Making Your Own Wings

April 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

The below is a re-posting of a response to one of Peter’s earlier Lowdowns. A comment that I feel, on reflection, requires the glory of being its own post:

A response to Peter: I don’t think the Wings assignment, as practiced in the Asylum show is a good model, for all the reasons you explain. That said, it wasn’t my intention to replicate the show’s approach in Crossing-Lines, rather for us to take it as a prototype and then innovate. So, not one object, and not one (or three) curator(s).

Here’s my suggestion for an improvement on their model:

Many objects sent back and forth between interested parties. John has started this ball rolling with Ingrid. Perhaps others may also wish to initiate their own dialogues? I like the idea of objects whizzing around between participants, via post and email, physical and virtual, some being re-worked, some remixed (whatever that exactly means…), some being discarded, some becoming various, some being added to, some being pared down….

it seems to me that the best way to conceive of this project is as an experiment in new ways of making work in collaboration(s) with others and of collaborating on ways of curating those collaborations – collaboration squared, in other words.

Finally, Peter, it seems like the goals you talk of, relating to a critical street photography, apply to a more centrally directed project than this? Can such a rigorous task be achieved by such a loose and diverse collaborative structure? I am unconvinced. A directly political goal surely needs a more central thrust, IMHO. Happy to be proved wrong, though.

Nick Scammell


Gerhard declares his hand…

March 28, 2013 § Leave a comment


Mail art

March 27, 2013 § 6 Comments

The Wing Assignment and Asylum Partnership. Showing work from 45 artists. The Wing Assignment invited creatives across a range of disciplines to respond to a package sent via Royal mail. The package contained a pair of bird’s wings.Curated by Jo Dennis, Nina Farrell and Dido Hallett.

The Wing Assignment, launched in November 2011, is a creative exercise to inspire and bring together talents from a range of disciplines exploring a theme and idea. The Wing Assignment Collection currently consists of work by 60 contemporary artists from a range of professions including; Architects, Composers, Graphic & Fashion Designers, Illustrators, Musicians, Video and Filmakers, Photographers, Painters, Poets & Writers, and continues to grow.

An approach?

Nick Scammell


March 27, 2013 § 1 Comment

photography is just a rumour – Sol LeWitt

Frost at Midnight

March 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
‘Tis calm indeed!

Some Thoughts on What Collaboration Is and Is Not.

“If to try is to succeed.”
To try is not to succeed. There’s nothing wrong with failure! No learning without it! That’s how process advances, or changes, or gets more interesting… I’d go so far as to say that success actually requires failure.

“…a central collective starting point but an individual response; the collaboration lies in the motivation and the interactions that result from sharing progress and the modifications to our practice that come from a group response.”
This is really important and very true.

“…to consider how we might respond to the act of photographing and the fact of the photograph and trump the conventions of production and presentation is, I believe, a valid way of processing.”
This requires a lot of thought. Tradition only advances through being poked. The alternative is stasis, or repetition. As the poet (and liar!) Ruth Padel said: tradition is a journey. We need these discussions in order to find new routes. In doing so, we are not all going to agree. The world keeps turning.

“To M I would say that collaboration is implicit within the way in which the group operates but that the term ‘collaboration’ has different measures of one’s engagement with it.”
Absolutely. Though I don’t think that Michael is in any way suggesting that collaboration is invalid or of no use, rather that he is critiquing its best use. Is the (selective) sharing of archives the approach that we want to take with this show? How do we determine who ‘we’ is and what ‘we’ thinks about that? Are we saying that this show is concerned with the appropriation and re-imagining of the archive? With the Death of the Author? If so, I suggest a swift recap of Barthes’ famous (and short!) essay on that subject, since it is nothing if not relevant to this discussion. The death of the author is the birth of the active reader – careful what you wish for.

From this, an interesting (and obvious) question arises: to what extent can one apply one’s own aesthetic to the work of another and have that work still remain that of the other? At what point do one’s creative choices and reworkings take possession of that which was the others? Is that a problem for anyone?

Ars longa. Let’s consider this all carefully.

P.S. Coleridge, by the way…

Nick Scammell