FRONTIERS IN RETREAT
SSW INCUBATOR: ‘Sitting on Eggs: What happens after the artwork?’
‘Climate change has got to be in the hymn sheet or manifesto or charter of every citizen effort from now on and it doesn’t matter if it’s the local football club or the movement to separate the banks and close down tax havens or promote human (gay, women’s, minority) rights or save the whales or anything else you care to name. Find the angle and include it in your struggle.’ Susan George
This incubator set up a collective learning space ‘to examine processes of change in particular, sensitive ecological [and social] contexts within Europe, to reflect them in relation to each other and to develop new approaches to the urgencies posed by them.’ It did so by asking: What happens after the artworks are finished? What change has taken place? What have we learned and how does this learning process extend to others?
By artwork we mean not only visual works, to be exhibited, but relational works, which take place among people and activate new forms of sociality, often described as social practices. Frontiers in Retreat and SSW, through our resident artists, have put forward unique propositions: an 11-day CAMP BREAKDOWN about going beyond Petro-Subjectivities by Brett Bloom, three self-published essays on Craft, The Commons and Slime Moulds by Simon Yuill, a video called I Really Don’t Feel Them by Carl Giffney, a walk looking at geological strata, a drawing workshop and a farmer exchange by Fernando Garcia Dory, a signature Lumsden shortbread by Sylvia Grace Borda and a Clydesdale Oracle and sauna by Mari Keski-Korsu. Alongside our resident artists from Frontiers, we invited other artists and curators to present work, and to help us reflect collectively on these issues.
Artworks that are socially, politically or environmentally engaged produce new perspectives and create new knowledge, they open up our perception to new possibilities. What do we do with this new knowledge? How is it applied beyond our contemporary art practices and to the landscapes, contexts and communities we are working with?
During the incubator session we had the opportunity to question and discuss what we have learned to date with each art project, and reflect on how these findings can inform future actions within and beyond the artistic / curatorial context. The session was a chance to reflect and refract, a space for peer-to-peer discussion, focusing on the dissemination of new information and experience.
People working in social, political, and environmental practices are invested in producing actual change in the contexts where they are working. We thus proposed a safe but frank space for discussion, a time to suspend anxieties and fears around the political aspirations of our work, and move forward in the search for vocabulary and concepts that allow us to understand the modest – and sometimes larger – changes effected by artistic practices.
In this incubator we listened carefully to what each artist and curator had to say about their projects and together with them asked how this knowledge is or can be applied through…
- The artists’ own practices
- SSW as an arts organisation and within its surrounding area
- Frontiers in Retreat as a collective project and network of residencies
- Other contexts and organisations
‘Sitting on eggs’ Participants:
Joss Allen (Invited Participant)
Jonathan Baxter (Invited Artist and Curator)
Brett Bloom (skype) (Frontiers in Retreat)
Sylvia Grace Borda (Frontiers in Retreat)
Anne-Marie Culhane (Field of Wheat)
Fernando Garcia-Dory (Frontiers in Retreat)
Carl Giffney (Frontiers in Retreat)
Marc Herbst (Critical Writer)
Mari Keski-Korsu (Frontiers in Retreat)
Ruth Levene (Field of Wheat)
Lavinia Raccanello (Invited Artist and Activist)
Asa Sonjasdotter (Invited Chairperson)
Sam Trotman (Arts Admin)
Simon Yuill (Frontiers in Retreat)
Alexis Zafiropoulos (Invited Participant)
Frontiers in Retreat Partner Organisations:
Scottish Sculpture Workshop
Vivian Ross- Smith
HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme
CAA – Contemporary Art Archipelago
European centre for culture and debate GRAD
Ljudmila Stratimirovic Ubovic
Interdisciplinary Art Group SERDE
Open Evening Events:
- Screening of film ‘Given to the People’ and book launch of ‘The Uncommonality of the Commons’ by Simon Yuill
- Screening of film ‘I don’t feel them’ by Carl Giffney
- Launch of the ‘Lumsden Biscuit’ with Sylvia Grace Borda at Lumsden Hall
 Susan George, Foreword to the book The Secure and The Dispossessed, Pluto Press 2016
Artist and Writer Marc Herbst was commissioned by SSW to participate and to critically respond to the Sitting on Eggs symposium. His essay can be read here: Sitting on Eggs – Marc Herbst
Frontiers in Retreat is a research residency platform that fosters multidisciplinary dialogue on ecological issues within a new European network involving artist residencies, art and education organisations, artists, and experts in various disciplines as well as diverse audiences. The SSW Incubator will have partners attending from Finland, Latvia, Serbia, Spain, Iceland and Lithuania.