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RTFM: Artists’ Publications as Instructions, Scores and Manuals

Alex De Little's performative workshop exploring resonance and listening, 2018.

A one day symposium exploring the connections between Instructional and Procedural art and contemporary practice, featuring presentations, performances and discussions.

Friday 28 September, 10:00– 16:30
North Room, The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ

In his essay accompanying Hans Ulrich Obrist’s instructional project do it! (1993-), Bruce Altschuler suggests that the early conceptual avant-garde were united by "two strategies employed at key moments ... the generation of a work by following written instructions, and the insertion of chance in the realization of an artwork". The adoption of instructional strategies generated a wealth of subsequent practices which entwine ideas, forms and contexts in a variety of experimental ways. This symposium explored the roles of writing and publication in the rich history of Instructional and Procedural art and their contemporary application.

Presentations, actions and workshops were delivered by four special guests:

Chris McCabe (poet and National Poetry Librarian, South Bank Centre) took the work of Jackson Mac Low as a vehicle to examine the relationship of the lyric to the systematic – and the way that, even in the most rigorously randomised and systematic writing, lyricism persists. Watch the full video of Chris' presentation below.

Ami Clarke (artist and founder founder of Banner Repeater, London) gave a performance/reading of her work Error-­Correction with a projection of Low Animal Spirits; works that are informed by, investigate, and are produced through emergent behaviours developing from the interdependencies between language, computer code and the economy.

Alex De Little (sound artist and composer) ran a workshop with the symposium’s audience in which they explored their relationship to, and understanding of, space through the creation and audition of sound; in this case the space explored was the landscaped area in front of The Tetley, which offered up its own range of acoustic features.

Sarah Kate Wilson (artist and curator) gave a paper drawing upon her own painting practice and the legacies of Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Yoko Ono to look at the various strategies that artists employ to engage people in the production and distribution of their artworks, including verbal and written instructions, legal documents such as certificates of authenticity, and gifting.