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Between the studio and seminar: what does art school’s two-fold language do?

Francis, Mary Anne (2010) Between the studio and seminar: what does art school’s two-fold language do? In: Looking Back at the Life Room, 11 & 12 June 2010, University College London. [Creative Arts and Design > Creative Arts and Design not elsewhere classified] (Unpublished)
 
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Creators:Francis, Mary Anne
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As Malcolm Quinn argues in ‘Critique Conscious and Unconscious: Listening to the Barbarous Language of Art and Design’, (2008) the government-sponsored institution in 1835, of the UK art-school-system, marked a departure from the mode of art-teaching that academies enshrined. Key to this, in Quinn’s account, was ‘the wish for a bourgeois revolution in education’ with the art-school representing ‘a zone of government intervention’ within commodity capitalism.

While other commentators such as Stuart Macdonald (1970) note the life-room’s (debated) role in this critique, Quinn focuses on the way his revolution failed (in 1852) in terms that compel us ‘to remember this critical moment in a dissimulated form, through the inertia and deadlock of theory and practice’.

Grounding its focus in these histories, this paper asks: if art-school ‘language’ is barbarous – nonsensical in being non-coherent – might there be a value in this legacy of failure?

Noting that art-school language embodies a critique of the division of labour under capitalism in working across distinct modes of production, (while also supplying flexible workers for capital), this paper finally refers the value of a double-discourse to Foucault’s little-cited essay ‘What is Critique?’ (1997). There, for Foucault, critique is a refusal of governance rather than a mode of judgement; the contestation of one discourse by another. Hence art-school language is inherently productive as critique is identified precisely in the failure of critique that Quinn describes.

The paper will attempt to enact the double discourse it speaks of by building on work I have published in Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, and presented at conferences (The Art of Research, Helsinki, 2009; Writing Intersections Melbourne, 2009). Its argument will take place via two alternating registers of presentation, loosely identified with ‘theory’ and ‘practice’, determining the value of art-school’s barbarous language as much by demonstration as by argument.

Official Website:http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/uclart/conferences
Type of Research:Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:art-school's language, critique, Foucault, theory-practice: making-writing
Your affiliations with UAL:Colleges > Chelsea College of Art and Design
Date:2010
Copyright Holders:Mary Anne Francis
Event Location:University College London
Projects or Series:Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)
ID Code:3574
Deposited By:Mary Anne Francis
Deposited On:21 Feb 2012 15:34
Last Modified:21 Feb 2012 15:34
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