31 May 2010

I think I’m drawn to spaces which language finds hard to inhabit, or at least spaces in which I can foresee a particular set of difficulties or complexities for language. Much of my work has been done in the frame of live performance, and in that context I’ve been particularly drawn to ideas of failure, error and to unfolding, real-time processes of making do or improvisation, especially in language. In live work I’m very much drawn to the way that error or the struggle of the speaker makes something visible – I suppose I think that the subject becomes visible in a particular (open, transparent) way thanks to the force of error or rupture. If you want to understand a system, first study how it fails!

A while ago – during the Gasworks show – I did an interview/conversation with Sophie Risner at Whitehot Magazine online.

Admont Calling (More Busy May)

29 May 2010

Admont - Tim Etchells Project - Unnatural History

The exhibition PLAY ADMONT currently being staged at Admont Benedictine Monastery in Austria places visitors firmly at the centre of attention and encourages them to play the role of discoverer, game partner and explorer. Active participation and interaction with the artworks on display and other procedures enable them to enter into a dialogue with an extended, socially-anchored sculptural milieu and gain admittance to a user-orientated environment that provides for a wide diversity of different transactions and forms of expression thanks to the incorporation of digital technologies. Choreographic objects, location-specific acoustic installations, situationally related spatial installations, interactive machines, performance activity participation, ephemeral experimental designs and developing archives assimilate visitors into the creative artistic process itself – it is only through the complementary elements of interaction and participation that the exhibits reveal their full potential.

ARTISTS: Thomas Baumann (A), Tim Etchells (GB), William Forsythe (USA/D), Armin Linke (I), Reactable – Martin Kaltenbrunner / Sergi Jorda / Günter Geiger / Marcos Alonso (A/E), Hubert Machnik (D), Hans Pollhammer (A), Werner Reiterer (A), Robotlab (D), Constanze Ruhm (A), Richard Siegal / The Bakery (USA/F), Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau (A/F), Martin Walde (A), Hans Winkler (D), Erwin Wurm (A), Johannes Deutsch (A), Julius Deutschbauer (A).

CURATED BY Christine Peters (D), Michael Braunsteiner (A)

Play Admont is part of the large Styrian Festival Regionale 10.

My part in the above is a new neon work cryptically titled G.O. plus Unnatural History: A Reading of Spaces (2010). Here’s the description of the latter project:

Responding to the Natural History Museum at Admont, reestablished after the devastating fire of 1865, Tim Etchells has created a new work in the form of an audio guide to the collection. Drawing the visitors’ attention to selected displays and to specific taxidermied or preserved creatures featured in them, Etchells playfully eschews a complete account in favour of a highly selective, partisan and idiosyncratic approach to the museum and its contents. Unnatural History: A Reading of Spaces reads the institution as an alien landscape – interpreting its displays and arrangements of wildlife for their significance and possible meaning in unexpected ways.

Play Admont: Opening hours:
3 June to 7 November 2010:
Open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
July and August 2010:
Extended opening to 8.00 pm every Friday

More information:
Benediktinerstift Admont – Library and Museum, 8911 Admont 1
Tel. +43 3613 23 12-601 od. -604


A long weekend of Live Art at the ICA, curated by Tim Etchells. 21-23 May 2010

“I worked with Ant Hampton last year to produce a provocative virtual season of events for the ICA when they closed their Live Art department, so it's an odd thing to be invited into an institution of which one has been publicly critical of. However the chance to help hold the doors of the ICA open to Live Art for a while is too good to miss, especially considering the ICA's historical role as an important supporter of live work.”

With contributions from leading artists, academics and writers in the field, Futures & Pasts is a long weekend at the ICA, London exploring the diverse pasts and possible futures of Live Art and performance practise. Curated by writer, artist and performance maker Tim Etchells with the aid of artist Ant Hampton and Lois Keidan (Live Art Development Agency) this ambitious event combines marathon lecture performance with a rolling scheme of conversations, interviews and archival investigations alongside speculations about the future of this vigorous and vital area of contemporary art practice. Futures & Pasts culminates in a day long Open Space discussion event or public meeting, framed by Phelim McDermott and inviting practitioners, curators, audiences to identify and explore key questions and ways forward for the Live Art and performance scene in the UK.

Futures & Pasts comprises four main strands. You can join as an audience member or participant anytime over the long weekend, moving between parallel events and discussions.

Some of the Pasts
Friday – Sunday 21-23 May. Lower Gallery, ICA. 12 – 7pm.

Over three days the gallery is transformed as the site of an ongoing investigation on the power of performance, as a succession of invited artists, curators and writers linked to the field frame investigations on the exuberant and influential past of the form. Audiences can arrive anytime, stay, leave and return at any point. Conversations, interviews, slideshows, mini-performances, video-screenings and all kinds of playful hybrid interventions unfold in the gallery as different perspectives on the archive are explored. Personal recollections sit next to attempts at authoritative time lines, inexplicable images and sounds sit next to narratives and interactions of different kinds.

Some of the Futures
Saturday 22 May. ICA Theatre 12-10pm.

Throughout the day audiences for this marathon event can arrive anytime, stay, leave and return at any point. More detailed timetable of who’s speaking and when available in due course.

A ten hour durational performance lecture in which artists, academics and writers connected to the field of live performance make independent thirty minute presentations on the topic of the future. From diverse artistic futures, to the future of arts institutions and funding regimes, to the future makeup of audiences or participants in Live Art these presentations show contemporary artists and thinkers leaping forwards to the challenge of what’s next. Expect speculation, polemic, optimism and pessimism in distinctly unequal measures.


Sunday 23 May. ICA Theatre and breakout spaces. All day. All welcome. Facilitated by Phelim McDermott.

This Open Space Discussion Event is open to anyone interested and concerned about the future of performance and live art in the UK. The day will begin from the questions above and below but will rapidly develop to address  new questions proposed by those attending the meeting.

What are the particular draws or necessities of making live work now? And what might these be in the future?

Iconoclastic, idiosyncratic and yet deeply connected to questions of public and social space Live Art and performance exists at certain fault line in the relationship between the individual and the collective. What are the tensions between independence and the institutional realm? What does each approach or context offer that the other cannot, are they irreconcilable and/or mutually exclusive approaches to culture? What are the possible advantages and possible pitfalls of acting collectively as artists? What roles can artists and arts institutions play to help support the development of radical art practice?

If any of these issues interest you or there are any other issues you want to raise and work on please come to this event. All are welcome practitioners, academics, audience.

We will be working in Open Space, which may be new to you. It has been used successfully all over the world since 1985 for dealing with wide ranging issues from redesigning aeroplane doors, creating shows, to strategising social activism. It is an open-ended event that enables a self-organising group to use its collective imagination to deal with complex issues within an incredibly short space of time. By the end of the event the following will have occurred:

– Every issue of concern to anybody will have been raised, if they took responsibility for doing that.
– All issues will have received full discussion, to the extent desired.
A full report of issues and discussions will be in the hands of all participants.

And you will have taken part in making it happen.

Performing Wikipedia
Friday – Sunday 21-23 May. 12 – 7pm. Public Spaces, ICA.

Performing Wikipedia project will set up camp in the bar area at the ICA from 12-7pm each day. Please join us with laptops, reference materials and your writing skills.

Performing Wikipedia invites participants to collaborate on updating the on-line encyclopedia with materials about performance and live art. A marathon attempt to write the legacy of performance into electronic public space, Performing Wikipedia is at once a mediated collaborative performance, and an intervention which propels the history and representation of Live Art into this significant on line encyclopedia/resource.


2 May 2010
Brussels Structure Lists


The lovely Vlatka has a new website. Looks great.


Times Online article about interactive theatre here (behind a paywall!) with quotes from me in slightly grumpy mode – also talks about my new text messaging work – A Short Message Spectacle – for Norfolk & Norwich Festival. An SMS lasts 16 days and consists of a series of 80 or so text messages sent out – about 5 messages a day on average. Participation is free. You can sign up for the project by sending a text saying NNF, your postcode and your age to 60777. (+4460777 if you are texting from Europe – it should work. Sadly does not work in USA). UPDATE: If you don’t live in UK and don’t have any luck texting 60777, try +447786200690 with NNF, your country and age. Unfortunately no coverage in the North America though.