For & Against: Art, Politics and the Pamphlet
Invitation to participate in a public symposium
Friday May 26, 2017
Keynote: Mark McGowan, aka Artist Taxi Driver and Chunkymark
We invite you to respond to the idea, concept, format, aesthetic, function, relevance, purpose or history of the political pamphlet. Presentations will take two forms:
- Academic papers (20 mins) – responses to histories of the political pamphlet and its relevance and/or development in art practice
- Performative presentations (10 mins) in the form of ‘rants’ or manifestos – you are invited to interpret the format as imaginatively and provocatively as possible.
Proposals (A4 max) should include an outline of the topic / approach for academic paper or performative presentation together with short bio. Deadline: Friday 16 December, 2016.
For and Against: Art, Politics and the Pamphlet is a two-day research and public ‘festival’ event to be held in Loughborough May 2017, responding to research into the political pamphlet and exploring the relevance of the pamphlet for contemporary art practice. The programme will work across two days:
- FRIDAY 26TH MAY
SYMPOSIUM – comprising presentations in response to the call as above
- SATURDAY 27TH MAY
PUBLIC EVENTS – held across sites including Charnwood Museum, Loughborough Library and Queens Park, Loughborough, this day-long event will include a range of public activity including live performative elements by artists commissioned by Radar to respond to the themes of the symposium. Contributions will be made by artists Patrick Goddard, Ferenc Gróf, Ciara Phillips and Rory Pilgrim. In the park there will also be a range of interactive stalls encouraging public participation in the making of a new pamphlet as well as exhibitions displaying collections of historical and contemporary pamphlets inside the library and museum.
Jane Tormey/Gill Whiteley
Background to Art, Politics and the Pamphlet
- This project develops from an exhibition and one-day symposium Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer at the People’s History Museum, Manchester (June 2013).
- An edited book Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer is to be publishedas part of our RadicalAesthetics-RadicalArt (RaRa) book series with Bloomsbury.
The radical roots of the pamphlet and art
It is written because there is something that one wants to say now, and one believes there is no other way of getting a hearing. Pamphlets may turn on points of ethics or theology but they always have a clear political implication. A pamphlet may be written either for or against somebody or something, but in essence it is always a protest.
George Orwell in British Pamphleteers Volume 1, From the 16th century to the French Revolution, London, 1948
For Orwell, the pamphlet is a polemical provocation. Protest and dissent, as demonstrated in performative and/or visual polemical forms are typified by the tradition of the pamphlet. The pamphlet thereby provides a means to examine possibilities for advocacy, protest and prefiguration shared by different disciplinary fields. The Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer project proposes that the format and traditions of the ‘radical pamphlet’ may provide an alternative platform for artistic intervention and provocation.
The RadicalAesthetics-RadicalArt (RaRa) project explores the meeting of contemporary art practice and interpretations of radicality to promote debate, confront convention and formulate alternative ways of thinking about art practice. The project has examined the intersection of philosophical ideas, art practices and aesthetics – in particular, their relationship to sensation, discourse, ethics, politics, activism, community, participation and collaboration.
Background to Radar
Radar is a programme of commissions and critical debate that invites artists to engage with academic research and develop new work within the context of the town. The work produced is performative, participatory, process based and public. Some projects are longer-term engagements with the town whereas others materialize themselves in the form of intense weekends of activity.