TV swansong was a cross-media art project which commissioned 8 new
works reflecting on the current state of flux in television with idiosyncratic
responses to its past, present and future.
Artists involved: Jordan Baseman,
Graham Fagen, Rory
Hamilton & Jon Rogers, Chris
Helson, Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie,
Giorgio Sadotti, Jessica
Voorsanger and Zoë Walker
& Neil Bromwich.
The commissions were not gallery-based but occured simultaneously over
different public sites as diverse as Blackpool Tower, a working quarry
and a children's TV show. Exact time-scales and formats were developed
to suit each project but they all focused on an innovative one day web
cast from the various project locations on 20.03.02. Viewable from anywhere
with an Internet connection, the webcast was available in diverse locations
from libraries to art galleries and private homes.
The artists were encouraged to develop their own individual approaches
to the project theme and their chosen site, but they were also asked
to consider how this type of dissemination (via the webcast) may affect
or enhance their practice.
We are currently in the process of reviewing TV swansong with the artists
and various venues. Many of the people involved with the project, plus
a small outside audience, will be invited to discuss the work further
in July when we hold the TV swansong symposium at the new BALTIC in
Gateshead. The TV swansong publication will also be launched at the
How TV swansong started - Artist's Selection
In November 2000 we approached a long list of artists we felt could
contribute something special to TV swansong, artists for whom the project
could present a new direction or level of ambition. Many had not worked
with technology or live / public art before but all had made work which
somehow related to the aims of TV swansong. We held a 'discussion day'
at the I.C.A to talk about our ideas for the project and answer artists'
questions, inviting the long-listed artists. This was really productive,
and we had a range of excellent proposals submitted. We based our final
decision not only on the quality of the proposal but on the artist's
attitude to the practicalities and scale of their project.
How TV swansong started - Initial Research
Research & Development funds from the Arts Council of England, plus
support from DA2, enabled us to spend the first part of 2000 on initial
development of the project. This included 'research through practice',
where we completed two new works which have been used as 'pilot' projects
for submissions in the next project funding bids. One project (Additional
Footage) was made as part of East 2000 and the web address for this
As TV swansong was an artist-run initiative - commissioning new work
rather than curating existing pieces - we were keen to get feedback
on the way we develop the project at all stages. We therefore maintained
regular 'discussion days' for the entire group of artists, which provide
a chance to raise ideas and to discuss ways that they would like to
see the project developed.
Project Curators - Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie
As artists we have worked primarily in new media, live art, video and
installation - both independently and collaboratively, generating projects
and fund-raising extensively. Our motivation to initiate this project
evolved from working in diverse public and gallery contexts, with a
developing interest in the area of broadcast media - how it both articulates
and mediates experience, and how it is now on the cusp of fundamental
changes. We have also collaborated with other people at all levels of
our practice, and saw this project as an opportunity to build on this.
We produced a new work alongside the other commissioned pieces as part
of the project. More practically, our roles were to work with the artists
to develop their individual proposals towards further funding bids and
help them bring them to fruition. We worked in close collaboration with
all the artists on the overall promotion and presentation of the work
- focusing on the project website which acted as both a 'catalogue'
and additional venue for all of the work, emphasising the diversity
of content and different physical locations. Our own website can be
seen at: www.somewhere.org.uk
We can be contacted here
Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope, March 2002
To see the Launch Party photo's click here
Check out the artists TV moments