- William Fowler
- Ben Cranfield
- Tanya Harrod
- Rachel Moore
Presented by Fourthland and Rosalind Fowler, this symposium will explore contemporary craft, performance and film as forms of mythmaking and ‘modern magic’*; each with their own power to transform, enchant and conjure new forms of kinship within artistic and socially engaged practice.
Currently, many contemporary artists, grass roots organisations as well as local authorities, arts institutions and even developers have adopted - or perhaps coopted - notions of social engagement in the work that they produce or support. The symposium will reflect on these current contexts, and also consider ‘myth-making’, which has also gained considerable currency in discussion about arts practices today.
The afternoon of discussion and exchange will encompass film screenings, discussions, readings and group activities. Each of the contributing speakers will draw on theories and examples from their own practice and those of other artists to illustrate the three topics of the day: Session One – Working within the Community; Session Two – Craft and Transformation; and Session Three – Film and Magic.
The symposium’s activities and content will take inspiration from Fourthland and Rosalind Fowler’s recent 2018 Arts Council residency at Kestle Barton (where they have collaboratively developed new work in-progress ‘I Carry You in my Eyes’) and their recent exhibition, BREADROCK, a film and sculptural installation hosted at PEER in February 2018.
*The term ‘modern magic’ is borrowed from Rachel Moore’s book titled Savage Theory: Cinema as Modern Magic (1999).
Fourthland (Louise Sayarer and Eva Knutsdotter) is an artist collective that uses objects, ritual, storytelling and enactment to co-create public space and performances. Recent solo works include BearMotherHouse with Xenia, SPACE London 2017 ; The Storm within Jeremy Deller’s Utopia Treasury, Somerset House, London (2016); back to where we have not quite been, Arnolfini, Bristol (2015); The Collective Tongue, Errant Bodies, Berlin; and everything happens on the street, PEER, London (2015). They have had recent residencies at Kestle Barton, with support from Arts Council England (2018), CASS School of Art and Design, London (2016), Cabot Institute of Climate Change, Bristol (2015); Bergen Academy of Art, UCL Urban Lab, London and South London Gallery Local (2015).
Rosalind Fowler is an artist and filmmaker, with a background in visual art and anthropology. Her work explores the politics and poetics of place and belonging in the contemporary English landscape. Recent solo works include NowhereSomewhere (2016) a 2-screen film installation for William Morris Gallery, Barbican Foyer Art commission, and Somerset House’s Utopia season. She was selected as artist in residence at the William Morris gallery in 2016. Others commissions include What Lies Below (2015) supported by Wellcome Trust and BFI, Tamesa (2015) NOW gallery, and Folk In Her Machine (2014) supported by AHRC. Her work has exhibited and screened widely, including at ICA, BFI, Jerwood gallery, Plymouth Arts Centre, Pumphouse gallery, and PLACE: Common Ground, curated by Gareth Evans.
Ben Cranfield is Senior Tutor in Curatorial Theory and History on the Curating Contemporary Art programme at the Royal College of Art. Formerly a lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London for over eight years, he has a keen interest in the relationship between theory, practice and alternative forms of pedagogy. His current research and practice is focused on the relationship of the curatorial to notions of the contemporary and the archive, asking what it is to be ‘with’ one’s time.
Tanya Harrod is the author of The Real Thing: essays on making in the modern world (2015), The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew, modern pots, colonialism and the counterculture (2012) and The Crafts in Britain in the 20th Century (1999). Harrod is also a member of the Advisory Panel of The Burlington Magazine and advisor to the Craft Lives Project based at the National Sound Archive of the British Library. She is a member of the International Association of Art Critic and is the founder editor of The Journal of Modern Craft.
Rachel Moore convenes the MA in film and screen studies at Goldsmiths University. Her research covers early film history and theory; the historical and contemporary avant-garde. She is interested in the crossovers between anthropology and film theory, most recently writing on Jean Epstein's Breton films. In 1999 she published ‘Savage Theory: Cinema as Modern Magic’, envisioning the cinema as a form of magical ritual that possesses the power to enliven, heal and enchant, which will be re-visited in a contemporary context for this symposium.
This symposium is supported by Arts Council England.