Hello dear CAG Blog readers,
My name is Kevin Day. I am one of the new curatorial interns who just joined the Contemporary Art Gallery this month. Today I had the privilege of taking Ron Tran’s A Way to Go, an off-site project involving a guided tour of the artist’s earlier experience of walking through the downtown area. The following are some thoughts I had while taking the tour.
As I came to Emery Barnes Park and listened to the interview with the caretaker of the fountain, there was an uncanny doubling as I was confronted with the feeling that the caretaker was right there talking beside me, yet concurrently, with the realization that he is at that very moment, elsewhere, operating the fountain’s machinery.
At numerous times, I made mental notes to myself that what the artist saw and experienced contrasted with what I was experiencing, such as the realization that the section between Richards and Seymour at Drake was closed off today for construction, relieving myself of the dread and danger of crossing the street that was most likely faced by Tran. Other difference included the fact that “Screaming Alley,” for me, exuded not so much screaming as its most evident trait but a strong waft of fresh laundry, and how in that same alley I did not find five dollars like Tran did but instead a red suitcase.
At Davie and Red Scarf Alley where the artist directed us towards the Found Balloon, I followed Tran’s exact point of view and movements as I watched the video of the balloon traversing the streets.
A constant sentiment that occurred to me throughout the walk was how the two distinct times/experiences (between the artist’s idiosyncratic journey and my own) forcefully merge together, simultaneously and paradoxically, even as their distinction is made evident.
The tour came to an end with an accompanying song, highlighting the common contemporary condition of not just looking at one’s phone all the time (as made evident and necessary throughout the tour), but listening to music everywhere as well, giving the semblance of having a perpetual personal soundtrack.
Here is an audio sample of A Way to Go.
Designed by James Langdon,Has Man A Function In Universe? is part of an ongoing project begun in 2002 to develop forty projects related to forty questions written by R. Buckminster Fuller. Each project is an artwork or a combination of artworks, developed in response to one of the questions. Of all the questions ‘Has Man A Function In Universe?’ may be the key that binds and directs all of the other questions. Gavin Wade has commissioned artists and writers to respond to this question using a combination of text and image.
The publication will reflect the process of the project – an ‘exquisite corpse’ involving collaboration, dissemination and the combining of works.
Edited and designed by James Langdon, this is the fifth draft user's manual for Eastside Projects, a free public gallery in Birmingham opened in September 2008, that is being imagined and organised by artists. It explains what the organisation is made of, how it was set up, who it is for, how it can be used and what it can offer. As would be the case when operating a machine or learning a subject, a manual may be necessary for the full use of of Eastside Projects. In this draft, the manual is structured as an alphabetical compendium of verbs. Each of these interconnected entries describes an activity engaged in by Eastside Projects as an organisation or a process occurring in the Eastside Projects building. Beneath each entry is a prompt to the reader to follow one of multiple narrative paths through the text. Readers unfamiliar with Eastside Projects should begin at Describing. Others suggested starting points Welcoming, Exhibiting, Narrating, Complicating, integrating.MORE
This book compiles research produced at five 'A School for Design Fiction' workshops at London College of Communication (London), Fahrenheit 39 (Ravenna, IT), Konstfack (Stockholm), Registration School (London) and Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), with contributions from Peter Nencini, Francesco Pedraglio, Samara Scott and Batia Suter.MORE
Conceived and designed by James Langdon with Peter Nencini and Gavin Wade, this is the sixth draft manual for Eastside Projects, a free artist-run public gallery in Birmingham opened in September 2008. The sixth draft - in the form of a story for children - describes an alternative to the cycle of urban erasure and renewal. In the iconic 1972 publication ‘Adhocism’, architectural historian Charles Jencks wrote: “... the environment should preserve a record of past action, so that present and future actions may become intelligible.” In this spirit Eastside Projects proposes to initiate a new planning policy for Birmingham — informed by values of accumulation, complexity and story-telling — to make a more ‘legible’ environment.MORE
As part of Responsive Subjects, A School for Design Fiction convened on November 8, 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig. This itinerant school employs the curious genre of ‘design fiction’ to assert storytelling as the primary function of design, assuming that every artefact has the potential to express the character of the culture that produced it. This publication documents and expands on the founding of the school through a series of imagined scenarios. These include a drama at the printer for architect Augustus Pugin in 1836, the history of the universe as observed on an English hillside in 1937, the first human trial of split brain surgery in California in 1961, and a Scottish speech synthesis studio in 2013. As the CAG's contribution to the Vancouver Design Week 2014, James Langdon conducted a three day workshop exploring narrative approaches to design, a series of connected exercises subjecting a collection of found materials to various manual and conceptual processes.MORE
This catalouge has been published on the occasion of the installation Wheel of Everyday Life by artist Gunilla Klingberg at Rice Gallery from January 31st to March 13th, 2013. Through covering up entire architectural spaces with ornate, circular patterns that were constructed from everyday logos and brands and resemble sacred mandalas, the artist explores her interest in consumerism and forms of Eastern spirituality. The publication contains a foreword by director Kimberly Davenport and an article by Houston-based arts writer Kelly Klaasmeyer.MORE