Friday, 26 October 2018, 18:30-20:30
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East MAP
All welcome. Buzzer left of the entrance, office on the top floor
Come along to our next meeting if you’d like to help run the book club, decide how it works and keep it going. We will appoint a new book club coordinator and discuss scheduling, decision-making and coordination of the book club.
We will also discuss proposals for a new research and reading group on radical pedagogy, alternative art education and self-organisation, a written constitution and a new series of peer review and feedback sessions.
The aim is to bring together a community and build a collective body of knowledge and inquiry that will help us create a self-organised studio programme/course for launch in 2019.
Self-Organisation Research Share our thoughts on what was discussed at the Larc usergroup meeting:
• What did we learn?
• How has this changed our perception, ideas and expectation of the research project?
• How has it informed our ideas around the way we are organised and constituted at A&C?
• How do we want to proceed with the research project?
Some of the directions we could take as discussed at the meeting:
• Do we want to carry out the research formally or informally (and what is the difference)?
• Do we want to start by addressing our own experiences with self-organsation?
• Do we want to have a workshop on data protection with Radical Librarians Collective?
• Do we want to have a workshop on interviewing techniques and to draw up the questions that we want to ask?
• How do we prioritise these?
Symposium Discussion List / Loomio The symposium discussion list, as its name suggests, was originally intended for discussions and coordination of the symposium book club but we started using it to coordinate the other events and A&C as whole. It’s time to have a discussion about sorting this out because the list has grown mainly from people coming to the book club and it would be good to restore it to its original function. We’ve been abusing the list for a while and we need to address this by shifting the coordination of A&C to a different channel. Shall we create a new mailing list? Or should we shift coordination to Loomio? Loomio functions like an email list anyway if people turn on notifications, and everyone can post a comment simply by responding to an email. An additional list will be a nuisance because we’re all struggling with too many emails and we often have to notify people that there are open threads or votes on Loomio via email, when Loomio has the built-in function anyway. It’s important to be open and transparent in our communications and practices, but perhaps we need to create a separate list for regular contributors or those who will participate in the research project so that we can share sensitive information and coordinate the project? Or could we just use Loomio and create another list for this purpose?
MayDay Rooms Research Discuss how we will plan our archival research on self-organisation, alternative art education and radical pedagogy at MDR.
Alt Art School Research Discuss how we will carry out our research on alternative art schools.
Studio Programme Start drawing up some outlines for this and to locate which areas we need to look into and this will further inform our research.
Openki Workshop Are we interested in taking this forward?
Skill-Sharing Workshop We decided to have a skill-sharing workshop, the relevant Loomio thread has not generated a discussion so it would be great to discuss this in the meeting.
Membership At the last meeting we discussed the idea that people do not appreciate or value what is free and we reconsidered membership. This is something we should discuss in tandem with our collective model. Would everyone pay membership fees? Or just those who do not undertake any jobs? What happens if someone take a break for a few months? How much would we charge? How would we collect the fees? How would we distribute the income among those who carry out the labour?
Decision-Making We need to review our decision-making policy and update it.
Event Structure, Preparation and Communication Perhaps we need to think about the way we prepare and follow up the events, some areas that might need attention include the following:
Update the event infosheets to stress the collaborative preparation process. Perhaps the coordinator of each event should be responsible for updating the infosheet as they deem necessary through experience?
Establish a postmortem between each event coordinator and the chairperson/curator/artist from the previous event to discuss what went well and what did not and update our procedures accordingly.
Add a section to the website about our collaborative learning methods and our approach more broadly. The research that we’ve started is intended as preliminary work for this (both in terms of sharing ideas and in terms of learning new ideas). Perhaps we need to approach the research and devise our research questions with this practical goal in mind, at least in the short term?
14 July 2017, 18:30-20:30 LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East
All welcome, no need to book
Buzzer located to the left of the entrance, we’re meeting in the office on the top floor
There are two main agenda items for this meeting, both will focus on self-organsiation and our intention to develop collaborative, cooperative and collective practices as part of our pedagogical remit.
In the first part of the meeting we will discuss our proposed research at LARC with a view to submit a proposal in early August 2017. The research is intended to help us learn from the organisational practices of the usergroups at LARC as well as the organisation as whole. This is also an opportunity to discuss our broader research project on alternative art education, radical pedagogy and self-organisation. For an overview of this project please see our recent unsuccessful research proposal for a residency at MayDay Rooms. We will outline our research objectives, identify actions, distribute roles and compile a schedule.
In the second part of the meeting we will discuss our ongoing plan to distribute and rotate the work that sustains [ART&CRITIQUE]. We will discuss the jobs, guides and handover procedures. After a one-month handover process and one month to practice our jobs do we feel that have learned anything? Have we had enough experience to handover the job to someone else? Have we identified problems or ways of making improvements? Should we extend the rota period to 4 months with 1-month handover at either end? Do we need more training? What skills do we need training in? Should we organise a skill-sharing workshop?
On Friday, 12 May 2017 we’re having an open meeting to lay the foundations of a new alternative art school, co-ordinate future projects and institute co-operative ways of working. If you’d like to get involved please join us! See below for the meeting agenda and if you’d like to add agenda items to the list please use the contact form to email them to us by 10 May 2017.
1. Report on [ART&CRITIQUE] participation, accounts and current productive tasks.
2. Distribution of tasks that keep [ART&CRITIQUE] running as a collective project. Co-ordination of roles and hand-overs. If there are not enough people to undertake the tasks we will consider adopting a different structure (e.g. yearly membership) so that we can pay people to undertake the tasks.
3. Future [ART&CRITIQUE] projects: book club, art crawl, studio crit and new projects or one-off events and workshops.
4. Discuss plans for an alternative art school running a yearly programme beginning in September 2018. How would this work and how would the participants be recruited? Should we have an application form/procedure or should participants be invited? An open call is more transparent but then we have the problem of selection criteria and having to turn people down. If we invite people we can all invite one person, which is more egalitarian, but then the project risks becoming a clique. In terms of structure, the programme would be a peer support group, meeting 1-2 times per week. To begin, we could incorporate the three irregular [ART&CRITIQUE] events (exactly as they currently run, open to the public etc.) and add seminars, lectures and/or workshops with guest tutors/practitioners, organised by and for participants on the programme, who will be responsible for developing the format of the programme and running it over time. We need to discuss funding (to pay guest tutors and cover expenses) and find a regular reliable and free venue if The Field doesn’t open again. Come with ideas for a name!
5. Plan to secure an empty building by negotiating a lease with the owners in exchange for maintaining the building. This would offer us a space from which to run all these projects, have exhibitions, run a cafe, workshops, courses, screenings and all manner of events for all ages to make an income to pay people and cover our expenses.
6. Start a workers’ co-op and create a transparent co-operative structure for all the above and any other projects that may develop over time, including an alternative art education network website to host organisations that offer alternative art education in the UK.
[ART&CRITIQUE] MEETING Quarterly Meeting
Friday, 26 October 2018, 18:30-20:30
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East All welcome
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB Debord: The Culmination of Separation Friday, 12 October 2018, 18:30–21:00 LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES Facilitated by Penelope Kupfer & Darshana Vora Suggested donation £2, booking link coming soon
[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
Mondays, 8 Oct–3 Dec 2018, 6:30pm-9pm & Sat 27 Oct, 2:30pm-5pm
Deptford Lounge, 9 Giffin Street, London SE8 4RJ
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou Booking via Eventbrite
[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
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB Deutsch: Why are flowers beautiful? Friday, 14 September 2018, 18:30–21:00 LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES Facilitated by John Fortnum Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite
[ART&CRITIQUE] OPEN MEETING General Meeting 13 July 2018, 18:30-20:30
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East All welcome
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.2
Saturday, 9 June 2018, 14:30–17:30
Yurt Café, St. Katharine’s Precinct, 2 Butcher Row, London E14 8DS
Part of Antinuiversity Now 2018 Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB Derrida: Signature Event Context
Friday, 11 May 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott and Sophia Kosmaoglou Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite
[ART&CRITIQUE] COURSE Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice 19 April – 14 June 2018, 6:30pm–9pm + 5 May 2018, 2:30pm-5pm
KUPFER Arch 213, Ponsford Street, London E9 6JU
Tutor Sophia Kosmaoglou Booking via Eventbrite
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB Derrida: Structure, Sign and Play Friday, 13 April 2018, 6:30pm–9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.1 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
[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB Cohn: Representation and Critique
Friday, 9 February 2018, 6:30pm-9pm LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aris Nikolaidis Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite
[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
[ART&CRITIQUE] ART CRAWL Marylebone to South Kensington
Saturday, 30 September 2017, 1:45pm—5pm
Meet 1:45pm at Lisson Gallery 27 Bell Street London NW15BY
Curated by Anca Baciu and Mandy Wong
All welcome, booking not required
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.
Most of my practice happens outside of the studio and/or gallery context. My practice is rooted in my everyday life. My work is a material or intellectual explosion culminating a long process of analyses or annoyingly circular thoughts, images and tensions. I work with mixed media, often with what I find available, and select that which is relevant to communicate my ideas. I have been preoccupied with themes of cultural myths of identity, gender and the autonomy of reason, as well as the nature of reality we live in and the possibility of circumventing its constraints. I think a lot about alienation (self and structurally imposed) and especially the persistent and seemingly universal need of private ownership, its relation with everyday violence, specifically the unseen, hidden or unspoken. I am interested in violence as an inherent quality of relationships. And yet my work is most of all an intimate history. I rework my story, parts of which I find echoed in others’ histories: imposed gender, gender roles, sexuality and forms of representation. I look at relationships between people, natural forms, signs of social aspiration and financial standing. I tamper with them. Acting out in social, public space is what interests me, and describes the way I work. I steal estate agents’ signs from real life locations. I invade an environment, space or context and question its familiar set-up.
An opportunity for artists, curators, designers, film-makers and other producers to present their work to an audience of peers for discussion and feedback.
This event is free and open to everyone. Please book your place. If you’d like to show your work please scroll down for more information and the event archive.
Showing your work
STUDIOCRITS typically focus on the work of one artist at their studio or other appropriate venue. There is no standard format however, because everyone’s practice is different.
If you’re interested in showing your work at a STUDIOCRIT please download the infosheet and follow the directions to send us your proposal.
VENUE The venue will most likely be your studio. If you don’t have a studio don’t worry, we can find an alternative. You might have an exhibition on, you might show your work in your flat, community space or temporarily available space. The space needs to be appropriate for the display of your work with a capacity for about 10 people.
DATE & TIME We will set a date and time that is most convenient for you and your venue. Weekends and weekday evenings are convenient times for most people. The crit normally lasts two hours with a break in the middle. Please consider providing snacks and refreshments.
STRUCTURE Think about what work you would like to show and how you would like to structure and conduct the crit. We will discuss this and identify or develop a format that is suited to your work. Think about the practical or theoretical questions that you would like to raise, what aspects of your practice would you like to draw attention to and discuss?
DOCUMENTATION Please prepare a short bio and up to 6 images of your work for the website. This is to give potential audience members an idea of what your work, practice and/or research is about, attracting an audience with common interests. We will work together to present your work in the best possible way.
BIO Please prepare a short bio no longer than 250 words. This should outline your practice, background, education and what you are interested in exploring in the STUDIOCRIT, highlighting the topics and themes that you would like to address in the discussion.
IMAGES Choose up to 6 images that best represent the questions that you would like to raise about your practice. The maximum resolution for images is 923 pixels on the longest side, if in doubt and for the best results please send hi-res images. Please send captions with your images and include the title, date, materials and dimensions/duration for each one.
STATEMENT You might want to discuss an artist statement or application/proposal in conjunction with your work. Your statement should be no longer than 500 words, please print 15 copies and bring them along.
Maria Christoforatou lives and works in London. Her practice is concerned with the unnerving relation between belonging and unbelonging examined through the notion of one’s home. Maria received her BA (Hons.) in Fine Art from the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) in Greece and her MA in Painting/Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts London. She recently graduated from Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London with an MPhil in Fine Art Practice-based research. Her research focuses on narratives of home and displacement in contemporary art practice. She investigates experiences of displacement through the idea of home, where ‘home’ is identified, mediated and ‘re-made’ through media and materials of different kinds, and how objects both mediate for the artist and become agents of experience for the viewer.
Based in London, Jo Wolf works conceptually with mixed media. Although her pieces result from an act of inquiry, the consequent material form is equally relevant to the idea. Coming from a DIY culture and maker’s background, Jo studied at Camberwell College then Central Saint Martin’s and after graduating in 2005, has maintained a pre-emerging position of artistic obscurity. From 2008 she took an interest in the cause alongside the impact of the economic crisis and responded by creating a limited collection of 3D design and 2D depictions of mass circulated imagery. Her recent series sees a return to abstract compositions.
DATA: a series of observations, measurements or facts. From Latin: dare to give.
The DATA series consists of two sets of eight canvases, entitled DATA.0 and DATA.1, which were inspired by a reading of ‘The Death of the Author’. Written in 1967, the French literary critic and theorist Roland Barthes proclaimed, ‘a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination’, and that ‘It is language which speaks, not the author’. He states that ‘a text is … drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation, but there is one place where this multiplicity is focused and that place is the reader…’
Bathes offers a theory that informs our understanding of this realm of reading and interpretation. Applicable not only to the written text however, which is open to translation and elucidation, it is also considered in the reception of a work of art. Yet the visual text or artwork often conveys information through media with the omission of written language. Our understanding of art is affected by what we know and believe, a perception based on learned assumptions regarding taste, truth, beauty, status, experience, etc. The authority of a work of art and its meaning alters according to the context in which it appears and although artists may give a rationalized explanation of their work, the gap between words and what we see may not be completely settled.
In the art world, critics hold the strongest platform from which to deliver their views of the artwork, beyond the artist, yet their opinions often expand or contradict the original said intentions. This process of presentation and judgment begins in art school, in the critique. DATA tells an abstract tale of one experience of this process, it also raises questions about the role of the crit and the significance of the rhetoric.
DATA.0: Eight relatively small square paintings consisting of the basic elements of painting, in an aesthetically purified abstract form, question the conceptual relationship between the object/canvas, text/title and meaning.
DATA.1: Constructed from silks of unrestricted colours, the larger canvases mirror the geometric compositions of the first series and although removed from the realm of painting, pose the same questions.
I am a London-based artist who is currently in the process of applying to MFA programmes. I was born in 1995 in Minsk, Belarus, and moved to the UK in 2009, at the age of 14. I am now in my third year of BSc in Philosophy at LSE. I received some formal art training in Minsk but have since practised independently and in the recent years my work has taken a much more conceptual turn. My research has been fuelled by the study of philosophy, critical theory and I have recently become fascinated by the notion of the abject. I work across a wide range of media and my practice could roughly be divided into two categories: institutional critique and the art driven by my preoccupation with human autonomy.
Through painting, video, sculpture and installation, I explore the relationship between subject and object. My departure point is the notion of the border of your own body. I am interested in the construction of psychological and physical barriers and in distancing yourself from the rest of the world as a necessary part of identity formation. Personal space, privacy, autonomy and the sense of your body as having definite borders, as being discontinuous from everything else around you, are some of the concerns which underpin my practice.
Some of the materials I choose to use, such as gloves or shower curtains, have a literal meaning as barriers but I also want them to evoke tactile associations. In the everyday life these are some of the things which are connected with disgust at touching something unpleasant, toxic, sticky, or wet. I want this tactility and also the scale of my work to act as a connecting link between the piece and the viewer, so that she can relate to it and measure it up against her own body.
A few worries arise: Do the tactile associations function in the same way for the audience as they do for me? Does the medium of painting divert the attention away from the conceptual issues and towards the formalist ones?
In my critical work I address the following questions: What does it mean for a work of art to be a success or a failure? What does it mean for text to be ‘about’ an artwork? How and why is an artwork legitimised through discourse? I reflect on the process of research and the constant chase after innovation. I also wonder whether addressing these worries should necessarily be branded as critique.
Come along and contribute to the third in a series of discussions on Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher, continuing with chapters 6-7 (pages 43-65) on bureaucracy, dreams and memory. This book club is facilitated by Silvia Bombardini and Elliot Mason.
Mark Fisher’s short book Capitalist Realism is one of the twenty-first century’s great reactions to the material horrors of neoliberal capitalism. It guides us through the precarity and meaninglessness of contemporary work, epitomized by the endless web of the call centre. Everything is mediated, passed on to someone else, abstracted from our tangible grasp. “Work and life become inseparable. Capital follows you when you dream. Time ceases to be linear, becomes chaotic, broken down into punctiform divisions”. All material bases of the system are abstracted, and the possibility of an uprising, as Maurizio Lazzarato warns us, are divided and broken. We cannot fight back, because there is nothing to fight, only the physical oppression of capitalist culture keeping us in check.
Chapters 6 and 7 of Capitalist Realism attempt to provide practical ways of improving this situation. The main possibility considered is education reform. The pointless practices of call centres are duplicated verbatim in school and university checks by organizations like Ofsted. Teachers and lecturers are required to spend most of their time creating simplistic Powerpoint slides that ensure every student is kept as bored as possible so they hate education and leave it immediately, shimmering off into the reproduction of capital rather than learning the logic of their oppressor. Grassroots, collective, radically free and accessible education is only the first step towards a viable and full alternative to neoliberal education.
The other big theme of these chapters is the Big Other – psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s term for the collective fiction any society invests in: for example, the collective fiction that companies are well-meaning and provide necessary entrepreneurship to society, while privately we all recognize (without the awareness of the collective fiction) that the hallmarks of success in and for a company are ruthless, brutal exploitation and evasion of all social responsibility. Mark Fisher questions the claims that postmodern capitalism is beyond belief, no longer tied to a symbolic ‘Big Other’ narrative. In fact, it seems we do have a universal capitalist cultural belief, but what it mostly tries to convince us of is that all the idiots in the past were the only ones who really believed, while we are emancipated from that and now allowed to simply consume commodities, free from all ideology, without allowing the suggestion that the constant consumption of corporate commodities is itself a very gagging and binding ideology.
In this book club we will discuss these two chapters, pages 43 to 65, relating the philosophy to everyday life, thinking about what has changed in the nine years since the book was published, and asking questions like: Would an entirely independent and autonomous education system work in producing equality in output? What is the Big Other in education and how can we make it aware of itself? Is our collective reading of a text like this already a step toward the Big Other becoming aware of itself or does capitalism need us too?
Would an entirely independent and autonomous education system work in producing equality in output?
What is the Big Other in education and how can we make it aware of itself?
Is our collective reading of a text like this already a step toward the Big Other becoming aware of itself or does capitalism need us too?
Have immovable realities disappeared from our perception, or is it a western-centric argument?
Are we nostalgic toward the familiar, or toward novelty?
Is the autonomous force of an image in capitalist culture the cause or effect of bureaucratic immediacy – the sacrifice of the long-term in the past and future?
Monthly reading group for artists, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory. Everyone is welcome to propose a text and facilitate the reading group. Please book your place and download the shared document. For more information and an archive of previous events please scroll down.
Free & open access
The reading group is free and open to everyone who wants to join as long as they commit to the reading. Please register and arrive early, doors will close when we reach maximum capacity. Don’t forget to download the shared document and bring a hard-copy to the book club. Please consider donating to help cover our expenses and keep us going. Alternatively, you can donate via this link.
Discussion & decision-making
Texts are selected by group consensus on the basis that they reflect on the relationship between practice and theory. This includes a broad variety of texts, from philosophy to politics and aesthetics to science fiction – there is no limitation.
Facilitating the book club
[SYMPOSIUM] is a supportive community of peers who discuss and unpack their research interests. All participants have the opportunity to facilitate the book club on a text of their choice. If you would like to propose a text, you can start preparing right now:
 Decide on a text that you want to discuss.
 Do some background research and write a short introduction to provide some context, from your own perspective. When was it written? Why was it written? Who wrote it? Was it a response to something else? Why are you interested in the text? How does it relate to, or inform, your practice or your research?
 Pace the reading. How long is the text? If it is short, can we discuss the entire text in a 2-hour book club? If the text is long you may need to divide it up between two or more sessions.
 Write down some questions that you would like to bring to the discussion. Suggest some further reading and an image or two, with captions.
 Download the infosheet and send us your proposal.
Join us on the last Saturday of the month when we head out to visit exhibitions and have a critical discussion on route. This is a free event, donations to cover our expenses are welcome. Anyone can volunteer to curate the crawl, if you’re interested please download the infosheet for more information.
Hot on the heels of the Deptford Art & Gentrification Walk in May 2018 we will revisit the people, places, problems, questions and expand on the outcomes of that sweltering day.
Join us for an afternoon of discussions and encounters on the relationship between art and the process of gentrification that is currently sweeping through Deptford. We will visit community spaces, galleries, studios and landmarks on a walk along the streets, waterways, green spaces and new developments. We will meet local residents, artists, curators and activists to hear about their experiences and how they are resisting or overcoming the displacement of communities and the shrinking of public and creative spaces.
Do artists have a measure of responsibility in the process of gentrification and what can they do to resist the successive waves of change that inevitably lead to their own displacement? How can local residents regain some control over the rapid changes in their environment and the impact on their lives?
We will address the controversial developments currently proposed or underway in Deptford and the responsibility artists have within the process of gentrification. How can artists resist the redevelopment of community, social, cultural and creative spaces that are crucial to their activities? How can artists evaluate the available opportunities and what alternatives are there?
Come along to share your own stories and contribute to the discussion. Meet us at 1pm inside Deptford Rail Station or join us along the way. For more information, the itinerary and a map of the route please visit the website. Maps will be available on the day in case you wonder off and want to meet us later on.
More details coming soon, itinerary TBC and subject to change
Visit the Albany and walk through Deptford Market. If you’d like to get some lunch there are excellent choices within close proximity to the station, including summer rolls from Viet Rest, sushi from M&D Japanese Takeaway, jollof rice from Tomi’s Kitchen , bagels from the Waiting Room or fish patties and summer fruit from the Jamaican food stalls on Douglas Way.
We will begin with a quick tour of the garden and return to the amphitheater for a discussion on the relationship between art and the process of gentrification currently underway in Deptford. We will hear about the Save Reginald Save Tidemill campaign and the current occupation to protect the Tidemill Garden from impending demolition and how to get involved. We will hear from local residents, artists, curators and activists about how they experience the impact of gentrification and how they are resisting displacement and the shrinking of public and creative spaces. Come along to share your own perspective on the changes that are currently sweeping through Deptford. We will end the visit with some time to explore the garden and the exhibition Deptford Aint Avvinit.
15:30 1 Creekside / Goldsmiths MFA Studios, Church Street, London SE8 4RZ
We will visit the site at 1 Creekside and then double back to Goldsmiths MFA Studios to view Sue Lawes‘ work and have a chat with the artist about the proposed development at 1 Creekside.
We will view the exhibition On Time: Deptford X (PT II) and have a chat with artist Joan Molloy. Then go on a tour of Art Hub Studios with Adrian Morris-Thomas.
16:30 Paynes Wharf / House of Phoenix
Heading north towards the river we will view remains of the Royal Dockyard, passing by the church of St. Nicholas, the site of the former Deptford Power Station, Paynes Wharf, Master Shipwright’s Palace and Twinkle Park.
17:00 Gossamer Fog 186a Deptford High Street, London SE8 3PR
This is a double studio visit in the former E. Barclay FSMC FACLP Optician on the high street. Mr. Pippin will present one of his major works titled Ω= 1, a machine that makes a pencil stand perfectly still on its tip. Olivia Guigue will introduce us to her project Tamesiology. A study of the geology of the Thames’ foreshore where, among native elements, synthetic and imported materials are becoming part of the ground. A collection of «Pseudo-Minerals» gathers plastic samples selected upon aesthetic criteria for their mimicry to minerals and rocks, while «Analogies» matches natural and man-made materials for their casual resemblance. These mimesis bring us to question the dichotomy natural/artificial by observing the dynamic of anthropic materials in nature, approaching the topic of environment from a different point of view: the one of matter.
In the first walk we held in May 2018, we kicked-off the discussion with an open forum in the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden about its history, its impending demolition and the campaign to save it. We discussed the measure of responsibility that artists have in the process of gentrification and what alternatives there are to partnering with developers in pursuit of affordable space. To listen to a recording of the discussion and/or read a summary of the discussion please follow this link.
The Old Tidemill Garden was Deptford’s best kept secret, a wildlife oasis with more than 70 mature trees in the middle of Deptford, where the level of air pollution is six times higher than the limit recommended by the WHO. By handing the garden to property guardians, Lewisham Council withheld this public resource from the community. But now the secret it out! The Save Reginald Save Tidemill campaign is trying to raise awareness of the garden’s existence and encourage its use by members of the community in an effort to save it from demolition.
Contribution from Donal Ruane
The article No Man’s land by Eula Biss is a fascinating non-linear essay exploring the issue of gentrification in America. I offer it here as one possible way of looking at the thorny subject of gentrification. In the essay, Biss attempts to make sense of gentrification and our collective fear of those who are unlike us, in this case it is the predominantly poor blacks that tend to inhabit the inner city neighbourhoods that have been gentrified in America. If we substitute the working classes for blacks in the American model we could pretty much use this essay to look at gentrification in London (in the UK it is less about race exclusively and more about class in general).
In addition to Bliss’s own experiences with gentrification, she explores the concept in a more academic way—using research about violent crimes, fear, and race—but she begins with Little House on the Prairie. Yes, in an essay about gentrification, she begins with pioneers. She writes of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s childhood on the frontier, and of her own fascination with the book as a child. Then she writes:
The word pioneerbetrays a disturbing willingness to repeat the worst mistake of the pioneers of the American West—the mistake of considering an inhabited place uninhabited. To imagine oneself as a pioneer in a place as densely populated, as Chicago is either to deny the existence of your neighbours or to cast them as natives who must be displaced. Either way, it is a hostile fantasy … this is our inheritance, those of us who imagine ourselves as pioneers.
In the original event Sophia organised in Deptford, which is now available online I used a similar analogy of the myth of the American West as a useful prism through which the process of gentrification could be viewed. While my model tends to concentrate more on the different stages of the colonization and commodification of working class neighbourhoods by developers … using the wild west analogy it starts with the mountain men, who are followed by the cattle barons, the pioneers, the railroads, the banks and developers etc. (Serge Leone’s Marxist western Once Upon a Time in the West is worth looking at to understand this idea). Biss is more concerned with how the pioneers view, interact with and eventually displace the indigenous population before they too are displaced. I hope this is food for thought.
In May we’re visiting Deptford for a day of discussions on art and gentrification. Join us for a tour of galleries, studios, community spaces and landmarks on a walk along the streets, waterways, green spaces and new developments. We will meet artists, curators and activists to explore how they are resisting or overcoming the displacement of communities and the shrinking of public and creative spaces.
Come along and share your experiences, meet us at 12noon inside Deptford Rail Station or join us along the way. Please scroll down for the itinerary and a map of the route. Maps will be available on the day in case you wonder off and want to meet us later on.
I came to London, I was very lucky, at a time when you could still squat in central London and survive here and have enough space to have a studio to work. But now, young artists coming to London – where would they even start? The rents are unbelievable. It’s frightening. (Grayson Perry)
Gentrification concerns artists because their living and work spaces as well as their exhibition, event and social spaces are under threat by redevelopment and rising property prices. Artists are constantly on the move as they become displaced from one up-and-coming area to the next. But they also bear the brunt of criticism, as harbingers of gentrification. In his 2013 BBC Reith Lectures artist Grayson Perry announced that artists are the “shock troops of gentrification”. On closer inspection however, this claim holds little water. A recent study shows that “arts industries generally do not play a significant role in gentrification and displacement” because art organisations tend to gravitate towards areas with pre-existing creative industries in already gentrified areas.
The Marxist geographer Neil Smith argues that gentrification is a calculated strategy in capital’s search for investment opportunities on the “frontier” between expensive neighbourhoods and the “disinvested slums… where opportunity is higher”. Developers take the long view, waiting for the right conditions to exploit the “rent gap”, or the difference between the current value of a property and its potential value through redevelopment. Gentrification takes place when the rent gap can yield maximum profit. Although Smith cites examples of artists being used as “vehicles” or “fronts” for gentrification and displacement, especially in Manhattan where “gentrification and art came hand in hand”, he argues that ultimately it is capital and not culture that drives the process.
In February 2018, Rózsa Farkas, founding director of Arcadia Missa announced that she is moving her gallery from Peckham to Soho in an act of resistance against the gentrification of the area where she grew up, adding “I’d like to encourage everyone to resist”. Short of moving away, how can artists resist the redevelopment of community, social, cultural and creative spaces that are crucial to their activities? Considering the involvement of artists and art spaces with processes of gentrification, how can artists navigate the terrain of available opportunities and what alternatives are there?
The meeting point is inside Deptford Rail Station. Bring a packed lunch for a picnic at the Old Tidemill Garden or get your lunch from the high street. There are excellent choices within close proximity to the station, including vegan curry from Hullabaloo, summer rolls from Viet Rest, sushi from M&D Japanese Takeaway, jollof rice from Tomi’s Kitchen , bagels from the Waiting Room or fish patties and summer fruit from the Jamaican food stalls on Douglas Way.
Meet Camden McDonald to talk about the Minesweeper Collective, its history and future after the demise of the Minesweeper which hosted local art and community events for 14 years, and hear about new developments along the Creek.
16:30 St. Nicholas / Paynes Wharf
Heading north towards the river we will visit the site of the Royal Dockyard, passing by the church of St. Nicholas, Paynes’ Wharf, Master Shipwright’s Place and the Dog & Bell.
Talk to members about community cinema, the award-winning programme, self-organisation and affordable housing. The tour coincides with Ken Russell Day screening Gothic (1986) and Altered States (1980) with speakers Stephen Volk and Dr Matt Melia, from 1pm-10pm.
Saturday, 30 September 2017, 13:45-17:00
Meet 13:45 at Lisson Gallery 27 Bell Street London NW15BY
Curated by Anca Baciu and Mandy Wong All welcome, booking not required
In September we’re meeting at Lisson Gallery to see an exhibition by Allora & Calzadilla and then walking through the park to the Serpentine Gallery to view an exhibition by Wade Guyton, ending the crawl with the LGBTQ Tour to explore gender and sexual identities in the Victoria & Albert Museum collection. Free, everyone welcome. No need to book, just join us at 2pm or along the way. Please see below for the itinerary and a map of the route.
In July we’ve been invited on an excursion to visit The Other MA (TOMA), a 12-month alternative art education model based at Metal Art School in Southend-on-Sea. Join us for a walking tour across the cultural landscape of Southend-on-Sea with the expert guidance of Emma Edmondson, founder and coordinator of TOMA. We will visit Focal Point Gallery and The Old Waterworks, Metal Culture – home of Metal Art School and TOMA – culminating the tour at TOMA artists’ studios.
The suggested travel route to Southend Central is via the C2C line from London Fenchurch Street, Limehouse, West Ham or Barking. A C2C train service departs from Fenchurch Street at 11:04am and arrives 12:18pm at Southend Central. Please purchase your ticket to Southend Central as we will be hopping on and off the train all day. The ticket will allow you to do this.
NB. We will be doing much walking in between destinations! Please get in touch if you have access concerns.
ITINERARY MAP 12:20 Meet at Southend Central Station, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1AB 12:30 Have lunch in the Railway pub (best vegan food in town) 13:30 Head to Focal Point Gallery to see Maximum Overdrive 15:00 Catch the train to Westcliff-on-Sea station, half hour walk and head to The Old Waterworks for Alison Loyd’s show 16:00 Catch the train from Westcliff station to Chalkwell Park to see the home of TOMA and Metal, Chalkwell Avenue, Southend on Sea SS0 8NB 17:00 Walk to TOMA artist Richard Baxter’s pottery studio (TBC) 18:00 Grab a drink in the multitude of pubs on the seafront and take in the Estuary views!
#11 Hampstead to Finsbury Park (via Mayfair)
Saturday, 24 June 2017, 14:00 -17:00
Starts 2pm at Freud Museum 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead London NW3 5SX
Curated by Sophia Kosmaoglou Free, booking not required
In June we’re venturing on an ambitious tour of London and taking public transport to see exhibitions at the Freud Museum and Furtherfield – venues that are off the beaten path. On the way we will stop at Thomas Dane in Mayfair. Below is a map of the route and a schedule with links to further information on the exhibitions. We will take the Jubilee line from the Freud Museum to Thomas Dane, and the Victoria line from there to Finsbury Park.
Please note that entry to the Freud Museum is £8 for adults, free for children under 12, £6 for senior citizens, £4 for students, unemployed, National Trust Members & National Art Pass Members. More details here.
On Saturday 28 January we’re meeting 2pm at Sophia Contemporary to see the exhibition Recipe for a Poem by Azadeh Razaghdoost. Then we will head to Hamilton’s Cafe to listen to Transitivity of Implication by Daniel Toca at the Museum of Portable Sound, please bring your headphones! We will wrap up with a visit to Carroll / Fletcher for the group exhibition United We Stand. Below is the schedule with links to exhibition details and a map of the route.
Saturday 26 November 2016, 14:00 – 17:00
Curated by Katy Green Free, booking not required
On Saturday, 26 November we’re meeting 2pm at Camden Arts Centre to see and exhibition of Bonnie Camplin‘s work. Then we will head to Zabludowicz Collection for the exhibition Basement Odyssey by Willem Weisman. Our final stop will be the group show Streams of Warm Impermanence with artists who work with Networked-Flesh at David Roberts Art Foundation. Please see below for the schedule and a map of the route.
Saturday 29 October 2016, 14:00-17:00 Free, booking not required
On Saturday 29 October we’re heading south and meeting 2pm at the South London Gallery to see The Source of Art is in the Life of a People by Roman Ondak, followed by a stop at Arcadia Missa to see Amalia Ulman’s solo Labour Dance, ending at South Kiosk to see And the Earth Screamed, Alive, a multi screen 16mm installation by Emma Charles. Please see below for the schedule with links to exhibition details and a map of the route. Everyone welcome.
14:00 Roman Ondak South London Gallery 65-67 Peckham Road London SE5 8UH 15:15Amalia Ulman Arcadia Missa Unit 6 Bellenden Road Business Centre London SE15 4RF 16:15 Emma Charles South Kiosk Unit B1.1 Bussey Building 133 Rye Lane SE15 3SN
#07 Mayfair to St James (via Soho)
Saturday 24 September 2016, 14:00-17:00 Free, booking not required
On Saturday 24 September we’re meeting at Timothy Taylor to see Shez Dawood’s solo, followed by Mike Kelley’s 1999 installation Framed and Frame at Hauser & Wirth and Uri Aran’s controversial show at Sadie Coles, ending with the Jannis Kounellis retrospective at White Cube. We’re spoiled for choice this month so we’ve crammed four exhibitions into this one. See below for the schedule with links to exhibition details and a map of the route.
Saturday 30 July 2016, 14:00-17:00 Free, booking not required
On Saturday 30 July we’re meeting at at Simon LeeGallery to see the work of Bas Jan Ader who disappeared at sea in 1975. We will then head north to see the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres curated by Julie Ault and Roni Horn at Hauser & Wirth. Our final stop will be at Carroll/Fletcher to see Abuse Standards Violations by Eva and Franco Mattes. Please see below for the schedule with links to exhibition details and a map of the route.
Saturday 25 June 2016, 14:00-17:00
Curated by Dasha Loyko Free, booking not required
On Saturday 25 June we will meet at The Residence Gallery to see Info Pura, a group exhibition on knowledge, information and experience. Next we will visit Salon des Refuses at SPACE to see the work of Dasha Loyko and other artists rejected from the Royal Academy summer exhibition. Last stop is Blood For Light by Nastivicious at Waterside Contemporary. Please see below for the schedule with links to exhibition details and a map of the route.
Saturday 4 June 2016, 14:00-17:00
Curated by Penelope Kupfer Free, booking not required
On Saturday 4 June we will meet at Cambridge Heath Station and set off for Vilma Gold to see the work of Oliver Stone and Luther Price. Next we will make our way to Espacio Gallery for a group exhibition titled Organism, featuring the work of Penelope Kupfer among an illustrious list of artists. Last stop is Paulo Nimer‘s solo show at Maureen Paley. See below for the schedule and map of the route with links to exhibition details. Free, no need to book.
Saturday 14 May 2016, 14:00-18:00
Curated by Penelope Kupfer Free, booking not required
On Saturday, 14 May 2016 we will meet at the Serpentine Gallery at 2pm to view Hilma af Klimt: Painting the Unseen and then make our way to the Sackler Gallery to view of the exhibition by DAS INSTITUT. Then we will head to the Rum Factory near Shadwell DLR station to see the work of Richard Burger. See below for the schedule and map of the route with links to exhibition details. Free, no need to book, just join us at 2pm. Latecomers can join us along the way.
Saturday 30 April 2016, 14:00-17:00 Free, booking not required
On Saturday, 30 April 2016 we will meet at the bookshop inside the Whitechapel Gallery at 2pm to view Harun Farocki‘s video installation Parallel I-IV and the archival exhibition Imprint 93 with prints by young British artists of the 1990s. Then we will head to Raven Row near Liverpool Street to see the work of Channa Horwitz. Please see below for the schedule and a map of the route. Free event, no need to book. Latecomers can join us along the way.
Saturday 19 March 2016, 14:00-17:00 Free, booking not required
On Saturday, 19 March 2016 we will meet at Hoxton Rail Station at 2pm. From there we will walk to xero, kline & coma to see Under the Shade I Flourish by Chris Alton. Heading east we will stop at Cell Project Space to see Ian Ball ‘s Praseodymium Intracrine Signal Aggregate and and we will end the tour with Park McArthur‘s Poly at Chisenhale Gallery. Please see below for the schedule and a map of the route. Free event, no need to book, just join us at 2pm. Latecomers can join us along the way.