Post-doc Research Notes

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Friday, 31 January 2014: Self-evaluation I was chatting to Neil at Chelsea today and the topic of 'self-evaluation' surfaced. Neil is dubious there's such a thing because it seems somehow to circumvent a community of evaluation. The issue seems to connect with the relation between individual and society. If we can agree these things are contingent then it seems fair to so say that when it comes to evaluation, there's always a community--even if it's not literally present. (Courbet's 'The Painter's Studio' comes to mind as an art historical point of reference.) Anyway, here's a text that could be useful when it comes to thinking about self-evaluation. Authored by Constantine Sedikides and Michael J. Strube, it has the rather imposing titles of 'SELF-EVALUATION: TO THINE OWN SELF BE GOOD, TO THINE OWN SELF BE SURE, TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE, AND TO THINE OWN SELF BE BETTER'.


Saturday, February 1 2014: Klee Exhibition at Tate -

As there were several things that I wanted to key into, I thought that I might as well work through the exhibition room by room.

Room 3: Composition 1914 - 1915: According to Klee, his mastery of colour stemmed from a trip to Tunisia that he made with fellow painters August Macke and Louis Moiliet in April of 1914. The holy city of Kairouan had a profound impact on him. In retrospect he gave this North African journey legendary status, and for many years he drew inspiration from its distinctive atmosphere and the composition that he conceived there.

In the morning painted outside the city; a gently diffused light falls, at once mild and clear...I now abandon work. It penetrates so deeply and so gently into me, I feel it and it give me confidence in myself without effort. Colour possesses me. I don't have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: colour and I are one. I am a painter. [Klee, Diaries, April 1914]

This pivotal moment fell just before the outbreak of the World War in August 1914, (actually, I think it broke out on July 28, 1914) which scattered Klee's circle. Suddenly his Russian colleges [Kandinsky and Alexis Jawlensky] became enemy nationals and left for Switzerland, while Marc and Macke were called up into the German army. In delicate water colours made under the threat of mobilisation, Klee worked a the border between representation and abstraction. The news of Marc's death in the Battle of Verdun in March 1916 reached Klee shortly before he was called up himself.

  • 'Being called up' for service - inconceivable - where is conscription still happening. What would I die for? More precisely, what cause would I did for?
  • Annoying: Tate's persistence with concepts like 'mastery'
  • Useful: 'in retrospect' - crafting narratives after the fact - the centrality of an innocent holiday with fellow artists before all hell broke loose
  • Enchanted by: 'It penetrates so deeply and so gently into me, I feel it and it give me confidence in myself without effort. Colour possesses me. I don't have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: colour and I are one. I am a painter.' - How would I fill in the blanks: 'It penetrates so deeply and so gently into me, I feel it and it give me confidence in myself without effort. _____ possesses me. I don't have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: _____ and I are one. I am a _____.

Monday, February 3, 2013: C Graves; Value System; Developmental Psychology; coping with existential reality So I've been wondering about what we're elaborating through our research. Is it a body of practice exploring value? In which which case it would be essentially disparate and diverse, monadic? Or is what we're elaborating a kind of proto value system? I reckon either would work but am more attracted to the former; it could be productive to wrestle with how various values might mesh together--or not.
Looking up "value system" led me to Clare W. Graves' work, his developmental psychology concerned with 'emergent cyclical levels of existence'. Here 'value system' is defined as 'hierarchically-ordered, always open set of morals, ethics, stainers, preferences, belief systems and world view that come together through self-organizing principles to define an individual/group/culture. What's interesting about CG's theory is that it posits that the psychology of a mature human being moves from a level of cultural existence based on current life conditions to a more complex level of response enabling them to cope with existential reality… I like this idea of being skilling up to deal with existential angst, as this strikes me as important work because it's so practical...

Tuesday, February 4, 2013: CMC met this evening. Different groups self-organise in different ways, of course. But this feels really HARD...people cancel frequently...we've yet to generate a body of practice (though we've had many great discussions and perhaps that's enough)...and yet, people still come. While there may be many reasons for this, I'd wager Dave's magnetism has a lot to do with it... It's just a little unfortunate that the regulars (save for yours truly) are all white, middle-aged n middle-class men--and the only immediate difference between them an me is gender.

We've committed to generating some kind of publication related to Marx and Greek art over the next few months. I should mention that it's a gift from Paul - courtesy of his publisher. I'm still nervous about what this 'gifting' will entail. CP is going to read Mauss' work on the gift, where he elaborates the kinds of obligations that it implies. We'll see how this plays in in CMC.

It will be interesting to see if I can figure out a way to work with CMC that's productive for us all. If not, then I've given it my best shot and will focus my energies elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 5, 2013: Translation; Edges. I've been thinking about translation in light of Kenneth Hay's writing on Della Volpe's philosophy. I'm wondering if it's productive to frame 'translation' as a form evaluation? There was this terrific discussion yesterday at the Graduate School's Tea n Cake. We talked about the practice of taste-testing baked goods being essentially middle-class. Neil 'reminisced' about eating sugar and margarine on a slice of Mother's Pride. 'Let them eat bread,' said Neil. So, in a way, we were talking about 'cross-class translation'. Neil's certainly the expert here.

I've also been thinking about 'edges' in light of Mizuko Ito's discussion in About Networked Publics - the Introduction - she connects the value of edges to the E2E architecture of the Internet as both an enabler and a metaphor for value creation at the edges. All this makes me think of permaculture too...

Thursday, February 6, 2013: Art and Life;

  • Article by Anna Dezeuze - looks at the relationship between art n life - specially in ref to the commonplace. Anyway, there's something significant here. She writes: 'Though emphasizing habit, Fluxes establishes a radically different relation to the commonplace.' So there is a recognition of a range of relations to the commonplace. Thinking relations...what are the most common relations of value and art? Catalogue?

Friday, February 7, 2014: Art Research conversation with SS:

  • See Routledge Companion to Research in the's an oldie but a goodie.
  • Interesting stuff happening in Germany, Holland and Switzerland but these centres and their thinking are very new.
  • Assumption on the continent: PBPHs in the UK somehow follow the scientific method/empiricism (?) - a hangover from when?; response: mainland Europe will put more emphasis on the artwork...okay. (The double speak: the UK puts too much priority on the written aspect)
  • All UK institutions are accountable to a framework but it's awfully broad. Lots of room for experimentation...
  • SS doesn't seem convinced there needs to be a text - there just needs to be some kind of apprehension - surprise - something that shifts how you think about things.
  • We were laughing about how irritating it is when someone tells you that you should read so-n-so because you're wrong but either can't or can't be bothered to say why you're wrong and how so-n-so might help to improve your project.

Friday, February 7 - Monday, February 10, 2014: CMC exchange about JVAP invitation

  • Does rapid agreement = groupthink or something else?
  • Group work is's unfolds through certain processes and not others. There are patterns in CMC, some of them productive and others not. What to do when reviewing these patterns isn't embraced as a group project?
  • Who are the winners and who are the losers in this way of working?
  • No real shared memory or sense of what we've learned. The group operates as an end in itself. A vanity project, an affinity group, a friendship network, or?
  • There's an odd sense of time...someone apologised the other day for being out of the loop for a few months. They'd been absent of the better part of two years. Very slow growth - implied in Dave's sense that 'it's too soon; we're not ready' - ongoing deferral? Seems connected to
  • The idea of being able to dip in and out appeals to me. But there's also this sense that no commitment is necessary. In fact, this is explicitly stated on the website. Again, who does this kind of claim benefit?
  • It's very difficult to join the group because there is so much tacit knowledge and no mechanism to share it.
  • The group produces discussions. That's it's main outcome. Is there a way to harness these through some kind of cut n paste?
  • Where's the revolutionary dimension to what we're doing?
  • I'm reading a lot in the supervior's course about establishing clear expectations through some kind of concrete and durable agreement. This hasn't been forthcoming in CP and I can't imagine that it will be, as it could curtail the lack of accountability that seems very much part-n-parcel of the group's practice.

The more I think about it, the more I realise the model that Paul has proposed is a good one: produce work that explores one's experience of working with CMC in contrast to working work with others. I'm wondering how I might use this model to generate a body of material practice that considers how an individual's subjectivity (how my subjectivity) is produced in this group context. Could be interesting...

Sunday, February 9, 2014: Chapman Brothers - Come and See - Serpentine: 29 November 2013 – 9 February 2014 (From the press release - press pack) Come and See will demonstrate the range of the artists’ output - from painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture, to film, music and literature - providing a unique insight into the complexity of their practice and their prolific career. It will be the first exhibition in a London public gallery to encompass the breadth of their work since Chapmanworld at the ICA in 1996.
Jake and Dinos Chapman create iconoclastic sculptures, installations and two-dimensional works that address a wide range of themes including morality, religion, history of art and consumer culture. Their work is provocative and deliberately confrontational, approaching controversial subjects with irreverence and dark humour.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, at Serpentine Galleries said: “Since their surreal and sometimes nightmarish imagery took up residency in our collective subconscious in the early 1990s, Jake and Dinos have continued to prod, provoke and entertain. Whether subverting artists’ original works – including their own – twisting historic narratives or peeling back the surface of consumer-driven culture to reveal the horror and humour that lies beneath, the Chapmans compel us to confront the nagging fears that lie at the dark heart of the Western psyche. Their use of film, music and literature as well as painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture anticipated the multi-disciplinary approach of the 89plus generation for whom they are heroes and trailblazers. We are thrilled that they are exhibiting at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery this winter.”
The Chapmans began collaborating in the early 1990s and first gained attention for their work Disasters of War, a three-dimensional recreation of Goya's series of etchings of the same name, for which they reconstructed Goya's scenes of brutal violence using miniature plastic figurines that they carefully reshaped and painted by hand. Goya, and the Disasters of War particularly, have remained a continued presence in the Chapmans’ work. In 2003, they famously acquired a set of Goya's etchings and altered them, painting clown and cartoon heads over the original faces of the figures. Their large Hell landscapes, such as Hell (2000) and The Sum of All Evil (2012-13), are at once monumental in scale and minutely detailed. These apocalyptic landscapes, teeming with miniature figures, depict scenes of excessive brutality involving Nazi soldiers and, in more recent works, McDonald's characters. The grotesque and often surreal violence of the scenes is offset by the overwhelming detail and painstaking labour evident in these and many of the Chapmans’ works. An exhibition featuring the work of Egyptian artist Wael Shawky runs concurrently at the Serpentine Gallery. Shawky’s and the Chapmans’ work is linked by their employment of models and marionettes to re-cast myths, stories and historical events.
Jake (b. 1966, Cheltenham) and Dinos (b. 1962, London) Chapman were nominated for The Turner Prize in 2003 and have exhibited their work extensively since the 1990s, including recent solo exhibitions at SongEun ArtSpace Museum, Seoul, and PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, (both 2013); The Hermitage, St Petersburg (2012); and Tate Liverpool (2006).

Monday, February 10, 2014 Utopia Evaluation meeting:
Met Charlotte and Steph from the group. Clarifies how CP works through difference - we don't work that way. (Responding to a closed brief; being content providers) - what we do is slower, more response, more reflexive...

  • Concerns about getting 'students' involved - who are they? How will they be invited/come?
  • Creating types of spaces - spaces within spaces - space can reflect the thinking/inhabitation of the people using it
  • Simultaneous interactions - Twitter - but this can be a difficult space to say things in...analogue...continuous communication system... Disruption = tricky - how to think about it in generative terms - recalls Neil's heckling
  • Construction as a 'set' - Claire worked as a set designer - but also load-bearing - sculpture but also utilitarian - surfaces folding and flexing - series of curves that interlock and create a twist
  • Questions around student/staff relations - accreditation and access
  • Could the workshop identify specific skills to share? Transferable skills...scenario thinking...building a better tomorrow
  • Conditions of utopia - talking about it/thinking about conditions that must exist for the conference to have existed - action rather than talking...different types of involvement... Being and being about
  • Tricky = micro-topias in RA - lots of critique there - What are the issues? - also I was reminded of this - that NB explains that contemporary works like RT shouldn't be considered spaces to be walked through but instead as durations to be experienced, where the performative aspect of the work is more imprtant than either objects to be viewed in space or the space of the gallery itself (146). Shift from finished objects to process. It is much more difficult to define what the form of the work actually consists of...
  • We agree to aggregate content on the wiki.

Tuesday, February 11, 2013: Phone call with CS - A&L conference at Chelsea

  • Affirming conversation! I'm not insane - 7 years = chuckle...
  • Marxism = really about ethics - experience of being human
  • We shouldn't be surprised when capitalism acts like capitalism and capitalists act like capitalists
  • A&L put themselves in difficult situations and worked through them...
  • Obstacles
  • There's no point in communicating if our position is fixed
  • Resource: Harrison on A&L
  • Some members of A&L don't talk to each other - Is this some kind of badge of honour? - indicator of personal integrity? A counterpoint to the slipstream of collectivity?
  • Fluxus = the non-collective collective
  • Thesis - meta narrative - Katie Holmes

Tuesday, February 11, 2014: Conversation with KH: knowledge production - critical/creative bureaucracy

  • Art Quest is an amazing resource - but it can be overwhelming and cringy
  • 'As The Academy Turns' by Tiong Ang
  • Thinking about art practice as a sensibility - set of behaviors
  • ‘Painting relates to both art and life… (I try to work in the gap between the two),’ Robert Rauschenberg - thinking about working in London as a specific context - working in the gap - cliches of the London art worlds... also, 'gap year' - 'gap years'

Friday, February 14, 2014: Cranking out the CCW Event Proposal:
Not quite down to the wire; we submitted by 15:00. I'd beavered away last night. Kuba contributed this morning. No doubt it was frustrating for him when I was on the wiki and he couldn't save his changes. Google docs do work better, especially when we many people need to be working on the same doc at the same time. Neil massaged it and Amy and Eva also made contributions.
I'm happy with our submission. Not only is it compelling, it's also substantial--our networks in particular. There's a huge amount of scope there; this could go in many directions; I sense it will come down to who we choose to work with--and don't.
Kuba seems to think that we'd benefit from having an architect. I'm not so sure, as I'm sure we can do the overall plan - that's curatorial work. There may well be structural issues, though...the next fifteen months are going to go very quickly, especially if there's a major funding bid.

Sunday, February 16, 2014: Filing, filing and more filing.
Here are a few things to follow up:

Monday, February 17, 2014: Supervising Research Degrees A
This proved to be a spectacular crush - in part because it had to be submitted via Moodle...which is usually fine. But my password ran out at the 11th hour and had to be reset. It was also shocked that I had to have Acrobat installed on my computer in order to upload. Proprietary software?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014: Publication meeting with Contemporary Marxism Collective:
Tonight's meeting was fine. We've agreed to aggregate content about Marx and Greek art. But then, what? An editorial force will take over? There's going to be vetting involved...but not much discussion about how this is going to play out. I'm wondering if there's not some way for me to generate content that both feeds into this project and has a parallel existence?
Dave texted me afterwards to ask if I was uncomfortable. I wasn't, really. Just slightly miffed that it's always such a palaver to decide where we're going to meet. I was waiting for a text that never came.
Precarious Workers Brigade meeting at Common House: We're preparing for [State of Education Conference] and have agreed the following: 11:00 - 13:00 PWB will be facilitating one of the 19 or so tables for the World Cafe. Our question, which we need to confirm by Sunday, is: 'Vocational education: Learning to labour - learning to craft?' I'm photo doc-ing this session but will also dip into the discussion. Who else would like to facilitate? Andrea has offered to scribe.... Adriana? We thought this might be right up your street. 14:00 - ? (roughly 30-mins per term) Another Roadmap for Arts Education: ‘Glossary of Conflicted Terms’
We're going to facilitate something on 'creative workforce' - the other terms will be 'cultural exchange,' 'arts curriculum,' 'radical education'. There's a desire/interest in introducing each term through some kind of intervention or activity that serves to embody it in some way in contrast to just discussing it.
We'll need to finalise what kind of activity we wish to use to introduce the term as well as how we're thinking about facilitating the 30-min session. It also be would be good to get back to Nelly about this by Sunday.
Some of us are meeting 11:00-13:00-ish at Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 22 of Feb to work through some of this stuff... We'll see how this meeting goes...

Thursday, February 20th, 2014: Utopia Evaluation Workshop at Chelsea with Amy Butt and Charlotte Knox-Williams
NA: Write short summary of the day - how is this a resource going forward? What did we learn?

Friday, February 21, 2014: thinking about evaluation as an everyday practice

  • Phrases to keep in mind
  • the practice and/or poetics of everyday life
  • the tactics/strategies of everyday life
  • the singularity of the actual - this could be really useful for thinking through valorisation/evaluation
  • literal and other forms of art can tell us about the complexity of everyday life

Saturday, February 22, 2014: PWB meeting - RFH - Planning for The State of Education Conference

  • WOLRD CAFE - we'll facilitate the question: 'Vocational education: Learning to labour - learning to craft?'
  • Two-hour session; people coming and going; need someone to help new people cross the threshold - someone who is both inside and outside of the conversation
  • Three acts in a conversation - 30X3 = there will be a massive piece of paper on the floor instead of on a table (recalls the tribunal) - Reflection period within the conversation: Ask people formulate impressions at their session at the end - on post-it notes. These are fed back at the beginning of the next grip. Scribe to identify a couple of questions too. Also an opportunity to feedback on the session - what struck them as useful/helpful—NOT! Scribing - bear in mind that we’re creating ‘posters’ that will be hung to share the discussion - challenge = dual purpose of capturing content and sharing it…why are we producing this on a piece of paper? How is the poster-making a form of craft? Why don’t we just ask people to tweet about it.
  • Notes on ‘craft’ - terms - Dealing with the significance of the terms in isolation and in relation and within the context - neo-liberalism - we can’t have this conversation without thinking about TECHNOLOGY and craft and TIME - No time for digestion - immediate digestion - it’s production with no reflection or else reflection - so there’s also the question of PERFORMANCE

It’s almost as though we’re all being asked to be ‘professionals’ all the time and from the beginning - thinking here about Donald Schon’s emphasis on ‘reflection-in-action’ as distinguishing professionals from apprentices, who rely on ‘reflection-on-action’ to synthesise their knowledge - Why is there so much discussion about this at the moment? Is it relevant? - Could it relate to massive dematerialisation - Hierarchy of value - the crafts person works with their hands instead of their head - the artisan who is the labourer as opposed to the artist who is conceptual - craft - an embodied knowledge, an embodied knowing. Also about learning on the job - very practical/pragmatic It’s hard to be a precarious worker and we aren’t really well prepared to work in this way. Tools - 'Bust Your Boss’ cards - inspirational tool.

  • PWB is in the business of Vocational Education by dint of preparing us for the condition of precarity—preparing us for precarious work. Two-fold preparation - to participate/survive (you’re not alone) but also about subverting/resisting. To do the labour without being exploited by the system.
  • What are you learning in vocational training? - You’re learning about ‘normal’ power relations - you tend to be quite subservient to the governing structures - both because you’re new and because it’s presented as ‘normal’ - You’re learning to fit in - find your place - in the chain of production - this is core to all education—and CLASS - It’s about producing a particular kind of subjectivity - one that’s primed to support the structure - the disciplined subject - PWB is trying to undisciplined - reconfigure/rework that - but is able sticking it to the man? - Learning to survive without being paid - way of circumscribing cultural production of a particular kind - what’s the relationship between ‘internships' and 'vocational training’? - To what extent are ‘internships’ complicit in de-skilling? If what you’re getting in an ‘internship’ is learning/being immersed in a culture—in a social order—then perhaps what you’re being trained to do is socially reproduce the organisation in which you’re placed…but at the expense of learning some kind of very specific/well-paid skill?
  • The importance of speaking from life experience


  • We're going to facilitate something on 'creative workforce' - the other terms will be 'cultural exchange,' 'arts curriculum,' 'radical education'. There's a desire/interest in introducing each term through some kind of intervention or activity that serves to embody it in some way in contrast to just discussing it. We'll need to finalise what kind of activity we wish to use to introduce the term as well as how we're thinking about facilitating the 30-min session. It also be would be good to get back to Nelly about this by Sunday.
  • Karen has a lot of experience with drama - doing warm-up games. We’ll likely have a dance studio

We could also do a scale…continuum… 'Creative' and ‘Workforce’ - We talk about using the ‘mapping your working life’ exercise in the counter guide - making it 3-D (evidence/crime scene tape) - If we go with four points - what would they be

  • How are we thinking about creative workforce?

Working definition: ‘The people engaged in or available for work, either in a country or area or in a particular firm or industry’ - the body of workers - Is it a passive role? Is the ‘force’ in workshop instrumentalised for some other aim? PWB would likely talk about ‘workers’ - emphasis on people - individuals - What’s the relationship between the 'creative class’ and ‘creative workforce’? Do we want to re-appropriate 'workforce’? - In terms of an average day, is what you do closer to ‘creativity’ or ‘workforce’?

  • What are people representing when they locate themselves on the scale. What do you spend most of your time on? What do you value most?

Embodied workers enquiry? Perhaps we’ll start as one group and locate ourselves in relation to ‘creative’ and ‘workforce’ - Question:In an average week, is your labour more aligned with 'being creative' or with being part of the ‘workforce’? How do we bring it back to individuals? Ask questions about how they’re locating themselves on the spectrum/map and why? After we’ve done the large-group exercise, we then split into two smaller groups and do use the one that’s in the guide Using stickies? How? Perhaps use to self-reflect on their position within the structure? Or they address the question of import - What important questions/issues/concerns/etc. has this session? Feedback - and asking people to put their post-it notes up... ACTIONS:

  • To come up with 3 or so questions for the diagram - asking people how to locate themselves on the continuum…connected to ‘creative’ and ‘workforce’
  • To come up with 3 or so questions for the diagram - asking people how to locate themselves on the continuum…connected to ‘flexibility/stability’ and ‘luxury/poverty'

Tuesday, February 25, 2014: Richard Deacon in conversation with Nicholas Logsdail

Sunday, February 23: Skype meeting with Ben about the website

  • We agree the landing/live project/project archive
  • We discuss getting the map and the chronology organised

Wednesday, February 24: C-M-C: Discussion of Greek Art, PWB meeting - Commons Course - 16 Beaver
The Commons Course - with Renee, Ayreen (16 Beaver) and Friends:
- I'm still confused who hosted this meeting - if it wasn't PWB, then why were we putting out chairs, etc. - There was a photocopy that came with this but I didn't get a copy
- Note the thinking around 'the course'- as a site, etc. - Followups: Michael Taussing on Baptism of Money, David Harvey on Money, David G on Debt, Comments: Useful to start mapping some of the issues - share thinking, etc.

  • Awkwardness of beginning: Perhaps someone has another way to be begin - like the most frustrated person in the room - the most optimistic person in the room. There’s always an awkwardness to start. Meeting and greeting - bringing apples - finding a common language - figure out our relationship to ideas
  • Space for Discussion: Thinking about an horizon of struggle and what that might be - thinking that if something could happen in Tunisia, it could happen anywhere. It’s about opening up a terrain
  • Transformation: Speaking yourself into a process and it changes you…fabulatory…what we give time to isn’t neutral…
  • Beyond good and evil commons - David Graeber - publicising his book on debt…thinking about a negative commons - question of debt - what we can negate and affirm at the same time.
  • Different moments - student struggles had already had peaked - the riots - the course - a way to connect practices and our readings together - 16 Beaver
  • Artistic Practice: How art and creative processes can open up critical thinking...
  • Questions around instituting: There are really no institutions of the commons (?) - what kinds of institutions of the commons can exist? A course - also thinking about it as a place - as a site - it’s more like a place/time where a group of people could think about this thing and contest it together…critique…all the limitations that we confront in our own imaginary - we often revert structures/habits. Can we think about institutions - we need an alternative - not necessarily buildings but space - there have been many interesting experiments…It’s beyond the idea of working as an exchange institution. We don’t want to wait, we want to live in a different way, we can to create something now.
  • Collectivity and imagination: To imagine a very different political configuration - can’t be done on your own - not easy - beyond cuts - thinking about conjoining different practices
  • What's involved in thought: Sometimes there’s a violence in thought - rupturing preconceived notions - creating space for other types of thought - questions of perception -
  • Work around the commons:Lots lot different people are doing work around the commons. Undercommons rather than commons - material and immaterial commons Disjointed and not in agreement - what kinds of confirmations/practices could allow us to make our lives more commensurable? In our struggle? Developing a collective intelligence
  • Commons course: A commons course could situate ourselves in different contexts - perhaps it’s something that we can continue and carry on. A course - also thinking about it as a place - as a site - it’s more like a place/time where a group of people could think about this thing and contest it together…critique…all the limitations that we confront in our own imaginary - we often revert structures/habits. The course in New York (a little history) David Harvey’s course on Money - emphasis on urban processes in his work - people have a critique of capital but when it comes to the everyday… thinking about whether or not money is intrinsically problematic? It’s been a double structure - as a social relationship, not as something neutral. And then opening to an imaginary. It’s something in our everyday life that’s not often talked about. (Very much connects to CP's thinking too.)

There's also the question of caring for the course... How do we know each other - Radical Intention How art and creative processes can open up critical thinking...

  • A few more thoughts about the course: Is it contemporary? Or is it historical?It's both… looking at it from various perspectives. But not really historical… more understanding the concept - we’re using it everyday (commons/money) but don’t really understand it. Wanted to be more thorough. Always wanting to have a tangent - for example, reading Capital.
  • The Common House: is a space collectively run by several collectives - primarily for self-defined radical collectives - started about a year ago - sustainable space. Experiment to create a common space. Groups - always moving from different homes - how can 'We think about holding this space?’ Emphasis on shared food - open meeting - come and share strategies and ideas and thinking and to discuss the politics…The 'real conditions’ - this is a rented space by a landlord.
  • Money (see also above) In a leftist trajectory - two main camps - people’s money - money for everyone and also an abolitionist community - withdrawing from money - thinking about economy - scrutinise aspects of money that are so corrosive. Things are reduced to some account at the end. Looking at manifestations of the money and the social power. Thinking about primitive accumulation. Michael Taussig - cross-cultural…The Baptism of Money (?) fieldwork in Columbia - communities that have money differently and when money comes in - different strategies for dealing with that money - devil’s pack - selling your labour for money. Processes like that are really interesting because they can open up different relations to money.
  • David’s text on fetish - traders - seeing that same things as idols - it’s about this interweaving of religion/faith/economics - this frees you in your political activities…general assemblies…about distributing money…as soon as there was money there needed to be accountants and suspicion. In Hondurus - people in the village - helping them to do math - money is not important and neither was accounting - there was a moneyless economy - it was resonating with the Taussig story
  • Accounting:Over-emphasis on the numbers - our appreciation of things, processes, human presence, time…everything can be exchangeable with a number. Method of abstraction - way of grabbing money…this is where the question of the commons comes in. The very basis of life…people work and they work to earn money and the basic things…work…often people aren’t doing something meaningful and it’s just translated into money. There is the question of scale - public
  • Different types of social structure: Hierarchy - command; Exchange; Love/commoning…different logic It could be a question of trying to think about how these things might be enhanced in our day-to-day, our lived social field. We feel the urgency of how we’re talking about these things… There is an aspiration to see what it means, to live according to these questions.
  • Culture: A major thing when we’re talking about thinking and reading is culture. The culture is the institution that creates a force of fighting with this corrosive aspects - this produces an ethics. Why can’t we do it differently? It’s actively being broken - Africa and the use of land - Western institutions come in and show them how to use it differently. Interested in what we don’t see, or don’t know…

Questions of Urban/rural: Rural and/or urban - here is also the material and immaterial commons…One of the challenges of organising an economy in the city - the city has be come so hegemonic - create a parallel economy to the one in which we’re living…for instance, growing your own food. It’s time for people who are interested in these practices to leave the cities.

  • Marking action - dropping out - phrase: 'I don’t really know what I think about it… It’s the horizontal platform….'
  • Managerial - become a service model - hot to reinject
  • There’s potential to find more solidarities…
  • Social practice…what’s the relationship
  • Examples of Commons:
  • The New Cross Commons - use texts to inspire themselves and think differently. Always try and turn theory into practice right away. Thinking about the New Cross Library - communing as a way of struggling…space is the crucial issue…that’s what they want…rented the space off a priest…
Occupy and Hurricane: There was Occupy and then there was the hurricane - occupy Sandy - helping people who had suffered from the hurricane - meshwork’s of mutual aid - made the state look totally incompetent and ridiculous - something crazy happening - desire to common - because the structures were so fixed, all the value was being returned to private interest.. (felt so much like secular religion) There was a lot of energy to common but at the end, there were not the situations where that situation could actually build something common. The worst example - migrant resource centre in S Island - donating their labour - ended up cleaning up after rich people - communing under the norms of capitalist reality - it’s a really precarious situation - that’s the minefield we’re in - we’re all implicated in coming up with challenges…there’s a the problem with the commons being integrated into future capitalist developments - Occupy - critique - taking on work that the state should be doing. If the critique isn’t radical enough, it can play into the wrong hands… The Big Society… How does what we’re doing compare/contrast to the Big Society? Secular religion? Occupy - we didn’t really know what we wanted…but it’s about trying to understand the social conditions
Living in this fraught place - operating within a capitalist framework - not wishing to crumble but struggling to keep going... Trying to understand our own struggles. The big challenge: doing it in relation to capitalist framework - otherwise it’s futile - this is the challenge…
The People’s Kitchen - It’s not about doing charity. Dealing with the other - the not so privileged other - charity-like relationship - the difficulty of undoing these types of patterns
MayDay Rooms

Planning for State of Education

  • De proffesioanlisation - unpicking training
  • The common thing within commoning - knowledge production -
  • How art and creative processes can open up critical thinking...


  • complicity<>autonomy/criticality
  • imaginary - creative workforce
  • depends on chance - a lot - trying n testing both
  • hoping to learn something that could be used outside of work
  • WHO is the creative workforce?
  • affective worker mass
  • creating within boundaries that are difficult to perceive - illusion of freedom
  • not much space for imaginary - ie. imagining alternatives
  • describes a group but not always an empowered one
  • descriptive phrase comes from without
  • quality versus quantity
  • contains a 'must do' - or must exist somewhere
  • movement/paralysis
  • co-option of creativity
  • creative management of culture
  • the valve of creativity
  • category to fill--a box--a space in the productive system
  • constructed productive creative
  • illusion of solidarity
  • new capitalists dream of work that's not possible
  • withdrawing creative labour - art strike
  • artist's village
  • Who are these people?
  • Who is capturing us? - language as a form of capture
  • What are the practices organizing the creative workforce? Just-in-time production, precarity...and...
  • workforce as a mass - workpower - worker's power
  • flexiblbe, bending, productive, controllable
  • hub
  • It may be 'creative' but it's not necessarily creatively reflexive
  • need for care - little space
  • speed - forced to creatively produce at a very high speed
  • being exploited without realizing it
  • disconnect between how the group is described how it self-imagines
  • incubators of culture
  • social position of artist in gentrification
  • latent force
  • depends on resistance - as capacity/strength/persistence
  • human resource
  • monolithic
  • always having to invent
  • starts - engages a process or self - production - modes of being
  • What does it mean to strike? What does it mean for a mother to strike?
  • It feels physical.
  • no space - boundaries, boundaried.
  • atomization
  • connect to earlier invitation
  • stories associated with term
  • what does it produce?
  • Are you part of the creative workforce?
  • regeneration
  • rejuvenating capital
  • imperative to creative/to work
  • disciplinary
  • homogenizing culture
  • Do you identify self with this term? Would others identify you with this term?
  • Consciousness raising
  • (Re)calls for a subjective subjectivity but doesn't care much about it (really) the living thing


March 10, 2014: A few reflections on where CP is going...

  • Looking at the Creativeworks - Creative Voucher Program - looking at demonstrating value - this initial phase of funding March 17, 2014 but this doesn't matter in any event because we haven't been trading for 18 months. But does CP need to set up as a business?

March 25, 2014: Meeting with Claire and Utopographies - Day 1:
Meeting with Claire Heafford

  • very intense meeting

Utopographies - Day 1: - We arrived at around 10:00 - Neil, Dan, Claire and I spent the morning amusing ourselves--playing tethered ping pong was a highlight. Neil has crafted some harnesses (cords, rings and caribbeans) that we clipped into (off of belt loops). I thought for sure these experiments playing doubles ping pong would end in tears (and that I'd likely be the one crying) but there were no injuries that I'm aware of. A few more highlights:

  • Dan being very reassured that all his cables had arrived
  • Using the tether to create a kind of net; getting the ball into the correct 'triangle'...
  • Modulating speeds during the game - playing slowly but then rushing after wayward balls. Claire yelling 'Run!' proved a good directive
  • The ball getting trapped in one of the walls, necessitating that we tip it back and retrieve using an expensive mic arm
  • Watching teammates develop new games that resembled a kind of squash played with ping pong kit but off the backs of walls and plinths
  • All about cords and nets: cables for the PA, the pingpong net, the harnesses, the analogue pulleys, etc.


May 5, 2014:

May 6, 2014:

  • Working at Courtside has its privileges.
  • Peer reviewing - involves learning how to peer-review.

May 11, 2014:

May 16, 2014:

May 21, 2014:

  • Presentation on CP and Resilience for the Centre of Resilience - there was an interesting comment about tacit practice - and how recursiveness is core to CP's resilience. Excellent dinner at Brunswick House - sat across from Laura and next to David Dibosa. We spoke about the death being visualized - touch is severed - we laughed about David never having seen Ghost. We also spoke about the subversive potential of humour - followup my notes from the and contrast satire and parody... There was also tremendous discussion around the potential of analogy - Dave Beech and Malcolm's forte.

May 22, 2014

May 23, 2014:

  • Playing phone tag with Andreas Lang to get the cycle tour set.
  • Meeting with Lucy and Sian to discuss relations...

May 24, 2014:

  • Textiles, Labour, Protest and Value - arrived late as a result of Book of Mormon - How did the event unfold? A play-by-play... - How did the event advance CP's work on values/evaluation? Kuba was critical of making a banner without a protest... creativity for creativity's sake. It's true that it was difficult to read the subtitles and sew...I'll have to watch the film at a later date. Here are my notes on the film.

May 25, 2014:

May 27, 2014:

  • Thinking about project management - on other wiki.

May 27, 2014:

Everyones an Author.png


June 2, 2014:

  • Wrestling with how critique is functioning the script and OVBH - Immanent Critique and Dialectical Mimesis in Adorno and Horkeimer's Dialectic of Enlightenment
  • Looking at Artist as Startup 2.0 - questions of note: How does the availability of new tools affect the work that new media artists are making? How does the ability to make something 'look real' change what is made by artists? How does this relate to the Situations current that runs through early Internet art? What does it mean to place art into the context of daily life online, and how does this relate to historical engagements with the quotidian (Fluxus, Life-Art, Public Art, etc.) What does it mean to use the specialized tools of a large corporation to make art? Where is the edge between art and software development, and is this an important distinction? And lastly, what is the role of the use value of new media art? These are good questions for CP too. Here's my scan.

June 5, 2014:

June 6, 2014:

  • Nice visit today with Vivi and Scott Schwager. In response to CP's ongoing research on value, Vivi suggested that we look at Herzberg's work on motivational factors, which connects to Maslow's hierarchy. She also recommended that we look at Stephen Kerr's work on motivation and values, which are set down in his paper, On the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B. - this seems connected to some work that I'm doing around evaluation as a method/methodology.

June 7, 2014:

Return to Post-doc * Post-doc timeline * Main Page

Library List:

  • Della Volpe's
  • The Routledge Companion to Research in the Art
  • The SAGE Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses: SAGE Publications

Good ideas; knows how to realize them


  • Northrop Fry
  • Ask Dave and Kim about Hay's comment vis-a-vis the difficult unity
Evaluation is a broad theme. Exploring it responsively could be a way to develop thinking around the main issues. By this I mean, responding to events/occasions/impulses occurring simultaneously with the research (a exhibition at Tate, for instance; a news story; a development in my personal life, etc.) and then threading them through our more directed pursuit. It will be interesting to consider the ways in which these developments inform each other.