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Altai: Experiments in Collective Practice – Mud Technologies

12 February 2017 | 10am – 5pm

Battersea, Dyson Building


Workshop and research with artist Rebecca James. Mud Technologies is a day long workshop comprising working with clay, cave painting with pigment on walls and a meditation with mud packs applied. This is an invitation to explore mud, an opportunity to gain nourishment and enrichment through sensory interaction. We will co-create a group sensory investigation into the expressive and responsive qualities of the mud; it's beneficial aspects for health and the sensual enjoyment of allowing the material to lead the way.

Altai in Residence: Experiments in Collective Practice is a residency at the Royal College of Art for the group Altai, invited by curator Anne Duffau (a---z). Altai are four women artists; Verity Birt, Keira Greene, Sara Hibbert and Genevieve Lutkin who are hosting a programme of encounters, which test modes of knowledge and pedagogic alternatives at odds with the institution and aligned with practices altogether more intimate and mystic. 

“Impoverishment of the public university in order to later transform it in a corporate manner is orientating the knowledge it produces solely to the market. Everything outside of this trend is rapidly neglected and depreciated."- Silvia Federici 

In the wake of the Brexit vote, the future is uncertain for young people; facing the impact of the financial crash, austerity, and tuition fee hikes. With a promised future proven a lie, 'millennials' face expanding costs of living alongside diminishing opportunities. However, in response to these challenges there has been a growth of self-initiated education systems; research groups, collaborative practice and skill-swapping ecologies, enabling many artists to bypass traditional routes, whilst continuing research within a free, rhizomatic knowledge exchange. 

Excavating and mobilising knowledges from the edges of history is where our particular interests lie. Gleaned from the fragments left of patriarchal suppression and neglect, these knowledges embody ancient practices, which intimately share and nurture in a cyclical relation of exchange, at odds with the hierarchical education system. Crucially, these relations gain particular momentum when operating – as parasite – within an institutional context, in order to rupture and subvert it. But as well as agitating, these more intimate and embodied knowledges can envelope and mesh with academic and critical thinking, producing a more wholesome engaged practice. As collective, we will infiltrate our host – the RCA – to activate these knowledges and in-turn, offer ourselves as host to external knowledge bodies. This will be a cyclical exercise in practicing and performing knowledge exchange, with an aim to generate new sustainable knowledge composite