Curating Commissioning Producing



Beatrice Gibson, Alison Knowles, Ghislaine Leung, Annea Lockwood, Claire Potter, Charlotte Prodger, Carolee Schneemann, Tai Shani, Mieko Shiomi

Chelsea Space, London
Private view: Tuesday 24 April, 6:00-8:30pm
Exhibition continues: 25 April - 25 May 2018

ORGASMIC STREAMING   ORGANIC GARDENING   ELECTROCULTURE is a group exhibition looking at practices that emerge between text and performance, the page and the body, combining a display and events programme of historical and contemporary works. Newly commissioned and existing works will intersect with an array of archival material located in Carolee Schneemann's Parts of a Body House (1968-1972), from which the exhibition title derives, and Alison Knowles and Annea Lockwood's score anthology Womens Work (1975-8). OORGASMIC STREAMING   ORGANIC GARDENING   ELECTROCULTURE seeks an alternative framework to look at the influence of conceptual procedures as well as experimental writing within contemporary feminist performance practices across visual art, sound and text. The exhibition seeks to highlight these significant trans-historical sensibilities, whilst acknowledging their disjuncts. Each artist brings a particular method, procedure or interrogation to the act of writing or performing text, blurring descriptions such as text, score, work, performance, version and iteration. ORGASMIC STREAMING   ORGANIC GARDENING   ELECTROCULTURE will be accompanied by workshops, an event, a publication and an affiliated symposium to take place in May 2018. Curated by Karen Di Franco and Irene Revell.

Parts of a Body House is a score, a document and a piece of speculative fiction, written by Carolee Schneemann between 1957-68. The text operates across a series of registers and durations, as an architectural reimagining of the interior of the body as fleshy, subversive locations for social and political interaction, and as a set of instructions for an unrealised performance environment. Originally published in the poetry journal Caterpillar (issue 3/4, 1968), it was republished in the anthology Fantastic Architecture (eds. Dick Higgins and Wolf Vostell, Something Else Press: New York, 1969), before featuring in Schneemann’s first artist book, the eponymously-titled Parts of a Body House Book (1972), made with the Fluxus affiliated Beau Geste Press, in Cullompton, Devon. Within the site of Schneemann’s textual body, corporeality is exposed as a network of sinuous circuitry, activated by immediacy — touch, heat and interaction. Drawing out the connections between the spaces of performance, as a textual and embodied environment of activity, extends to the works within the exhibition, where Parts of a Body House will be presented as a typographical framework.

Womens Work [sic] is a collection of textual, instructional and propositional performance scores by twenty-four women, edited and self-published in New York by Alison Knowles and Annea Lockwood over two printed issues (1975-8), bringing their work into relation with the feminist movement through the medium of the score. The display will draw out three works from the collection. Alison Knowles' Proposition IV (Squid) was conceived in 1970 at CalArts in the context of her House of Dust project. The textual score invites performers to autonomously write their own score card that navigates the four quadrants of the work’s circular performance space. Annea Lockwood's Piano Transplants (1966-2013) propose a series of transformations of the instruments by natural processes including Piano Burning, Piano Drowning and Piano Garden. The very first Piano Transplant, a prepared piano that Lockwood made in 1966 in London is displayed in the gallery, accompanied by the 2017 recording of its performance by Áine O'Dwyer; a series of photographic documentation spanning 1968 to the present chart some of the many performances of the other Piano Transplants. Mieko Shiomi's Spatial Poem (1965-75) comprises nine separate events that each invite participation anywhere in the world at a simultaneous moment which are then gathered together as brief written reports. Spatial Poem No. 3, 6 and 7 — Falling Event, Orbit Event and Sound Event respectively — are included in Womens Work, and here conducted through the framework of the exhibition; in the gallery and publication, with contributions from the exhibition’s artists and visitors to the gallery, amidst a wider network.

Claire Potter works across performance, publication, installation, and film, to address modes of reading, speaking and writing. They will be producing a new sculptural text installation for the gallery space, based on a study of sound in back-to-back housing. Ghislaine Leung is an artist and writer. Leung's two score-based works Shrooms (2016) and Colour Hides the Canvas, Moulding Hides the Frame (2013) will intervene into the gallery environment as pervasive, organic concepts. Charlotte Prodger works with moving image, writing and performance, exploring the intertextual relationships between each of these materials. Compression Fern Face (2014) takes the descriptions of Dennis Oppenheim’s video performance works of the early 1970s, including the eponymous title, as scores for this sculptural video and print work, and explores what happens to speech - and the self for which it is a conduit - as it metamorphoses via time, space and technological systems - here as much a crossing of gender as the spatio-temporal. Beatrice Gibson is an artist and filmmaker whose works are often score-like and improvised in nature, exploring the pull between chaos and control in the process of their own making. Drawing on figures from experimental composition and literature such as Cornelius Cardew or Gertrude Stein, her films are often participatory, incorporating co-creative and collaborative processes and ideas. Tai Shani's multidisciplinary practice, comprising performance, film, photography and installation, revolves around experimental narrative texts with her on-going feminist project, Dark Continent Productions. Iterated through character-led installations, films, performances and experimental texts, it is an expanded adaptation of Christine de Pizan's 1405 pioneering proto-feminist book, The Book of the City of Ladies.



Claire Potter: Playhouse (Creep)
Friday 11 May, 6.30-8.30pm

This is a free event in the gallery of Chelsea Space and has limited capacity. Booking is essential, please complete the form here

Claire Potter will present Playhouse (Creep), a restricted reading performance that activates their sculptural text installation, Playhouse. Potter’s text draws on the cumulative effects of monitoring and the hours spent with one’s senses keenly attuned to the lives of others. Bound up with the materials presented with the installation and performance are those affects, and the labour of intensive listening. The structural binding of bodies — in the most literal sense — of back-to-back housing, provides the framework for narrative fragments that centre on the daily activities of a group of individuals. Aspects of their lives and their material conditions are gradually exposed while the circumstances of the narrator’s position as the compiler of the text is circumscribed by a series of tasks, implemented by the reader themself.

These tasks by turn, impede or restrict Potter’s voicing of the narrative — the imposition implies a failure, not from want of trying, but that in circumstances of confusion or isolation, the body withholds or curtails speech. The material stoppages of the installation — opaque protective plastic dust-sheets, frosted plastic to adhere to glass — also combine to promote obscurity, provoking the question about interpretation, what has been said versus what is heard under the strained conditions of physical separation, and desire for connection.

Workshop: "These are the scores"
Friday 11 May, 2-5pm

This is a free event in the gallery of Chelsea Space and has limited capacity. Booking is essential, please complete the form.

Join Irene Revell for a workshop that brings together collective reading, group discussion and performance to explore the score anthology publication Womens Work. Womens Work [sic] is a collection of textual, instructional and propositional performance scores by twenty-five women, edited and self-published in New York by Fluxus artist Alison Knowles and sound artist Annea Lockwood over two printed issues (1975-8), bringing their work into relation with the feminist movement through the medium of the score. With its decisive feminist framing, the Womens Work collection presents a significant challenge to the male-dominated history of the avant-garde performance score and in turn a formal challenge to the feminist art movement of the 1970s that tended to focus on more visual media.

Taking its title from the first line of the introductory page of the first issue of 1975, “These are scores ready for you to do”, curator and researcher Irene Revell has developed this workshop as a means of sharing and discussing these special works, and the possibilities posed by score-based performance works in a feminist context. Previous iterations of the “These are scores” workshop have taken place in diverse contexts including in the exhibition The House of Dust by Alison Knowles (CNEAI, Paris); at Athelstan Sound, a musical performance group (Margate), and at the Swiss Artistic Research Network conference Art Research Work (ZHDK, Zurich). The workshop is open to anyone with no prior experience necessary.

Sunday 20 May, 2-5pm
LUX, Waterlow Park
Dartmouth Park Hill, N19 5JF

Please note that this event takes place at LUX -- please follow the link for more information and directions. Free but booking is essential, please complete the form here.

With a particular focus on live editing and iteration produced in the moment of speaking/performance, this day event highlights practices that emerge between text and performance, the page and the body. With readings, performance and screenings from Anna Barham, Daniela Cascella, Ami Clarke, Tomoko Hojo, Natasha Lall, Aura Satz, Linda Stupart.


An affiliated symposium, Female Conceptual Art practices, Sound Sculpture, Archives, Oral History and International Transactions, convened by Dr Jo Melvin and supported by the Chelsea Camberwell and Wimbledon Graduate School will take place at Chelsea College of Arts on Thursday 24 May. Details to be announced.


Artist Biographies:

Beatrice Gibson
is twice winner of The Tiger Award for best short film at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and winner of the 2015 Baloise Art Prize, Art Basel. In 2013 she was nominated for both the Jarman Award for Artists Film and The Max Mara Whitechapel Prize for Women artists. She is currently working on two new films co-commissioned by KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Camden Arts Centre, London, Bergen Kunsthall in partnership with Borealis - en festival for eksperimentell musikk, Bergen and Mercer Union, in partnership with Images festival, Toronto. The first one, with and about two contemporary American poets, Eileen Myles and CAConrad and the second, an adaptation of a 1929 Gertrude Stein script, 'Deux Soeurs Qui Ne Sont Pas Soeurs'.

Alison Knowles (b. 1933, New York, NY) is a visual artist whose work encompasses participatory installations, performance, sound, poetry, publications and tactile objects. Knowles graduated with an honors degree in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 1956, where she was was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2015. A founding member of Fluxus, Knowles began using Cagean compositional devices, such as indeterminate performance and chance operations in the early 1960s. For Something Else Press, Knowles collaborated with Marcel Duchamp on a screen reprint of his Coeurs Volants and designed and co-edited John Cage's Notations (1968), a book of visual music scores. Knowles created one of the earliest book objects, Bean Rolls (1963), a can of text and beans, beginning her more than 30-year experimentation with the sculptural potential of the book. Among her Fluxus performance scores are Make a Salad (1962), Shoes of Your Choice (1963), The Identical Lunch (1969), and later sound installations, like Bean Garden (1971), enacted in galleries and on radio broadcasts. In 1967, Knowles’s the House of Dust, produced with James Tenney, was among the earliest computerized poems, winning her a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968. She brought this work to CalArts, where she taught from 1970-1972. Recent solo exhibitions and performances include the Drawing Center, New York (2001), Tate Long Weekend, London (2008), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009), The High Line (2012), The Walker Art Center (2014), La Monnaie de Paris (2015), Palm Springs Museum of Art (2016), Carnegie Museum of Art (2016), Art Basel’s Art Unlimited (2016), Beijing Live (2016), MoMA (2017) and ongoing international touring project The House of Dust by Alison Knowles (2016-18). Knowles lives and works in New York City.

Ghislaine Leung lives and works in London and Brussels. Recent solo projects include Local Studies for Reading International, London, The Moves at Cell Project Space, London, 078746844 at WIELS, Brussels and collaborative projects YOUR WORDS IN MY MOUTH | MY VOICE ON YOUR TONGUE at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and Hollis & Money at ICA, London. From 2017-2019 she will be in long-term collaboration with Netwerk, Aalst on her project VIOLETS. Leung's collection of writings Partners launched with Cell Project Space in 2018 and she will be in residence at Triangle Marseille in August 2018. Her solo commission for Chisenhale Gallery, London is forthcoming in 2019.

Annea Lockwood's compositions range from sound art and environmental installations to concert music. Recent works include bayou-borne, for Pauline, for 6 improvising musicians based on a map of the bayous in Houston, TX; Streaming, Swirling, Converging, an electroacoustic collaboration with Christina Kubisch, and Wild Energy, with Bob Bielecki - a multi-channel site-specific installation focused on geophysical, atmospheric and mammalian infra and ultra sound sources, commissioned by the Caramoor Festival of the Arts. Her music has been presented in many venues and festivals including the Tectonics/BBC Festival Glasgow, the Henry Moore Institute Leeds, the Lab San Francisco and the Israeli Center for Digital Arts, Holon, Israel. It has been issued on CD and online on the Gruenrekorder, Lovely Music, New World, Ambitus, 3Leaves, XI, EM and other labels.

Claire Potter is an artist-writer from Merseyside. Solo presentations in 2017 included Scally Nike Leather Glove Smoke, released on Chocolate Monk records, Brighton; Round that way, published by Ma Bibliotheque, London; and Coupler, exhibited at Xero Kline & Coma, London. Recent performances and exhibitions include A+A Gallery, Venice (2018); SUPERNORMAL Festival, Oxford; Cafe OTO, London; Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (all 2017); White Rainbow, London; Lydgalleriet, Bergen, Norway; and Leeds Arts University (all 2016). Potter's writing has recently been commissioned by White Rainbow, London (2018); Corridor8, Manchester (2017); and CCA Derry-Londonderry (2017), and they are currently writing their third book, an experimental treatment of architecture and dissociation, due for publication in 2019.

Charlotte Prodger is a Glasgow-based artist who works with moving image, writing and performance, exploring the intertextual relationships between each of these materials. Solo shows include Sculpture Centre, New York; Bergen Kunsthall; Kunstverein Duesseldorf; Glasgow International; Studio Voltaire, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Koppe Astner, Glasgow; Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin and Hollybush Gardens, London. Groups shows and screenings include Tate Britain, London; New York Film Festival; Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival; British Art Show 8; Kuenstlerhaus Graz; Artists Space, New York; Pier Arts, Orkney and Kunsthalle Freiburg. Prodger’s writing has been published in F.R.DAVID, 2HB, Frieze and Happy Hypocrite.

Carolee Schneemann is an American visual artist, known for her discourses on the body, sexuality and gender. Her work is primarily characterized by research into visual traditions, taboos, and the body of the individual in relation to social bodies. Schneemann received a BA from Bard College and an MFA from the University of Illinois. She holds Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from the California Institute of the Arts and the Maine College of Art. Schneemann's work has also been exhibited worldwide at institutions including the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (US), the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (US), the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (France), The Reina Sophia Museum, Madrid (Spain), the Haus der Kunst (Germany), Tate Modern (UK), Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (UK), the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Ireland) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (US). In 1997, a retrospective of her work entitled Carolee Schneemann, 'Up To And Including Her Limits' was held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Recent exhibitions include the touring retrospective Kinetic Painting, Museum Der Moderne Salzburg (Austria), Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and MoMA PS1, New York (US) in 2017-18. She has published widely, producing works such as Parts of a Body House Book (1972) Cézanne, She Was a Great Painter (1974) and More than Meat Joy: Performance Works and Selected Writings (1979).

Tai Shani was born in London. Shani has presented her work extensively in the UK and abroad, recent exhibitions and commissions include Glasgow International (2018); Wysing Arts Centre (2017); Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2016); RADAR commission, Loughborough University, (2016), Serpentine Galleries (2016); Tate Britain (2016); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2015); Southbank Centre, London (2014-15); Arnolfini, Bristol (2013); Matt’s Gallery, London (2012) and FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais and Loop Festival, Barcelona (2011); The Barbican, London (2011); ICA, London (2011).

Mieko Shiomi was born in Okayama City, Japan in 1938. In 1961 she graduated from Tokyo National University of the Arts majoring in musicology and co-founded Group Ongaku with classmates exploring improvisatory music. In 1964 she went to New York to participate in Fluxus and in 1965 she started the series Spatial Poem, returning to Japan the same year. In 1976 she finished the nine events of Spatial Poem and published a book of all the reports. Since then Shiomi has worked as a Fluxus member, a music composer and an intermedia artist by organising or participating in many concerts, performances and exhibitions in Japan and abroad. Major solo exhibitions include Fluxus Balance & Balance Poems at Galerie J & J Donguy, Paris (1995); Collagen und Multiples, Galerie & Edition Hundertmark, Cologne (1998). Solo concerts include Fluxus Media Opera, Xebec, Kobe (1994); Fluxus Trial, The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2001) and Fluxus in Japan 2014, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2014).

Image: Annea Lockwood, Piano Garden (Photo: Soundlands, 2018)