Hannah Chiswell

I have previously collaborated with SpRoUt on Space Between, a hoarding intervention project for the Towner Gallery's redevelopment period. I found our collaboration productive in that it functioned as a kind of open network, operating on many levels as a support structure. Interestingly the collaboration itself almost becomes a kind of meta-project, taking on a momentum of its own but finding focus in and around the particular pieces of work we might each be making individually. I was reminded of something that a Goat Island member said regarding one of their pieces: we found a performance by making it. With Space Between we found the project by making it. The statement contains a feeling that I have regarding collaboration; it articulates something of the real locus of collaboration for me, one where something more is at stake than simply a piece of work or a project. What is at stake? Perhaps it begins with friendship.

I currently work at the Architecture Centre in Bristol in a role that allows me to set up situations in which people might interact with architecture both as a discipline and as a material reality. This work is informed by my interest in creating networks between individuals and practices. I have worked as a researcher in Specialist Factual Arts programming at the BBC in London. Since 2004 I have been an associate lecturer at Plymouth University and, more recently, Dartington College of Arts. Much of my recent teaching practice has focused on expanding notions of scripting and storyboarding.

I studied for a Master's degree in Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts; this discipline is concerned with performativity and the locations of writing. My MA work focused on formal and aesthetic enquiries into the lens (video or photography) as a performer and the camera as an object. I was motivated by an interest in the possible relationships between time-based images and writing. I also developed an interest in the distribution and dissemination of works and began to reuse and recycle my own video archive within work, a practice that continues. My thesis, titled 'Memory's Folds', attempted to construct a model of the archive as event and looked at the particular poetics at play in Implexures, by Karen Mac Cormack in which she 'builds an exquisitely delicate polybiographic structure out of research, hearsay and quotation that zings to the core of identity and displays how collaborative it really is' (Cole Swensen). This year I will take up a place on the MFA in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art in London where I will continue to develop these ideas within a fine art context.

My work on the current project will involve me using sources of light in relation to the camera and various locations in Zagreb. I aim to establish some methodologies, or perhaps rules, that I might take further by sharing with others; I see this process as part of the ongoing work. What might begin as a formal enquiry into light will open out to include community and conversation. The work will be reconfigured again when it becomes part of the set within the SC gallery.

How to do things with books

  • Image is from collaboration on a project by Clare Thornton
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