Andrew Stones - Salt block from video presentation, 2014
  Louise K Wilson - Detail from artwork, 2015   Stefan Gec - Detail from Brahms project, 2014
 

Andrew Stones - Salt Block, 2014

Detail from the video presentation Detect/Collect at 1100 metres

Louise K Wilson - 'Western Front', 2015

Detail from a project combining archive film with
audio from contemporary popular media


Stefan Gec - detail from Brahms project, 2014

 

           
  Stefan Gec - dismantled family radio, 2014  

In our seminars, each of us presents objects, recordings, plans or documentation related to our individual practices:


Stefan's first object for discussion was a partially dismantled valve radio, a familiar from an earlier Gec household, redolent of a time when vectors of cultural transmission could be drawn according to wavelengths and dial positions.


Another of Stefan's projects centres on a Brahms concerto recorded in Berlin on the eve of the Second World War and distributed on sets of gramophone records. The transmission of any cultural messages here seems to be entirely dependent on the reliability of a material substrate.


Stefan acquired an incomplete set of the Brahms shellac discs. Using methylated spirit, he began rendering them down into a dark paste that could be put to various uses (drawing; modelling). Responding to this project at its various stages, we have discussed the extent to which objects or materials might carry into the future the cultural or political resonances they have been imbued with at key moments.

Stefan Gec - dismantled family radio, 2014

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

Louise has used the seminars to discuss her collaborative strategies, their personal and institutional dimensions, gains and limits. At an early meeting she presented photographs of vast military sites in the Australian desert which she has visited, although without the possibility of making art works there.

 

Via documentation, we have been able to discuss Louise's acoustic explorations and interventions in a variety of sites and spaces, often with collaborators who are not artists.


Louise has asked us to consider sound from different perspectives, from the intimately subjective to the political. In one workshop piece she applied snippets of soundtrack from the Blackadder TV series to silent film documentation of the 1914-18 war, showing just how problematic the cultural load carried by such historical footage can be.


In a more conceptual, scientistic vein, Louise has discussed the tantalising possibility of freezing sound waves with the help of space engineers.

  Louise K Wilson - Woomera - Super-8 film still

Louise K Wilson - 'Woomera' Super-8 film still, 2006

 

 

           
  Andrew Stones - My Beliefs Forever - photowork 2016
   
 

Andrew has used several modes of presentation for his seminar contributions. He has shown un-exhibited photographic strip-works, video/audio pieces, and used text in both discursive and performative ways.

 

In one seminar a short video was contextualised by an introductory text, and the live tasting, in darkness, of a lump of crystallised salt: a memento from a visit to a physics lab sited in the 1.1km-deep Boulby potash mine.

 

Andrew's video and photographic works often invoke the thrill of roving around restricted industrial or scientific sites as a more or less free agent, whilst nevertheless regarding all modes of knowledge production as "partial perspectives" (rather than totalising systems).

 

With his "rule-governed-artworks" he has suggested the use of protocols that seem simultaneously rational and absurd, as part of a strategy to interrogate artistic and scientific methods in terms of their limits, as well as their commonly-claimed advantages.

 

Andrew Stones - My Beliefs Forever (Puerto Rico / Sheffield)

Photowork (detail)

 

 

 

 

 

When our seminars are synopsised, some of our most persistent tendencies and concerns are revealed.

 

It seems that our interest in science, engineering and technology is heightened where these fields have acquired cultural or political ambiguity. Our engagement with objects, materials or sites that seem to bear, or transmit, cultural messages, is especially strong when the messages run counter to recieved, or promoted, narratives.

 

We are drawn to science because we are concerned with the real, but we are not bound by the rule of science. Where our interest in places, sites and materials is rational, it may nevertheless be different to that of a geographer, architect, or engineer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst we're fascinated by the modes of enquiry offered by non-artistic disciplines, we might still decide to engage with the real by means of hand-made devices, pseudo-science, or magical thinking.

 

We do not mind if this increases slightly the tension between art and other disciplines. Thinking, making and doing must always be ongoing, and the sanctioned forms of any particular discipline are only a few of the possible channels for human agency. In the contested space we occupy, there can only ever be temporary settlements.

 

In the kind of art that we value, work, thought and aesthetic pleasure are dynamically interrelated: all is a matter of degree, and every act a balancing act.

 

 

 

 

   
 

 

 

 

 

 

     

All content copyright © the artists and authors

Main text: A.S. 2016