Setting the Table
Organised by Jason E. Bowman


12 – 15 April 2018

Setting the Table: Organised by Jason E. Bowman

Thursday 12 April (from 13.00) until Sunday 15 April (at 15.00)

PEACE (after Aristophanes): a script-in-hand performance
Jason E. Bowman et al
Saturday 14 April 19.00-20.00
Free refreshments available post-performance 20.00-20.45
Booking required, BOOK HERE.

The future role of arts institutions: Open discussion led by Andrea Phillips, BALTIC Professor and Director of the BxNU Institute at Northumbria University
Monday 16 April 14.00-17.00
FREE Drop-in

The political continuity of the community arts movement: Open discussion led by Jason E Bowman and Andrea Phillips, BALTIC Professor and Director of the BxNU Institute at Northumbria University
Wednesday 18 April 14.00-17.00
FREE Drop-in

Setting the Table is a four-day congregation of organisers from arts, education and community projects. Its purpose is to explore exhibition-in-the-making by experimenting with organisational relations between people, art works, things and situations. It departs from a trans-historical perspective on utopian welfare systems, artist-organisation and community formation to interrogate the pathologisation of the ‘evils’ that such ideas and state initiatives sought to eradicate: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease.

Artists, educators, researchers, curators and organisers present include: Jason E. Bowman, Melissa Rachleff Burtt, Kjell Caminha, Viviana Checchia, Julie Crawshaw, Avery Gordon, Andrea Hawkins, Katie Hickman, Deborah Jackson, Megs Morley, Sarah Munro, Deirdre O’Mahony, Paul O’Neill, Justin O’Shaugnessy, Andrea Phillips, Matty Pye, Alex Sainsbury, Anjalika Sagar, Karen Salt, Marlene Smith and Mick Wilson.

Governance, sovereignty, self-organisation – and how to reimagine the role of exhibitions in reanimating communities of learning via creative actions – will be discussed whilst sat on artist Francis Cape’s Bancs d’Utopie, reconstructions of benches from European intentional and utopian communities. In solidarity with social housing protest groups, cabinetmaker Emma Leslie has produced trestle tables to be used during discursive lunches served from a makeshift kitchen. Produce includes: honey from The Woodlands Centre, now occupying the site to where Anna Essinger’s interwar New Herrlingen School, and its population of displaced people, was evacuated; pasta from an ancient strain of wheat cultivated by the art and organic farm Pollinaria; vinegar fermented from fruits gathered at William Morris’ orchard; and beverages by art project and social enterprise, Company Drinks.

Edith Simon’s reconstructed portrait of the first committee meeting she attended, as a founding member of The Artists’ International Association, will be present alongside a ‘sexuality class’ missive by Homocult; a basket, by Sheila Walton, as depicted in Homer Winslow paintings from the era of the Cullercoats Artists’ Colony; a puppet produced by John Blundall for the Cannon Hill Puppet Company; and an illustration, Co-Education, by Keith Henderson.

Dressed in outfits, derived from Vera Mukhina’s pattern for an ‘everyday’ school uniform, those assembled will rehearse a version of AristophanesPEACE*; a satire on ending war by creating solidarity and ceasing corrupt profiteering. Participants may interrupt rehearsals by blowing a whistle, as issued in the Lehman Brothers’ emergency evacuation kit, now incorporating pawned gold. Art-farming cooperative Kultivator have supplied animal dung. Tolling of the rediscovered hand bell from the Burston Strike School will announce a public, script-in-hand performance of PEACE (after Aristophanes) from 19.00-20.00 on Saturday 14 April.

To join the congregation please email Katie Hickman.


Image credit: Francis Cape’s Bancs d’Utopie, 2015. Detail installation view of Findhorn bench in foreground at FRAC Besançon, France.