Talks & Events
Mel Brimfield, Death and Dumb
Mel Brimfield, Death and Dumb – Part II (composite video stills) 10’52”, digital film. Image courtesy of the artist and Ceri Hand Gallery
Sat 8 Feb 2014, Talks 4-6pm, Screenings 7-9pm, Tickets from £5
Tickets for the film screening are now sold out
This programme comprising talks and screenings looked at stupidity as both a subject and a strategy of artistic production, examining the cultural importance of stupidity with a particular focus on its ethical and political effects as well as the challenges it presents to art making and critical writing. High culture is supposed to keep its audience from being stupid, yet artists and theorists have repeatedly turned their attention to this marginalised subject. Stupidity carries a number of significant associations and implications - questions of intellectual superiority, of judgment and understanding, of the nature of thought, of certitude and selfhood, of insult and exclusion, of legitimate and illegitimate knowledge. Contributing speakers included Owen Parry, Natalie Pollard and Malcolm Quinn.
The screening focused upon the relationship between stupidity and resistance: on how artists draw upon stupidity or playing stupid as forms of dissidence, irreverence or refusal, as well as the difficulty of mastering the notion of stupidity. The evening screening included works by artists and filmmakers including Mel Brimfield, Cecelia Condit, Erik van Lieshout, Clunie Reid, Kim Schoen, Annika Ström, Ryan Trecartin and Rosemarie Trockel, as well as an interview with Andy Warhol from 1966.
Programmed in collaboration with and based on research by art theorist and writer Paul Clinton.
Download the programme notes
Paul Clinton is an art theorist and performer. His writing and lectures often focus on feminist and queer enquiries in contemporary art. Amongst his previous publications are a recent issue of the journal Parallax, which he edited, and catalogue essays for artists such as Bonnie Camplin. Speaking engagements include at the Whitechapel Gallery, University of Manchester and FormContent project space. He has worked with artists including Steve Claydon (Artissima), Bonnie Camplin (Chisenhale Gallery) and Lucy McKenzie (Florish Studios). He was also a founding member of the performance art band No Bra, co-writing several songs on the album Dance and Walk. He is currently undertaking research which examines stupidity as a queer concept, drawing upon artistic and philosophical resources.
Owen Parry works in performance, video and writing. His PhD exploring trashy tendencies in contemporary art and performance practice was recently submitted to Goldsmiths (2013). He was an AHRC funded researcher on Performance Matters, a collaborative project between Live Art Development Agency, Goldsmiths, and Roehampton University (2009-12) during which he co-organised Performing Idea Lab/Forum at A Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery, Trash Salon at Toynbee Studios, and a two-day public programme Potentials of Performance across White Building, Yard Theatre and ]performance space[. Owen was also guest editor (with João Florêncio) of [Trashing] Dance Theatre Journal (2011). He stages his art research internationally. www.owengparry.com
Natalie Pollard's book, Speaking to You: Contemporary Poetry and Public Address, came out with Oxford University Press in 2012. She is currently working on a new monograph, Lyric Economies, which focuses on the relationship between post-1960s literature and anxieties over commerce, broadcast, funding, stylistic rivalries and the politics of literary friendship. Natalie is a British Academy Research Fellow in English Literature at the University of Reading, UK.
Dr Malcolm Quinn’s current research focuses on identity, taste and governance in the thought of Jeremy Bentham and Adam Smith, with reference to Jacques Lacan’s account of the ‘utilitarian conversion’ in ethics. He is the author (with Professor Dany Nobus) of Knowing Nothing Staying Stupid: Elements for a Psychoanalytic Epistemology(Routledge, 2005) and ‘Insight and Rigour: A Freudo-Lacanian Approach’ in The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts (2010). His book Utilitarianism and the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain was published in 2012. He is Reader in Critical Practice, Associate Dean of Research and Director of CCW Graduate School, University of the Arts London.