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Talking Things: Re-telling the story – a collaboration with Alberta Whittle

Image: Development of Secreting Myths print editions series by Alberta Whittle, Dundee Contemporary Arts Print Studio, 2019. Courtesy the Artist and Dundee Contemporary Arts.

Talking Things Interdisciplinary Network with Sandra De Rycker
Re-telling the story – a collaboration with Alberta Whittle
Tuesday 18th October, 3.30-5pm (Week 6), Learning Loft, Wardlaw Museum

Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) Print Studio collaborated with Barbadian-Scottish multi-media artist Alberta Whittle over several months in summer 2019 to develop new printed works in conjunction with her exhibition How Flexible Can We Make the Mouth.

Specifically, this talk will focus on the collaborative development of Whittle’s series of three prints titled ‘Secreting Myths’ in the studio (currently on display as part of the Re-collecting Empire exhibition at the Wardlaw Museum), starting with dialogues around her artistic concepts of transience, breath, speech, healing, the documentation of historic narratives, ‘slippage’ and the unfixed nature of things. Through processes using snail trails through to the 16th century engravings of Theodor de Bry, I will explore how the artist used specific structures within the language of print to re-open, ‘un-fix’ and subvert accepted ‘histories’ of the European colonisation of a so-called ‘New World.’

Using an ethnographic approach and participant observation from within the Studio and highlighting underlying linguistic structures within print practice, I will consider the studio and its dialogues and mechanisms as transitional spaces where the ‘problematic’ matrix becomes a productive interface upon which the accepted demarcations of print may be re-visualised, interconnected and explored.

Print has evolved over centuries with language and dissemination in mind, yet the dialogues, processes and subtle language of production that form the scaffolding of print often remain a mystery, hidden behind studio doors.

My talk will follow the participatory dynamics of the Studio and explore the potential of the more fluid structures of print and its material development. By seeking out the harder to evidence and transitional spaces, I explore how artists use print’s underlying mechanisms to add value and critical content to their work, and as a vehicle to re-humanise and re-tell its stories.

Sandra De Rycker is Editions Manager and Doctoral Researcher at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) Print Studio and recipient of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award from the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH), in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, University of St Andrews and DCA.

With a background of working closely with artists in the production, exhibition and documentation of contemporary art, before coming to DCA she worked at the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art (Contemporary Arts Center) Cincinnati (USA) and at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Now based within the Print Studio facilities at DCA, her research uses ethnographic and socio-semiotic perspectives to highlight the agency and significance of collaborative processes and dialogues within the Print Studio environment, during the stages of print development and production.

Talking Things is an interdisciplinary network bringing together scholars working on material objects at St Andrews and beyond. The coordinator for 2022-23 is Sarah Easterby-Smith.

If you would like to participate remotely, please let us know, and we can set it up. To join the mailing list, or for any further information, please contact Sarah on [email protected]

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