I'm an artist, educator, curator, writer and researcher. Across these practices, I'm developing a praxis of dialogic art. This theory/practice seeks to destabilize familiar structures of cultural co-production (collaboration, participation, etc.) by exploring the complex interactions through which...stuff n things take shape. I define dialogic art as art brought into being through exchanges between people as they interact with information, objects, and/or each other. Key terms (currently) include: relational relations, the dialogic, methodological mess, hybrid authorship, the post-collaborative condition and self-portraiture of a process.
A long time ago I received a BA in History and Art History from the University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada and more recently a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada. I've also lived in Taipei Taiwan, where I studied Mandarin at National Taiwan Normal University (國立台灣師範大學國語教學中心) while working as a docent at The National Palace Museum. At present I'm based London UK but spend most of my time in other timezones and spaceslips working with My People online and around the world.
My current research on dialogic art draws on Mikhail Bakhtin's philosophy of dialogue, John Law's and Bruno Latour's work 'after' Actor Network Theory (ANT) and ideas around compound-complex subjectivities, viz. experience of self where individualization and collectivization get all messed up. The UK student protest movement is a source of inspiration for my embodied research on group practice. I am also currently considering decision making in a reality TV-style 'gamedoc' and in Web 2.0 platforms (blogs, wikis, social networking sites, etc.). When I'm not cutting video...or meeting with Critical Practice, Precarious Workers Brigade, Art Idol 2010 and various other tribes and hives...when I'm not online working on social networks that shall remain nameless...when I'm not working precariously (lecturing, producing, editing)...I'm probably completing the written aspect of my practice-based thesis.
Titled 'The Authorship of Utterance in Dialogic Art,' my PhD project is a big dot on a long line in my ongoing inquiry into dialogic art as praxis-process-portrait-politics-potential.
Background: This research concerns a problem that I see characterizing participatory art in general and relational aesthetics in particular: participation is typically understood as limited to making in the art. It does not extend to the making of the art. In Rikrit Tiravanija’s Untitled (Tomorrow is Another Day) (1996), for example, participants were invited to 'make the work' by cooking, eating and so on. They were not, however, encouraged to interact with the artwork’s form—to change its structure. Participation was thus limited to making Tiravanija’s work in accordance with the parameters determined by the artist in advance.
Question: What are the possibilities of using the dialogue embodied in participatory and collaborative art making to create more co-authored works of art and how might an expanded notion of 'the artwork' as well as a distributed sense of 'the artist's identity/subjectivity' support this cultural production?
Support: This research has been supported by my supervisors Prof Neil Cummings, Dr Mary Anne Francis and Prof Stephen Scrivener. It has also been financially and institutionally supported by Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. Though attributed to yours truly, this PhD is the shared utterance of many interlocutors. My People, I couldn't have done it without you.
Want to get in touch? You can email me at marshabradfieldatgmaildotcomb