Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 42(1-2): The Experimental Generation (2017)

3 September 2017, dusan

“This special double issue of ISR came out of the conference The experimental generation: networks of interdisciplinary praxis in post war British art (1950–1970) we organized together in 2014, exploring an apparent convergence of interest in art and science around the notion of social responsibility in the 1960s. …

It is rarely recognized that Cambridge was something of a hotbed of interdisciplinary exploration in the 1960s. Within this issue we seek to bring some of the leading figures behind this into the foreground, from the Language Research Unit led by Margaret Masterman to the Centre for Land Use and Built Form Studies created by Leslie Martin in the Architecture Department. Cambridge was, after all, where C.P. Snow (re)ignited the ‘Two Cultures’ debate in 1959; where two key figures in cybernetics and systems theory, Gordon Pask and Robin McKinnon-Wood, met as undergraduates, founded their company ‘System Research’ and developed their first early computers. Ian Sommerville, the precocious mathematician who invented the ‘Dreamachine’ with Bryon Gysin was an undergraduate at Trinity College when he invited Gustav Metzger to give his first public lecture/demonstration on Auto-Destructive Art for the Heretics Society in 1960. In 1964, St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, played host to the ‘First International Exhibition of Concrete, Kinetic and Phonic Poetry’ initiated by a young academic in the English department, Michael Weaver who gathered together over 60 works by poets and artists from 14 countries for a week’s exhibition in a Cambridge college. He worked closely with Reg Gadney, Philip Steadman and Stephen Bann who co-edited a formative issue of IMAGE magazine, on Kinetic Art: Concrete Poetry in November 1964. Steadman, Weaver and Bann went on to launch Form (1966–1969).

As a founder member of the Cambridge University Artists Group, Gadney was instrumental in spreading knowledge of Kinetic Art methods and techniques through articles in the student magazine Granta as well as the London Magazine. In 1965 Metzger was invited back to Cambridge to deliver his ‘Chemical Revolution in Art’ lecture attended by Bann, Gadney and Steadman. In his article for this journal Professor Stephen Bann looks back at the art and ideas that informed his book Experimental Painting, published in 1970, which took developments in art of the previous decade as its subject.

This issue spotlights a period that is still within living memory, and still reverberates today. In encouraging such a diversity of articles we have followed our instincts as curators rather than historians. We have gathered together a constellation of voices, from pioneers to emerging scholars, in order to encourage and facilitate unanticipated connections.” (from the Introduction)

Edited by Bronać Ferran and Elizabeth Fisher
Publisher Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, London, 2017
ISSN 0308-0188
224 pages

Publisher

PDF (33 MB)

Marta Traba: Arte latinoamericano actual (1972) [Spanish]

17 August 2017, dusan

In this book, Marta Traba examines how the growing influence of American art shaped the art of Latin America during the 1950s and 1960s, and how Latin American artists have both succumbed and resisted the effects of this influence.

Publisher Ediciones de la Biblioteca Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, 1972
Nuevos Planteamientos series, 10
117 pages
via ICAA Docs

WorldCat

PDF (5 MB)

Sally Banes: Greenwich Village 1963: Avant-Garde Performance and the Effervescent Body (1993)

28 July 2017, dusan

“The year was 1963 and from Birmingham to Washington, D.C., from Vietnam to the Kremlin to the Berlin Wall, the world was in the throes of political upheaval and historic change. But that same year, in New York’s Greenwich Village, another kind of history and a different sort of politics were being made. This was a political history that had nothing to do with states or governments or armies–and had everything to do with art. And this is the story that Sally Banes tells, a year in the life of American culture, a year that would change American life and culture forever. It was in 1963, as Banes’s book shows us, that the Sixties really began.

Banes draws a vibrant portrait of the artists and performers who gave the 1963 Village its exhilarating force, the avant-garde whose interweaving of public and private life, work and play, art and ordinary experience, began a wholesale reworking of the social and cultural fabric of America. Among these young artists were many who went on to become acknowledged masters in their fields, including Andy Warhol, John Cage, Yoko Ono, Yvonne Rainer, Lanford Wilson, Sam Shepard, Brian de Palma, Harvey Keitel, Kate Millet, and Claes Oldenburg. In live performance–Off-Off Broadway theater, Happenings, Fluxus, and dance–as well as in Pop Art and underground film, we see this generation of artists laying the groundwork for the explosion of the counterculture in the late 1960s and the emergence of postmodernism in the 1970s. Exploring themes of community, freedom, equality, the body, and the absolute, Banes shows us how the Sixties artists, though shaped by a culture of hope and optimism, helped to galvanize a culture of criticism and change. As 1963 came to define the Sixties, so this vivid account of the year will redefine a crucial generation in recent American history.”

Publisher Duke University Press, 1993
ISBN 082231357X, 9780822313571
ix+308 pages

Reviews: Serge Guilbaut (Am Hist Rev, 1995), Marla Carlson (Theatre J, 1996), PublishersWeekly (n.d.).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (100 MB, no OCR)

Kasper Opstrup: The Way Out: Invisible Insurrections and Radical Imaginaries in the UK Underground, 1961-1991 (2017)

22 June 2017, dusan

“A counterculture history of art and experimental politics that turns the world inside out

The Way Out examines the radical political and hedonist imaginaries of the experimental fringes of the UK Underground from 1961 to 1991. By examining the relations between collective and collaborative practices with an explicit agenda of cultural revolution, Kasper Opstrup charts a hidden history of experiments with cultural engineering, expanding current discussions of art, medias, politics, radical education and the occult revival. Even though the theatres of operation have changed with the rise of the Internet and a globalised finance economy, these imaginaries still raise questions that speak directly to the present.

Here we encounter a series of figures – including Alexander Trocchi, R. D. Laing, Joseph Berke, Brion Gysin, William Burroughs and Genesis P-Orridge – that blurred the lines between inner and outer, the invisible and the material. Four singular forms of speculative techniques for igniting an invisible insurrection with cultural means make up the central case studies: the sigma project, London Anti-University, Academy 23 and thee Temple ov Psychick Youth.

Contained within these imaginaries is a new type of action university: a communal affair that would improvise a new type of social relation into existence by de-programming and de-conditioning us without any blueprints for the future besides to make it happen. Instead of being turned upside down, the world was to be changed from the inside out.”

Publisher Minor Compositions, Wivenhoe, 2017
ISBN 9781570273285
252 pages

Publisher

PDF, PDF
Scribd

Marget Long: Flash + Cube, 1965-1975 (2012)

14 May 2017, dusan

Flash + Cube (1965-1975) is an artist’s book about the Sylvania flashcube — the space-aged, flash photography device, revolutionary in 1965 and nearly obsolete by 1975. Assembled from a wide range of archival materials — a “terrorist letter,” G.I. photographs from Vietnam, Sylvania flashcube advertisements, as well as Long’s photographs and photomontages—the book explores the links between light, war, history and photography.

Apart from its circulation as a novelty item online, the flashcube is largely forgotten. The history of photographic flash is also often relegated to a footnote and is strikingly under-analyzed. Yet flash’s blinding effects and military genealogy, and the flashcube’s precise contemporaneity with the war in Vietnam make this a rich analytical object with which to reflect on the cultural, political and economic imperatives of its moment. As Long’s deft work with this archive shows, the flashcube is good to think with.”

Publisher Punctum Books, New York, 2012
Open access
ISBN 9780615624426, 0615624421
[151] pages

Review: Anna McCarthy (Social Text, 2012).

Author
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (33 MB)
Scribd (2nd ed, 2013)

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