CP does SSW

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Working Group Leader: Marsha
Working Group: Metod, Kuba, Scott
SSW = Scottish Sculpture Workshop
Hedge A5Flyer.jpg
This flyer was designed by Metod and Marsha and was disseminated along with a description of the weekend via SSW's networks on November 15, 2012.

HEDGE: walking, talking, value, geography and social organisation

Friday to Sunday, 23-25 November 2012
Jointly facilitated by Critical Practice Research Cluster and SSW, you are invited to a weekend program of participatory events which will explore modes of cultivating and harvesting values with reference to sculptural, social and geographical forms. We aim to interrogate how these things resonate with significance and how this might be different.

What kind of spaces and values organise rural areas? Are they any different from those in urban metropolises? What are their distinctive characteristics?

HEDGE is part of Critical Practice's current exploration into VALUE from various and perhaps even contradictory perspectives. Our aim is to explore modes of evaluation and mechanisms of valorisation as situated, localised and embedded. Over the next two years, the research cluster aims to produce a body of publicly disseminated resources concerned with current changes in value.

The programme will take place over the weekend of the 23rd - 25th of November, and will kick off with evening drinks in Huntly on the Friday. Walks, talks, and other activities will take place throughout the day on Saturday and on Sunday morning at Scottish Sculpture Workshop and the surrounding area. Food will be provided for by SSW on Saturday; there is limited accommodation available at SSW too.
Notice: please bring appropriate footwear and warm clothing.
Schedule:
Friday pm - Drinks in Huntly
Saturday all day - SSW
Sunday am - Walk around Clova Estate or to Tap O' Noth (TBC)
Please get in touch for more details surrounding the event via office@ssw.org.uk, and if you would like to attend or present at the forum.
Critical Practice is a cluster of artists, researchers, academics and others hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. We have a long‐standing interest in art, public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original, participatory events.
Visit our wiki to find out more:http://www.criticalpracticechelsea.org/
Emily Wyndham Gray
Curator of Facilities and Programmes
Scottish Sculpture Workshop
1 Main St - Lumsden - Near Huntly - Aberdeenshire - AB54 4JN
Tel: 01464 861372 - Email: emily@ssw.org.uk
Company registered in Scotland - Registration No. 82531
Registered Scottish Charity - Scottish Charity Number SCO03223
Emily SSW 16 11 12.JPG
Marsha snapped this photo when Emily Wyndham Gray and she went for a walk around the Lumsden's Sculpture Lay-by on November 16, 2012.

REFLECTIONS AFTER HEDGE

DURING OUR RESEARCH TRIP

Please see the timeline/narrative to the right.

BEFORE OUR DEPARTURE

Readings from George Yúdice's The Expediency of Culture: Uses of Culture in the Global Era (Post-Contemporary Interventions) for Kuba's reading group on Saturday:
From Chapter One: pp. 8 - 13 - section 'Culture as a resource'
From Chapter Five:
pp. 287 - 298 (to first paragraph) - fragment from the introductory section
pp. 303 - 307 - section 'Laboratory and maquiladora'
pp. 317 - 322 - fragment from the section ' Avant-garding Publics and Process'
pp. 324 - 330 - section 'Organization and impact'
pp. 331 - 337 - section 'Expediency of culture'

Packing List

  • towels
  • Metod's audio recorder
  • still cameras and chargers
  • video camera and chargers But it was never used...
  • printouts of evaluations
  • boots for walking
  • waterproof stuff for walking
  • two spare copies of Kuba's reading.

List of Provisions

Breakfast x 3 (Saturday, Sunday and Monday)

  • loaves of bread (white and brown)
  • pitta bread
  • butter
  • olive of oil
  • meat for sandwiches (ham, beef, etc.)
  • cheddar cheese
  • feta (or other salad cheese)
  • salad tomatoes
  • geen salad mix (rocket, water crest, spinach)
  • hummus x 2
  • bacon x 2
  • tins with baked beans x 4
  • box of cereal - something like museli
  • milk
  • coffee
  • flapjacks or something to nibble on with tea
  • apples, oranges, bananas, other fruits
  • spring onion for scrambled eggs
  • 18 eggs

Lunch X 1 (Monday)

  • Kuba will prepare a lentil soup evening before - also for a lunch on Monday
  • cheese toasts - baquette or bread or rolls, champignons, onion, garlic, cheese for topping (any soft yellow will do)

Sunday Supper: Marsha will make a babotie

  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 onions , chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 1kg packet lean minced beef - will also do veggie option
  • unsalted peanuts
  • 3 lemons
  • hunk of fresh ginger
  • bottle of mango chutney
  • 3 tbsp sultanas
  • 5 bananas
  • dried apricots
  • 4 large carrots
  • jasmine rice
  • stuff to make a green salad: lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, red onion...
  • 2 bottles of red and 2 bottles of white

Kuba will make a lentil soup

  • green / brown lentils 1kg
  • carrots 1kg
  • onions 1kg
  • garlic
  • potatoes 1kg
  • parsnip 1kg
  • parsley leaves
  • canned plum tomatoes x2
  • herbs: oregano, bay leave, black pepper

Working Group Meeting Minutes: November 19, 2012

LOCATION Morpeth Arms
ATTENDANCE Marsha, Metod, Kuba
CHAIR: None
MINUTES: Marsha

Item 1: Internal/External Orientation of HEDGE - review Nuno's email To discuss: confirm schedule - Are we happy with Nuno's suggested contribution? Who will do what and when?

  • We agree on the schedule

Friday:
CP arrives in Aberdeen at 17:09 and will need to the car organised. Realistically, we anticipate being in Huntly around 19:00 for drinks
Saturday:
10:00 - 12:00: INTERNAL - Kuba will facilitate a discussion around a text by George Yudice (He'll scan and send through on Tuesday morning.)
12:00 - 13:00: meet & greet with attendees and LUNCH
13:00 - 14:30: Emily, Scott and Sarah and Jonathon rock the Sculpture Lay-by
14:30 - 16:00: Nuno rocks The Commons
16:00 - 19:00: cook and chill (with drinks)
19:00 - 20:00: Dinner
20:00 - 21:00: Marsha facilitates after-dinner toasts that flag up institutional values/issues of concern (details to follow)
Sunday:
10:00 - 12:00: We walk 10 KM with Devron and Michael
12:00 - 14:00: Lunch (?)
14:00... unscheduled time - folk leave to go home and/or spend time with their families
Monday:
10:00 - 12:00 INTERNAL Debrief at SSW

Item 2: Toasts instead of barcamp - tweak on Critical Malfunction To discuss: What do you think about this proposed activity? Marsha and Kuba to brief everyone.

  • We discuss this and agree that Marsha will facilitate - it will be a type of game...


Item 3; Provisions To discuss: we need to make a shopping list to send to Nuno and Emily - what do we want to eat?

  • Please see the list above - tweak as you so desire


Item 4: Documentation To discuss: division of labour...
Division of labour:

  • Metod = to design 'evaluation slips' that ask the question: What was the value of this session for you?
  • Metod = to collect 20 keywords/daily
  • Metod = will make photos
  • Kuba = to head up collating the 'evaluation slips'
  • Marsha = will make photos
  • Marsha = will make video (vox pops)
  • Scott = will make drawings and photos


Item 5: Sleeping arrangements To discuss: confirm that what Marsha's written to Nuno is okay.

  • confirmed it's correct


Item 6: Train travel To discuss: Marsha to distribute train tickets. Marsha to invoice Chelsea.

  • to distribute at the station


Item 7: Any Other Business (AOB)

Working Group Meeting Minutes: November 9, 2012

In attendance: Present: Marsha Bradfield, Metod Blejec, Kuba Schreder, Scott Schwager
Chair: Marsha
Minutes: Scott
Minutes posted on the wiki by Marsha
Critical Practice SSW (Scottish Sculpture Workshop) meeting Agenda: 1. Structure
2. Workshops
3. Questions
4. Documentation
5. AOB
Introduction:
Marsha gave a brief update. Marsha and Nuno have been corresponding. SSW recently had a resignation taking some of Nuno’s time. Nuno expects himself and two artists. Marsha is going to SSW for five days this weekend. Marsha is interested in also seeing Deveron Arts.
I. Structure We are going for two and a half days. We could have workshops followed by a more flexible coming and going.
We are going there to a bounded body of research, in terms of time, though disparate in themes. We want to tie it off at the end of the research. Additionally consider it in terms of our other areas of research such as in value.
Day 1. Internal Day 2. Public Day 3 Deveron Arts trip Friday night meet SSW participants.
II. Workshops on Day 1.
A. Kuba’s reading group
For example, urban development towards urban regeneration. Kuba will circulate a chapter 7-10 days ahead.
B. Marsha – Social organisation
Something around Sourdough food production around social structures. SSW used to be a bakery. What might the yeast be? Maybe there will be some baking and discussing.
C. Scott –Sculpture
Within working in a sculptural workshop I am interested in looking ways in which aspects of the environment, individuals, and contemporary circumstances influence the sculptors and sculptures.
D. Metod – Walk & Talk
Action: Marsha to chase the SSW workshop topics.
III. Questions
Potential questions:
How sculpture is produced today?
F or what purpose is sculpture produced today?
How do institutions facilitate artistic production? How do they organise division of labour?
How to they structure inside and outside such as funders, markets, films?
How CP might present and metropolitan interpretation of these?
How do CP and SSW contrast as organisational models?
Action: Marsha to circulate brief from 2011 of SSW on how sculpture is produced in the field.
IV. Documentation
Marsha would like to put all the documentation sized and formatted on the way home. 100 Words for each day, keywords and hashtages Metod ‘will hope to provide 25 per day’, TW or FB after each time, will take audio recorder and cameras, come out with a few wiki pages to narrate the experience with keywords, articulate findings for CP participants.
AOB

  • The new paid post with Critical Practice
  • Chelsea’s position regarding supporting CP in Dortmund

INTRO: (FROM SSW - October 30, 2012)

There is an abandoned Sculpture Walk at the end of the village of Lumsden, Huntly. It emerged from the practical need to display some of the large sculptures that were produced at Scottish Sculpture Workshop (SSW) during the 80's and 90's.

What's ongoing: the revisitation of this project, through contemporary questions that complicate the notion of site (from built environment to social, political, environmental etc) could possibly lead to interesting new questions.

The idea would be to organise a walk between SSW (one end of the village) and The Sculpture Walk (the opposite end). Along this walk we would be encouraged to talk about the village and its inhabitants, but also about incoming resident artists and their relationship to the locale. By bringing you guys in the conversation a shift in scales from the micro to the macro.

Along the village we would walk past a pub closing down, a shop which has just closed down, a moribund church, an under-utilised village hall etc. The topics you mentioned around your Value project make total sense here (Law, God, space). We could also find new ones.

The walking/talking would concretise/formalise the discussion - heightened experience, informal education, embodied knowledge...
So....we'd revisit the sculpture walk as a discursive space, where one finds works that range from the physical to the politically engaged. We could have a pedagogic edible garden, a piece of community art, and a stage for events / interactions like a market stall or so.

It would be interesting to discuss questions around critical and anarchist geography, as well as the movement of capital, in regards to rural contexts. Other interests include: the tension between taking a position (artwork or exhibition) and the discursive formation, in which things only come into some sort of fruition through the convergence of agents and forms of agency. Also, public/rural...rural/publics.


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SSW Blue .jpg



  • Research Questions:
  • Geopolitical: What values organise Aberdeenshire? How do these compare to the values organising EC2?
  • Organisational: What values organise SSW? How do these compare to the values organising CP?
  • Spatial/Material: What is the specific value of sculpture as conceptualised by SSW and beyond? How does this compare to the value of walking, as evidenced by our walk with Michael (and others)?

Keywords:

  • rural/public--public/rural
  • walking/talking--alternative modes of assembly/forms of address/discursive exchange/shared becoming through knowledge production
  • critical/anarchist geography
  • sculpture (in the expanded field)
  • materiality
  • labour of (institutional?) love
  • culture as a resource
  • apparatus

Timeline: NB: This is Marsha' version of the events. No doubt others would tell a different story...

  • September 11, 2012: Marsha skypes with Nuno - shares a few reflections on Spaces & Values and they eagerly anticipate advancing CP's research in this vein via SSW--especially concerning sculpture and/in the rural. It's a greed that CP will spend a weekend up at SSW.
  • October 15, 2012: CP meets via skype and agrees to carve up our time up SSW into two hour slots--a roaming barcamp that is responsive and discursive. It's confirmed our envoy will comprise of Kuba, Scott, Metod and Marsha.
  • October 30, 2012: We hear back from Nuno, who has been on holiday. He's excited about our visit and has put us in touch with Emily Wyndham Grey. She leads on the Sculpture Walk project. Working group discussion: How much time should be dedicate to 'structured work' and how to spontaneous activity. Marsha notes that organising this enterprise is proving demanding. We'll all need to compromise if we want this to come off. After a quickfire email exchange, we seem to agree that two out of three days sounds about right for structured activity but this may be dispersed across all three. We also agree to contemplate what it means to effectively resource our time and energy (as well as the environmental impact of our travel) through a combination of thoughtful scheduling and downtime/soft edges for rest and reflection. Added to this, there is debate over when to depart on Monday. Do we spend the day in Lumsden or just the morning? Finally, it's agreed that CP will fund our travel expenses. This is good news as some of us are feeling stretched, making it difficult for us to take on extra work that, however meaningful, is unpaid. This funding aims to recongise our weekend at SSW as part of our ongoing research. But what demands does this funding involve? Do we need research findings and if so, what would be realistic? Marsha finally books the tickets: We'll depart on Friday morning and return on Monday afternoon. This decision aims to accommodate those who find it difficult to sleep on trains, making a sleeper inappropriate as well as those who wish to take in the countryside en route.
  • November 9, 2012: The SSW Working Group meets at SOAS to discuss how the weekend might be organised (Please find the meeting minutes to the left of this timeline). It's another heated discussion. Concern is expressed around Scott's interest in making sculpture in ways that might turn on metaphor. Kuba favours a more sociological approach. How to honour each other's interests and commitments? The following is agreed:
  • The weekend will be equally split into intimate activities (with SSW) and more extended ones (outwardly facing)
  • We'll make the use of the train ride up and especially down, using the latter to organise our documentation. There's an interest in archiving as we go along - identifying keywords from each session
  • Kuba asks how we'd feel about Natalia joining and everyone is thinks this is a great idea. Marsha texts Nuno to ask about this possibility and he confirms it's a go.
  • November 12 - 16, 2012: Marsha is up at SSW working on another project with fellow artist Roddy Buchanan and local farmer Fobie Leslie. There's ongoing discussion around how to organise CP's weekend at SSW, both within the working group via email and face-to-face with SSW staff. We finally agree on 'HEDGE' as our title with our subtitle being: 'walking, talking, value and social organisation'. Marsha and Metod create a flyer to promote the event. The working group together writes a blurb via email.
  • November 16, 2012: There is a heated email exchange in the SSW working group over the terms and conditions of our partnership with SSW. There's a sense that we've turned into content providers for our hosts, when our initial intention was to co-author this weekend with others in the area who share our interest in value, publicness, geography and social organisation. Marsha writes to Nuno and Emily about these issues, as well as how our provision for food will be covered. Marsha also notes that trying to balance the needs and desires of those involved is proving challenging. Why does it feel so difficult?
  • This may be due to different perceptions of time. It's Marsha's impression that Lumsden is characterised by agrarian time: there are concentrated bursts of activity in response to particular (often seasonal) tasks. Otherwise, the slow and steady pace of routine predominates. For folk to justify driving to Lumsden and staying late/overnight on Saturday, we'll need to have some kind of engaging program. While it's agreed that we also need time for more intimate forms of networking and spontaneous activity, there's tension in the working group about how this should be organised. This situation throws up a whole host of issues around the perceived value of this weekend - as well as the perceived value of SSW for those who work there and those who benefit from this unique resource.
  • Marsha appreciates the willingness of working group members to be flexible and adapt in response to local conditions. She also notes that heated email exchanges late on Friday afternoons should be avoided if possible. Kuba suggests that the working group meet before the general CP meeting on Monday to thrash things out face to face. We learn that Natalia can't join us as she'll be returning to Warsaw. We also learn the devastating news that funding wasn't secured for the Dortmund project. The knock-on effect to the SSW weekend may not be obvious. But it was tricky to organise our transport to Lumsden so that Metod and Kuba could attend a meeting in Germany around November 21st for the Dortmund project while also being part of HEDGE. What, if anything, can we learn from this situation? Is it an issue of over-scheduling, prioritising differently or is this just the way that things sometimes go?
  • Marsha collects the train tickets in advance. Scott books the rental car. He asks the agency to meet us at the train station so as to avoid wasting time and money collecting our vehicle.
  • November 17, 2012: Marsha has a phone conversation followed by an email exchange with Claudia Zeiske about the possibly of plugging into a walk being organised by Devron Arts on Sunday, November 25th to launch artist Michael Höpfner's project, "Walking Off the Grid".
  • We may need to organise drop off/pick up depending where Michael is in his loop when we join/finish
  • We'll need to anticipate people having lunch afterwards. Is there any money to feed walkers from SSW/Devron Arts? Claudia thought she may be able to persuade a local with the magic touch for cooking to open her home in Rhynie. For sure this would be preferable to going to a restaurant.
  • Claudia will aim to make a map that we can send out with a follow-up announcement.

November 19, 2012: The working group meets at the Morpeth Arms for a final planning session (minutes to the left; you can find the agenda here). Excitement is building. So too is our commitment to documenting this project differently. We intend to think more critically about its form/function and capture - i.e. archiving. What will we take away from Lumsden? Who is it for? How will we archive it? How can we feed it back into SSW?
November 21: Kuba sends through materials for the reading group and others express concern. There is a lot of text only a couple of days to go. A heated exchange ensues and a more realistic spread is proposed. But there is also confusion about expectations (see below). Unfortunately, Emily from SSW is copied into these emails. It's agreed that we'll be more careful about differentiating between our internal and external emails going forward.
November 22: We send through a list of our necessary provisions. It's still unclear what's happening about dinner on Saturday night. Will CP be cooking for SSW or the other way around? We receive word from Emily that for unspecified reasons, our event may be under attended. This is a blow but there's nothing we can do except hope for the best. In some ways this great news: we always hoped this would be an intimate affair and struggled to balance the demands of making this an event worth funding by SSW and CP with our core desire to have deep and meaningful conversations with Nuno in particular.
November 23: We depart. Our getaway is easy. Kuba and Marsha sit together at one table and Scott and Metod at another. Scott brings us a picnic snack packed by Vivian. Her gingerbread people are much enjoyed. We arrive on time and the car and the car is waiting for us. After a quick visit to the rental agency, we're on our way. Scott drives and Metod navigates. Having does his BA at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, Metod knows the surrounding environs. We arrive in Huntly with a healthy appetite and hit the Huntly Hotel for a quick meal before heading to Crown Bar to meet Nuno and others from SSW. Here we imbibe some local culture, including some harmonica tunes. It comes to light there's been a long and difficult board meeting at SSW and the institution has been thrown off kilter. What, we wonder, have we walked into? How with HEDGE impact SSW and vice versa? We're very sympathetic to organisational crisis having experienced ourselves. How to support SSW while at the same time realizing our proposed program of research events? Scott plays designated driver and taxis us from Huntly to Lumsden, which is about half an hour away. We're met by Ben, who gives us keys to our accommodation. Everyone collapses into bed with visions of Scottish culture dancing in their heads.
November 24, 2012: The sun is shinning - a spectacular morning. Scott prepares a buffet breakfast in The Boffy (SSW's kitchen and dining facility) of almonds, apples and gingerbread. All of a sudden, a black cloud descends on our discussion. We're talking about what to do if no one shows up. The mood is somber - negative, restless, antagonistic. The clock ticks. It's 10:02 and the door opens. It's Beth, who Marsha had met weeks before in Edinburgh. Emily joins too and Nuno and Sarah and Jonathon (resident artists) and Ben and Tess (Ben is doing a work at technical work placement at SSW). There's hardly enough room for everyone around the table and our spirits are buoyed.
Perhaps understandably, not everyone has done the reading and so we spend the first half an hour perusing the text in silence. This experience is surprisingly interesting - we realise there's something very intimate about all reading the same thing in the same space at the same time. Our moral starts to grow...
Kuba starts the reading group with an extended digest. The tone of our discussion is focused and academic. As Ben mentioned afterwards, it was clear this session was for SSW and CP - think about the ways in which they are producing culture and this culture is being resources. Ben also notes that as a work placement at SSW, he's not quite sure how he fits in. He doesn't exactly represent the institution. But there not much space for artist practitioners at the table. This is very useful feedback that points to the evergreen challenge of attending to a wide range of needs... The reading group was always intended as an internal affair but then for scheduling reasons, it made sense to open it up so that those who had driven to SSW for the day might enjoy a full program. There is a difficult moment when Marsha tries to interject in the discussion and carve out space for other voices...
As predicted, we're running behind schedule and the decision is taken to put lunch on the table. A big platter of cheese, meat, humus, chutney and bread descends between us. We transition into more informal discussion. After a good feed, we head outside for the sculpture segment of the afternoon.
Daylight hours are short this time of year and we need to make the most of them. It was hoped those involve in this session (Emily, Scott, Sarah and Jonathon) would self-organise a schedule and spread their hour and a half together as they think best. But this hasn't really happened and some rescheduling happens on the spot.
Emily kicks off this session by leading us to the Sculpture Lay-by.
We head back to skype with...
Next up, we meet with local farmer Fobie Leslie, who takes us through the town.
Then onto the commons...
Back to The Boffy
Sarah and Jonathon Scott's session
Dinner
Toasts

November 25, 2012: