; how can we (how would they) improve the current mapping system, what parts /classes/spaces do they find hard to navigate (or alternatively easy to find), are there any hidden/mysterious areas of the building (ie: secret hallways, rarely visited rooms)…..

Working as a team, which could be easily divided on a task-by-task basis, we would work with the current Goldsmiths mapping systems trying to improve it significantly.....

o Creating our own everlasting space
o Interacting and embracing our environment
o Creating a welcoming, relaxed experience

o Levelling off Absence and Balance
o Loss, memory, imagination
o Exploring our setting by uncovering its hidden spaces (like Vikki’s intended scrum through Veronika’s flat:>)
o Creating intimacy and romance within a sterile environment
o Observation through displacement

Taking ideas from visual and installation artists like:

Maider Lopez ( and Laura Belém ( who both work with creating engaging spaces and narrative that invite the viewer (or user) to reinvent their relation to their chosen environment.

We could also examine the ‘Audio Walks’ of artists like Janet Cardiff and study the new invention of IPOD city walks (