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July 2014

 

Transcript: More things can happen than will, or have

 

Chelsea Centenary 2063:  Neil Cummings, Platform Lecture, June14
Transcript .pdf at foot of page

 

 

From the 7th  - July 8, 2014, I took part in a workshop Curating the Activist Object at the May Day Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

A wave of political uprising in recent years has made visible the inventiveness and creativity that characterises the material culture of contemporary social movements and political activism.

In June, as part of Critical Practice, I co-organised a one-day workshop to host political philosopher Stephen Wright. In preparation for the workshop we formed a Reading Group and collectively read and discussed Towards a Lexicon of Usership (pdf)

At the marathon seminar, we explored the transformative potential of Stephen's ideas of usership, escapology, gleaning, slackspace, spectatorship, working on a 1:1 scale and much else besides. We contributed to the 'retooling of the conceptual lexicon' for producing contemporary art and its institutions.

Truth is ConcreteOver twenty years ago I edited a book Reading Things, it's long, long out of print, although an extract from the introduction was recently republished in The Object, edited by Anthony Hudek, produced by the Whitechapel and MIT Press, 2014.

With my recent interest in Stephen Wright's provocation Towards a Lexicon of Usership, maker libraries and fab-labs, I thought to publish a version of the introductionReading Things: the alibi of use here.

[..] The substance of our material culture, refracted through our advertising media, is an increasingly dominant site for the struggle to represent an individuals most powerful desires, aspirations and fears. In industrial countries, we are constantly encouraged to associate and identify, both physically and psychologically, with a bewildering range of things. From Tampax to Trade sanctions, these consumer choices - if media theory is to be believed - may embody the last remaining coherent space of personal and cultural representation. [..]

The ObjectReading Things  is out of print, although an extract from the introduction was recently republished in The Object, edited by Anthony Hudek, produced by the Whitechapel and MIT Press, 2014. I include a version here without footnotes, although a .pdf (foot of page) has them.

Reading Things: The Alibi of Use Is the introduction to Reading Things, Sight Works Vol.3. ed Neil Cummings, Chance Books, London 1993. ISBN 0-9513932-3-5

The substance of our material culture, refracted through our advertising media, is an increasingly dominant site for the struggle to represent an individuals most powerful desires, aspirations and fears. In industrial countries, we are constantly encouraged to associate and identify, both physically and psychologically, with a bewildering range of things. From Tampax to Trade sanctions, these consumer choices - if media theory is to be believed - may embody the last remaining coherent space of personal and cultural representation.

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Villa Arson, NiceIglesia del Santa SepulchroCollaborative mappingBoadilla babesAbandoned houseDaniel expert 1