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Journal ArticleDOI

Writing encounters: Institute of Beasts (2008)

01 Jul 2009-Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (Intellect)-Vol. 2, Iss: 1, pp 117-125
TL;DR: In 2008, Dutton and Swindells completed a three-month artist residency at Ssamzie Space, Seoul, South Korea, where they introduced live animals into the studio as members of a faculty as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: In 1998 Steve Dutton and Steve Swindells formed the artist collaboration Dutton and Swindells. In 2008 they completed a three-month artist residency programme at Ssamzie Space, Seoul, South Korea. During the residency the artists founded the Institute of Beasts by introducing live animals into the studio as members of a faculty; to suggest new readings of the work but also as a strategy to potentially generate art as a form of encounter in which different compulsions or pathologies pull in various ways but equally live together in a frame or scenario in much the same way as practice can exist as performance, text and as object. An interesting aspect of having an animal(s) in the studio is the unpredictable nature of what happens to the work when it becomes a perch, a hutch or a burrow and what happens to the artist's practice when they share a space with other animal(s). This article and accompanying images form a written/visual extension to a presentation they delivered at Writing Encounters, York St John University, 1113 September 2008.

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Dutton and Swindells
In 1998 Steve Dutton and Steve Swindells formed the artist collaboration Dutton and
Swindells. In 2008 they completed a three month artist residency programme at Ssamzie
Space, Seoul, South Korea. Steve Dutton is Professor in Creative Practice at Coventry
University. Dr. Steve Swindells is a Reader in Creative Practice at University of
Huddersfield. This paper and accompanying images forms a written/visual response to a
presentation they delivered at Writing Encounters, York St. John University, 11
September 2008.
Writing Encounters: Institute of Beasts (2008)
Between January and April 2008 we undertook a residency programme at Ssamzie
Contemporary Art Space in Seoul, South Korea. We gave our residency the title,The
Institute of Beasts’, proposing the ‘Institute’ as a structural method of working which was
intended to accommodate (in the sense of hosting) what we considered to be
increasingly errant and divergent processes developed both prior to and during the
residency period; with a view towards ultimately attempting ( but perhaps failing ) to
establish an improbable taxonomy of unruly ideas and forms which could be housed, or
at the very least, managed, under the auspices of said Institute. The Institute was and is
nothing less than a way of embracing the schizoprenic tendencies within our work; the
potentially infinite and coagulating contradictory impulses, repetitions, compulsions,
detours and diversions, intermittently morbid, critical, dull, childish, unspectacular,
wayward, drifting and lacking what might be thought of as progress in any progressive
sense of the word.
This paper forms part of that ongoing project by acknowledging, indeed, by summoning
those detours, whilst housing them within the context of the academic journal, and by
raising the spectre of the ‘encounter’ within a text written as practice, in particular within
the apparition of the text and image appearing as an animal haunted by human
subjectivity. In this sense the context of the paper is the encroaching animal becoming in
the text as much as the image; an animal which has a purposeful amorphousness,

oscillating and camouflaged between passages of stealth and dumbness, mimicry and
schizophrenia. As in many anthropomorphic experiments our ‘animals’ often seem to
possess a hurt look and a melancholic gaze, reflecting on the huge ordinariness of life, a
generous beckoning to share the smallest moments of disappointment and humiliation,
where moments of peace and beauty are rare.
The dog turns its head; nose dilated and blowing fumes through flared nostrils. It draws
its lips above its incisors and drools. Dog years amongst the human dust and decay of
modern life. Dogged! A rich-black brush mongrel that intimates a thousand years of
crushed skulls and grinding teeth. The dog accompanies the hunter and yet is
sometimes perceived as a scavenger, the dog with many heads, Cerberus, the guardian
of the entrance to Hades. Black dog. Almanac dog with dark sunken eyes that reflect the
planets; an encounter with a profound double-dealer that possesses both the playful and
savage paw-strokes of the wilderness. We chance a direction of work that will have the
capacity to remain both inexpressible and wandering; polar moons that cast sparkling
reflections upon muddy puddles. That canine smell and infinite darkness between the
stars; pucker nosed and myopic sight!
We are writing in the text, collaged in things that have no immediate resemblance or
affinity to one another. In this space the word is a ready-made. The collage of the
reasonable and the ridiculous has infinite potential but we keep returning to the one
thing, the one moment or scenario in a practice which evokes both a cackle and a
lament. We laugh because we are aware of ourselves both as what we are and what we
are not, and we are ambivalent as to which is which.
It was Arthur C. Danto writing about collage in ‘after the end of art’ who wrote: ‘the
paradigm of the contemporary is that of the collage as defined by Max Ernst, with one
difference. Ernst said that collage is ‘the meeting of distant realities on a plane foreign to
them both’ - the difference is that there is no longer a plane foreign to distant artistic
practices, nor are there realities all that distinct from one another”.
However, the notion
Danto, Arthur C. (1997) After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History, Princeton: Princeton University
Press, Chapter 1, p.2

of an encounter also presupposes that there is, in some form, a confrontation or an
acknowledgement of muteness between things, and thus we suggest the notion of
collage is something that is in the throws of possible conflation while simultaneously
maintaining a suspended and frozen position of indelible difference. The collage itself
can never really be fully known as a homogenous entity, if there is any coalition at all it is
on the basis of wholesale paradox. We write in the latency and potential of collage within
the Institute, which to date continues to ebb and flow under the ice; clearly
unfathomable, uncoordinated, un-constituted, unnamed and unnameable.
The 1967 film ‘Doctor Dolittle’, from the book by Hugh Lofting, musically tells the story of
a doctor who learns from his pet parrot how to talk (and sing) to animals. Things take a
complicated turn when a friend of Dolittle's from Tibet sends him a rare two-headed
llama-type creature, the ‘Pushme-Pullyu’. Throughout the narrative the animal is
continuously immobilized by itself, unable to make a decision on which way to turn. The
Latin term nolens-volens literally translates as ‘unwilling-willing’ but is commonly used to
signify an absence of choice. It is an irreparable world, where an unrelenting alterability
with the self stands between what is thus and not otherwise. Nolens-volens condenses a
sensibility within the work and the Pushme-Pullyu has the peripheral vision of a cubist
fundamentalist, displaying continuous movement with no orientation, where backwards,
forwards, left or right, up and down do not exist as concepts of progress. Fated to jerk
forever in a multi-faceted world the Pushme-Pullyu will always be tethered to itself.
‘Tales of the Riverbank’, was a television show created in 1959 by David Ellison and
Paul Sutherland. The show used a hamster, a water vole and a guinea pig as characters
in short dramas for children. In order for our studio bound hamsters to give the
appearance that they are talking and singing should we apply peanut butter to the roofs
of their mouths? Should we have human voices provided by Johnny Morris
in sync to
the actions of our two hamsters thereby giving the impression that the hamsters, while
inhabiting modern art sculptures as mini architectures are also performing ritual activities
of Pagan folklore in a warped form of Morris Dancing?
Johnny Morris (1916 – 1999) Children’s programmes TV presenter. Through humorous filmed inserts he presented
voice-over mimicry of animals that appeared to display human emotions and characteristics: Tales of the Riverbank (BBC
1960, 1963, 1971) and Animal Magic (BBC 1962 – 1983).

The ‘talking’ hamsters, sniffing and crapping on and in modern art animate an alliance
that exceeds itself, a further reversal or bestial inversion that revels in the transgression
of art, animation and animal husbandry. In this respect the talking hamster is a show of
weakness as well as a display of power. It is an act of self-assertion that also performs
vulnerability with aplomb. For Deleuze and Guattari, becoming-animal
signifies the
crossing of a threshold into a world of ‘absolute deterriorialization’, where productions
and actions begin to constitute their own worlds, potentially lacking any subject or goal.
So there is no longer anything but movements, vibrations, tics and instincts in a series of
representations; hamsters, dogs, primates, turkeys, deer, lovebirds are distinguished
only by this or that threshold, this or that vibration, this or that sound in the rhizome and
burrows of the Institute. But that is another story!
The paper floats on the flatulence created by the zoo and the academy in which
patterns, objects and images, are butting, parading, showing their multi-coloured arses,
seducing, cropping, staging, editing, falling, staring or confronting each other in a sense
of mute appreciation and anticipation in a zig-zag or elliptical and often tedious,
relentless, durational performance. The subject of this performance; the errant and
contradictory nature of practice, the work; the developing sense of momentum, an
enveloping aura, or nexus of events within which there might exist some sense of a
precarious developing libidinal being. The collage is an animal in the throws of
becoming. The paper has no narrative other than this slow appearance, if it stalks any
sense of linearity it is no longer an encounter. The writing of an encounter merely
outlines what cannot be said and its lack may reveal more than the sum of the paper.
The trees are dense now with singing birds, whitethroats, titlark, yellowhammer and the
cooing of wood pigeons, each filling the air with the insanity of dawn, each being
individually drenched by nature’s profoundest secret. In the centre of the wood there
exists a natural clearing, perfectly level and smooth with glassy lichen, a dark emerald
covering. Towards the perimeter of the clearance leaves and branches scurf it over.
One can sense the ancients at those edges; there is a faint uncertain odour that ruffles
Deleuze and Guattari, (1988) A Thousand Plateaus, pp. 174-5, 306-7, Athlone, London

the fern. A wild deer walks out of the trees, crosses the clearance, and stops to snuff the
ground. Large bright eyes search. I stopped for a moment, overwhelmed by a displaced
universe, in which each being is appointed non-communicable. I watched its glittering
brown eyes watching me. The deer’s presence announced a far deeper and stranger
reality than any classification of plants and animals – a priority of existence over death,
of the individual over the homogenous, being over nomenclature. The deer momentarily
awoke my own wild-side, itself a startled animal, but a creature that swiftly melted back
into my own subconscious forest as quickly as it surfaced. A return to present
consciousness was a realization that I am not the Green Man; I am excluded from this
place, shut out from the art of greenwood folklore. I could stand here in Albion, but not
enjoy this place, only envy and fear the deer and birds their hysterical ecstasy.
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31 May 2016
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a practice-centred teaching method for collaborative writing for design teams at M-level in higher education (HE) by using Approaches, Practices and Tools (APTs) across three case study workshops.
Abstract: This thesis offers and evaluates collaborative writing practices for teams of Design students at M-Level in Higher Education (HE). The research begins by asking why writing is included in current art and design HE, and identifies an assumption about the role of writing across the sector derived from a misreading of the 1960 and 1970 Coldstream Reports. As a result, drawing on recommendations that were made in the Reports for non-studio studies to be complementary to art and design practice in HE, I focus on how teams of design students can complement their design skills with collaborative writing. Some studies for addressing how design students learn from writing in HE already exist, but none have established a practice-centred teaching method for collaborative writing for design teams at M-level. My research captures the effects of my Approaches, Practices and Tools (APTs) across three case study workshops. I compare these with the most common writing model in HE designed for text-based study in the humanities. My APTs use participants' designerly strengths to redesign how they can use writing to complement their practice. This provides learners with a means of identifying and creating their own situated writing structures and practices. I document how my practice-centred APTs position collaborative writing practices as a designerly mode of communication between design practitioners working in teams. I show it to be more complementary to practice and so more effective in comparison to models imported from the humanities. My explorations are carried out through two thesis sections. Section One is an in-depth literature-based rationale that critically informs my investigations. Section Two presents my methodologies and reports three case studies, in which I explore the emergent data collected through a range of qualitative methods, mapping and evaluative techniques. The findings are of importance to those teaching M-Level design courses.

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Princeton Classics Edition as discussed by the authors is a collection of illustrations from the Princeton Museum of Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary Art with a focus on the history of art and its development.
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