Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Goodbye Wittgenstein

Goodbye Wittgenstein
25 July – 5 August 2016

Goodbye Wittgenstein is an international exchange programme between artists and academics from qujOchÖ in Linz, Austria and artists selected by A3 Project Space in partnership with BOM (Birmingham Open Media), UK. 

Participants in the programme take the relationship between the Austrian born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and David Hume Pinsent from Birmingham as a starting point for a series of projects that will happen in Linz and Birmingham during 2016. The projects respond to Wittgenstein’s early text ‘Notes on Logic’ which was dictated by Wittgenstein in 1913 during a visit to see David in Birmingham. ‘Notes in Logic’ is notably the predecessor of what is considered to be one of the most important philosophical texts of the 20th Century, ‘Tractatus Logico Philosophicus’.

The first phase of the Goodbye Wittgenstein programme is a visit to Birmingham from qujOchÖ artists Verena Henetmayr, Thomas Philipp and Andre Zogholy who will be in residence at BOM from 25 July to 5 August 2016. Using BOM as their base they will be enacting and documenting a series of public interventions at places that are connected to the life of Wittgenstein and Pinsent, including; Town Hall Birmingham and the original sites of Selly Wick House, the family home of the Pinsents on Lordswood Road in Harborne and the Berlitz School of Language on Paradise Street where Wittgenstein dictated “Notes on Logic” to a German speaking stenographer.

The residency includes public events at BOM on 28 July and 4 August and will culminate in a presentation of their interventions at Stryx as part of Digbeth First Friday, 5 August.

Related Events:

Wittgenstein and the Linz / Birmingham connection
28 July, 6.30 pm

Artists Verena Henetmayr, Thomas Philipp and Andre Zogholy from qujOchÖ
who are participating in the Goodbye Wittgenstein international exchange will talk about the development of their projects.

Writer Mike Johnston has written extensively about Wittgenstein’s relationship with Birmingham and will talk about his visits to see Pinsent between1912-13. Along with artists Emily Warner and Trevor Pitt, they will talk about the projects they are developing for their forthcoming residencies at Atelierhaus Salzamt, Linz in November 2016.

Clayton Shaw will talk about a set of placements run by SAMPAD that took place at Ars Electronica Festival, Linz for artists and practitioners working with young people who have a desire to enhance their skills and knowledge of the use of digital products and technology within their work.

Darryl Georgiou will talk about working at the Futurelab as part of his artist residency at the Ars Electronica centre in Linz, Austria during July - September 2014.

The presentations will be followed by the chance to informally network and build more connections between Birmingham and Linz.

Logic, Love & Kaiserschmarrn
4 August, 7.00 pm

qujOchÖ will talk about their work at the interfaces of art, politics, society, technology and science. They will show what it feels like to enter a wellness zone together with the famous French philosopher Michel Foucault, how to burn 21 million pounds on a Brazilian beach and why almost no one in Austria knows anything about ‘Sound of Music‘. Moreover they will serve super sweet Austrian Kaiserschmarrn & Zwetschkenknödel to the audience.

Goodbye Wittgenstein, qujOchÖ
5 August, 6.00 pm as part of Digbeth First Friday

Artists Verena Henetmayr, Thomas Philipp and Andre Zogholy from Linz, Austria will present outcomes of their residency at BOM including traces of their interventions in public spaces in Birmingham connected to the relationship between Ludwig Wittgenstein and his close friend from Birmingham, David Pinsent.

Supported by:
Supported by Austrian Cultural Forum London, The Austrian Federal Chancellery - Arts and Culture Division, The State of Upper Austria,The City of Linz, A3 Project Space, BOM (Birmingham Open Media) and Stryx.


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Model of Paradise

Quotes from Steven Gartside, Model Forms: Sculpture / Architecture in 50s & 60s’ Britain (Henry Moore Institute, 2002) [Henry Moore Institute Essays on Sculpture – 37]

If nothing were missing, there would be no reason for the model’s existence. Thus, the viewer is invited to play a role of speculation, tracing threads towards an imagined end.

We see in the photograph above anonymous officials considering the model before them of John Madin’s proposed Civic Centre for Birmingham which in 2016 is currently being demolished.

The model is part of a curtailed language structure – an expression of the context of its time. It is also part of a communication system that is ultimately only partially effective. It could even be said that the model comments on the practice of architecture and sculpture, by operating as a meta-architecture or a meta-sculpture. To produce a model is the process of making the unformed formed. What exists in the mind, and through a collection of other expressions, has to be turned into physical form, but not necessarily the final form. It is here that the central act of translation has to occur; with the caveat that this is not all there is.

The model is an acknowledgement of a position within the process of production. The viewer is presented with something that, out of time, has no official / real state.

Madin’s model is an ideal and the final building its shadow. The distortion in the transformation / correspondence to reality was brought about by spending cuts at Birmingham City Council in the 1970s.

In theory, the model allows for the production of a state of grace – the object unfettered by the everyday limitations of ‘real’ existence.
If the model is an object, then what kind of object is it? Its existence, when viewed in isolation, has a certain uniqueness – complete, yet incomplete, a model form of something else, without context or mitigating circumstance. There is a kind of freedom in the model – one primarily connected to its indeterminacy as an object. Its freedom denies a conventional system of value, because the object is removed from systems of consideration. The level of the indeterminate is extended by the possibility of relating the model either to origin (thought) or to eventuality (finished work.)

Madin’s model has made the officials appear like seated gods judging the fate of the world far beneath them. However, their presence in the photograph is also a ‘reproach to idealisation’ by giving it a real, human context – completing the symbol.

In this way the model can move towards a fictive state – a narrative begun by the maker to be completed by the viewer. This allows the viewer a way out of a destructive endgame, one that fails to move outside the model as an incomplete project. To encourage the viewer to imagine a range of likely outcomes for the final work could be seen as bypassing the conditions of museum purpose. It is, perhaps, the same as the use of narrative in history paintings – the object is finished, but it is difficult not to make the image move on in the mind. Narrative impulse is strong, and can be the perfect complement to indeterminacy.

Context provides architecture with the experience of dirty realism – the messy fractures in control that everyday experience brings. In a mass of schemes and developments, only a few can escape relatively unscathed from the compromising realities of use. Space is transitory, place has a central core of permanence. Idealised space is fine, non-existent space invents its own rules. In the production of actual space, time is crucial. The marks of time are not those of material against environment. Time is about the loosening of control – idealised space being replaced by real space. Model forms allow us to take a step out of that. Not a step backwards, rather a step outside time – an immersion in space, or spatial concepts. The relief is temporal, as the dirty realism of everyday life waits to exert its presence with slow, even power.