Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Elizabeth Price

Hi all

I wanted to let you know about a week of screenings and events Pavilion will be putting on in collaboration with Elizabeth Price. She's a really interesting artist who draws on institutional crique, philosophy, modernism, sci-fi, pop culture and advertising to 'reinscribe and reformulate collections and archives.'

We're screening two 'epsiodes' of Price's ongoing work The New Ruined Institute - WELCOME (The Atrium) and USER GROUP DISCO (The Hall of Sculptures) - at Pavilion, which each (as Price describes) "unfolds a different room within the notional architecture of a fictional Institutional building."

Screening times: 15 June: 5.30 pm 16 June: 3 pm, 17 June: 3pm, 18 June: 5.30 pm, 19 June: 3pm

We've also got a dialogue event at 42 New Briggate at 7pm (drinks from 6.30) on Tuesday 15 June and a screening at the Hyde Park picture house at 6.30 where we'll be showing films that have directly informed the visual formulation of Price's work (Kenneth Anger, Painleve, Alain Resnais and Chris Marker).

We've just commissioned a text by Rachel Withers (Wimbledon College of Art/ Art Forum) which we're putting out as a piece of print so if anyone would like a copy just send me your address.

More info about it all here

There's an Art Monthly interview between Elizabeth and Paul O'Neill which I found a useful way into her work.

There are also some excerpts of her videos and an essay by Gilda Williams on Lux

If you'd like to book on to any of the events/ screenings just drop me a line(

Bye for now and looking for the next lab meet.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Lab With No Name Week One

Present: Andy Abbott, Michael Burkitt, Rob Quirk, Terry Slater, Lucy Bannister, Stuart Bannister, Yvonne Carmichael, Gill Park, James Hill, Dan Simpkins, Penny Whitehead

Dan and Penny joined us from Liverpool and gave a presentation that reflected what they thought of as the theoretical and political framework for the Black Lab (from what they had gathered from the blog). This moved through an outline of global Student movements and occupations reacting against the neoliberlisation of the University and the increase in debt culture through to (post)-communist/anarchist writings by the Invisible Committee (in their small book ‘The Coming Insurrection’) which they have been reading as part of a reading group about political aesthetics in Liverpool.

Afterwards we talked a little about if and why Black Lab had consciously avoided such a directly oppositional/radical framing? For some of the participants it is/was a definite reference point and might help articulate the idea of a ‘common’ ethos but in practice we spent as much time ‘doing’ rather than ‘framing’ and often a lot of the activity was quite humble and less obviously politicised. Would the kind of framework offered by Dan and Penny (through autonomous and self-organised global movements) perhaps help articulate what the Black Lab is better to a wider audience and aid in finding connections with a broader range of ‘common’ activities?

We then began to talk about the specific issues of moving on from Black Lab. It was mostly agreed that a new name would be appropriate for whatever it becomes and a few practicalities were agreed:

- that it happens less regularly (once a week has been too much of a commitment to continue with),
- that the preceding admin and documentation/dissemination (through the blog) is rotated through a ‘steering group’ rather than one person always taking care of it,
- and that it would be a good idea to experiment with different spaces in which the meetings are held so it is not reliant or tied to spaces that Black Dogs have secured.

We spent the majority of the conversation talking over some of the issues that had arisen at the last meeting to do with renaming and also articulating neatly what Black Lab/the new project is. There is a clear tension between wanting to have clarity over what the project is so that it is open for other people (not necessarily to join but to engage in) and the potential for this to unduly ‘fix’ what the project is. Its fluidity and organic development have been key to its success and we want to leave that intact whilst being able to offer a better projection of the project to help address misinterpretations like ‘it’s Andy Abbott’s Independent Art School’.

This relates to whether we call it a ‘club’, ‘school’, ‘lab’, whether we use ‘art’ in the name and whether the name is ambiguous or attempts to be descriptive. Dan offered an observation that perhaps as long as the activity is continued to be well documented then the pressure to summarise what the project is becomes lessened. The sort of people that will feel an affinity or share common ground with a project like Black Lab are hopefully the kind of people that will appreciate the fact it can’t be easily or neatly articulated in a sound bite and will spend time engaging in a blog to get a sense of what it is. The people that can’t be bothered to do that are perhaps people that wouldn’t connect with it anyway.

Lucy suggested that we have the next meeting as a workshop in pulling out some key reflections on the past project using paper, pens, post-its etc. This might help us to find ways of articulating the project that we are collectively comfortable with. Lucy will therefore be the first in the ‘rotating chair’ and responsible for setting a date, time and venue (Saw Mill Yard should be available) and contacting potential invitees. Andy will forward around the contact list to everyone who has put themselves forward for being in the ‘steering group’ to date.


LB to arrange next meeting date TBC

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Daniel Simpkins and Penny Whitehead Tues 18th May

Hey all,

Just a reminder that this evening we will be joined by Dan and Penny who will discuss their practice and we can talk about future developments for the 'Black Lab' in a potential new space.

If you want to have a look at Dan and Penny's website beforehand it is

Here is a link to a Map of the new space - go up Saw Mill Road and it's the unit opposite the Foundry restaurant

Saw Mill Yard, Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS11 5WH, UK

We will commence at 6pm.

Friday, 7 May 2010

New Space, Moving Out.

Hi all,

We'll be moving stuff out of Green Sands into a new temporary space in the Round Foundry today at 2:30pm and then on Sunday afternoon if necessary. Anyone that is able to come down and lend a hand will be most appreciated. Details of the new space will come soon.



Black Lab Week Twelve

It was decided in the meeting that a new method for minuting and disseminating the activity in the Lab should be tested. As such these notes are intended to be less comprehensive than usual…

Present: David Thomas, Mick Welbourn, Dan Robinson, Andy Abbott, Dave Ronalds, James Hill, Yvonne Carmichael.

We used the final meeting in the Green Sands to reflect on what had happened in the space and what we might want to take from it into future developments for the ‘Black Lab’.

We discussed the activity of a fortnight ago; the music jam, performance day and meal. It was agreed that these three activities had demonstrated the range of approaches that had been applied in the Lab; from the very free-form and organic to the tightly curated and more ‘organised’. We discussed the perceived tension at the food event where it seemed there was a clash between the desire on Jayne’s part for the event to be organised and to follow a schedule and the manner in which it was embraced and ‘detourned’ by participants (particularly through the presence of children). Those that were present found it a productive tension but Andy had concerns that it might have arisen due in part to a lack of clarity about what Black Lab is and its ethos/methods. Are we in a position now to better articulate either of those?

We began by addressing the method. We talked about how the Tuesday ‘general meeting’ had provided some rhythm and momentum to the project and that it provided an opportunity for those not able to make every meeting to learn about the events. We also discussed alternatives – like alternating between ‘general meetings’ and events on Tuesday although it was felt this had been applied to some extent. We also talked about how the lab had been administrated – Andy taking responsibility for ‘chairing’ meetings, completing minutes and being a point of contact for potential participants. It was agreed after discussing alternatives including finding funding for this kind of role that a rotating chair and admin would be the best structure to share the work load and the learning.

We also talked about the name. Is it helpful that the project has been called a ‘Lab’? The consensus was that this was a fair representation of how we used the space. Perhaps the link to Black Dogs (through the word ‘Black’) is unnecessary? We talked about alternatives. Andy proposed, following Dan’s initial reflections on the project, that ‘club’ was a better descriptor of the project than ‘Lab’ and potentially more inclusive and fluid (i.e not rooted to one site). We talked about other names for the project from the problematically dry (Leeds Art Club, Critical Art Club) to the more vague (Green Sand Club). The general consensus appeared to come down on the more lyrical and open.

We tried to unpick any ‘ethics’ that might have arisen or presented itself during the project. We attempted this by going round the group and talking about what we had enjoyed the most about the project. Responses included the fact that we had made use of empty property, to the open and apparently ‘agenda-less’ nature of the project. The word ‘comfortable’ arose a few times when talking about the environment we had created. Why was the environment of the Black lab free and comfortable? Why does it feel like a safe place to attempt things? How might we articulate this better? It would be a shame if all we had to say about the project at the end was that it was good because it was vague. Yet there is something crucial and critical about the open nature of the activity and the drive behind that activity. How can we retain this whilst doing justice to the specifics of what has happened and what we might have learned?

It was clear that we weren’t going to be able – nor should we attempt – to ‘wrap up’ the Black Lab at this particular meeting and so called it a night.


All present to contribute to notes and minutes

New space for Black lab (or whatever it may now be called) to be identified

Next Meeting: decided when in new space. Tuesday May 18th is when we have a visit from Dan Simpkins and Penny Whitehead.