'Not for Profit'
Economics and Contemporary Art

David Gledhill

Over the past 30 years, sociological critique has called into question many of the assumptions of artistic production and reception. Despite assertions of the reductive and hostile nature of social theories of art and claims regarding the likely impact upon artists, much of the mud has stuck. Notions of the history of art as a sequence of masterpieces by solitary geniuses dispensing visionary insights from the margins of society have been overturned.

Marx's work on the social determinants of consciousness have been elaborated by subsequent commentators into a theory of art as a collaborative process emerging from a historically specific and class divided social context. In this model, art mirrors the prevailing mode of production in both form and content and is fundamentally ideological: a defence of or attack on the dominant social ideology of the day, that of the ruling class.

The 'vulga' Marxist view of the unmediated determining force of the economic 'base' has been much derided and when reassessing their own agency, artists have tended to proceed instead from the observations of Barthes and Foucault regarding literary consumption as an act of production. However, where critics of sociological perspectives propose the harmonious co-existence of 'discursive communities' in the sciences and arts, this effectively elides the acquiescence or instrumentality of community members in class led injustices.

A 'horizontal' linguistic construction of society fails to account for 'vertical' inequality, oppression and persecution. Whilst language may be the index of the production of meaning and the medium by which economic exploitation is co-ordinated and legitimated, it does not constitute that exploitation. Economic dispossession is the real motor of social injustice and all those who are forced to sell their labour are subjected to a material process, which is effected by coercive and ultimately violent means. These processes originate in social divisions that cut across discourses in all areas of human endeavour, whilst breeding further material deprivations and hardships. As members of a social formation dependent on the division of labour, artists are not innocent of the injustices perpetrated either within or beyond their national borders. Despite this, most artists fail to reconceive their activity as a co-ordinating point in a nexus of spatially and socially diverse groups whose contribution precedes and succeeds their own, making it possible.

The irruption of economics into the working concerns of contemporary artists has been slow coming. By contrast Barthes' programme for the 'denaturalisation of bourgeois discourse' through a variety of semiotic strategies has been enthusiastically endorsed and efforts made to transpose it from the original chiefly linguistic context into a visual field not necessarily amenable to it. Accordingly, since the 1960's vanguard artists have been involved in the evacuation of material and aesthetic aspects from their work, pushing their output towards a textual status more compatible with theoretical generation and explication.

This shift echoes the move away from 'Fordist' manufacturing in the west that has been gathering pace since the Second World War. The pressure on cash strapped states to open access to cheap labour markets uncompromised by union protection has brought about a division of labour on a global basis. Outsourcing of production and the protection of 'intellectual property' rights are key priorities of western multinationals and there could scarcely be a clearer reflection of this than the critique of commodification and subsequent 'dematerialisation' of the object in conceptual art.

The immediate contributory factor in this development was a critical consciousness of the increasing commercialisation and elitism of the art scene and much of the resulting work had an emancipatory force when placed alongside the exhausted remnants of late modernism. The 'idea' was the work but there remains a clear distinction between a discomfort with commodification in the west and a political consciousness of the abuse of cheap domestic and foreign labour markets that underpins it. It's no surprise that all the key figures involved in this break with the 'Greenbergian' modernist endgame have been canonised in exactly the same terms as their predecessors.

After the return to traditional forms amenable to financial speculation that were fostered by the boom years of the 1980's, a new generation found an uneasy compromise between the rigours of theory and a more extrovert and visually arresting mode in which fabrication would be contracted to specialists in craft processes, whether art students or manufacturers. Where this entire 'post-modern' period is theorised as a purely formal development within an autonomous cultural sphere, without accounting for its homologous relation to wider economic circumstances, art remains unreflexive and tacitly endorses an accelerating global process of exploitation. To proceed from the subjective experience of an overloaded western 'semiosphere' to the arbitrary shuffling of images and idioms in art without addressing the brutal origins of wealth is to overlook the misery of others.

In more recent years, research and academic distinction in general have become benchmarks of quality, as artists extend their engagement with institutions for study, networking and funding opportunities and return to a more sober agenda of semantic enquiry. The semiotic and post-structuralist methodologies they are still encouraged to apply have not generally been supplemented by working awareness of economic categories, which presumably appear opaque and irrelevant to the development of prospects in the art world. The more ground breaking proponents of radical and unitary cultural theories have been succeeded by a professionalised generation of media savvy intellectual celebrities and a sense of restlessness with existing theoretical parameters for practice is emerging where they are perceived to have failed to offer alternative models of exchange or use value for the arts.

The 'relational aesthetics' and 'post-production' tendencies sketched out by Nicholas Bourriaud have highlighted and contributed to a rethinking of the role of the artist as originating source of works for passive contemplation. The artists cited in this context are nevertheless celebrated as ultimately solely responsible for the projects credited to them, regardless of their questioning of authorship through appropriation of cultural source materials or the models of inclusivity they employ at the point of delivery. Whilst Bourriaud situates himself as a past collaborator with these artists, the status quo of the art institution and its rigid careerist protocols are hardly under threat here.

By contrast, the dynamic within which the participants in 'Unrealised Potential' are operating is signally different. One of the chief distinctions is the blurring of boundaries between artistic and curatorial roles. This alone is not new. Artists have been curating for decades, however within the context of this project there are several levels of displaced authorship, curatorship and participation which create a structure quite distinct from the residually hierarchical framework documented by Bourriaud. It simply isn't pertinent to ask whose show it is when the content is so diverse and everyone involved occupies so many positions at once. Mike Chavez-Dawson, Sam Ely and Lynn Harris from 'Unrealised Projects', Len Horsey and Brian Reed, Gavin Wade and RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co) have all acted as facilitators, creating an environment within which dozens of participants can share in the production of work that both addresses and exemplifies a potential political economy of art. Crucial to this process is the rootedness of the whole in a broader awareness of the 'vertical' division of labour and the rights of artists and those they engage with.

'Unrealised Potential' presents us with a set of creative possibilities and exchanges which generate a blueprint for the sustainability of the project beyond this particular manifestation. It borrows its mise-en-scene from a number of institutional and industrial models, which knit together to form a kind of zoned microstate. In Gallery 1 'Unrealised Projects' complete archive of artists', musicians' and designers' proposals can be viewed against a restful décor redolent of contemporary library design. Ranging from a plan to erect a 1000 ft replica of a Betamax videocassette on top of Mount Roraima in Venezuela, to a terrifying account of the proliferation of an aggressive parasite that reads like a pitch for a big budget sci-fi horror movie, they explore virtually every mode of exposition. Freed from pragmatic and budgetary constraints, the texts invite imaginary investment by the reader and celebrate the social production of meaning across a global digital platform. Unrealised Projects have devised a mode of distribution for art that is utterly removed from both the venality of the commercial gallery system and the increasingly pressurised public funded and artist-led sector. This initiative collapses the infrastructural space of art and remaps it with co-ordinates generated by 'free play' Collected into a series of volumes and printed in book format for 'Unrealised Potential', the various contributions distinguish themselves by wit, inventiveness and sheer genre-busting vitality rather than by virtue of the market prominence of their authors. Under these circumstances art can approach the condition of philosophy in Hegelian terms, by bypassing the privileges and exclusions of the culture industry.

The 'Potential Hits' archive alongside offers further proposals in the form of certificates licensing the purchaser to stage the suggested exhibition within a 5 year deadline. The price is divided proportionately between artist and facilitators and the entire set will be merged into Volume 6 of the 'Unrealised Projects' archive in the presence of a legal witness. In Gallery 2, Brian Reed has taken Liam Gillicks' 'Potential Hits' proposal for a display of products by the Mexican aluminium manufacturer 'Luck SA' as a point of departure for a multi-media installation that borrows a utopian aesthetic from high modernism. This modular 'Corporate Blue' environment synthesises visual elements from the 'Day of the Dead' and the Mexican revolutionary flag with domestic and commercial architectural spaces in a hybrid that blurs the mercantile and social dynamics of capitalist enterprise.
The reinvestment of symbols of popular resistance and cultural identity in the archetypal corporate 'non-place', acts as a brake on our sense of acclimatisation to neo-liberalism by re-historicizing the 'timeless' world of capital accumulation.
A number of prefabricated structures in various states of construction call to mind the imbrication of the built environment by disparities of wealth distribution. Homes scavenged from recycled materials run hard up to the pools and condo's of the rich in Mexico City where 40% of the 19 million inhabitants live below the poverty line. Len Horsey and Pylon Pictures' film 'Planta De Anodizado' enacts a cinematic re-imagining of the industry promotional video form and acts as a fictional counterpoint to the genuine mission statements voiced over a portrait of the company supremo that greets you as you enter the gallery. In the film, the worker that acquires the object of his own labour is emblematic of the restitution of unpaid surplus value, which literally lifts him out of a world of alienation. No longer an embodiment of economic process as a natural law, he transcends the scene of his own subjection by appropriating the product of his labour.

In Gallery 3, the Zurich based artist group RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co) have been invited by Gavin Wade to answer the question 'what is wealth?' This central issue is part of Wades' ongoing project asking artists to address R. Buckminster Fullers' forty 'strategic questions' from his 1970 book 'Utopia or Oblivion'. The project, begun in 2002, encompasses multiple platforms and the publishing of forty 'answers' intended to solve all the worlds' problems! Fullers' concepts of synergy and the notion of wealth as knowledge are translated into an interactive space that suspends 'normal trading relations'. An 'exchange cage' where participants can swap possessions for books and laptops for the duration of their visit, a revolving 'wheel of fortune' and a set of salvaged chairs for passing the time, reading etc, combine to effect the reconciliation of exchange with use value through a system of barter and recycling. Learning and leisure resources become available to all through the stripping back of institutional and economic forms. Marx's remark that capitalism turns all relations into money relations is the point of departure for a reconfiguration of the gallery space into a site for the suspension of the social relations of production.

Throughout the exhibition media codes and conventions are employed to translate and extend disciplines beyond their original paradigms. Cinematic, video, theatrical, literary, documentary, advertising, architectural, design and juridical forms coalesce and breed in a functioning co-operative that will evolve and disperse itself exponentially. This temporal axis frees the content of the project to generate its own new forms, licensing further collaborations that break with the capitalist producer/consumer model that continues to disempower all of us. At the same time, these forms are turned back on their economic determinants and re-grounded in open participatory networks. Recent backlash notwithstanding, this is a crucial manoeuvre if practice is to evade market homogenisation and political marginalisation.

From their emergence artists are induced to internalise working concerns that minimise interference with the absorption of surplus capital. In the arts, professionalism consists in the engineering of market consecration where works of art are little more than financial bonds: a temporary congealment of money in circulation. A key requirement of art that can be traded internationally is that it must not actively obstruct the expropriation of the many by the few, the founding principle of capitalism. Amongst those who are attempting to extend the oppositional potential of visual culture, well-intentioned self-exile within textual analysis or nostalgia for the subversive phases of modernism do nothing to counter existing power structures. No quantity of 'floating signifiers', 'imported discourses' and 'indexicality' can hope to address the fundamentals of injustice.

Confined within its sphere, art can still provide alternative economic and social models proceeding from a rigorous, reflexive investigation of its own conditions of possibility as generated by the wider society that contains and shelters it. 'Unrealised Potential' looks inwards to reconfigure the artistic arena in a more collective, plural and democratic manner and outwards at the world to deliver a timely warning and alternative path, recovering a critical and constructive capacity for art. There is a pressing historical necessity for all of us to hold economic greed to account for the atrocities it perpetrates. Art must move beyond the 'politics of representation' to reconstruct its own social relations of production. Only by a reintegration of artistic and political practice at this fundamental level of production, distribution and reception can artists avoid incorporation while actively demonstrating the potential for change.

Reproduced with permission.
David Gledhill is an artist and lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Bolton. He has been a member of Rogue Studios in Manchester since its inception and is joint studio administrator. He has exhibited widely in this country and abroad and is represented by Philips Gallery.


Detours Towards a Philosophy of the Fragment

Christophe Van Eecke

B-Sides & Rarities would seem to be an exhibition with nothing to exhibit. It is about unrealised projects, which means that no final artistic product was ever completed. To create an exhibition with such projects might seem like postmodern silliness or a facile attempt at being clever. It is neither. In drawing our attention to unrealised projects B-Sides & Rarities asks what constitutes a work of art, how such works come about and what makes them in any sense 'complete'. These questions in turn tap into a much older story. It is a story that tells of how we came to regard the unrealised and the fragmentary as works of art in themselves. The story touches upon fundamental issues of the way we see ourselves. It is a story about how we see the world and the things and people in it. This essay takes some detours through that story. They are detours because we shall not tell the story in a straightforward way. It is much more interesting to circle around the story and the issues it poses. That way, we are allowed to branch out at will and discover sidetracks and philosophical B-sides that take us off the beaten path of postmodern philosophy. For it would be easy to tell a story of the unrealised, the conceptual and the fragment by drawing on contemporary theory. We shall not do this. On the contrary, we will start our detours more than two centuries back, in the heart of German Romanticism, where the seeds of our postmodern selves were sown...

Text from B-Sides & Rarities at Lokaal 01, reproduced with permission.
To read the full paper as a PDF please click here


'Words spoken are symbols or signs (symbola) of affections or impressions (pathemata) of the soul (psyche); written words are the signs of words spoken. As writing, so also is speech not the same for all races of men. But the mental affections themselves, of which these words are primarily signs (semeia), are the same for the whole of mankind, as are also the objects (pragmata) of which those affections are representations or likenesses, images, copies (homoiomata).'
Aristotle, On Interpretation, 1.16a4


Volume 4 Participants letter:

Dear Participants of Volume 4,

Unrealised Projects is currently undergoing a change. Through the natural course of collaborative, conceptual and practical development, we are updating the content of the site, making visible the multiple subjects that have developed under the umbrella of the unrealised, and are continuing to expand how this notion can be defined. Volume 4, of which you have submitted work, will be framed and developed by guest curator Josh Love and Unrealised Projects. The presentation model and space of display of previous volumes will be readdressed through a program of discursive events culminating in an exhibition of your works being contractually 'realised' by Love. The exhibition/launch will focus on the framing that Unrealised Projects transposes upon unrealised works and the guest curator's alternate role as producer.

'The theme for Volume 4 centres on an exchange of moral rights, production roles, obligation, and the notion of realising unrealised works.

Over the next few months and through a discursive production program, each work is to be readdressed as 'realisable' for the limited duration of an exhibition that will occur later in the year.

With a discursive, practical and legal approach to the interpretation of your project's ideas, we aim to focus on the artist's intellectual property rights and producer's moral rights when developing projects collaboratively. Traceable similarities between unrealised works will become apparent within the production of Volume 4 projects, and be made visible in the exhibition of them.

The framing of volumes on Unrealised Projects as separate entities is to be shifted in an exhibition platform that relates unrealised projects both spatially and in productional development.

This project seeks to license the copyright for the production of each artist's work to be represented spatially. Unrealised Projects and Josh Love will hold equal share in the licensed copy of production for this period of time and in turn offer the labour, funding and platform for the work to be shown.'

Josh Love - Guest Curator

Participation in this exchange project is not obligatory. Works already submitted to Volume 4 will be shown online to the specifications outlined in your initial proposal. If you are interested in developing your project within this new framework we will begin with an initial discussion on Friday the 29th of May. Please get in touch in order to confirm your participation.

All Vol. 4 participants to date:

Ami Clarke, Jarrod Fowler, Josh Love, Ola Ståhl, Robert Kiff, Sophie Risner, Uta Kogelsberger, Sarah Conway-Dyer, Andrea Medjesi-Jones, Cecilie Graveson, Cecilia Wee, Neil Boorman, Neva Elliott

All the best,
Unrealised Projects & Josh Love

Sam Ely & Lynn Harris
Unrealised Projects
+44 79 4670 1590



www.e-cart.ro Interview:

Simona Nastac, co-editor of Romanian web magazine "e-cart" interviewed Sam and Lynn about the project:

SN:The Unrealised Projects archive collects submitted project proposals from artists, designers, curators and writers, which are - as you have stated - "unrecognised", "unfinished", "and unfulfilled" or which remain "unwritten". What is the goal of the project and how it operates?

SE:The main reasons for devising this work were an interest in the potential of the unrealised, the value of production that has no tangible and finite end, how in a world of hyper achievement qualitative comments of success and failure usually ape recognition of this process and how the reading of a (visual) work is an active and personally engaging form of communication.

So one our goals with the project is to highlight these moments of production for both the artist and the audience.

For the artist, loads of good ideas never see the light of day for so many reasons. This platform allows those good ideas a public viewing and offers a platform for ideas, which have not found placement otherwise.

LH:And As an audience member reading through the projects, a different type of criticality is employed than when looking at a finite and finished work, a criticality that is driven by imagining a potential outcome instead of responding to specific expectations for a work. In this state, the viewer is personally engaged and does in fact become a type of co-author through the nature of the building of meaning in the mind that is a characteristic of reading but most importantly that this meaning is not fixed and openly allows the audience to intellectually actualise an outcome.

So the reader is essentially finishing off the work through the reading, actualising it as well as inherently working towards a resolution of the work, whether that's just in placing it in the mind's eye or making decisions about how it could be realised or should be realised. This is when an audience's curiosity or imagination can be fulfilled or met; through an exploration of the works potential.

SE:We initially spent a lot of time talking to and enlisting artists to participate. Those participants then nominate as many artists/curators/writers/designers that they think might be interested. We contact them and try to meet to have a discussion about how they might want to proceed with an unrealised project. We like meeting and talking. We're trying to work through ideas that we find fascinating and when meeting other people that are interested, want to talk to them about how they interpret these ideas and how that might manifest itself through their own practice. We want to engage with a network of ways of working that are not limited to the lone artist in the studio and to explore these ideas in a collective manner, in a manner that reflects a community working towards something.

SN:Apparently, there is no hierarchy in the archive between "unrecognised", "unfinished" and "unfulfilled". However, there is certainly a distinction. "Unrecognised" implies, inherently, a failure. "Unfinished" could mean both in progress or abandoned. And "unfulfilled" presuppose the existence of an idea, but not necessarily the intention to transfer it into practice, to make it visible. Why is it important to acknowledge all of the projects as having an equal significance?

SE:These variations represent the various ways in which different individuals will interpret, consume, market and make work. Our intention was to create a fairly generic structure that could be used by anyone, but still remained bound within a specific context.

SN:One of the main concerns of your initiative seems to be the idea of failure. Valorising the failure involves, necessarily, an attempt to relativize the notion of 'success'. But both can be defined as such only in relation with a certain context, so that the try to distinguish between them becomes almost redundant. What is your understanding of failure? Within the context, could the archive be seen as a mean of critique to the address of social or institutional working concepts such as "power" and "prestige"?

LH:Absolutely. Success and failure can only be understood in context to one another. Both categorisations are terminally bound to one another for meaning and reference and have no relevance outside of momentary and specifically regulated judgement. And while we have not set out to focus on failure, the implication is inherently bound up with the idea of the unrealised. We're trying to create a space where, through the reading of the work, these qualitative statements are not necessary to access the work. Through the nature of reading and of the open-ended nature of the project, an audience member will immediately find ways to visualise those projects that interested them. How do you read a story without imagining the characters and scenes? At that point, the question of a project's failure or success is not a being asked, this reflective state is being replaced by the activation of the work.

SE:In some ways, the use of this open submission archive is a reaction to the market and authorative/arbitrary influences that determine the relevance of work or a body of works, which often demean the relevance of alternative influences on that market. It also reflects a browser mentality that empowers the user in their own home to quickly decide what information to access and for how long.

SN:To me, the archive seems to have a paradoxical dimension. Once the ideas or the projects become visible through the Unrealised Projects' website, they reach to a certain achievement, losing their very raison d'être. How do you keep the balance between "unrecognised", "unwritten" etc. and their (re)presentation?

SE:The whole project is interpretable. Of course, the projects have technically been realised once consigned to text, but some would say that even speaking about these ideas would be considered a realisation. So we are left with a debatable, philosophical enquiry into ideas raised by the proposition of the unrealised. We like that. To begin and end with questions. It means that the participants and the viewer must take responsibility for their own interpretation. We do not pre-suppose a finite, ideological conclusion.

SN:If withdrawal can be a creative act, I would like to let this interview remain unfinished.

LH: And we would like to extend an invitation to anyone who is interested in participating...



Gretchen and Alan approached us and asked to coordinate a volume of the project over a period of time in their space in Sydney. As we've looked for ways to grow the project naturally, through contact and circumstance, we thought that it was a good idea.

Geographically, communication was less immediate so we sent a set of instructions detailing how we manage the project's concept. With cultural and spatial differences, we found this to be a good working model in order to start rigorous conversation about each other's expectations. We hope they did as well.

They're responses have assured us that they've had a sophisticated awareness of our original intentions and have used their own actual and conceptual space to interpret these meanings in really interesting ways.

The breadth of ideas that make up volume 3 suggest that the potential of the unrealised is universally useful for contemplating one's own practice, while at once maintaining the very specific political and technical interests of each artist. And specifically, volume 3 seems to offer a glimpse into the shared interests of this community.

We only wish that we had witnessed these ideas being presented during the month, sitting in the gallery, on the slippery slope of realisation.

Sam Ely and Lynn Harris
December 2005



Unrealised Projects Instructions for G&A Studios

Unrealised Projects comes out of a philosophy and an understanding of a recognition for the process of making that sometimes becomes subsumed by desires for success and a desire to position oneself in order to create successful works within specific markets. Potentiality in ideas as inspiration.

1. Promote Unrealised Projects with the existing open call for submissions through your contacts asking, as well, for any backing documentation including imagery, sound, video, etc.

2. Once you receive interest, spend time talking to participants about the potential for their own unrealised projects to be described, if desired work with them to find ways to articulate their ideas. Ask questions about how they have perceived their own experience of articulating themselves in this less than finite situation.

3. Accept all approaches. Do not reject or edit any projects.

4. Each project is to be presented in the format in which they were received including size and type of font/imagery/unedited video/etc. If this is not specified ie the project is received as an email, with no specific instructions then the type and styling defaults to Times New Roman as per web-site*.

5. Set definite deadlines for receipt of projects as unrealised ideas are personally slippery and create value and placement anxiety in the maker and subsequently are often not approached with the same vigour as other works. Some people need more persuading then others.

6. The work should be presented as information over pure aesthetic.

7. We will be available via e-mail throughout the duration of the project.

*If you choose to create a more material based installation and would like the artists to submit hard copies, actual video, models, etc then the hard copies will need to be formatted to fit the web-site after the exhibition closes.

We think that as we're practicing artists who do not have a physical space to validate our value or the project's value, we feel that especially the first several people that got involved, did so through a leap of faith and a genuine interest in the content and approach. We have seen a growing amount of interest as the project becomes more 'successful'. We feel that you might have a very different experience because of your own positions as artists who have a physical space, which could be very exciting, but we are not interested in the project being purely successful. We are interested in the projects content.




We've been invited to speak at a symposium on May 27th called 'Issues in Curating and Contemporary Art Practice and Performance' and thought you might find it an interesting day out.

Please see enclosed press for details.

We hope to see you there.

All the best,
Sam and Lynn
4. E-mail-
Address book

5. Press info - symposium

'unrealised projects', driven by curiosity and active interpretation, credits the cerebral and vulnerable state of creative and intellectual engagement by creating an un-hierarchical context for projects and concepts to feed off of each other.

We're asking artists/designers/curators/writers to submit their own unfinished or unrealised ideas towards this literal, visual, ongoing and growing web based project.

6. Outline:

1.introduce ourselves as artists
2.communicate that we've been asked here today through a project that uses curatorial strategies. explain that we are going to describe passed projects as a means to describe our politic and ways of working and how we came to engage with curatorial strategies

We're first going to talk about a few other projects, talking through our politic and ways of working as a means to explain how and why we came to conceive Unrealised Projects. We'll talk about how the project works and how it's been interpreted by the other artists involved and how using curatorial strategies have been appropriate for us as artists for our means and how this reflects the way in which the idea of the curator is shifting.

i.why give to a gallery?
1.Ways of thinking/approach:
a.facilitate service, work through existing gallery structure. Function and use.
b.illustrate system based around cultural and economic elements of gift giving.
c.Create a visually non-dominant work where the emphasis is in framing and contextualization of idea. This also relates to ideas of authorship.
d.Use of local information and personal contact and discussions with gallery directors.
2.technical elements that make up project
a.Discussion/Q and A/research as a means to gather content and as a means to understand the implications of how the location works. The space is run by artists and is an active social centre for that reason.
3.conceptual elements:
a.Harking from 70's conceptual text works

ii.Playlist -introduce work including per huttner, lisa and her development in work, gavin wade, curatorial diy opened space for
1.what/ways of thinking
a.active and engaging work that used a similar tactic and use within the space. Facilitate the ease of the stranger into the space as a means to make it their own. Wanted something that anyone can engage with not as pacifier but as way to create social link between strangers of the space and gallery attendants and work. Implication that anyone can be a curator, to make an active work in a curatorial diy, we wanted to work with this implication. Wanted something simple so that people would want to interact, to create something that was expansive and engaging and one size fits all and popularist set of instructions. Wanted it to function, not creating set of hoops for participant to jump through, but simple act they would choose to follow. The portrature element allows that curator of the day even greater ownership of what could have been a potentially daunting engagement. Playlist archive then is a very quiet visual reference to the action. Where does the artwork lie after the fact if not in documentation. We built in this visibility from the beginning. Through enlisting the use of an archive, we built in an element that acknowledged the potentiality of the work not being activated. Where all works had this potential we built in an element that tangibly registered this use.

3.Segway through potentiality into unrealised projects. Then talk about how these existing elements, strategies and ways of working have naturally led to our using curatorial strategies.

4.Unrealised Projects
1.ways of thinking
b.Applying a structure that is open to interpretation.
c.Social, engaging, dialogue based vehicle as a means to create further content.
d.Recognition of potentiality within creative production, the process as opposed to form or finite end.
e.Issues of authorship.
f.Non-hierarchical positioning of ideas. Highlighting the excesses of artistic production, which is anti to capitalist efficiency of production.
g.Examining the difference between the written/spoken/material = focus on idea over visual representation.
h.Creation of networks of those who are interested in this specific area.
i.Using alternative strategies to create a more sustainable system of cultural production.
j.Ideas based economy.

2. How project is used:
a.Artists talk with their own about practice critically, use us as sounding board for ideas which lack final execution. The artists then engage with the idea of presenting their own unrealised work, which creates a lot of contradictions in terms of creating successful work.
b.Actually engage in dialogue with each artist, asking for involvement, talking to artists about specific practice and how the idea of the unrealised might be activated.
c.Waystation for artists for left over ideas, can act as a release for artists, an in between space in which to present bits of good research or pieces of works that do not fit into final product appropriately. Gems that are holistic pieces of artistic production, but don't necessarily fit in.
1. Heidi Stokes
d. Acts as inspiration for artists to use practice in experimental ways.
1. Mike and Paul.
e. Recognition of unrealised/realised conundrum (once consigned to paper or even externalised through conversation the work can be interpreted as realised). Each artist defines those parameters.
1. Mike and Paul
2. David Crichley
f. The interpretation of failure as a useful tool for creative in terms of the work not having been completed, but successful as a useful piece of theory and text.
1. Lisa Lefeuvre

3.Current curatorial context:
a. current curatorial trends - our practice mirrors these strategies. Why? Globalization/portability/diy culture/ management and the immediacy of the flow of information has changed/shift of emphasis on art structure and diy culture of artist managing their own careers and not having to rely on the dealer and gallery and consumer as strictly as before, new curatorial strategies open up and even become the focus of production. New models that function in the art world.

4. Definition:
a. Political: (relationship to other existing structures/ policy making/an organizational process or principle effecting authority/status/etc (the politics of decision))



The idea of the unrealised project allows for potential to continuously exist. It requires the active involvement of the viewer to be recognised and functions as a means to bring context and the process of making to the fore.

The unrealised also encases each project with a democratic import. It's difficult not to read about each of the participant's ideas without complete faith and recognition of individual intention.

A lot of talk has arisen about failure through talk of the unrealised. And that because these projects have not been carried out in more concrete or actualised terms, that the implication of failure becomes an issue.

This failure to realise is an issue. It is precisely the issue that makes each project interesting and, more importantly, the potential of each project really interesting and worth investigating. Once a work is consigned to form, it can only move in very particular places in the imagination.

A sketch, description or thought about a work presupposes finality and strives for an ideal, a desire to achieve some effect without answering all of it's own questions. It also encourages artistic and intellectual inclusion because it becomes activated and evolved through it's reading.

The process of making is activated and experienced by the one reading.

Not only this, a work's conceptual evolution seems more aesthetically apparent in the description of a work versus the finished version. A parallel can be drawn between how the construction of language is used to create building blocks of meaning and the how the description of a work constructs a finished picture in the mind.

A finished picture that appears in as many forms as there are people involved. And in this model an exchange economy exists where cultural production is collectively created.

Sam Ely and Lynn Harris
September 2004