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.

Peter Maloney is a researcher working on the impact of technology within learning environments. This is an edited text of a conversation from Thursday 3rd June 2010, the full research will be published soon.

Peter Maloney: Neil, I’m interested in the origins of the Chelseawiki, and the benefits of FLOSS software development as a model for creative practice,………… among other things. So, in 2004 students you had been working with started up a wiki, can you say a little about how that came about?

N: Yes, I think it was 2004, it’s all still archived on the Chelseawiki if you need to check! It grew out of two things – a group of undergraduate students began to collaborate together, Ian Drysdale, Tom Neill, Trevor Giles, Daryl Stadlen and Wei Ho Ng, and I gave a series of lectures and seminars – called something like Free Culture. The seminars introduced ideas from Free Libre or Open Source Software [FLOSS], and explored how these might impact on art’s practice and organization.

Working SessionPARADE: public modes of assembly and forms of address

I contribute to Critical Practice, a cluster of artists, researchers and academics hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. We have a longstanding interest in art, public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original, participatory events.

Chelsea College of Art and Design has a large contemporary courtyard at its heart: the beautiful Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground. We collaborated with Polish curator Kuba Szreder to develop a programme of events that explore the diverse, contested and vital conceptions of being in public.

In a bespoke, temporary structure designed by award-winning Polish architects Ola Wasilkowska and Michał Piasecki - assembled in public - we produced a landmark event in an amazing location with a host of international contributors.

Parade challenged the lazy, institutionalised model of knowledge transfer - in which amplified 'experts' speak at a passive audience. Our modes of assembly, our forms of address and the knowledge we share are intimately bound.

See the full programme, or images of the amazing events, and don't miss the legacy publication

I will take part in a three day event FL∆G: re-turning the educational turn at Chelsea College of Art and Design

Working SessionEducation is increasingly a key concern for contemporary art practice and its exhibitionary institutions; recent events include PARADE, Documenta 12 and United Nations Plaza, or Transpedagogy: Contemporary Art and the Vehicles of Education at MOMA, and events covened by the Serpentine and Hayward Gallery like de-schooling society, could all be defined as art turning educational.

On the one hand, claiming pedagogic practices as a form of art for exhibition could be seen as a way of idealising art education, or as an attempt to aestheticise education for exhibition. On the other hand, it could be seen as a form of engaged, dematerialised and participatory art practice. Regardless of the hand we choose, the proliferation of interest in the educational turn, demonstrates a new and widespread interest within exhibitionary institutions, art practice itself and sites of art education for self-reflexion.


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