28–30 June 2017
FIELDWORK is a 2.5 day discursive, residential summer school at Hospitalfield in Arbroath on the East Coast of Scotland. Between 50 and 80 participants stay at Hospitalfield, camping in the grounds, for a programme of presentations, workshops, discussions and outings. It is an intensive experience, which brings people together to think about the central theme or question. The programme is connected with visual art practice and theory including how this intersects with other disciplines.
2017’s programme, Shoulder-to-Shoulder, was co-programmed with Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer and included contributions from:
Chto Delat (What is to be done?) Dmitry Vilensky
Lynn Hershman Leeson
Tickets for the summer school cost £75 (included all meals and camping space).
FIELDWORK International Summer School, Shoulder-to-Shoulder, 28-30 June 2017.
The programme drew on the everyday production of art and politics in the contemporary multitude and invited practitioners from a variety of positions to consider these never ending performances. Shoulder-to-Shoulder was an opportunity to dislocate from the activity of individual practice and share new and existing methods of performance that can help us communally devise action within a political climate characterised by division and moralistic opposition.
Shoulder-to-Shoulder presented the first screening in the UK of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s film Tania Libre (2017), documenting renowned Cuban activist and performance artist Tania Bruguera’s experience following an 8-month house arrest in Cuba after her plan to re-stage her performance Tatlin’s Whisper #6 in Havana. Possessing a rare fluency in technologies as they evolve, Hershman Leeson is celebrated for her feminist art practice spanning five decades. Dmitry Vilensky, the founding member of performance collective Chto Delat (What is to be done?) came to the summer school from St Petersburg, Russia. Since 2003, Chto Delat have been producing projects that aim to merge political theory, art and activism. London-based artist Samson Kambalu, introduced his film-making approach, Nyau Cinema, through a new collaborative performance-lecture with Edinburgh-based composer and cellist Atzi Muramatsu. Kambalu’s work is autobiographical and approaches art as an arena for critical thought and sovereign activities. Wojciech Kosma collaborated with a working group towards the facilitation of an open, large group conversation. Always working with others, Kosma develops staged and sporadic performances that aim to collectively draw out and challenge group production of values. Ash Reid produced a role playing game (RPG)-inspired mixtape for communal car/train/bus journeys to Arbroath. Reid forms her research through public and private collaborative attempts at communicating beyond or around the boundaries of language. The mixtape preceded the summer school as part of an instigated carpool, through which participants were invited to organise shared transport.
Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer were selected through an open call to co-programme the summer school with Hospitalfield in 2017.
Shoulder-to-Shoulder, brings together art and performance practices to reflect on, test out and rehearse effective political action from within an ‘artistic multitude’.
In recognition of the heightened and urgent responsibility of what it means to create art and culture, we ask:
If art can be a vehicle for self-reflection on individual politics, what is art’s position during this current political moment which appears to be defined by populism and division?
Should our art perform our politics or should we be channelling our political ideas through action?
Drawing from contemporary theories of the ‘multitude’ by the likes of Pascal Gielen, Chantal Mouffe and Paolo Virno (a coexistent, pluralistic grouping of people comprised of divergent opinions, morals, practices and ways of life), the programme invites contributors and participants to reflect on the vernacular of performance and how it could be applied to political modes of artistic action. The programme foregrounded the performance of artistic, collective, political, and active organisation, and how these strategies might implement, what Gielen refers to as a fizz of the artistic multitude.
Set in motion by a pictorial score, Shoulder-to-Shoulder was framed through the device of a scratch night: a theatrical format where performers come together to experiment, try new approaches and rehearse material for an audience of peers. Using scratch as a metaphor to navigate our individual and collective subjective experiences, the 2017 summer school invited active audiences to attend an intensive two and a half day programme of artist talks, performance workshops, reading groups, performances and exhibitions. In a layered arrangement of performative gestures, in a time when generosity in public encounter and the subjective experience of art feel more precious than ever, the structure aimed to prompt the fizz of multitudes and create an invitation to participate.
For Wojciech Kosma’s contribution to Shoulder-to-Shoulder, organisers formed a working group with practitioners from around Scotland through an open invite for notes of interest. The working group consisted of 7 individuals with wide spanning interests including performance, psychology, theatre, music and geography amongst others, who helped facilitate a group conversation with Kosma as part of the summer school. The group attended a study day on 27 June that will drew from the group’s experience and research into performance as a semi-‘rehearsal’ for 2 performed, open discussions throughout the summer school, and provide an opportunity to meet thinkers from different fields with vested interest in ideas of performance.
Images: Performance Score diagram created by Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer with original image by Ross Fraser McLean; Cicley Farrer and Gordon Douglas clearing up after a performance at Cooper Gallery, photo by Ross Fraser McLean; Maltings at Arbroath; documentation of previous FIELDWORK events.
Gordon Douglas is a performance artist and organiser based in Edinburgh.
He works in close partnership with groups and organisations towards deconstructing the acts of performance and collaboration. He graduated from the Environmental Art department at Glasgow School of Art in 2013, and attended an exchange semester at CalArts, California. From 2013-15, he served on the Transmission committee, co-instigating a series of workshops aimed at interrogating the governing documents of the institution. Since then he has jointly conceived of projects and events with a diverse array of practitioners including: anthropologists, dermatologists, curators, fanfiction writers, jewellers, journalists, physicists, post-punk musicians and theatre-makers.
His most recent project Habits of the Coexistent, a curatorial-residential dialogue with The NewBridge Project, Newcastle; Edinburgh College; and Platform, Easterhouse; researches the performativity, values, and ideologies that we inherit through close quarters. In February 2017, Gordon concluded Introduction to Performance, an elective course he devised for HND Contemporary Art Practice students from Edinburgh College.
In 2016, Gordon was a participant in Curatorial Studio, a year-long programme of weekend workshops and public events for early career curatorial practitioners. Gordon will act as a co-host on the 2017 Curatorial Studio programme.
Cicely Farrer is a curator and writer based in Dundee.
In her practice, she explores forms of artistic practice that encompass and provoke an ethical subjectivity, questioning the position of art as a mechanism for political action. Recent archival research has led Cicely to consider the practical forms of feminist collective administration and consciousness raising to help inform contemporary practice.
Between 2014-17 she worked at Cooper Gallery DJCAD as Curatorial Assistant where she was part of the curatorial team for major projects including Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event? and CURRENT in Shanghai as well as working on new commissions with artists such as Anne Bean, Anouchka Oler, Oliver Braid and Gordon Douglas. Alongside delivering curatorial projects, Cicely consistently worked closely with art students in the practical and curatorial enabling of projects within DJCAD.
She holds a BA in History of Art from the University of Leeds and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art in London. Independent curatorial projects include Objective Considerations of Contemporary Phenomena at MOT International Projects London, 2014/15; and To Be or To Do, To Work and Not To Make? Telfer Gallery/Kinning Park Complex, 2015.
In 2016, Cicely was a participant in Curatorial Studio, a year-long programme of weekend workshops and public events for early career curatorial practitioners. Cicely will act as a co-host on the 2017 Curatorial Studio programme.
Dmitry Vilensky is an artist and educator currently based in St. Petersburg, Russia.
He works mostly in collective practices and focus on developing large scale architectural constructions, educational seminars and learning plays, graphic works, and films. He is the founding member of Chto Delat (What is to be done?), a platform initiated in 2003 by a collective of artists, critics, philosophers, and writers with the goal of merging political theory, art, and activism. Vilensky is also an editor of the Chto Delat newspaper and main facilitator of a School of Engaged Art in Petersburg.
He has participated with Chto Delat in their recent exhibitions and performances including:
KOW BERLIN (solo show) 2017 (2015), Sao Paulo Biennale 2014, Art, Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making 1789–2013 – Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, 2013; FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2013; 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, 2012; Chto Delat in Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kuntsthalle, Baden-Baden, 2011; Chto Delat Perestroika: Twenty Years After: 2011–1991, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, 2011; Ostalgia, New Museum, New York, 2011; Study, Study and Act Again, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, 2011; and The Urgent Need to Struggle, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 2010.
He is also author to numerous contributions to art press, regularly participates in symposiums and conferences, and guest teaches at many international art academies. Vilensky will speak about practicies, methodologies and curriculum of Chto Delat’s School of Engaged Art in St Petersburg.
LYNN HERSHMAN LEESON
Lynn Hershman Leeson is an artist and film-maker based in San Francisco.
For the last five decades, and with a rare fluency in technologies as they evolve, Hershman Leeson has combined art with social commentary, investigating issues of identity, privacy in a time of surveillance, interfacing between humans and technology, and the relationship between the real and the virtual.
Hershman Leeson released the groundbreaking documentary !Women Art Revolution!, 2011; charting the history of the feminist art movement in America. It was screened at major museums internationally and received first prize at the 2012 Montreal Films on Art Festival. Among Hershman Leeson’s feature-length films are Strange Culture (2007), Conceiving Ada, 1997; and Teknolust, 2002 – all featuring actress Tilda Swinton. Her films have won many awards and have been featured at the Sundance, Berlin, and Toronto International Film Festivals.
First working in drawing and sculpture, Hershman Leeson turned to performance and conceptual art in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her investigation of identity and surveillance ranges from Roberta Breitmore (1973-78), the fictional character that she, then three subsequent female personas, enacted in real time and space, using artifacts of the time, to Lorna (1984), one of the first interactive projects on video disc, to Teknolust (2002) which addressed cyber-identity, artificial intelligence, cloning, and the decoupling of sexuality and human reproduction. In her most recent works, Lynn Hershman Leeson includes robots, mass communication media such as smart-phones, as well as the latest scientific developments in the field of genetics and regenerative medicine including 3D bioprinters that create human body parts.
Wojciech Kosma creates sporadic performances.
His collaborative works were presented at Interstate Projects in New York, Chisenhale Gallery in London, Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, Galerie Kamm in Berlin, Human Resources in Los Angeles, Transmission in Glasgow, MSN in Warsaw and Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź among others. Kosma was a recipient a Scholarship for Visual Arts awarded by the Berlin Senate and the resident artist at Triangle in New York and Wysing Art Centre in UK. He is a member of Warsaw-based collective Rzeczywistość Emocjonalna. In 2017, a web series Charisma, created by Kosma together with Sarah Harrison will premiere online.
Ash Reid is a retail assistant, phone operator, volunteer and co-organiser in London.
She performed most recently as part of Tectonics Festival in Glasgow, and wrote the first stages of an unregulated RPG with musician Ali Robertson as part of a three-day residency at London’s Cafe OTO. Since 2014, she has shared tattoos with artist Kari Robertson, binding them to the Cult of Ackerism; and, since 2012, has shared text messages with musician Liene Rozīte, binding them to the task of bringing down the patriarchy in whatever way they can. Her most recent work has been formulated mainly in collaboration, focusing on attempts to communicate beyond or around the written or spoken boundaries of language. Recent projects have looked at cognitive behaviour therapy techniques and role-playing game structures as a basis with which to think through these possibilities, mostly performed through ongoing conversations with others, publicly and in private. These conversations culminate in spoken word, video, audio composition, radio shows and group publications, which feed into all aspects of her own research.
Samson Kambalu works in a variety of media, including site-specific installation, video, performance and literature.
His work is autobiographical and approaches art as an arena for critical thought and sovereign activities. Born in Malawi and now based in London, Kambalu regards his work as a form of playful dissent that fuses the Nyau gift-giving culture of the Chewa, the anti-reification theories of the Situationist movement and the Protestant tradition of inquiry, criticism and dissent. Kambalu studied at the University of Malawi (BA Fine Art and Ethnomusicology, 1995-99); Nottingham Trent University (MA Fine Art, 2002-03) and Chelsea College of Art and Design (PhD, 2011 – 15).
Kambalu has been included in major exhibitions and projects world-wide, including the Dakar Biennale, 2014 and 2016; Tokyo International Art Festival, 2009; and the Liverpool Biennial, 2004 and 2016. He has completed research fellowships with Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution, and was included in All the World’s Futures, Venice Biennale 2015, curated by Okwui Enwezor.
Atzi Muramatsu is a Japanese composer and cellist living in Edinburgh. His works encompass music for concerts, contemporary dance, poetry, painting, and films. His music features in three BAFTA winning films, one of which won Best Composer New Talent Award in 2016. He is a member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and leads contemporary string quartet Lipsync for a Lullaby.
images; Samson Kambalu performance, Atzi Muramatsu
PROGRAMME – preparing to come:
The events will take place throughout Hospitalfield House, grounds & the surrounding landscape. Please bring clothes suitable for outside.
Please bring good walking shoes.
Please bring warm socks as we will have our shoes off in the house.
Arbroath has a bit of a micro climate so often dry and sunny but there is a chance of rain of course and the temperature will go down to 8 degrees at night so please come prepared with plenty of warm things for a good sleep.
The programme starts at 4pm on Wednesday 28 June, when participants can arrive to set up tents and runs to the evening of Friday 30 June. Participants have the option to stay over on Friday 30 June and de-camp on the morning of Saturday 1 July.
One of the contributors, Ash Reid, has produced a performative mixtape to be played by attendees during our journeys to Hospitalfield. In-keeping with the work, and the spirit of the multitude, we are keen to help facilitate a carpool as a method to travel together to the summer school. If you have space in your vehicle (or access to a car club), or require a seat, please let us know and we will endeavour to put people in contact. The mixtape will be sent to all attendees on Monday 26th June in mp3 format, and accessible online via a soundcloud account.
The info about the carpool is shared with people booking tickets but if you would like to talk about it in advance please get in touch with Laura Simpson at Hospitalfield.
Arbroath rail station is on the main line north from London / Glasgow/ Edinburgh to Aberdeen. Hospitalfield House is 25 minutes walk from the rail station (5 minute taxi ride).
The 39 bus runs from Dundee city centre to the end of our driveway (40 mins).
Our address is Hospitalfield House, Westway, Arbroath, DD11 2NH.
There is some space for car parking at the front of the house.
More info here…
We are offering camping spaces in Hospitalfield’s beautiful grassy greens.
Please bring your own tent.
A torch will be helpful but it’s light most of the time in June!
There are normal toilets and washing facilities available in the house & studios.
An outdoor shower will be installed. Natural soaps and shampoo will be provided.
Please bring towels.
We understand that some people will want to stay in local B&Bs: List on Visit Scotland’s site
Hospitalfield’s chef will be providing delicious food for FIELDWORK.
We love working with local produce. A lot of the food will be vegetarian.
Please tell us in advance if you have any specific allergies so we can try to accommodate you.
There are shops nearby if you want to bring drinks to the meals.
Hospitalfield House: 01241 656 124
Reid’s Taxi: 01241 873 212 Abbey Taxi: 01241 877 777