Tag Archives: Joshua Y’Barbo

Alison Jackson in Conversation with Simon Baker

Chelsea Salon is a peer-to-peer network of artists working in fluctuating institutional settings. Chelsea Salon is a collaborative effort with multiple platforms through which students, alumni, and professional artists have had the opportunity to meet in a variety of spaces, exchange ideas and forge productive relationships with artists and art institutions.

One of the features of the Chelsea Salon programme  is the series of talks organised by Laura Carew of Chelsea Salon. The talks are an example of the aims of Chelsea Salon to create a community of practice between current students at Chelsea College of Arts and its alumni. This forum is intended as an opportunity for artists to receive feedback on their practice and to experiment with ideas arising from their research. It is intended to expand the professional practice development of the artists involved. Although centred around Chelsea, it is intended to be inclusive and open.

Carew said, ‘We have probably all giggled at Alison Jackson’s images whether it be Elton John having an enema or Tony Blair looking down Cherie’s bikini. All, by the way, are situations that are credible, but which we also know are a set up. The humour is powerful but there is serious intent here. At a time when the photographic image has become ubiquitous as has our obsession with celebrity, Alison Jackson poses some important questions about authenticity and voyeurism.

Theoretically we all know that the camera can lie but we are inclined to believe and want to believe what we see. What is authentic anyway? As Warhol said “Who wants the truth? That’s what show business is for, to prove that it’s not what you are that counts, it’s what they think you are.” This encapsulates the post-modern concept of truth as a subjective value.

The photograph is more seductive than the reality. We project our fantasies on images of celebrities who conveniently cannot answer back. We feel we know them but of course we don’t. We seek our identity in public figures.

No public figure was more subjected to this treatment than Princess Diana. Voyeurism reached its zenith. We can only begin to imagine what Warhol would have made of it all. Following the death of Princess Diana, the almost pornographic detailing of her death and the outpouring of grief that engulfed the country, Jackson made her name with a series of disturbing works culminating in an image which still resonates. This is her notorious photograph of 1999 which depicts Princess Diana, Dodi Al-Fayed with their imaginary mixed race love child. There was an uproar and this uproar only served to underline the implicit racism in the viewers.

Jackson turns the tables on us. WE are implicated in the voyeurism. Photography she has said is, “a slimy deceitful medium,” which, “tells only a partial truth.”’

The in conversation between Alison Jackson and Simon Baker on the 28th of Oct 2015 at the Chelsea College of Arts lecture theatre. Chelsea Salon is the subject of CCW PhD student Joshua Y’barbo’s study into self-institutional art practice and institutional critique of the art school as is an overlooked site of critique neglected for art’s institutions of display, galleries and museums.  His PhD aims to explore new approaches to institutional critique by analysing the manoeuvrable practices of Chelsea Salon  and will contribute to knowledge by generating a theory of interstitial pedagogy that shifts between institutions.

Action Space Inflatable

On 14 and 15 October CCW Graduate School and Chelsea College of Arts will be hosting Action Space Inflatable. The inflatable is a re-versioning of pneumatic structures built by Action Space in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Over two days members from Action Space, Inter-Action and Artist Placement Group (APG) among others, will explore the relevance of community arts programmes of the ‘70s and ‘80s to contemporary artistic practices. Through workshops, performance, a walking tour, film screenings and discussion, this event will open up questions about art as a democratic tool, educational medium and instigator of social change. The Action Space Inflatable structure has been specially commissioned as part of an experimental film project by filmmaker, Huw Wahl. This two-day event marks the first stage of the UK tour of the inflatable and is presented by CCW Graduate School as part of Chelsea College of Arts’ celebration of ten years of creative activity at Millbank.

On Wednesday 14 October, founding member of Action Space, Ken Turner, will deliver a performative lecture; CCW Research Fellow Mo Throp invites you to participate in the Inter-Action Trust Games Method session, as well as a programme of archival footage from Action Space, Inter-Action Trust and Artist Placement Group (APG) projects will be screened inside the inflatable. The day will close with a panel discussion on Socially engaged practices of the 1970s and their relevance today, chaired by Marsha Bradfield and including Joshua Y’Barbo, James Lander, Barbara Steveni, Mo Throp and Ken Turner.

On Thursday 15 October artist Barbara Steveni, of APG, and Jo Melvin invite you on their Walking Tour from Manresa Road  – site of the original Chelsea School of Art – towards the current Millbank venue. The day concludes with a conversation between Barbara and Brian Chalkley focusing on APG’s ‘Not Knowing’ in relation to Chalkley’s pedagogical methods for teaching on the MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts. The conversation will be facilitated by Jo Melvin.

Mo Throp spent five years in the 1970’s as a live-work member of Inter-Action, a community arts organisation which became one of the UK’s best known and most influential cultural and social enterprises. Its projects included the Almost Free Theatre in the West End (notable seasons and events included London’s first Black Power, Gay and Women’s theatre seasons), the Dogg’s Troupe – a street theatre group, the Fun Art Bus, the Media Van, a city farm, a publishing unit and one of London’s first Free Schools. ‘My time with this organisation has certainly influenced my pedagogical approach as a teacher of Fine Art students and my relation to art practice and my work with the Subjectivity & Feminisms Research group at Chelsea.

Recently, I came into contact with Huw Wahl who has been researching another such organisation from this period: Action Space. He has re-built a prototype of one of their huge inflatables and proposed to bring it to Chelsea, inviting us to organise a programme of events around the Community Arts movement of the late 1960s. This is therefore a great opportunity to ask how such projects resonate now in relation to the social turn in contemporary practice. Our programme of events addresses the current resurgence of interest in socially engaged artistic practices and hopes to address the challenge to conventional modes of artistic production and consumption under late capitalism.’

Art Riot

Art Riot calls on artists and art students to bring or perform an artwork on Saturday at 20 June at the Bank of England in a gathering and marching of a multitude of artworks as part of End Austerity Now. People are invited to bring any kind of portable, wearable or performable art work to accompany yourself as artwork at the riot.

Rather than necessarily creating unified slogans or banners in articulated protest, this is a performative platform that brings art out of the studio and onto the streets to create an alternative, unmediated engagement with a moving, public space that is equally unharmonious.

The project rejects and operates outside of the limitations imposed on the role of art and the artist by an Austerity government that sees our value in terms of economics – from art as a commodity, to our ability to enhance London property value, to our tuition fee value 5 years on from the 2010 student protests. The End Austerity route will march from Bank to Parliament Square, but we will continue on to Millbank Tower, retracing the failed 2010 student protest.

Art Riot is created by Chelsea College of Arts PhD students Lana Locke, Joshua Y’Barbo and Keun Hye Lee and we will be putting together a publication to follow the event – to which you are also invited to submit artwork or text.

Art Riot will meet at 12pm on 20 June at the corner of Bucklersbury and Walbrook (close to the Bank of England / Bank tube station).

Site-specific Intervention within Art Education Institutions

Joshua Y’Barbo, CCW PhD student operating the Chelsea Salon Series with Laura Carew, asks, what insights might pedagogical art practices generate through site-specific intervention within art education institutions?

‘My practice-led research intersects socially engaged art practices, critical pedagogy and institutional critique through the exploration of site-specific interventions into art’s educational institutions. The interventions are  informed by site-specificity in institutional critique and explore Pablo Helguera’s concepts of transpedagogy, which refers to “projects by artists and collectives where pedagogical process is the core of the artwork” (Helguera, 2011, p.77).

‘My critique is of art education institutions as a site where revisions in the production and display of art are made. According to Andrea Fraser, institutional critique evaluates these sites through critically reflexive site-specificity. Site-specificity does not refer only to physical spaces, but also to space for relationships, processes, rituals and discourses in which structures of power are performed and reproduced (Rottmann, 2008).

‘My research is informed by critical and feminist pedagogy in an attempt to question hierarchies and structures of power within education. Site-specific intervention in my research challenges the framework of art education institutions through methods developed within institutional critique. According to Fraser (2005), the site of intervention within the institution includes ‘our relations to that site and the social conditions of those relations’.

‘My practice and research interests developed alongside and through the Chelsea Salon series. The Chelsea Salon series is an ongoing project that combines Grzegorz Kowalski’s use of the architectural theory of open form as a teaching method with Helguera’s ideas of para-institutions. Claire Bishop (2012) explains open form as students engaged in “open-ended tasks that function as a form of collective analysis” (Bishop, 2012, p.257). According to Helguera (2009), para-institutions refer to “the idea that one could build up parallel institutions, working institutions, that do propose and show in its operation other working systems, being a temporary frame of action where art enters as the self-reflective, self-critical, tool while it is simultaneously being conceived and happening, a para-institution that sees itself from the outside, from the spectator’s point of view” (Helguera, 2009). The Chelsea Salon series and my research combine these concepts in an attempt to refine understanding of the changes produced by, and happening in, higher education in art and design. These are the aims taken from the brief for the project Not Knowing: CCW / APG / Chelsea Salon. The project was developed by David Cross and myself with Barbara Steveni and the 2013-2014 MA Fine Art students at Chelsea College of Arts, London, UK.’

Visit Chelsea Salon series for more information about past, present and future salons, talks, screenings and tours.