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

Excavation Thrill

Extracts from the conversation paula roush and Tanja Verlak 
in Nowiswere Contemporary Art Magazine issue 12 [See MAGAZINE]
[see TEXT]  

T.V.: Critics attribute your work to an interesting
research category, namely
“the urbanization of art practice”.
Could you elaborate on this?
What does urbanization of art mean to you
and what would you define as its antidote?
Is it connected to the very means of technology?
How do you apply the notion of ‘urban’?

p. r.: The ‘urban’ here relates to the relation
of the work of art to the realm of
sociality and their contexts
beyond the confines of representation.
Bourriaud, when defining ‘relational aesthetics’,
took this urbanization of artistic experience
to read cities as sites of encounter
between people and the artwork.
I am interested in these urban interstices
in more than one way.
I am interested in art that produces sociability
and promotes encounter.
When I created an emergency biscuit distribution platform at the Coleman Project Space gallery
for SOS:OK, the piece addressed the history of the site (a former biscuit shop) as well as the recent history of the area, formerly known as Biscuit Town.
I worked with former employees of the Biscuit factory (now unemployed due to the factory’s closure)
paying them from the money I received from art funding; we produced a new biscuit for the area.
People came to the gallery for free tea and biscuits. When we distributed biscuits and the publications
for free in the streets, art was being inserted
into the social and urban fabric.

p.r.: Bowville, commissioned by Space (London, 2004)
to be part of their platform on wireless public technologies (...) was extended research on the political economies of photography as a means of identification. This work brought together the history of photographic surveillance and its present implications for social stigma and deportation, such as polices use of electronic tagging to keep non-European immigrants under surveillance.
Photography served as one of the main vehicles for this project but the medium was questioned, and integrated in the form of converging multi-layered mechanisms of new and old technologies (geo-locative media, wireless video stream, archival photography, fictional biography, performance with characters) that make the unitary identification of the work’s physical support impossible.

The confrontation of photography and technologies of fear was made manifest in the work’s structure,
bringing together a timed performance,
a publicly sited investigation bureau,
a detective story sometimes mimicking
the police’s own investigation methods
and the participation of the public.


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