alt.Space and Black Markets: Subterranean Dissemination and Cultural Practice

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The alt.SPACE Network of Artist Research Groups: Ola Stahl (facilitator), Neil Chapman, Oliver Wunsch, Kajsa Thelin and David Stent. This colloquium will explore what it identifies as two central tenets of much contemporary politically engaged artistic practice: (1.) a move away from individualized authorship towards collaborations that explicitly experiment with collectivity as prototype forms of cultural and socio-political organization; and (2.) an expansion away from the dominant specificities of art as an activity towards an engagement with a wider heterogeneous experiential and socio-political field. Although collaborative artistic practices have been dealt with fairly extensively in recent years several crucial issues within the field remain largely unexplored. One such issue has to do with dissemination and transversality. How are knowledges and specific forms of struggle and dissention disseminated transversally and productively both within and between geographically dispersed groups and collectives? How can transversal linkages and networks be established between different positions and struggles without homogenizing or totalizing the polyvocal fields thus traversed? How does one circumvent the naturalized hierarchies so often involved in various dissemination based practices without also losing hold of the notion of a political project premised on shared potential and commonality rather than the constant negotiation of antagonisms? On such premise, this colloquium sets out to explore potential alternative forms of dissemination through the figure of the alt.: the subterranean, the sub-function, mutating and often unexpected trajectories between the expressivity, poetics and forms of articulation of specific practices and struggles in different fields. It invites five speakers – all involved in the alt.SPACE Network of Artist Research Groups (www.altspace.info) – to put together short papers each on a different aspect of the notion of an alt.SPACE dissemination. All the papers thus relate to the overall theme of the colloquium whilst still retaining and exploring a specific perspective each.


Keywords: Art, Collaboration, Collectivity, Research, Dissemination, Politics, Political, Politically Engaged, Political Engagement, Socially Engaged, Social Engagement, Artist Collectives, Artist Groups, Aesthetics, Ethics
Stream: Art and Education
Presentation Type: Colloquium in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Ola Stahl

Founding Member, The alt.SPACE Network of Artist Research Groups
London, UK

Ola Stahl is an artist, writer and lecturer, and a founding member of artist collective C.CRED [Collective CREative Dissent] and, more recently, the alt.SPACE Network of Artist Research Groups. He received his BA (Hons) from the School of Cultural Studies at Sheffield Hallam University and his MA in The Social History of Art with Distinction from the Department of Fine Art, Art History and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds where he also went on to write his doctoral thesis on an aesthetics of dissention in contemporary collaborative artistic practic(thesis currently in the process of assessment). For two years he was part of the editorial collective of 'parallax', an international journal of cultural studies. He has published several articles, catalogue essays and reviews in international publications and edited volumes, and as an artist he has shown widely, both individually and as part of various collaborations, including biennales and festivals such as BIG Torino 2002: BIG Social Game (Turin: 2002), ISEA (Tallinn/Helsinki: 2004), and Urban Festival (Zagreb: 2005). Since 2003 he has been lecturing on the Fine Art program at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London.

Ref: A07P0132