Deep Field [Looking Squarely Ahead]

35mm B&W microfilm collage, microfiche reader, 350 x 400 x 350mm

 “Looking squarely ahead, brave and joyous, at the world. The squads march to work. All that matters to us now is Treblinka. It is our destiny.” Song by Kurt Franz, Treblinka commandant, August-November 1943

Viewers browse through a layered, compressed representation of trench TREB04, excavated in 2013 on the site of the gas chamber at Treblinka, Poland. Magnified microfilm fragments depict archaeological trench finds that locate place and corroborate Holocaust eyewitness testimony. Viewers perform the evidence, as durational observers who optically uncompress the material over time. They navigate the brief time and space of the camp’s mechanised, chaotic extermination and demolition, enacting gestures inherent to decoding the indexical illusions of both photography and forensis. Data and images from the excavation combine with microfilm’s archival potential as carrier of textual evidence for future translation.

Produced for the touring exhibition Finding Treblinka: Artists Respond, commissioned by Centre for Archaeology, Staffordshire University, and funded by Rothschild Foundation.  Data courtesy of forensic archaeologist Caroline Sturdy-Colls.

Finding Treblinka: Poland

Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka, 2 August – September 2015

Curated by Caroline Sturdy-Colls & Michael Branthwaite: “Finding Treblinka includes new physical evidence uncovered at the sites of the former Nazi extermination and labour camps during a seven-year research investigation undertaken by staff from Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University, which have shed new light on the nature of the Nazis’ crimes. A temporary exhibition Finding Treblinka: Artists Respond accompanies the permanent installation, representing an innovative collaboration in which artists have responded to archaeological findings from both the extermination and labour camps. The opening of the exhibitions will feature a commemoration ceremony, and takes place on the 72nd anniversary of the Treblinka revolt.

The artists responses have been driven by their individual practice and concerns over how specialist scientific information can be communicated to a wider audience. The show focuses on how artists can create new discourses and dialogues that create change in the way we think about history and its relationship with the present. It explores how we process and build histories around objects, and how science and art can come together to enhance public knowledge about sensitive and traumatic events.

The artworks range from text-based wall works to free standing sculpture. Re-appropriated objects also feature, such as a re-upholstered chair exhibiting motifs from the objects found during the excavations at Treblinka. Since the objects found during these excavations will remain at the site, the artworks will eventually provide a travelling surrogate, offering viewers a conversational experience that will also hopefully encourage people to visit Treblinka”.

Archaeological research by Caroline-Sturdy Colls, with artists Michael Branthwaite, Janine Goldsworthy, Dave Griffiths, Hilary Jack and Jenny Steele.

New Forms for a Philosophy of Film: Manchester

19-20 July 2015, HOME & Manchester School of Art

An interdisciplinary seminar presenting research theories and practices that address film in relation to Derrida, postmodernism, and political and cosmological form.

Chaired by Felicity Colman (Manchester School of Art): “This seminar seeks to discuss research theories and practices that address the following questions: What is the form of philosophy that might be adequate to address the material complexity of a filmic or screen-based image? In what ways have filmic or screen-based images altered the discipline of philosophy? What are the “new” forms of film philosophy being practiced today?”

Papers: Joanna Hodge, Jason Wood, Dave Griffiths, Gopalan Mullik, Christine Reeh, Elspeth Mitchell, Anna Bergqvist, Maximilian de Gaynesford, Sheryl Tuttle Ross, Keith Crome, Maren Thom and Helen List.

Also including a screening of Love in the Post (2014), a filmic essay on Derrida directed & produced by Joanna Callaghan; plus Extinction Event [GRB130313A], an installation by Dave Griffiths.

Supported by HOME, Manchester School of Art, and MeCCSA Practice Network

Sit, I Don’t: Manchester School of Art

16 June 2016, Manchester School of Art 

Interactive Arts badgeSit, I Don’tIA Symposium #1 is an event exploring the innovative perspective that BA Interactive Arts (Manchester School of Art) occupies as a model of education and a collection of singular practices. The symposium is organised by Helen Collet, Olivia Glasser and Dave Griffiths.

Through taking an autonomous stand on the formation of their art-school educational experiences, comes the freedom for our students to discover and place new practices in wider contexts: Your adventure in the force of creativity translates into productive action in the world”.  The symposium features presentations by guest speakers and recent graduates, plus exchanges of practices between a cross-section of current students. Plus the launch of Interactive Arts’ Badge Campaign.

With: Kim McAleese (Grand Union), Rob Carter & Lauren Velvick (ECLUB), Darren Murphy (Forma) and Sarah Unwin (FutureEverything).  The symposium title, Sit, I Don’t stems from ‘Stand, I Don’t’; the Charles Esche/de Appel CP interview in Curating and the Educational Turn (eds. P. O’Neill & M. Wilson, 2010) around understanding art and the educational realm.

BRÖKE: Manchester

Manchester Art Gallery, 14 May 2015, 6-9pm, freeBROKE

BRÖKE was a student-curated engagement project organised by Dave Griffiths and Chara Lewis with Kate Jesson as part of Manchester School of Art’s Unit X.  BRÖKE culminated in a Thursday Late gallery takeover event in response to MAG’s summer design-based exhibitions, House Proud and Eastern Exchange.  During two weeks immersion in the learning programme, students observed public engagement in the gallery, and critically discussed issues raised by both shows – including the borders between design and art practices, and questions of value, austerity, consumerism and sustainability. The event included interactive engagement, tours, video and  interventions by the students and invited artists, including a furniture delivery performance, making and parading a quilt banner, plus netsuke, upcycled pallets, ideal interior design, percussion & song, and kintsukuori workshop using smashed ceramics.