Sunday, 16 November 2014

Wrought - Documenter in Residence

Throughout the weekend of the 11th and 12th of October for the duration of the
WROUGHT one-to-one Festival 
I was engaged with drawing language to document the periphery of the experience:

Overheard conversations and text drawn from the margins of the event will visually merge to document overlapping and truncated narratives from around the performative experiences. 

For more information visit their website:

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Wrought Festival

Looking forward to WROUGHT a one-to-one performance festival on the weekend of 
October 11-12th at the Hide in Sheffield. 

I will be there as Documenter in Residence, producing a durational drawing.

For more details and tickets:

From the periphery of the Wrought festival durational artist Rachel Smith will be drawing out language.
Overheard conversations and text drawn from the margins of the event will visually merge to document overlapping and truncated narratives from around the performative experiences.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

CUT - Member exhibition at Bank Street Arts

For this years members exhibition I have two pieces on show:

backspace - cmd x - delete

This is a collection of manually recorded deleted words, from every digital document I have worked on, for the month of July. This was a test for a year long durational work that is currently ongoing.

Cropped: remainder

This is a photographic art work, containing 16 photographs of Bank Street Arts building, taken for the ongoing history project. They are the remains of some of the photos after they have been cropped, displaying the normally deleted section of the image. 

These two pieces of work have really started to make me question where my interest in language lies. More recently my work has been exploring the gaps or the things that are removed. 
I had begun to think that this was a tangent to what I had laid out in my current research path. However if these ideas are related back to the initial idea of narrative sense and the process of disrupting that experience, perhaps then by adding back in the detours or words deleted or exploring the gaps and what they represent, this could indeed redirect or truncate the original meaning. 
I think these art works have the potential to explore further the ideas of Deleuze when he talked about art creating 'vacuoles of non-communication', which has always interested me. The visual non-communication here is just slightly different from the palimpsests and overwriting I have previously explored.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Lighthouse Journal issue 5

The latest edition of the Lighthouse journal of new writing (issue 5) has just dropped onto my door mat (actually into the indentation in the wooden floor where a door mat used to be). 

A Translation Issue.

I am pleased with my own submission, which looks great; a piece from my Writing by Definition Series. This work sits alongside the Drawing by Definition work, which is a visual interpretation of the pure text created by the methodological process. (see elsewhere on this blog)

While reading though, I was particularly struck by The Ping Pong Poem by Valentina Konstantinidi and Paul Stephenson. A conversational piece as two poets collaborate on the translation process of a poem initially from English to Greek. Though the dialogue produces some surprising results. I am always excited by how generative a simple process can be, just taking a piece of text or a phrase and using that as a starting point. Constraints are then applied which push the work further and further, each piece a translation of the last, a metamorphosis, an unexpected journey.

To purchase a copy of the Lighthouse, see their website:

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Language of Lists. Text Festival Bury

See my work in Language of Lists as part of the Text Festival, Bury:

The Language of Lists

@ Bury Art Museum
Opening: 2nd May 2014 / 7.00pm
3 May – 9 July 2014
‘We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die’ – Umberto Eco
The structure and rhythms of the list has fascinated artists for centuries. It has a history across many artforms. The Language of Lists will investigate the lists of Text Festivals, the lists of participants, the interweaving of contemporary practice, the processes, the list as category, the list as bureaucracy, the list as list, the list as Google, the list as generator, the list as science, the list which ends and never ends.
Featuring Lawrence Weiner, Riiko Sakkinen, Rachel Smith, Carolyn Thompson, Tim Etchells, Erica Baum, Flo Fflach, Vanessa Place, Jayne Dyer, Simon Patterson, Jaap Blonk, and Marton Koppany.

click link for more details about the festival:

Typing Twitter (2014)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Library Intervention: Leeds (agent acting on behalf of Sharon Kivland)

Library Interventions: Sharon Kivland
Rachel Smith: Library Intervention

Leeds College of Art Library– Agent acting on behalf of Sharon Kivland

Artist Book 
selected highlights from the publication:

Response to the call out –

Report on Knowledge –

Erotic Postcards
Barbara Jones and William Ouellette Macdonald and Jane's, 1977.
ISBN: 0-354-04139-8

128 pages plus endpapers
226 illustrations
69 colour illustrations

Postal cards

Pages missing:
21/22, 27/28, 81/82, 87/88, 99/100, 109/110, 119-122.

5 pages and 5 illustrations preceding the introduction
Introduction –
5 pages and 0 illustrations

Editorial Note and Acknowledgments –
1 page and 0 illustrations

The Cards -
116 pages and 221 illustrations

Blank -
1 page 

Work Log –

HMRCollective at Leeds Artist Book Fair

Pages from our recent publication Systems of Labour shown at PAGES - Leeds International Artist Book Fair


Systems of Labour - Incomplete Record II

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Systems of Labour - working with HMRCollective at BSA

Systems of Labour

HMRCollective employed the gallery space as a workplace over a period of 29 days to explore the repetitive, durational and potentially excessive aspects of process and labour within a collaborative framework. 

A system was devised where by specific words were randomly selected in order to instruct the artist/worker on their daily tasks. Tasks were logged and passed on to other workers via a filing system so that there was no face to face communication required. The decision as to when a piece of work was complete was left as an open option which once taken could not be altered by another worker. Work completed was filed out of sight, leaving only the shrinking stack of paper and the tally of tasks on the work log board as evidence of progress. Much of the collaborative process was achieved before the system was operational. Once started the artist worked generally in isolation and attempted to negotiate their way through the system, often guided only by following the evidence of a previous worker. Mistakes are an inherent part of the system but potentially are impossible to spot.

In Postscripts on the Societies of Control, Deleuze discusses the idea that in a control society one is never finished with anything. Kafka addresses this idea in the Trial using his concepts of Ostensibly Acquittal and Indefinite Postponement. The latter involves the subject constantly engaging in bureaucratic and legal wrangling in the hope that a judgement will never come, (rather than a temporary acquittal with the prospect of the full charges reappearing at any unspecified moment, the consequence of which may be death). 

There is no visible purpose to the work other than to keep the worker occupied, busy and tied to the system. As Bourriaud discusses in Post Production, the role of worker extends through our daily lives; work and leisure time blur as we use the technology and systems of the workplace in our free time. We use technology to have constant access to work emails, supposedly in a helpful bid to ease work pressure, so inevitably we are never away from work or its rhythms and demands. 
Our bodies and brains are programmed to tackle tasks in small chunks of time, never really finishing before starting the next task, and maybe later returning to the first task after passing it to someone else to check. Why take care not to make mistakes? Documents are checked and rewritten over and over before ever being sent. 

In our current capitalist society workers commonly face Zero hour contracts, constantly on call. Our workplaces and jobs are mainly now of a sedentary nature. Labour is very rarely about hard physical graft, more the daily grind of repetitive tasks, often sitting at a computer screen. The physical hardship becomes back pain and neck strain; sitting in unnatural positions, the ache of the body confined and contorted at a desk. 

The system used here echoes and explores some of these ideas but the computer is absent, in the primary workspace, only suggested through the system words used to instruct the workers. By intentionally logging off what do we achieve?