Exploring Theory and Practice MA Contemporary Art Practice

Panoply, Postscripts and Unpresentations

Panoply was the chosen name of our Symposium ( second year Fine Art MA students) on the 3rd December. We persued several different venues and finally agreed to book Partisan in Manchester; a volunteer-run collective with a large basement exhibition and performance space. We had worked successfully with them before and were familar with the space. We created a facebook page and I worked on some digital promotion platforms including: artrabbit, eventbrite and the press association.

After several dynamic meetings, we felt that Panoply was an ideal title as it included all of our idiosyncratic work. Panoply means:

A complete or impressive collection of things

A splendid display

historical, literary A complete set of arms or suit of armour

So this then was an aspirational title. I was intrigued by its meaning from history and literature as a complete set of arms or armour, and its implied meaning as our defences, coats of arms, posturing on the battlefield and protection. It could be translated to artwork, creative justifications and statements, logos and how we present ourselves on the battlefield of the artworld.

During the symposium there was a flowing combination of more formal presentations, musical experience, performance art, sculpture, film, installation, painting demo, expo and the printed image and text.

The Unpresentation

My presentation as such was in the form of a zine – the printed word and image. After all my research and work I was keen not to impede the primary experience of the viewer. This was in some senses an ‘unpresentation‘. Where viewers did seek me out I pointed them in the direction of the zine and asked them to fill the gaps themselves, the interstices; to shape their own meaning or experience. They talked to me about different positioning of the work creating a different narrative and that the narrative if any would change depending on the viewer. The most challenging aspect for me was not to overtalk the research and resources used.

When clearing the space we had an informal reflection together as a group. The overriding conclusion was that it had been a successful event with more attendees than last time and positive yet interesting feedback and discourse.

Did we create a Panoply?

You decide.

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