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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

David Howells

My current research interests are in two areas:
(i) How is the future visualised? This follows from my MA dissertation on the Reconstruction of the Berlin Stadtschloss as an Historical Projection. I am pursuing further research in this area with a view to a PhD proposal, possibly under Adrian Rifkin as supervisor. In the mean time, I am writing an article (provisional title: Crystal Palace: Archaeology of the Future) for Activate magazine.
(ii) A cognitive approach to drawing. In particular, a generic approach to graphic practices which might encompass drawing and writing equally. This follows from my teaching on the Drawing Systems modules and editorial role in Knight's Move journal.

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Research Outcomes


Outcome 1 - Encyclopaedia
Encyclopaedia is a small portable viewing device commissioned for the group show Vanishing City.
The viewing device consists of an adapted periscope through which the word "Encyclop├ędie", in facsimile type taken from the title page of Diderot's original Encyclopaedia of 1750, may be viewed, illuminated by ambient daylight against a black background.
The piece is intended as one of a series of portable "instruments" which illuminate some facet of enlightenment thinking of the "classical age". In order to function as works of art they must go beyond didactic illustration, hopefully by alienating the viewer from that which has become so familiar as to be invisible.

portfolio


Outcome 2 - Bricolage
Bricolage is a short piece of writing commissioned for the exhibition Everydebris and written to contribute and respond to the other works on show, rather than comment on them from the displaced perspective of a critic, curator or scholar. Imaginative and speculative rather than critical, it was written "to" the work rather than "on" the work and was for me an experiment in writing as visual art practice
Using the theme of the writing as a starting point for discussion, I convened a gallery panel talk between four of the other participating artists: Stewart Gough, Boo Ritson, Richard Wentworth and Joby Williamson.

portfolio


Outcome 3 - Knight's Move
Knight's Move is co-edited by myself and Charlie Woolley. In each issue we identify a mode of "visual writing", and undertake to commission new work from contemporary artists, and to design a format in which these works, together with selected excerpts from a wider literature, coexist in a visual relationship on the page.
The editor's role in conceiving and producing the printed object is therefore more akin to that of curator of an exhibition in more traditional art media. Although we call it a "journal" it is in fact a visual artefact which, rather than reporting or commenting on writing as visual art practice, actually does it.

portfolio


Outcome 4 - Newton
Newton consists of an astronomical telescope (readymade) with rectifying lens and an analogue watch placed at opposite ends of a room or exhibition space. The telescope is trained on the watch, thus enabling the viewer to see what the time is on the other side of the room (it is generally found to be the same).
The piece is intended as one of a series of portable "instruments" which illuminate some facet of enlightenment thinking of the "classical age". In order to function as works of art they must go beyond didactic illustration, hopefully by alienating the viewer from that which has become so familiar as to be invisible.

portfolio

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