Invitation to Lecture ‘Moving House: Homes and Hut Myths in the Installation Art of Agnés Varda, Tracey Emin and Michael Landy’


Wednesday 19 November 2014 at 6.30pm
Room 126, Geography Building,
Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London

Houses, homes, huts and domestic themes have become ubiquitous in installation art over the last few decades. Gill Perry explores some of the mythical, metaphorical, aesthetic and social concerns that have inspired artists to engage with these everyday themes. She focuses on the work of three contemporary artists (Agnès Varda, Tracey Emin and Michael Landy) for whom (as she argues) ‘home’ is rich in contradictory, playful and nomadic meanings, evoking both local and transnational associations. Exploring issues of gender, play and the imaginative and experimental potential of ‘homely’ structures in the gallery space, she argues that these forms of contemporary art can invite a compelling critique of ‘everyday life’.

A reception will follow the lecture.  For more details please see the flyer.

Publication of Issue 3 of the Open Arts Journal, ‘Disturbing Pasts’


The latest issue of the Open Arts Journal has just been published.  ‘Disturbing Pasts: Memories, Controversies and Creativity’, co-edited by Elizabeth Edwards (De Montfort Leicester), Uilleam Blacker (University College London) and Leon Wainwright (Colgate, New York and The Open University, UK) contains 220+ pages and is fully illustrated.  All content is open access and available free on the Open Arts Journal website.

The issue is the culmination of three years of international project work (including a major conference at the Weltmuseum Wien/Vienna in 2012).

In many countries, legacies of war, colonialism, genocide and oppression return again and again to dominate contemporary culture, politics and society. The controversies surrounding traumatic pasts can shape policy, make or break governments, trigger mass demonstrations, and even spark violent confrontation. These pasts also inspire creative means by which the past is remembered, remade and challenged.

This, the third issue of the Open Arts Journal, explores the theme of traumatic pasts and their complex and often dramatic influences on the present day, bringing to the foreground the rich visual and creative responses to such pasts that issue among artists.

The collection derives from a major knowledge exchange project that focused on a two-day event (Museum of Ethnology, Vienna/Weltmuseum Wien, 2012) sponsored by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA), European Science Foundation. The project drew together individuals from the arts and heritage sectors and the wider public beyond academia – a diverse range of creative practitioners, including artists and photographers, curators, cultural policy-makers, and academics.

The collection includes clickable links to film footage of authors’ presentations and audience discussion.

Go to the Disturbing Pasts Project website.  You can view footage from the Disturbing Pasts Conference in Vienna on the Open Arts Archive.

Caroline Devine ‘On Air’ excerpt

You can now listen to an excerpt of Caroline Devine’s University of the Air recording ‘On Air’, via the Open Arts Archive.  The piece was part of a series of art works commissioned to celebrate the impact of the University’s research on society over the past 40 years.  Hosted at the University’s Milton Keynes campus on 9 and 10 November 2013, the piece was a large-scale outdoor sound work designed into the walkways, buildings and grounds of The Open University campus.

The 60 channel sound installation transformed the air, animating the architectural and acoustic space around it. Artist, Caroline Devine explored the theme of OU research in design and technology, integrating an acoustic layer which allows fragments of thoughts, voices, knowledge, research and histories of The Open University to float on the air.

The Meaning of Colour, collaborative study day with the National Gallery

The National Gallery in collaboration with the Open University: A Study Day to accompany the exhibition Making Colour (18 June – 7 September, 2014)

Saturday 6 September, 10.30am–3.30pm
Sainsbury Wing Theatre

Speakers include Caroline Campbell, Gill Perry, Emma Barker, David Batchelor and Roger Hiorns


£25/£10 concessions

Book tickets

“The National Gallery exhibition ‘Making Colour‘ takes visitors on a journey through colour from the ancient world to the Impressionists. On this study day, the journey continues up to the present day. You will hear from art historians and artists who will explore different aspects The National Gallery exhibition Making Colour takes visitors on a journey through colour from the ancient world to the Impressionists. On this study day, the journey continues up to the present day. You will hear from art historians and artists who will explore different aspects of the exhibition and discuss the symbolism of colour in different contexts. The cultural fear of corruption from colour will also be examined – along with the work of artists and writers who have challenged that fear.” From the National Gallery website 

For more information and to book tickets go to the National Gallery website

Event: Valuing Electronic Music

Upstairs at The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9JB

6 June 2014 4.30-10pm Admission free

Valuing Electronic Music is an ongoing study of electronic music and the people who value it, carried out by Daniel Allington (Open University), Anna Jordanous (King’s College, London), and Byron Dueck (Open University). Their work explores how the value of electronic music transcends economic value for producers, DJs, and audiences — and how geographical location continues to play a significant role in the recognition of musical value even where musical scenes become increasingly international (thanks in large part to websites such as SoundCloud). Such findings have implications for the careers of music-makers more generally.

On 6 June, they are holding a public event at The Lexington in Angel, Islington, featuring talks, live performances, and an interactive panel discussion with electronic music producers. Come along to find out what the group and other researchers have discovered, as well as to hear some great music and to put your own questions to the people who make it. You are welcome to drop in at any time.

4.30 Doors open

5.00 Free food

5.30 Introduction

5.45 Music: Glitch Lich

6.30 Talk: Luis-Manuel Garcia

7.00 Music: Winterlight

7.45 Talk: Daniel Allington, Anna Jordanous, Byron Dueck

8.15 Music: Slackk

9.00 Panel: Chad McKinney (Glitch Lich), Tim Ingham (Winterlight), Paul Lynch (Slackk)

9.30 Thanks

The Valuing Electronic Music project combines social network analysis of online data with ethnographic interviewing and observation to understand how music-makers produce value for their own and one another’s work, especially in genres without mainstream recognition. It is currently supported by an AHRC Research Development Grant. See our website at for more details.

University of the Air short film now online

Following the University of the Air art project, which ran in Autumn 2013 to celebrate the role of research at the Open University.  A short film has been produced with highlights of the art works and interviews with artists and University colleagues.

The 30 minute film is now available online at the Open Arts Archive.  You can watch the entire film or each individual entry.  The individual artists pages are as follows:

England: Caroline Devine – ‘On Air’

Northern Ireland: Carrie Neely – ‘Luminous, Curious, Journey’ 

Scotland: Wiretrace – ‘The Brain Trilogy’

Wales: Steve Geliot, Jo Fong, Tanja Råman – ‘Trajectory’ 

Andrea Büttner In Conversation with Ben Borthwick

Artist Andrea Büttner discusses her exhibition at Milton Keynes Gallery, and artistic practice with curator Ben Borthwick.

The exhibition presented a “major survey of recent and new work by Andrea… (b. Stuttgart, Germany, 1972), including video, sculpture, reverse glass painting and woodcuts. Büttner studied art history and philosophy and art, and completed a doctorate on the subject of shame and art in 2010.

To read more please go to the Open Arts Archive

Open Arts Journal second research seminar, ‘Pavilions, Art and Biennial Culture’

Following on the launch of its second issue, the Open Arts Journal is holding its second research seminar, ‘Pavilions, Art and Biennial Culture’, at the Open University’s Camden Office, from 6:30 PM on 27 May 2014. Organized by Joel Robinson, it will welcome Beccy Kennedy to speak about her contribution ‘Pavilioning Manchester: boundaries of the local, national and global at the Asia Triennial’, Jaspar Joseph-Lester to report on the Dallas Pavilion included at the 2013 Venice Biennale, as well as Paolo Tamburella to speak about Djahazi, his project for the pavilion of the Comoros Islands at the 2009 Biennale. This will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A moderated by Leon Wainwright. 

Please note that booking a seat through Eventbrite is essential for attendance at this event. Refreshments will be available from 6:00 PM.

To join the Open Arts Journal distribution list, visit

Melanie Smith In Conversation at MK Gallery

Melanie Smith is one of Mexico’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Her first UK survey exhibition at Milton Keynes Gallery includes a major new film, Fordlandia (2013), produced in the Brazilian Amazon in an abandoned city and rubber plantation built in the 1920s by Henry Ford; and the films Spiral City (2003) and Xilitla (2010), featuring Edward James’ architectural follies in the Mexican jungle.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Melanie was interviewed by Professor Dawn Ades on 10 April 2014.  Melanie discusses her practice as writer, curator and lecturer.  You can see the interview on the Open Arts Archive.