News+ references+ connections to other networks
While it feels like we’ve been living from one crisis to the next, to me this time feels very different, loaded with uncertainty that can’t be immediately capitalised on (although Modi is trying his best with rescue meals and online yoga branded with his image; and disinformation is rife as ever).
Setting to one side the horror and pain of COVID 19, I have seen the internet come into its own in the last few weeks. I had been on maternity leave trying to resist feeling ostracised from the life I knew. Now isolation is commonplace and institutions are beginning to reach out to remote fans via the internet (ICA Daily etc.) I feel renewed solidarity with the long-term sick, carers and those who can’t afford or don’t have the chances to lead varied socio-professional existences.
Using the emergent impetus (eg. Rising Majority) to mobilise and break the loop of crisis capitalism by nurturing the bonds between us, from the end of the month the site will carry new contributions from artists and writers meeting this moment with their rich and varied flows and processes.
The process of reviving the site has been a slower than imagined learning curve during which 5 new artworks have been developed and a pregnancy has emerged and followed through. Everyone’s life affects and events cancelled my original timeline doubling it from 12 – 24 months and now, almost to exemplify how deadlines can trip you up, I’m writing into the laptop-unfriendly suspended time of life with a newborn.
From the beginning I kept stumbling over the word ‘commission’ and each artist has found sweet ways of rebalancing this curator – curated dynamic. The fees offered were enough to enable support work i.e., overseas travel, a meal for 8, several mini-collaborations and the re-engagement of older work. Much valuable conversation has been shared and new connections aligned in proportion to the diminishing importance of expecting a finished work of art.
This edition of the site has been an unflattening of the screen as working relationships have been tested additionally for their mettle against the many aggressive forces circulating in the world in 2019. So much of the work happened outside the frame of the site. This may have something to do with the feeling of capture I wrote about in my opening text about online experience under surveillance capitalism: From my circumspect position lurking on the sidelines of social media I worry about powerful cliques in California profiting from our playlabouring for free, the same services which don’t discriminate against the circulation of fake news and hate. And yet, I find Instagram as compelling as I used to find TV and have learnt a lot particularly from the increased visibility of queer lives and, very recently, the CAA protests in India. In this respect I appreciate the non-narrative threads of fearless artists: lacking key details, the imperative is left to go out and risk making a version of what it is you detect from their brave work oneself.
Add to the site
A reminder that the Flatness calendar and comments feed are open for your contributions as always but particularly while I (Shama) am on parental leave over the coming months. The 2019 programme will be coming to a close shortly with new work and words from Rehana Zaman, Taylor Le Melle and Texta Queen for you to settle down to over the holidays. Sincere thanks to all who’ve used and added to the site this year, please continue to feel at home here.
Read all about Flatness in an interview I’ve just recorded with Henry Broome for Spike Art Magazine. For the extra diligent among you there’s an extended version (with a bonus question and suggested reading) up now on Flatness 💙
Flatness is happy to announce that ‘I’m Baby’ a text and collage of memes by Glasgow / Berlin based artist Natasha Lall is now available to read on the site. We had the pleasure of meeting through a self-organised writing retreat to Cove Park together with Raju Rage and Jemma Desai last week. The trip was inspired and given context by recent contributions to Flatness by Adam Farah and Lucy Clout and, in particular, from conversations emerging through the development of Rehana Zaman’s commission for the site. Anyway, have a read. It’s a brilliant reflection on our brief time in Scotland and celebration of this new connection, thank you Natasha!
MEDI-CATED SUMMERS / …
The latest Flatness newsletter has just been posted announcing the launch of a new work by Adam Farah (free.yard) tomorrow at midday (!) + a call out for a mini residency in Scotland at the end of the month amongst much other activity. Please read, share and make sure to sign up for future mailings!
Curating for Digital Plat-forms
Booking is now open for a 3 week course on digital curating based around Flatness beginning 18 September at Camden Art Centre. Bursary places available. Click here for more info and to book a place. Please spread the word!
Lucy Clout is offering to create her own version of Focusmate (described in her letter) especially for Flatness users. She’s inviting “anyone who wants virtual company doing anything” to join her online for 50 minutes. The sessions would be completely private. Email email@example.com to make a booking.
On 4 April @Whitechapel Gallery, I’m excited to be in conversation with Amsterdam-based artist (+ Flatness contributor) Dan Walwin following his special presentation, ‘Enclosures and Desertion’, a segue of works produced between 2013-2019 (coincidentally the same turbulent timespan as Flatness). Find more info and reserve your tickets here: https://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/dan-walwin-enclosures-desertion/
Dan Walwin has had the keys to the site for a while now, generously populating it with works from the last few years. Journey left to right and, increasingly, up and down. Beautiful to watch the simultaneity and spaciousness of moving images and interaction.
While the artists are developing their contributions I’ve been enjoying posting comments to an unknown audience, differently to the known unknowns of my ‘friends’ on FB.
Remember the homepage is open to your comments. Start typing in the white box (or draft elsewhere as there’s no way of editing), add a link and upload a pic. You can also click on the ‘Comments’ heading to view in full screen.
Dial in to Flatness next Saturday 2 Feb at 1pm GMT to join contributing artists: Lucy Clout, Nikhil Vettukattil, Dan Walwin and Rehana Zaman chatting along with myself and designer Gailė Pranckūnaitė on the comments feed.
The first work to go live is Nikhil Vettukattil’s An Analog for Listening, an interactive application which translates the sounds you feed into it into patterns of visible light. Please share any tracks or resonant frequencies that you think work well with the app in the comments feed.
Incomplete (growing) list of voices informing the opening Flatness text including many who, I hope, will contribute to the site:
Hito Steyerl Sara Ahmed Taylor Le Melle Nora Khan Anthea Hamilton Korakrit Arunanondchai Unthinking Photography not/nowhere Dennis Cooper Cibelle Cavalli Bastos Lauren Schwulst Auto Italia Rehana Zaman Lucy Clout Dan Walwin Nikhil Vettukattil Adam Farah Evan Ifekoya Claudette Johnson Audre Lorde Allucquére Rosanne Stone Donna Haraway Joni Cohen Raju Rage Ajamu X Camilo Restrepo belit sağ Natasha Marie Llorens Heather Phillipson Women of Colour Index Scratching the Surface Toby Clarkson archive.flatness.eu Sonya Boyce Lubaina Humid Hollybush Gardens Jenny Richards Clunie Reid Rizvana Bradley Charlotte Prodger Gil Leung Bhajan Hunjan Sebastian Buerkner warehouse Hardeep Pandhal Stan Vanderbeek Octavia Butler Last Angel of History Margaret Salmon Hannah Black LUX Jumana Manna The White Pube Bernard Stiegler Angela Davis IFFR Nina Manandhar Hannah Gregory Morgan Quaintance Hanif Kureishi Monoskop Stuart Hall Kodwo Eshun Murmur gal-dem Heidi Mirza Susu Laroche Bifo Mark Fisher Amanprit Sandhu Stefano Harney & Fred Moten Lucrecia Martel Reni Eddo Lodge Robert Owens Imran Peretta Michelle Williams Gamaker Paul Purgas Aorist David Wojnarowicz Lucy Parker Moyra Davey Urara Tsuchiya Ane Hjort Gottu Claire Fontaine Rabbits Road Press Vera Tollman Steven Shaviro Mason Leaver-Yap Rachel Reupke Alia Syed Kendrick Lemar Dani Restack Electra Joan Morgan Victoria Sin Adrian Piper Vanabbe Oretha Frank Stella J G Ballard Tom Richards Adham Faramawy Christopher Kirubi Berwick Film Festival Kate Paul Schtinter Robert Bresson Ash Sarkar Get Out Kate Owens Black Audio Film Collective Rabz Lansiquot Ain Bailey Joseph Walsh Novara Ian Hunt Hortense Spillers & Gail Lewis Sue Tompkins Forensic Architecture Sean Dockray Rebecca Heald Ulijona Odišarija Marwa Arsanios Rhizome Alice Channer James N. Kienitz Wilkins Merve Emre Roberto Peyre Bhanu Kapil Nkisi