Interrupteur: C3RI PhD Candidate Rachel Smith’s residency at the University of Sheffield – Featuring events in April & May

Banner image for Rachel Smith's residency at University of Sheffield, taken from schedule of events

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

C3RI PhD Candidate, Rachel Smith has just undertaken the role of artist-in-residence in the Humanities department of the University of Sheffield. As part of this residency she has announced a series of events during April and May that will forge collaborations between artists and academics: 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. See the whole schedule of events here.

We must begin wherever we are

Wednesday 11 April, all day

Rachel Smith will be present all day in the foyer at Jessop West, setting up the residency, working in the space – please do interrupt her.

An ERRANT, or Improper Form

Tuesday 17 April, 1.30PM

For their live film-projection/writing performance ‘An ERRANT, or Improper Form’, artist-writers Emma Bolland and Rachel Smith will produce a speculative narrative by writing directly into the timelines of projected films – films they have not seen, in languages they do not understand.

The copyist remained anonymous; now he claims authorship. Once copying was an act of reproduction; now it is nominated as an act of creation

Tuesday 24 April, all day

Following Simon Morris’ example of copying out Jack Kerouac’s novel On The Road, Rachel Smith and Madeleine Walton will use manual typewriters to copy out Herman Melville’s novella Bartleby the Scrivener. Come along and interrupt to become part of the typed distraction in the work, or join in and take over the typing process.

In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors

Wednesday 25 April, all day

Rachel Smith and Clee Claire Lee will be discussing common interests and collaborative possibilities while making work.

We live in a world where there is more and more information and less and less meaning

Tuesday 08 May, 10AM

Rachel Smith will be interrupting the process of Bryan Eccleshall making additions to his Digital Rain collages live in the foyer. Images made, reworked, and passed between the two artists to spark a discussion.

I fight for improvisation, but always with the belief that it is impossible

Wednesday 09 May, all day

Rachel Smith and Jo Ray will collaborate (possibly remotely) on timed diversions to explore the area within a 10-minute radius of the foyer, bringing back fragments of footage and digital images which will provoke the making of further impromptu responses.

There is freedom in Constraint

Tuesday 22 May, all day

Rachel Smith and Helen Frank will be working under a range of constraints as they explore compliance, misrepresentation, and error within any given system.

Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts

Wednesday 23 May, 10AM-12.30PM

Rachel Smith and Andrew Conroy will discuss photography, image making, and other common interests – come and join them to find out more.

Insolent in that it interrupts the text, and smitten in that it keeps returning to it

Wednesday 23 May, 1PM-3PM

The Roland Barthes reading group will read from and work with ‘The Desire for Haiku’, a chapter in Barthes’s The Preparation of the Novel, the series of lectures he gave at the Collège de France between 1978 and 1980, completed shortly before his death in 1981. He declared his intention to write a novel, and explored the process it might take, while his novel remained unwritten.

an experimentation in contact with the real. The map […] constructs the unconscious

Tuesday 29 May, all day

Louise Finney and Rachel Smith engage in a collaborative mapping process of the Jessop West foyer and beyond. They will employ a range of drawing techniques, archeological mapping methods, rhizomatic mapping, and notations of interruptions experienced while working in the foyer. This will result in constructing a record of the space that is beyond the expectations of the traditional map or territory

There is a blog associated with the residency which will be regularly updated with work in progress – see here.