CHRIS FREMANTLE

Abstract: The Hope of Something Different

Posted in CF Writing, News, PhD, Research, Sited work by chrisfremantle on July 12, 2020

Educational theorist Gert Biesta proposes that we need to be ‘in the world, without occupying the centre of the world’ (2017 3). This injunction provides a frame with which to interrogate the hybrid practice of ecoart. This practice can be characterised by a concern for the relations of living things to each other, and to their environments. Learning in order to be able to act is critical. One aspect is collaboration with experts (whether those are scientists and environmental managers or inhabitants, including more-than-human). Another is building ‘commons’ and shared understanding being more important than novelty. Grant Kester has argued that there is an underlying paradigm shift in ‘aesthetic autonomy’, underpinned by a ‘trans-disciplinary interest in collective knowledge production’. (2013 np). This goes beyond questions of interdisciplinarity and its variations to raise more fundamental questions of agency. Drawing on the work of key practitioner/researchers (eg Jackie Brookner (1945-2015); Collins and Goto Studio, Helen Mayer Harrison (1927-2018) and Newton Harrison (b 1932)) and theorists (Kester, Kagan) the meaning and implications of not ‘occupying the centre of the world’ will be explored as a motif for an art which can act in public space.

Biesta, G. 2017. Letting Art Teach: Art education ‘after’ Joseph Beuys. Arnhem: ArtEZ Press.

Fremantle, C., 2015. ‘The hope of something different’. In A restless art: thinking about community and participatory art [online] https://arestlessart.com/2015/12/17/chris-fremantle-the-hope-of-something-different/

Fremantle, C. 2015. ‘Art and Ecology’ in Interesting Times: Environmental Art Festival Scotland. Dumfries: EAFS.

Kagan, S., 2013. Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity. 2nd Edition. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

Kagan, S., 2014. “The Practice of Ecological Art”, Plastik: Art & Science, http://art-science.univ-paris1.fr/plastik/document.php?id=866

Kester, G., 2013. “On Collaborative Art Practices”, Praktyka Teoretyczna, http://www.praktykateoretyczna.pl/granth-kester-on-collaborative-art-practices/ accessed 7.12. 2015

Published: ‘What if?’ Introduction for North Light Arts 10 Year exhibition

Posted in CF Writing, News, Research, Sited work by chrisfremantle on July 9, 2020

North Light Arts kindly asked me to write a short piece by way of an introduction to their 10 year exhibition.

Gert Biesta proposes that we need to be,

…in the world, without occupying the centre of the world.

Whilst Biesta credits this idea to a French Educational Philosopher, Philippe Meirieu, Meirieu’s comments seem to be in the context of the classroom, and Biesta certainly uses the phrase in a larger sense, as part of what it means to be educated (see in particular Letting Art Teach: Art education ‘after’ Joseph Beuys, ArtEZ Press, 2017).

But for me this phrase speaks to an ecological understanding, or even ‘becoming earthly’ (in Latour’s sense). Ecological approaches to art are distinctive – they ask us to re-imagine our relationship with the world, as part of it, with art being not simply a human commodity or communication. Rather art is potentially a way to experience and understand the livingness and agency of the world, to share experiences with the more-than-human.

North Light Arts, under Susie Goodwin’s leadership, have put myriad aspects of the environment of the East Coast town of Dunbar as the focus of artists’ residencies.

John Muir, mostly known for his key role in the creation of the National Parks in the USA (remember the 1903 picture of him with Theodore Roosevelt on the top of the world?), was born in Dunbar. He provides North Light Arts and Susie in particular with inspiration. Muir is remembered for saying,

Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

The power of imagination makes us infinite.

Published: Improvising as a method in the time of Covid-19

Posted in Arts & Health, CF Writing, News, Research by chrisfremantle on July 7, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 16.05.44

The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance kindly published some thoughts on artists and improvisation, drawn from the writings of Professor Emeritus Anne Douglas and the work of Dr Chris Dooks.

This came out of a discussion during a meeting of arts and health networks (WAHWN (Wales), ArtsCare (Northern Ireland) and ACHWS (Scotland), as well as APPG AHW and CHWA (England). We were talking about how artists were adapting to continue to work with various communities, not only shifting online, but also finding new analogue ways.

Improvising provides a different way of thinking from statistics and modelling, which have dominated the news and discussions certainly since lockdown, but actually well before that, and in other discourses such as the climate crisis too. ‘Improvising’ can also be a critique of politicians, but where artists are doing it, the approaches are tested methods, not on-the-fly half-baked patches.

Thanks to Anne Douglas for her comments and Chris Dooks for allowing use of his work.

 

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What art have I seen? #AIWW: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei

Posted in Performances by chrisfremantle on May 4, 2020
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Failure talks

Posted in CF Writing, Failure, Research, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on April 26, 2020

A recurring theme has been failure. This has resulted in publications (paper in iJade written with Dr Gemma Kearney, Business School, Robert Gordon University) and talks (principally for the Scottish Graduate School in Arts and Humanities Summer School 2016-18 presented with Elizabeth Reeder, Creative Writing, University of Glasgow).

Recently I’ve prepared the talk in four segments which can be watched online.

Pt 1 focuses on the prescriptions and fables that surround failure. Pt 2 draws on the research Gemma Kearney and I did into Gray’s School of Art staff perceptions of failure in their own practices and teaching. Pt 3 draws on Elizabeth Reeder’s talk for the Summer School as well as on Gert Biesta’s art pedagogy to discuss methods and desires. Pt 4 highlights some of the references and discusses them briefly.

The Art of a Life Adapting, published in Leonardo

Posted in Arts & Health, CF Writing, News, Research, Texts, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on March 10, 2020
'Drawing 2016', pen (Sharpie), found object, sculptural object, 2016. (Photo: Fergus Connor)

‘Drawing 2016’, pen (Sharpie), found object, sculptural object, 2016. (Photo: Fergus Connor)

Statement ‘The Art of a Life Adapting: Drawing and Healing’ just published in Leonardo Vol 53 No 1. You can find an earlier version here. Drawings are here.

There is a lot of talk about adaptation in relation to the climate crisis, but there is also an increasing recognition that cancer survival rates mean that a larger proportion of the population is and will be living with the long term consquences of cancer treatment. This has been highlighted by the EU Horizon programme, “The EU has already placed the needs of survivors as one of the key pillars of its Beating Cancer Plan and has now launched a consultation aimed at identifying where research is needed most.” (‘Treating cancer is only part of the journey’: the overlooked needs of cancer survivors, online.)

The role of arts and cultural practices, as well as approaches to understanding adaptation conceptually and practically, all need further consideration (see recent blog on climate adaptation). We know arts & culture has multiple contributions to make, including:

  • offering forms of autonomy in palliative care, as explored in the ‘Tracing Autonomy’ project by Prof. Ben Colburn of University of Glasgow, Jeni Pearson and Kirsty Stansfield of the Art Room in the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow.
  • playing a role in ’emotional regulation’ (Daisy Fancourt’s recent research provides significant evidence), but there are also issues around ‘uncertainty’ which also connect climate-related adaptation with cancer-related adaptation.
  • opening up ways of ‘living with uncertainty’, which medics recognise as an important part of their professional practice, but is equally significant for patients.

 

What art have I seen? Ballet Rambert

Posted in Performances by chrisfremantle on February 27, 2020

Ballet Rambert at His Majesties in Aberdeen. Three pieces,

    • PreSentient, Wayne McGregor’s arresting response to the music of Steve Reich
    • Rouge, an original creation from rising star Marion Motin
    • Hofesh Shechter’s powerful In your rooms

Three quite distinct pieces, formal, abstract, political. The last, the Shechter, shifted between the chaotic and the orderly – Anne also read some Deleuze & Guattari into it. The formalism of the McGregor piece set to Reich was stunning.

What art have I seen? Tendency Towards’ Haunted by the ghost of a flower

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on February 20, 2020

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The resonating thought

Haunted by the ghost of a flower an exhibition by the collective Tendency Towards at The Barn. Tendency Towards are all graduates of Gray’s – an evening with students in discussion with the collective. The work is in the ongoing conversation with a curator, in the appropriation of materials (theatre flats) and in the composition of the space.

Making an exhibition as a collective, as another identity from all the individual identities, is a particular exercise in negotiation, and in working out how to speak with a single voice. Each personality in the collective is important, and the whole can be better than any individual if the collective draws out the best in each other.

Adaptation and failure

Posted in CF Writing, Failure, Research, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on February 3, 2020

Harrisons-South-Gallery-Installation-view-3-2009

Greenhouse Britain installed at the Feldman Gallery in New York City

Ten years ago I was working with the Harrisons on Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom. They insistently focused on ‘adaptation’ although Defra, who were funding the work, wanted the focus on ‘mitigation’. Now public policy is addressing adaptation (cf Climate Ready Clyde) as well as the Cultural Adaptation project (which I’m helping to evaluate as part of my work as a Research Fellow at Gray’s School of Art).

Mitigation is easier to plan and measure. How much reduction in carbon dioxide emissions has this initiative achieved?

Adaptation might be based on strengthening infrastructure and systems, but the shape of the challenge is timescale for knowing whether it has worked or not – this might be a decade?

So understanding what failure means in this context is important. In particular the challenge is that methods and approaches with known outcomes can seem attractive (less likely to fail) but can only deliver what is already understood. Embracing change must mean also embracing failure as a possibility.

The voices speaking as the projection of sea-level rise onto the island of Britain plays out ask,

Will it be enough?

As the most extreme model suggests
to halt the juggernaut of the ocean
if carbon use is stopped
almost all at once
almost all over
in the next 10 years?

Later they ask,

Would it be enough?

To begin now
a transglobal discourse in which
the Global Domestic Output
is discussed
agreeing all efforts be directed to commit
1% of the Global Domestic Product
to the reduction of the carbon surge
to near zero
in order to reduce
the ocean rise?

And again later,

Would it be enough?

to transcend economic thinking
and begin creating
a domain
of ecological thinking
that regenerates
the great carbon-sequestering
world systems
that operate in the forests
and the oceans
while leaving
ancient carbon stored
as coal and oil
in their present inactive states?

This repeating pattern of ‘will it…?’ / ‘would it be enough?’ asks about how we imagine risk of the unknown, risk of failure.

The issue of failure and why it matters in experimental projects is explored in this blog from the Cultural Adaptations project (including more on failure from previous publications).

What art have I seen? Ironstone Prize

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on January 30, 2020

Visited Banbury to see the Ironstone Prize with Gail Anderson and Mark Bigelow, who had a piece included. Local open competitions are such a good thing – a community should periodically have a chance to see what the artists living there do. This included a mix of the pleasurable, the rigorous, the experimental and the enquiring.

What art have I seen? Eco-Visionaries

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on January 30, 2020

Eco-Visionaries at the Royal Academy. Quite a mix of work, old and new; video, sculpture, performance, architecture; addressing energy, interspecies communication, extinctions, pollution, waste, and other ‘ecological’ issues.

The final element was a performance – we entered a room and sat facing a mirror. We put headphones on. We were addressed and asked questions about our perception of our own mortality. Then the light changed and the mirror revealed itself to be a tank containing jellyfish with another group sitting on the far side. There was some discussion of how they were also experiencing the same performance, albeit ‘offset’ so our actions were seen by them, and then their actions were seen by us.

However the most provocative element was the jellyfish who are doing very well as a result of climate change – I know this because I see a lot of big ones washed up on Ayr beach. The elements that asked us to consider our lives and the changes we might need to make, in juxtaposition with the jellyfish and their thriving, were powerful. The two audiences was a bit ‘over egging’.

Overall the exhibition demonstrated the many ways artists, designers and architects are to a greater or lesser degree succeeding in wrestling, some for more than 50 years, with the issues of the climate and biodiversity emergency. Each work makes sense as an attempt to grapple with all the complexity that Timothy Morton highlights in Hyperobjects – the nonlocality, the phasing, the stickiness and so on. As an exercise in curation I’m not sure it made sense beyond ‘look at all the ways…’ It also didn’t quite address the lameness and hypocrisy that Morton also highlights.

 

What art have I seen? Hamish Fulton

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on January 29, 2020

A Decision To Choose Only Walking at Parafin.

Fine selection of work – the itemisation of walking around many Kora suggests more committed Buddhism. Fulton talks about the time it takes to get into the ‘quiet mind’ at the start of a walk.

The statements “I am a contemporary artist, not a mountaineer. I have no knowledge of Alpine-style climbing and I see no reason why I should paint a ‘good likeness’ of any mountain. I employ words but I’m not a writer. I am a walking artist and I record all my walks in word form…” 60 years of clarity…

What art have I seen? Jo Spence

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on January 24, 2020

Abstract for Guest presentation: “The work is a chant and was made to be read aloud.”

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on December 18, 2019

Title: “The work is a chant and was made to be read aloud.”*
Chris Fremantle and Anne Douglas

Abstract:

Helen Mayer Harrison (1927-2018) and Newton Harrison (b.1932) are pioneers in bringing together art and ecology. Their work is combinations of text and image, always intended to ask us to put ecosystemic health and wellbeing first in all our decision-making. More timely than ever, their works speak to improvisation and offer ways to think about adaptation.

The Harrisons worked together in a fifty year partnership drawing on their skills as researchers and artists to engage different publics across the globe in understanding the entangled nature of rising temperatures, loss of biodiversity, sea level rise among other issues. They pose the question of how we as a human species among many others will cope with these changes.

Reading (or re-enacting) the Harrisons works is a process of exploration of experience and meaning distinct from critical writing (which we have also done).
We will perform a selection of texts chosen from three periods of the Harrisons’ work. We will introduce each of these readings with a view to developing a shared discussion on what the arts contribute to the current environmental crisis.

Theatre Studies, University of Glasgow, 5.30 pm 23 Jan 2020

Bios:
Anne Douglas is an artist and researcher. She has focused over the past 25 years on developing research into the changing nature of art in public life, increasingly in relation to environmental change. She has published extensively on artistic leadership, improvisation and participation exploring the function and poetics of exemplary artistic practices, including that of the Harrisons, the latter in collaboration with Chris Fremantle. She is a professor emeritus from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen and continues to develop and support practice led research through the arts at doctoral and postdoctoral levels.

Chris Fremantle is a Research Fellow and Lecturer as well as a Producer for art projects across health and environment. He has worked as Producer on the Harrisons’ work Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom (2006-09) and more recently as Associate with On the Deep Wealth of this Nation, Scotland. Together with Anne Douglas, he has written on the practice of the Harrisons. Chris established ecoartscotland in 2010 and has been Chair of the Art Focus Group for the Ramsar Culture Network since 2016. He studied English and Philosophy and has a Masters in Cultural History.
* Harrison, H.M. and Harrison, N. 2001. From There to Here. San Diego: Harrison Studio

What art have I seen? Young Turner

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on December 1, 2019

Turner’s Perspective Diagrams

Banbury Museum’s exhibition from the Ashmolean of Young Turner and Oxford. Includes a sequence of diagrams used by Turner for his lectures on perspective.

What art have I seen? Hal Fischer, Dike Blair and more…

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on November 22, 2019

Hal Fischer’s Gay Semiotics and Other Works. Several different series exploring gay culture in San Francisco – life on a street bench over 24hrs; the archetypal attire of particular groups, the key signals. All b/w photos with text, some done as almost scientific textbooks.

Also at GoMA Fiona Tan’s Disorient and a group exhibition Domestic Bliss

At the Modern Institute Dike Blair at Osborne Street and Matt Connors Figure at Aird’s Lane. Quality painting in both cases. Connors’ visual games with abstracts playing with colour and scale, a game to see the connections.

And revisiting Nick Cave’ Until at Tramway where there was also Zadie Xa’s Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation and Fred Moten and Wu Tsang’s Gravitational Feel.

What art have I seen? Max Ernst on the first floor and Richard Serra on the third

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on November 3, 2019

Max Ernst: An Invitation To Look
The Artist’S Career Surveyed In A Private Collection

Un/fortunately only three of the fifteen works because of another event, but came away with the catalogue.

The show features fifteen works from an exceptional private collection, covering Ernst’s entire career from 1925 to 1971, acquired largely in the 1950s and 1960s by a prominent Italian collector and friend of the artist.

Of course the question of ‘how to look’ is vital. All the works in the exhibition involve different methods used by Ernst in addition to drawing and oil on canvas – frottage, collage, grattage, and gesso relief.

Upstairs in a different dealership is a selection of Richard Serra drawings – examples of several different series. These test the edge between drawing and sculpture; the surfaces are as dense as Chestnut tree bark. The one exception, a looping line spiralling across the page is more like a stream and banks of accumulated sediment.

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Enrolled as a p/t student for PhD by Public Output

Posted in CF Writing, CV, PhD, Research by chrisfremantle on October 14, 2019

Abstract

There is increasing interest in the contribution that the arts can make to the major challenges facing researchers, policy makers and societies more generally. Artists are included within multi-disciplinary teams addressing environmental research subjects (amongst others). Hybrid practices such as art and ecology (‘ecoart’) have established themselves at the intersection of disciplines, adopting approaches from the environmental sciences into arts practices. These practices are often situated within the broad category of Environmental Humanities, however there are distinctive aspects, particularly around the orientation towards collaboration which means that ecoart has a specific contribution to make.

The research, in opening up the specific contribution artists can make to public life, as well as their development of hybrid practices through collaborations with other disciplines, addresses a number of important challenges identified by policy makers. These can be broadly characterised as ‘wicked problems’, problems beyond the scope of any single discipline. This includes in particular global warming: sea level rise, heatwave and biodiversity loss. Other ‘wicked problems’ include healthcare (and specific conditions including cancer and dementia), social injustice, and natural hazards.

The articulation of the contribution, approaches and effects of artists to and within multi-disciplinary teams is key to growing an interdisciplinary culture to address ‘wicked problems’. Clear articulation of how artists’ work works both in terms of the process of development, particularly when it involves collaboration with other disciplines, and well as how it works with audiences and participants, is critical to the realisation of a meaningful contribution.

Practice-led approaches, including live projects as well as reflecting on exemplary practices, provide means to open up and discuss both the contribution made by artists as well as the interactions with other disciplines – the forms of inter- and transdisciplinarity that artists ‘bring to the table’.

Drawing on more than 10 years of work, this PhD brings together outputs including Chapters and Papers on the work of pioneers of the art and ecology movement, Helen Mayer Harrison (1927-2018) and Newton Harrison (b. 1932); live project work as Producer on their key project ‘Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom’ (2006-09) and currently as Associate Producer on ‘The Deep Wealth of this Nation, Scotland’. In addition to opening up the approaches of the artists to creating the works and their approaches to collaboration with other disciplines, the research discusses the utilisation of key questions that shape the design process in other contexts including public art in healthcare settings. The discussion of collaboration and inter- and trans-disciplinary work is informed by Chapters and Papers addressing another live project, the Land Art Generator Glasgow initiative, as well as reflections on issues of participation and collaboration.

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5818-8208

What art have I seen? Nick Cave’s ‘Until’ and Red Note improvising

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work, Sound by chrisfremantle on October 14, 2019

We were at the evening organised by ArtLink Edinburgh where, as part of their Altered States programme in association with Nick Cave’s ‘Until’ installation in Tramway, Red Note Ensemble improvised for a mixed ability audience.

ArtLink is an ‘arts and disability’ organisation, and this immersive experience was amazing, taking an already stunning installation and creating a moment where an audience spent time together just being … in our bodies, in the environment, in the light and glitter, in the sounds…

What art have I seen?James Richards ‘Migratory Motor Complex’

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on October 11, 2019

More collage today (bit of a theme) this time sound. At Collective on Calton Hill. Video from original presentation with other works by Richards for Wales at Venice Biennale.

Migratory Motor Complex is how your digestion works. Slightly ironic since I was discussing ‘diverticular’ with a colleague over coffee this morning!

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What art have I seen? Ade Adesina, NeoNeanderthals

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on October 11, 2019

Ade Adesina, After the Questions, linocut, 2018

Ade Adesina’s linocuts.

Robbie Bushe and Jeanne Cannizzo’s collaboration NeoNeanderthal. Bushe said Neanderthals didn’t wreck the planet in 250,000 years. Maybe if they came back… Cannizzo is an anthropologist and maker. Brilliantly in one case are objects she has made, provided interpretation for, and the contested the validity of aspects of the interpretation. Bushe’s paintings and drawings have aspects of children’s books with cutaways to show ‘how it works’, but what’s going on is genetic extraction and the reproduction of an extinct species.

https://www.royalscottishacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/The-View-After-The-Questions..Linocut.109.2-%C3%B9-167.6-cm..2018-.jpg

What art have I seen? Collage

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on October 11, 2019

What art have I seen? Fife Arms

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on September 30, 2019

‘Disciplinarity and Peripheries’ at Gray’s Research Conference

Posted in CF Writing, News, Research, Texts by chrisfremantle on September 29, 2019

‘Peripheries’, Gray’s Research Conference, takes place on Friday 4th October. I’ll be presenting on disciplinarity and it’s edges.

Abstract:

By analogy disciplines are a form of ‘centre’ and work across disciplines involves focusing on edges. Some people conceptualise disciplines to have ‘near’ and ‘far’ relations i.e. visual art is ‘near’ art history and ‘far’ from environmental modelling. Gavin Little talks about radical and moderate saying,

“The radical variant involves scholars working across major discipline boundaries—such as theatre and environmental science—while the moderate one takes place between scholars in intellectually cognate disciplines such as law and policy, philosophy and religious studies, politics and history, or visual arts and media.” (Little 2017, 6).

Murdo Macdonald quotes George Davie’s The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect saying,

“…the most important side of any department of knowledge is the side on which it comes into contact with every other department. To insist on this is the true function of humanism.” (Macdonald nd, np)

Disciplines certainly don’t sit tightly next to each other and there are definitely gaps between them – we only need to think about the rationale for ‘multi-disciplinary teams’ in ensuring that these gaps are addressed and acknowledged in for example healthcare between clinical, nursing and other health professionals. Nicolescu goes further and argues that the ‘space’ between disciplines is full with an “information flux” (much as geographical peripheries are full). (Nicolescu 1993, 6)

This conceptualisation also raises interesting analogies in the other direction, including the possibility that attention to linking two ‘centres’ can produce, in the ‘periphery’, a new centre. The interdisciplinary developments between biology and chemistry resulted in due course in the emergence of bio-chemistry as a new discipline (and thus a new ‘centre’).

One of the abiding ‘disciplinary’ debates is whether the objective is synthesis and holism – is the objective to produce centres or even one totalising centre? Or is it as Murdo Macdonald, following George Davie, suggests about specialisations (centres),

“But it also creates blindspots, eddies of ignorance in epistemological space, which can only be perceived from another perspective. This is interesting from our perspective here because it shifts the emphasis of interdisciplinarity from the purloining of other disciplines’ methods in the hope that you can apply them within your own discipline, to illuminating, by the methods of one’s own discipline, what those other disciplines may be methodologically unable to access.” (Macdonald nd, np)

This presentation will be a meditation on the issues of disciplinarity as a spending time with edges and differences, drawing on the writings of Basarab Nicolescu (multi-, inter- trans-disciplinarity), Gavin Little (proximity and distance), and Murdo Macdonald & George Davie (the Scottish tradition of the Democratic Intellect).

References

Little, G. 2017. ‘Connecting Environmental Humanities: Developing Interdisciplinary Collaborative Method’. Humanities, 6(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6040091

Macdonald, M. 2007. A Note on Interdisciplinarity. https://www.academia.edu/39621092/A_Note_on_Interdisciplinarity.1

Nicolescu, B. 1993. Towards Transdisciplinary Education. Invited talk at the International Conference Education of the Future, Memorial da America Latina, Parlamento Latinoamericano, Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 4-8.

Nicolescu, B. 1997. The Transdisciplinary Evolution of the University Condition for Sustainable Development. Talk at the International Congress Universities’ Responsibilities to Society, International Association of Universities, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, November 12-14, http://ciret-transdisciplinarity.org/bulletin/b12c8.php

Abstract: A Funeral March for Economic Valuation

Posted in Maintenance, News, Research by chrisfremantle on September 24, 2019

Accepted for the Valuing Nature Conference at the end of October
This presentation will explore the various ways that we can think about ecosystems that are degraded or dying and how this relates to questions of economic valuation – what does it mean to attribute a monetary value to the Great Barrier Reef, apparently a significant asset for the Australian economy when the Reef by all accounts will be at least three quarters dead within a generation or two?
Drawing on the work of artists who have raised issues of care and maintenance including Mierle Laderman Ukeles and theorists such as Tim Morton, the presentation will juxtapose articulations of economic valuation (eg bees and the Great Barrier Reef) with creative approaches to death and dying. The aim of the presentation is not to offer a solution, method or answer, but rather to evoke the contradictions inherent in thinking about environment.

What art have I seen? Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on September 7, 2019

At Somerset House – threaded by Harold Ové, including music, sculpture, photography, painting, writing, poetry, music, carnival, fashion, design, activism, anger and politics.

What art have I seen? Walid Raad’s To be honest the weather helped

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on September 6, 2019

Walid Raad makes work that blurs with everyday life, but coming from the never ending conflict of the Middle East. His images are often banal, but the stories that he wraps them in are sharp – the ‘first job’ photos of shop fronts which are later discovered to be put out of business because they wouldn’t pay the extortion. Above the discovered artist who made works on the backs of paintings in a museum.

How do you deal with (adapt to) living in a state of continual low intensity war?

Para-fictions.

https://www.stedelijk.nl/en/exhibitions/walid-raad-2

Also saw Welkom in adjacent rooms a totally factual documentary photography exhibition on mining communities in South Africa. The implementation of Apartheid, the connections with Dutch culture, the impact on young people. Very strange because the aesthetics intersect.

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What art have I seen? Rijksmuseum

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on September 6, 2019

Medieval and Asian art.

Saint Elizabeth’s Day Flood (1490-95) amazing record of a flood in 1412 caused by storm surges in the North Sea https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/rijksstudio/155667–r-s/collections/elisabeth-panelen-dordrecht?ii=0&p=0

Also ‘A Lohan’, carved wood from China before 1400AD. “This is Ajita. He concentrates fully on listening to the reading of a sutra, a scripture that conveys the Buddha’s teachings.”

(and we thought Masaccio was good) https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/search/objects?q=wood+figure&s=chronologic&p=1&ps=12&st=Objects&ii=10#/AK-MAK-1727,10

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What art have I seen? Faith Ringgold

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on August 19, 2019

The activism sits alongside the storytelling. The humanity alongside the anger. The imagination, the stars of the lights on the bridge, the girl floating.

The consistently acknowledged involvement of family in the making of various of the works, particularly the influence of Faith Ringgold’s mother, must be pretty exceptional in contemporary art.

American People Series #6: Mr. Charlie, 1964 (from Faith Ringgold's website)

American People Series #6: Mr. Charlie, 1964 (from Faith Ringgold’s website)

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What art have I seen? Cindy Sherman

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on August 18, 2019
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What art have I seen? Energy Objects

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on August 16, 2019

Hannah Imlach’s Energy Objects at WORM in Aberdeen comprises works made over a number of years resulting from an ongoing enquiry into the infrastructures of renewable energy, on Eigg, on Orkney and at Donside in Aberdeen. These carefully crafted objects are no less beautiful than the Archimedes Screw newly installed in the community hydro project in Aberdeen, or the OpenHydro units at EMEC on Orkney. Imlach also touches on the relationship with Community Land Ownership, the critical connection between energy and political evolution.

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Carlos Cruz-Diez RIP

Posted in News by chrisfremantle on August 11, 2019
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What art have I seen? My Own Private Bauhaus

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 31, 2019
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What art have I seen? Placing Sound

Posted in Exhibitions, On The Edge, Research by chrisfremantle on July 25, 2019

Maja Zeco performing her work 'Hold In/Breathe Out'

Maja Zeco performing her work ‘Hold In/Breathe Out’

Maja Zeco opened her exhibition ‘Placing Sound’ at Gray’s School of Art where she is just completing her practice-led PhD with a performance of her work ‘Hold In/Breathe Out’. This work might be a meditation on the experience of immersing yourself in everyday life and stepping out into perhaps your own mind, or in some sense private space. Zeco filled a large bowl with water and as she immersed her head completely in the water, triggered a soundscape of an urban environment with associated imagery. As she came back out of the water about 30 seconds later she ended the audio imagery. She breathed in silence. Her urban included images of streets and buildings and I’m pretty sure I saw an artillery piece.

Spead across three rooms, this exhibition represents nearly 10 years of work exploring sound and performance. One room is quartered and composed of sounds from the North East of Scotland (Aberdeen and Banchory) and from Bosnia Herzegovina where Zeco was born. Voices and bird song, trees and traffic all layer over each other drawing you to different points in the room as different elements come forward.

The middle room has video and physical documentation of two performance works. In one case, One Thousand Pomegranate Seeds’ bringing the action in the video into another form of presence with the physical evidence of the event in front of you whilst watching its making. Below is the promo video from Horsecross, Perth, where the work was originally performed.

The first room you encounter (I started with the last) again brings together different forms of documentation, physical remains and video, of performance – in this case ‘Silencer’ and in another part of the room the space in which Zeco performed ‘Hold In/Breathe Out’.

What art have I seen? The Asset Strippers

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 16, 2019

Mike Nelson’s The Asset Strippers at Tate Britain transforms the Duveen Galleries into some part of Govan or Clydebank, Paisley or maybe East Kilbride.

The structuring of the dignified neoclassical spaces into a series of workshops, lacks only the suspended fluorescent lights to fully realise the conceit. The partitions’ materials, structures and even adornments are all evocative of industrial spaces across the UK.

The assemblages in the first space seem more ‘found’ whilst some in the rear spaces are more contrived or absurd and more poignant, particularly the giant diesel engine on a bed of sleeping bags.

It might be trite to say there’s poetry in the everyday of industry, but in truth you can find it easily.

What art have I seen? Victor Pasmore Gallery

Posted in Audiences and, Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 12, 2019

View of Victor Pasmore Gallery

Small selection of works by Victor Pasmore who lived in his later life on Malta.

Very clear sense of Pasmore’s Modernist understanding of the way the artwork is a thing in itself, not a representation or derivation. Curious if this links to ideas of Object Oriented Ontology?

Pasmore says, “Once independent, a painting becomes the sole visual object so that its content becomes totally immanent in its form and image, a condition which renders its meaning essentially potential. Emerging in anonymity, therefore, the new painting can become a sign or symbol of infinite extension, directly finding its place in the eye and mind of the spectator” (Images of colour 1983).

Harman says, “By ‘objects’ I mean unified realities – physical or otherwise – that cannot fully be reduced either downwards to their pieces or upwards to their effects.”

And goes on to say, “But for the arts, as for the social sciences, the greater danger is the upward reduction that paraphrases objects in terms of their effects rather than their parts. For it is dubious to claim that objects are utterly defined by their context, without any unexpressed private surplus.”

Obviously an artwork is a thing in the human world, but for Pasmore it is not a communication, a message, between the artist and the spectator. It is a thing in itself, not reducible to a representation.

WW1: The letter that reveals a brutal day at Scapa Flow – BBC News

Posted in Family by chrisfremantle on June 19, 2019
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What art have I seen? ‘Dora Maar’ and ‘Prehistory’ at the Pompidou

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on June 17, 2019

After the Picasso Museum and also the Tate’s Dorothea Tanning exhibition (with it’s continual reminders that she was married to Max Ernst), this was more interesting and better judged. Includes Dora Maar’s early commercial work, her social investigations, move into Surrealism, connection with Picasso, later abstract photography… rich and diverse.

Pompidou Centre trailer

The ‘Prehistory’ exhibition is a huge survey of art and archaeology, taking inspiration from Lucy Lippard’s Overlay. Interesting that France has its own history of geological ‘realisation’ parallel to Hutton in Edinburgh.

Giuseppe Penone

What art have I seen? Picasso Museum, Paris

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on June 16, 2019

Permanent collection and the temporary exhibition bringing together works by Picasso with works by Alexander Calder. Came away with a renewed respect for Calder’s judgement and elegance. Some of the Picasso works… less so.

What art have I seen? Love at first sight

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work by chrisfremantle on June 9, 2019

Morag Myerscough’s installation in collaboration with poet Jo Gilbert encompasses the Mercat Cross. Commissioned by Aberdeen’s LookAgain Festival (based in Gray’s)Lovely story connecting Myerscough to Aberdeen, and Gilbert is a powerful voice for Doric poetry.

Audiences and … pt5

Posted in Audiences and by chrisfremantle on June 7, 2019

This thread records bit and pieces that seem relevant to thinking about the complexity and many dimensions of art in the world.

Although my colleague Anne Douglas might ask for a tougher and more careful articulation of the ways in which improvisation is operating here, Francois Matarasso’s piece is a pretty good articulation of what we know to be possible and opens up what he means by Community Art pretty effectively.

Community art is improvisation

Celebration of Richard Fremantle’s life

Posted in Family by chrisfremantle on June 2, 2019

Harriet Walter very kindly read a piece at the suggestion of Chloe Fremantle Blegvad.

It came from the Portsmouth Priory School newsletter and was very close to Richard’s heart. It has a similar sentiment to The Four Quartets which he also loved. Oskar Baines Fremantle videoed this. The text copied out by Chloe is below.

This captures his spirit so well.

What art have I seen? AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland at Stills

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 21, 2019

System Failure

Posted in Failure by chrisfremantle on May 18, 2019

Exhibition on San Francisco focused on tech failure. Apex Art, who are based in New York City, present this in SF, the heart of tech.

The essay highlights the tech mantra,

fail fast! fail big! fail often! fail better!

Which is of course a signal bastardisation of Samuel Beckett,

Ever tried. Ever failed. Try Again. Try better.

(Nothing about size and speed.)

Good essay to be found here https://apexart.org/exhibitions/kornstein-defabio.php

 

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What art have I seen? Everybody in the Place

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 11, 2019

Jeremy Deller’s Everybody in the Place, an Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992 at The Modern Institute

Busy for a sunny (taps aff) Saturday in Glasgow – lots of artists sitting in the dark being reminded of their youth (Ally Wallace, Rowena Comrie).

Interesting proposition that Social Media has replaced music as the mode of existence of young people…

But seriously, compelling argument for the role of late 80s music in the counter culture flowing from Europe to the US and back again. Continued relevance in the ongoing rise of the Right.

What art have I seen? Gathering by Alec Finlay

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on May 9, 2019

Finlay, Manifesto for Walking

Alec Finlay’s exhibition Gathering at W OR M in Aberdeen opens up a relationship with the Scottish environment (that which is around us whether urban, rural, forest or mountain top) as a space of walking and hutting, but also of re-wilding and in which to make poetry. We think of mountains and forests in the sublime tradition of art, but Alec gives us this in everyday and contemporary terms. He uses games and the domestic, even children’s toy blocks, to engage us. His form of concrete poetry, poetry to exist in the world, in workplaces and domestic spaces, is quirky but not precious.

Finlay, Timeline of Re-Wilding

What art have I seen? Chick Chalmers

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 7, 2019

Audiences and… pt4

Posted in Audiences and, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on May 7, 2019

Lucas Ihlein’s short essay on blogging and how he uses it as part of a situated practice (whether in local communities or communities of interest) opens up interesting questions about exoticisim and neighbourliness, seeing the familiar and how to make it strange, as well as the use of a blog as a form of interaction.

Blogging as art, art as research

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What art have I seen? Who’s afraid of drawing?

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 1, 2019

Works on Paper from the Ramo Collection at the Estorick Collection.

Drawing from Italy between 1910 and 1990. Abstract, figurative, with words and in relation to sculpture.

Talking to my cousin last night, we discussed how small exhibitions, well curated, can have more significance than their scale.

This exhibition covers periods where Italy was having huge influence on the world, at the time of the Futurists after the First World War, and again in the 60s when, alongside Arte Povera, Italy was a political maelstrom and fashionable too. Another cousin (it was an evening of cousins) said, just think about photos of young Italians on beaches in the Sixties, the height of chic, and it was the same country that had the largest Communist Party outside of the Soviet Union.

And then there was fascism, Futurism slipping into questions of power and technology, Il Duce, etc.

It’s all there in the selection of drawings: designs for facades of Fascist headquarters, pseudo neo classical Saints, but also found and distressed objects as drawings, satire, cinema, mathematics… all life in fact. Every approach to making drawings. As the curatorial statement says,

Drawing – considered as any kind of work on paper, regardless of technique – is the load-bearing skeleton for much creative experimentation, a medium favoured by painters and sculptors that often represents the first visualization of an idea.

What I didn’t see was any reflection on collecting, which could have been brought out in the relation between the permanent (Estorick) collection and the visiting (Ramo) collection. This could have happened by highlighting which artists exist in both suites, leading to hurried journey’s between floors, but also by some comparison of the conditions of collecting, the motivations of collectors.

Having been listening to the Collect Wisely podcast with Pamela Joyner, the concerns of collectors, their ambitions and motivations, are vital to understanding the body of the collection.

What art have I seen? London 2026: Recipes for building a Food Capital

Posted in Exhibitions, Food by chrisfremantle on April 10, 2019

London 2026: Recipes for building a Food Capital at the Roca Gallery.

Lucked out to be able to join a tour by the curators from Department 22 (Clare Brass and Dejan Mitrovic).

Varied and interesting collection of architecture and design proposals. All are more or less real now but the conceit is that they need to be more real in 2026 when London’s population hits 10 million.

Symbiosis is a key theme, along with making food processes visible.

Interesting how energy bars are the cutting edge of experimenting: as evidence of the reality of the proposals we were offered both insect protein and algae based commercial products…

Also Joan Snyder’s Rosebuds and Rivers at Blain Southern

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