Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Place of Writing.

I am sitting in a week. 1

gallery space which is also a void 2 : a passage to other levels of the institution. Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London.

A passage in writing.

Passage through Educational systems: Critical Writing in Art and Design Program RCA, in the case of the writers involved.

Sculptural Marble passage above the gallery space: A passage giving a historical account of a happening from antiquity, documenting an event passed.     

It is apt that John Dummett should set up his ‘writing hut’ 3 in this space to open up discourse on the directions which a previous happening has led him in. 4 In this previous collaboration a group of writers in residence were invited to react to An Art event - Art leading to writing.

Heaving steps passing. Pages turn, scraping paper. Seagulls squawk. 5

Here we, the artists, have been invited to react to An Event. 6 Artist’s reacting to writing. Paradoxically this has let me to want to make visual work, or audio as the case may be, and this has left me wondering about the difference, isn’t it all art anyway?

Dummett’s work brings a particular physicality into writing. Not so much the performance of writing but in the exposure of the organic working out of thoughts. The many pathways in which knowledge is subsumed. The giving of a thought by a space (space in which social relations take place); the working out- the kneading through of the thoughts as if they were objects, in that space.

Comparisons can be made of Dummett's work with Brian Dillon’s text I am Sitting In a Room, Published by Cabinet 24 hour Book series 2011, a project in which a number of writers each are invited to produce a book in 24 hours. Dillon chose to conduct his writing in situ, in Cabinets Gallery Space in Brooklyn NYC, which was open to the public throughout the performance. However Dummonds work feels like a wholly less singularly involved activity then the ‘I’ in a room. It is instead reflecting the actual nature of the writer reacting to the world. In the Hockney Gallery we saw Dummond’s attempt at opening up the processes of thought: The movement around the thinking space; the taking of thoughts out of the head and reassembling them again in a line. That is writing. This opening up of the process of thought ultimately is more interesting and more giving up of its mysteries than an end product, inspiring a true collaboration: an interaction leading to another interaction and the by-product - knowledge.

Brain Dillion in his conversation with Jane Rendell and Sally O Reilly in the RCA on the 27th of March, under the title of Writing in Situ, Site writing; wonders if the tendency to want to open up the writing process to the user (viewer/reader) is not to insist Narcissist importance of the performative central figure of the writer but a desire to collaborate with the user. This notion seems defunct considering the collaborators in the writing of Brian Dillon’s ‘I am sitting in a room’ preformed more as support system, tools even, in the writing, less as influencing collaborators; as if one were collaborating with a pen. A pen has no agency. It cannot react unpredictably, it cannot react as a collaborator, not even as an environment does, redirecting your thoughts. Interesting also is that Dillion talks of having found a Place to write, eventually he was able to retreat into his thoughts, and was able to create the distance from his environment and his spectators to continue writing in a highly charged environment, much as a runner does. It seems to have been a sort of writhing marathon.

Being out of place is a very productive situation in which to write. To ignore the desire to want to find the perfect isolated situation in which to write is very seductive however writing has a sense of contiguity7, not actually going to a particular predesigned place mentally or bodily but working with whatever happens to land next to what. Writing is a thought process, a collaboration with the innumerable experiences which lead to knowledge, as with art.  

A man fixes the fence outside the window the next garden up. He uses an electric drill, the sound is distracting. Now he ties back up the washing line to the fencing and in doing so straightens the fence again.

Here the writer finds herself out of Place and writing first in 9 Talbot square, now in the kitchen of her flat, later in the library, later again her bedroom; Out of Place as an Artist writing.8

Being out of place is a mind-set .But it is not just in the private nesting places where writing is done that I am referring to here, but the fringes between the subject matter studied. The artist is frequently the itinerant scholar. Jack of all trades, never on your own turf always collecting knowledge to be used for personal expression, but in this there lies a problem, a tendency to simply skim over, not deeply understanding a subject field before making connections with others and moving on. Thankfully however it is within these spaces of collaboration, the most mongrel of connections can father invention.

1. Here the writer is referencing the writing in Situ discussion with Brian Dillon, Sally O Reilly and Jane Rendell, RCA. London 27/03/2012. In particular with Dillon’s reflections on Site Writing in his text 'I am Sitting in a Room' Cabinet Books.2011.
2 The trace of an event. Audio recording, Hockney Gallery. Sinead Bligh 2012. Click on title to play track.
3. In reference to Heiddegger’s hut, a secluded site grounded in the countryside in which the philosopher wrote.
4: An Action of Words was a Writers in residence parallel project to A Cut A Scratch A Score: A Comic Opera in Three Parts by David Barnett, Sam Belinfante and Bruce Mclean at the Cooper Gallery in October 2011.
5: Observations marked in Blue indicate disruptions to the writers train of thought whist in the library
6: An Event is a collaboration with An Action of Words, the Cooper Gallery’s off site project at the Royal College of Art, London by the critical writer Ajay Hothi and the artists and critical writers John Dummett and Christina Manning Lebek.
7.Sally O Reilly and Jane Rendal in the discussion Writing in Situ, describe the formulation of writing as having a form of contiguity, with space also being a contributing element. Here the writer agrees and believes this also demonstrates the way in which knowledge in general is subsumed.
8:Observations marked in Red indicate disruptions to the writers train of thought whilst in her flat.

day 2 of collaborating with An Event, Royal College of Art.

doors rca , 1

entrance to an educational institution,  2

1: Please click on link in blue to hear the sound file.

2:High speed media is increasingly becoming a space in which we receive and share our knowledge, (for good and for ill) through blogging I wish to explore this collaboration between media and knowledge and to open up the educational collaboration which the writing of a dissertation involves. It is an attempt at a different mode of learning for the user (reader/viewer), and myself. Blogs also can be added to, as with knowledge, a sense of reordering as new knowledge is acquired. This action also opens up a private process, the examination process, in an attempt to ignite future collaboration with this subject matter and the wider public. To make porous the institution.

the space forming thought.

source sounds from 

9 talbot square 1


source of though in 9 talbot square

'What about architectural spaces, are different kinds of architectural space associated with
different emotional states? Bachelard has spoken of topo-analysis, the space of the poetic
imagination and the importance of particular kinds of spaces to reverie and day dreaming,
such as stairs, shells, cabinets. Most obviously we have the cave, a place of security and
shelter which we can enter and be protected by. But places of refuge can also be prisons if you can’t get out and castles if you can’t get in. And then there are threshold spaces – windows, walls, doors, screens – architectures of the boundary between inside and outside, between inner and outer world.' 3



 6 7

1: Sound recording the space for thinking; 9 Talbot Square. Audio response to the space by Sinead Bligh. Please click on link to play the track.
2:View looking up from 9 Talbot Square, the shape of the space.
3: Jane Rendell, Déjà vu: real and imagined space in the work of Cristina Iglesias, Whitechapel Gallery, London, April 2003.
4: Written response to the space by Sinead Bligh.
5:Visual response to the space by Rowan Richardson, over time the tape plans peeled from the wall, the space reclaiming back its previous territory, giving us only our duration.
6/7:Visual response to the space by Joanne MacFadyen which intertwined the space and the collaborating interactions, creating its own narrative.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Between 9 Talbot Square and the Hockney Gallery

'It's a back and forth rhythm that moves between indoors and outdoors.'1

I am interested in the spaces we, the 'shadow group', are using to be 'in conversation' and 'participate in three parts'. 

Again, this theme of three has arisen with the number of spaces we are working in: the small courtyard-type space outside our kitchen, the Hockney Gallery and an Online space including Twitter and this Blog. I am aware of the different boundaries each one presents and how these boundaries never prevent us from using a fourth space, our mind.  The mind is key to our engagement with any space. This then raises issues of going public: what we keep in that space that opens up in our mind when we engage with something, and what we choose to share.

I am interested in how we, the shadow group, are choosing to materialise our individual thoughts in these spaces, which is going public, but in doing this our thoughts shift in different environments and we are influenced by each others different points of view. 

9 Talbot Square: Looking up through the eyes of Sinead, Rowan and Jo

The Hockney Gallery: Boundaries

'But Places of refuge can also be prisons if you can't get out and castles if you can't get in.  And then there are threshold spaces - windows, walls, doors, screens - architectures of the boundary between inside and outside, between inner and outer world."2

1.  Referencing Jane Rendell in her essay [(The Reassertion of Time Into) Critical Spatial Practise, One Day Sculpture, A New Zealand-Wide Series of Temporary Public Artworks] Accessed on 26.03.2012,, where she quotes "Earth" (1969) symposium at White Museum, Cornell University, in Flam, Robert Smithison, p.178
2.  Referencing Jane Rendell (Déjà vu: real and imagined space in the work of Cristina Iglesis Cristina Iglesias, Whitechapel Gallery, London, April 2003. Accessed on 27.03. 2012, 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hockney Gallery, RCA.

Writing something private, publicly.

On the peripherals, moving outward

Some images from today's initial visit to the Hockney Gallery at the RCA. These are the routes leading to and from the space, which in itself is a passage through the RCA near the entrance.  The dynamics of the space give rise to a transient engagement from the public.

Something i am working on from today's disscussions, more later.

consideration of the space for talk.

first passage

Hockney Gallery, RCA. 1st day of the shadow groups interaction with An Event. Monday 26th. 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

9 Talbot Square.

From and Beyond Four Walls

9 Talbot Square.

Between Public and Private


9 Talbot Square.

the talking space.

the thinking chair,

thinking thoughts,

thoughts concerning the cyclical nature of knowledge and how it relates to an art event, its ability to initiate discourse, an agent for change in perception or not,

thoughts about what is knowledge,

taking the epistemology,

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Preparations are underway for a DJCAD visit to Collaborating with an Event

We met with MFA students Joanne, Rowan and Sinead yesterday to discuss their trip down to the Royal College of Art and involvement in Collaborating with an Event next week. This project is an extension of the Writers in Residence programme - An Action of Words which took place alongside the exhibition and event project A CUT A SCRATCH A SCORE - a comic opera in three parts last October in Dundee.
The three original Writers in Residence, John Dummett, Ajay AS Hothi and Christina Manning Lebek, have devised an exhibition in progress and events to take place at the RCA between 26 and 29 March 2012. 

Here's a link to the writers' blog while they were in residence with us:

and here are some photos of salons and discussions during A CUT A SCRATCH A SCORE.

(Photos: Ross Fraser McLean)

Monday, 19 March 2012

First Annual Fun A Day Dundee.

(better late than never blog post)

Building on the artclash! collective's 8 year strong Fun A Day tradition ( I organized an event here in Dundee.

I made a blog,, and spread the word. Starting
January 1st, and continuing all month long, anyone was invited to participate in making a
daily artwork. The month flew by. I was making a warming device a day (from hats and haikus to hearty soups) others were putting together musical loops, venturing outdoors, moving their body, drawing portraits, or writing epigrams.

With the help of Sophia and Laura, as part of the Student Curatorial Team, I readied The Bradshaw Art Space in DJCAD for the exhibition debut on Friday February 24, 2012. It went very well. Loads of people came to see what the 15 participants had been up to. There was a debut performance of Katy Meehan's 'A Red Day', the release party for The Satellite Zine's 6th issue, and The Courier even came down to snap a picture.

I want to say how proud I am that this was a success. The Fun A Day tradition will continue in Dundee, so keep on the lookout next Fall as we ramp up for 2013. You can also email us at to be added to our mailing list.

Morgan Cahn

Monday, 12 March 2012

Symbols and Symbolism Exhibition

As part of the Student Curatorial Team, Kerry Lindsell and Sofia Khan would like to invite you to the Opening night of the Symbols and Symbolism Exhibition, Thursday 15th March from 5pm to 7pm in the Lower Foyer Gallery.

The exhibition will run from Friday 16th March - Wednesday 28th March.

The aim of this exhibition is to highlight the vast range of symbolic communication within contemporary art.