Humour is a slippery fish: a conversation between Catriona Gallagher and Siân Robinson Davies

Recently I responded to an open call to participate in a performance project by Siân Robinson Davies, an artist I had met a few times before. Usually I wouldn’t be interested in this kind of thing, as I have an aversion to the idea of being in front of an audience, but it caught my eye as I have been on the lookout for a subject for this article. I’d been asked to write about an Edinburgh based artist and I’ve been intrigued by Siân’s work for a while, having seen, by chance, a gig she did at The Stand comedy club last year, so I emailed her expressing interest. We arranged to meet at her studio in Rhubaba, an artist run space in Leith, to discuss the idea. I thought I could use the opportunity to find out some information for my writing, and decided to record the meeting surreptitiously. I’d prepared in a café over few coffees planning how I could steer our conversation towards the questions I wanted to ask about her practice. The caffeine had left me feeling a little edgy, and I was nervous because, with Siân, I’ve been told you can never be quite sure when she’s being serious and when she’s joking.

 Siân Robinson Davies: Hey Catriona, thanks for coming. Thanks for replying to my email, How are you? Would you like coffee?

Catriona Gallagher: Err, yeah, I’ve already had one but that’d be great, thanks.

SRD: Grab a chair.

CG: Great, thank you. So maybe you could tell me about what I’d be doing in your project?

SRD: Sure, right, well firstly I should say I’m so glad you’re excited about this project, I really try to work with people who are really passionate about this stuff, you know? And I should also say that it’s really not about me telling you what to do, I’m not imagining that I would be giving you directions. The idea is more about a life practice than an art piece, which is key. But that’s why I wanted to speak to you, because your reply to the call I put out seemed really in tune with that idea. So great, thanks again for coming.

(Pause)

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Modern Edinburgh Film School, A new island forming, a fighting island, its surfacing painful from freezing, unfathomable waters, says “the reality diagonal”, itself a floating cinema, and is a cathartic event  2014

Modern Edinburgh Film School, A new island forming, a fighting island, its surfacing painful from freezing, unfathomable waters, says “the reality diagonal”, itself a floating cinema, and is a cathartic event  2014

The Modern Edinburgh Film School The Silver River, 2014

The Modern Edinburgh Film School The Silver River, 2014

Exploit.zzxjoanw.Gen by Dane Sutherland

Image courtesy of Plastique Fantastique

Coined by writer, artist and self-proclaimed ‘concept engineer’ Kodwo Eshun, the term Sonic Fiction refers to the myriad statements, titles, costumes, relations, speculations, rituals, hidden tracks, production techniques, economies, patois, basslines, gestures and images close to a genre of music, generating a trans-media narrative, immanently connected as they are to the speculative potency of the sonic grain of each song. As the enigmatic art collective 0(rphand(rift> have said, “the solitons of the music tell a story.”

The key development that has made thinking Sonic Fictions possible is certainly Afrofuturism: a name for the alternative histories and alien futurities generated amongst Afro-diasporic cultures. As an epistemology, it considers Black artistic production as a dispersed modality of wresting forms of science-fiction, utopian thought and modernity from a situation in which the Black subject is inherently alienated by the events of dominant historical narratives, speculating upon this alienated character as a future-oriented subjectivity in-production.

 

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FWD: LINE, Commission.
Dimitris Papoutsakis and Becky Campbell, Slope, 2014

FWD: LINE, Commission.

Dimitris Papoutsakis and Becky Campbell, Slope, 2014

On Frame and Ground present a series of visual slippages; a heap of broken images that move between two and three dimensionality

Featuring work by Mark Corfield-Moore, Jessica Dally, Marie Jeschke and James Richards, the exhibition attempts to question the differing statuses of these images: the cinematic, the low-resolution, the repeated and the constructed. Through sculpture, photography and projection the ostensibly fixed boundaries of frame, ground and screen become plastic, flexible mediums to be ruptured and crossed.
Opens tonight, 6 - 9pm
69 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7JL

Tristan Stevens bodyflex.me GIF, Tablet, Silica Sand, Himalayan Rock Salt Lamp, Vinyl Sticker

Tristan Stevens bodyflex.me, 2014 html, Home-Platform.com

Menna Cominetti, Hold me around the others body, 2014, jpg, Home-Platform.com

Menna Cominetti, Hold me around the others body, 2014, jpg, Home-Platform.com

Bending Light: making work for the real and the virtual realms

‘Bending Light’ was the first exhibition organised by the curatorial research group Home Platform. Produced by curator and artist Charlie Cousins as part of Bristol Art Weekender, ‘Bending Light’ selected the work of emerging artists working in the spaces between the real and virtual realms. This excerpt is taken from a panel discussion organised by Home Platform to support the exhibition and consider the questions it posed.

Chaired by:

Charlie Cousins: Curator of Home-Platform, Artist and Writer

Georgina Bolton: Programme Coordinator at Situations, Writer and Researcher for Line Magazine

Contributions from:

Menna Comminetti: Exhibiting Artist

Sebastian Jefford: Exhibiting Artist

Kit Poulson Artist and Lecturer at UWE

Tom Johnson Artist and Co-Founder of Madescapes ^

Charlie Cousins: Hi everyone, welcome to ‘Bending Light’ the first exhibition from Home-Platform. For those who aren’t aware, Home is a curatorial research platform examining the relative positions of object, image and gallery. Trying to work both on and off-line to explore the space in-between the virtual and physical realms, and question the role of the gallery space within a post-internet culture. Today is a chance for an open discussion about the themes that have been brought together in the show.

Georgina Bolton: Thanks for being here everyone and of course a huge thanks to Charlie, Will and all artists for putting on such a fantastic show that has both set the context and provided content for this debate. So I guess this started out when Charlie and I had a conversation that triggered a mutual curatorial interest. As someone also fascinated by screen/surface, object/image relations, I’d been developing research with Line magazine for a couple of months, with ambitions to co-curate and launch a new experimental online platform for Line, titled ‘Curator’s Space.’

We wanted to think about ways in which we could utilise and maximise online space. To create a platform that was more than just a documentary presence of an exhibition that had passed, but a screen-space dedicated specifically to new work. Traditionally there is a physical spread in the magazine called ‘Curator’s Space’, and it grew out of an inspired idea to translate the section to a digital format, inviting artist led groups or a specific curator to create an online exhibition that was solely created for, and existed on screen.

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  "In Over the Rainbow, try as she might, Sarah cannot find her authentic self and stave off psychic collapse. When talking about her work Maclean uses phrases like “hyper-exaggeration of self”, “contradictory identities that lead inevitably to disintegration” and “synthetic worlds”. And when speaking of her admiration for Trecartin’s videos she opines that “I think you have to be part of the generation that grew up with MTV and the Internet to really get them”. That generation is one that has gone down the rabbit hole and, to paraphrase Mitchell, got lost in someone else’s shoes.”

Extract from essay PEERTOPEER@WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? RYAN TRECARTIN,RACHEL MACLEAN AND GENERATIONAL HYSTERIA by Ivan Knapp
 
 

"In Over the Rainbow, try as she might, Sarah cannot find her authentic self and stave off psychic collapse. When talking about her work Maclean uses phrases like “hyper-exaggeration of self”, “contradictory identities that lead inevitably to disintegration” and “synthetic worlds”. And when speaking of her admiration for Trecartin’s videos she opines that “I think you have to be part of the generation that grew up with MTV and the Internet to really get them”. That generation is one that has gone down the rabbit hole and, to paraphrase Mitchell, got lost in someone else’s shoes.”

Extract from essay PEERTOPEER@WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? RYAN TRECARTIN,RACHEL MACLEAN AND GENERATIONAL HYSTERIA by Ivan Knapp