An exhibition by /origin\forward/slash\
29 September–5 November 2023 Preview: Thursday 28 September 6–8pm
Sacha Golob, Marie Hay, Johanna Malt, Hester Reeve and Mark Titmarsh with Jan Hopkins
First Hand is the culmination of a three year digital placement at Flat Time House by /origin\forward/slash\, a group of artists and philosophers working together to collaboratively produce new artwork and ideas. Group members have an array of different approaches, some specialising in making, others in writing, often meeting in the hybrid space between. They are led by artist Hester Reeve and in association with the Centre for Philosophy and Art, King’s College London, and have met since 2018 to investigate the relationships between philosophical thinking and art practice.
The title of the exhibition, First Hand, refers to John Latham’s naming of his artist studio as the ‘Hand’ and the fact that this exhibition provides the first opportunity for the group to work together in person after three years online. The show includes installation, photography, video work, sculpture, digital work, painting and book-based pieces which have been developed in partnership through close discussion. Over the course of their digital placement /origin\forward/slash\ have become focused on issues of dwelling, thinking, materiality, the questioning of the domestic sphere and the objects or words we produce.
/origin\forward/slash\have used two written documents as stimulus for First Hand, both included in the show. The first is John Latham’s permanent ‘book’ sculpture, cantilevered through the facade of FTHo, which they weild as an integral aspect of the exhibition. The second is the key philosophical essay by Martin Heidegger, The Origin of the Work of Art (1950) which the group use as inspiration to move through, with and against, to locate a dialogue between members of the group. The exhibition includes contributions from dance artist Marie Hay working in collaboration with philosopher Sacha Golob, artist Mark Titmarsh with art and critical theorist Johanna Malt, artist Hester Reeve whose work has been informed by conversations with philosopher Georgios Tsagdis, and a digital contribution by artist, writer and technologist Jan Hopkins.
(not) Stupid as a Painter: Contemporary art in the vicinity of Philosophy
Thursday 28 September 4.30–6pm
To mark the opening of First Hand, two contributors to the exhibition, artist Mark Titmarsh and philosopher Sacha Golob (Centre for Philosophy and Art, King’s College London) will discuss the figure of the artist-philosopher.
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Reading the House Contents – Exhibition as Basis for Continued Dialogue
Sunday 15th October 2–4pm
Exhibition and house tour with artist, art historian and writer Michael Corris with exhibiting artists and philosophers
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/origin\forward/slash\ formed out of a one-off event at Flat Time House at the end of 2018 organised by Hester Reeve and Sacha Golob. Thinking through, with and against ‘The Origin of the Work of Art was a one-day research event based at Flat Time House where invited artists and philosophers exchanged what was at stake for each of them in Heidegger’s philosophical text. After this event a small nexus formed who wanted to continue meeting to explore the issues that had arisen. Initially invited to create an exhibition at Flat Time House in 2020, the group used the hiatus of the Covid pandemic lock down as a rare opportunity to spend time online, ‘inhabiting’ their interests and friendships together.
Since formation group members and contributors include: Steven Claydon, Sacha Golob, Marie Hay, Johanna Malt, Hester Reeve, Mark Titmarsh and Georgios Tsagdis.
The /origin\forward/slash\ project is lead by Hester Reeve, Reader in Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam University in association with the Centre for Philosophy and Art, King’s College London. The group are grateful to artist Jan Hopkins for assisting them in the build of their Other Hand website and for ongoing site maintenance.
/origin\forward/slash\ digital residency at FTHo:
Between 2020 and 2023, the /origin\forward/slash\ group undertook a digital placement at Flat Time House. Their central activity has been convening in 'The Other Hand' (their virtual extension to John Latham's original layout plan for Flat Time House via their website). The online room, The Other Hand, randomly presences-sequences small segments of Heidegger’s Origin of the Work of Art essay affording an architectural reading-experience of his ideas. The website also houses an archive of documents and video documentation and can be accessed at originforwardslash.com
Other group activity by /origin\forward/slash\:
Alongside group discussions via zoom, members of /origin\forward/slash\ have been working in pairs through a process of open-ended collaborative production (artistic practice and philosophical thinking). Initial works were discussed and demonstrated at Dust Jacket for an Exhibition Postponed, an online public event which launched their website, The Other Hand, in July 2021. The title of the event derives from the idea that a dust jacket promotes, promises and protects ‘the book’, and the book in turn forms an abode for the ‘work.’
Two further online events to share ideas with the public were organised:
For Show and Tell in the House of Art in July 2022 where the group shared current work and ideas in relationship to Heidegger’s essay ‘Building Dwelling Thinking.’
In July 2023, the group hosted Hiding Out – Reading Philosophy in the Studio/Seeking Conversational Sustenance, an online conversation with ‘Art & Language’ (Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden) joined by two important figures linked to Art & Language’s collaborative process, Michael Corris (artist and author of upcoming publication Inside Art & Philosophy: An Artist’s Point of View) and Paul Wood (painter and author of many publications, notably with Charles Harrison, Art in Theory 1900-1990 (1992), new ed. as Art in Theory 1900-2000, (2002).
Sacha Golob is Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London and Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Art (CPA). He has published extensively on modern French and German Philosophy and the Philosophy of Art. His current research explores moral progress and decline. www.sachagolob.com
Marie Hay is a dance artist working with the rhythmic performance of contemporary dance and speech. Along with Louise Douse and Martin Leach, she convened the international From Heidegger to Performance symposium in 2018 and is co-editor of the upcoming publication of the same name (to be published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2024). Hay is Senior Lecturer in Dance at De Montfort University.
Johanna Malt is widely published in Surrealism and on various aspects of modern and contemporary art, theory and text-image relations. She is currently finishing a book provisionally entitled Image/Vestige: Casts, Imprints and Traces in Modern and Contemporary Art. Malt is Professor of French Literature and Visual Culture at King’s College London where she is also a board member of the Centre for Philosophy and Art.
Hester Reeve is an artist working across a variety of mediums including site-specific live art, drawing, sculpture and photographic documentation. She was active as an artist in the environmental movement of post revolutionary Czechoslovakia, co-authoring an oral history Libkovice: Zdař bůh in 1997. She has worked with physicist David Bohm’s radical model of Dialogue for over 20 years, convening events in a variety of contexts. She collaborates with Olivia Plender under the banner of The Emily Davison Lodge and in 2013 they were invited to curate an exhibition of Sylvia Pankhurst’s artwork at Tate Modern. The first monograph on her work, Ymedaca, was published by the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2015. Reeve is Reader in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University and is the project lead for /origin\forward/slash\.
Mark Titmarsh is a visual artist working in painting, video and writing. In Australia he was a significant contributor to the development of the postmodern debate in the visual arts in his role as co-editor of the Visual Arts magazine, ‘On the Beach.’ In the 1990s he co-founded the Sydney based artists group ‘Art Hotline’ that exhibited ephemeral works in non-gallery everyday sites. His book Expanded Painting was published by Bloomsbury in August 2017. Titmarsh is a lecturer in Design Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in Australia.
Jan Hopkins, born 1963 in Barnsley, is a late-emergent visual artist, writer and technologist, only now surfacing after a long career teaching art, technology and mathematics. Her work muddies the waters of the ‘authentic’, the handmade and the technologically produced and investigates the cybernetic feedback loops between humans and technology. She often works with machine generated text and images, expanded by the evolving collaborative relationship between herself and her devices. Jan graduated from a Fine Art MA at Sheffield Hallam University and recent shows include Soft Loop - Site Gallery, Sheffield, andThe prism of the feminine: machines, oocytes, wires, potions - Drawing Now Art Fair, Paris. From her studio in Sheffield, she continues to ask how an art practice working collaboratively with machines can rethink our future relationships with technology and everything else.
The Centre for Philosophy and Art is a major multi-disciplinary initiative based at King’s College London. Its aim is to bring together academics, artists, curators and gallerists to explore the connections between philosophy, theory and the arts. They do this through Film, Podcasts, Interviews and Live Events. The Centre is committed to developing ongoing collaborations between artists and philosophers, and to exploring the way in which the format of such collaborations alters or deepens the interplay between the two approaches.
(left–right) /origin\forward/slash\, /Being\ and /Time\, Book on shelf: Martin Heidegger ‘Being and Time’, 1927 (this 1967 edition from John Latham’s personal library), 2023; Hester Reeve, Second Letter of Friendship, video, 4min 32s, 2021; (through door) Hester Reeve A Case for Ontological Equipment video, 3 mins, 2018-ongoing, this version 2023
/origin\forward/slash\, Heidegger Lasagne, Billboard print, Flat Time House, 2023, Incorporating: John Latham, Bread, books and polyurethane foam, 1967
Jan Hopkins, function Glove (sineflower), USB powered device, handcrafted linen glove, LCD screen with machine generated animation, embroidered QR code, 2023
Hester Reeve & origin\forward/slash\, Friend of The House’s Meeting Notes, notes from online group discussions, ink & pencil on post it notes mounted on MDF boards, 2021-3
Hester Reeve, Friend of the House, digital photograph (lead pencil on painter’s canvas), documentation: John Hartley 2023
Marie Hay and Sacha Golob, with Dave Soden, home|wohnen, Video with sound 10mins 3s, 2023
Mark Titmarsh and Johanna Malt, Jut-material, Installation, 2023 comprising (left–right) Mark Titmarsh, PIA, Synthetic polymer paint on paper (dust jacket) laminated on aluminium, 2011-2023; Mark Titmarsh and Johanna Maltearth/World Digital print on cotton canvas, 2023; Johanna Malt, OBT, Pencil and ink on paper, digital print on cotton canvas, 2023
Mark Titmarsh and Johanna Malt, Jut-material, Installation, 2023 (continued) comprising Mark Titmarsh and Johanna Malt (top shelf to bottom shelf): Being Time 2 slipcases, each synthetic polymer paint on cardboard, 2023; OWA, 3 objects, first two are automotive paint and lacquer on wood and third is automotive paint and lacquer on polycarbonate, 2023; BDT 3 objects, each automotive paint and lacquer on wood, 2023; AWP, 3 objects, first two are automotive paint and lacquer on wood, third is synthetic polymer paint on a book, 2023; and Mark Titmarsh and Johanna Malt, Contributions to Philosophy, Polyurethane figurine on Bookshelf, 2023
All photography: Melanie Issaka/Plastiques