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CCA Show 2018: Evolving Exhibition and Live Radio Broadcasts

The first two graduate projects from Curating Contemporary Art Show 2018 explored the possibilities of live events and performance. They were realised in collaboration with contemporary art organisations Gasworks, a non-profit contemporary visual art organisation working at the intersection of UK and international practices and LUX, the UK agency for the support and promotion of artists working with the moving image based in London and Glasgow.

Who cares? A radio tale transformed Gasworks into a live broadcast studio in collaboration with the renowned experimental radio station Resonance FM. A programme of newly commissioned and existing performances, sound works, and discussions explored the subject of affective labour. ‘The concept of our project was inspired by the context of international artists’ residency programme at Gasworks,’ explained Agata Kik one of the students taking part in organising the project. 

‘From investigation of the idea of hospitality, we narrowed down our interest to affective labour, as part of the duty of hosting. To devote the whole project to affective labour felt urgent for us as curators due to our experience of the influence of affective labour on our professional lives, as well as the fact that affective labour is to be found in all sectors of the contemporary economy and therefore of interest to a wider public outside the art world.’

The project consisted of two live broadcast sessions, that could either be enjoyed at Gasworks or anywhere in the world on Resonance FM, and featured a multiplicity of international artists responding to the theme of affective labour using a variety of performative, discursive and participatory formats.  

The first session was hosted by academic Temi Odumosu and included Claudia Pagès’ live performance of sound with spoken word, based on her expanded novella  ‘Her Hair’; Céline Berger’s recordings of conversations and noises from her time as the only woman in an unusually harsh working environment on a wind farm in the Baltic Sea; and Jon Wozencroft’s sound seminar, a trance-like journey with an immersive mix of records. The second session opened with the Women of Colour Index Reading Group. This was followed by Patricia Domínguez with Terezie Štindlová and Radim Lisa’s new multilingual sound sketch of a Chilean ‘bird man’ who works to resist the advances of industry, and, lastly, artist Rosalie Schweiker investigated who gets bonuses and why.

 ‘We were very lucky to be in partnership with these two organisations due to the amount of freedom they gave us to develop this curatorial project,’ Agata explained. ‘Organising two days of live broadcast sessions inside the walls of a gallery influenced our idea of temporality in curating, the potential of reaching the audience beyond the walls of an art gallery and the huge influence of the choice of a format on mediated artistic practices and curatorial concepts. Being able to automatically archive the project in the form of recordings of the broadcasts has also made us realise the important place of technology in contemporary curating and the necessity of documentation of curatorial and artistic projects, which increasingly take the form of live events.’ 

4717 was a ten-day exhibition in the Dyson Gallery of the RCA’s Battersea campus, considering how the exhibition can be a site of active production as well as a space for display. Four artists, Anne de Boer, Inés Cámara Leret, Libita Clayton and Jade Montserrat, were invited to create new commissions in response to a work from the LUX collection. The changing exhibition space and the activities it hosted were broadcast via a video live-stream. The link to this live-stream has been acquired by LUX as their 4717th work, making it the first live moving image work in their collection.

The commissioned works were produced and viewed alongside Ursula Mayer’s Gonda (2012), a rich and multilayered moving image piece from the LUX collection that delves into concepts of the individual, collectivity, narrative, and subjectivity. Gonda became a catalyst for artistic commissions that explored notions of dispersion, collection, and transformation across multiple forms of practice. The exhibition, operating as studio and platform, also hosted a programme of performances and discussions exploring topics including the life and dispersion of a collection, reanimation and liveness through creative exchange and the relationship of the individual to the collective. 

Benjamin Cook, director of LUX commented: ‘4717 raises urgent and timely questions about the nature of collections and the circulation of moving image works and will create a unique creative context in which these questions can be addressed in the public sphere.’

4717 was curated by Olivia Aherne, Lizzie Cottrell, Emily Davis, Evie Gurney, Nilz Källgren, Helene Remmel and Alistair Small as part of the Curating Contemporary Art Programme MA Graduate Projects 2018, Royal College of Art.

Who cares? A radio tale was curated by Naz Bescan, Ibrahim Cisse, Harriet Costello, Benedetta D’Ettore, Alba Folgado and Agata Kik, as part of the Curating Contemporary Art Programme MA Graduate Projects 2018, Royal College of Art.

Find out more about the Curating Contemporary Art MA programme and how to apply