The School of Beginnings [Muster Station] (2018)
Event/Performance: 3rd and 4th February 2018
Tate Exchange at Tate Modern, London
Muster Station: Adam Chodzko with Andrew Gallacher, Alex Aldham, Sophie Chapman, Nimisha Dhingra, Jose Fernandez Levy, José Macabra, Adam James, Fiona Townend, Claire Orme, Moyra Derby, Megan Boyle, Olu Taiwo, Betzabe Garcia, Emilio Bianchic, Chantal Peñalosa, Cecilia Barreto, Begoña Morales, Andrew Roberts, and Pablo Tut.
Muster Station is a rethinking and regrouping; an evolving group of artists, organised by Adam Chodzko, that he developed as a response to the closure of their art school at the University of Kent (with management claiming a necessity for ‘economic reasons’ and despite their Fine Art department having risen rapidly, by 2017, to 7th in the UK in The Guardian’s university league tables. Yet, the axing of the course was part of the current erasure of art education happening nationally). Muster Station became a means to produce a new collective imagination for their agency both within the disinterested host institution and beyond it. Through a programme of artworks, workshops, talks, interactions and interventions, Muster Station explores the ways in which artists produce art in response to constantly shifting conditions of space, time, audience and the ebb and flow of economic and political support.
Embracing and inventing new forms of play, The School of Beginnings at Tate Exchange was devised for Muster Station by Adam Chodzko and Sophie Chapman in order to develop methods that artists can use to catalyse and enhance visions for alternative ways of being.
The following text by Chodzko framed the activities at Tate Exchange:
Muster Station in the School of Beginnings at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern.
We’re some way into the future. Art education has been erased as part of a strategy by a conglomerate of mega-businesses to narrow the imagination of the people and suppress the production of difficult and ambiguous questions.
As a result of this process art no longer exists. There are no artists. Tate Modern has become a data storage centre. What once was designated as art has now been found to be the most reliable way to store harvested information. Data seems to stick well, for an indefinite period, in the multiplicity of shapes, images, and materials that art used to produce. (Data now takes the place of where meaning used to reside.)
Most people visit Tate Modern not to look at art but to admire the quantity of data collected. Some however visit for a different reason; an attempt to retrieve lost bits of data; everything from archives of family emails and photos, to missing corporate histories and cultural memories, somehow hoping to find them in a tiny part of what used to be known as art.
We work at Tate Modern as conservators of this data. In a box in a corner of a remote corridor in the building’s basement a group of us (known as Muster Station) accidentally stumbled upon a series of images that suggested how artists might think. Based on this we set up The School of Beginnings as a way to start thinking about how to bring art into life again.
Saturday & Sunday
Throughout the day: – Nimisha Dhingra, Tally Counter
– Jose Fernandez Levy, Beyond Art Lectures (film)
– Adam Chodzko, One day’s work/wear worn through (modified used protective work clothing to be worn for the School of Beginnings)
Intermittent performances running throughout the day: – Olu Taiwo, VCR reconstruction
– Andrew Gallacher, Data for Data’s Sake Gov.UK art-collection performance
– Megan Boyle, Data Conservator (recital)
13:00 – 14:00 – Alex Aldham, Factory Line (box construction)
14:00 – 17:00 – Moyra Derby, collaborative drawing möbius strip
16:00 – 17:00 – Fiona Townend, Muster Drill (yoga & semaphore)
16:00 – 17:00 – Alex Aldham, Factory Line (box construction)
13:00, 15:00 & 17:00 – Adam James & Claire Orme (larp & symbol scores)
meeting at Level 5 (Tate Exchange) and exploring the building.
13:30 – Andrew Gallacher, Ten Minute Talk by Duchamp’s Fountain
18:00-20:00 – José Macabra, Shears For Tears (performance)
Whitstable Biennale is a Founding Associate of Tate Exchange and Muster Station, The School of Beginnings was their second Tate Exchange project, taking place alongside Spike Island‘s Creative Exchange.