Studio 2: Social Tools, Games & Objects

Studio brief

Despite the constant flow of social media, it’s said that people are increasingly atomized. There’s widespread concern about ‘loss of sensitivity’ and disengagement from first-hand physical experience.

Much of our interpersonal communication takes place virtually, apparently in immaterial space. However, this exchange also results in vast oceans of potentially valueless data or material!

So how do we define what’s material and what’s immaterial?

The seventeenth century poet and cleric John Donne wrote in a sermon that no man is an island. More recently the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman spoke about the ‘Great Global Anonymous’. In one sense, we certainly, live in immaterial times, screen-based ecstasy and isolation. Many artists, however, find it necessary and important to make things, to work with physical materials and to share ideas and emotions via tangible matter in actual space! There’s also popular contemporary interest in the artist as an artisan or maker and at the same time there’s a strong ethical drive for sustainability in culture.

As contemporary artists, how do we reconcile these various pulls and drives?

Mark Zuckerberg described Facebook as a social utility. And perhaps we can now also think of art as a form of social utility - a space of vital exchange, a public platform for candid confession, anarchic expression, peer judgement and political debate.

What social media perhaps doesn’t do well (and what this studio wants to provide) is a space to explore the unknown, present uncertainty and support experimentation. This studio is a platform for trial and error, and it’s also a platform for exchange. We expect all students to take a very active role in the formation of the studio’s character and the practice that develops therein.

This studio aims to consider art, the art studio and the exhibition as public platforms, as actual spaces for sharing, reporting, investigating, communicating via materials, bodies, and objects. This studio is an invitation to think, make, exchange, and experiment across all media.

Alongside brief seminars that introduce specific artist’s practices, theoretical texts and a look at seminal exhibitions, we will dedicate time to short collaborative workshops. We shall be privileging ‘art practice’ at every step. We are especially interested in ‘doing something’, rather than simply reporting on or describing reality. There is no primary and secondary in making and thinking - they are the same thing. This studio believes that not knowing is not more ‘creative’ than knowing.

Artists to look at:

Allan Kaprow, Aurélien Froment, Mladen Stilinović, Valie Export, Darren Bader, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Pedro Reyes, Louisa Martin, Adrian Piper, Hans Haacke, Katrina Palmer, Douglas Heubler, Stephen Willats, Daniel Buren, Lawrence Weiner, Erica Scourti, Marie Cool, Tomo Savic-Gecan, Dan Perjovschi, Roman Ondak, Tino Sehgal.



We expect to continue working with Raven Row gallery this year. We will be developing a project alongside one of Raven Row’s forthcoming exhibitions.


Reading list:

  • The Wretched of the Screen – by Hito Styerl (pub. eflux)
  • Liquid Times – by Zygmunt Bauman
  • The People’s Platform, Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age – Astra Taylor
  • Dark Matter, Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture – Gregory Sholette
  • The Everyday (Documents of Contemporary Art – pub. Whitechapel gallery)
  • Conversation Pieces – by Grant Kester
  • The object Reader ed. Fiona Candlin and Raiford Guins
  • Where Art Belongs – by Chris Kraus. Pub. (Semiotext(e)
  • How to do things with Art – by Dorothea von Hartleman
  • What is Contemporary Art, pub. Sternberg Press
  • The Emancipated Spectator, by Jacques Rancier
  • Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, by Allan Kaprow, ed. Jeff Kelley
  • Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972, by Lucy Lippard
Abstract image


Course Fine Art BA (Hons)
Tutor Ben Cain
Marie Lund
Vlatka Horvat
Where Central House 2nd Floor Studios
When Mondays and Thursday

Rebecca Aymar
Miri Jones
Anna Marie Mahoney
Jessica McKeand
Andrew Stevenson
Richard Taylor
Demi Witter

Haydn Albrow
Levana Assouline
Samantha Collins
Christina Dembinska
Alexandra Donnelly
Miguel Ferrer
Nathan James
Jasmin Khanom
Helen Lawrence
Tania Mundell
Wilfred Olatunbosun
Santa Sabule

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