Pil & Galia Kollectiv and Nicola McCartney
Studio 3: Conversations with Culture
Image Credit: Jim Shaw
This studio aims to help students develop a critical art practice taking a broad view of the culture around us. Together, we’ll work out a context for artistic work that draws not only on the histories and institutions of art, but also on a wider sphere of cultural production ranging from popular culture to politics and philosophy.
What’s the relationship between ideas and materials? How do we interpret visual culture? What does it mean to make critical art? What is the artist’s role in society?
By combining practical projects, reading seminars, discussions, film screenings, lectures, presentations and gallery visits, Conversations with Culture explores different ways of mixing theory and practice. This studio takes a broad view of culture and its relation to the political in a range of art forms, from time-based media to object- and image-making. Through this multidisciplinary approach, students consider different ways of constructing meaning. An emphasis on peer learning aims to allow students to develop a critical language they can use to speak about art with confidence.
The studio benefits students interested in conceptual thinking, as well as those who might feel daunted by some of the more complex ideas encountered in artistic discourse. Students learn to question the ways in which we create, value and display artwork. Our conversations focus on the relationship between objects, images, bodies and actions to technologies and ideologies. We consider how institutions frame our understanding of art and artists and ask how these structures can be subverted and challenged. Looking at precedents from dada to punk, examining sci-fi, cult cinema and propaganda, we trace a history of negation to see how art can respond to present conditions of work and social organisation.
Work towards an individual or collaborative project, students will have opportunities to curate group exhibitions, attend shows and discussions in and outside London and broaden their knowledge of contemporary art and culture.
For our first field trip, we will visit the exhibition Xerography at Firstsite Gallery, Colchester and think about the role of photocopied art and publications in relation to present day blogs and virtual exhibition spaces.
Artists to look at:
Jim Shaw, Jeffrey Vallance, NSK, Public Movement, BANK, Kurt Schwitters, Komar and Melamid, Pilvi Takala, Ant Farm.
- Benjamin, Walter, Illuminations, London: Pimlico, 1999
- Calder Williams, Evan, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse: Luciferian Marxism, Hampshire: O-Books, 2011
- Fisher, Mark, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, Hampshire: O-Books, 2009
- Groys, Boris, Art Power, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press 2008
- Marcus, Greil, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century, London: Faber and Faber, 2006
- Rancière, Jacques, The Politics of Aesthetics, London: Continuum, 2006
- Zizek, Slavoj, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?, London: Verso, 2001
Level 5 and Level 6 Studios are based in Central House 2nd Floor on Mondays and Thursdays. Please speak to your course leader for further timetable information.
JESUS GORDILLO HERRERO