FLΔG is a group formed at Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2010, comprising of artists, students, former students, staff and researchers. We explore the relationship between art practices, art education, and pedagogy, looking at forms of knowledge production and dissemination in the art school and beyond. FLΔG continues where the ‘educational turn’ in the art world left of, bringing re-examined art/ pedagogy dynamics back into the discursive arena and physical space of the art school, but also by engaging with galleries and related art spaces. FL∆G was named after the room code of the Triangle gallery space, FLG01, with the A of FL∆G being substituted by a triangle, to reference the shape of the Triangle Gallery.
Understanding the Triangle as a very particular physical and discursive site was a key part of beginning to explore the relationship between art educational practices within the academy and the educational turn outside the academy. Site-specific art works, (responding either to the physical site of the Triangle Gallery, to the institutional site of Chelsea or to the discursive site of pedagogy as art) was a fundamental aspect of this project. Both as a way to discursively explore reflection within art practice, as well as an opportunity to explore ideas around the pedagogy of physical, material, artworks in relation to pedagogic theory.
The Triangle gallery is one of the few spaces at Chelsea that the general public has access to. It operates as an educational space, a space for student shows and as an open public space. It is linked through a pathway to the parade ground, adjacent to Tate Britain and we were interested drawing on the public potential of the Triangle as it mediates between the academy and society.
For RECALCULATE FLΔG proposes to show documentation of the re-adjustment of the Triangle Gallery through the inaugural FLΔG project in 2010, as a reflection on this event and to set up a reflexive site, where members of FLΔG will intermittently be present to discuss their work past and present.
FLΔG: Kiki Claxton, Hannah Clayden, Mario D’Agostino, Katrine Hjelde and Michaela Ross.
16.30Discussion and close(Chairs) Kicsiny and Scrivener
Since the early nineteen nineties a vigorous international discourse has been underway about the purpose and nature of artistic research. In Britain, this has been accompanied by the widespread introduction into academe of doctoral degrees in art. Whilst, the scope of artistic research is international, many countries have yet to establish doctoral programmes, whilst in others their inception predates the nineteen nineties. Thus approaches to and experiences of doctoral education in art vary markedly between one country and another. The occasion of the Recalcuting* exhibition, which arises out of collaboration between the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Doctoral School, Budapest, and CCW Graduate School, University of the Arts London, provides an opportunity to celebrate the work of artistic researchers who have successfully completed their degrees, whilst also exploring the affordances and constraints of the institutional regulatory frameworks within which their research was undertaken.
The morning session will contextualise the afternoon session by describing and discussing the frameworks regulating doctoral research doctoral degree programmes at each of the participating institutions. After lunch, recent doctoral degree holders from each school will talk about the research they undertook during their doctoral degrees.
*Recalculating, Triangle Space, Chelsea College of Art and Design, 16 John Islip St., London, SW1P 4JU, April 24th-27th 2013.
In a circular letter to the governors of Her Majesty’s Gaols, dated December 1854 and entitled Photography as an aid to the administration of criminal justice, James Anthony Gardiner, then Governor of Her Majesty’s Gaol, Bristol, argued for the advantages of the use of photography in the administration of criminal justice. The problem, as he saw it, was that there was no way of knowing whether an offender presented to his gaol for the first time had committed a previous crime elsewhere in the United Kingdom. The solution that appealed to Gardiner, and which he recommended to his fellow governors for “general adoption throughout the kingdom”, was the use of photography, because, “I might in scores of cases, even without the knowledge of the prisoner, procure his likeness, a very icon of himself, of which, being capable of multiplication to any extent, I might transmit a copy to wherever it might promise to lead to useful results.” He went on to describe how, after twelve months of operation, he had perfected a system of photographing prisoners, reporting that by its means he had brought to justice several hardened offenders, who “being unknown in my neighbourhood, would otherwise have escaped with inadequate punishment.”He had achieved these successes by forwarding images of prisoners who had come into his charge to “several places”, thereby obtaining information of their previous convictions elsewhere.As far as Gardiner was concerned, the photograph provided a means of attaching a set of criminal records to a single offender.
In an article under the heading Photographing prisoners in The Photographic News: A Weekly Record of the Progress of Photography, Volume 10, November 2nd 1866, 524-525, the unidentified author acknowledges the photograph's “literal fidelity in rendering facts” and Gardiner’s ambition “to secure sun drawings of his enforced guests,” solely for the purposes of identification, but then proceeds to read example photographs in terms of what they have to tell us about the individuals photographed: “Not all brutalized, or besotted, or sinister; not all with the forehead villanous low, the square jaw, the coarse mouth, or the eye of wild beast; but in more cases a weak and weary, or a craven and humbled look. Some of the faces remind us painfully of another series of portraits, taken by Dr. Hugh Diamond, of insane persons, and suggest to us the connection between diseased morals and diseased minds, between crime and insanity. Physiognomy, to the careful observer, may often, doubtless, indicate tendencies of character, and suggest phases of mental history. None of the portraits before us look intellectual, or suggest culture; they are mostly of a low type; but there is nothing to suggest the dogged, resisting, vindictive beings, with overhanging felon-brow and sunken cruel eyes, which sensation writers at times attribute to the criminal classes. They are rather examples of God's image degraded and enfeebled by neglect; plants which resemble weeds, because left without culture. The only portrait marked as that of a murderer is that of a weak but not imbecile-looking old man, the mildest in expression amongst a score of criminals."
Whilst Gardiner’s plan was not immediately adopted nationally, enactments were made in the Prevention of Crimes Act, 1871, Chapter 112, 34 and 35 Vict, with a view to the photographing of criminals as a means of facilitating their identification. Many of the thousands of prison photographs demanded under the Act are now held in the British National Archives and have already been copied and uploaded onto web sites, such as Ancestry.co.uk, thus adding to the already large number of mugshot web galleries, blogs, etc., and newspaper articles dealing with the subject. Often the power of this material seems to be what it suggests about the characters of the depicted individuals and/or the times in which they lived.
Redactions 1:1 – 1:2 is a work in two parts that plays with the two ways of reading outlined above: Redactions 1:,1, a poster, invites the viewer to participate in a process of identification (in the gallery space the poster is further redacted such as to present an additional problem to the viewer); Redactions 1:2, a book, plays on the suggestive potential of the juxtaposition of text and image.
I live and work as an artist on an old converted Medway Coaster moored on the River Thames. In this hypothetical space of marginality and transgression I am regarded as ‘living outside the urban edge’, what Michel Foucault calls ‘other spaces’ or ‘counter sites’; …heterotopias which simultaneously represent, compete and challenge, as well as turn upside down actual places… 1
In the final paragraph of a lecture Foucault gave to a group of architects in 1967 entitled ‘Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias’ (Des espaces autres), he describes the boat or ship as ‘the greatest reserve of the imagination, the heterotopia par excellence’. He states …as a moving entity, a boat exists outside mainstream society, and therefore embodies a kind of liberty… 2
As a process of mapping the lived experience of being on board ship I have made a series of indexical ink drawings (I am not claiming the drawings are heterotopic - they are traces of emotional and somatic experiences on the ship as a heterotopic space). By suspending a pen from the roof in the hold, I have captured moments of presence now lost, the fleeting, transient rolling of the ship in relation to the wind, and the tide on the female body. Charts that locate my emotional and somatic relationship to a space and place on the river that can never be navigated.
Similar drawings have been made by other female artists despite each being unaware of the drawings of the other. Could there be a link in these artworks that would indicate a gender aware art practice that relates to ‘feminine’ gendered narratives. If so, how might they inform the discourses in relation to the ship as a transgressive space used, occupied and ‘experienced’ by women?
1. F o u c a u l t, Michel 1997. Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias. – Rethinking Architecture. A Reader in Cultural Theory. Ed. Neil Leach. London, New York: Routledge, pp. 350–356
2. Foucault, M. (1986)  (Trans. Jay Miskowiec) ‘Of Other Spaces’, Diacritics, Vol. 16. No. 1. pp. 22-27. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Oil on wood panels: each panel: 10cm(h) x 40cm(w) x 3.5cm(d); combined dimension: 10cm(h) x 280cm(w) x 3.5cm(d)
This work firstly is a painting. It has a sense of abstracted space relating to landscape painted on seven wood panels. Secondly, it is an experiment designed to ask the beholder to recalculate the work. In an “explicit invitation to exercise choice” (Eco, p.1, 1989) the beholder is invited to physically rearrange the seven wood panels horizontally along a shelf. Each choice is one of 5040 horizontal permutations (see 4 permutations of the seven panels exampled above).
Rather than a passive viewing, it is designed to encourage the beholder to reflect on their own aesthetic type experiences and re-position the piece till it answers their requirements, their judgments, simply put, how it suits them best. This piece could be seen as ‘open’, always in flux, often ambiguous, drawing on our natural urge to make sense of the world around us. It attempts to collapse the conventional relationship of beholder/artist, where there is only one acceptable version of aesthetic in the artwork. That there could be many versions, as acceptable, brings the beholder to re-assess their understanding of themselves in that world.
I would hope the non-artist beholder gain greater confidence in their artistic convictions, a personal aesthetic brought about through an autodidactic journey, self-learning prompted by interaction with the piece. On painter to painting relationships, Michael Fried suggests the artist Chardin, through his process found “a natural correlative for his own engrossment in the act of painting and a proleptic mirroring of what he trusted would be the absorption of the beholder before the finished work” (p.51, 1980). He also states that “art degenerates as it approaches the condition of theatre” (p.164, 1998 ), when an artwork acknowledges the beholder before it. Therefore can this work become an anti-theatrical alternative by creating “work(s) which acknowledge their own literality and thereby construct a beholder capable of acknowledging his own literal presence” Mulhall (p.12, 2001). Can the beholder still lose themselves, and become absorbed?
With this experimental work I am interested in how it could develop through and with the beholder. Will all 5040 horizontal possibilities be explored? Will the way this piece is painted (an original order of connecting imagery) result in a dominant order? Will the traditionally forbidden act of touching an artwork (to maneuver elements of this painting) be overcome? Will it engage a ‘critical agency’ (Foucault)? In asking the beholder to aid in the entropy of the artwork and then its potential rebirth through the shared, temporary language individual to this piece, does the relationship between artist/beholder not become something else? Artist/beholder-artist?
Eco, U. (1989) The Open Work Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Fried, M. (1980) Absorption and theatricality: painting and beholder in the age of Diderot Berkeley and London: University of California.
Fried, M. (1998) Art and Objecthood, Essays and Reviews Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
Mulhall, S. (2001) Crimes and Deeds of Glory: Michael Fried’s Modernism British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 41, No. 1, January 2001.