Tag Archives: book club

Something for Everybody

Many thanks to everyone who came along to our events in February. We’re thrilled to welcome Eva Ruschkowski as the new Symposium book club coordinator. A very special to thanks to her for facilitating the book club on Claire Bishop’s Artificial Hells last month.

This Friday, 8 March, 7-9pm we’re discussing the chapter on Easter Island in Jared Diamond’s book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive. This book club will be facilitated by Tere Chad and Alter Us. Please follow the links for more info, to download the text and book your place. If you would like to facilitate the book club in future please visit the page for more info and come along to get involved.

Many thanks to everyone who came along to the launch of the Radical Pedagogy Reading Group. It was great to hear about everyone’s practice and particular interest in radical pedagogy and alternative art education. There was such a diversity of perspectives and questions, we’re very excited at the prospect of collaborating and learning together. The next session will take place on 24 March, 2-4pm at the Alternative Art School Weekender, a three-day festival and art school organised by TOMA (The Other MA) at Ugly Duck from Fri to Sun, 22-24 March. We’ve put an excellent programme together, check out the website for more details and come along.

On Saturday, 23 March, 12-4pm we’re running a collaborative DIY workshop at the festival to collect ideas on How To Start Your Own Art School in a handy and entertaining guide. Come along with your tips, ideas, stories, anecdotes, advice and full-blown manifestos! We will use all kinds of techniques, including collage, drawing, calligraphy and cut up poetry to produce A6 zine (105mm x 148mm). Materials and tools will be provided but you are welcome to bring your own. If you can’t come along to the workshop you can send your readymade page beforehand to info@artandcritique.uk.

The art crawl is back this month, join us on the last Saturday to view and discuss three artists’ films from Mayfair to Fitzrovia with Eva Ruschkowski. For more details and to book your place please follow the links.

Looking forward to see you there.

[SYMPOSIUM]#34 Jared Diamond Collapse. Flyer by Tere Chad.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Jared Diamond: Collapse. How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive

Friday, 8 March 2019, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Alter Us
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Sophia Kosmaoglou [2017] Art Skool Co-op Poster_thumb[ART&CRITIQUE] WORKSHOP
How To Start Your Own Art School
Saturday, 23 March 2019, 12-4pm
Ugly Duck, 49 Tanner St, London SE1 3PL
Alternative Art School Weekender 22-24 March
All welcome

ART&CRITIQUE workshop, First Alternative Education Open-Day 2017. Photo School of the Damned(1)_thumb400_1[ART&CRITIQUE] RADICAL PEDAGOGY RESEARCH & READING GROUP
What is alternative art education?
Sunday, 24 March 2019, 2-4pm
Ugly Duck, 49 Tanner St, London SE1 3PL
Alternative Art School Weekender 22-24 March
All welcome

artcrawl#14_thumb[ART&CRITIQUE] ART CRAWL
Mayfair to Fitzrovia: Joy, Dance, Magic
Saturday, 30 March 2019, 13:45 – 17:00
Meet 13:45 at Lévy Gorvy, 22 Old Bond St, Mayfair, London W1S 4PY
Curated by Eva Ruschkowski
Free, booking via Eventbrite

Philip Guston [1973] Painting, Smoking, Eating. Oil on canvas, 196.8 x 262.9 cm.[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
March 2018
The list of opportunities,
open calls, deadlines,
announcements & vacancies
is updated regularly.

IMAGE CREDITS
Flyer for SYMPOSIUM#34 Jared Diamond: Collapse, by Tere Chad.
Sophia Kosmaoglou [2017] Art Skool Co-op Poster.
Workshop, First Alternative Education Open-Day 2017. Photo by School of the Damned.
Flyer for ARTCRAWL#16 Mayfair to Fitzrovia, by Eva Ruskowski.
Philip Guston [1973] Painting, Smoking, Eating. Oil on canvas, 196.8 x 262.9 cm.

Xmas Xtra: Open Calls

Many thanks to Neil Lamont for facilitating the excellent discussion on The Idea of Communism and to everyone who came and along and contributed in December.

Join us on Friday, 11 January 2019 to help steer the course for the Book Club. We will discuss the reading agenda and how to shape decision making processes in the group. Come along to share your ideas about texts that help you think about your own practice, theory and research. You don’t need to be an expert: Everyone is welcome to propose a text and facilitate the reading group.

We’ve issued more tickets for the first meeting of the Radical Pedagogy Research & Reading Group! To book your place please fill in the submission and booking form and we will confirm your booking. This event sold out immediately and we can’t accommodate the level of interest it has generated. Start your local radical pedagogy reading group today!

critical theory in contemporary art practice_banner[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
10 January – 14 March 2019, 6pm–8:30pm
Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
Booking via UAL

Photo by Eva Ruschkowski, 2015. [SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Call for Book Club 2019
Friday, 11 January 2019, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Facilitated by Dee Vora, John Fortnum and Eva Ruschkowski
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

ART&CRITIQUE workshop, First Alternative Education Open-Day 2017. Photo School of the Damned.[ART&CRITIQUE] RADICAL PEDAGOGY RESEARCH & READING GROUP
Radical Pedagogy Reading Group Launch
Friday, 22 Feb 2019, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Philip Guston [1973] Painting, Smoking, Eating. Oil on canvas, 196.8 x 262.9 cm.[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
January 2019
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
Photo by Eva Ruschkowski, 2015.
ART&CRITIQUE workshop, First Alternative Education Open-Day 2017. Photo by School of the Damned.
Tom Worsfold [2016] Hangover Apparition. Acrylic on canvas.

Seasons in the Sun

Bees in the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou.
Bees in the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, Deptford.
Jamaican Independence Day, Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden Aug 2018. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou.
Jamaican Independence Day, Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, Aug 2018.
Peruvian Benefit Party, Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden May 2018. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou.
Peruvian Benefit Party, Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, May 2018.

Hope you had a chance to enjoy the sun and recharge your batteries over the summer! We have an exciting season of events ahead with many opportunities to get involved and help build a self-organised alternative art school.

Today Monday, 3 September is the last chance to apply for the Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice Bursary for a free place on the course. Please download the application form and return it by midnight tonight.

Join us on Saturday, 29 September for the second installment of the Deptford Art & Gentrification Walk. Meet at 1pm inside Deptford Railway Station for an afternoon of discussions on the relationship between art and gentrification.

On 26 October 2018 we have a general meeting to discuss the future of the book club and nominate a new coordinator. Please come along if you’d like to help run the book club, decide how it works and keep it going. We will also be discussing a new research and reading group on radical pedagogy, alternative art education and self-organisation leading to the launch of a self-organised studio programme in 2019.

If you were subscribed to the symposium discussion list and have been removed due to the new GBPR policies please get in touch to rejoin the list.

We’re helping to raise money for a legal challenge of Lewisham Council’s decision to demolish the community-run Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden and the council homes of Reginald House as part of a regeneration scheme of the Old Tidemill site in Deptford. Please donate so we can Save Tidemill, Save Reginald! or come along and get involved in the campaign.

[ART&CRITIQUE] BURSARY
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice Bursary

DEADLINE Monday, 3 September 2018
Deptford Lounge, 9 Giffin Street, London SE8 4RJ
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
Please click the link for more info

[ARTCRAWL] #15 Deptford[ART&CRITIQUE] ART CRAWL
Deptford Art & Gentrification Walk Pt. 2
Saturday, 29 September 2018, 13:00 -18:00
Meet 1pm inside Deptford Railway Station, London SE8 3NU
Curated by Sophia Kosmaoglou and Paul Clayton
All welcome, booking not required

Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou. Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice [ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
8 Oct–3 Dec 2018, 6:30pm-9pm & 27 Oct 2:30pm-5pm
Deptford Lounge, 9 Giffin Street, London SE8 4RJ
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
Booking via Eventbrite

Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common, 10 April 1848. Photo by William Kilburn.[ART&CRITIQUE] MEETING
General Meeting
26 October 2018, 18:30-20:30
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East
All welcome

IMAGE CREDITS Nicolas Copernicus (1543) Heliocentrism. De revolutionibus Orbium coelestium, libri IV. Philip Guston [1973] Painting, Smoking, Eating. Oil on canvas, 196.8 x 262.9 cm.[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
September 2018
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, Deptford. Photos by Sophia Kosmaoglou.
Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo by Sophia Kosmaoglou.
Stanford’s Library Map of London & its Suburbs 1864, showing proposed Metropolitan Railways (detail).
Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common, 10 April 1848. Photo by William Kilburn.
Philip Guston [1973] Painting, Smoking, Eating. Oil on canvas, 196.8 x 262.9 cm.

School of Civic Action

UK Commons Assembly, organised by Public Works and Commons Rising. Tate Modern, 20 July 2018. Photo Darshana Vora.
UK Commons Assembly, organised by Public Works and Commons Rising. Tate Modern, 20 July 2018. Photo Darshana Vora.

Many thanks to Torange Khonsari from Public Works and Tim Flitcroft from Commons Rising for inviting us to the first UK Commons Assembly, at the School of Civic Action. We had an excellent time and look forward to the next meeting.

We’re taking a break in August but we’re back on on Saturday, 29 September for the second installment of the Deptford Art & Gentrification Walk. Meet us at 1pm inside Deptford Railway Station for an afternoon of discussions on the relationship between art and gentrification.

The Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice Bursary is a fee-waiver awarded to one applicant who will benefit most from participating in the course, regardless of previous experience, background or education. To apply please download the application form and return it by Monday, 3 September 2018.

Have a great summer!

UPCOMING EVENTS

[ART&CRITIQUE] BURSARY
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice

DEADLINE Monday, 3 September 2018
Deptford Lounge, 9 Giffin Street, London SE8 4RJ
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
Please click the link for more info

[ARTCRAWL] #15 Deptford[ART&CRITIQUE] ART CRAWL
Deptford Art & Gentrification Walk Pt. 2
Saturday, 29 September 2018, 13:00 -18:00
Meet 1pm inside Deptford Railway Station, London SE8 3NU
Curated by Sophia Kosmaoglou and Paul Clayton
All welcome, booking not required

Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou. Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice [ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
8 Oct–3 Dec 2018, 6:30pm-9pm & 27 Oct 2:30pm-5pm
Deptford Lounge, 9 Giffin Street, London SE8 4RJ
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
Booking via Eventbrite

IMAGE CREDITS Nicolas Copernicus (1543) Heliocentrism. De revolutionibus Orbium coelestium, libri IV. Philip Guston [1973] Painting, Smoking, Eating. Oil on canvas, 196.8 x 262.9 cm.[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
August 2018
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
UK Commons Assembly, organised by Public Works and Commons Rising. Tate Modern, Jul 2018. Photo Darshana Vora.
Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou.
Robert Mapplethorpe [1988] Sepia Orchid from the series Flowers. Toned photogravure, 50 x 51 cm.
Stanford’s Library Map of London & its Suburbs 1864, showing proposed Metropolitan Railways (detail).
Philip Guston [1973] Painting, Smoking, Eating. Oil on canvas, 196.8 x 262.9 cm.

Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.2

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
#28 Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.2
Antiuniversity Now! 9-15 June 2018

Saturday, 9 June 2018, 2:30pm – 5:30pm
Yurt Café, 2 Butcher Row, London E14 8DS
Closest Station: Limehouse
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

[SYMPOSIUM]#27 Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism Pt.2, 9 Jun 2018, Unison, Limehouse.
[SYMPOSIUM]#27 Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism Pt.2, 9 Jun 2018, Unison, Limehouse.

Join us in June for the second in the series of book clubs on Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher, continuing with chapters 4-5 (pages 21-38) on education and mental health. If you would like to facilitate one of the following sessions please get in touch.

The book club will take place on *UNISON, a lifeboat-turned-project-space. We will meet at Yurt Café near Limehouse station at 2:30pm and depart at 3pm to reach the boat moored nearby.

DOWNLOAD Fisher, Mark (2009). Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Winchester: Zero Books.

Since there are so many people who are depressed – and I maintain that the cause for much of this depression is social and political – then converting that depression into a political anger is an urgent political project… Anti-depressants and therapy are the opium of the masses now. (Mark Fisher and Richard Capes, 2011)

Capitalist Realism was published one year after the 2008 financial crisis, when it became clear that the priority was to return to business-as-usual, rather than tackling the systemic failure of the financial sector, which caused the crisis. Mark Fisher’s book was a desperate attempt to question the unshakable belief that “there is no alternative” to capitalism and thereby introduce alternative conceptions of social and economic organisation into public discourse.

Fisher synthesises the late 20th century postmodern and psychoanalytic theory of Frederick Jameson, Slavoj Zizek and Gilles Deleuze to make sense of the cultural manifestations of capitalist realism in everyday life. In chapters 4 and 5 he unpicks the failures of neoliberalism in education and employment, highlighting the concomitant rising levels of anxiety and depression. As Dean Kenning argues,

Neoliberal apologists can hardly claim that free market capitalism promotes equality; but our consumerist economy does promise pleasure and happiness, above all else. Why, then, are we in the UK suffering from epidemic levels of depression? (Kenning, 2010, p. 33)

Drawing on Frederic Jameson, Slavoj Zizek and Kafka, Fisher emphasises that capitalism requires our complicity in order to function, that we effectively endorse capitalism through our actions and choices rather than our convictions, and that far from being a radical practice, anti-capitalist critique is a feature of capitalism. He draws on William Burroughs and Gilles Deleuze to argue that we have transitioned from a traditional disciplinary regime to a society of decentralised control, where the control imperative is internalised by the subjects of capitalism in self-assessment and self-surveillance.

Fisher uses Burrough’s figure of the “control addict” to unpack the pathologies of capitalism, represented by addiction to instant gratification in the vicious cycle of “depressive hedonia”. This state of distraction is characterised by an inability to concentrate and synthesize time into a meaningful narrative. Time is experienced as a series of unrelated, ahistorical present moments “ready-cut into digital micro-slices” (p. 25), a state of mind that forestalls intentionality.

The consequence of being hooked into the entertainment matrix is twitchy, agitated interpassivity, an inability to concentrate or focus. Students’ incapacity to connect current lack of focus with future failure, their inability to synthesize time into any coherent narrative, is symptomatic of more than mere demotivation. (p. 24)

Rather than a mere lack of motivation, Fisher understands this “interpassivity” as a symptom of reflexive impotence; an unstated worldview that results from the knowledge that “things are bad”, and more importantly from the knowledge that we “can’t do anything about it” (p. 21). Why do we feel impotent in an era of unsurpassed cultural freedom and technological progress? Fisher argues that the state of reflexive impotence manifests as a retreat from the public sphere into a private space of consumption. Despite the hyperconnectedness available through social media, does this retreat into interiority extend to sites of collaboration and exchange, such as education, research and creative practice? For Fisher, reflexive impotence is also associated with pathologies and mental disorders. Why and how does this “pathologization already foreclose any possibility of politicization”? (p. 21).

On the topic of education, Fisher examines the contradictory status of students, who are both subjects of disciplinary institutions and consumers at the same time. Mirroring the paradoxical predicament of the students, teachers are in turn interpellated by students as authority figures in disciplinary frameworks, while they are simultaneously expected to respond to students’ consumer demands.

Moving onto the subject of employment, Fisher scrutinises the collapse of Fordism and with it the sites and strategies of working class politics in the transition to post-Fordism, casualised labour, flexibility, decentralisation and precarity. He argues that any resistance to the new labour conditions would be self-defeating because these reforms have been brought about in large part by workers themselves. At the same time, old forms of resistance are useless in this new environment. The old Fordist antagonism between worker’s unions and capital has been internalised in workers, who are caught between traditional class conflict and their new role as investors seeking a maximum return on their pensions. Drawing on David Harvey and Alain Badiou, Fisher argues that neoliberal politics is in fact a return to class privilege, capital accumulation and elite power. Fisher emphasises the need to reframe our disidentification with the system in political terms by shifting the political terrain away from the unions’ traditional focus on pay and onto new areas of discontent. For Fisher it is important to contest the capitalist appropriation of the new and to develop a new language that can elucidate these contradictions. Are these new political configurations emerging already, as the battle lines are re-drawn in identity politics? What would Mark Fisher have said about Brexit, rising nationalism and xenophobia in the rhetoric of neoconservatives, for whom “citizens of the world are citizens of nowhere”?

Arguing that precarity disturbs the stability of working time and space, as well as our emotions and affective states, Fisher draws on Richard Sennett to address the affective changes in the post-Fordist reorganisation of labour and the associated stresses on mental health. Considering the significant rise of mental illness, which has almost doubled in states that have implemented neoliberalism, Fisher condemns the ideology of social mobility that raises delusional aspirations and places responsibility on the individual to achieve material success. Fisher considers the repoliticisation of mental illness an urgent task in the challenge to capitalist realism.

What contradictions do we face in our labour and creative practice? What effect do these situations have on us? How can we respond to these contradictions in our everyday life?

Mark Fisher was a writer and theorist on music and contemporary culture. He wrote for the Wire, Frieze, New Statesman and Sight & Sound. He was a founding member of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths University of London and maintained k-punk, an influential blog on music and cultural theory.

*UNISON is a floating assembly space founded to allow for showcases and experiments on an intimate scale. The oval shape and transient nature of the endeavour mark the parameters for explorations by artists and practitioners of all walks of life. The boat is a statement for the DIY: anti institutional, anti university, anti establishment : open to all.

Suggested further reading and viewing

  • Fisher, Mark and Richard Capes (2011). Capitalist Realism: An Interview with Mark Fisher. More Thought’ Interviews, 10 Nov 2011.
  • Deleuze, Gilles (1992). Postscript on the Societies of Control. October 59 (Winter 1992), pp. 3-7.
  • Foucault, Michel (1977). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Kafka, Franz (1999/1925). The Trial, trans. Breon Mitchell. New York: Schocken.
  • Burroughs, William S. (1959). Naked Lunch. Paris: Olympia Press.
  • Burroughs, William S. (1970). The Electronic Revolution. Gottingen: Expanded Media Editions.
  • Baudrillard, Jean (1994). Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Jameson, Fredric (1983). Postmodernism and Consumer Society. In The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Seattle: Bay Press, pp. 111-125.
  • Jameson, Frederic (1991). Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. London: Verso.
  • Zizek, Slavoj (1989). The Sublime Object of Ideology. New York: Verso.
  • Freud, Sigmund (1961/1920). Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Trans James Strachey. New York: Norton.
  • Foucault, Michel (1988). Technologies of the Self. In Technologies of the Self: A seminar with Michel Foucault, L. H. Martin, H. Gutman, P. H. Hutton eds. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.
  • Heat (1995). Directed by Michael Mann. 2h 50min.
  • The Godfather (1972). Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 2h 55min.
  • Goodfellas (1990). Director: Martin Scorsese. 2h 26min.
  • Sennett, Richard (1998). The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism. New York: Norton.
  • Marazzi, Christian (2008/2002). Capital and Language. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).
  • Kenning, Dean (2010). Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Review. Art Monthly No 333 (Feb 2010), pp. 33-34.
  • The Invisible Committee (2009). The Coming Insurrection. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e).
  • For additional suggestions please see Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Part 1.

Derrida: Signature Event Context

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
#27 Derrida: Signature Event Context

Friday, 11 May 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East

Facilitated by Nat Pimlott & Sophia Kosmaoglou
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

In May we’re discussing Signature Event Context, Jacques Derrida’s essay on John Austin’s speech act theory. It was originally delivered at a conference on Communication in 1971 by the Congrès international des Sociétés de philosophie de langue francaise in Montreal and first published in Marges de la philosophie (Margins of Philosophy) in 1972.

DOWNLOAD Derrida, Jacques (1988/1972). Signature Event Context. In Limited Inc, trans. Samuel Weber and Jeffrey Mehlman. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, pp. 1-23.

Daniel Dezeuze [1967] Stretcher covered in plastic (Châssis avec feuille de plastique tendue).
Daniel Dezeuze [1967] Stretcher covered in plastic (Châssis avec feuille de plastique tendue).

Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was a French philosopher best known for developing an approach to criticism known as deconstruction. One of the major figures in post-structuralist thought and postmodern philosophy his work has had a significant influence across a wide range of disciplines since the 1960s – alongside attracting criticism and occasional controversy.

In Signature Event Context Derrida seeks to dig beneath the surface of concepts central to the discipline philosophy, such as communication, speech and writing. He seeks to uncover characteristics in the function of these concepts which he describes as ‘having been subordinated, excluded, or held in abeyance by forces and according to necessities that need to be analysed’.

Examining texts by prominent philosophers of language he picks up and deconstructs the ideas in their work as a means to demonstrate what he sees as the theoretically underdetermined space within which they operate.

Derrida’s starting point is the word communication. He identifies within this seemingly straightforward concept, generally understood to refer to the means of transport of meaning, the potential for alternative meanings and how this meaning depends on un-examined assumptions. He asks if ‘the word or signifier [communication] ‘communicates’ a determinate content, an identifiable meaning, or a describable value’ and notes instead that in fact ‘we have no prior authorization for neglecting communication as a word, or for impoverishing its polysemic [with many meanings] aspects’.

Derrida argues that while ordinary discourse privileges the idea of communication as being about the transmission of meaning this function largely depends on a vaguely defined but commonly accepted idea of ‘context’ – as for example the context provided by philosophical discourse. He instead challenges the idea that ‘context’ – the parameters within which meaning is determined – is ever absolutely determined. He writes: ‘Is there a rigorous and scientific concept of context? Or does the notion of context not conceal, behind a certain confusion, philosophical presuppositions of a very determinate nature?’

Derrida then takes up the notion of writing – initially contrasting it to speech, noting how writing involves the presupposition of absence – one writes in order to communicate something to someone who is absent. However he also identifies, in addition, what he calls its ‘iterability’ – both the repeatability of writing and the ability for writing, by constituting itself, to continue to exist in the complete absence of any addressee. Extending this argument, Derrida claims that even where a text, phrase or sign is lacking in its own grammatical meaning, it still amounts to a kind of writing with the structural capacity to be a sign in that it can be used as a sign of ungrammaticality by being put between quotation marks and cited. He argues that this ability for marks to be cited is actually a structural identity of all means of communication, including speech, and that not only can signs be cited but they depend on their meaning within any given context, at some level, on being examples of citation. They relate he suggests to the other uses of the same sign. He argues that not only speech but even the ‘experience of being’ (as a philosophical subject) share what he describes as this ‘graphemic’ structure of writing.

Interestingly enough, the demand for total presence and immediacy arises from mediation; or more precisely the growing range of tools of communication including the internet. It is not the opposite of, but rather the consequence of technology. (Hito Steyerl [2015] The Terror of Total Dasein: Economies of Presence in the Art Field. DIS Magazine. Originally presented as a lecture at Art and Labor after the End of Work, FORMER WEST, Warsaw 2015)

Andrea Zittel [2011] Tellus Interdum. Newsprint printed at High Desert Star in Yucca Valley, Installation view, via Art Observed.
Andrea Zittel [2011] Tellus Interdum. Newsprint printed at High Desert Star in Yucca Valley, Installation view, via Art Observed.
Andrea Zittel [2011] Tellus Interdum. Newsprint printed at High Desert Star in Yucca Valley, 384.8 × 1678.9 × 429.3 cm.
Andrea Zittel [2011] Tellus Interdum. Newsprint printed at High Desert Star in Yucca Valley, 384.8 × 1678.9 × 429.3 cm.

Derrida continues by examining the work of Austin on the nature of performative speech acts (acts of speech which bring a change in the world into being e.g. I declare you man and wife in a marriage ceremony). While Austin seeks to free the analysis of the performative from the metaphysical opposition of true and false and to substitute it with the value of force (e.g. a performative speech act changes something and isn’t merely a true or false statement), Derrida identifies what he sees as a failure on behalf of Austin to attend to the risk of speech acts to be void of meaning. In the final analysis Derrida argues that Austin’s argument relies on recourse to what he calls ‘teleological determination’ – ‘the presence to the self of a total context, the transparency of intentions, the presence of meaning to the absolutely singular uniqueness of the speech act’.  Derrida refutes this and argues instead that the risk of failure of speech acts is an internal and positive condition of their possibility.

Derrida’s argument hinges on a shift of the classical subject of philosophy – the pursuit and identification of the bases of external meaning – to the hidden structures underpinning the systems that are employed to examine meaning – language, discourse and writing. Through this he seeks to question some of the assumptions underpinning the enterprise of philosophy (and other disciplines) as it is traditionally conceived and radically the ability of writing to be said to contain meaning. He states that ‘writing is not reading: it is not the site, “in the last instance” of the hermeneutic deciphering, the decoding of meaning or truth’.

Strongly criticized by philosophers from an analytical tradition for the validity and sufficiency of his arguments and the accuracy of his analysis of other philosophers’ work, Derrida’s text nonetheless poses some far reaching questions about the fundamental stability of the context in which we normally seek to establish meaning. He argues that rather than this instability being in opposition to meaning, as articulated through writing, that instability – or non-meaning is in fact structurally inherent in this endeavour. Returning to his theme of writing he writes: ‘the crisis of meaning is bound to the essential possibility of writing’.

Derrida examines how we construct meaning, the provisional way in which our constructions depend on other constructions (AS Byatt)

Derrida’s philosophy derives from the fact that being manifests itself through difference. His writing largely consists of carefully unpicking all attempts to deny this differentiation. Most importantly he deconstructed that philosophical tradition which appealed to speech as a source of unmediated being. (Colin McCabe)

  • What is writing? How is writing different from speech?
  • What does Derrida’s mean by the term ‘iterable’?
  • To what degree does intending to say what you mean play a role in speech and writing? What is speech or writing without this?
  • Does it matter if Derrida’s arguments are valid and sufficient or not?
  • How could Signature Event Context be classified in terms of discipline – is it philosophy or something else?
  • Is Derrida’s argument creative or destructive?
  • What is the nature of authority in Derrida’s work?
  • Is meaning possible in Derrida’s world view?
  • Does Derrida’s argument affect how we should interpret his text?
  • What is the possibility of building on or continuing Derrida’s argument?
  • What relationship does Derrida’s thought have to art practice since the 60s?

Suggested further reading

Capitalist Realism

Gerhard Richter [1963] Party. Oil, nails, cord on canvas and newspaper, 150 x 182cm.
Gerhard Richter [1963] Party. Oil, nails, cord on canvas and newspaper, 150 x 182cm.
Wolf Vostell [1969] B 52 Lipstick Bomber. Serigraph and lipsticks behind glass in wooden box, 88 × 119.5 cm.
Wolf Vostell [1969] B 52 Lipstick Bomber. Serigraph and lipsticks behind glass in wooden box, 88 × 119.5 cm.

Many thanks to everyone who came along and contributed to an excellent discussion on Representation & Critique. A very special thanks to Aris Nikolaidis for facilitating! We grappled with definitions of modernism, postmodernism, anarchism, anarchist modernism and postmodern anarchism, and we tried to unpack their inter-relationships through Jesse Cohn’s vantage point. The discussion was inconclusive due to the sheer expanse of the material and deserves a follow-up.

In March we’re back at The Field for the first in a series of book clubs on Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher, starting with chapters 1-3 (pages 1-20). The book is 81 pages long and we can read it in 3-4 installments, something to decide at the end of the first session. The download link will take you to a PDF of the entire book. We will continue the series with chapters 4 & 5 on 11 May 2018, unless another proposal takes precedence. If you would like to facilitate any of the sessions please get in touch.

The Field New Cross reopens October 2017. Image courtesy of The Field.
The Field New Cross reopens October 2017. Image courtesy of The Field.

The Field reopened in October 2017 with a new cooperative structure. We’ve been invited to join the coop and we will have a meeting to discuss membership after the book club in March. If you are a member of A&C and would like to become member of the Field please come along or get in touch via email.

Many thanks to those who applied for the Fee-Waiver Award! If you haven’t heard from us yet please check your spam bin. It was a very close outcome based on an objective set of criteria which prioritised the needs of the individual candidates. Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word. We will announce the successful applicant by 9 March 2018, once they have accepted the offer and if they are happy for us to do so.

Gerhard Richter [1963] Party. Oil, nails, cord on canvas and newspaper, 150 x 182 cm.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Fisher: Capitalist Realism
Friday, 9 March 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
The Field 385 Queen’s Rd London SE14 5HD
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou.[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice

19 April – 14 June 2018, 6:30-9pm + 5 May 2018, 2:30-5pm
Kupfer Arch 213, Ponsford Street, London E9 6JU
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
£250 via Eventbrite or apply for the Fee-waiver Award

Announcements & Opportunities[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
March 2018
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please use the contact form to send us the details.

Happy New Year!

First Alternative Education Open-Day. 1 Oct 2017, SET Space, London. Photo School of the Damned.ARTCRAWL#11 Hampstead to Finsbury Park, June 2017. Photo Cristina Sousa-Martínez.BOOKCLUB#19 Bishop Artificial Hells chaired by Renata Mindolo. Common Room, School of the Damned. Guest Projects 24 July 2017. Photo SOTD.First Alternative Education Open-Day. Oct 2017, SET Space, London. Photo Maria Christoforatou.Thanks to everybody who contributed to another venturesome year of free, autonomous, volunteer-run and self-organised alternative art education!

Thanks to everyone who came along to the discussions, crawls, workshops and meetings! Many thanks to everyone who chaired a book club, curated a crawl, facilitated a workshop or hosted an event. A special thanks to all the alternative art schools, organisations and individuals for the excellent meet-ups, exchanges and collaborations.

Many thanks to all those who coordinated events and venues, posted listings and promoted events, contributed materials and tools, attended meetings, complied minutes, carried out research, wrote proposals and summaries, made flyers and videos, did bookings and accounts, took photos, shared their feedback, set up, cleared up and did the washing up! Many thanks to everyone who donated, we’re almost breaking even thanks to your generosity. Thanks to everyone who supported the project by encouraging us, sharing, inviting friends and spreading the word.

Thanks to all who came along and contributed to a fascinating discussion on Guy Debord at the book club in December. A very special thanks to Aris Nikolaidis for chairing an excellent discussion.

In January we’re joining Neil Lamont to discuss Hypernormalisation, a 2016 film by Adam Curtis. Please book your place. We’ve just added more tickets, if they sell out please check back for cancellations.

See you next year! Let’s make it a good one x x x

Neil Lamont [2006] Apple billboard on Paris metro. Digital photograph.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Adam Curtis: HyperNormalisation
Friday, 12 January 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by
Neil Lamont
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Announcements & Opportunities[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
January 2018
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
First Alternative Education Open-Day. 1 Oct 2017, SET Space, London. Photo School of the Damned.
ARTCRAWL#11 Hampstead to Finsbury Park, June 2017. Photo Cristina Sousa-Martínez.
BOOKCLUB#19 Bishop: Artificial Hells with Renata Mindolo. Guest Projects, 24 Jul 2017. Photo School of the Damned.
First Alternative Education Open-Day. 1 Oct 2017, SET Space, London. Photo Maria Christoforatou.
Neil Lamont [2006] Apple billboard on Paris metro. Digital photograph.

Marx: The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
#15 Marx: Fetishism of the Commodity

Friday, 10 February 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
Wimbledon Art Studios, 10 Riverside Rd, London SW17 0BB
Rail/Underground: Earlsfield, Tooting Broadway
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou
Free, please book your place

In February we’re reading The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret, from Karl Marx’s Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, first published 1867 in Hamburg.

DOWNLOAD Marx, Karl (1976). The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret. In Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 1. Trans. Ben Fowkes. Harmondsworth: Penguin & New Left Review, pp. 163-177.

Piero Manzoni [1961] Artist's Shit (Merda d'artista). 90 tin cans, each filled with 30 grams faeces, 4.8 x 6.5 cm.
Piero Manzoni [1961] Artist’s Shit (Merda d’artista). 90 tin cans, each filled with 30 grams faeces, 4.8 x 6.5 cm.

“Fetishism” is about relations among people, rather than the objects that mediate and disguise those relations. (MacGaffey, 1994, pp. 130)

The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret is the fourth and final section of the first chapter on The Commodity, the keystone of Marx’s critique of the capitalist mode of production. The section on commodity fetishism provides a way to think about the commodity status of art and the concept of reification more broadly.

Nkonde. Yombe people, Lower Zaire. Wood, nails, wooden spear and fabric. Height 97cm. Musee Barbier-Mueller, Geneva.
Nkonde. Yombe people, Lower Zaire. Wood, nails, wooden spear and fabric. Height 97cm. Musee Barbier-Mueller, Geneva.

A fetish is a man-made object that has been invested with certain properties, the object is  perceived to be animated with power and influence. In fact, these properties have been transferred to the object by humans (producers or users), who lose their own power in the process. Marx uses the metaphor of the fetish to demonstrate that humans misperceive the social relations between people in their labour as ‘material relations between persons and social relations between things’ (Marx, 1976, p. 166).

The concept of commodity fetishism can therefore be applied to other forms of reification, where abstract concepts are objectified in physical things that are considered to have intrinsic value.

The savages of Cuba regarded gold as a fetish of the Spaniards. They celebrated a feast in its honour, sang in a circle around it and then threw it into the sea… in order to save the human beings (Marx, 1975/1842, pp. 262-263)

Marx was well acquainted with the fetish since the early 1840s and had written about it on numerous occasions as he developed the ideas that would later be published in Capital.

Fetishism is so far from raising man above his sensuous desires that, on the contrary, it is “the religion of sensuous desire”. Fantasy arising from desire deceives the fetish-worshipper into believing that an “inanimate object” will give up its natural character in order to comply with his desires. Hence the crude desire of the fetish-worshipper smashes the fetish when it ceases to be its most obedient servant. (Marx, 1975/1842, p. 189)

Fetish market in Lomé, Togo. Photo by Torsten Lenk, 2012.
Fetish market in Lomé, Togo. Photo by Torsten Lenk, 2012.

The word “fetish” dates back to the 16th century when, according to William Pietz, the ideology of the commodity form was first articulated, defining itself “within and against the social values and religious ideologies of two radically different types of noncapitalist society, as they encountered each other in an ongoing cross-cultural situation” (Pietz, 1985, p. 7). In fact the nails hammered into N’kondi power figures (or nail fetishes) in the Kongo were mass produced in the west.

The fetish is supremely phoney – and quintessentially too, according to the etymology of the word, coined in Portuguese from feitiço, meaning ‘artificial’. (Nancy, 2004, p. 142)

What is the secret of the commodity?
What is a commodity?
How do we judge the value of a commodity?
What is value? Where does it come from?
Is art a commodity?
How do we judge the value of art?
Does an artwork have intrinsic value? Do commodities?
How does Marx’s concept of value relate to the way we value art?

Suggested further reading

Baudrillard, Jean (1981). For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. Trans & intro Charles Levin. St. Louis, MO: Telos Press.

Beech, Dave (2015). Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics. Boston MA: Brill.

Debord, Guy (1994/1967). Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone Books.

Derrida, Jacques (1994). Spectres of Marx. London: Routlege.

Diederichsen, Diedrich (2008). On (Surplus) Value in Art. Berlin, Rotterdam: Sternberg Press and Witte de With.

Groys, Boris (2010). Marx After Duchamp, or The Artist’s Two Bodies. e-flux journal #19 10/2010.

Jorn, Asger (2002/1959). Value and Economy. In The Natural Order and Other Texts, trans. Peter Shield. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, pp. 119-217.

MacGaffey, Wyatt (1994). African objects and the idea of fetish. RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics No. 25 (Spring 1994), pp. 123-131.

Martin, Stewart (2007). The Absolute Artwork Meets the Absolute Commodity. Radical Philosophy, 146 (Nov/Dec 2007), pp. 15-25.

Marx, Karl (1975/1842). The Leading Article in No. 179 of the Kölnische Zeitung. In Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, vol. 1. London: Lawrence and Wishart, pp. 184-202.

Marx, Karl (1975/1842). Debates on the Law on Thefts of Wood. In Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, vol. 1. London: Lawrence and Wishart, pp. 224-263.

Marx, Karl (1904/1859). A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Trans. Nahum I. Stone. London: International Library.

Marx, Karl (1976/1867). The Commodity. In Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 1. Trans. Ben Fowkes. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books and New Left Review, pp. 125-177.

Nancy, Jean-Luc (2004). The Two Secrets of the Fetish. Journal of Visual Art Practice, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2004, pp. 139-147.

Pietz, William (1985). The Problem of the Fetish, I. RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics No. 9 (Spring 1985), pp. 5-17.

Pietz, William (1993). Fetishism and Materialism: the Limits of Theory in Marx. In Fetishism as Cultural Discourse, Emily Apter and William Pietz eds. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp. 119-151.

Sholette, Gregory (2011). Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture. London: Pluto Press.

Zimmerman, Dan (2012). Art as an Autonomous Commodity within the Global Market. Art & Education, 3 May 2012.

Negation / Consumption

J.R. Eyerman [1952] Audience at the opening-night screening of Bwana Devil, the first full-length colour 3-D movie. Paramount Theatre, Hollywood, 26 Nov 1952.
J.R. Eyerman [1952] Audience at the opening-night screening of Bwana Devil, the first full-length colour 3-D movie. Paramount Theatre, Hollywood, 26 Nov 1952.

We had a fascinating discussion on commitment and autonomy at the November book club on Adorno’s Commitment! Many thanks to all who joined and a special thanks to Nat Pimlott for facilitating the discussion.

We look forward to your company at the next book club, coming up on Friday, 8 December. This time we’re reading Negation and Consumption in the Cultural Sphere, the eighth chapter of Guy Debord’s 1967 book The Society of the Spectacle and discussing détournement with Aris Nikolaidis. For more information, to book your place and download the text please visit the page.

In August we visited Benedict Drew‘s exhibition The Trickle-Down Syndrome at the Whitechapel Gallery with students on the Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice course. The exhibition was a sprawling interconnected array of objects, banners, screens, cables and digital components. What is the Trickle-Down Syndrome? How does it relate to the infamous laissez faire economic theory? What are the throbbing fleshy forms and knobbly knotted forms represented in videos, banners and roughly-hewn objects? We spent a couple of hours viewing and discussing the exhibition and everyone was asked to write a 250-500 word review that evening for a workshop the next morning. Each review is written in a uniquely different style and approach, with a different interpretation of the exhibition. We were all very impressed by this outcome so we decided to share the results.

In January we’re discussing Adam Curtis’ 2016 film HyperNormalisation with Neil Lamont. Please book your place and view the film by following the links on the page. See you there!

J.R. Eyerman [1952] Audience at the opening-night screening of Bwana Devil, the first full-length colour 3-D movie. Paramount Theatre, Hollywood, 26 Nov 1952.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Debord: Negation & Consumption in Culture
Friday, 8 December 2017, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aristotelis Nikolaidis
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou.[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
11 January —15 March 2018, 6pm—8:30pm
Chelsea College of Arts UAL 16 John Islip Street London SW1P 4JU
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
Booking via UAL

Neil Lamont [2006] Apple billboard on Paris metro. Digital photograph.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Adam Curtis: HyperNormalisation
Friday, 12 January 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by
Neil Lamont
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Daniel Clowes [1991] End. Art School Confidential.[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
DECEMBER 2017
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
J.R. Eyerman [1952] Audience at the opening-night of Bwana Devil. Paramount Theatre, Hollywood, 26 Nov 1952.
Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo by Sophia Kosmaoglou.
Neil Lamont [2006] Apple billboard on Paris metro. Digital photograph.
Daniel Clowes [1991] Art School Confidential. Eightball #7, Nov 1991.

Commitment / Autonomy

BOOKCLUB#20 Foucault: Of Other Spaces on Unison moored in Limehouse, 15 Oct 2017. Photo by Maria Christoforatou.
BOOKCLUB#20 Foucault: Of Other Spaces on Unison moored in Limehouse, 15 Oct 2017. Photo by Maria Christoforatou.

Many thanks to everyone who joined the October book club on Foucault’s Of Other Spaces. A special thanks to Dasha Loyko for facilitating this excellent discussion and to Anastasia Freygang for hosting us on Unison.

On Friday, 10 November we’re reading Theodor Adorno’s essay Commitment and discussing the autonomy of art with Nat Pimlott at LARC. Doors open at 6:30pm for tea on the ground floor, the book club will begin at 7pm on the top floor.

Booking is not required but please arrive early, doors will close when the book club starts or if we reach maximum capacity. When you arrive please ring the bell located to the left of the entrance. For more information and to download the text please visit the website.

See you there!

[SYMPOSIUM] #21 Adorno Commitment. Flyer by Nat Pimlott.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Adorno: Commitment
Friday, 10 November 2017, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott
Suggested donation £2

Patrick Mimran [2004] Billboard Project, New York. Photo Sophia Kosmaoglou.[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
11—15 December 2017, 10am—4pm
Chelsea College of Arts UAL 16 John Islip Street London SW1P 4JU
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
Booking via UAL

Daniel Clowes [1991] End. Art School Confidential.[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
NOVEMBER 2017
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
[SYMPOSIUM] #21 Adorno: Commitment. Flyer by Nat Pimlott.
Daniel Clowes [1991] Art School Confidential. Eightball #7, Nov 1991.

Heterotopias

Wade Guyton: Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged. Sep 2017 - Feb 2018, Serpentine Gallery, London. Photo by Mandy Wong.
Wade Guyton: Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged. Sep 2017 – Feb 2018, Serpentine Gallery, London. Photo by Mandy Wong.

We got the autumn season off to a great start last weekend! Thanks to Anca Baciu and Mandy Wong for curating, and to everyone who came along on the art crawl from Marylebone to South Kensington on Saturday. We started off with Allora & Calzadilla at the Lisson Gallery, where we wondered how the exhibition lives up to the political critique in the press release. Looking at Wade Guyton‘s work at the Serpentine, we wondered how the large-scale digital prints on stretched canvas or digital prints arranged in display cases are “pioneering painting techniques that explore the impact of digital technologies”. We more or less came to the conclusion that this could be justified by referencing the work’s engagement with formalist concerns such as flatness, surface, illusion etc. We got utterly exhausted by the V&A LGBTQ Tour, which was delivered with energy and enthusiasm. We unanimously applauded this excellent initiative, but were disappointed at the emphasis on anecdotal stories about celebrities.

First Alternative Education Open-Day. 1 October 2017, SET Space, London.
First Alternative Education Open-Day. 1 October 2017, SET, London.

Many thanks to School of the Damned for inviting is to the First Alternative Education Open Day! It was a privilege to be part of this excellent landmark event together with other alternative art schools. We covered a lot of ground in a relentless series of workshops, met new people, exchanged ideas, played games and had a great time. Many thanks to Maria Christoforatou for preparing and facilitating our workshop, we collected participant responses and we’re putting those together to share. In the meantime you can download the handout with A4 poster.

[SYMPOSIUM]#20. Flyer by Dasha Loyko.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Foucault: Of Other Spaces
Sunday, 15 October 2017, 1:30pm – 4:00pm
Yurt Café, St. Katharine’s Precinct, 2 Butcher Row, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Dasha Loyko
Free, booking via Eventbrite

Our next event is the book club on Michel Foucault’s essay Of Other Spaces, facilitated by Dasha Loyko and hosted at Unison, a former lifeboat turned project space by Anastasia Freygangto create a shifting pocket of inquiries”. We’re meeting at Yurt Café, located next to Limehouse station before we walk to the boat moored nearby. For more information, to download the text and book your place please visit the page.

Daniel Clowes [1991] End. Art School Confidential.[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
OCTOBER 2017
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please use the contact form to send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
ART SKOOL CO-OP. Poster by Sophia Kosmaoglou.
[SYMPOSIUM] #20 Foucault: Of Other Spaces. Flyer by Dasha Loyko.
Daniel Clowes [1991] Art School Confidential. Eightball #7, Nov 1991.

Foucault: Of Other Spaces

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
#20 Foucault: Of Other Spaces

Sunday, 15 October 2017, 1:30pm – 4:00pm
Yurt Café, St. Katharine’s Precinct, 2 Butcher Row, London E14 8DS
Nearest Station: Limehouse
Facilitated by Dasha Loyko
Free, booking via Eventbrite

This book club will take place on Unison, a lifeboat-turned-project-space. We will meet at Yurt Café, located next to Limehouse station, between 1:30pm and 2pm and walk to the boat moored nearby.

DOWNLOAD Foucault, Michel (1986). Of Other Spaces, trans. Jay Miskowiec. Diacritics, 16/1 (Spring 1986), pp. 22–27. Originally published as Des Espace Autres (Conférence au Cercle d’études architecturales, 14 March 1967). Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité, No. 5 (October 1984), pp. 46-49.

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB#20. Flyer by Dasha Loyko.
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB#20. Flyer by Dasha Loyko.

The definitions of heterotopia given by Foucault contrast it with utopia. Utopia, for him, is an idealized model of society that does not exist in the world. Heterotopia, on the contrary, is a kind of actualised utopia, it is a real space but one that represents, contests and inverts other sites within society. Some of the examples he gives include the reflection in the mirror, the cemetery, the museum, the motel. Foucault views these spaces as microcosms where the usual social and technological rules do not apply, yet they structure and shape our perception of our own urban geography.

The term ‘heterotopia’ was first used by Michel Foucault in the preface to The Order of Things (1966) as a non-place, as something disturbing that has power to subvert language. He later discussed it in a twelve-minute radio broadcast, expanding his definition. To Foucault’s surprise (as he may not have intended a practical application to the idea), he subsequently got asked to repeat the lecture in front of an audience of architects in 1967. The paper we are reading is a transcript of that lecture.

Within the text, Foucault makes an important reference to Gaston Bachelard, whose 1958 book ‘Poetics of Space’ provides key context for the idea of heterotopia. In the book, Bachelard elaborated his ideas of applying phenomenology to architectural spaces, or, in other words, urged architects to develop buildings based on the lived experienced within enclosed or domestic spaces, on the emotional response to them, rather than on purely utilitarian or theoretical grounds.

Heterotopia remains a concept that Foucault never fully elaborated, yet it has, since the 60’s up to the present day, been appropriated, interpreted and re-interpreted by architects, theorists of the public space and artists alike.

The final passage of the paper concludes that ‘the ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilisations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates’. This book club will take place on Unison, a former lifeboat that now functions as a project space. It was founded by Anastasia Freygang ‘to create a shifting pocket of enquiries’.

Moored at Limehouse, we will discuss some of the following questions and talk about the significance of the idea of heterotopia in relation to public spaces, institutions and our own lived experience.

Questions

  • why does Foucault call our (or his) time an ‘epoch of simultaneity’, and an epoch of space rather than time?
  • what is emplacement?
  • what would it mean for space to be ‘entirely desanctified’? (p.2)
  • how is a mirror both a utopia and a heterotopia?
  • what is the relationship between utopia and heterotopia?
  • how can the concept of heterotopia be related to the notion of public space?
  • does the idea of heterotopia survive in the age of augmented and virtual reality and the internet?

Suggested further reading

  • Johnson, Peter (2006). Unravelling Foucault’s ‘different spaces’ in History of the Human Sciences 19:4, pp. 75-90. SAGE Publications.
  • Foucault, Michel (1994). The Order of Things (Preface). New York; Vintage Books.
  • Bachelard, Gaston (2014). Poetics of Space. New York; Penguin Books.
  • Sorkin, Michael (1992). Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space. Hill and Wang.
  • Borges, Jorge Luis (2000). The library of Babel. in Fictions. Penguin.
  • Borges, Jorge Luis (2000). The Garden of Forking Paths. in Fictions. Penguin.

Alternative art education & co-operation

On Friday, 12 May 2017 we have an [OPENMEETING] to lay the foundations of a new alternative art school, coordinate future projects and institute collective ways of working at [ART&CRITIQUE]. If you’d like to get involved you’re welcome to join us!

The [BOOKCLUB] is back on Friday, 9 June 2017 at at Tropics Café in Elephant & Castle with The Dismeasure of Art, an interview with Paolo Virno (2009). This discussion will be chaired by Rubén Salgado Perez.

On Saturday, 10 June 2017, join us for an all day [STUDIOCRIT] at Thames-Side Studios in Woolwich to discuss the work of conceptual artist Rachel Ara and cross-disciplinary artist & curator Laura Hudson.

Our trip to Documenta 14 in late June has been postponed till September due to various setbacks. Please get in touch if you’d like to come along or help co-ordinate the trip.

Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common, 10 April 1848. Photo by William Kilburn[ART&CRITIQUE] OPEN MEETING
Alternative Art Education, Co-operation & Co-ordination
Friday, 12 May 2017
6:30-8:30pm
Arch 213, Ponsford Street, London E9 6JU
Free, booking not required

Kinki Club, Bologna. Photo courtesy Graziella Ronchi for Spaghetti Disco - Creare Spazio Alle Memorie 1975-85, Red Gallery, London, Oct 2016, curated by Lorenzo Cibrario[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Virno: The Dismeasure of Art
Friday, 9 June 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
Tropics Café, Grow Elephant, New Kent Road, London  SE17 1SL
Chaired by Rubén Salgado Perez
Free, please book your place

[STUDIOCRIT]#5-thumb[ART&CRITIQUE] STUDIO CRIT
Sharing Diverse Practices on Common Ground
Laura Hudson & Rachel Ara
Saturday, 10 June 2017, 10:30–17:30
Education Space, Thames-Side Studios, Harrington Way, London SE18 5NR
Free, please book your place

Gabriel Cornelius von Max [1889] Monkeys as Judges of Art (detail)[OPPORTUNITIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS]
MAY 2017
The list of opportunities, open calls, deadlines, announcements & vacancies is updated regularly.
If you would like to post your listing for open calls, opportunities or vacancies on the list please use the contact form to send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common, 10 April 1848 (detail). Photo by William Kilburn.
Kinki Club, Bologna. Photo Graziella Ronchi for Spaghetti Disco, Red Gallery, London, Oct 2016.
Poster for Sharing Diverse Practices on Common Ground, 10 June 2017 (detail), by Rachel Ara.
Gabriel Cornelius von Max [1889] Monkeys as Judges of Art (detail). Oil on canvas, 85 × 107 cm.

Specific Objects

The [BOOKCLUB] is back next Friday, 21 April at MayDay Rooms with Donald Judd’s controversial essay Specific Objects. This discussion will be chaired by Richard Burger. Please follow the links below for more info. If you’d like to curate the [ARTCRAWL], chair the [BOOKCLUB] or if you’d like to have a [STUDIOCRIT] please come to one of our events or get in touch via the contact page.

Claes Oldenburg [1964] Soft Light Switches. Vinyl filled with Dacron and canvas, 119.4 x 119.4 x 9.1 cm.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Judd: Specific Objects
Friday, 21 April 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Richard Burger
Free, please book your place

IMAGE CREDIT
Claes Oldenburg [1964] Soft Light Switches. Vinyl filled with Dacron and canvas, 119.4 x 119.4 x 9.1 cm.

Rhizome Fever

Our only event this month Deleuze & Guattari: Rhizome has generated a lot of interest. The event is fully booked and the waiting-list is closed. You are always welcome to make a proposal and chair the reading group on a text of your choice. We will support you through the entire process. Please visit the event page for more information and come to one of our events, to meet people and get a sense of how it works. The structure is simple and flexible. Alternatively, you can start your own reading group!

The [BOOKCLUB] is back again on Friday, 21 April with a discussion of Specific Objects, a 1965 essay by Donald Judd. This discussion will be chaired by Richard Burger.

Sylvano Bussoti [1980] XIV piano piece for David Tudor 4. In A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. New York: Continuum, p.3.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Deleuze & Guattari: Rhizome
Friday, 10 March 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Katie Tysoe and Sophia Kosmaoglou
Free, fully booked

Claes Oldenburg [1964] Soft Light Switches. Vinyl filled with Dacron and canvas, 119.4 x 119.4 x 9.1 cm.[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Judd: Specific Objects
Friday, 21 April 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Richard Burger
Free, please book your place

Ward Shelley [2008] Who Invented the Avant Garde, ver. 2. Oil and toner on mylar, 28.5 x 62.5 inches.[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE
Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
Thursdays, 20 April – 22 June 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
Chelsea College of Art UAL, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou
Please see the course page for fees & booking info

IMAGE CREDITS
Sylvano Bussoti [1980] XIV piano piece for David Tudor 4. In A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia. New York: Continuum, p.3.
Claes Oldenburg [1964] Soft Light Switches. Vinyl filled with Dacron and canvas, 119.4 x 119.4 x 9.1 cm.
Ward Shelley [2008] Who Invented the Avant Garde, ver. 2. Oil and toner on mylar, 28.5 x 62.5 inches.

ART&CRITIQUE (2015-2019)

A&C_banner-2015-2019

ART&CRITIQUE was a peer-led alternative art education network dedicated to critical engagement with art practice, theory and research. It was founded in November 2015 and based at The Field and LARC. We employed collaborative, co-operative and collective models of pedagogy and organisation and fostered alternative models of art education in a series of public events.

Continue reading ART&CRITIQUE (2015-2019)

Aesthetics, Affect, Artcrawl

[SYMPOSIUM] #11 Badiou: Art & Philosophy with Kerry W. Purcell at The Field, 14 October 2017. Photo by Stephen Bennett.
[SYMPOSIUM] #11 Badiou: Art & Philosophy with Kerry W. Purcell at The Field, 14 October 2017. Photo by Stephen Bennett.

Disastrous and distressing in so many ways, 2016 was also an encouraging start for [ART&CRITIQUE]. The network has grown exponentially, we introduced new regular and one-off events, we participated in the Antiuniversity Now! Festival and we were interviewed on Dissident Island Radio. We have a new Event Calendar and we’ve started a new Members & Contributors section, we have a new fast server and domain (artandcritique.uk), and we’re migrating the data. To support this work we have started collecting donations at our events and although we’re far from breaking even, the project is more sustainable. In 2017 we have plans for new regular events, exhibitions, workshops, courses, collaborations, participation in festivals and an alternative art education co-op. Thanks to everyone who has contributed, participated and supported this project. If you’re interested in participating, contributing or collaborating please come to one of our events get in touch. Looking forward to see you in 2017!

Wassily Kandinsky [1923] Circles in a Circle. Oil on canvas, 98.7 x 96.6 cm.[SYMPOSIUM] O’Sullivan: The Aesthetics of Affect
Friday, 13 January 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
V22 Louise House, Dartmouth Rd, London SE23 3HZ
Free, please book your place
For our first event in 2017 we’re heading to Forest Hill to discuss Simon O’Sullivan‘s 2001 essay The Aesthetics of Affect: Thinking Art Beyond Representation with Katie Tysoe.

[ARTCRAWL]#10[ARTCRAWL] Mayfair to Fitzrovia
Saturday, 28 January 2017, 14:00–17:00

Curated by Cristina Sousa Martínez
Free, booking not required
On the last Saturday of January we will meet in Mayfair to visit Sophia Contemporary Gallery, the Museum of Portable Sound and Carroll / Fletcher. Please visit the page for a schedule & map of the route.

Ward Shelley [2008] Who Invented the Avant Garde, ver. 2. Oil and toner on mylar, 28.5 x 62.5 inches.[COURSE] Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
12 Jan – 16 Mar 2017, Thursdays 6pm-8:30pm
Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
This intensive course provides an encompassing introduction to key discourses that inform the production and interpretation of contemporary art, a supportive environment to articulate your practice, and a critical framework to exchange ideas on art production, exhibition & reception.

Announcements & Opportunities[ANNOUNCEMENTS & OPPORTUNITIES]
The list of deadlines, announcements and opportunities is absolutely brimming this month. Please check back because the list is updated regularly. To post open calls, opportunities or vacancies on this list please send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
Wassily Kandinsky [1923] Circles in a Circle. Oil on canvas, 98.7 x 96.6 cm.

Ward Shelley [2008] Who Invented the Avant Garde, ver. 2. Oil and toner on mylar, 28.5 x 62.5 inches.

Tampering & Similitudes

For our first event in December we’re heading to leafy Crystal Palace for a [STUDIOCRIT]. Join us this Saturday, 3 December to view the work of Johanna Kwiat and discuss Tampering, survival and the everyday. This event is free but due to limited capacity booking is essential.

On Friday, 9 December we’re reading The Four Similitudes from The Order of Things by Michel Foucault (1970) at [SYMPOSIUM]. This discussion will be chaired by Penelope Kupfer. Please note that this event is taking place at MayDay Rooms.* For more information, to book your place and download the text please follow the links.

There’s no [ARTCRAWL] in December 2016 while we have a winter break but it will be back again on the last Saturday of the month from January 2017.

If you would like to get involved and show your work in a [STUDIOCRIT], chair the [SYMPOSIUM] book club on a text of your choice, curate an [ARTCRAWL], run a [WORKSHOP] or other event please get in touch.

*The Field will be closed during the next couple of months for renovations and maintenance. If you know any free or affordable venues for our events in the meantime please let us know.

Johanna Kwiat [2016] Sanity - Work In Progress. Performance Crystal Palace - Pimlico, hair, duckweed, two weeks and two days.[STUDIO CRIT] Johanna Kwiat: Tampering
Saturday, 3 December 2016, 14:00–16:00
19 Farquhar Road, London SE19 1SS
Rail: Crystal Palace, Gipsy Hill
Free, please book your place
In December we’re heading to Crystal Palace to view and discuss the work of Johanna Kwiat. After graduating from Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, Johanna studied Fine Art at Working Men’s College in London. She is based in London and currently works from ASC studios. Johanna is a co-founder partner of Art Brixton.

Penelope Kupfer [2015] Moth (detail). Ink on paper, 1654mm x 2054mm.[SYMPOSIUM] Foucault: The Four Similitudes
Friday, 9 December 2016, 18:00 – 20:30
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Penelope Kupfer
Free, please book your place
On Friday, 9 December we’re reading The Four Similitudes from The Order of Things by Michel Foucault (1970).

IMAGE CREDITS
Johanna Kwiat [2016] Sanity – Work In Progress. Performance Crystal Palace – Pimlico, two weeks & two days.
Penelope Kupfer [2015] Moth (detail). Ink on paper, 1654 x 2054mm.