‘…when bubbles, individuals, or beings, human and non-human, amass and cohere, their influence on one another creates all manner of formal distortion.’
Hélène Frichot (writing on Peter Sloterdijk)
Assembling, an exhibition curated by CCW PhD student Amy McDonnell, will be in the Cookhouse Gallery at Chelsea College of Arts from 9 – 20 February, with a private view on the 17th. ‘I am curating the exhibition Assembling as part of my practice-based PhD. It is an ongoing project that seeks to activate a grouping between geographically and linguistically distanced artists based between Havana, London, Mexico City and Salford. Influenced by Georgio Agamben’s concept of the “coming community” and Jean Luc Nancy’s The Inoperable Community (1983), I have been forming collectivities through a series of tests and trials, rather than considering a collective as an achievable state. This exhibition is the latest in a series of attempts to draw artists together which have included an email circuit, residency, zine and an online platform.
This thinking has been developed through researching artists’ group practices in Havana and their want to move beyond the system in which they operate. Contemporary collectivity in the UK runs through our entire political strata- hacktivist culture, networked terrorist cells, flash mob advertising, Occupy, Avaaz, David Cameron’s failed Big Society- often networked through social media to rapidly share and repeat information within communities of interest. When we conceive of social groupings – nations, collectives, societies – as constructed rather than “just existing”, it becomes crucial to experiment with the social as a practice.
I am working to produce a visual Typology of Association that I have gathered in my research using terms from artistic and exhibitionary practice and from social and political theory. I will run this activity through the space and will be testing these terms against the work of the artists participating in the show. Assembling will take the form of an exhibition which will expand over time in the Cookhouse.
Participating artists are James Bonachea, Maurice Carlin, Luis Gárciga, Julika Gittner, Karem Ibrahim, Katie Schwab and Scott Schwager. Each participant will inhabit the exhibition space, performing, re-associating or re-assembling it each time. We will work to utilise the space as a representation of our most recent gathering on the online, collaborative decision-making platform Loomio, in which public, private and part-public/part-private spaces have been designated.
The exhibition itself will grow and layer throughout the course of this activity, as an expanded collective of people, artworks, objects, words, ideas… Activity will take place daily – so do drop in.’
This exhibition is funded by CCW Graduate School’s Research Student Led Initiative Fund.