Ignominious Wank
A series of public discussions between participants to be recorded in the gallery at Five Years.

    1. Friday 31 January 1 - 6pm
    2. Saturday 1 February 1 - 6pm
    3. Sunday 2 February 2 - 6pm

Five Years _ 31.01.14. > 02.02.14._ Installation view (double projection)

Postscript/ Foreword

    Let’s posit that there is theatre as soon as we can enumerate:

    1. First, a public gathered with the intent of a spectacle;
    2. Second, actors who are physically present, with their voices and bodies, in a space reserved for them with the express purpose of the gathered public’s consideration;
    3. Third, a referent, textual or traditional, of which the spectacle can be said to be the representation.

    The third condition […] excludes pure and unrepeatable improvisation. These are theatrical exercises or ingredients, but they are not theatre.

    The second condition is incompatible with the idea of a theatre of objects, or with the purely mechanical production of words. A tape recorder can figure onstage, as we see in Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Condemned of Altona or, better yet, in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. However, it is the interlocution between actor and machine that makes for theatre. The machine in and of itself could hardly provide for that.

    The first condition excludes that we pretend to be doing theatre by way of the simple theatricalization, out on the streets or indoors, of life as it is. We require a special convocation and a willingness to respond. That there is a need for a public prohibits the idea of theatre for nobody, but not of theatre for a single person, since the latter, as soon as she enters the place of theatre and takes her seat, constitutes a gathering unto herself.

Alain Badiou Rhapsody for the Theatre: A Short Philosophical Treatise VII
translated by Bruno Bosteels Verso 2013 (p 6-7)


A collaborative work with Nicola Harlow, Trish Bould, Amy Todman, Susan Wood, Kathy Oldridge, Melanie Rose, Charlotte Knox-Williams and Edward Dorrian.

11. What are your thoughts on what exactly is being recorded on these devices? What is actually happening and what is actually being put into the archive? These things are separate surely?
12. Which things are separate?
13. Well what frequencies these devices are picking up and coding and the things that are actually happening in this room.

Ignominious Wank is a double screen projection of two group discussions (12.04.11 & 13.04.11) shot on the site of Kilquhanity School (one of the original free schools established in the UK by John Aitkenhead in the 1940s). It was proposed by Edward Dorrian and made in response to a call for contributions for Back to Freeschool: Drawing out the Archive (2011), ‘a weeklong residential project as speculative practice based symposium.’

* from 13.04.11

A printed publication of the transcript of both discussions, with edits made by participants, will be presented to coincide with the show.

Edward Dorrian


27 November 2013

Dear _____
Hope you’re all well... apologies for the urgency...
I’d like to show the two pieces of video that were shot with you at Kilquhanity. These will be shown at Five Years in London (weekend 31st Jan - 2 Feb). It’ll be a two screen projection with sound (perhaps headphones).
I’ll also present the transcript of both these discussions. As you can see the discussion is broken down into a series of numbered anonymous parts. This will be retained.
It was roughly transcribed by a third party as a first draft, and I’m in the process of making corrections to parts of the text (though only my own sections). If you want to make corrections to your own
sections, please let me know by 10.12.13 so that we can discuss future editing deadlines.
I’d like to also record a further discussion in the same manner between those of you willing and able to do so in the gallery at Five Years. This will take place at some point over the weekend of showing (Saturday or Sunday).
The title of the event/show is ‘Ignominious Wank’. (see original Kilquhanity proposal below)
Can you let me know as soon as possible (10.12.13) if you have objections to the project. Either to the videos and/or transcripts being shown.
If I don’t hear by the 10th I’ll assume that you do not object.
However, I’ll only list the names of those of you who actually email me back to say you wish to participate.
Hope this makes sense...Please let me know if you have any queries.
all the best...


(Kilquhanity proposal 26 February 2011)

from Edward Dorrian to Renée O’Drobinak, Ana Cavic (Ladies of the Press*)
Dear Renée and Ana, I’ve been asked to outline a proposal for a speculative practice-based symposium called BACK TO FREE SCHOOL. I’ve decided to title my project proposal: Ignominious Wank. I am of course referencing your response to LECTURE HALL. FREE SCHOOL. For SO MUCH FOR FREE SCHOOL, ETC. A DRAFT PUBLICATION. Ignominious wank is how you unapologetically referred to its failure. The abysmally attended ‘public lectures’, the absence of ‘PR’ and funding etc. In short, the problem of operating ‘the free initiative’, without a surplus of either time or money. Anyway, I’d like to elaborate on the ignominious wank motif. The speculative practice-based symposium ‘offers the opportunity for exploration, investigation and dialogue, inspired by aspects of the freeschool tradition.’ To this end then, I’ll be trying to set up a series of recorded conversations with the other participants (twelve of us have been selected and are actually paying for the privilege… not quite Free School, more Art School UK?, … so the JSA rebate I received will constitute my ‘surplus’). The recordings will work along the lines of those we made with you both for Field Recordings and an earlier work called Art For Everyone. You know… passing the video camera amongst us… something akin to Dan Graham, but without the nakedness. Maybe five or six one hour recordings (the whole symposium is set over about nine days!) The accumulation of a shared material for some kind of collective enterprise… A starting point for each recording will have to be found… suggested by the participants of course. This would be consistent with an idea of free school. One of the little details that filtered through in the description of Kilquhanity’s workings was that of the non-hierarchical weekly council meetings. Another sentence that recurs to me from our own research is John Cussans’ simple free school philosophy… for a school which makes no distinction between teacher and taught. The practice of Democracy and Free Speech? How does this figure as PR where the public gain access after the event? They, the people. Knowledge Transfer… dissemination of research findings… contribution to the quality of life. Etc. To tell you the truth I’m really not quite sure what the thing’ll be like. Retreat? A ‘disaffirmative practice’ shot through with mistakes, anomalies, feints and incompetence? So far, so speculative. I’ll bring along your text amongst others for reference. I think in the end, I’m proposing a series of drawing exercises. The process being as important as the result… are actually one and the same thing. A rambling Parrhesia? Evidently Aitkenhead’s Kilquhanity Free School motto was ‘Liberty, Equality and Inefficiency’. I dare say you would say that ‘these free schools’, in theory, are perfect. But like all utopias, are not feasible’ Of course by definition you’re right. We never produced the piece we recorded did we? Not even the sound recording you took away to transcribe. Add to the failure? Perhaps. Anyway, I think I’ll use this for the outline proposal.
all the best...



First Draft: Transcript


1. It really is quite a nice room really isn’t it?
2. What?
3. Nice room...
4. It is yes... Sorry I’ve lost my hydrophone... don’t know where I put it... idiot that I am...
5. What does it look like?
6. Its about so... so round and it’s on the end of a what... a black wire...
7. I like that drawing...
8. What that one?
9. Yes... Is that your one?
10. Yes, I did it before lunch…
11. I found Mike he is underneath this… bit at the back of the building… you know where all the logs are?
12. Oh where they said there’s a pony or something...
13. Yeah... I was thinking … I was thinking... I haven’t seen Mike today… I haven’t seen him since like 7 o’clock this morning and then… I walked around this corner and I didn’t notice him at first because he kind of blended in with everything… and then I realised he was there… It’s like he was in camouflage.
14. He said he would get…
15. Is that your S... thing?
16. Mmm..?
17. Is that your S... thing?
18. No that’s just what I’m writing... that’s the S... piece... Would you take the chair...?
19. Take the chair? Were you there the other day when I said about the buildings creaking..?
20. The buildings creaking yeah, I have got some... actually... I was going to have one more look for my hydrophone...
21. What’s the wee house?
22. I think that’s the neighbour, the guy who used to... who came to school here... the brother’s I think... yes?
23. Rightio...
24. I don’t want to be the first person to write on it...
25. Yes... no... I noticed that...
26. You’ve started now so you have to…
27. No I know but I just don’t know whether to... Does Sue want us to write in this bit... or this bit?
28. Well… I imagine it’s… that…
Two o’clock… the class will start… as… promised…
29. Well that’s what the inspector would say…
30. Indeed! …indeed...
31. All those eager learners…
32. I don’t want to be the first person to write something and spell it wrong…
33. I’m dyslexic so I’m the worst person to ask how to spell… That’s why I usually use spell check…
(talking from outside the room)
34. So are we going already?
35. That’s going… Yes…
36. Sneaky!
37. It must be sneaky… Yes… yes…
38. I don’t know I think in the past if there’s a red light going… it sort of effects… I don’t know why...
39. Eddy, I would like to go to this fishing village at 3 o’clock…
40. Well we need to start then… I mean just leave when you have to…
41. Do yo mind if I sit here? …like I’m in a church... (laughs)
42. That’s fine… No no no… I mean …come and go and… if you don’t want to do it… its fine…
43. No I do want to do it… I just want to go on this fishing village excursion…
44. Oh when are you going?
45. At 3 o’clock…
(voices talking over each other)
46. My hearing is terrible today…
47. It’s an excursion going to this little fishing village…
48. Oh…
49. Has somebody washed the cups?
(intermingled talking – indecipherable)
50. Oh you have written something down…
51. I was afraid I’d spell it wrongly…
52. I shouldn’t worry… if anyone in the end would like to write anything about the sound… or whatever… or do some drawings...
53. It’s a ghost… the ghost by... my window...
54. I mean 3 o’clock is a cut off… isn’t it?
55. For me?
56. Yes...
57. Are yo going to be filming this?
58. Yes... I’ll try and explain...
59. Sorry... Trish has just come in... had to go to the supermarket so…
60. Ah… right!
61. (whispering) I’m muttering to Mel...
62. I know... I can hear!
63. You’re not recording now are you?
64. I am... this is recording... the red light is on so...
65. Couldn’t care less really…
66. I know you can’t.
67. Are you videoing this as well then?
68. I will be... but not yet… but when I know that folk are going to be in… then I will start…
69. I should’ve put lipstick on…
70. I didn’t put any makeup on...
71. You can film my feet…
72. I don’t know... it’s very difficult see through there (the viewfinder)... anyway...
73. Yes, who knows...
I’m not filming it…
74. It’s not on yet…
75. I mean… I don’t mind being interrupted when the people come in… I guess that’s kind of our... our whack?
76. Do you want me to switch on?
77. Yes…
78. Just the red button?
79. Yes… when you switch that one on and when the tapes finished… that’s the end of it so…
80. The red button doesn’t appear to be doing a lot at this stage...
81. It’s not doing anything?
82. No.
83. It would help if there was a battery in it wouldn’t it?
84. We can all relax then?
85. Classic…
86. Can I just ask what the setup is before we...?
87. Yes... oh before?
88. Yes.
89. Would you rather I explain it before we started?
90. Yes... we’re...
91. Alright... fair enough…
92. ...stepping into a... a pool of fire?
93. Do I need to be recording this?
94. No, no… not until I explain all this… what we are involved in… so that if you don’t want to participte... Then don’t.
The discussion… the conversation is one thing the recording of the conversation is another… and that’s the kind of participatory part as well… What I am imagining… or I think would like to occur… is a... what boils down to a continious... long... shot... a... a... what’s the one?
95. Pan?
96. Pan... but kind of passing it round… a pass the parcel thing... so that each person is... behind the camera... for generally five minutes… it doesn’t have to be exact… if you don’t want to do it... miss it… obviously if you are holding the camera you are not in shot... so there’s that sort of thing...
97. Yes.
98. So that’s the structure... as far as the recording goes... this is already recording anyway… this will be a sound recording and this will be the video recording… obviously recording sound as well… the microphone is attached next to the camera so… there’s no direction as far as what you are filming… so if choose not to... it’s up to you… ok?
99. In about five minutes chunks? Is that what you are saying?
100. No this is one hour...
101. No I mean when we start to pass it around...
102. Oh yes...
103. It doesn’t matter about shaking... There is... it’s very easy... there is a kind of wide angle and... what’s the opposite of wide angle?
104. T. Telephoto?
105. Telephoto! So zooming in and out is absolutely fine... So what I guess will happen is there is an activity of filming as well in relation to the discussion...
Do you understand?
106. Can do - yeah!
107. And we’re off?
108. We’re off!



1. I think what I had… planned… or written in the proposal… was somehow… documenting discussion… or conversation… or exchange… on the ideas that were presented to us… through the… fact that we all wanted to participate… I had thought… possibly… that this was something… that if it was conducive… if it was useful… if it was agreeable… was something that could be repeated… I don’t know how many times… I mean there are other things which are kind of affecting that… if it’s interruptive… of your work… so… it demands… participation. that sort of thing and that’s about all… so anything… everything else that was kind of open to discussion… is open to discussion… Now that could be… again… breaking it down to… Back to Free school drawing out the archive, speculative practice pieces I suppose and open to the public or it could be all of those if this is just enough I don’t know I’m not quite sure. I thought maybe just looking at the idea of archive thinking about what we have been discussing, the kind of information about we have been each negotiating these terms whether there would be a useful exchange in trying to form something, it is very vague I don’t know, it’s a speculative thing. It could be nothing. I could start, or we could start kind of thinking about what the archive was, it seems to have been something that has cropped up here as an issue with this specific site, the idea of how do you capture something. People are attempting that and there is the problem of what is essentially a field recording and its relation to an idea of an archive, what an archive is in relation to how and who reads that, I mean these are just starting points. Kind of assumed also that’s speculative part as well. And then there is also the presence of this kind of camera and how that interrupts the kind of free-flow of conversation because it seems that everything that we have been doing is kind of doesn’t have this intrusive well not everything because you know, you are recording conversation, Jane you are recording conversation but with approval, so there is that aspect of doing the presence of the recorder, the observer in relation to a kind of person speaking about something, and the obvious performative aspect of this pedagogic kind of exercise and whether that performative aspect overlaps or chimes with the idea of what drawing is, about extracting response.
2. This circle that we are in reminds me of a standing stone circle, which itself is a form of prehistoric archive isn’t it?
3. So it seems to me that you have almost set up an archive. The Japanese built the circles that way didn’t they? They bought the stones which itself were a documentary.
4. Yeah. Well I mean there’s the set-up that’s something I have prescribed, so whether that has something to do with this way of teaching or refuting kind of hierarchy. But does it I don’t know, actually. No that was I think this room was possibly the last place that these council were set-up, that’s we said wasn’t it?
5. It’s quite a formal room in some ways
6. It looks like a classroom doesn’t it?
7. The formal seems to be important to the idea that there is this formal collaborative thing going on or there’s an informal thing and I guess clearly there’s both going on and maybe that seems less sort of..
8. Formal
9. Yeah
10. I am quite interested in how possible it is to have informality in a very self conscious setting so that even moments of informality in a place where informality is respected in the way that it was here when it was operating as school how much you could have freedom from the system because the system was endorsing even those moments when you were either working against the system or trying to work outside of it because it kind of contained that within its remit in some ways. So in a way informality is almost impossible because it is part of the structure its part of the formality of the school its intended structure that rebellious activities are activities, I don’t know if that has some link to the archive. If the archive accommodates things trying to escape from the archive, trying to step outside of it or partial documentation then you can’t rebel against the archive because then if you do its only endorsing its prerogative in some way.
11. Yeah, what is fugitive what is being pursued or what is to record and I am kind of drawn to this notion that the conversation itself as a material is that possible as a form, is there something that allows an exchangive view to construct something almost experimental as a material and whether that self-consciousness, that formality how is it that dealt with, how is that fed in, how is the recognition apparatus, how readily does that thwart the notion that this thins that is wanted, this fugitive thought or freedom as something that’s resistant to a set up such as this where there is a kind of almost clinical attempt or is there? Or is this just a mockery of that, a theatrical non-event.
12. It reminds very much of Patricia, Amy and I were talking about this morning, about the stage, and about what happened off stage and what it was when we were coming in and when you were explaining the set-up and especially the bit of audio that would have come from that which doesn’t have a video to go with it and again how that might be acknowledged within whatever comes from this, but certainly I have noticed that when I am doing recordings that I will be having an incredibly useful conversation and say ‘can I record this’ switch the recorder on and even I encourage the people to talk while I am turning it on there’s a sense of now you must stop because it has suddenly turned into off stage instead of its become a theatre within a theatre and it somehow stops the thought coming along and being a fugitive and it becomes a caged animal and a caged animal behaves differently under observation than one that’s roaming about in the wild.
13. One that suffers the delusion that it is free. But I mean as an utter construct in itself is this forgetting about this now, I am thinking about just considering some of the ideas that have been discussed, what is free school, what does it mean to us as those that are practicing artist, what relationship is this thing that we do elsewhere called research, where how educationally has that being defined as a practice. Is it possible still just to forgo the cage and still enter into some useful discussion about those issues. I mean the symposium, is the symposium all event s that have occurred over this week or is this symposium the lacking of line here..is the free exchange of discussion the sense of public utterance which is utterly self-conscious and parts we don’t define public right now but just voice the discussion out loud, that might give us the interrupted conversation that constitutes the conversation that is with someone else regardless of the self-consciousness, is it still possible to have just forgo that thing and say this is an institution / this is something that is creating a text that can be reflected upon.
14. If this is like free school then for me there are too many questions and what it makes me consider is how structure is helpful. So I think there is freedom within structure, so it makes me wonder whether as a child at free school, and I have been thinking about because we have been seeing some of the films, too much choice can be quite limiting because there is already a thing happening this week which its time is running away and so therefore sort of there is so much to explore and only a limited amount that can be done properly.
15. Yeah there has to be compromise. There is one hour it will stop possibly, there is everything that is outside of the frame, is there anything within the frame that can be taken back and reflected upon
16. For me I’m already reflecting on one of your questions to what extent and came up with what Amy said, to what extent is this a framework
17. How do you mean?
18. Speaking from my own experience this school is quite a loose framework with many questions, so that’s making me wonder about that in the context of free school and it’s also making me wonder about your comment around formal and informal collaboration. I think it is a really interesting question about what makes something formal and what is formal and
19. I am just wondering about what is proper as well
20. What is proper?
21. What is a proper product, is there a proper product at all or is it possible to define what that might be and if you do that and enter on that research territory that we are kind of intention against I suppose. I don’t see time running away, I think I see time passing and things happening that are radical and interesting and evolving and but I think part of the tense kind of formal / informal tension is part of what I think is interesting about that and I am kind of enjoying that.
22. I am interested Kathy in what you were just saying about framework or rules enabling freedom or enabling a different possibility, I guess is what a interpreted what you said, that somehow through a tighter structure possibly its easier enabled rather than disabled and this is my own personality, my own way of working, whatever is that is there too much freedom too much informality I find very restrictive and if fid it quite uncomfortable so I am less likely to be able to speak to produce a text, to be able to engage unless I am clear where the boundaries are. What you were saying about yesterday Jen I think I would have hated it here, as a kid I think I would have really struggled with that lack of kind of really firm boundaries to operate within o against
23. It reminds me of what you were talking about, I mean we don’t have any wine here and when you start to think about the symposium becoming tighter over the years and more rule space, but actually the whole structure of the kind of the Greek symposium was incredibly rule based and whilst it seemed that everyone was free to talk or whatever, it was a highly structured event, you were expected to drink at a certain rate and there would be someone to check up on you it was like a drinking game and you were supposed to deliver your speech at the right, you were supposed to interrupt it was all highly rigorous and I feel that the conflict about free school is when the notion of being a bit of liberty or whatever itself is structured on rule base because you can about it and you can make a rule about the football then it’s almost more limiting than a current day symposium where people present paper, this whole idea of ‘ah it’s a drinking party’.
24. I think there’s a lot of structures actually in free school and I think there are a lot of structures here and I find them in the architecture and in the play areas, all the proposition of areas, so I think there is a lot of practice based structure, for example the context of the tree house, the pond of the island, this thing about stages which is really quite a nice conversation this morning and the on and off stage and the aspect of stage, this kind of aspiration of something or fulfilment of a dream or wish or whatever or performance and I think there is something quite interesting the connection of some of the tales that we were told and the architecture and u think the space itself creates quite a lot of boundaries in place.
25. Also I think like (?) said that there were boundaries set, that the day was cut into time, there is class time, there is useful time and actually most children, some children would go awol with the thought of freedom, but would fall back into place because it’s boring not engaging with their peers so I think personally I agree with Trish actually, that there is a formality here and probably a very creative one.
26. Where is the formality of this particular model of free school or has it existed yet?
27. Has it existed? Also there is formality because of the way of the week is structured and the way that we are all experienced in what we do, so we have come in with our own agendas which is going to create a formality for ourselves.
28. Oh right you mean this is free school?
29. Well you know is it?
30. That’s...
31. I don’t know because did you ask me that?
32. No I thought you meant the model, this historical model, this particular specific of this building, the Aitkin hit. Because it is one particular model isn’t it of course and as it seems it is dictated by personality, I am just wondering whether this thing is something that is different between the education of children and the education, well not education the resource of education as a way of maintaining or continuing a discourse and I am not sure, I mean I hadn’t really thought of this a free school, this right now as a free school...is it? It has not really occurred to me, has it occurred to anyone else?
33. Well it came up in the planning and I can almost your proposal Eddy, I won’t be able to do word for word, it doesn’t sound very free school more UK art school, and I guess thinking about what free school might be is something that certainly interested me in organising this, you know and whether it would be a free school I am not sure but certainly engage with or consider or think about how you could take parts of that or ideas of that and try them or try them out.
34. I don’t know I have kind of run events with a free school semantic and have people form free school come along and ask them’ do you think this is a free school?’ and he said ‘well there’s a timetable, which I did have, which allowed anybody to come along and present the timetable structured lessons’ and to him this was hazardous, but yes there were very rules all of which need to be open and free to anyone and that there would be no distinction between who was given a lesson and who was taking a lesson, which kind of figured within an adult setting that the idea of children’s education is something else. Which is not what is happening here. But there is, I known I was curious about the selection process that allow as a group of people to interchange to exchange, because that as pre-given in some ways other than it was a public notice, those people that were interested responded. It’s funny I hadn’t really thought about it as a free school, maybe a symposium was free school I don’t know, or a tangent on free school or about possibly allowed the idea of free school to be discussed but I hadn’t thought that. I don’t know if that’s what’s really happening other than there is activity that in academia is inflated as well that is art school education and that each of us filled that or are marked by that so there is a conversation with that kind of experience about everybody that went to art school so that’s specific isn’t it?
35. But we have different experiences also after that, I don’t think we all went to art school.
36. We also went to some sort of primary school, secondary school and set ourselves to think about education in certain ways I think and valued structure.
37. So because selection procedure for you is something that defines free school?
38. It was one of the things that other free school models defined themselves but this was all set down in models, but it was a consideration yeah. It started actually with not that much an objection at all.
39. Surely people who applied to do something or go to a school or do something there is some sort of ground philosophy behind their decision based on a child or an individuals choice to join in with something.
40. Nobody talks about money and money must be a factor in facilitating
41. Well it certainly was yes. No I mean maybe it is.
42. Well Andrew seemed to mention it when he showed us those videos, when he said it was something limited to those people who could afford to send their children there, so this kind of democratic model was based on outside of work privilege.
43. Sorry are we talking about historically this place or are we talking about this, I am getting a bit confused myself
44. I think we are moving between them
45. Yes that is where I am getting lost. What about outcomes, what is the speculative enterprise, what does that mean to people about what they do? I am personally kind of thinking I would like to come here, I would like to experience this particular type of thing which I had done with other people and I wondered how it would operate and work, what it would mean how it would change, so there is a kind of, I wondered if there was a useful parallel with something that could be reflected upon sort of collectively as distinct participants. Whether that was possible, whether that was objectionable, whether the discussion itself could be as I say form into something from this sort of process of what procedure of editing. These are the inevitable question that sort of thing makes.
46. Are you talking about our practice or?
47. No I am talking about this actually about how it would feed into the...I don’t know actually I think I have lost it. This is not my day academic is it?
48. I think we all are self-editing now aren’t we. Well I am and I think that when it comes to Friday we will probably edit what we have, well I will as I move my work from one place to another, obviously Tru cant, but presumably when you are preparing your spaces you are going to be editing in and out aren’t you moving backwards and forwards from that space. SO it’s a constant self-edit I think always.
49. But I haven’t edited as much here myself as I would normally, that’s simply not because it seems like it’s possible to to edit as much, maybe that’s the speculative bit, and it’s a chance to not be so don’t know what the word is. It’s not comfortable but it’s not ..
50. What I was thinking about when we talked about kind of what to call this but being a speculator isn’t that to do with mapping.
51. Well specularum comes from fortune telling in mirrors and stuff about perception. But I thought that was very interesting about editing yourself less, it could be looking I think a number of us has experienced this that this week has become about looking in the mirror and instead of seeing what we usually look like it’s about seeing those parts of ourselves we usually gloss over or aren’t part of our normal structures, trying to pay attention to them and what hints they might give about the work 2 – 3 days time, like where we now, so that kind of speculative...
52. Well I think failure, fallibility and frailty and vulnerability and things like that which express something of a tentative attempt are easier to see or easier to say and I don’t know whether when we are talking about risk which is the speculative aspect of that, what’s at risk
53. Well in the broadsheets that I was reading this morning it was about inefficiency and john Aitkin had said inefficiency is really important and I think that that’s the risk a lot of us, as you were saying about what do you do with your week and that we don’t have that much time and much more risk of inefficiency seems to be an important part of what is going on now.
54. I was thinking the speculative as one of the speculators and what goes to see how much a piece of land is worth or and I hadn’t really thought about it that way but like some sort of investigative, something finding out if something is valuable I don’t know.
55. Gambling
56. Gambling on the stock market
57. Well it’s a risk isn’t it but it’s kind of a risk with the expectation that you are going to gain or you know there is an aim in mind so it’s not just speculation for speculations sake but speculative in the hope that something is gained or achieved or.
58. I was interested in the potential in the speculative link to practise based that it would be about the multiplicity of offering a sign in some way and also asking a question. He was asking a question about possibility which may be answered in or asked for in different ways.
59. I was kind of assuming, well not assuming but I imagined between didactic and speculative process one that goals, aims so therefore this is the thing. That’s one thing a definition that I am confused about, the more I think about it I try to think about what research, I think I said that before, the negative connotation that research seems to have is that it is an empirical science of nature that kind of blurs its subject it is disposed and it is somehow speculative and I think possibly in the same I see some kind of ‘gold rush’ type speculative thing. Taking chance with what is found and attempting to search through that those findings but I think I am making that up.
60. It is also interesting because it doesn’t seem to be that risky because I think we know, I don’t know about the word believe but I think we seem to, that we think this is, we think this does work, this way of doing so in a sense it feels to me quite not risky in that way that we are trying to investigate whether this works because this is what we think works.
61. It’s that question of what’s at stake
62. In a way I suppose that’s what happening on Friday in the opening and that question of opening of what, because I agree that there is one of the positive risks is of inefficiency and so there are people coming with some level of expectation of something and I think that’s quite interesting because I doubt they’ll find quite what they are expecting, I mean I don’t know who ‘they’ are. So I think there is a speculation for each of us and probably as a group which may be a different speculation than it might be for them.
63. It kind of becomes part of the phenomenon about how fashionable it is about exhibition and education and education and how it forms itself and how tied it is actually to the same idea of showing and of spectacle but you know this is not a gallery so that doesn’t happen, so there is a sort of, I don’t know, I don’t know whether this public that is coming needs to be engaged as we are, and that brings again the idea of the differentiating between one and the other whether quite directly that has a question, how is that opened in the view of the relative way that art allows someone to engage but in what certain circumstances in to what kind of role, what kind of relationship and if there was a sort of however utopian or realistic or whatever a romantic idea of free school as a way of engagement with the public or other or just not as, is that a challenge that we are having, I don’t know it’s just something I was anticipating or articulating.
64. I don’t think we can make, it may not be important but I don’t think we can pretend it wasn’t happening, it may not be important but it’s there
65. It’s a boundary
66. I quite, I sort of expect that some of the people who will come will know this place really very well and it feels a little bit like putting something up in somebody’s living room whilst they are out and then they come home to see what you have done.
67. Or designating their space
68. Well yeah, I guess because I know some people who will be coming to just to see what the place is being used for and who we are and what we are doing here because they have an attachment to the place so I think that’s an added expectation to it.
69. I think the idea of meeting public, isn’t meeting public its meeting free school within free school within layers of circles and so I am not sure if we are talking, it depends on what one means by public or pulling out public but I mean we could say there is a sense of public within what we do here because some of us know each other and some of us don’t so there is a sense of public.
70. We were talking about that this maybe feels I don’t think we had reached a conclusion about it being kind of for this group that maybe this is, but that
71. So where does the idea of the archive come in now, because the archive is for someone else .
72. Is the archive for someone else?
73. You are the expert; it was for the public it was to actually for the dissemination
74. What is that what do you mean?
75. Something to be encouraged
76. Is that the etymology of archive?
77. An archive is just a record that are no longer in use so there’s a storage of thinking about
78. Public records
79. Yes things that don’t get used anymore so they get shifted into the archive and then the front end is the bit that’s being used for storage
80. We archive on our computers, we archive all the time, when we take photographs, you are the archive.
81. And intention
82. That’s recording
83. But we are archiving it, because when I get home I will put it in a folder or print it off it is still archived
84. But then hypothetically anyone can
85. But why should it, I don’t think had to be a public thing
86. Right
87. I might die and then people will find it there
88. There’s a lot of stuff you cannot publish straight away, can you? un unpublished archive.
89. That was another thing that was practice based PhD further, there is something of the artefact that kind of happens, actually that is different from a document, but there is something that is made, there is always a reader, there is always someone else even if it is you know, to self
90. Going back to your idea of research and I think that practice based, sometimes you have to do practice to be able to understand research, to understand methodology of the process or the media of what it is and then it becomes something else, an academic write up or whatever.
91. What the difference between practice and work. What is the difference between practice and work?
92. I don’t think there is, I think it’s a very slim line
93. Is there, I don’t know I get confused.
94. I don’t know what you mean by practice and I don’t know what you mean by work, sorry.
95. What is work? How is work defined differently to practice?
96. Well I quantify one as the other
97. So, what is one and the other, are they synonymous?
98. It depends what you mean by work
99. What do you mean?
100. It reminds me a little bit of living together. I think like the cooking or the washing up or the knocking around and that with people sort of has different resonances from maybe how we understand other aspects of what we do but they also are very related to, they speak to each other and I don’t think that’s work and practice, but there is something in that this is bringing up.
101. I was just kind of wondering whether practice seemed to infer this idea of process, procured of towards, but not necessarily this is a very closed definition that seemed to be a definition that to suggest that, that there is something about the process of coming to work, of practice practise makes perfect. The attempt. But I don’t know if that was a useful way in which the archive as an object, as an end can be undone by reflecting on its process, on its procedure and that seems to be the conundrum, the paradox which make practice based research strange or is that just me?
102. The first bit I am quite troubled by the term that you are planning to use of useful work, it really troubles me quite a lot, that there is something that’s designated as useful work and then you go to lessons and the lessons themselves are not useful bits of work or they are not work, I don’t know where that sits but the self-conscious construction of an archive could be considered useful work that you do because it is kind of expected of you or because it validates what you are doing for the rest of the day and actually the most useful archive is probably the one where you didn’t think it was useful at all and you weren’t doing it to tick the box that I have done something that is useful. But the kind of work that was being done in the useful work is the stuff that was quite well established and the might have a link to your practice makes perfect. That what was going in lessons was something that might have been the learning how to do something that one day might become useful work but is not at the point where it is useful in that sort of way.
103. It’s strange because it has to go through a process of validation and critique to define whether it is useful.
104. In the film I think I remember correctly John Aitkin Head was talking about useful work and he was saying, I think it was John Aitkin head, saying the the most important thing was living together, it wasn’t about learning about academic subjects it was about living together and that was why useful work was so important that doing something that supported the rest of the communities, it was about getting along together and what am I trying to say, that maybe there is a difference however slim or thin or porous between the idea of useful work, dong something that benefits others and work or practice, so there seems to be, for me at least and maybe because I have drawn that gigantic curtain across my space. It does feel like I have done my useful bit, I have had some conversations and done the dishes and I have not left the kitchen a mess so now I am going to disappear round my black curtain for a few hours it’s ok.
105. So it’s useful work or selfish work?
106. Yeah exactly
107. But it’s the individual work that makes a useful member of whichever community you are in. That because you are an enriched human being who has interests and passions and then when you are doing the washing up you have something to talk about
108. You bring it back with you?
109. There is also different personalities, people work differently and can always bring different things , so there might be people that bring that kind of enrichment and other people that bring other thing.
110. I think it’s part of totalitarian idea of whatever that contributes to the greatest amounts of happiness, which seems that each action is determined by its contribution to the greater. I don’t know, I don’t know much
111. In putting in the timetable for ourselves or proposing it was a kind of thought that repetitive acts all done together might enable a conversation that sitting around a cricel didn’t.
112. Definitely
113. There was an aspiration of doing something menial, a repetition that might precipitate something. So it might be useful in another sense.
114. It is a question of hierarchy
115. We found yesterday that we were painting one of the screens black and in the act of painting we were talking about how many things started...we started talking didn’t we.
116. There is a tension in a situation like that isn’t there, here it is quite structured
117. Things precipitate other things
118. So the useful work might be the useless work it’s a displaced activity
119. I think displacement is a useful word for it yeah
120. There is also something in and I think this would be happening in there definition of useful work, there is a sort of dynamic between people just within the physical aspect of doing the work and I think that was there yesterday, there is a movement, an exchange which is a different thing than a static one.
121. There is a menial, there should be something quite menial I guess cooking different to peeling potatoes together
122. Well this is class structure isn’t it .This is kind of a Marxist critique of something else it is a
123. We have a mess to clean up...useful work
124. I will do some useful work in a minute.
125. Is it that creative outlet like cooking and doing different jobs together is too stimulating for good conversation or is it different conversation to say peeling potatoes.
126. I think certain things facilitate certain sets of thinking thorough my own experience.
127. Money?
128. Money.
129. Well it is an economic question
130. Is it?
131. Well because it is something that how can you do these things, how can you afford to do these things if
132. How can we afford to do what?
133. Come here, not work or do art or you know but that’s a social tie that resides outside of this sort of refuge, I mean it’s that remoteness that is here that allows that disparity to be examined.
134. I think out there a lot of people would have a lot difficulty of trying to relate practice and work, they wouldn’t understand what practice means in the way that we are talking about it here.
135. Because we are specialised?
136. Err I don’t think we are specialised but I think it’s just something that we consider. I think there are different boundaries around work for most people.
137. Because we can afford to figure out these thing?
138. I don’t think it’s about affording, I think it because we find it helpful to think about them but I am constantly surprised about how many boundaries people put around their work and how it might stimulate them in some way.
139. Like how?
140. They separate predominantly so therefore the idea of practice as a means of improvement and growing and all of those thing is not generally considered
141. Because that’s a matter of time?
142. No its just a different way of thinking about it
143. Aren’t boundaries not to a certain extent a sign of insecurity on occasions?
144. I don’t think it’s about insecurity. Not in mine...I don’t know...in my experience it’s not about insecurity it’s just about a way of thinking. But that may be a very particular set of experiences that maybe others don’t share so....
145. This is really tense isn’t it? I am trying to understand why it is such a tense situation, is it just me . I am trying to figure out why sitting in here feels really tense and pressured compared we could be sitting across the hall in the library and I wouldn’t feel like this at all
146. But then we would be chatting and then it wouldn’t be valuable
147. Why wouldn’t it be valuable?
148. Well that seems to be one of things...
149. There is a massive difference because of the potential repetition of what’s in the space through the media.
150. What do you mean?
151. I quite like this environment though, I think it uses the brain in a different way, like stretching your muscles or something or...
152. I think it is like practice, that there is that classic thing that once one forgets about the camera that that’s it. But it is on record, it’s about speaking on record and that’s the responsibility
153. So it tends to cramp spontaneity
154. Until you think oh I’ll make an arse of myself or I’ll say something evil
155. I think that’s a good record for me
156. It’s a police state, it’s absolutely about administration
157. I don’t think that these are people that you know what you think kind of matters to me and this is a very structured kind of way of getting to think through that
158. I don’t think it’s not necessarily about it being recorded I think that if we were just sat in a circle going now we are going to talk about what it means to be part of a practice based symposium open to the public, I think the tension might still be there in fact it might be even more difficult because you would be like what John Aitkin Head was talking about the kind rules in a school and you don’t know why they exist at least we know why this exists, we have a rationale for it, why it has a format
159. Because it’s to be recorded
160. Probably even isn’t recording
161. So if you turn the microphone outside the circle and the video that might alter the dynamic totally wouldn’t it a different form of archive.
162. Yeah I’m sure that if that was the case I don’t know, yes. But it is a spectacle.
163. I was just thinking about the boundaries and the I don’t know, I haven’t read Bartleby? Milne but he seems to be quoted...has anybody read Bartleby?.
164. I have ‘but I prefer not’
165. The blank wall, the lack of engagement I will not participate
166. Well it’s not as much as I will not participate
167. I prefer its I prefer
168. The non-committal, non participation as a resistance that is a strange activity but it seems to be I don’t know it seemed to be text which is picked over theoretically as a way of people to form resistance or I’m not quite sure but part of that this wall that is put up is blank I think there is a green screen somewhere in that but I don’t know if that’s just irrelevant.
169. Previous to talking more about archive in relation to what people think it is or how it works may be in relation to the invite drawing out the archive because I think to me an archive is only any kind of ordered set of records that are reoffered to in order to create a history or a story about something so they are not in themselves a story but something that is referred to in order to create a history so any sort of ordered recorded and I guess in my own way I think about marks on a surface or pieces of film or pieces of writing as being part of an archive within my own work or practice or whatever, and so for me this idea of drawing out the archive had a particular meaning that somehow by drawing out the archive you are changing, altering the shape of it, you are moulding it or turning it or you’re seeing it from a particular perspective with the understanding that each time you do that or each different instance its accessed it changes and turns and is then shifting rather than a static kind of gridded structure and that’s about the access or the opening.
170. But I mean its that’s the hour over,
171. I would say that the way that I have always read the drawing out of the archive is the creation of the science experience of the making of the nylon string, you have a solution of something and it’s at the point where you are drawing it out so the drawing out of the nylon is the creation of the nylon itself, so it’s the drawing out of the archive from the simply massive stuff, the activity of pulling it away that you create the thing, it isn’t that you are drawing out something that already exists it’s the drawing out that is the creation of the thing.
172. Education is the drawing out of knowledge
173. I think that in my head the idea of drawing out is like pulling and when we first thought about drawing out the archive as the title I jokingly thought about the archive as something that lived in a big cave and draw it out and run off into the sunlight and draw it out again.




1. What is it we are doing here?
2. Whatever you tell us to
3. No
4. Chit chat
5. Yes
6. Feels a bit more like the sound of meditation at the moment
7. Sorry
8. Shall we turn around and face the wall and not look at each other, not talk to each other?
9. What is the obsession with recording that is currently happening?
10. I thought it was to with well… one… archive and also as part of a way of recording something which can be returned to and edited… its making an artefact of some kind?
11. What are your thoughts on what exactly is being recorded on these devices? What is actually happening and what is actually being put into the archive? These thing are separate surely?
12. Which things are separate?
13. Well what frequencies these devices are picking up and coding and the things that are actually happening in this room.
14. That question I suppose is the question foremostly but I think there is just the images of the principle I suppose of the people that are kind of wanted to say something.
15. Images of people that wanted to say something did you say?
16. That’s part of what is being recorded yes
17. Does that mean that because we wanted to say something
18. In response
19. To?
20. The reasons that we decided to come here
21. Right
22. The things that we share I don’t know. I don’t know actually I don’t know what’s being recoded
23. There is something different between saying something, just wanting to say something and wanting to respond to other things that other people are saying. I mean I don’t have anything in particular I want to say about this but I am interested in discussion and conversation so it isn’t like I have come here with an agenda about what I to talk about. But I am willing to talk, not just in rootless talk because I can I suppose.
24. It would be, it’s weird with you because I find with records like records recorded to you know recorded sounds or recorded pictures or recorded moving pictures or something I suppose we all know it picks up sound and lots of others and there are just some frequencies and this is not what it does. And I suppose a lot of my work in archives is dealing with how to write about that, those gaps. So you have an archive, I go to an archive called an archive or a library or an art gallery or whatever records which are just bits of people’s lives I guess and I am sort of putting them together but trying to recognise the gaps and putting those together is very hard to write, for me it’s very hard.
25. Why is it hard?
26. Because every core of the word seems to suggest that you can just make connections between things and you assume and infer and , or I do so it’s very hard to actually look at anything I think and to allow the possibility that you might not know what it has been but that is still valuable.
27. Sorry I have been all day. Do you think that’s a quality of language the propensity to link and not leave gaps?
28. Language, like language in a very expanded sense. Language as in I think words for me, I think drawings do leave gaps for me and diagrams do and thought things
29. But words, descriptions, inscriptions
30. Yeah maybe or conventions around words, some structural
31. Are you talking about misunderstanding and miscomprehending and the ambiguity of language?
32. I guess what I was inferring from what Amy was saying was that maybe the difficulty of using language to talk about rupture or break or discontinuity or a gap something that you don’t know or something that may or may not be present in a way that something visual perhaps a drawing or a diagram allows a space in a different way an ambiguity
33. Like music?
34. Maybe I don’t know about that
35. But the ambiguity is problematic. I think when you swear, I think that is part of the reason of dealing with words to do this is because is to ...to people sort of, you can say them and it’s the meaning is kind of not simple but its I suppose it’s a sign that’s a symbol so you can do it and so to say in very simple words or somehow to not say about these gaps but to allow them to be there in quite a simple language seems sort of (?) but I don’t know
36. Is that about reading or is that different from speaking?
37. Reading
38. Speaking and writing, I am not asking as if I kind of I know I’m just wondering
39. I think reading is a problem
40. I find reading difficult
41. Receiving information is difficult
42. So you would see reading as an act of just kind of receiving something that’s given to you
43. I think that happens, yeah I do , I think that happens a lot in academia. I mean I notice it with referencing, people reference the same secondary sources over and over again and if you go back and look them the reason for referencing is often incredibly unclear and not thought through I think, that’s what I don’t see why this is being referenced other than other people have referenced it that kind of thing. Which leads me to think that a lot of this is not being thought through, its being used to do something else which is ok.
44. So in the receivership of reading is that you are receiving these footnotes that haven’t been thought about or were they when they were readers rather than writers receiving these things that they weren’t thinking about
45. I think maybe both are happening. I find it hard to speak for other peoples reading I only know what they wrote which is I don’t think the same as they thought. But I know for me that it’s easy to believe without thinking I think., what I am reading, because reading is about, words are powerful and they encourage
46. Do you think this is to do with reading?
47. This circle?
48. What we are talking about, reading I suppose and the act of talking about reading and archive and the possibility of returning to a set of codes that tell us something about something at a certain time, is that a reading in the same way as a reading that you are talking about i.e. that kind of text or is it because we are talking informed by reading? And that mediates our mediation here?
49. I think it’s both those things. You know we are talking now about something and its difficult to say because that will be as you say it will be some part of what is happening here has been captured that will be edited/
50. Captured
51. It’s actually rather difficult to know at this stage what will be.. you were talking about the archive is formed through as a kind of thing in the present from what’s stored and that will happen when you edit you will recreate this conversation
52. As an edit?
53. In the editing process, so its difficult to know what that is going to be
54. Is that just a matter of, say by editing do you mean taking things out and changing things?
55. If you just played it back it would be a different thing, a reconstruction of what happened here, it would be constructed by the people that listen to it
56. Yes there is a question of transparency and the sort of is there a way in which them looking at that would be mediated by ourselves by the way our utterances and our mannerisms and our quarrels
57. Everything is mediated
58. Of course, which is kind of clearly what we are doing here.
59. Does this kind of foreground what it is that we can talk about or is that just irrelevant, it’s a tool it’s a research tool that allows certain recording of certain utterances which can be then
60. Nobody controls what can be said or affects what can be said
61. It can affect what’s been said
62. I don’t think you could, I don’t think ii would say we restrict or expand necessarily either way ultimately what can be said in this place at this time
63. Is that the same I mean it’s like a piece of social anthropology do you mean the way that the observer disrupts the observed?
64. I don’t understand what you mean
65. Well it in the way that I think we were talking about yes everything is mediated and we are mediating through this and that affects our behaviour and what we say to greater or more obvious extent in this particular case. Consists of a spiral of kind of grounding now, where this is about itself
66. I don’t think there’s a question there actually
67. Well it’s a psychology question as well, is that sort of
68. Well I think because of what we are doing, because of the specificity of what we are doing kind of feels like there is not a projected audience in the way that there is sometimes when you are recoding something or doing something for a camera or a recording there is not that sense of imagined audience missing because I feel that the audience is probably already here and these things are just acting as a particular kind of control within a closed environment.
69. See I don’t know if I have felt like that about it. Especially today with the camera because I wasn’t actually able to attend to what was being said when I was filming but I became very interested in the shot which I was framing which wasn’t particularly an artistic shot but I’m a visual thinker and I was projecting outside audience of what it would be like if I just focused on the two of you and you were some sort of couple that were having an interview off camera and you were in some kind of domestic setting and then it flips because you realise that it isn’t just two people being interviewed but for five minutes it was. The frustration is that actually I am finding what I would do with the video footage much more interesting than the conversation, which just seems to be an excuse to getting the footage at the moment. I am finding that more interesting
70. I feel quite the opposite it was by the by I was just holding the camera on my lap. I wasn’t thinking about what it was filming or what it was pointing at, it was kind of just like cat sits there and keep knee warm for a minute and then I pass it on.
71. It seems to be a sort of , I noticed it today quite a lot just being in this house and sort of moving between rooms and conversations, the atmosphere changes very quickly I think and maybe it just shifts slightly and you are kind of having one experience and then it sort of become another one and the camera sort of seems to me I don’t know an interruption or rupture but it sort of its part of that sort of shift and to me it seems almost neutral.
72. Really?
73. Like an idiot I feel, it seems neutral because I can see it’s not because I see its not, but it does shift things because we are talking it, and that’s kind of weird we are just talking about the camera or kind of, so it seems to be quite important but
74. I suppose it’s an elephant in the room kind of thing
75. I just think it’s hard to think about it as an anthropological tool or sociological tool if we are all sat here as artists or have some kind of affiliation with art because we won’t be, won’t necessarily trying to capture things that wont document this thing, we won’t necessarily be looking for neutral argument in the same way. You know how do you find something neutral in the first place but the framing and contrast.
76. I mean this is different then it was yesterday
77. Neutral shots. I would assume that anything you do with this would not be neutral it’s going to be what you think
78. Whatever it is it
79. Give an artist a camera and your are asking for trouble
80. So a group of ...what is it a collective, a bunch of
81. A herd
82. Brace
83. Murder
84. Is it murder of crows?
85. But I mean what’s to stop anyone hijacking the technology?>
86. How do you mean hijack
87. Well I mean we are sat in a circle but the circle isn’t like it isn’t like the circle like yesterday, I’m not really facing the centre of the circle and the circle isn’t very well formed it’s got big gap not a load of books at the end, so it feels like yesterday when you had to kind of behave within the circle, this circle is kind of a loose construct today and I think that....with my books
88. Yeah
89. Feels easier to speak today than we did yesterday.
90. Really?
91. Yeah
92. Feels much harder
93. Was there effort then in what we were discussing in this kind of anthropology and artists and camera and stuff, but how do we control the method? Because one of the things that I always about anthropology, psychology and social science observer sits there with explication of the method is very kind of very central to the argument. Is it? You write and you explain what you have done and I suppose to one extent that is a true reflection, one of the things that is up for debate, you write it and say that’s part of the discipline of these things although a little woolly at the edges of course, but the artists methods are often defined by not being those things.
94. In this case what is the artist?
95. We are
96. We?
97. Through consent or just everyone has to be?
98. That’s how we have been talking as if we are a herd of artists, a murder of crows.
99. And the site of a free school as a place where things can be discussed and verified under different terms and dictated by the participants does that have any relevance to this situation?
100. I mean you were saying this morning about when I said the possibility of making something in conversation and I reckon what conversations or dialogue or discussion even in its sort of most open sense will take turning s and tangents and conversation as a series of interruptions of peoples thoughts there is a sense of motion and movement, and the way that this is really contrived sees to kind of stilt that and be very sort of un-free
101. It’s interesting because you were concerned about now even on to one conversation that the conversation was uncontrolled that it was taking these tangents and that you would have to go back at some point and revisit that so this is perhaps one step of that
102. I was concerned that I would be talking over people, which is not the case here, when that happens just say
103. When you went mute
104. No its just one of those things that you look over the things that you say and the manner in which you discuss things with people how either enthusiastic or not enthusiastically you engage with those ideas and how you kind of beat them down and there is something, I think I am talking about myself here but there is something repugnant about the way that listening becomes kind of secondary to, and there is something about the space that fills, the way that you speak that simultaneously doesn’t allow you to listen. I don’t know if that’s true but there is a certain kind of in ability
105. But why ware we speaking? That’s what I talking to you about this morning, what are we doing and what it is about speaking that makes it so important to be doing?
106. It’s impossible not to do, or silence is, I don’t know, what’s so important about speaking....
107. It’s a good question
108. Somebody else, buts also the thing that when you talk you hear yourself talking to yourself, I don’t know, depends on things like trust, or friendship or you know the thing that there are three people in this room, I know that about familiarity I know, but that’s kind of a different thing about the examination of the subject and discovering something of something, knowledge transfer, which is slightly different.
109. Of community and all those things and the or the idea of pleural, I don’t know and all these things are situated in a place like this and have been spoken about ideally living or others and I don’t know, love and generosity of spirit and well being and finding something in face to faces level aspects.
110. Say that again just that bit about care
111. I don’t know it comes to me very infrequently and I don t like to repeat it, care of the other. But I don’t know
112. But you have found that here
113. Yes, no I don’t know
114. You’re not sure
115. I don’t know we came along, I don’t know, searching for love
116. Is it?
117. Mistakenly in error
118. I don’t think I came here looking for love
119. I thought I would go for that one and see happens
120. I appreciate that
121. Fear I came here looking for fear
122. That makes sense
123. Fear eats the soul.
124. Care
125. Well these are the qualities that are
126. I don’t think a situation like this is about care actually.
127. No
128. It’s about performance and show and finding ways of operating within a very tight restriction that have been placed on us
129. I think it’s about care
130. What about the restrictions and the care
131. Care is
132. Careful restriction
133. But no that’s just a part of care isn’t it, you try to be careful when you are walking down the stairs with the masking tape or talking to someone about their work or themselves or that’s just being careful of people. Which I think says very much about, I find it a positive thing myself. Because if we didn’t we care we would just
134. Talk over each other
135. Yeah
136. But it’s what you were saying about their being three people in the room and often if you comfortable with someone you are quite to interrupt them and they are happy to interrupt you because you are often thinking the same things and you are pushing the thought forward and it’s an exciting thing so it’s about different levels, I meant there is the kind of cautious care when you don’t know someone very well and you are giving them enough time to develop their point and there is patience but there is also impatient care when you can see that someone is onto something really exciting and that’s something that I feel like this set-up doesn’t necessarily foster its moments of excitement in conversation
137. It’s exactly the same of the free school idea in the community , this formalising that process in the free school community there isn’t a person that you know very well or a person that you are slightly intimidated by, everyone has their place and there is one form of interaction, one form of care rather than dividing it up.
138. I was talking in the care yesterday with Cathy about what we did yesterday, and about the difference between, and I think it’s kind of similar in away, the difference between a situation which is permissive as in anything goes and genuine point that if anything goes actually what is being generated in very strict governance in a very particular kind that isn’t about hierarchy but is this kind a very very narrow space actually where nobody is allowed precedence of anyone else it becomes very tight, so permissiveness in that sense and on the other hand having permission so the idea of being given permission to yeah, to talk over someone or to break the rules even if it’s you know mutually accepted that you can do that because its mutually accepted
139. I think the dynamic where that is becoming most apparent is in the evening meals where I think people are getting to the point where people are getting a bit more confident to
140. Have another glass of wine?
141. Have another glass of wine, or interrupt or be slightly less politely respectful . which is a different kind of care I suppose.
142. Care.
143. What was it you were saying, go back again about pardon the paraphrase ‘impoverished this particular kind of whatever it is’
144. I don’t necessarily think its impoverished, it just kind of creates a different kind of conversation that I feel like this kind of environment is a lot less likely to come across an eureka moment.
145. I don’t feel like I can have another, I’m sorry I’m almost talking over you, that was close
146. That’s ok we know each other
147. But if I was sitting around a dinner table for example I would be quite happy to listen to a conversation that was maybe including 5 or 6 people but in the middle whilst someone else was still talking have a separate break off something and have a separate conversation with someone else that may be completely off topic but then feeling completely happy diving back in again talking over someone in order to kind of join back into the kind of a wider discussion. WE were reading yesterday about conversation being inherently schizophrenic this idea of instead of being based in dialogue its based in polyphony is that a word
148. But there’s something about levels of attentive ness and inattentiveness isn’t it in that situation there is an accepted attentive ness and inattentiveness and a fluctuation between the two which I think is interesting in this situation because you feel like you are supposed to be attentive but it is not always possible but.
149. Are you only ever reporting your internal thoughts about something whereas thinking about that dinner table conversation in a hypothetical model I might be having a conversation with someone and turn around and say I was this having this conversation so you are kind of reporting the conversation whilst you are having conversation.
150. Like the archive activities is part of it but in much more the archive shifts as to where that storage and retrieval is happening and who it is going to and where it’s from
151. It’s a much more dynamic process and it is a lot less stilted but
152. Well it’s like I am used to having conversations where there is a book in front of me or there is some other stimulus that occasionally I zone out of the conversation like oh this interesting and then bring it back into the conversation but it’s very hard to be bringing things in that aren’t already built in this circle
153. I think it’s hard to bring things in to this conversation because I’m not quite sure what it’s about and that was the other thing we were talking about permissiveness that actually, and it’s the secret teacher meetings and council meeting thing as well that you , you can have a completely open conversation it’s impossible and actually maybe to have a for brevity and I am not going to qualify it a good conversation or a conversation that you can get engaged with it needs a starting point a kind of permission, this is what we are talking about, even if you detour from it or derail it and you know completely forget about it and you know, it starts with a permission.
154. Its back to the asking and offering thing that we were talking about Amy’s work, that whilst it can seem a selfish thing to be in a situation when you say I want us talk, to talk about X, actually it’s a great gift to give to people to say, I am giving you something to talk about rather than I am going to sit and wait for this or conversation that might start awkwardly or people may not even know that you were supposed to start, but actually its again about rules being liberating.
155. I find both very awkward
156. What do you mean?
157. Well my thing was very awkward as a performer type and this feels similarly like not quite like talking to Eddie, and Jeremy and Charlotte, Jen which is kind of what I felt with the performance thing where I don’t know what that is, I don’t really understand what that is but something felt similar in that
158. So this becomes your stage?
159. Yeah something stage like is happening
160. So is the recording equipment that is creating the stage.
161. I don’t know, we’d have to do it again without the recording
162. That would be a good experiment
163. What about if you got whiskey, see there are variation that you could have whiskey and the recording equipment, the recording equipment and not whisky
164. Bananas
165. Bananas
166. And what about doing this at a meal time, you know like dinner time would that, I guess
167. Eureka..definitely
168. That’s not proper eureka
169. Damn right it’s not
170. You see there are some of that who would not be operating the camera as we would be in the queue waiting for seconds
171. Or third or fourths
172. Yeah eating for three
173. Seems to be a sense of humour in this conversation that seems to work
174. I missed that bit
175. Humour
176. There seems to be humour that make conversation come alive and what you seem to be proposing especially yesterday was a very serious ‘free school’ council meeting nobody was going to laugh
177. I know that’s fraught
178. It seemed to be a false serious in most things, it very mush seemed like role play in the clips we were shown of them like people were having gravity in a situation that they didn’t necessarily feel
179. That’s what I mean , people are on this plain of relationships with each other that are very formalised that what they actually are and there might be (?)
180. No I thought there were so lost in it, that I couldn’t understand like the little I mean he was just so adamant about for the receiving end for his kicks, I know some of the words that they were using were obviously words that they kind of part of the vocabulary of the kind of show trails but they seemed to be so kind of they were actually in their performance, he didn’t look at the camera and didn’t say
181. No I didn’t mean for the video documentation that wasn’t what I mean, I meant that in the situation itself like the person that was chairing the meeting was playing chair and was doing it with this kind of this seriousness that they thought they needed to bring to the role, rather than I have had the best meetings are generally where the chair is like ok we all know that we are slightly bored can we move this thing along
182. Those are the best meetings
183. Yes because they try to hurry things along and that’s a bit different. I felt like and I know that I mean that’s something that kids do anyway that kind of false sincerity that have kind align with responsibility or kind of being adult n a situation
184. How do you mean false sincerity
185. Just in the way that in that council meeting it seemed like that the kind of the respect or the patience for that boy who was very adamant was more a kind of a staged, the kind of care that comes from not knowing rather than the care that comes from knowing
186. The care of not knowing what, sorry?
187. What we were talking about earlier that the care of not knowing is the care where you don’t interrupt someone, give them plenty of time and you show this real respect of their opinion and then when care of knowing is almost slightly disrespectful but in a kind of way that feels more like you respect them because you are willing to challenge what they are saying
188. But it’s the same narrow space that I was trying to articulate probably rather badly earlier that when you have a completely permissive, I’m not saying that the council meeting was permissive but maybe the free school was permissive in a certain way and so generated this very tight space, that because it was a council meeting and because it was understood that everyone was on a kind of level with each other that like Andrew said that little boy was probably a little toe-rag and nobody really liked him and he was making a fuss about something that hadn’t really happened and everybody knew that and no one would turn round and say shut up just get over yourself, he didn’t really kick you or you are just moaning again just sort it out. Nobody would day that
189. That true, sorry to interrupt, I wasn’t thinking toe-rag and actually when Andrew said toe-rag I was quite surprised actually
190. Yeah I didn’t get that from him but I saw how situations
191. Oh I know but I am just going through this
192. I am just thinking about through my own personal experience as well, you know you have got those particular kids who are just going to complain, it doesn’t matter nothing has happened to them or something has happened to them that is just inconsequential and they are going to come and complain and they come and complain and you go aww and then you forget about it because you know let’s face it they are just complaining about nothing again and so let’s just not worry about it. But because it was in the council meeting everyone had to be like oh we need an undertaking
193. Which was more patronising rather than caring, that if someone just said look you are actually alienating a lot of people by complaining because people are less likely to want to play with you in the future because you are being such a pain, not that I necessarily think he was doing that but there is a situation where a kind of informal honesty is far more respectful force and polite.
194. It’s funny that in the way you are talking I kind of this fabulously insightful and to that judgment of what is occurring. It’s probably a weakness I am not so good at asserting that judgement and it’s kind of interesting to witness that
195. Asserting?
196. Yeah that is this the case you know that these are...is that not right Assert
197. I don’t think they were asserting
198. Do you mean having a kind of confidence in
199. Is that not, is that wrong
200. I suppose it is
201. Have I done a wrong thing
202. No
203. Why not I think I have
204. I am just, I suppose what I was picking up on is to do with the way that you set this up, well I don’t know what it’s about, it’s about what you want it to be about and that kind of role and to talk about and then talk about sort of weakness in asserting things from that perspective I was just having a think about what this is and the video is, assertion might be and archiving is asserting on a lot of the time
205. But this set up makes you
206. I am just going..yeah you’re right
207. In the way this has been setup and the way this has been organised makes it difficult to see your role in it
208. My role?
209. Your role. You.. its rude to point
210. Let’s hope the camera didn’t catch it them
211. I think I’m just out of the corner of its eye. But in the way that it makes it interesting to ask questions about permissions and authority and where you are speaking from and whether you have a place to speak from, so I think it’s an interesting way to provoke debate that but it’s a difficult debate to have as I found the situation very restrictive.
212. I find this one much restricted than the other day because I feel that there is much more that you can detour on, especially because you started to talk about detours, but I feel like it almost feels like it needs to be even more tightly contained because of the environment that we are in. That a detour in a plain space where there is a very tight circle is productive of the circle, whereas a detour in this space is potentially something exterior creeping in and disrupting
213. I feel exactly the same way as I did yesterday, as I know that the tape is coming to its end and I am only know feeling that I can have conversation as an experiment that I am allowed to say things, without , I was saying this earlier to you in the kitchen, that I am only just now, now that I know we have been talking for 50 minutes or whatever, that I can talk without having to rehearse it in my head first, feels like I need an hour to warm up, before I get to the stage before I can just shoot.
214. I feel that I have just got to the point where I can feel I can say something to Eddy about what we are doing here just be quite direct about it and I haven’t felt that I could do that until now.
215. Because of that well, because of that kind of narrow
216. Well its sort of changed from a satire play to some kind of escape.
217. So where are you in this Eddy?
218. Here. When I find out I will let you know, I’ll write a postcard from Rio de Janerio
219. But how tightly did you know that I mean, not know that this is what you wanted to get out of it, but how did you
220. I haven’t a clue, but it did this today, that was mine. How clear? Sorry didn’t catch that I was talking
221. Was it your intention to set it up like this, was that thought through and kind of owned as an idea or was that just how things fell together?
222. Which bit of it was set up, that this?
223. No this whole, what its being like since you switch the camera off in about 10 minutes
224. Is it how I thought it would be. I just wonder actually I just didn’t know what we were going to have a
225. It isn’t so much about is what happened what you thought was going to happen its more, how much did you engineer what you set in place to happen How much intention was behind
226. You were there..were you not?
227. We are not you
228. I am not sure about this engineering what engineering done, is there some hidden engineering that I have done
229. Its locked
230. Give us a clue
231. Well its being like the fact that you put the camera on there and it was facing me when it started and I didn’t know if it was a rule of the game that it was going to stay there and be facing me the whole time I didn’t know whereas clearly one of things that you have engineered is that we are passing it round again and I don’t know how conscious that decision was that you were in the space and like yeah I think we’ll do it like that.
232. Oh no I’ve done it with other people and that’s what happened, it seemed to give people a chance to be behind as I said as is obvious, so that it the recording there. I mean the big question is yes what did Eddie do next.
233. Why do you do audio and video recording is it just in case the camera doesn’t do the audio good in enough?
234. Yeah I kind of liked it, I think it picks up more and this one picks up obviously what’s close to it, but its relatively good and these conditions are quite good.
235. I was interested in what we were talking about yesterday what you get with the video camera is a kind of partial view, it’s a sheared partial view that you get what each person chooses to film and you get a slightly different direction each time and the sound of the camera works in the same way so you would here my voice more pronounce when I am holding the camera and it feels kind of like the conch that we passing it like the talking tool and I quite enjoyed how partial I felt, but then we have got the sound recorder here that
236. I have to say that somebody has mentioned the conch, it’s taken a while, years actually
237. So is that engineered
238. It’s not engineered, it occurred, as far as I thought it did occur and I forget, things is I do forget so thanks for that but yes your right, I just don’t know
239. I am going to waffle right now sorry, but one of things that I wanted to do here my original proposal was a paper for a conference that was about William Golding and the other guys name, who wrote the story about Atlantis...I’m not going to be able to remember, but the idea was that I wanted to film us in a free school as a way of talking about dystopia and the conch thing obviously lord of the flies and all that business and I wanted to reference it through with every little thing the film with Dabourd than asylum where they are all, there is no distinction between patient and doctors, sees a relevant reference to just lump without any particular direction
240. But the camera is kind a of weird conch shell isn’t because while it gives you a speaking in terms of framing in the same time it’s kind of hard to be involved in the conversation in the same way so it’s also a tool of kind of silencing , one at a time someone is kind of taken out of the conversation, so it feels like one person to shut up rather than allowing one person to speak at a time
241. It feels like a black hole as well in a way that a conch, isn’t the conch the one that you can blow and sounds like a trumpet, it’s kind of the opposite, the camera feels like a black hole that kind of sucks everything into itself rather than pushing it out
242. It’s not a force for good is it
243. I feel good evil you know
244. I don’t know I think can be the most interesting part of it whether or not it’s with the audio or not
245. Is that because of the shot you made
246. No its because I’m genuinely, my shots are really cheesy although I quite like the idea of cheesy stuff, but
247. I don’t Charlotte could ever be cheesy looking
248. It’s just that what you are saying about that you are only now getting to the point where you can say things without first rehearsing them in your head that in anything videoed there is a certain amount being said whether you like it or not, there is a lot of noise and noise is really interesting and there is a wealth of stuff in noise that whilst it’s taken us this long to get to the point where the conversation is noisy the film has been noisy from the start
249. You know what we should have, we should have an editing free school week where we just take the archive that we made here and do something else in another venue..my flat next week it will be fine
250. I think there’s a chance I might be in England.
251. Also the problem with that which is becoming an issue for me and problem for some other people is that editing can be quite a solitary stick your head phones on hard to interrupt me now because it feels strange but I like to go away to edit
252. I mean it could well be that copies of everything is just given and you do with it what you wish and if you want to make something fine, if you want to make something with somebody fine, and if each person presents later
253. It would be interesting to kind of a live edit to I m thinking about our conversation about directors commentaries and to produce a kind of a live edit
254. But that’s what kind of
255. I am allowed to fast forward to
256. That’s why I did recorded a conversation with someone in the studio and that was something we did explain and it was also about studio practice etc but it what it was about what was the object afterwards and there is a way of recording a session which then records the editing procedure in the way that you scroll backwards and forwards fast frame alight on the elements that you wish that you highlight and that is potentially something that, it’s something I have done myself and it is also something you give as a set of instructions to whoever to come up with another hour of tape of how you negotiate or read this
257. But I wonder what insight that generates, something I have done a lot is filming the editing processes and I think it tends to generate something that while the intention might be to make the process accessible it actually makes it feel very inaccessible and distanced.
258. Isn’t editing here like, editing might be editing this kind of information but it might equally be sifting and sorting all sorts of different kinds of material and some of that kind of re-conversing over material kind of that part of a edit I think or it can be. I mean I don’t edit much in this way with this kind of material o I suppose that’s interesting because the solitary thing is different for me...it’s all different.
259. Well you mean the cave, the room closed and just the monitors is that what you mean by solitary?
260. I was just referring to it in terms of often editing as a kind of its making what’s in your head accessible to the world but for a while you and your head need to work it out without the world being there.
261. Yes.
262. Yeah and that’s
263. I recorded a conversation with another film editor and I asked if she could just spend some time one hour looking through this footage and she said no I can’t, that’s just too dull and too boring and there is no interest in it and actually its part of a little conversation about enchantment about the image and about this just as her, just her working relationship with it just had kind of annulled it to the thing which was kind of fascinating me was that this thing moved, it stopped, it went back and there was kind of difference, but as well
264. What you are saying there about giving instructions to other people to that kind of editing I think that’s a question when rules are liberating and when they are frustrating and I would find it quite frustrating because I feel that whatever I was creating would be your creation and it couldn’t really stray too far from the way you think because the process is the way you think. You know I could tell everyone find some books find some phrases they like and recobble them together into a new story but it would be my thinking, it would be very different to give the people the footage And say respond to it how you like or not a t all if you don’t want to. Then it would be a conversation of the material rather than a conversation standing on the stage delivering a pre written monologue.
265. I know Cathy (?)and I was very quite excited about watching it together inviting people to watch it if they wished I can’t remember what it called, is it five blows or 7 blows or something where he sets all these kind of rules for films to be made and its fascinating, I love fascinating viewing, so he sets these strict rules about what you can and can’t do I forget who it is Lars is the one who makes the rules and there’s this other guy who is probably really famous I don’t know who goes and makes the films
266. Sounds really interesting
267. I think it’s an example of who rules can be exactly a demonstration of what you were saying that rules can be liberating
268. But as you say it’s still that persons rules
269. Yeah because it puts the emphasis too much on end product and not enough on process
270. But what if you made a rule about process rather than end product?
271. Wasn’t what you were saying that rules that you are not guiding peoples thoughts because you are not saying take this material and saying make something from it, whereas what this is sort of saying is counter.
272. I think what is always in the process in terms of this is that it would be different if you said here some film at the end of it I would like another film back and you determining the end product because the process is left and thinking is left to the individual, but if you say I want you to use this process and you can create anything you like you can’t actually create anything you like because the process will fix you thinking or predetermine your thinking slightly like Trish and Cathy told us they wanted a document or a drawing, a record but they didn’t tell us how to do it, whereas if they told us how to do it but it could be anything we wanted then, they gave us the archive material
273. It was fairly directed though I thought
274. But it gave us incredible freedom to do whatever we wanted in that I felt
275. I didn’t feel incredible freedom in that like it was really interesting and I enjoyed but I felt quite constrained.
276. I am aware
277. Thanks for putting me up



Transcription: This is a raw and completely unedited transcription made by a third-party of the recordings. It is presented here as an unproofed first draft - a work in progress (edition of ten) for further editing by any or all of the original contributors (see i and ii) How this editing can be carried out will be the subject of discussion on Sunday October 23rd as part of This Is Not a School at Five Years. Edward Dorrian.
20 October 2011

ii Recorded at Kilquhanity 12.04.11
Edward Dorrian, -, -, -, -, Charlotte Knox-Williams, Kathy Oldridge, Melanie Rose, Amy Todman, Susan Wood

iii Recorded at Kilquhanity 13.04.11
Edward Dorrian, -, -, Charlotte Knox-Williams, Amy Todman


31.01.14 > 02.02.14
PREVIEW: FRIDAY 31.01.14 6-9PM
Five Years 66 Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, London E8 4QN
info@fiveyears.org.uk www.fiveyears.org.uk