Friday, 14 December 2012 posted on the Cooper Gallery Blog: 

Part one Notes and thoughts in two parts from interactions with Edgar Schmitz’s Hubs and Fictions, A touring forum on Current Art and Imported remoteness, curated by Sophia Hao which traveled from the Cooper Gallery Dundee, to Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle terminating in Goldsmiths, London.

“Sited.                                                    Orchestrated.

Experienced.                         Performed.                    Remote.

a  choreography.                      Props.                                     Stand-ins.            Cameos.”[1]


Throw words at a wall, and see which sticks, it seems this is often how we learn, how we build our narratives and points of view. This tool was often the prompt we were given, in English class at school, as a starting point for creative writing. It is meant to give us agency, and often gives so much, without the usual framework, the paragraph around the word gives, we are left confused, disorientated, and so go off in our own terrible and wonderful tangents as we ourselves build a narrative of understanding into something or nothing. I have been asked on many occasions during the course of facilitating for these events, what is the exhibition about? What is the point? It’s all a bit vague isn’t it? These questions I regularly found difficult to answer, so without a hard fast manifesto attached to the work, I would revert to my own narrative of connections. Drawing on my own points of interest which I read from the work; such as how we engage with art, art and reality, art and knowledge, the process of exhibition making, the processes of thoughts leading to an artwork and the numerous collaborations which this entails – collaboration that contentious word.

This idea of a semi fictional hub, as discussed during the forums, was never at the forefront of my mind while describing this event, although asserted as being the central concern – one of the few assertions. However I found this to be most interesting in the work. In Hubs and Fictions, we see the often intangibility of an artwork which sets your mind off in your own direction of interest, only to bring you around again to form new conclusions. Or not if you so choose. So I began thinking about fictional hubs, or hubs in general. What is an artistic hub? A cultural hub? About how contemporary art for good or for ill, connects those who are geographically remote, in smaller spheres of the art world with those in the massive – within global and personal scales.

Tom Morton: London based Curator & Writer. Contributing Editor of Frieze magazine works include ‘Man in the Holocene’ with Catherine Patha

Girl:“She’s pretty” Boy:“You think?”

‘Tom Morton – Cubitt Gallery ¬ Junction: North London Cultural Consortium Walks around rings cross’

‘London is now a truly international city, home to a global array of artists and curators who effortlessly draw on modes, styles, technology and influences from across continents in the creation and

“the beat of destiny yeeaaah” mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble click click BANG

presentation of art.’ London in 6 easy steps.

“Do you want to buy some….I’m not from around here you know?”

“Got any spare change?”

“Want to buy a phone?”

…shifting relations that make up the city from their particular perspective’ [2] Then of course there are those sphere’s in which we inhabit, in which we dwell, those which we draw from in order to make. Our personal social structures, our environment, our lives – fictitious futures and memories. A cultural hub is a fictional thing. Something decided to be by a group of people, believe yourself to be something, convince others and then it will be so – Always subjective and liable to flux. Hubs move, evolve and change, go bust and so emigrate elsewhere. It is the infrastructure which enables a hub to develop. Intellectual and monetary – it is a nomadic thing, always interchangeable.

So is there the potential within art to imagine the sphere in which you produce as a component of a larger cultural hub, and utilise that, though you may be geographically removed from a supposed physical hub. In doing so do you create a new hub in your own sphere? Or equally does this mean within your own modes of working, where people meet and communicate, either with or without a particular physical area around them, become a Hub – a facilitator for the production of work. Is a hub a place where work is produced? This suggests the Hub as a place, and the cause of the production of work.

The term Hub is frequently used in a technical sense to describe a device that connects a computer to the internet, or a computer to another computer. Connecting the remote – therefore borrowing this definition you could suppose that remoteness is an inherent component for the function and maybe a constant re-invigoration of a supposed Hub. A hub – a device for complex remote connections.

Title note; taken from comments made by Edgar Schmitz, Hubs and Fictions Forum, Goldsmiths, London 06/12/2012.

[1] Edgar Schmitz: List of adjectives often used by Schmitz in describing Surplus Cameo Decor and Hubs and Fictions; final Hubs and Fictions Forum, Goldsmiths, London, 06/12/2012.

[2] Research notes made in preparation for the forum Hubs and Fictions, in Leyton Library London. Points of speech made by others using the library, which interrupted the writers train of thought are indicated in grey.

A former MFA student at DJCAD, Sinéad Bligh is an artist currently based in London. https://twitter.com/SineadBligh


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