Owing to unanticipated personal circumstances, we had to postpone the final session of the series planned with UAL colleague, Sonia Boyce, who participated in ‘The Other Story’. While a major disappointment for all of us looking forward to Sonia’s critical insights – not least informed by her current research project on Black Artists and Modernism – we very much hope to involve her in the Afterall launch for ‘The Other Story’ Online, which is forthcoming. Please keep an eye on this blog and the Afterall Events website for more details.
Image caption: Sonia Boyce, Missionary Position 1, 1985, pastel on paper, 77.5 x 103 cm – as photographed in ‘The Other Story’ at the Hayward Gallery 1989–90 by Vijay Dhir for Tess Nowell, AV Librarian at Central Saint Martins
Rasheed Araeen, ‘Chakras’ 1969–70, 16 waterdiscs (floor) with 16 photographs of St Katherine’s Dock, London (wall) – as photographed in ‘The Other Story’ at the Hayward Gallery 1989–90 by Vijay Dhir for Tess Nowell, AV Librarian at Central Saint Martins
Artist Rasheed Araeen was the curator of ‘The Other Story’ and proved an eloquent and generous interlocutor on the subject of the exhibition. Annotating and amplifying his personal archive, as partially available online care of Asia Art Archive, he discussed his own art practice, the curatorial challenges of the Hayward exhibition and ongoing institutional racism within the British art establishment.
I was struck by the flurry of spontaneous positive feedback that this session generated, with students and staff alike keen to say how productive they had found it.
This time we were joined by Dorian Fraser-Moore, designer and technologist who runs The Useful Arts agency (www.theusefularts.org). Currently developing the microsite dedicated to ‘The Other Story’, he shared his progress with us. I opened the session by presenting some existing exhibition-related websites that I’m familiar with – e.g. projects.vanartgallery.bc.ca/955000/ and magiciensdelaterre.fr – and it was great to discuss the diverse sites that participants brought to the session for comparison.
Again we were happily an eclectic group, attracting students from outside Central Saint Martins and beyond art-specific fields of enquiry. We benefited from the input of Elaine Lin, Digital Collection Coordinator for Asia Art Archive who was visiting from Hong Kong and Tom Scutt, Digital Manager at the Paul Mellon Centre, who sent some great links to other sites for further comparison. I particularly appreciated his directing me to the Living Collections Catalogue produced by the Walker Art Centre, but I must admit this is partly at the level of content. My personal challenge is to learn from those sites that are effective in more remote fields: e.g. how to install audio tours of ‘The Other Story’ that make the most of digital capabilities while echoing something of the productive experience of wandering a an exhibition with someone talking to you about the art on display?
In this initial session, I introduced ‘The Other Story’ Online: Digital Exhibition Histories. Sharing some of my research into ‘The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain’ (1989–90), I led a tour through installation images of the show at the Hayward Gallery, London – while setting out my ambitions to develop a microsite online in response. We were joined by Lucy Biddle, Interpretation Manager at the Hayward Gallery who spoke about her collaboration with Google Cultural Institute to document selected historic shows as part of the Gallery’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2018.
It was a pleasure to engage students across courses at Central Saint Martins – drawing principally from the MRes Art and MA Culture, Criticism and Curation programmes, but also more broadly. UAL colleagues involved in the Afterall Research Centre, which I am part of, and in the Black Artists and Modernism project also took part.
Lucy Biddle kindly emailed me in follow-up: ‘I really appreciated the chance to take part in your discussion group yesterday. Thought-provoking in a number of ways.’