TRANSMISSION 2016-17 – WHO IS AN ARTIST?
The Transmission lecture series for 2106 to 2017 asks who is an artist. This is not a faint echo of Joseph’s Beuys’s famous statement, reiterated endlessly, that everyone is an artist (by which in any case, Beuys intended to suggest that everyone could apply a bit of creative thinking in whatever field they work, rather than that sort of thinking belonging solely to those who call themselves artists). We ask if it is an act of self-identification to name oneself an artist, or if it is exteriorised, that one is named as such by others. We ask if one learns to call oneself an artist, or if the title precedes the act, even produces it, as though an autopoesis, in response to or as part of an environment or system (or what might occur or be invested beyond this). We ask if to be an artist is more than a business term, one produced by and subject to market forces; if it is more than a job or less than a job or something unlike a job. We ask if it demands a measure of skill, of technical competence, and to what extent this is contingent on cultural determination (and likewise, we suppose, for terms such as beauty). We ask what lies in a name and in a title.
Transmission, an annual series of lectures and symposia, is a collaboration between the Art & Design Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University; Site Gallery, Sheffield; and, Showroom Cinema, Sheffield. Convened by Sharon Kivland in 2001, Transmission was developed collaboratively with Lesley Sanderson during 2001-4 and Jasper Joseph-Lester in 2004-6.