"There is conflict blossoming at the heart of culture, a conflict convened around the property rights that subsist in materials stored in public archives"

Screen Tests


I participated in The Future of Art, Archives and Special Collections a collaborative event organised by Tate's Library & Archive and Chelsea College of Art & Design. 

In the archive, and surrounded by relevant materials we had a really vibrant discussion around future access to art and art archives, futures embedded in the past, and more general issues of access and redistribution of knowledge. My contribution was informed by working with Intermediae on the Procesos de Archivo project, in making Museum Futures and Screen Tests.

Open Music ArchiveWow! I went to see an amazing performance created by Eileen Simpson and Ben White of the Open Music Archive. I worked with Ben and Eileen on Screen Tests.

Anyway, they invited the extraordinary 22 piece women's choir Gaggle to reinterpret The Brilliant and the Dark, a 1969 cantata for 1,000 women's voices and to perform it live at The Women's Library.

In addition, the vocalist Ellen Southern created a new copyleft remix score, which was also performed live.

The Open Music Archive is a collaborative project to source, digitise, and redistribute out of copyright music. For The Brilliant and the Dark Ben and Eileen remixed the music and lyrics of the original composition, colaborated with musiicians and performers and produced a new music video. Filmed on location in The Women's Library the video re-animates the original 1969 performance of the cantata at the Royal Albert Hall.

All creative work is born into copyright; every image, text or sound is automatically designated as the property of its apparent author. Copyright is founded on the right of exclusion, and even material deposited in Public Archives is considered a property, access to which is subject to the generosity of archivists and keepers. Effectively copyright restricts the creative re-use of public resources. Ben and Eillen's projects explore theses tensions.

Through negotiation, reinterpretation and the restaging of the first performance, including some of the 1960's costumes  - documented by photographs held in the Library’s archive - Ben and Eileen have created anew The Brilliant and the Dark.

SovereigntyI went to London zoo to participate in an extension of an exhibition and conference. The exhibition at Gasworks was Hydrarchy: Power and Resistance at Sea, which explores contemporary conceptions of the sea as a contested cultural, political, legal and socio-economic territory.

The artists in Hydrarchy: Power and Resistance at Sea explore themes of colonialism and the slave trade, commerce, tourism and offshore finance, as well as maritime folk history, piracy and the tyrannical figure of the captain.

Saturday 18th September 2010

Unfortunately I missed the conference, although clearly it was exploring some of the theoretical terrain suggested by the exhibition. The sea has functioned as a historic space for the exercise of violent, tyrannical and world-transforming power; like capitalism, empire, slavery, etc. On the other hand the sea offers a possibility of resistance, where alternative, sometimes revolutionary social orders can be imagined and practiced; pirates, mutinies, offshore finance, etc.....

LapdogsIts been a long time coming, but the book of the Lapdogs project is just published by Sternberg Press

Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie
Class Hegemony in Contemporary Art

Edited by Nav Haq and Tirdad Zolghadr

Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie investigates the latent issue of class underlying the field of contemporary visual art. On the one hand, it raises the question of whether a given socioeconomic background still helps define your artistic career—and to which point the said career might reflect or consolidate the hierarchies in question. On the other hand, the project asks whether the traditional analytical tools at our disposal are helpful in such an examination of the art world today.

Class inevitably raises awkward questions regarding the very participants, their backgrounds, patrons, and ideological partialities. This is perhaps the reason why the role of class structure has been so easily overlooked in the production and presentation of contemporary art, especially so in an era where artists are coaxed into anthropological framings of their practice.

What was it that made gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and nationality eclipse the class issue with such ease?

Laboral Centre of Art and Creation

I spent the summer in Gijon, in northern Spain and visited LABoral.

LABoral is a centre for Art and Industrial Creation, it's an exhibition centre for art, science, technology and advanced visual industries.

LABoral is run through a non-profit foundation comprising corporations and institutions, founded expressly to ensure the intellectual and financial feasibility of the centre.

Intermediae FilmIn July 2010 I started filming some test material for a film comissioned by Intermediae. In many ways it expresses the research of Procesos de Archivo, and being set in the future it will be a companion film to Museum Futures.

I'm working on the storyboard, script, and we are in the process of securing the relevant funding.

Critical PracticeAs part of Critical Practice I participated in a discussion organised by Department 21 at the Royal College of Art. Six independent, bottom-up educational initiatives shared their experiences of experimenting with different systems of teaching and learning, through radically reassessing accepted modes of knowledge distribution. For the future, we aim to compile a manual of good practice to explore horizontal, transparent educational models within institutions.


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