Sunday, 17 June 2018

Reflection on the Interrupteur Residency

As the outward facing part of my Interrupteur residency at Jessop West as part of the Humanities department of the University of Sheffield draws to a close there is time to reflect on the experience. This residency has been invaluable, allowing me to reflect on how this type of network practice might reveal something about the theoretical research I have been doing might be enacted in the world. 

I am overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit shown by the artists, interrupters, and academics who have helped to make the residency successful. Dialogues across disciplines and institutions have been productive in so many ways and it has been possible to push practice forward as a way of thinking through material in a way that has revealed so much for my own practice, but I hope also for the other people who have been involved.

Images from the residency have been used to visualise some of the connections and lines of flight we engaged in while we cut together-apart using practice.

To see more of what occurred during the residency please follow the link below this image:

Huge thanks go out to all the people involved with making this Residency both possible and successful. In particular: Amanda Crawley Jackson for her vision and support in making this all possible, Amy Ryall for her help in organising and the logistics, the Porters team at Jessop West, especially Roger who has been a great help, Brian Lewis from Longbarrow Press for his hard work on the postcard design, Sharon Kivland my PhD supervisor for always pushing me, all the brilliant artists who gave generously of their time: Emma Bolland, Madeleine Walton, Clee Claire Lee, Bryan Eccleshall, Jo Ray, Helen Frank, Andrew Conroy, The Roland Barthes Reading Group, and Louise Finney, the academics who are currently developing new projects the artists, and lastly all the interrupters who were diverted from their intended path through the foyer and engaged in interesting conversations, in particular Joe Edwardes-Evans, Martin Elms and Brian Lewis who became our most regular and welcome interrupters.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Interrupteur Residency at the University of Sheffield in Jessop West foyer

My Interrupteur residency continues...

There have been many fruitful discussions and interactions between artists, academics, and students

Please come along and interrupt me
For more information about artists joining me and the work completed so far visit:

Images from the work and events so far:

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

'we must begin wherever we are'


Today I am starting my artist residency, at the University of Sheffield, working in the foyer at Jessop West.

Please interrupt me.

Residency Interrupteur


interrupteur holds both the mistaken notion of the interruption and the actual translated sense of the word – switch: as exchange, shift, or transformation.

Forging conversations and collaborations between artists and academics is at the heart of the project’s endeavour, but initially Rachel Smith as artist in residence will be present in the foyer of the Jessop West building on selected dates (see below), working, making art, and being interrupted by conversations and the unexpected encounter. 

Smith uses drawing, photography, and writing to explore the materiality of the peripheral details in the acts of reading, writing, and listening. The grasping action of finding sense in the face of the excesses of language sometimes pushes the work towards wordlessness. Equally gaps, voids, misunderstandings, and errors are opened in the work, containing the potentiality of that which has yet to happen. Producing these generative spaces allows room for other voices. These gaps in the practice may contain no visible language, but they are not empty – they possess a latent energy. These are the spaces inhabited by the other, the as-yet-unwritten, the as-yet-unread, the as-yet-unspoken, or the as-yet-unheard.

Beyond producing her own work Smith will host conversations, events, performances, staged dialogue, and even accidental occurrences. The project explores how artists might open spaces for dialogue and collaboration between and beyond expected outcomes, engaging across disciplines and inhabiting liminal and in-between spaces. In her occupation of the foyer at Jessop West, other artists will move through the space, stopping to collaborate, discuss, perform, and workshop ideas. 

Not-knowing, error and misrepresentation, hybridity, constraint and improvisation, are some of ideas explored during the conversations and work in progress during the residency.

Quotations selected for each day of work will act as provocation or a filter through which to work and think.

You are welcome to interrupt, join in, exchange ideas, observe, listen in, or merely glance and walk by. 

There is a blog associated with the residency which will be regularly updated with work in progress:

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Lines of Flight

March 2017
Lines of Flight

Published as part of the AMBruno project [sic]: Launched at the PAGES Leeds International Contemporary Artist Book fair

I frequently use rhizomatic frameworks as both method and metaphor for my making and thinking processes. The rhizome can be seen as a tangle of networks whose anatomy has multiple entry points and connections which are reformed with every reading. Nothing is fixed or hierarchical. Everything is transitional and has the potential to be reconfigured, or continually reworked and rethought. This is in opposition to books which generally assume a linear sequence, whose structure is both fixed and laid out in a singular direction. The premise of this work is to explore ways of forcing these two contradictory systems together.

A rhizomatic drawing using text and image has been produced, which has been physically fragmented, scanned, and thrust into the paginated structure of a book. Once printed the book surface has been further drawn into, keeping the work developing in a way that suggests the provisional nature of the process. There remains room for future reconstructions.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Phantom Exhibition and Symposium

The PHANTOM exhibition has been conceived and curated by Jane Boyer as part of her PhD research at Anglia Ruskin University.
Several artists (including Nikki Hare, Kirsty Harris, Marion Piper, Tim Skinner and others) were invited to contribute by providing an existing piece of work, selected by Boyer, which was then used as a starting point to be reworked, recycled, re-imagined or replicated from the original to produce new pieces of work. Boyer says of the work in the exhibition:

'The artworks in this exhibition exemplify this idea of the phantom. They explore latency; making visible what is invisible, while uncovering some of their own polyphony, which has passed through layers of translations. These works have also been put through a further transmutation, revealing latent potential in their meaning.'

A blog was set up and used by all the artists involved to explore the production process before the exhibition - this can be found here:
Phantom blog

There will be a symposium on Wednesday 8th February where some of the artists will discuss the work and its making at Anglia Ruskin University from 2pm. For further details of the exhibition and symposium:
Phantom at Anglia Ruskin

For my own contribution, the original work was a piece made in 2014

Cropped Remainder 
Sixteen digital laser prints

This is a series of photographs which contain the deleted portions after being cropped.

In response to this work I began to think about how gaps, spaces and removal were important in my work as a process of allowing unseen elements to rise to the surface, and how that action or visualisation might impede or impact on our understanding or reading of a text or image.

I produced 3 further works in response:

Figure and Ground
Nine digital laser prints
(see below three images from a series of nine)

In each image the main photographic object has been specifically deleted

To Write: An Intransitive Verb
moving image
(see screenshot below)

To Write: An Intransitive Verb
(follow link to vimeo to see the entire work)

This work explores the ideas of Roland Barthes in his text In Preparation for a Novel, where he explores the idea of writing without an object.

Digital image

This is a digital image of the annotations made while reading the Barthes text in preparation for making the moving image piece. Here the main text has been removed digitally leaning only the notes which have been layered as a palimpsest.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

An Exchange of Words with Jean-Paul Sartre

HMRCollective install their work for this pop-up exhibition today at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield 
Bank St Exhibition
See the images below and the previous blog post for more information about the work

HMRCollective are: 

Helen Frank
Madeleine Walton
Rachel Smith

We will be reading from the work on Friday 7th October at 6.30.
Come down and see us and chat about the work 6-8pm

We will also be working in the space at Bank Street on Saturday 8th in the afternoon