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Seminar transcript
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Transformation and
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Postgrad Seminars 01
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Virtual Physical Bodies
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The Artist as Catalyst    
Monday 9 February 2004, 6.15pm

Whitechapel Art Gallery
80–82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX

This seminar focused on the artist as ‘skilled practitioner’ who works in a variety of contexts that demand new applications of skills and knowledge. Each of the ResCen artists has had experience of creating catalytic spaces which facilitate interactions and developments intrinsic to the creative process in the performing arts, but which also have important experiential significance for participants. They have worked in community settings, schools, higher education and business and have provided the artist’s perspective to agencies and government. This suggests that the ability to engage in a variety of contexts, often beyond the professional venue, is important to artists and that there are aspects to artistic practice that serve as ‘active ingredients’ that drive this work.

For ‘The Artist as Catalyst’ seminar the Research Associate Artists were joined by guest speaker, and anthropologiest, Professor Tim Ingold of University of Aberdeen. Together, they explored the work and behaviour of the skilled practitioner operating in a range of domains and discussed issues concerning the nature, motivation and efficacy of such work. At the time of this seminar, Tim Ingold was involved in the research project Learning is understanding in practice: exploring the relations between perception, creativity and skill a collaborative research project with the School of Fine Art at the University of Aberdeen, that investigated the interrelations between perception, creativity and skill, looking at the possible applications of studio-based practice in fine art to research and teaching in anthropology. [www.abdn.ac.uk/creativityandpractice/]

This seminar was run in conjunction with Rosemary Lee’s installation Apart from the Road at Whitechapel Library, next door to Whitechapel Gallery. The installation provided an example of the artist as catalyst. It was open to the public immediately before the seminar.

Guest Speaker: Professor Tim Ingold
ResCen participating artists: Richard Layzell, Rosemary Lee, Graeme Miller, Ghislaine Boddington
Chair: Chris Bannerman, Head of ResCen

This event was supported by NESTA

Apart from the Road, Whitechapel
2–28 February 2004
Whitechapel Library
77 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX

This interactive dance, video and poetry installation was created by choreographer Rosemary Lee, filmmaker Nic Sandiland, poet Chrissie Gittins & Shamim Azad and visual artist Robin Whitmore. Taking the children’s spoken and written words with their dances recorded on video, the artists used the material generated during their residencies at six schools across London, to create an enigmatic and inspiring installation. Secreted throughout the library, tiny video screens, TV monitors and handmade books revealed a collection of whispered poems and miniature dances. Apart From the Road, Whitechapel delicately captured momentary portraits of each child as they made their way into the filing cabinets, clambered onto the bookshelves, climbed across the benches and into the photocopier.

 

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Full seminar transcription

 
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