there’s something in the conversation that is more interesting than the finality of (a title)

There’s something in the conversation that is more interesting than the finality of (a title) is an exhibition of new work by artists Adam Farah, Onyeka Igwe, Jamila Johnson-Small, Jade Montserrat, Ima-Abasi Okon, Raju Rage, Daniella Valz Gen and Alberta Whittle.

The exhibition has grown out of a year-long exchange between the eight artists selected to participate in the artist associates programme Holding Space, which convened at The Showroom during 2017. Taking the conversation beyond this framework into the space of an exhibition, there’s something in the conversation that is more interesting than the finality of (a title) seeks to articulate and embody some of the common areas of concern emerging from the artists’ shared dialogues and individual processes of research. Integral to this is a continuing reflection on how artists and institutions relate to one another.

In the exhibition these concerns play out through a meeting of critical practices, ranging from the material to the performative, and through interventions into the hosting organisation that question and negotiate institutional routines and behaviours. Beyond the resounding dialogues between the works, the exhibition is choreographed through sound, lighting, a floor work and scent to create intersection points between shared infrastructures.

Holding Space was initiated in the framework of Object Positions, a series of conversations, workshops, research and events led by curatorial fellow Teresa Cisneros. These explored the legacies of colonialism, processes of decolonisation, cultural equity and questions of care, whilst considering how intersectional thinking and practices can potentially create more equitable sites of practice.

‘…We are trying to have a crazy complicated conversation via whatsapp, it’s all so fragmented and we are all (not only physically) in different places bringing and thinking from different points of reference or experience…

I am kind of really enjoying this on some level, speaks to the moment, or the multiple moments, so many near misses or potential failures in communication or a flattening out of potential meaning due to the platform and the half-focus it generates but still building/moving something

Yeah it’s funny how we are always thinking about the institution even when we are apparently not thinking about the institution in response to not responding to it, lol, kinda bait situation there too. Which is what I meant about not winning. I think this is really hard tho. Thinking of what it would take and what we would need rn to make this decision. I feel frustrated but think we need something more than just more time which we don’t have.

Im not attached either & i think my statement was way too generalising
To the extent that i agree to it in parts
I also can see all the sides of what your all saying
There’s something in the conversation that is more interesting than the finality of a title
‘Chaotic, messy, all over the place’ is cool to me
Im not sure how to evoke liminality with a title

I’m not asking for a seat at the table, I’ve been sat here too long lol, I also believe that there is power from speaking and acting from the margins and that’s where I do speak and act from and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m empowered by the marginality I come from. All this anti institutional critique is just a critique of the critique (like the party after the afterparty) which feels the same to me tbh. I’m also confused bc the whole project we have been critiquing colonial administration and institutions and the art world but now we are saying we aren’t responding to that. So what are we doing here? Are we just showcasing our own work now? I’ve lost the plot

I hear you - i think speaking for myself: first of all i’m guilty of making comments in a given moment that sound more sure of themselves than they really are - secondly i think its ‘peaks and troughs’, (hyper)-context specific in terms of the willingness, energy and desire when it comes to the ‘institutional critique’ - which naturally differs and fluctuates within us all. i.e. i’m not wholly inherently against it and the many forms it may manifest in, but yes depends on context…the reason why I made comments earlier is also maybe because I was assuming some kind of link between the show title and the curatorial premise(?) - which some people have suggested there should be one of some kind on some level and in a way with the lack of time we’ve had to develop works, both as a group and individually and the lack of time and energy resources to organise the show in general - i’m coming to see it from the perspective of keeping things so open as possible to interpretation to the point of arbitrariness (and I recognise the contradictions as I write this)

Thanks for explaining. Ok I understand. so we go for something open vs vague and not directly as a response to anything. Ok thinking…

yeah something like that  - but then arbitrariness is subjective so arguably I should have no problem with any title no matter its connotations lmao

I think we are getting to it atleast ;)’

The exhibition is supported by an Arts Council England Change Makers grant.


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