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CØDEshop - part of E:vent
Took place: November 2007   [ Photos ]

Introduction text by Verina Gfader

In the Spring of 2007 Colm invited me to develop with him a series of workshops, or alternative modes of shared knowledge production. The project's aim was to use event structures as the basic model for the development of a proposed internet interface, taking on board the shift from the self-contained cultural object to the non-autonomous open-endedness of contemporary cultural production. That week at the end of May I had just been back from a journey to Kasachstan. The territorial power and spatial peculiarities there had made me aware, more than in any other place I had recently been, of how "old" or more traditional structures are still relevant in any everyday, and how they recur even in most unexpected ways. Actually being in the centre of Eurasia and simultaneously being in mostly empty, un-populated, and vast environments, created a sensation of loss, and remote-ness that did however not ignore a simultaneous experience of an "amount of information" and the closeness of people.

London. At the same time I was involved in an exhibition on borders, on what has recently became hot theme again. Despite, and probably because of, the failure of the anti-local. Extremities. Imaginary. Amalgamations. The problem with the actual. The discourse of the actual. All this spins in my head. From time to time, on my trips on red London buses. Later I read More brilliant than the Sun.

Over the following weeks in spring/ summer Colm and I exchange thoughts on what is at stake in presenting event-based work online;

Colm: I wanted to create an open-source website/ interface for presenting and archiving the artworks and activities from E:vent Gallery.
I wanted the interface to provide the possibility for the event to take place online or across both the physical space and the online space. I wanted to disrupt the syntax of topological location - IP address / street address ... thinking about memes... or the journeys of media packets... if the event occurs in media (shorthand ref: think 9/ 11), what are the conditions of its occurrence...
I wanted the interface to be open-source, to allow it to evolve according to the requirements of each artist / programmer that worked with it. The interface must also have a memory, an archive of previous conditions and events.

Note on archives: 'the archive as metaphor, from archival space to archival time' by Wolfgang Ernst... "First let us take the archive in its non-metaphorical use, as a memorizing practice of administrative power. Let us then face the digital challenge to traditional archives; residential, static memories are being replaced by dynamic, temporal forms of storage in streaming media...... the (hidden) power of the (traditional) archive relies on its materialities (the physical storage engineering) and its symbolic operations, resulting in a non-organic body of evidence. This systemic 'read only memory' fundamentally differs from what Marcel Proust described as involuntary memory in the human subconscious. The archive starts with acts of crystallisation, with reducing the disorder of processes into coded, grammatological coupling and rigid form. Hear the real takes place."

Later, returning from a 4-week trip to Banff, Canada, we realise that our intention to work around the (web) interface has shifted to include perhaps more radical forms of encounter and economy.

CØDEshop in its present form is a series of interconnected events and activities that emerges out of a concern with event-structures; These are conceived as fundamental to address contemporary issues on the sites of cultural producers, audience, institutions. While the separation of these different nodes in an expanding network does not operate any longer, the mutation and becoming of other sites opens out a discussion of re-addressing the very context, the parameters and conditions in which these new? Or variable sites operate. Locating our project in diverse places and contexts, we try to include this relation of content and movement.

The structure of CØDEshop is that three major themes (reflected in the three questions of each day) run throughout. Thus the actual day and location where CØDEshop takes place becomes an a/ effective tool to incorporate questions about the territorial.

As all invited guests are involved in the outcome of the overall project, the outcome changes according to the people involved in a particular time and a particular space. The record can thus be seen as a script or score of events.

CØDEshop is one element of a larger project E:vent currently undertakes, re-formulating and structuring a new mode of operation from its basic site, the gallery in East London.

The 4 days of C + Ø + D + E:

C = Curatorial Processes
q: is it time for an alternative structure of exchange?
q: who are the protagonists in the performance of cultural production?
q: how does the archive change our relationship with memory?

Venue: E:vent Gallery, London

Participants: Beryl Graham; Peter Lewis; Uriel Orlow; John Seth {work-seth/ tallentire}

The first day of CØDEshop conceives practices that in a wider sense address kinds of the Archive, the in's and out's of archiving, distribution and re-assemblage of material(s), materialities inherent in processual work, the discourse of time-structures.

_John Seth will present some strands that run between the work-seth/ tallentire project and his own practice, involving an approach to collaboration and event
_ Uriel Orlow will present some video work on the archive and memory
_Beryl Graham will talk about her current project - archiving years of CRUMB
discussion lists
_Peter Lewis will present his archive of invitation cards/ catalogues etc.

Ø = -O-b-j-e-c-t- contemporary art practice
q: how do you want your artwork to be remembered?
q: can software liberate you from the white cube?
q: what gets lost between the formal structures of established art practices?

Venue: V2 Lab, Rotterdam

Participants: participants will be chosen in collaboration with Anne Nigten
from V2lab

D = Documents of critical engagement
q: what minor repairs can CØDEshop offer to dinted ideological structures?
q: how is an archive active?
q: what critical restrictions and contradictions does software impose?

Venue: Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna

Participants: participants will be chosen in collaboration with Axel Stockburger

E = Events
q: how does the Event shape our understanding of a site of potentials?
q: does the Event occur always as a media phenomenon?
q: what is the im/ materiality of the Event?

Venue: E:ventGallery, London

Participants: Gavin Butt; Eva Weinmayr; Simon Gould; Adrian Glew

SHOP: we will set up a shop / temporary structure to sell the archives generated with the projects. The shop will be set up in E:vent Gallery and will move to a shop in New York. The shop places the project in a marketplace revealing its performance under nontheoretical conditions.


The following steps were fundamental to develop the concept, structure and format of CØDEshop:

a/ The discussion around the shop: We use the system of maintaining a shop (labour; "vita activa" [Hannah Arendt], the activity of stacking shelves as exemplary], its opacity/ transparency, and the underlying strategies as an analogue to identify how art, social practices, everyday life, and economies are intertwined in capitalist domains. Connected to this desire for modes of circulation, which is also intrinsical to networked cultures, it potentially opens out this system to other practices, containers and knowledge spaces, such as the archive. Produce migrational knowledge!

b/ To bring into play: The challenges socially-engaged contemporary art faces in relation to the conditions in which it operates when it's attempts are media-critical and aware of time-structures (archive and presence; discontinuous or "effective" histories (D.N. Rodowick, Reading the Figural, or, Philosophy after the New Media, 2001. Rodowick opposes universal history and effective history which is "defined [ ] by the aleatory singularity of events where struggle takes place in chance encounters". The genealogical critique his concept necessarily involves suggests to "[look] for discontinuities in the forms of knowledge and their patterns of decent, both in the concepts of history and in the values that inform them" (pp.190-191)); the discourse of the cut, or gap)

c/ The taking on board of current debates crossing media, art and economy (symbolic exchange, value and the 'economised uneconomic'). Inclusive to our project is to continue debates around possibilities in the space of the "net" (e.g. immateriality and open source movement) and art to challenge established forms of symbolic exchange materialised in relation to labour value. (Ref: in Introduction to 'The (digital) culture industry' Geoff Cox, Joasia Krysa & Anya Lewin (pp.10-11), refer for example to Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cumming's work dealing with the notion of the gift and capital.
Geoff Cox, Joasia Krysa & Anya Lewin, eds. Economising Culture. DATA browser 01, 2004

d/ There is an experience of loss between formal structures of established art practices
e/ Think spatial practice: distance and nearness; on/ offline
A related project we are working on specifically addresses media art that - by its very nature of being 'open', manipulative, transforming and 'in the flow'- has often been formatted in relation to online spaces themselves providing a continuum of movement and mobility. In a gallery without walls the work appears close and immaterial, and "foreign to the 'geographical' space of visual, panoptic, or theoretical constructions" (Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 1984).

f/ The awareness and potential failure of particular methodologies: instead of taking an antagonistic position CØDEshop is interested in a stream of thoughts sometimes appropriating the mechanics associated with current economies affected by capitalism. By doing so, our methodology can be seen as an opening to the flows and codes of power, and by doing so, creating a critical sensibility towards it. (At least this is a possibility. It is not resolved yet.) Josephine Berry Slater talks about such an internalising strategy operative in the work by makrolab (Marko Pelijhan); it refers to Michel Foucault's "discussion of the need tot ake hold of the strategic relations within biopower and create the maximum flexibility and reversibility within them, whilst also insisting on a minimum domination within all power relations. (Slater, p.191, in Un-Deleting the World: Art at the Poles. pp.186-191. In: Jonty Tarbuck, Jonty, and Hearn, Matt, eds. This Will Not Happen Without You. From The Collective Archive of The Basement Group, Projects UK and Locus+ (1977 - 2007), 2007)
Another reference which includes the re-making of the ICA bookshop in London, project The Bookshop Piece (1996) by Liesbeth Bik, Peter Fillingham and Jos van der Pool, is discussed by Maria Lind in her article De sculptuur als gesprekspartner. The Discursive Sculpture. pp.109-118, in: Collect/ recollect. A dialogue between local art and an internationally oriented museum, 1999
This relation between micro and macro-systems and situations includes questioning the current desire for articulating art and politics (e.g. Jacques Rancière) and work described as "multiple and heterogenous material of expression (Felix Guattari, 1992).

g/ To consider the consumption of difference, based on the construction of "difference" as inherent, and therefore problematic, to capitalism. Miwon Kwon, p.53, in: One Place after Another. Site-specific art and locational identity, 2002

[ Events ]


Linkages of C + Ø + D + E + shop

Although CØDEshop's various strands of focus might seem, at first sight, arbitrary, not explicitly interconnected, madly assembled, risk taking in that "big issues" are addressed, we are interested precisely in the potentialities inherent in this methodology. This means that we focus on the process of formating questions and re-solving elements in the CØDEshop's various days and stages. As laid-out in the points of references and thoughts above, a thread runs through that we are interested in certain verbs, activities so to speak: physically encountering; to vent; drawing; enacting; looking aside or from the middle; discarding objects. We are proposing the possibility of something performative and the event, of something that happens without being able to construct it, - and how this might relate to art within the presence of media.

E:vent's fundamental politics are microscopic; migrating; minimal gestures; interested in the instances of talk and encounters, and the diagrammatic nature of spatial potentialities (towards architecture and abstraction, the non-figurative, and the musical score).

The Attempt of CØDEshop:
_Work with different cultural producers and art-makers on different locations to find a shared language, codes, and notations to understand the multiple nature inherent in work that deals, in a wider sense, with Event.
_Create an Archive of an archive.
_Develop a diagrammatic score that follows each day's particular strategy.
_Use the dynamics of the Shop in the mode of production and distribution: Create a situation of a shop, a temporary shop-structure, selling the archive!
_Use the travelling and specificities of each location as a continuing enquiry into 'working together and alongside each other'.
_Involve the invited guests of each day in the outcome of the overall project.
_"Keep" what gets lost between the formal structures of established art practices.
_Make a report / book about the project for further references. Stop one process.