This research will excavate and re-activate a series of key but overlooked exhibitions held at Chisenhale Gallery in the late 1980s; including Essential Black Art (1988), Yellow Peril: New World Asians (1988) and Donald Rodney and Lubaina Himid’s solo exhibitions (1989). It will be practice based and conducted through socially engaged artists’ moving image and experimental techniques to engage Chisenhale’s considerable, largely unexplored archive. A dialogical methodology predicated on co-creation and social practice techniques will be employed to create new, multiform artworks reflecting Chisenhale’s past and present. This PhD seeks to mine the potential of contemporary art for positive social change, drawing on artists moving image specifically to excavate and re-activate recent art history.
My research will manifest itself through two central outcomes:
1. An online resource featuring newly conducted interviews, a curated selection of digitised archive material, moving image experiments and speculative writing. This work will incorporate exploratory, polyvocal writing and experimental image techniques to represent archival findings in multi-layered ways that aim to attract diverse participants and engage them in innovative ways. As such my project will chart a partial and hybrid history of Chisenhale’s past to highlight its importance as a social and artistic incubator.
2. A new artwork re-engaging with central themes in Chisenhale’s early programme and the wider London context in which it operated, connecting these with the present moment and focusing on gentrification, displacement and contemporaneous civil rights struggles around race, gender, sexuality and class. This approach aims to render visible and experiential crucial moments of the past in forms that challenge and expand on traditional documentary techniques. To achieve this, I will draw on collaborative experimental working methods from my own practice to allow for new forms of interactions between artists, curators and audiences from Chisenhale’s past and the present moment.