The Laboratory of Dissent is a five week experimental project by Associate Artists from Chapel Arts Studios (CAS) at The Winchester Gallery.
From 24th August – 25th September 2015 the gallery will be treated as a site for investigation rather than a showcase for finished work.
14 CAS artists will divide into 4 groups and each will occupy the gallery for a week, using Chantal Mouffe’s essay ‘Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces’ as a starting point for collaboration. Their creative enquiry will explore the themes of dissent, consensus and the struggle to retain criticality within contemporary art practice.
Can artistic practices still play a critical role in a society where the difference between art and advertizing have become blurred and where artists and cultural workers have become a necessary part of capitalist production?
Nowadays artistic and cultural production play a central role in the process of capital valorization and, through ‘neo-management’, artistic critique has become an important element of capitalist productivity.
This has led some people to claim that art had lost its critical power because any form of critique is automatically recuperated and neutralized by capitalism. Others, however, offer a different view and see the new situation as opening the way for different strategies of opposition.
– Chantal Mouffe
Alongside their investigations the resident artists will take it in turn to host workshops and events to open up a more general dialogue about their working methodology. The handover period between the residencies provides a further opportunity for the artists to examine hegemonic structures as the groups dictate what to pass on to the artist’s taking over from them and inform how they may subsequently choose to engage with the space. The project culminates in week 5 with an archive of documentation from all the residencies.
The Laboratory of Dissent will become part of a practice-led research programme CAS is undertaking to explore Dissent as a working methodology in collaboration, education and public engagement. This two year programme will have various iterations as it seeks to explores art’s unique capacity to challenge, question and offer alternative ways of seeing.
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