Temporary Accommodation - The Artwork as Ongoing Event

Notes from talk by Anna Harding at Goldsmith's College
15 March 2001

- This talk is not yet fully formed and is in preparation for a conference in Montreal in April.

- Anna's interest was drawn to the project after seeing the extreme reaction from the art press. E.g. Sarah Kent's article in Time Out. Adrian Searle in the Guardian; - Feeble minded charade of inclusiveness.'

- Assumption that the space was wasted, that audience members were encountering a useless, intimidating and tepid project.

- AH referred to Blanchot's theory of boredom - the cursory response to the space. Part of this 'boredom' was to do with the lack of clear authority or responsibility. No object, no clear author, just the occupied space.

- AH wants to consider the project in terms of a dialogue within the everyday, challenging boundaries between high culture, everyday culture and artworld culture.

- Habits, events, the extraordinary were offered a place to perform and exist temporarily. - AH referred to Michel de Certeau 'The Practices of the Everyday', 'A space borrowed for a moment by the transient.'

- Notion that 'Home' could become a verb rather than a noun - a portable base rather than a fixed entity. Refers to 'Art as a Verb', an exhibition at New Museum in Harlem in 80s.

- She discussed the way in which the project was marketed quoting the Whitechapel brochure, 'Belt has continued to exist as a movable idea' - the space is circumstantial. The events that occurred during programme are listed in the gallery guide and appear as whitechapel events, appearing almost as part of the education programme rather than as specific to Ella's project.

- 'Programme' at the Whitechapel Art Gallery 'denounces the myth of transforming space with a utopian guise.' It wasn't intended to posit an alternative to the space or structure of the Whitechapel.

- AH referred to Deleuze and Guttari on control; Deleuze - control is not a discipline. Considered the analogy of the Highway - broadening out control.

-Control as an extended broadened presence. The Highway in contrast to the City. Dispersed authority - nomadic - claiming ownership whilst in transition. A multiplicity - perhaps in terms of a resistance.

- AH describes programme as possessing a 'strange sadness' - a series of small pleasures - survival tactics. The events had a fragility, willing you to return.

- In terms of audience contact the project was a hard thing to grasp, particular and strategic. The project was defined by chance conversations and encounters offering enfranchisement through participation.

- Programme did not distinguish moments as outside the everyday. Programme thus suggest that how each moment of the everyday is alienated. In every activity there is an opportunity for alienation or dis-alienation.

- Lefebvre, The Everyday

- The disinterested approach adds to the project's potentiality.

- The final object - the unconscious layers - trying to uncover meanings.


- Chair compared 'Programme' to Epiphora - the moment before metaphor, the multifariousness of potential meanings - the moment before text.

- It was a starting point - laying out an agenda for potential.

- Ongoing rather than a point before.

- Perhaps comparable emotionally to the point before falling in love - the embarrassment, hesitancy, anxiety, the unexpected.


- problem that it is hard to gain a point of entry - no subject around which to focus.

- Anna described what she saw as a curatorial problem behind Temporary Accommodation as a whole.

- Confused that the show was set up as a response to the institution in some way and the projects were not setting out to do that.

-'Programme' was less about forced collaboration or partnerships and evoked the potentiality of chance encounters. Referring to other collaborative practice as social engineering employing missionary zeal, opportunistic funding strategies.

- Discussion returned to the notion of the highway - moving on from control and repression. Scope for parallel existences - not us and them - not about an alternative. About the minute experience - radiant moment of the everyday.

- Compared the project to City racing etc. These spaces were perhaps more inclined towards the framing of a mini utopia - quite territorial - 'Programme' remained open.

- Does it have a relation to civil society - does it make claims to that

- no rules, no authority - isn't that a utopia?

- Referred to Gramshee (sp)

- Art Without Systems - by German sociologist


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