Saturday, 15 December 2012

Louise's thoughts 15/12/12. Things I personally would like to explore through the OPEN PLAN project

Attempts at Utopia, or, Playing Rugby with Brecht.

I am currently thinking about the structures of capitalism and the state, and how they are played out through the law and what part the sovereign plays, etc. This stems from my repeated reading of A Thousand Plateaus.

I have been thinking about the plays Brecht wrote that were for ordinary people to rehearse - the rehearsals themselves were the performance and there was no audience - the audience and the actors were one. Brecht wanted to use the processes of playing and rehearsal to initiate group conversation and reflection upon socio-political ideas - to resist what Marx called 'alienation'.

From these thoughts on rehearsal, I have been thinking about the word 'essay' (and 'essai' in french, which means try or attempt). The essay was invented as a literary form by 16th century french writer Montaigne. This has led me to think about the very english idea 'it's not a goal but it's a good try' - which was alledgedly what Rugby School's sports teacher said when William Webb Ellis supposedly invented rugby while playing football and subverting the rules. I like this idea of a try, or a rehearsal, an attempt. The space we create could be utopian in this way (utopia means nowhere, so it is a dream space but it also has to be pragmatic in some way so it can be beliveable and hopeful, because utopia doesn't work unless it feels like it could happen, even though it is never fully attainable). John Jordan's film Paths Through Utopia is really relevant.

I am also interested in the shape of the rugby ball and the way it is designed so that it is slippery/unpredictable/omnidirectional. I think it relates to the shape of the Occupy movement and Deleuze and Guattari's idea of a rhizomatic spatial mode- the potential to pop up at any place or time, a contingent spatial 'becoming'. In A Thousand Plateaus they talk about the difference between the game Chess and the game Go. I am thinking a lot about social structures and how they are reinforced in real space (the police as performers of this structure, which make the law physical and present, like scaffolding that is always being remade and moved). Form and formlessness (in George Bataille's sense) are ideas I keep coming back to.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Planning Meeting 11.30, 15th December 2012 at the RCA Sculpture Cafe, Battersea.

Artists from RCA sculpture met in the cafe today and discussed the project. 
Mark, Lina, Noga, Katrin, Louise, Harry, Yandi and Sol (Richard's friend who is a curator) were present.

It was proposed that:

- there will be a one day group residency (to kickstart the project) on Wednesday 9th January. Everyone currently involved in the project (and others who are interested) are invited to spend a day at the space. We will use the discussion roundtable and screening area. Individuals and groups can begin responding to the space.

- we should all be thinking about angles of research that we want to explore during this ongoing project. So far, we have talked about the politics of space (the New York based group WAGE was discussed briefly) and we have begun to question the art-site relationship, particularly in regard to curatorial conventions and the tropes of the gallery space, the warehouse space, and the now ubiquitous temporary use of empty offices as exhibition spaces.

- Lina has proposed doing some sound-based rehearsals in January. Everyone has been encouraged to put forward ideas for events, meetings, screenings, performance evenings and exhibitions in the space.

- Petr will lead making the roundatable. Rodrigo will be in charge of the projection screen area.

- We have considered using the downstairs space for meetings, group work and screenings/performance, and using the upstairs space for exhibition.

- Everyone would like to get Jack involved, perhaps in curating a performance programme.

- Cathy will be organising some group events in January, which will aim to get artists involved from outside the RCA and AltMFA.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Designing the roundtable and screen

The space will be divided into 3 segments - a roundtable area for discussion, a screening area for film and video, and an exhibition area for showing works.

Artists from the RCA will be designing the roundtable and screening area.

Next meeting: 11.30am Friday 15th December at the Sculpture Studios, 15 Howie Street.
We will be designing the space and discussing plans for the project.

RCA artists will begin installing works on 18th - 21st December.

Events in January

New York / London based curator Cathy Serrano will be organising two events at OPEN PLAN in January. She will be focussing on creating a space for exchange and discussion with the aim of facilitating collaboration and site-specific responses to the context of the office space. Dates and info coming soon.

If you would like to organise an event or meeting at the space, contact

The aim is to create a site for creative cross pollination between universities, institutions and individual artists.

The project will evolve during December and January, while artists will be working on site and in their studios responding to the space. Events and screenings will be held throughout January. More info coming soon.