Hello Sebastian...did you say A4

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A discussion between Barry Sykes and Sebastian Craig. The publication comes with a hand-carved item made by Finnish prisoners at Vaasa Prison.

Transcript of Hello Sebastian...did you say A4

  • 15 October 2007 Hello Sebastian Good to catch up with you again on Sunday, I was very interested to hear more about how you run i-cabin and was good to talk through my work with you. My website (see below) is now updated with the recent forgery project I was telling you about. If you are interested in what I am up to it would be great to meet up in the future to talk through how things are going. I'm currently working on a couple of new projects, one with a gallery where my proposal consists of the question 'How can I be of use to you?', I am also designing a large charity donation box sculpture for 'unpopular' charities and series of drawings for a hypothetical 1.23 coin. Any questions just ask away. regards Barry Sykes www.barrysykes.info +44(0)7951039663 9 January 2008 Lewis Amar and Jemima Stehli : Video Works 2005 & 2006 Opening Party - Wednesday Jan 16th 6-9pm January 17th - February 3rd Thursday - Sunday 12.00 - 6.00pm i-cabin, Clarendon Buildings, 11 Ronalds Road, London, N5 1XJ 07813 764 937. www.i-cabin.co.uk NEAREST TUBE: Highbury and Islington 10 January 2008 Hello Seb It's a shame I can't make this as it would be good to catch up with you, as well as Lewis and Jemima. I'm out of the country until very late that night but will try and get along to see the show the following weekend, will you be there? I'm off to Finland for a residency on Feb 1st and it would be good to talk my plans through with you. Good luck for the opening. Barry Sykes www.barrysykes.info +44(0)7951039663 10 January 2008 Hey Barry, i'm here all the time happily! come by will be excellent to chat seb

  • 20 January 2008, Hi Barry, it was great to talk yesterday, I've been thinking a bit about the collaboration and I've been pondering the possibility of our considering 'importance' as a theme. As I said I've been trying to shift the scope of the i-cabin offsite projects mainly becuase I was worried about the importance of the peramiters of the projects I was doing. There's two projects which really led to this change of heart. The first (which was the second offsite project i-cabin authored) was Cabin Baggage, for Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in NY. (http://www.i-cabin.co.uk/icabsatellites.htm). For this we built a wooden crate which was the exact dimensions of the cabin baggage allowance for the American Airlines flight we were taking to NY. We then commissioned a range of artworks from artists who we considered important to the history of i-cabin, all the works were designed to fit within the case. Some of the artists were what I call 'project artists' and made new works in response to the project and others made more of a simple miniaturization of their works for us. The result was a kind if micro-museum of i-cabin, which had obvious similarities to Duchamp's 'Boite en Valise'. The second was Z006, where we commissioned a group of artists, writers, musicians and an ex-gallerist to make a works for a book, which we then turned into a set of posters to be sold at Zoo Art Fair. The edition was limited to the number which sold at the fair, i.e. if two sold the edition would be of two or if fifty sold...etc. Therefore by buying a copy the purchaser was raising the edition number, therefore lowering the value of the work. With regards to this project it was really the sale strategy which made up the interesting part of the piece. Now both works were really beautiful and I am really proud of them, they function almost exactly in the way I like artworks to function, i.e. they are, in my mind, almost perfect artworks! However I began to doubt the importance of commissioning work to what I came to think of as a type of almost arbitrary brief. By doing so, were we ending up with a piece of work from an artist which was just contaminated with our brief for it's own sake? What the hell is the point in that? As we were saying, is it just that collaboration is 'what artists do' and that it is inherently good, it seems to justify itself just because there's an 'exchange' which must be good eh?? So the fourth offsite project is 'What is it?' which is a film, footage of artists talking. I decided it was far sounder to collect a set of 'important'(?)(I hoped) ideas without my having any useless input into the physical outcome of a work. My thinking is that artworks are more often than not completely pathetic playful attempts to reference ideas (often someone else's) simply because the artist 'likes' the idea ( as per ******. etc) and because the game of 'being an artist' is is completely vain. I am ruthlessly critical of 'non-importance'! (So I have some hideous ideas for works which are simply philanthropic gestures which would be documented or in some way exhibited, which is obviously precisely for my own vanity, but at least the action of the work itself would be vaguely justifiable as 'important' if one believes, sickeningly, that 'helping' people (to get what they want?) is important).

  • Would you be interested in our working together to somehow specify an importance, either within Art of outside of it? Just an idea. Seb i-cabin, Clarendon Buildings, 11 Ronalds Road, London, N5 1XJ 07813 764 937 / www.i-cabin.co.uk 22 January 2008 13:18:53 +0000 From: [email protected] To: [email protected]: subject: Re: collaboration Hi Seb, Thanks for the mail, I also really enjoyed our conversation on Saturday and am loking forward to the product of our collaboration. I like the way you have kicked off the converation with the 'importance' theme, i didn't see that coming! If this project can allow both of us to reconsider the methods and outcomes of our work, so much the better. I also have an ongoing concern with my 'use value' and where my work operates in broader social interactions, excercised in works like the forgery project, the PCSO and the 'stolen, then returned' watercolours. I can see your viewpoint on the methods overshadowing the content in some works, However, I am a big fan of the processes involved in a works creation being foregrounded as the subject (simon starling being a simplistic illustration of this, I am also reminded of the Hut Projects 'Lead' work at Zoo this year or your Rehberger piece). I also don't believe that a work that that is philanthropic or helpful is any better than work that is not, it all depends on the boundaries and focus the work defines for itself and how well it invokes it's own question. That is not to say that 'helping' is not a potent area to make artwork, far from it but I think that as an artwork it must be questioning those motivations as much as aspiring to them. I do agree with your point about artists 'quoting' other sources, it's also a pet hate of mine. When I used to collaborate with Sean Parfitt we did a number of works almost spoofing the added weight artists like to give works by relating it to a great work of literature or film (or failed modernist architecture!). Our position instead revelled in the overtly parasitic, vicarious experience of using someone else's work. In conclusion (apologies for not matching your word count!) I actually find a kind

  • of generosity in the gesture of some of the restrictions you have thus far imposed on artists, spaces and yourself and perhaps a conflation of these two positions might be the way to go. So lets meet up for tea/beer and carry on developing whatever this framework will be, I'd like to hear some of your 'hideous philanthropic gestures' which might be a great place to start. We also need to define the practicalities of operating at arms length this way and if/how that will be evident to the gallery goers. I could meet up later this week or early next week. Feel free to come down to my studio in deptford in the day or eve or we could go central if more convenient. cheers Barry 25 January 2008, hi mate,

    have a look at this, its a collaboration bursary. http://www.criticalnetwork.co.uk/displayopportunities.php?id=55 seb i-cabin, Clarendon Buildings, 11 Ronalds Road, London, N5 1XJ 07813 764 937 / www.i-cabin.co.uk 26 January 2008 Hi Seb, That's very interesting. I'm all for having our time paid for! Can you meet up this Mon or Tues eve (or possibly Wed daytime) to talk these ideas through? Let me know when's good for you. cheers Barry

    26 January 2008, Hi Barry, wednesday afternoon would be best for me, I'm going up to Birmingham for mon and tue,

    what day do you go away? I could abandon the trip if absolutely necessary. Seb i-cabin, Clarendon Buildings, 11 Ronalds Road, London, N5 1XJ 07813 764 937 / www.i-cabin.co.uk

  • 27 January 2008 HI Seb. I leave first thing on Friday morning. Weds afternoon is good for me if you can come down to my deptford studio - SE8 4RJ, one stop out of London Bridge then a minutes walk. Very good of you to offer to cancel your trip but it's not necessary. Barry 27 January 2008 wicked buddy, see you then, I'll give you a call when I get into London, actually I don't have your number, can you text it to me mine is 07813 764 937

    cheers matey, Seb i-cabin, Clarendon Buildings, 11 Ronalds Road, London, N5 1XJ 07813 764 937 / www.i-cabin.co.uk 27 January 2008 Text Message Hi seb, my number is 07951039663. See you weds pm. B. 30 January 2008 Text Message Hi seb, what time you heading over? Barry 30 January 2008 Text Message Hi mate, i'll get on the train from birmingham at 1, should be with you about 3:30. Deptford station? 30 January 2008 Text Message Great. Just text me when you arrive at deptford rail station and i'll come over. 31 January 2008 Text Message Have just set up messenger with my [email protected] email. See if you can contact me? 31 January 2008 Text Message Am just on my way to the gallery, will try just after 12! 31 January 2008 Text Message Great.

  • 31 January 2008 Text Message It seems that messanger onl