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Nicky Bird

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Saved by Nicky Bird
on September 14, 2011 at 11:21:54 am
 

Digitalized artefacts, generous gestures...

I want to discuss the differences between encounter and access, and although masked by a ‘neo-liberalism’ (Beech, Proctor, Stallabrass), there lies an arguably feminist impulse (hooks, Pollock et al) at the heart of ‘broadening access’ to the arts. This question is draw on recent experiences as an artist working in the field, where stories of collaborators prompted during a digital art process, then become part of public exhibition. The role of the artefact is a key consideration, particularly how the digital artefact allows a certain generosity both in terms of encounter, access and then its circulation in the wider world.  However, this also brings with it skeptical and dissenting voices that not only question the terms on which participation and collaboration operate within contemporary art, and how this maintains the status quo (Bishop et al), but also draws upon emerging critical photographic discourses on what current web technology enables. In particular, how social networking and the circulation of the digital photograph shifts away from ‘close’ encounter with artefacts - and institutions - to more porous activity, consumption and appropriation found in virtual spaces (Bate, Lister, Rubinstein & Sluis).

 

Biography

Nicky Bird is an artist whose work investigates the contemporary relevance of found photographs, the hidden histories of archives and specific sites. She is interested in a key question: what is our relationship to the past, and what is the value we ascribe to it? Since her practice-led PhD at Leeds University (1994-99) she has explored this through photography, bookworks, the Internet and New Media. In varying ways, she is interested in creating artworks that make visible the process of collaboration. These collaborations are with people who have significant connections to materials originally found in archives.

 

In 2008 Nicky received a major Stills photographic commission for the project Beneath the surface / Hidden Place, which toured across Scotland over two years before culminating in a book publication (2010). Residencies, such as the Glasgow Women's Library (2009-10), and solo shows - from Question for Seller (2006) to Archaeology of the Ordinary (2011) - have all played their part in shaping Nicky's current thinking about the digital trace of the artefact.  This shifts from eBay and found photographs, which were central to Question for Seller to more recent use of oral reminiscience. Alongside residencies, exhibitions, and contributions to arts journalism, Nicky is currently a part-time PhD Co-Coordinator at Glasgow School of Art

 

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