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A Rally of Speeches

Artistic research and development
Authors Jason E. Bowman
Published in Adhocracy, 6 and 7 August, 2011, London, UK
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication London, UK
Publication year 2011
Published at Valand School of Fine Arts
Language en
Keywords avant-garde, autonomie, résistance, black culture, artist-led, HIV and Aids, Radicalism, fine art film, curatorship, peace movement
Subject categories Arts


Curator: Jason E. Bowman A rally of speakers addressing the histories of DIY cultures and political resistance within the UK's avant-gardist legacy. Moderated by Dr. Andrea Phillips, Reader in Fine Art at the Department of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Director of the Doctoral Research Programme. Participants: Dr. Kate Hudson Visiting Researcher London South Bank University and General Secretary of CND used the CND experience as a framework to discuss politics and protest, effective methods for bringing about change, and the practice and principles necessary for success. Jess Baines, London School of Economics PHD Candidate and Lecturer at the London College of Communication on the politically motivated printshop collectives that proliferated in the UK in the 1970s and 80s. These were not ‘printmaking’ workshops for ‘limited editions’ but places to cheaply produce alternative critical media. Founded by anarchists, artists, lefties and feminists, Jess will focus on the printshops’ connection with the changing politics of women’s liberation. Ilona Halberstadt, film maker and editor of the publication Pix and previously convener of Political Science at Middlesex University presented on filming and participating in the Scratch orchestra, community, spontaneity, chance encounters, subversion and crossing borders (professional/amateur, music/sound, politics/art, autonomy/money). Ilona showed a silent thirteen minute assemblage, edited from her film “Still Scratch Orchestra”. Scratch Orchestra members will accompany the short film with sounds. The Scratch Orchestra (1969-1972) was an experimental improvising collective made up of both trained and untrained musicians, open to all. David Curtis Senior Research Fellow, Central St Martin's and Biddy Peppin were involved in both London Arts Laboratories – innovative multi-artform spaces that contributed to the artistic explosion of the 1960s. Both Arts Labs experimented, in different ways, with artist-led collective organisation. The Drury Lane Arts Lab (1967-9) was founded and led by Jim Haynes. The Robert Street Arts Lab (known as IRAT – the Institute for Research into Art and Technology) (1969-71) was formed by a breakaway group , and attempted a more democratic structure. Both pursued the vision of a relationship between artists and the public that was unsullied by the art market. Unlike the ICA, neither received public funding; instead, as membership clubs, they depended on income from subscriptions and ticket sales from the programmes. At both sites David ran the film programmes and Biddy co-curated the exhibition spaces. They will discuss London Arts Labs’ artistic, social and organisational successes and failures, and the ideas inspiring them. Marlene Smith, Artist was born in Birmingham, during her ‘A’ level summer, she joined the fluid line up of students; Eddie Chambers, Claudette Johnson, Wenda Leslie, Keith Piper, Donald Rodney, Janet Vernon, that is today referred to as The Black Art Group. It was 1982 and the group were preparing for the first national convention of black art. In 1985 she exhibited alongside ten other black women artists at the ICA in Lubaina Himid’s Thin Black Line. That same year she organised But Some of Us Are Brave, the first exhibition of black women’s work at north London’s Black Art Gallery, a space she would later run in the early 90s. She worked briefly with David A Bailey and Sonia Boyce at the African & Asian Visual Artists Archive at UEL before returning in 2001 to the West Midlands to join the team developing The Public, a £multi-million regeneration project in one of the countries poorest boroughs. She set up Public Gallery Ltd in 2006 where she was Director until 2009 when she took up an international placement spending 6 months in Shanghai as part of her NESTA fellowship in Cultural Leadership. She will share her personal recollections of The Blk Art Grp, and reflections on some of the key moments and events of the black arts movement of the 80s and the ideas that were prevalent at the time. Simon Watney, independent art historian presented on his works as one of the co-founders of OutRage in 1990 - against the political context of the Thatcher government’s intense legal moralism, his direct experience of ACT UP in New York in the late 1980s, the emergence of Queer Nation in 1990 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. What did OutRage aim to be ? What earlier institutions and campaigns was it able to learn from? What might we learn today from its ongoing history? How long should activist groups last and what determines their life expectancy? He will suggest that one of Outrage’s most distinctive features was how it set general sexual politics alongside HIV issues.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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