The 2020 iteration of the Stanley Picker Public Lecture Programme invited selected practitioners to consider what it means to stage an online event as a way to distribute artistic knowledge. For ACTS, our first online presentation programme, we invited a number of artists to consider formats of and approaches to virtual acts.

ACT I (7 Oct) Jenna Collins, Stephen Sutcliffe, Steven Warwick
ACT II (4 Nov) Bill Leslie, Daniel Shanken, Matt Williams + MOBBS
ACT III (2 Dec) Barby Asante, Emma Hart, Joey Ryken

 Cymbeline (2020)   Stephen Sutcliffe 

Glasgow based artist Stephen Sutcliffe creates film collages from an extensive archive of British television, film sound, broadcast images and spoken word recordings which he has been collecting since childhood. Often reflecting on aspects of British culture and identity, the results are melancholic, poetic and satirical amalgams which subtly tease out and critique ideas of class-consciousness and cultural authority. Through an extensive editing process Sutcliffe’s works pitch sound against image to subvert predominant narratives, generating alternative readings through the juxtaposition and synchronisation of visual and aural material.

Stephen Sutcliffe (b.1968, Harrogate) is an artist who lives and works in Glasgow. Recent solo exhibitions include, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (2019). Talbot Rice Edinburgh, Hepworth Wakefield (2017), Rob Tufnell, London (2015), Tramway, Glasgow (2013) Stills, Edinburgh (2011), Whitechapel Auditorium (2010), Cubitt, London (2009) and Art Now, Light Box, Tate Britain (2005). Group exhibitions include: Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Cubitt, London, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon and Gaudel De Stampa, Paris (2015). In 2018 he participated in the Manchester International Festival in collaboration with Graham Eatough on a film for the Whitworth Gallery, for which they won the Contemporary Arts Society Award.

He has been shortlisted for the Jarman Award twice and in 2012 he won the Margaret Tait Award. This year he has had two books published published, ‘at Fifty’ (Sternberg Press) a monograph and ‘Much Obliged’, (Book Works) a kind of autobiography. He has recently curated an exhibition of items from the Herbert Read Archive at the Brotherton Library in Leeds University with the arts group Pavillion, which is accompanied by a new video, 'City of Dreadful Something'.

 Internal Dissolve (2020)   Jenna Collins 

‘Internal Dissolve’ is imagined as a tourist video of sorts. The assembled material constitutes a hot crowd containing an extract from a Pier Paolo Pasolini screenplay, tourist footage (frequently the artist’s own) and footage from people testing camera functions only to get distracted by details of the world made special by the viewfinder. The tourist is adept at being a bit bored and then engrossed by some thing or other, a speculating presence engaged in, or thinking about, the possibility and cost of further escapes.

Jenna Collins’ practice speculates on the impulses sublimated in small extracts of minor-speech and equivalent objects, encouraging them to flourish. Recent work has focused on the technological as a site of political, poetic and philosophical potential. The moving image, in all its current divergent forms (understood as a broad sphere of activity rather than merely a specific media outcome) is one such site, which the artist engages with in reflexive video, sound and text artworks.

Jenna Collins lives and works in London and Yorkshire. Recent solo, group and collaborative exhibitions, screenings and broadcasts include, September Garden with We Are Publication (WAP) at Camden Arts Centre, (2020). The Hold, with WAP at The Stanley Picker Gallery, London (2019). Technologies Of The Self, SUPERLUX, Aberdeen (2019). We.Are.Cut.Up. with WAP, Pratt Institute, New York (2019). Two External Light Sources with Alice Rekab Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin (2018). We Are the Road, London International Film Festival, London (2018). Late Junction, BBC Radio 3 (2018). Cafe OTO, supporting Heretics, London (2018). TLC with 0s+1s, Casa Victor Hugo, Havana, Cuba and the Gotland Art Museum, Sweden (2017). The Grand Alliance, Quick Millions, London (2016). Plague of Diagrams, with Rachel Cattle, ICA, London (2015).

Collins holds a PhD (AHRC) from The Contemporary Art Research Centre, Kingston School of Art and is currently writing, ‘One, 2,3’, a novel for Joan, a new publishing project supporting interdisciplinary artists' writing.

 A Year Without Summer (2020)   Steven Warwick 

A Year Without Summer

When someone makes a statement, one must ensure that it is accurately communicated.

This can be ensured by articulating the sentence slowly, clearly, and at an audible volume

Sometimes a sentence is wilfully obscured, this leads to its meaning being altered.

This wilfully altered sentence could take someone’s words out of context

This sentence out of context could make someone appear to say something they didn’t intended to say

Or worse, they could be accused of saying the opposite of what they first uttered.

This can be construed as a lie or falsehood

This can be construed as a defamatory comment towards an individual or group.

This sentence in term could itself be a legal allegation of defamation of character

Or as it alternatively known, character assassination.

This wilful twisting of a person’s words can create a new perception of character of the now accused, in a positive or negative light.

This new found light or reading of the perceived character could lead to them being ostracized or excommunicated from a group or community.

Without a chance to defend oneself against accusations, the sentence can further alienate the accused inside or outside of a community.

Language and words can be used to convince and influence others in an argument of rhetoric.

In an argument or debate it is important to listen to the other side even if one doesn’t agree with what is being said.

Hyperbolic statements should be contested by the asking of further questions to verify a claim of a consensus of truth.

Without access to a variety of sources, it is difficult to make an informed choice or opinion.

Gossip is a transmission, a currency and an abstraction of a perceived set of behaviour.

Steven Warwick performs a text at a public bench in Berlin which allows sound/speech to refract along the perimeter of the bench in a similar way to the Whispering Gallery at St Paul's Cathedral in London. The Text concerns the viral transmission of language and it's accompanying mutations as it travels.

Steven Warwick is an artist, writer and musician based in Berlin. His visual practice constructs situations with interweaving narratives across various media such as performance, installation, sculpture, plays and films. He also has recently collaborated on projects including the “Mezzanine” musical performance series choreographed with dancers, the artist duo Elevator to Mezzanine which has produced exhibitions, artist books and recently a Western musical titled "Performing America (Iconic America)" . The audiovisual performance- lecture series “Fear Indexing the X- Files” was issued as a book by Primary Information.

Warwick’s writing has appeared in Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, Frieze and Urbanomic. His visual work has been shown at KW Berlin; SMK, Copenhagen; Steirischer Herbst, Austria; The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Lars Friedrich, Berlin ; Cleopatra's, Brooklyn; Beach Office, Berlin ; Balice Hertling, New York. As a musician working under his own name and, previously, as "Heatsick", he produces and performs a hybrid live/ DJ set, releasing recordings with the club/experimental label PAN and has played at Berghain, Berlin; London Contemporary Music Festival; Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago; Issue Project Room, New York; and the Mutek and Unsound Festivals.


 Netmancer (2020)  Daniel Shanken 


Please note, NETMANCER opens a new browser window.
Produced with assistance from telega.org

Using keywords selected by chance, NETMANCER is a browser-based application that locates and plays random YouTube videos in real- time. Within its constructed window, floating videos drift off-screen to be replaced by more videos, a process that can be interrupted and manipulated by the user's mouse. As well as zooming in and spinning the video cluster, the user can unmute and play the audio, solo or in concert, building narratives derived from the search engines that advise YouTube's video hub. With every ‘refresh’ new videos appear, collide and multiply. If there is an overload of calls to YouTube, a video of a burning log appears and replicates instead; it might refresh right away but you may have to come back the next day when YouTube lets us in again.

Daniel Shanken is an artist living and working in Hong Kong and London. He is currently finishing his PhD at the Contemporary Art Research Centre at Kingston University and is an Assistant Professor at the Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU. He works across disciplines to create installations, video, sculpture, sound, and media. His practice examines relationships between technology and cognition, focusing on ‘in-between spaces’ with fluid definitions. He explores ways in which meaning and perception are generated and altered through environmental, cultural, and material interactions. In his work he aims to render these exchanges by examining the possibility of alternative readings and outputs. His work has been exhibited at venues such as ICA London, Art Basel Hong Kong, Whitechapel Gallery, CCA Glasgow, Nottingham Contemporary, CFCCA Manchester, V Art Center Shanghai, and Kiasma Helsinki. www.dshanken.com

 A4503.17.08.20 (2020)   Matt Williams + MOBBS  

A4503.17.08.20 is a new collaborative soundwork that comprises of a range of audio recordings captured during a series of urban soundwalks and field recordings which have been interspersed with historical media footage and music. This audio montage attempts to portray the urban topography of the Coventry Ring-road (A4053) as a means to articulate the spatial, temporal, corporeal, and relational experiences encountered when traversing this distinctive site of investigation.

Matt Williams is a curator and PhD candidate (AHRC) at Manchester School of Art. His ongoing research and curatorial projects exist at the intersection of art and society with an emphasis on contemporary sound art practices.

MOBBS is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in London who specialises in sound design and music composition. He presents a monthly show on NTS Radio and has released an extensive body of work via various aliases. He has screened moving-image works as part of Camden Art Centre's offsite public programme at Cork Street Gallery (London), Spazio Maiocchi (Milan) and performed live at Tate Modern (London).

 Score for Six Small Sculpture (2020) Bill Leslie 

A series of small sculptures are placed in front of the camera. Each object was made in response to household objects used earlier this summer during lockdown, in a video made as part of a Digital Residency with Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center. The aim was to catch the spontaneity and playfulness of the original objects. The result, something like a set of odd instruments and children's toys which are played for the camera, creating an ad hoc choreography of movement and sound.

Bill Leslie puts sculptures in front of cameras to see what can happen. Often small, handmade and playful, his objects and films explore the relationship of sculpture, camera and person. The objects he makes are invitations for play and physical exploration using the camera as an onlooker, instigator and conspirator. A presence which changes the way we think and act towards sculptures.

He has shown work in galleries, project spaces including Tate, Barbican, Wimbledon Art Space, The Royal Standard, Arnolfini and ASC Gallery. He finished a PhD at Kingston School of Art earlier this year titled ‘Good Enough Sculptures: What Happens When Sculptures are Made to be Filmed?’


 Coal After Audre (2020)  Barby Asante 

Barby Asante’s meditation Coal After Audre, has been created in remembrance and reverence of the power of poetry for black women as expressed in Audre Lorde’s 1985 essay Poetry is Not A Luxury. For Lorde poetry is “the quality of light by which we scrutinise our lives”. Coal After Audre reflects on Lorde’s poem Coal from her 1968 First Cities collection and an Alexis Pauline Gumbs quote from her 2020 book Dub: Finding Ceremony, which asks “How do you write a poem about coal?”

Lorde’s Coal takes the metaphor of coal as black fuel to create the and express the words being spoken “from the earth’s inside”. Coal After Audre takes this metaphor and reimagines coal as a much-maligned and rejected fuel, in a moment when words are difficult to find, yet somewhere within the ancient wisdom of coal; within its compressed matter of everyday life, there is light. The light that is attempting to make itself seen through the darkness.

Barby Asante is an artist, curator and researcher. Her artistic practice is concerned with the politics of place, space and the ever-present histories and legacies of slavery and colonialism. With a deep interest in black feminist and decolonial methodologies, Barby embeds within her work notions of collective study, countless ways of knowing and dialogical practices that embrace being together and breathing together. Through collective writing, re-enactment and creating spaces for transformation, ritual and healing Barby has developed a practice of re-collecting, collating, excavating and re-mapping stories and narratives that are often unspoken, invisible or buried with the archival document.

Her recent exhibitions and projects include: Declaration of Independence: For Ama. For Aba. Diaspora Pavilion, Venice, 2017, BALTIC, Gateshead 2019, Bergen Kusthall 2020, Brent 2020: Black Togetherness as Lingua Franca with Amal Alhaag, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, 2018 and Baldwin’s Nigger R E L O A D E D, INIVA, London, 2014, Nottingham Contemporary 2015, A Language to Dwell In: International James Baldwin Conference, Paris, 2016, GOMA/ Glasgow International 2018, Somerset House, London 2019.

 Online Viewing Room Only (2020)   Emma Hart  

The lengths some people will go to, to get you to view their online exhibition is unreal. Also, switching from a real life exhibition, to an online viewing room is confusing. What are the demands being made on you now? Is it the sculptures that need your physical presence but can’t have it, or just the artist craving your attention?

This video is made with the documentation of Emma Hart’s exhibition Be Some Body at The Sunday Painter, 2nd Oct - 19th Dec 2020. Due to the changing restrictions brought in to combat the pandemic the exhibition opened and then closed and then opened again. The photographs are by Lewis Ronald.

Emma Hart lives and works in London. In 2016 she won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery. In 2015 she was awarded a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award for Visual Art. In 2022 Hart will realise her first permanent sculpture for the public entrance of the UCL East, Pool Street West building, on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Hart received an MA in Fine Art from the Slade in 2004 and completed her PhD in Fine Art at Kingston University in 2013. Hart is a lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, London.

 23 Muddles & Mômo's Magical Murders (2020) Joey Ryken 

23 Muddles & Mômo's Magical Murders is a video montage examining the artist's drawing series 23 Drawings to Muddle Magic, as well as dictation-drawings made in magical conversation with Antonin Artaud's drawings from some of his many notebooks. The audio is a fragmented montage of trance induction drones composed for drawing-based psychomagical rituals, or what the artist terms 'Octochronoplasmancy'.

This video is intended as an act of enchantment, and a perpetually imminent means to conjure apocalyptic ghosts. However, the artist takes no responsibility for supernatural anomalies that may occur as a result of viewing.

Joey Ryken (b.1976, Anchorage, Alaska) is an artist based in London, UK. Their art practice and academic research explore experimental approaches to occult magic and hallucinatory experience, using drawing, sound, moving image, text, and absurdist performance. Prevailing research themes include drawing as a process of magical invocation; audiovisual media as hallucinatory witness; and performance as abstracted magic ritual, exploring entrancement within music sub/cultures and intercultural subjectivities.

Ryken has recently completed a PhD in Art Research at Kingston School of Art, titled Bodies of Pure Intensity: Drawing as Magical Apparatus. They perform as guitar-noise avatar Me/Mi MôMo Mu, and is a collaborator in the speculative Boricua diaspora art collective De Nada Unidos. Ryken has exhibited, performed and produced events in idiosyncratic locations throughout the US and in the UK, as well as at major arts institutions in the UK, including ArtSway, Camden Arts Centre, Gasworks, Goldsmiths, ICA, Somerset House, and Stanley Picker Gallery.