Tag Archives: ICA

Painting: Atoms and Speech Bubbles

23 May 2017 | 6:30 pm | Studio | Tickets £3.00 to £5.00 Book Online

In this panel discussion, chaired by artist and writer Zara Worth, artists Jeffrey Dennis, Kimathi Donkor and Fay Nicolson will discuss their practices in relation to the expanded field of contemporary painting.

Each artist will speak about their individual reference points, as well as how their work negotiates between a kind of surface strategy of collage or appropriation of snapshots, magazine images and other windows onto popular culture and the everyday, and a contemplation on scale of the human in relation to his or her political, historical and molecular context.

The same evening will see the launch of Jeffrey Dennis’s new publication Ringbinder, a monograph based on his solo exhibition at Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art in 2015.  Edited by Andrew Hunt and George Vasey, designed by James Langdon, the book includes essays by Sue Hubbard, Sunil Manghani and Dan Smith, an interview with the artist, and the thoughts of artists, writers, curators and gallery directors including Stephen Bury, Jeffery Camp, Nigel Cooke, Dan Coombs, Penelope Curtis, Dexter Dalwood, Stephen Farthing, Catherine Ferguson, Rebecca Fortnum, Ian Giles, Martin Holman, Timothy Hyman, Elizabeth Magill, Jo Melvin, Eleanor Moreton, Lynda Morris, Andrew Nairne, Mathew Sawyer, Barry Schwabsky, Nicholas Serota, Donald Smith, Damian Taylor, Rob Tufnell, Virginia Verran, Emrys Williams and Sam Windett.

Image: Jeffrey Dennis, The Flowers that Came Again (detail), 2012. 122 x 148 cm, oil & charcoal on linen.

Transpersonal: Elizabeth A. Povinelli

8 Feb 20172:00 pm | Cinema 1 | £3.00 to £5.00 Book Tickets

Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University where she has also been the Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Law and Culture. She is the author of numerous books and essays as well as a former editor of the academic journal Public Culture.

Her writing has focused on developing a critical theory of late liberalism that would support an “anthropology of the otherwise”. This potential theory has unfolded primarily from within a sustained relationship with Indigenous colleagues in north Australia and across five books, numerous essays, and three films with the Karrabing Film Collective including Wutharr, The Saltwater, 2016 which premiered at Sydney Biennale and was winner of the 2015 European Visible Award.

This lecture is the fourth in a series entitled Transpersonal: art and life directives, ten lectures which will engage with the production of psychotechnologies, socio-political awareness and art and design practices in an automated reality. Each lecture will explore the ways in which the term transpersonal relays states of consciousness that go beyond the limits of personal identity.

Transpersonal: art and life directives is a lecture series on the theory and application of art and design, curated and convened by Dr. Stephen Wilson. It is staged in collaboration with the ICA and the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon College of Arts postgraduate community at the University of the Arts London.

Image: Karrabing Film Collective, Wutharr: Saltwater Dreams, 2016.

Transpersonal: Susan Kelly | Micropolitics: Practices of Freedom and Rehabilitation

25 Jan 20172:00 pm | Cinema 1 | £3.00 to £6.00 Book Tickets

Micropolitics: Practices of Freedom and Rehabilitation

This lecture, the third in the Transpersonal series, explores what we can learn from terrorist rehabilitation programmes about the relationship between micropolitics and subjectivity, practices of freedom, and the psychic spaces of the (ethno) state today.

From the late 1990s the Egyptian, Yemeni and Saudi Arabian governments developed a series of programmes that sought to ‘rehabilitate’ jihadists as part of broader counterterrorism measures. ‘Jihadi Rehab’ camps employ clerics and scholars to engage in theological debates with prisoners, and provide counselling, education, sports and practical training. Their aim is to re-orientate prisoners toward the family and the private sphere, and to re-programme subjects who are non-violent and accept the legitimacy of the state. Such practices of ‘rehabilitation’ have a long history under British colonialism, and provide us with fascinating blueprints of explicit programmes for the un-making and re-making of political subjects.

The Mau Mau Rehabilitation Camps in Kenya in the 1950s for example, also claimed to transform Kikuyu inmates into loyal and productive citizens. Working with colonially educated ethno-psychiatrists, they attempted to ‘de-programme’ fighters through performative ‘counter-oaths’ that would free the individual from the group. In these contexts, technologies of the self and micropolitical processes are employed not as practices of freedom as thinkers such as Foucault and Fanon conceived of them, but are rather used to consolidate racist and pseudo-medical notions of normalization and submission – coded as ‘cure’.

Susan Kelly is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her research looks at relationships between art and micropolitics, technologies of the self, space and practices of organisation. She works in the context of various collectives and individually in time-based work, installation and through writing, publishing and convening events and performative/ militant investigations.

Transpersonal: art and life directives is a lecture series on the theory and application of art and design, curated and convened by Dr. Stephen Wilson. It is staged in collaboration with the ICA and the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon College of Arts postgraduate community at the University of the Arts London.

Image: A still from the British Pathé Newsreel: The Lari Massacre 1953 and the capture of Dedan Kimathi, 1956 

Transpersonal: Gilda Williams | The Tao of Warhol, and Other Tales

18 Jan 20172:00 pm | Cinema 1 | £3.00 to £6.00 Book Tickets

 This talk by Gilda Williams is an experiment in examining the art and life of artists from a spiritual perspective, from Andy Warhol to Amalia Ulman. The lecture is the second in a series of responses to the theme ‘transpersonal’, which relays states of consciousness that go beyond the limits of personal identity. This may include peak and spiritual experiences such as near death phenomena and the expansion of awareness beyond the usual remits of individuality, which may be brought on by experiences of crisis related to the spiritual, ethical and relational extremes of contemporary life.

Gilda Williams is a writer and art critic who teaches on the MFA Curating programme, Goldsmiths. Her most recent book is ON&BY Andy Warhol (MIT/Whitechapel Press, 2016). She has also authored How to Write about Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson, 2014). Williams is a London correspondent for Artforum magazine and a member of the International Association of Art Critics. She was Editor and Commissioning Editor (from 1997) for Contemporary Art at Phaidon Press 1994-2005, where she commissioned the ‘Contemporary Artists’ monographs, ‘Themes and Movements’ series of anthologies, and other books including Salon to Biennale: Exhibitions that Made Art History (2008).

Transpersonal: art and life directives is a lecture series on the theory and application of art and design, curated and convened by Dr. Stephen Wilson. It is staged in collaboration with the ICA and the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon College of Arts postgraduate community at the University of the Arts London.

Image: ON&BY Andy Warhol by Gilda Williams (MIT/Whitechapel Press, 2016)

Transpersonal: art and life directives | ICA/UAL Lecture Series

The term transpersonal relays states of consciousness that go beyond the limits of personal identity, this may include peak and spiritual experiences such as near death phenomena
and the expansion of awareness beyond the usual remits of individuality.

Transpersonal, art and life directives – is a series of ten lectures that engage with the production of psychotechnologies, socio- political consciousness and art and design practices in an automated reality. It looks at hands-on contribution, belonging, profiling, and ownership of institutions that are continuously reinvented, opening up the potential for a new flux of intrapersonal encounters. Transpersonal, art and life directives is a lecture series on the theory and application of art and design curated and convened by Dr. Stephen Wilson in collaboration with the ICA and the postgraduate community at Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts, London.

To book tickets: ica.org.uk
Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH

January 2017
18 Gilda Williams
25 Susan Kelly

February 2017
8 Elizabeth A.Povinelli
15 Rizvana Bradley
22 Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen

March 2017
8 Elizabeth Jochum
15 Lina Dzuverovi ´c
22 Kerstin Stakemeier
29 Choy Ka Fai


You are in the dark, in the car, watching the black- tarred street being swallowed by speed; […] When you arrive in your driveway and turn off the car, you remain behind the wheel another ten minutes. You fear the night is being locked in and coded on a cellular level and want time to function as a power wash. Sitting there staring at the closed garage door you are reminded that a friend once told you there exists a medical term — John Henryism — for people exposed to stresses stemming from racism. They achieve themselves to death trying to dodge the build up of erasure. Sherman James, the researcher who came up with the term, claimed the physiological costs were high. You hope by sitting in silence you are bucking the trend.

– Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric 

In a series of ten lectures, Decommissioned seeks to address how strategies of disavowal, inactivity and transition are employed in contemporary art and design. When encountering cultural bias, uncertainty and co-option across the arts, how can the dominant flows of information, language, policy and ideology be circumvented? Curators, sociologists, artists, politicians, academics, queer-thinkers, bio-designers, film-theorists and other, will respond through diverse fields of exciting and critical research.

This series is curated and convened by Dr. Stephen Wilson and is staged in collaboration with Chelsea College of Arts Postgraduate Community and the University of the Arts London, CCW Graduate School.

For more information and to book tickets please visit the ICA Website

Coming up in the Decommissioned Series…

Başak Ertür | Building Barricades: Resistance and the Untimely | 27th Jan 2016

Sook-Kyung Lee | Radical acts: Political consciousness in Asian art | 10th February 2016


Feminist Practices in Dialogue

Practice in Dialogue is a research group of feminist artists dedicated to examining the formal structures and strategies of historical feminist art alongside their own art practices. Founded in May 2014 by AHRC supported CCW PhD researcher Catherine Long in collaboration with Rose Gibbs, Practice in Dialogue evolved out of a need to create a space in which to think critically about feminist art practices. Participating artists are: Miriam Austin, Alison Ballance and Abigail Smith, Ingrid Berthon-Moine, Cécile Emmanuelle Borra, Rose Gibbs, Lora Hristova, Catherine Long, Ope Lori, Lauren Schnieder and Nicola Thomas.

Practice in Dialogue will be launching their first publication on 18 December 2015 at the ICA alongside their event Feminist Practices in Dialogue: an afternoon showing of work including video installations, performances, sound pieces and sculpture followed by We Are Anti-Capiphallism, a discussion on the challenges facing contemporary feminism chaired by Helena Rickett. Supported by the CCW Graduate School Student Initiative Fund, the publication will feature contributions by the participating artists as well as essays by Catherine Long and Rose Gibbs.

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Feminist Practices in Dialogue cover. Image credit: Alison Ballance, 2015

The group aims to create a space where artists can talk and think critically about the current challenges to feminism in a climate where the backlash against it combines with neoliberalism to reduce the political agenda of feminism to a set of fragmented rights and personal choices that neatly dovetail with capitalism. In this environment, behaviours are divorced from the gendered circumstances within which they have been generated and are recast as feminist. Here feminism becomes about infiltration of the very structures that are responsible for women’s subordination in the first place, rather than a practice that seeks to circumnavigate them and create alternatives.

The exhibition and discussion at the ICA will foreground the importance of art and feminism as lived practices that have the potential to unsettle hegemonic patriarchal structures. Avoiding the pitfalls of dominant heteronormative culture is not easy and, as such, the emphasis of the event will be on feminist art practices as an ongoing work-in-progress that calls for continual self-reflection and critical analysis. The day will explore the methods by which feminist artworks contest the status quo and resist recuperation by the dominant patriarchal system. The artworks and discussion are an invitation to gauge how the artists involved with Practice in Dialogue have responded to contemporary issues while offering the possibility for a thorough and interrogative conversation, which is essential if feminism is to retain its potency.

Catherine Long’s own doctoral research focuses on video art practice and its potential as a radical tool for deconstructing mainstream images of femininity as well as reconstructing and developing progressive representations of female subjectivities. Through re-examining critical feminist video artworks of the 1970s and 1980s, Long has been investigating the ways in which women artists have historically challenged the dominant economy of representation. The camera apparatus allowed women to control the production of their own image, articulate their subjective experiences and directly address the spectator. Underpinned by the radical principle that ‘the personal is political’, feminist art practice utilised consciousness-raising as both a formal strategy and a means of generating content in order to speak to other women and inspire political activism.

Amidst a resurgence of feminism, Long’s video practice explores how artistic strategies used in the second wave feminist era can still provoke and undermine the status quo of gender representations, proposing new possibilities of female identities. Drawing upon strategies of performance to camera, direct address and narrative, her practice explores the dialectics of representation and criticality in relation to themes of internalisation, anxiety and body image.

The publication will be on sale in the ICA’s bookshop from 18 December 2015.

Top image: Untitled Leytonstone 2005, Rose Gibbs

Stories That Matter: Feminist Methodologies in the Archive

This symposium at the ICA on 22 November at 2pm explores whether feminist methodologies make a difference to the kinds of stories that can be told using archives in the expanded sense, i.e. actual archives, virtual archives and/or other concrete sites of encounter which generate historiographical work.

In this work, a tension has often existed between the desire to establish feminist epistemologies and at the same time to attend to feminist ontologies – in other words between knowledge and experience. This is nowhere more so than in the archive which has traditionally been considered as a repository of the past that affords a ‘true’construction of it. However, this traditional idea has also been the basis from which women have been occluded from history. Added to this, it also maintains the subjectivity of the researcher/historiographer as neutral thereby hiding the ideological assumptions that underlie this kind of work.

The symposium follows feminist interrogation of these assumptions by adopting Donna Haraway’s methodological approach to research as ‘situated knowledge’. Leading practitioners of feminist historiography from both art history, Prof. Griselda Pollock, and the social sciences, Prof. Clare Hemmings and Prof. Maria Tamboukou, will present how their particular feminist methodologies have made a difference to their mutually respective sites of ‘archival’ encounter. Essential to the convening of this symposium has been Pollock’s concept of the virtual feminist museum as a ‘becoming futurity’, Hemmings’s emphasis on citational practices and textual affect, Tamboukou’s concept of archival research as intra-actions between phenomena. The speakers ask what differences these new affordances allow for accounting for the past or reactivating its memory in the present? How do feminist pasts engage future readers? An unlikely feminist, Guy Debord, in his infamous Society of the Spectacle posits the question: what would a living archive be as opposed to the archive as the custodian of the dead time of history which merely administers it rather than makes it available for use? Do feminist methodologies in the archive (as museum, publication, or documented record) provide methods for resisting the administration of history? How might we ‘break open’ the archive to listen to and disseminate its contradictory voices so that they may resonate with the present thereby making it available for use for contemporary generations of feminists, men and women?

The full programme and link to book tickets can be found on the ICA website.

This symposium marks the publication of the anthology Twenty Years of MAKE Magazine: Back to the Future of Women’s Art edited by Maria Walsh (Senior Lecturer in Art History and Theory, Chelsea) and Mo Throp (Associate Researcher, CCW), published by I.B. Tauris, which will be launched at the end of the day. The symposium will also include a presentation by Walsh and Throp on their research and it will be chaired by Dr. Catherine Grant, whose work on queer re-enactment addresses the retelling of the past for future generations. The symposium is funded by The CCW Graduate School Staff Fund.


Realisms and Object Orientations: Art, Politics and the Philosophy of Tristan Garcia

CCW academic staff member, Maria Walsh, was invited to present a paper at the ICA symposium Realisms and Object Orientations: Art, Politics and the philosophy of Tristan Garcia on 5 December 2014. The event was co-organised by the ICA and the Politics and Fine Art departments of The University of Kent, specifically the two research centres Sound Image Space, which is located within the School of Music, and Fine Art and Critical Thought, which is an interdisciplinary forum that traverses faculties.

According to the symposium publicity, the aim of the symposium was ultimately to contribute to the debate concerning the aesthetic and political repercussions of speculative and object oriented philosophies with regard to their implications for politics and art. As the philosopher and novelist Tristan Garcia, part of this new “realist” tendency within philosophy, was presenting his fiction at the ICA on 5 Dec, it seemed apropos that some of the symposium participants would focus on his work. ‘I was interested to participate to learn more about Garcia’s work, which unlike many of the “speculative” philosophers, seems to tackle more resolutely human problematics, such as class, gender, adolescence, and death,’ said Walsh.

‘I was invited to present a more general presentation on object-oriented philosophies and art based on my feature in Art Monthly published in Nov 2013 “I Object“, which addressed this topic. My symposium presentation built on the Art Monthly feature in which I “gathered” artists such as Hito Steyerl, Ed Atkins, Andy Holden and George Barber into an “assemblage” with one another, as well as philosopher Graham Harman and sociologist Bruno Latour. The purpose of this was to question the ethics of object-oriented approaches in art and philosophy by “assembling” them with lethal objects, i.e. drone technology, which appears in both Steyerl’s and Barber’s videos albeit to different effect and intent. My symposium paper, “Anthropomorphic Relations”, extended the feminist approach of this “assemblage” by bookending the argument with philosopher Rosi Braidotti’s critique of the subject at one end and her critique of anthropocentrism and object-oriented philosophy at the other. My ultimate conclusion was that we cannot forego the politics of location and that making distinctions between flesh and rocks is necessary and is not necessarily anthropocentric.

My presentation came near the end of an intense day that began with Tristan Garcia presenting his flat ontology from his book Form and Object: A Treatise on Things. The aim of his ontology is how to think of something without first thinking of the condition of its existence. His claim was that this radical ontology, rather than producing an effect of universal equivalence, attempts to find an end to the endless liberal ontology of modernity. This was followed by a performative text scripted by artist Annie Davey, but read by an actress, which was based on an adapted excerpt of Edwin Abbott’s 1884 satirical novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Davey’s text explored how a fictional, “flattened”, society is narrated as a means to teach geometry and the principles of spatial and temporal dimensions.

After a short lunch break, there were two panels of two papers each. In the first, Dr. Steve Klee (artist, academic) considered the implications of Garcia’s concept of representation for art, and Dr Iain MacKenzie (Politics and International Relations department, The University of Kent) evaluated the concept of possession in relation to private property and neo-liberalism. The second panel comprised of Ben Turner (PhD candidate in Political & Social Thought) and myself. Turner presented an overview of Garcia’s philosophy and contrasted it to the uncomfortable alliance with neoliberal ideology that emerges in Graham Harman’s object-oriented philosophy. In the final presentation of the day, artist Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau presented a performative lecture based on his experience of 9 hours of seminars with Garcia in New York this summer at PS1. His lecture examined the affective states implied by a flattened plane of being, using adolescence and musical taste as the site through which to explore this.

At the end of this intellectually stimulating day, Tristan Garcia’s maxim that “Solitude is by definition the only relation to the world” (Form and Object, 2014), accompanied the audience as it left the building.’

What Work Does the Artwork Do?: Criticality and Context

On Thursday 4 December the symposium What Work Does the Artwork Do?: Criticality & Context brings together researchers, members of activist art groups and the general public interested in the place and role of art’s criticality. Instead of asking the definitional question ‘What is Art?’, the symposium provides a space to explore and debate the roles and purposes of artworks –  the work artworks do. Conceived by Reader Jo Melvin and Visiting Professor Chris Smith, the general public was invited to join the debate by contributing to Melvin’s and Smith’s open call for responses on the website, www.artandcriticality.org.

A few days in advance of the symposium, Melvin considers the website responses. ‘A call to contribute to the discussion about the role of art and the work we expect artwork to do would, one might imagine, in this University of the Arts context, create a deluge of respondents. Especially when we think of how frequently we “tweet”, “like”, “blog”, all the time, day in, day out, to our “friends”. Perhaps this is a knee jerk comment, on the hoof, off the cuff, a reaction, like itching a scratch that requires little or no critical reflection. And it is effected by a simple press of the button. Nonetheless, I find it surprising that at the time of writing, only one response has been made and there have been a few tentative questions asking whether, and how, it is possible to contribute.

This situation is worth unpacking. In order to do so I’m going to begin by relating the occasion when I first encountered paintings by Art & Language, at an exhibition at the ICA in the 1980s with a series of works entitled Incidents in a Museum. To see paintings was, for me, a surprise. I had expected to see text and maybe image and text, rather than text obscured by paint on canvases hanging on the wall, in a manner that appeared to me to be somewhat bereft. I was ill at ease and uncertain as to how to respond, disturbed and a little perplexed. Being perplexed, and holding on to the feeling of being perplexed, is in itself a slightly mysterious state of mind, because it is unquantifiable. Over the years, I have frequently come back to this space of uncertainty, of doubt and perplexedness in relation to the art encounter, the art “experience” in the studio and in the gallery, or wherever. Silence is hard to bear, generally in conversations, silences are perceived to be awkward. How we find a way to talk about being perplexed by art, being moved, astonished, enriched and enlivened is the beginning of our exchange with the work itself and by so doing we enter the space of uncertainty where we might end up somewhere different from where we started. This is of course a risky business and it draws out our responsibility, my responsibility, to the work itself and to the people with whom I am in discussion. Consider then, the work of art as an essay that gives voice surely gives rise to an urge to join and contribute and by so doing, stick your heads over the parapet.’

The link to contribute is live, and can be accessed here.