On Saturday 29 November 2014, Cooper Gallery presented the Roundtable Discussion The Process of Content: on a temporality in contemporary art. Drawn from the proposition that the work of Anna Oppermann acts as 'a practice of thinking', the roundtable discussion was a stimulating gathering of thoughts that elaborated and amplified the histories, politics and social reverberations of art practices in the 1970s and 80s, and the influence and impact they have on our thinking about art and culture today. The event included invited speakers Guy Brett (Curator and Critic, London), Lynda Morris (Curator and Art Historian, Norwich), Tobi Maier (Curator and Writer, São Paulo), Prof. Martin Warnke & Carmen Wedemeyer (Researchers, Leuphana University Lüneburg) and was chaired by Dr. Lisa Otty (Research Fellow, The University of Edinburgh). For more information please see here.
Accompanying the Roundtable Discussion was a series of readings from art writers in Scotland: Frances Davis, Kirsty Hendry, Alex Hetherington, Catherine Street & JL Williams, and Richard Taylor. This is the second in our series of blog posts on Cooper Gallery Notes to publish the texts from each of the writers who presented their readings at the event.
Kirsty Hendry reading '~self~storage~'. Photo: Kathryn Rattray
Notes on the reading during the Roundtable discussion on Saturday 29 November 2014.
Kirsty Hendry presented her reading in front of the projection of a still image, which read '<body>'. This image remained for the entire reading.
Structural and systemic conflation of being and body.
Falsely pinned down by the perceived solipsism of being a body -
- as if being a body isn’t political
- as if being a body can ever be an individualistic pursuit
- as if ‘I’ must always be confessional
For anything afflicted with such a filthy pronoun could never have socio-political resonance
The personal, performed politics of gesture is not a quantifiable data set, and as such, a ‘useful tool’ for engraining ‘P’olitics as something happening elsewhere. Beyond any-body but through the sprawling and expanded bodies of power. Corpulent forms grossly inflect the shape of social structures - their dominance derived from their agency to define (and thereby confine) others corporeally.
Ever suspecting of pseudonyms, anonymity, guises - for identity is useful collateral. Be yourself becomes a soft command that is both affective and linguistic, as if a knowing presentation of self can ever be authentic. Through a veneer of protecting and advocating authenticity, their carefully curated norms duplicitously govern the production of a subject - for the production of subjectivity is a lucrative commodity for the attention economy.
In the fallacious pursuit of authenticity, meaning is contingent on the complicity and coercion of time-sharing . . . recognising a piece of reality is engendering a piece of reality.
The body is resistant to these forms of templating - it distends its own edges by the very fact that its is incapable of rendering it’s own perimeters. It’s edges drawn by the spatial/temporal matrix that it can only ever fleetingly occupy - contributing to a rapidly changing entity.
body, bodies, <body> ~ perspectival construction of space
A future self enmeshed in textual anatomy.
Placed into abyss; the body is not conductor but aggregate accumulation, a templum that reveals a social and political shape. Not total embodiment but captured dismemberment
Reassembled it defeatedly gestures ‘I am this thing’ . . . estranged by its own recursive entanglement of simultaneous resemblance/dissimilarity.
The consumption and regurgitation of narration serves to unbind the confessional ‘I’, admonishing its demands for urgent smoothness. Untethered from the individual accountability that the market so desired, in it’s place stands a reconstituted public ‘I’ - for any-body can masquerade as ‘I’. This public ‘I’ co-opts the structures that were intended to govern it. ‘I’ becomes an algorithmic aggregator concealed within a generic pronoun, through which collective public consciousness is performed
A roaming vector of selfhood
You can watch a showreel of the readings by Frances Davis, Kirsty Hendry, Alex Hetherington, Catherine Street & JL Williams, and Richard Taylor via the video below:
Interested in critical art writing? Check out our developing collection of work by writers based in Scotland on the Studio Jamming Critical Writing Residency website. Group Critical Writing Residency, edited by Maria Fusco, was part of Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland curated by Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in June-August 2014.