msdm a nomadic house-studio-gallery for photographic art and curatorial research, an expanded practice of the artist's book, photobook publishing and peer-to-peer collaboration created by contemporary artist paula roush

~REFLECTIONS~ are a collection of texts by  artists, scholars and experts in the field of artists’ publishing,
photography and curating,  including excerpts from past msdm exhibition publications and catalogs. 

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Photobook: Work Week Workshop
A conversation about photobook publishing with Beate Cegielska, Galleri Image and paula roush, msdm studio by Ane Bonde Rolsted for KATALOG Journal of Photography
& Video 32.1 [read Article]

paula-roush_Protest-Academy@elastic

Radio as Exhibition Space
Doreen Mende reflects on Protest Academy  [see ESSAY]

DOMENEST: collab Natercia Caneira msdm House—Studio—Gallery

Art Nomadism
Martina Poiana reflects on msdm nomadic project space.
In conversation with artist and photographer paula roush. [read Article]

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The Expanded Practice of the Artist’s Book: Immersion in The Artist’s Museum
 Francisco Varela reflects on Blackchapel  and msdm House-Studio-Gallery [read Essay]

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EXCAVATION THRILL

Conversation paula roush and Tanja Verlak 
Nowiswere Contemporary Art Magazine issue 12  [see TEXT
 

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Fatal women and others as such.

A visit to the surrealist museum through collage
Luisa Soares de Oliveira reflects on Queer Paper Gardens 
Electricity Museum Lisbon exhibition
Ipsilon magazine/ Publico newspaper [see TEXT
 

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Collage and collision

An artistic collaboration around the dances  and counterdances of gender,
retrieves  collage as a mode of associating images
Celso Martins reflects on Queer Paper Gardens exhibition
Expresso Atual newspaper magazine [see TEXT
 

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Minar o Mundo Circundante / Pool from the Surrounding World
João Pinharanda
Queer Paper Gardens exhibition, Electricity Museum Lisbon
[read curator's statement]

 

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When writing and visual arts meet, magic can happen
Wayne Burrows reflects on Queer Paper Gardens publication
Backlit Gallery meets Nottingham Writers' Studio
Nottinghamcityofliterature.com [see TEXT
 

paula roush: queer paper gardens, collage



a journal of one’s own, a text dedicated to mary,
margaret,valentine, alice,paula, maria and all the other women
Cristina Duarte reflections on Queer Paper Gardens, Vol. V
Fundacao EDP 2013 [see TEXT
 

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Connecting Worlds 

 Mairia Evripidou & Jacqui McIntosh reflections on the
Found Photo Foundation for the Drawing Room project [see TEXT
 

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Watching Europe and Beyond: 

Surveillance Art and Photography in the New Millenium
Reflections on Bowville by Louise Wolthers 
in Watched! Surveillance, Art and Photography
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig [see TEXT
 

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Video arte e filme de arte & ensaio em portugal
Diniz  Guarda  reflects on paula roush  video practice
in the text 'Video art and the moving image worldwide and
 in Portugal' [read Article]

Found Photo Foundation newspaper

 

Eva Schmidt reflects on the Found Photo Foundation 
in the Introduction to the exhibition publication
Dear Aby Warburg, what can be done with images?
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen [see TEXT]


Space for thinking between the images:
on the genesis 
of the 'photographic collection' as an artistic genre.

Ludwig Seyfarth reflects on the Found Photo Foundation 
In Dear Aby Warburg, what can be done with images?
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen [see ESSAY]
  

Found Photo Foundation newspaper


An attempt at exhausting an archive/ Found Photo Foundation 

Tanja Verlak reflects on the FOUND PHOTO FOUNDATION
In Dear Aby Warburg, what can be done with images?
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen [see ESSAY]

 

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Found Photo Foundation residency with The Arab Image Foundation
Notes by Hala Tawil [see REPORT
 

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Reviving  Al-Yom newspaper archives
Marwan El Tibi reflects on the photobook
exhibited at “Torn, Folded, Curled” Makan Beirut

[see REVIEW], Alayam Magazine


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NOTHING TO UNDO

Meg Beaumont reviews the photobook
for Kaleid sunday readings [see TEXT
 

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 EL LIBRO EN ABISMO
Maria Jose Prada Rodriguez reflects on the photobook nothing to undo 
In "El libro en abismo. Relaciones y transferencias entre imagen
y dispositivo en el libro de artista"  [see ESSAY
 

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A BOOK, AN ENDLESS LOVE AFFAIR
Jan Baetens reflects on  Bus Spotting + A Story  
for the Culture Studies Leuven blog [see TEXT
 

paula roush: Participatory Architectures, exhibition views, Paradigm Store, 5 Howick Place, London

3rd Dimension Magazine reflections
on  Participatory Architectures
in "Paradigm Store at Howick Place"
[read REVIEW

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Axel Stockburger reflects on the Protest Academy 
In "Beyond Sound Art: Ear Appeal exhibition at Kunsthalle Exnergasse." 
[See REVIEW here]

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ARTISTS IN FIELDWORK

Rael Artel reflects on Mud d'Artiste  
"Artists in Fieldwork: Anu Vahtra, Jaanus Samma,
paula roush, Pilvi Takala." Peateema Magazine [see TEXT
 

Regine Debatty reflects
on  Arphield Recordings 
in "New Brave World workshop
at IMAL- RFID and Art."


We Make Money not Art

 

The London-based media artist paula roush is probably the first who have explored the sonic properties of RFID.

From the project page: "Arphield Recordings" is a project documenting impromptu arphid sound performances produced by people scanning their oysters cards in the daily routine of access control to the London tube stations.

The methodology of field recordings (documentation of site-specific soundscapes through audio recording equipment) is, in this case, focused on the sampling of sounds produced by the use of arphid (rfid) technology (cards and readers) complemented by digital processing involving sampling and synthesis from the source, speculating on the ad infinitum convergence of arphid tags and readers into an endless symphony of sound surveillance and compliance.

The project started with the idea for an arphid mob, inviting friends to join me at a designated tube station for a semi-coreographed sound jam using our oyster cards. The main question was 'when and where' as a major impediment would always be the heavy security at all the gates. It was decided I would do some observation and this would eventually indicate the best timing and location for our arphid mob. Observing the familiar tube's access control gates, initially with no equipment and later with a camcorder, I realised that people were already engaging in impromptu sound performances. My documentation led me to discern varied patterns and even participatory scores, with mass arphid soundscapes punctuated by silences, glitches and cracks in the system, all warped up in a circadian rhythm of work-rush hours.

The first arphield recordings - documenting the impromptu sound performance of people moving through the London tube access control gates were done in Brixton, Kings Cross and Caledonian Road tube stations during march 2006 for the TAGGED one day event at SPACE Media Arts (NodeLondon March 2006), when cds with the tracks and locational tags were distributed.

The second arphield recordings- the stockwell sound/jam memorial happened on Saturday 10th of June 2006 when people in london were invited to gather in the Stockwell tube station and scan their oyster card for 30second sync periods accompanied by a podcast of pre-recorded oyster beep tracks.

Why did you decide to propose an RFID project? What was your specific motivation in this case?

Arphield Recodings was conceived as a probe into the practice of sousveillance and a more general understanding of the the arphid surveillance/equiveillance of public space and transport. It also foregrounds itself into the field of networked performance and possible notions of community, interaction, and connectedness among participants.

The emerging field of personal sousveillance - the capture, processing, storage, retrieval, and transmission of an activity from the perspective of a participant in the activity (i.e. personal experience capture) using camera phones, and wearables has been mainly focused on the visual. See the dominance of weblogs as photo- and video-blogs. Surveillance studies as well have given a proeminence to the visual. However, "The history of surveillance is as much about a sound history as a history of vision" / "we need a sound history of surveillance" / "the polyphony of sounds increasingly regulates and is regulated by us" as Michael Bull and Les Black write in the intro to the Auditory culture reader (2003).

Annie Kelly, reflects 
on SOS: OK Emergency Biscuit
in "Bermondsey takes the biscuit.
Former Peek Freen employees
back community project."


The Guardian


Bermondsey, in south-east London, was once affectionately known as Biscuit Town. Home to some of the largest biscuit factories in the country, it provided employment to generations of local families. Now it's a very different story. The biscuit factories have closed, and many of their former employees are unemployed. The only businesses that come into Bermondsey now are the large property developers buying up old factories and turning them into gated residences for well-paid workers at nearby Canary Wharf.

But a group of former employees of the Peek Freen biscuit factory, one of the last to close its doors, in 1989, have reunited to give Biscuit Town a new lease of life. They were brought together by artist paula roush, who has won Arts Council funding to launch SOS:UK, a community project that explores the local heritage of deprived communities. roush invited ex-workers back to Peek Freen and has run a series of events celebrating the history of Biscuit Town. This weekend, the factory is hosting a mock emergency food distribution.

Joanna Callaghan reflects on
SOS: OK Emergency Biscuit
in "Go on! Have another one!"


True Review


On a cold bright Sunday at the end of October I took the Jubilee line to Bermondsey, walked a bit and found the gallery Coleman Project Space located in a pretty street, ten minutes from the station. There I was greeted by two young women dressed in customised white and yellow suits offering me a cup of tea. I sat down on one of the camp stretchers, next to a neatly folded blanket and careful to stay within the yellow and black emergency zone marked on the floor. Sitting on another stretcher opposite me were two older ladies. They nodded and smiled at me while drinking cups of tea and chatting. Next in was Ron Henocq director of the neighbour Café Gallery Project who sat down like he was home at last. Very soon an elderly couple were spotted crossing the street in our direction, quickly they were greeted with cups of tea, bottoms moved along and things began to get lively. Then to add to the interesting concoction, a well dressed man who turned out to be a local architect came in to find out more about the project. Everyone started talking at once. For a Sunday morning it was a lively affair.


Artist paula roush showed me some of the press clippings that the project had received while talking about the history of the idea and its evolution. I was surprised at the number of ‘entry points’ the project had for local people and organisations. There were the ex-workers of the Peek Freans biscuit factory, a driving force behind the project, arts students from Camberwell College of Arts enacting emergency situations and distributing food aid, local film studio Sands Films had lent rare film footage and other images from their picture library and then of course there was the artists and curators that form part of the local network of the Coleman Project Space. It occurred to me while sitting there munching on a rather delicious biscuit that here was a real, authentic and contemporary community arts project. Roush had accomplised something quite remarkable. The fusing and channeling of varied local populations into a highly original conceptual arts project. A project that has historical relevance, that highlights the political and social repercussions of urban regeneration and fosters positive and productive relationships between art and local communities. Not only that, but there was a real, tangible product that could have an impact on real, tangible people! Phew! What an achievement.

Britta Schatz reflects
on Frankfurtress Ghetto Blast
in " City Stripping"

Die Tageszeitung

 

Three artists show at Gesellschaft fur Aktuelle Kunst (GAK), in an exhibition exposing the myths underlying the modern city. The ideology of the modern city followed human social development and the ideological position that it should accommodate all their inhabitants equivalently. In the exhibition City Stripping, at GAK, three artists explore different aspects of today's development of this vision.

paula roush brings up for discussion the geographical modifications of a cityscape by the example of Frankfurt as a global player in the international financial world. The computer game "Frankfurtress Ghetto Blast" symbolises the city's individual quarters and their inhabitants, and points out the meaning of their geographical position. The quarters get points assigned: the Citadel, the economic focal point of the city, receives 1000 points, while the Ghetto is pushed completely to the edge and is evaluated with only 400 points. By mouse-click, the photographic surfaces of Frankfurt's city centre are symbolically rearranged in its appearance. The video game is the starting point for an installation of Paula Roush, which extends a series of images into the space outside the GAK.


The work of the three artists is a small " but exemplary showcase of contemporary artistic practices dealing with the analysis and development of the city" argues Eva Schmidt.


 Steve Smith comments on
paula's post-studio practice

In "Contemporary Post-Studio Art Practice
and its Institutional Currency, Investigative
study with interviews with five U.K based
artists, Louise Ashcroft, Claire Blundell Jones,
Helene Kazan, Danny Pockets and paula roush,
University of Westminster (MA in Visual Cultures)

Contemporary Post-Studio Art Practice
and its Institutional Currency.

 

In investigation of these questions I have interviewed five U.K based artists, Louise Ashcroft, Claire Blundell Jones, Helene Kazan, Danny Pockets and paula roush who have to a greater or lesser extent adopted post-studio methods in their art practices. Through a series of semiformal interviews or conversations I have asked the artists to describe their practice methodologies, explain their motivations and their attitudes to the conventional institutions of display. In doing so I hope to investigate the contemporary nature of concerns raised by some of post-studio’s key artists. I seek to understand post-studio’s historical legacies, for example Danny Pockets practice is embedded in the customs of the studio, however, much of his work manifests itself in the style and manner of post-studio’s installation methods and contexts of display. paula roush’s practice is heavily informed by post-studio’s elements of institutional critique and performative processes but has increasingly taken a trajectory from conventional 6 institutions to other destinations. Louise Ashcroft’s work is reminiscent of artists such as Robert Smithson that focus on siting rather than production. Claire Blundell Jones uses performative methods within and outside institutions, her works do not carry an overt institutional critique when produced in institutions, however they can still be observed as critique of social and institutional codes that are exposed in the unfolding of these works. Finally in the practice of Helene Kazan we see an artist who is thoroughly conversant with the legacies of post-studio methods and is concerned with wider issues of social relations within the field of art, Kazan insinuates these concerns within her post-studio methodologies of practice.

The artist paula roush recognises in the historical development of institutional critique that critique has now been subsumed and controlled with curators within institutions inviting artists to take part in a predetermined programme of critique, she comments: ‘the curators working within the institutions are doing their institutional critique through their creative curating… all these participatory strategies and institutional critique strategies that came from a specific context by creating a platform and then bringing in people. I don’t think it has anything to do (with it), it’s a pastiche of institutional critique.’32

roush describes this process as simulation, as ‘empty floating signifiers’. We can observe this pastiche or simulation as an appropriation by the institution that neutralises critique and re-sites the sovereign decisions of critique that once rested with artists back in the hands of the institution, in these appropriative methods by the institution we can define a new realisation of criticality and opposition. As we have seen in Andrea Fraser’s analysis it would follow that this process allows for the institution to re-appropriate the activities of the critical artist within the institution to transfer cultural currency back in to the institution's hands. Further to this we might reflect on the following statement by Robert Smithson and echoed in the words of Daniel Buren33: ‘The function of the warder-curator is to separate art from the rest of society. Next comes integration. Once the work of art is totally neutralized, ineffective, abstracted, safe, and politically lobotomized it is ready to be consumed by society. All is reduced to visual fodder and transportable merchandise. Innovations are allowed only if they support this kind of confinement.’34 The appearance of institutional critique in conventional institutions can now be observed not as critical but as processes that appear as signified criticality, only as the ‘appearance’ of criticality, not true opposition as an agent of change within the institution. This is where we can draw a distinction between critique and opposition, critique is now embedded and confined, and to return to Smithson’s phrase, ‘politically lobotomized’, within the institution's codes.

Sovereign vs. Institutional Freedom We can see elements of post-studio practice that are employed by artists being appropriated into institutions; even performances or actions that were once critical are now, in their appropriation, neutralized and confined, 'politically lobotomized'. As much as the paintings and sculptures of the past that have been absorbed into the ossifying customs of the museum or gallery even more immaterial and contestable critiques of the institution can be appropriated and repackaged by the institution into its customs and employed to reinforce itself as the prevalent bourgeois ideology. If the most critical elements of art practice are thus absorbed into the customs of the prevalent ideology we might ask: just what measures artists must take to assert their sovereign decisions? What becomes clear is that if such overtly critical work can be appropriated by the institution then artists are increasingly alienated from developing their sovereign work in the institution. In paula roush’s experience the institution can stifle a very important element of artists' methods in the realisation of their work:

‘…the new generation of creative curators that have a very specific idea of what they want and they come with all their institutional critique ideas that they want you to fill in to their platform…there’s a type of curator I don’t have very good experiences, I call it creative curator as a joke… that put you in an agenda, they want you to fulfill a certain role in their agenda, and because I’m a bit unpredictable, as you can imagine, if there expecting something and then I don’t deliver exactly what they need in that platform that they’ve created, its quite rigid, it puts you in a certain category.’35

roush indicates an important element in the tensions between the institution, curator and artist and the issues of sovereign freedom in the realisation of the artwork. Not only do institutional systems confine the artwork, they are increasingly in more participatory, responsive and performative roles stifling an artists very practice, those that rely on contingency and unpredictability in the making or performance of the work. The measures taken by curators in institutions to contain or control these processes in many case jeopordise the realisation or seek to appropriate the very practices of the work as their own cultural currency. As we have seen this tension between sovereign and institutional freedom has become very real, so much so that an assertion of sovereign freedom by the artist in the institution may be seen by that institution as an ‘infringement’. That Smithson uses such strong a term as ‘politically lobotomized’ brings in to question the ability for art works to act as political agency that Groys suggests although we might argue that artists' practice can still exert this political agency in its alienation, or as in roush’s case a certain self-exclusion, which as we will see later seems an increasingly viable response by artists in the furtherance of their practice. Groys is hopeful when he concludes his essay by explaining ‘…the artist who designs a certain installation space is an outsider to this space. He or she is heterotopic to this space. But the outsider is not necessarily somebody who has to be included in order to be empowered. There is also empowerment by exclusion, and especially self-exclusion. The outsider can be powerful precisely because he or she is not controlled by society, and is not limited in his or her sovereign actions by any public discussion or by any need for public self-justification.’36

We are the institution As we have established, the territories of critical practice and the oppositional nature of poststudio, and now as we might understand it in the legacies of post-studio practice, contemporary post-institutional practices are inherently imbued in their social relations to institutions of art as critical in their role as oppositional to the conventional modes of display. As we have seen poststudio’s institutional critique is sited within the institution in the works of Andrea Fraser and the criticality in the landworks of Robert Smithson come in its oppositional attitudes to conventional sites of display. In the works of the contemporary artists we have observed, we can see a development from post-studio to post-institutional practice, one that understands its criticality and opposition as it seeks to work unhindered by the prevalent codes within art's institutions, but does not rely on critique of these codes to manifest and contextualise the artworks. These practices seek to develop new codes within arts social field not to react to existing ones.

Andrea Fraser became one of the most recognisable of the ‘institutional critique’ post-studio artists. In 2005 she wrote a reappraisal of what institutional critique could mean. In an ongoing practice which investigated the power relations between institutions of display, the artist and the audience, she recognised the difficulties of critique being absorbed within institutions. ‘one finds a certain nostalgia for institutional critique arise as a now anachronistic artifact of an era before the corporate megamuseum and the 24/7 global art market, a time when artists could still conceivably take up a critical position against or outside the institution. Today, the argument goes, there no longer is an outside. How, then can we imagine, much less accomplish, a critique of art institutions when museum and market have grown into an all-encompassing apparatus of cultural reification? Now, when we need it most, institutional critique is dead, a victim of its success or failure, swallowed up by the institution it stood against.’55

This analysis echoes paula roush’s disillusionment with institutional critique and its appropriation and instrumentalisation, however as we have seen in our analysis of the artist's sovereign decisions and dissensual practice, the space for critique has moved from post-studio to a post-institutional territory, a territory that in its movement away from the conventional institutions of display can still in Groys’ and Ranciere’s understanding be an oppositional force to the prevalent bourgeois ideologies that Buren recognises our institutions to be.

Regine Debatty comments on
BOWVILLE
for We Make money Not Art

Orwellian Projects


In August 2004, paula roush --author of the Arphid Recordings performances in London-- got herself electronically tagged. She created a semi fictional alter-ego Marion Manesta Forrester, who was electronically tagged and given a period of three days to earn her citizenship to Bowville, a fictional urban cityscape whose inhabitants were invited to follow her movements and vote for or against the protagonist.

Roush chose the name Marion Manesta Forrester, as a partial homage to the suffragettes- the first women to undergo and rebel against photographic surveillance, the work is also a partial reaction to the announcement of electronic tagging for asylum seekers in the UK, and a reference to Lars Von Triers' Dogville.

Suhjung Hur, Annie On Ni Wan, Andrew Paterson
comment on Bowville
for Leonardo Electronic Almanac

Locative Media, on and off the beaten track


Embodying the concept of a grassroot ‘street version of the Internet’ , locative media interventions have often followed an ocular-dominated technological perspective that moves the point of interaction from the desktop PC in a private environment into the physical realm of public space. Further, continuing the trajectory of Happenings, Fluxus, and the Situationists from the 1950s onwards – whose interests in direct public participation were also pursued by early Internet art - locative media practices have aimed to engage the participation of individual, whether it is the artist, collaborator, targeted audience or anonymous public.

(…) The participatory and collaborative aspects of locative media foreground participants’ site-specific experience in local context, while encouraging them to be performers within the activity. Through their practices of walking, listening, conversation, game-playing, or living an everyday life, an individual partakes in different roles: gardener, composer, choreographer, cartographer, walker, tattooist, spectator, data-collector, storyteller, decision-maker, archaeologist, explorer; Or, simply but importantly, just an other within public environment. (...) Complex and ethical questions also arise. How do these technologies invite participation? Will the technologies be a 'restrictive collar around the neck' as in roush's Bowville, which control accessibility and communal decision-making process? Then, where and who is the community voice?

Hattie Spires comments on Bowville
in "The crisis of interpretation:
An investigation into the dynamics
of engagement with site-specific art
in the age of squanto.
Goldsmiths College.


In an extremely timely and important intervention that took place in August 2004, the artist paula roush (msdm) set forth a proposition into the ‘real space’ of the community of Bow in East London through her project Bowville.  The Bowville Investigation Bureau, set up in a disused shop on Roman Road market, served as the surveillance centre from which the Bureau could track and monitor the movements of the protagonist Marion Manesta Forresta. Pointing back to the suffragette movement, Marion’s name is a bastardisation of three members of the suffragette movement, some of whom were the first people to undergo surveillance. Considered by the local authorities for her affiliation with left wing organisations, most notably Eastopia, Marion was given the chance to earn her right to stay in Bowville without surveillance through winning the public vote. Using global satellite positioning technology, the Bureau was able to track her movements through the streets of Bowville and enforce border restrictions on her whilst she developed an increasing presence and identity with the local community in which she tried to earn her citizenship. A wireless camera fed live footage of her actions back to the Bureau where continuous research into current global acts of terror took place.

Bowville’s extraordinary ability to elicit complex histories and experiences from the local community through dialogue with the artist and the performers was in part due to its enduring topicality, partly its extended presence on the site of Bow, to some extent its reactivation of local histories and a continuation of past projects in the same contact zone but primarily due to an increasing sense of community through ‘labour in the field’. One could easily displace the notion of ‘site’ within the confines of this project for an intervention that tended towards ‘community-specific,’ ‘issue-specific,’ ‘audience-specific’ and was indeed all of these things and countless others but such easy dismissals would undermine the enormously complex issue at hand which is that the site is the interrelation of all of these. Bowville’s reactivation of local histories associated with the suffragette movement, its relation to current topics surrounding diaspora, surveillance and territories and the subsequent real-time involvement of the community that added a further layer of interpretation, all produced a functional site that elicited individual histories. The respondent’s reactions varied over the duration of the project from “it’s not Bowville, it’s Bow; you’re going to have to understand that if you want to stay here” to the uncovering of one Muslim man’s story of his migration from New York to the East End of London and his accounts of the local community’s projection of the notion of ‘Muslim’ onto him during the current climate of terror and fear. The project’s strength was located in its articulation of the clashing of psychic subjectivities and material conditions without occupying a moral high ground.

Sara Raza comments on Bowville
The KISSS Project: Kinship International
Strategy on Surveillance and Suppression,
Elastic residence, London

Art in Security and Security in Art

`

International artists such as Bangladeshi-American Hasan Elahi and London based Portuguese artist paula roush have been pushing the boundaries between fixed definitions of technology and art by creating tracking/ tagging devices, that bear an uncanny resemblance to the mandatory “bracelets” worn by high risk criminals or those on parole so that law enforcement officers can keep track of their whereabouts.

(…) roush has created a semi fictional alter-ego Marion Manesta Forrester, who first surfaced at London’s Bow Festival in 2004. Manesta Forrester was electronically tagged and was given a period of three days to earn her citizenship to Bowville. Bowville functioned as a fictional urban cityscape whose inhabitants were actively invited to partake in the countdown by voting for or against the protagonist. The networked performance undoubtedly resembled the reality television show “Big Brother,” which created quite an addictive storm in the UK, where 10 housemates lived in the same house and members of the public weekly eliminated a member until there was only one: the winner. Simultaneously, the piece also referred to the real and actual notion of elimination and in-voluntary deportation of immigrants, asylum seekers and political refugees. Furthermore, the fact that the performance was staged for an urban setting additionally gave voice to the city as a site of investigation, which is an on going theme interwoven into roush’s practice whereby, she actively works with the dual concept of politics and public space. Incidentally, this practice is based on a long series of performative works that examine the notion of emergency, public time and space and is a continuation of the “Exercise SOS: OK (save our souls: zero killings),” 2004 an ongoing project that looks at decontamination and consumption as politically charged armaments against institutional power formations. Ultimately, roush’s strategies re-appropriate the strategies of 1970s feminist artists, however, roush’s version has traded the issue of housework with security work. Nonetheless, the body under siege remains a feature from which one is able to trace a lineage with roush’s feminist predecessors

Margarida Carvalho comments
on the cctvecstasy project
in A Obra “Faça-você-mesmo”:
Estética da Participação nas Artes Digitais

Margarida Carvalho, A Obra “Faça-você-mesmo”: Estética da Participação nas Artes Digitais,
Tese de Doutoramento em Ciências da Comunicação, Especialidade de Comunicação e Artes,
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2014

 

Podemos então afirmar que a cyberformance é um subgénero da categoria mais vasta da performance em rede e é precisamente à luz destes conceitos que passamos agora a analisar o projeto cctvecstasy, do coletivo Webcam Operators (2009), que foi desenvolvido em 2009, no âmbito do festival Radiator, em Nottingham. Participaram, nesta cyberformance, paula roush, no QUAD, em Derby, Marie Josiane Agossou, na Universidade de South Bank, Londres, Lina Jungergård no espaço Area 10, Londres, Deej Fabyc na Elastic Gallery, Suécia, Lara Morais e Maria Lusitano na Academia de Arte de Malmo, Suécia, e Aaron de Montesse e Anne Overaa nas suas casas. Susana Mendes Silva era também um dos membros do coletivo mas problemas técnicos imprevistos impediram a sua participação.

A performance cctvecstasy pode ser pensada como um projeto site-specific na medida em que teve lugar na comunidade online WebCamNow que estabelece a ligação em direto de webcams, em todo o mundo, sem ser necessário que o utilizador crie uma homepage ou mesmo um perfil pessoal. A plataforma WebcamNow consiste numa interface readymade e está dividida em duas áreas, a área aberta, sob licença para conteúdos adultos e que é utilizada acima de tudo por participantes em busca de experiências íntimas e uma segunda área, designada de “amigos e família”, na qual os intervenientes sabem que as suas ações poderão ser monitorizadas. Ao contrário das redes sociais e de live streaming mais recentes, que combinam videostream e videologs (uma variante de weblogs, cujo conteúdo principal consiste em vídeos), a comunidade WebcamNow não disponibiliza arquivo de vídeo, imagens ou mensagens incidindo antes na utilização de webcams para transmitir em direto a partir de ambientes íntimos (webcamming). A interface da WebCamNow inclui canais de vídeo, chat em texto e uma barra que indica quem é que está ligado a cada sala vídeo e que funciona como um
indicador de popularidade à semelhança das life bars dos jogos de computador.

Assim, após um período de investigação, o projeto cctvecstasy desenvolveu-se em torno de uma narrativa esboçada a partir dos encontros das performers com os outros participantes da comunidade. As performances desenvolvidas ocorreram em vários canais de vídeo e questionavam as condições de receção e participação próprias do espectador e utilizador da plataforma WebCamNow. Nas palavras de paula roush:

Podemos então afirmar que a cyberformance é um subgénero da categoria mais vasta da performance em rede e é precisamente à luz destes conceitos que passamos agora a analisar o projeto cctvecstasy, do coletivo Webcam Operators (2009), que foi desenvolvido em 2009, no âmbito do festival Radiator, em Nottingham. Participaram, nesta cyberformance, paula roush, no QUAD, em Derby, Marie Josiane Agossou, na Universidade de South Bank, Londres, Lina Jungergård no espaço Area 10, Londres, Deej Fabyc na Elastic Gallery, Suécia, Lara Morais e Maria Lusitano na Academia de Arte de Malmo, Suécia, e Aaron de Montesse e Anne Overaa nas suas casas. Susana Mendes Silva era também um dos membros do coletivo mas problemas técnicos imprevistos impediram a sua participação.

A performance cctvecstasy pode ser pensada como um projeto site-specific na medida em que teve lugar na comunidade online WebCamNow que estabelece a ligação em direto de webcams, em todo o mundo, sem ser necessário que o utilizador crie uma homepage ou mesmo um perfil pessoal. A plataforma WebcamNow consiste numa interface readymade e está dividida em duas áreas, a área aberta, sob licença para conteúdos adultos e que é utilizada acima de tudo por participantes em busca de experiências íntimas e uma segunda área, designada de “amigos e família”, na qual os intervenientes sabem que as suas ações poderão ser monitorizadas. Ao contrário das redes sociais e de live streaming mais recentes, que combinam videostream e videologs (uma variante de weblogs, cujo conteúdo principal consiste em vídeos), a comunidade WebcamNow não disponibiliza arquivo de vídeo, imagens ou mensagens incidindo antes na utilização de webcams para transmitir em direto a partir de ambientes íntimos (webcamming). A interface da WebCamNow inclui canais de vídeo, chat em texto e uma barra que indica quem é que está ligado a cada sala vídeo e que funciona como um
indicador de popularidade à semelhança das life bars dos jogos de computador.

Assim, após um período de investigação, o projeto cctvecstasy desenvolveu-se em torno de uma narrativa esboçada a partir dos encontros das performers com os outros participantes da comunidade. As performances desenvolvidas ocorreram em vários canais de vídeo e questionavam as condições de receção e participação próprias do espectador e utilizador da plataforma WebCamNow. Nas palavras de paula roush:

“ [Na área aberta da plataforma WebcamNow] uma variedade de pessoas hétero e LGBTQ (lésbicas, gay, bissexuais, transgénero e queer) operam as suas webcams, jogando com estratégias múltiplas: da autenticidade encenada das que instalam a webcam nos seus quartos, colocando a sua vida sob escrutínio, a outras que se mascaram em versões muito encenadas de feminilidade/masculinidade e fetichismo, atuando para um grupo particular de devotos. Nós usámos a webcamming e as ferramentas de chat de texto livremente disponíveis a fim de trabalhar sincronicamente através de salas separadas e comunicar com outras salas
de chat de vídeo.” (roush, 2010: 116)

A performance decorreu online e perante uma audiência em presença, na galeria QUAD em Derby, com sete performers em live streaming enquanto paula roush operava ao vivo a passagem entre os vários espaços. A própria audiência era filmada e transmitida via live feed num canal vídeo. Podemos, portanto, falar de um espaço híbrido em jogo na cyberformance cctvecstasy. De sala de chat em sala de chat, as várias performances são, por sua vez, objeto da intervenção da performer que se encontra no espaço físico da galeria, junto da audiência, e que manipula em tempo real a visibilidade das ações e dos espaços.

Assim, é de salientar que as zonas de contacto e os movimentos de passagem se expandem neste projeto: são as interações e misturas entre os utilizadores da plataforma WebCamNow; as fronteiras diluídas entre a banalidade das imagens quotidianas e o elemento intencionalmente performativo; as intervenções dos participantes da comunidade WebCamNow na performance em tempo real via chat; e, finalmente, os contágios entre os espaços físicos remotos habitados pelas performers, o espaço
telemático da World Wide Web e o espaço da galeria onde se encontra a audiência em presença.

Neste contexto consideramos que é pertinente referir o conceito de “performance liminar” de Susan Broadhurst que “joga com o limite do possível” tendo como caraterísticas fundamentais a “hibridização, indeterminação, ausência de ‘aura’ e o colapso da distinção hierárquica entre cultura popular e de elite” (Broadhurst, 1999: 1). Paralelamente, a noção de “audiência intermedial”, proposta por Helen Varley Jamieson, é igualmente relevante uma vez que abrange simultaneamente as audiências online e em presença que se encontram envolvidas, mental e fisicamente, em múltiplas tarefas, assumindo vários papéis − nomeadamente os de espectador, performer, autor, leitor, comentador, chatter e voyeur.

De salientar também a estética low-tech e faça-você-mesmo da cyberformance cctvecstasy e a centralidade da webcam na criação de um espaço íntimo, cheio de textura, que dá vontade de acariciar, agarrar a imagem, passar para o outro lado e habitar o espaço do corpo da performer. O olhar íntimo da webcam é quase como o olhar que resulta de um enlace amoroso, demasiado perto para podermos realmente ver. Assim, o voyeurismo associado às práticas de webcamming deve ser equacionado à luz desta proximidade, da baixa resolução da imagem e da manipulação da sua suposta estética de autenticidade. Talvez por isso o recurso à máscara seja recorrente nas práticas de cyberformance. A máscara assinala o caráter mercurial da identidade online e o misto de ficção e realidade em jogo na experiência de telepresença precipitada pela performance em rede. Nas palavras de Lynn Hershman Leeson em “Romancing the Anti-Body: Lust and Longing in (Cyber)space”:

“Antes de ficar completamente ligado ou imerso no ciberespaço, o indivíduo tem de criar uma máscara. Esta torna-se uma assinatura, uma impressão digital, uma sombra, um meio de reconhecimento. A justificação para este disfarce é similar à das camuflagens tribais: as
máscaras ocultam o corpo e ao fazê-lo libertam e dão voz às identidades virtuais. No momento em que a verdade pessoal se liberta, a face frágil e ténue da vulnerabilidade é protegida.” (Leeson, 1996: 325)

Efetivamente, um jogo ambíguo entre ocultação e desvelamento, simulação e autenticidade, intimidade e voyeurismo, perpassa as práticas artísticas que emergem das redes digitais, sendo de destacar a este respeito o corpo de trabalho performativo de Annie Abrahams no qual comunicação e intimidade, na sua miríade de declinações, se transformam em autênticos problemas na aceção deleuziana do termo.


De/Territorialized Practices
Oreet Ashery reflects on
The Public Art of Campaigning

 


Published in Living in the Material World, Coventry University. ISBN 0905949846 2000  

 

MDSM primary ethic, I would suggest, is collaboration with other people: ' ... (this project is )... an extended research into the collaborative practices available to us. Within our experience, we acknowledge this can include our engagement in art making activities, eating or cooking a meal. That is, not only the things we do together, but the results of collaborative effort which we can take advantage of... it is drawing on this network that we integrate into a social structure to gain an understanding of how it functions, and in turn locate and speculate on our possible function within it.' More specifically, MDSM have been critically looking at issues of gentrification and regeneration in the city, and in particular, what consultation around public art projects might consist of.


A recent project MDSM developed was connected to Monecriff Place in Peckham, a contested space. The street currently has market stalls for as long as 20 years. The plans for public art project in the street, involve a large screen outside the Premier cinema and leading to it an 'International Carpet of Flowers', consist of a stretch of flowers from all over the world lit with underground lighting. This stretch would mean that the market traders would have to move. The market traders started a campaign against the plans. Emma and paula spoke to the traders, the council and the artists involved, the various arguments materialised on a video called 'The Public Art of Campaigning' and was shown to the market traders and also in a number of public events. The immediate outcome of this intervention put a hold on the plans. These particular plans are part of a larger program of regeneration which has been taking place in Peckham for a while now and resulted in the loss of small business, mainly black, in favour of chain stores and multi-nationals.

Eva Schmidt comments on
Frankfurtress Ghetto Blast
GAK: Gesellschaft fur Aktuelle Kunst
Bremen

City Stripping

 

"Stripping " means: clearing away layers, surfaces; " Stripping " means: the structure open. With the striptease the coverings are artfully removed, so that the view of the desired object can happen. In the case of this exhibition in the GAK the desired object is the city .

paula roush (London) transfers with "Frankfurtress Ghetto Blast" critical urban theory into the aesthetics of a computer game. Illustrated by the example of Frankfurt/Main,as a global player in ' the international financial world, modifications of urban geography, likewise segmenting the urban spaces into central, global interlaced and marginalised areas, and the space of flows ' of the international transactions clashing a conflict on the spatial needs of the local inhabitants, which is not to be resolved.

Cristina Duarte comments
on Queer Paper Gardens
in Queer paper gardens or
The wildlife of symbols
Vol. V Fundacao EDP 

a journal of one’s own, a text dedicated to mary, margaret, valentine, alice, paula, maria and all the other women

 

«may i start?»[first line of the ‘script’ of queer paper gardens, vídeo HD, 2013]. how to write about these 21 minutes of quasi-surrealism, that takes us throughout the history of collage, with its starting point in three objects: max ernst’s collage novel a week of goodness, valentine penrose’s collage-poem dons des féminines and mary delany’ biography, the inventor of collage; we cross their universes and those of other women artists, guided by eunice gonçalves duarte performing multiple roles, as valentine did, creator of wide-ranging meanings, such as a woman in a red dress and tribal mask going on a safari, through exotic theatre/sceneries. the universes available to us are once again of intersection, in double screen, a transport us poetically to the themes underlying delany’s masterpiece, flora delanica (1772-1782), navigating through what is apparently invisible, or absent. in these paper gardens there are no symbols of authority, but of transcendence, says the narrator, at a certain point. cruising through the botanical garden of coimbra, the female character is immersed in a time machine. it is up to us, spectators, to make the cut, the selection and “reassembly” of what is more important to us, in this process of non-normative memory, that is open to many languages and queer identities. in these not so strange gardens, i review myself with shells in my eyes… feel free to talk.

maria and paula’s film is in itself a journey about several lives, narrated through a visual history with a lyricism of its own, just as valentine’s own book. The film’s voice-over provided by artist marie josianne agossou, interprets a narration that summons the lives of various women, and the representations of these through the arts in context. valentine and mary delany are evoked as well various other women, exalted in this work of archive, composition and feminist script. we peek here at a certain cinema paradiso, at the service of the arts, through the chosen excerpts of films such as rebecca, the hunger, jane eyre, and daughters of darkness. this put us in tune with the themes approached by the artists in their video-collage, that refer to the cut-up, as well as to photography and drawing, in a narrative strategy that projects issues of gender, body representation, and the role -play involved in women’s performance throughout history. and it conjures the horror women were (and are) subjected to: the horror is displayed in jane eyre, in the bad girl of sleeping beauty, or in the madness of rebecca’s housekeeper.

Maria Claudia Bada comments
on the photobook Nothing to Undo

To leave is a bit like dying.


To leave is a bit like dying. And to be reborn again -I would suggest- as I experienced many times under my skin. We have this ancient saying in Italy, a country that -like Portugal- historically experienced a large hemorrhage of souls going abroad, tired of their own country for too many different reasons. All these new aliens were plunged into totally different emotional and cultural shores, which started to mirror back, almost instantly, broken images of their once almost established selves. As the reflections on a multiple, shining surface, this photobook by paula roush reverberates of meaningful fragments aiming to pair into coupling doppelgängers, following the farewell journey from Sweden of her friend, Maria Lusitano, stretching along the past (Portugal), the present (Sweden) and the future (UK).

What comes out of it are quite humorous, original and scary pieces of contemporary Swedish reality, intermingled with personal and political memories. Ghosts from the past and the present macro and microcosms seem to populate this trip between Malmö and Stockholm. The migrant and/or trespassing identities present in the images separate alchemically into halves to be found and reconstructed as in an exciting treasure hunt of meanings, involving intimacy, current Sweden affairs and social policy, eerie landscapes. You can certainly recombine freely the photos and create your own personal path within the book, like skilled and imaginative hands playing Tarot. Or just sailing linearly through the pages and let the fragments speak their language to you.

 I let myself merge and separate, again build, again overlap and stratify and decompose the images and the coupling doubles I kept on finding in the book and...I had to start again. And again. And again. What have I found? Nothing to undo. Each time a sense of wonder and discovery. Each time, irreversibly, a new piece of my alien self, attaching emotionally to paula and Maria’s double and fragmented journey. Have a good voyage into it, then. I am sure you will enjoy the whole trip(s).

 mobile strategies of display & mediation
 

by appointment only
request private viewing 

paula roush 
founder


paularoush@gmail.com

London SE


msdm@msdm.org.uk

school of arts  & creative industries  
london south bank university


roushp@lsbu.org.uk