The Institute of Beasts: strategies of doubt and refusal in a contemporary art practice

Dutton, Steve (2011) The Institute of Beasts: strategies of doubt and refusal in a contemporary art practice. In: 2nd Annual International Conference on Visual and Performing Arts, 6th-9th June 2011, Athens.

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Strategies of doubt
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Abstract

The collaborative work of Steve Dutton and Steve Swindells (Dutton and Swindells) can be seen in the context of post-conceptual artistic practices which play with and interrogate images, objects and texts through processes of collage, appropriation and multiple association. The aim of the collaboration is to foster complex interpretations, often from deceptively simple means; consciously working through varied rhetorical devices and tropes, modes of production and strategic interventions. We are tactical artists, preferring to focus on strategies, context and processes, frequently doubling, collaging, reversing, repeating and inverting images, objects and texts as a means of disruption. But a question remains at the heart of such contemporary art practices, namely, a disruption of what?

My paper for ATINER focused on strategies of refusal, waywardness, the production of ambiguity and new fictional taxonomies in a contemporary art practice and asked if the use of tactics of doubt in the work of art are useful tools for production of new knowledge. At the heart of these questions are issues around the relationship between art and research, the possibility or impossibility of art within the contexts of the contemporary art/educational institution and art school and the possibility of creating and sustaining an art practice which refuses to align itself to any one canon, manifesto, school, industry, form, institution or critical method.

The paper draws on the collaborative practice of Dutton and Swindells and also Michael Phillipson’s 1992 essay “Managing ‘tradition’: the Plight of Aesthetic Practices in techno-scientific culture” as a means of illustrating the potential absorption of the specific into the general under the auspices neo-liberal institutional and commercial agendas.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Additional Information:The collaborative work of Steve Dutton and Steve Swindells (Dutton and Swindells) can be seen in the context of post-conceptual artistic practices which play with and interrogate images, objects and texts through processes of collage, appropriation and multiple association. The aim of the collaboration is to foster complex interpretations, often from deceptively simple means; consciously working through varied rhetorical devices and tropes, modes of production and strategic interventions. We are tactical artists, preferring to focus on strategies, context and processes, frequently doubling, collaging, reversing, repeating and inverting images, objects and texts as a means of disruption. But a question remains at the heart of such contemporary art practices, namely, a disruption of what? My paper for ATINER focused on strategies of refusal, waywardness, the production of ambiguity and new fictional taxonomies in a contemporary art practice and asked if the use of tactics of doubt in the work of art are useful tools for production of new knowledge. At the heart of these questions are issues around the relationship between art and research, the possibility or impossibility of art within the contexts of the contemporary art/educational institution and art school and the possibility of creating and sustaining an art practice which refuses to align itself to any one canon, manifesto, school, industry, form, institution or critical method. The paper draws on the collaborative practice of Dutton and Swindells and also Michael Phillipson’s 1992 essay “Managing ‘tradition’: the Plight of Aesthetic Practices in techno-scientific culture” as a means of illustrating the potential absorption of the specific into the general under the auspices neo-liberal institutional and commercial agendas.
Keywords:art
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Architecture
ID Code:6366
Deposited By: Steve Dutton
Deposited On:24 Oct 2012 21:18
Last Modified:15 Nov 2013 16:08

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