Sunday, 17 October 2010


Sandra Sykorova and Sarah Sparkes present
"One-to-One with Recessional Aesthetics"
as part of a one day event organised by
Sunday October 17th
at James Taylor Gallery
Collent Street (just off Well Street) 2pm - midnight

Bring some food, join the dinner and discussion.
You will be called for your 'one-to-one' with Recessional Aesthetics

Sarah and Sandra

 ‘Recessional Aesthetics’ was a discursive event organised by (founded by artists Karen Mirza and Brad Butler) at the James Taylor Gallery in Hackney,  Sunday 17th October, 2pm - 12 pm.

One of the large rooms of JTG, a not-for-profit exhibition space established by two artists in a large sprawling, multi-roomed warehouse in Hackney, was set out with a long dining table  and looking like cross between a communal canteen and a bourgeoisie dinner party. Around the table sat different thinkers and makers presenting ideas, films, performance, readings all designed to open discussion related to the economic, political, and social implication of the forthcoming cuts. Throughout the questions raised included “how we are working in the Arts?, how have we worked?, and how are we expected to work?”

The event was free to all, but participants and guests were asked to bring food to the table,  invited to sit down to dine and to contribute to on-going discussions which were both fed by and fed into the content of the program of presentations.

For the full duration of the event, in the far corner of a room adjacent to the main dinner and discussion , artists Sandra Sykorova and Sarah Sparkes’ created a space for a more personal discourse during a ‘Recessional Aesthetics One-to-One’.

On arrival, guests were given number cards. Periodically and at the push of a button a number screen in the dinning room generated random numbers.  The number holder was then invited to join one of the artists in the back room for a ‘one-to-one’. 

The ‘one-to-ones’ took place at a small dinner table where those selected where invited to sit upon a toilet and choose a ‘question dish’ to their taste then spending time discussing this topic with one of the artists.  The questions were written upon a stack of paper plates and taken from many current sources of thought and writings about the roles of art, artists, aesthetics and economics.  The responses were recorded on a typewriter by the artist acting as a scribe to create a documentation of the ideas exchanged.

The interviewee sat upon a white porcelain toilet, a reference to Brunel’s film ‘phantom of liberty’ the title of which is a homage to the opening sentence of Karl Marx and Friedrich EngelsCommunist Manifesto ("A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of Communism").  On another level the aesthetics of this performance, also referenced the dis-empowering, bureaucratic approaches of institutions and the recourse to humour that often occurs during times of hardship.  Paradoxically, the content of the exchange in this absurdist setting, was largely passionate, empowering and humane. The interviewee and interviewer feeling a sense of conclusion, discussions always ending by mutual agreement.

some of the responses from participants of the ‘one-to-ones’ will be posted on a 'one-to-one' blog coming soon!:


From 2pm - midnight
Sandra Sykorova and Sarah Sparkes
Recessional Aesthetics: one to one

"Workers Playtime" by Simon Bookish
William Raban
The Fiction of capitalism: The potential for an exponential decline?

David Graeber
Debt: the First Five Thousand Years

Oliver Rees
Address to Congress.

Ellie Harrison, Rachel Pimm and Edward Dorrian
Risk, responsibility and public money

Lutz Becker, Karen Mirza, Brad Butler
The Aesthetics of Resistance

15 minute break

Stefano Harney
For most people the crisis has just begun…

Maxa Zoller and Claire Tancon with William Cobbing
Processional Aesthetics

Alana Jelinek and John Reardon
De-schooling society

Dean Kenning and Paul O Kane
The Inoperative Community

Matthew Stone/Cedar Lewisohn
Interconnected Echoes/The Gut Club

About Now MMX by William Raban:
film screening: 27 mins.

It is certain that we are all currently engaging in personal and sometime public conversations around the arts and the cuts and what to do in the face of the dramatic changes that are in motion. We are witnessing different strategies of mobilisation across the breadth of cultural production and we know that the arts are not alone, the public sector as a whole is to be cut and as such we all have different questions and pressures we are asking of ourselves on fundamental levels.

In this light this event is proposed as a frame for exchange at James Taylor Gallery. As you may know James Taylor Gallery is not a traditional gallery space, it is best described as an artist occupation of a 25,000 sq foot space in the East End awaiting finance for its planning permission for conversion to luxury flats. In the meantime the gallery is an artist run live work space that sites exhibitions whilst facing a rolling 2 month notice of eviction. We felt this a fitting space for discourse combining a vast space, the gallery's fragility, and the context of a group exhibition that will not only stretch over the Government announcement of the cuts - but also the weekend of Frieze.

This invitation is to attend and participate in Recessional Aesthetics; a durational, discursive event produced, staged, and facilitated by the context of the space and the conditions of our present moment. This will take place on Sunday 17th October from 2pm - 12 pm and is to be sited around a long dining table, a cross between a commune (communal) dining hall and a (bourgeoise) banqueting dinner. Around this table on the hour different thinkers and makers will open a discussion in relation to the economic, political, and social implication of the forthcoming cuts. Whilst different individuals will lead each hour according to a schedule - the forms of such a participation are free and may take the form of people / collectives conversing, cinematic interventions, readings, or performed works. Time keeping will be upheld by sonic interruptions on the hour from the series “workers playtime” in homage to the radio series started in 1941 “to keep up the morale of the workers”. Throughout the questions raised will include how we are working in the Arts?, how have we worked?, and how are we expected to work? So the day will act as a durational discursive event, a coming together of individuals as part of a collectivity operating in the threshold of the public and the private, an image, a staging and an active discussion.

Your discourse is welcome. You are free to sit down, eat, and to join the discussion. We ask only that you bring a food offering for the table.

... a thought must be coarse to find its way into action. Bertolt Brecht

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Rhizomatic- Departure Gallery

RHIZOMATIC 1st October – 12th November 2010 by appointment.Private View Friday 8th October, 6 - 9.30pm (free taxi shuttle from Southall, see below) Departure Gallery, 5 - 6 Boeing Way, The International Trading Estate, Brent Road, Southall, London UB2 5LF.

A host of artists showing work in two awesome warehouses.

Needless to say I picked the scary warehouse and hung up some 'Never Afraid' Bunting as a welcome to visitors

Here's how it works - Rhizomatic is an experimental, decentralised curatorial system based on the concept of the Rhizome, as explored in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical masterpiece A Thousand Plateaus. This is Departure Gallery’s largest and most ambitious show so far and includes work by over two hundred artists exhibiting in 100,000 sq ft of warehouse space.Selected artists associated with Departure Gallery were each invited to choose up to six artists to exhibit alongside them. In turn, this second generation were encouraged to invite a further six participants, making a third generation, who could then invite six more. This six-link structure was inspired by the idea that all humans are connected by ‘six degrees of separation’. A rhizome is a sprawling, unhierarchical system of connections that are constantly in flux and can spring up at any moment in space and time. This exhibition does not seek to fix the rhizome by presenting it in a finished form, but, rather, it represents an attempt to freeze a moment of this rhizomatic process in the interests of examining its structure more closely. Furthermore, the show aims to catch a glimpse of the creative networks within which Departure Gallery’s artists operate, in order to locate ourselves within the wider art world. “Principles of connection and heterogeneity: at any point a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be…A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organisations of power, and circumstances relevant to the arts, sciences and social struggles.” Gilles Deleuze and FĂ©lix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus. This rhizomatic structure has particular resonance in the context of The International Trading Estate, which is a hub of haulage and distribution companies sorting and transporting goods in flux between producer and consumer.
The exhibition will not constitute the end of the rhizome, because a true rhizome has no beginning or end, but is ongoing and unlimited. Each artist involved will continue to make connections during and after the exhibition through the contacts and ideas that emerge as a result of the show. This opens up the possibility of creating a larger sequel exhibition at some point in the future. Who knows where this will go and what might result?
Louise Ashcroft, Curator.
Getting There: Take national rail from Paddington to Southall (14 minutes) then buses 105, h32, 105 or 482 to Brent Road. On the private view night there will be a free taxi shuttle from Southall Station between 6pm and 9.30pm- turn left out of the station and follow the signs to the shuttle stop.For more information or to make an appointment please contactlouiseashcroft@departuregallery.comLouise AshcroftDirector of ExhibitionsDeparture Gallery

Ancestors - I was selected by Ben Woodeson, who was selected by Russell Herron and I need to check on who selected him!

Nunhead Open

The film documenting my residency at Nunhead Community Centre was shown at this years Nunhead Open, an annual Art Exhibition at The Nunhead Community Centre. 10-12 September 2010

see more about events, projects, artist films and performance taking place alongside the Nunhead Open:

Sarah Sparkes, Deserters, 2009, 2 mins 36, dvd format Fri- Sunday 12-5pm Sarah Sparkes was the artist in residence at The Nunhead Community Centre during Nunhead Arts Week 2009. Sarah examined the absence of community at the the abandoned centre. The film Deserters was made during Sarah's residency and returns to haunt the community centre on a plinth, made from cushions left behind by the old people, on a tower a-top of Great Aunt Vera's Table.

This still from the film shows the portal I made inside a coffin at the community centre:

You can watch my film documenting the 'Deserter's Residency' below. The film shows the interventions I made in the space which were largely constructed from the furniture and objects left behind by the community. The bunting was from the silver Jubilee and was 'made over' by COTH (Sarah Sparkes and Simon Neville). I asked Derek Jordan to sing some popular war songs andit is his voice hauting the space: