SMART Project Space’s current exhibition Coalesce: Happenstance is part of an evolutionary exhibition project, initiated in 2003 by curator Paul O’Neill. Coalesce: Happenstance is the final version of the project and is the culmination of a six year research into exhibition-making as a form of artistic practice where the accumulation of actors and actions co-produce a single co-habited exhibition form. The project includes a vibrant selection of artists to take part as co-producers to develop new work in response to each other, and to the overall exhibition structure and concept.
As a concluding event SPS organizes a public discussion on co-production and working curatorially with Paul O’Neill, Coalesce artist Dave Beech, as well as with artist Marjolijn Dijkman and curator Binna Choi. Coalesce artist Mick Wilson will link their presentations to the discussion that was initiated by SPS in 2008 parallel to the exhibitions Field Work – part 1 and Field Work – part 2. This ongoing discussion aims to articulate methodologies, critical strategies and ways of curating, from the perspective of ecological thinking in particular. Instead of focusing on the physical aspects of ecology – and herewith potentially directing the discussion toward issues of sustainability in the production, dissemination and presentation of art – the discussion centres on an ‘ecology of ideas’. In an economy of knowledge, ideas and images of immaterial ‘goods’, a dialogue on the sustainability of ideas offers the possibility to think (and work) differently within the curatorial framework.
Paul O’ Neill is a curator, artist, and writer. He is the curator of the project Coalesce: Happenstance at SMART Project Space and GWR Research Fellow in Commissioning Contemporary Art (Bristol). He has curated or co-curated over 50 projects that have investigated the expanded curatorial role. He is editor of the curatorial anthology Curating Subjects, ed. Paul O’Neill (Amsterdam & London, de Appel and Open Editions, 2007).
Marjolijn Dijkman is an artist and the founder of Enough Room for Space (together with Maarten Vanden Eynde) in 2005. Enough Room for Space (ERforS) is an artist-run organization that tries to act as freely as possible, always putting the context and the idea before the medium, challenging the barriers between different disciplines (artistic, scientific or activist). ERforS wants to leave space for forms of working that rely on a more sustained concentration and longer working relationships. Within these goals, ERforS supports both small-scale and large-scale projects, short term as well as long term initiatives.
Dave Beech is an artist in the collective Freee (with Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan). Recent exhibitions include Nought to Sixty at the ICA, London, How to Be Hospitable at the Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, and We Collaborate Better Than You, at Good Children Gallery, New Orleans. He teaches at Chelsea College of Art and writes regularly for Art Monthly and is the author of the forthcoming anthology Beauty for MIT/Whitechapel series documents of contemporary art.
Binna Choi is a curator and writer, and currently director of Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory in Utrecht. She is also co-curator of the long-term project Electric Palm Tree dealing with the politics of culture in the globalized society.
Mick Wilson is an artist, writer and educator. He is Head of Fine Art at DIT (Dublin). His research and professional interests are eclectic, ranging from the interrogation of art institutional practices and the reputational economy of contemporary art to the rhetorical construction of knowledge conflict and the contested reconstruction of the contemporary university. Mick Wilson will read the presentations of each guest speaker through the perspective of ecological thinking.