Language is the epitome of social convention. It is based on a social agreement and wouldn’t survive without it. On the other hand, dissent may be the act of questioning not only social conventions but the apparatuses that construct those conventions. Society needs both. There are multiple ways and expressions of dissent. Dissent can be both subjective and collective. It can be a strategy for artists. While language’s desire is to last, to pass from generation to generation, to function, among other things, as a storage of culture and memory of its people, dissent’s desire is to push for change. It is intense, and generally a short lived intervention. From a momentary performance in a gallery to a few hours march in the streets, to (when the moment stretches) years of bloody war. The phrase ‘drawing languages for dissent’ is, therefore, paradoxical. As soon as dissent would turn into a language it would lose its affective power. However, if dissent draws something from language, it is the communicative component. And if language draws something from dissent it is its subjective component.
How can dissent be a strategy for artists?
In my role as CAS art-research consultant and mentor, I am offering artists the opportunity explore this question in the CAS Research Group, Mar – Aug 2020. For the first time, the group is open to anyone, not just CAS Associate Artists. Artists will be admitted to the group on a first-come-first-served basis. In 5 monthly sessions, we will explore the many ways different artists utilise dissent in their artworks; to gain a deeper understanding of dissent in different contexts, including as an artistic tool, practice and strategy; and to recognise elements of dissent with all its different manifestations in the participants’ own artworks.
In a recent CAS exhibition Let Us Dissent (Spudworks, 2-17.9.2019) Andrew Jones’ work comprised of maps where names of places had been erased, leaving lines that usually signify roads and borders between places strangely displaced.
Erasure threatens language, memory, identity, stability, in short, everything that is permanent or relatively permanent, such as a social contract. As such it can be a type of dissent.
Join us for…
Drawing languages for dissent
A CAS Research Group, Mar – Aug 2020
Monday’s 10.30am – 12.30 (2hrs)
A small, intimate, informal reading group, will explore and discuss selected texts around drawing and its processes within a broader context of creative dissent. Each session will last for two hours. It will include reading texts, making drawings and discussion, with the intention to explore different ideas about drawing and dissent in connection with the participants own art practices. Sessions are free of charge. Participants welcome to bring food to share. The sessions will culminate in two days of drawing activity at Chapel Arts Studios (CAS), as part of a Free Play invitation in August 2020. You may also be interested in the ‘Temporal Drawing’ conference at Loughborough University (July 9-10,2020) which poses a wonderful opportunity for group members to attend together.
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