‘A reproduction of three week in May 1970’- organised by NOVEL
Studio for Propositional Cinema
‘Redundant as eyelids in absence of light’
The billboard commission from Studio for Propositional Cinema uses public sites at OHOS and Crown Street in Reading to present hypothetical laws which determine the legal conditions taken from the dissembled opera project ‘Redundant as eyelids in absence of light’. Various elements from the libretto, set in a society in which all forms of language and interpersonal communication have been mitigated or eliminated, will be presented in various forms over the course of the project.
Composed in blank verse but filtered through the jargon of the archive, the screenplay, the legal system and the political speech, the libretto is the staged in various forms, such as publication, exhibition, and concert. For Reading, the text takes the form of six rules that will change periodically across public billboard sites from OHOS to Crown Street and Jackson’s Corner, Reading. Each text represents an attempt by the protagonists to relearn various communication tools such as image, sound, movement, textile, writing, and broadcasting, yearning for connections in a world where expressive and dialogic forms have been suppressed to the brink of being forgotten.
Studio for Propositional Cinema were inaugurated in 2013 in Düsseldorf, Germany. Recent and forthcoming monographic exhibitions and exhibition projects include Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (2020), Fondazione Morra Grecco, Naples (2019), Kunsthalle St. Gallen (2018), Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2017), Swiss Institute, New York (2017), Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düssledorf (2016), Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn (2016), Kunsthaus Bregenz (2016) and Mumok, Vienna (2015).
In May 1970 artist Rita Donagh and a group of students occupied a studio at the University of Reading. Staging events, performances and collective actions they wrote and discussed circumstances within and beyond the confines of the university. Didactic conventions and context were replaced in an attempt to diagram a charged collective knowledge. Activated against a backdrop of student protest, in particular the Kent State massacre, the group sounded political images, registered distance and invested in a politics of time, place and bodies. Donagh’s own response, the painting ‘Reflection on Three Weeks in May 1970′ uses a social-political cartography to plot distinct events, between image and experience.
This historical scenario acts as a catalyst for the year-long publishing and curatorial project. ‘A reproduction of three weeks in May 1970’ NOVEL will present a programme of interdisciplinary projects, commssions and events between May 2018 and May 2019 on multiple sites in Reading with contributions from Patricia L Boyd, Helen Cammock, Renée Green, Studio for Propositional Cinema, and Steven Warwick.