January 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Here is the opening statement of this blog from February 2013:

The purpose of this forum is to consider issues relating to the curation of photographic exhibitions. This includes matters of ownership, location, space, identity, collaboration, presence, history, alt.practice, sound, movement, permanence, distance.

Examples, pointers, models, paradigms, precedents will be offered for criticism with a view to considering how new ground might be hoed.

The Crossing Lines Group will occupy The Greenwich Gallery on Saturday 2nd November 2013.

The Gallery may be used as an experimental space for the ‘presentation of presentation’.

The Crossing Lines Group will vacate The Greenwich Gallery on Saturday 16th November 2013.

A segment of the February Crossing Lines meeting will be devoted to the WINGS project which became almost a phantom project; dipping into conversations on curation and being created in the background. As an exercise of collaboration and curation I personally felt that it was successful; as a personal experience in putting work together for it I was moved by the sympathetic way that work was responded to. I also liked the late-arriving idea of adding to the exhibition by means of posting work to the gallery for inclusion. I felt too that the process of engaging with the pieces and working collectively without preconception with the space was an encounter worth repeating. The small  number within the WINGS project was an important contributing factor to the success of this piece.

The success of the Traverse was, for me personally and within the collective, in the doing of it. If all we had done at its end was to take it for itself as a mode of curating a space by walking it then no more need have been done — Process as Product.

But …

We had a commitment to The Greenwich Gallery that we needed to fulfil and time was short. Suppose that we’d had six more months to consider what might become of this fine, thoroughgoing, collection of individual pieces, what might we have come up with?

Whilst writing this I’m listening to Pierre Schaeffer’s Five Studies of Noises which he compiled in 1948. Also composed in that year was Poulenc’s sonata for cello sounding safely very like Poulenc and Myaskovsky’s cello sonata sounding comfortably like Brahms. Elliott Carter also wrote a sonata for cello that year and his sounds of his time. For Carter it was possible to write for an ancient instrument and express a response to a present moment. For Schaeffer it was possible to take a present moment and find a way of making a contemporary piece from contemporary noise.

I see the gallery as an ancient instrument — not redundant but available for alternative methods of use. I also see any space as a potential gallery for alternative uses of an image.

We discussed, briefly, the idea of re-purposing the Traverse images for the smaller space of The RPS Cave. How might we respond to our own images half a year later; how might we respond to each other’s? We might take the example of WINGS as a leaping-off point; another example might be that of Pierre Schaeffer — take the raw noise and process it into an alternative not-noise.

I believe that we should tread on new ground for the sake of doing it. Even if we sink. Waving not drowning. Whilst misquoting.

I also believe that we should tread on new ground as a political act. Try this from Gregory Sholette:

… a radical art scholarship and theory must by necessity seek to revise the very notion of artistic value as it is defined by bourgeois ideology. Besides finding new ways to account for collective artistic authorship it must also theorize the many occasions on which no object is produced or where the artistic practice is a form of creative engagement focused on the process of organization itself.

Or maybe (from Jan Verwoert):

… The decision to collaborate with others is not a moral but a practical choice. For instance, for a musician to play in a band is first of all a practical possibility rather than a moral issue.

Or if not a political act then a definitional one (from Maria Lind):

… Co-operation in art is by no means new (…) It extends from Rubens and other Baroque artists’ hierarchical large-scale studios, which were lucrative businesses, to surrealist group experiments, constructivist theatre projects, Fluxus games and Andy Warhol’s pseudo-industrial Factory. It has also been argued that collaboration was crucial in the transition from Modernism to Post-modernism, particularly since the advent of conceptualism in the late 1960s.During the following decade, redefinitions of art tended to go hand in hand with collaborative practices.

Or …

John Levett


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