‘The stories I write, which owe something to contemporary genres of para or weird fiction, enable me to bring diverse and sometimes incompatible subjects and ideas into the same world, and to allow them to interact there in unlikely ways.’
The 2022 workshop offered a space in which to explore three ideas that are embedded in Elizabeth Price’s work and in her practice as an artist: assembly, archive and place.
Elizabeth Price’s workshop considered certain dynamic forms of assembly or composition that artists, curators and creative writers use. In particular she is interested in forms of composition that bring together: ‘diverse or estranged elements. The assembly of different kinds of things: the creation of heterogeneous assemblies’. Historical examples might be the ‘exquisite corpse’ of Surrealism, as well as bricolage, collage, literary montage or cut-up, and certain kinds of concrete poetry.
The workshop explored how existing historical materials can be the basis of dynamic artistic invention. Rather than following the more restrained approach of critical intervention in archival collections, Elizabeth Price will invite participants to explore how heterogeneous assembly can be used to invent something else (something in addition) from archival traces, and how these inventions may address the omissions of the archive.
She writes: ‘Given the blindspots of the archive, fabulation may sometimes be necessary to gesture towards undocumented experience. But what form should invention take? And can the processes of collage, montage and cut-up help us summon into the visible the contours of things permanently erased?’
The workshop used aspects of place to explore and enact these ideas, drawing on local cultural and political histories and their manifestations in local archives and collections. The week included visits to local archives, as well as walks and dérives. All these activities were used to enable the gathering of material, records and knowledge of varied kinds, with a view to making art: to creating ‘something in addition’. Elizabeth Price proposes to draw on the ideas of assembly and archive summarised above to disassemble stable or singular ideals of place.