Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) Print Studio collaborated with Barbadian-Scottish multi-media artist Alberta Whittle over several months in summer 2019 to develop new printed works in conjunction with her exhibition ‘How Flexible Can We Make the Mouth'.
Specifically, this talk will focus on the collaborative development of Whittle's series of three prints titled ‘Secreting Myths' in the studio, starting with dialogues around her artistic concepts of transience, breath, speech, healing, the documentation of historic narratives, ‘slippage' and the unfixed nature of things. Through processes using snail trails through to the 16th century engravings of Theodor de Bry, I will explore how the artist used specific structures within the language of print to re-open, ‘un-fix' and subvert accepted ‘histories' of the European colonisation of a so-called ‘New World.'
Using an ethnographic approach and participant observation from within the Studio and highlighting underlying linguistic structures within print practice, I will consider the studio and its dialogues and mechanisms as transitional spaces where the ‘problematic' matrix becomes a productive interface upon which the accepted demarcations of print may be re-visualised, interconnected and explored.
Print has evolved over centuries with language and dissemination in mind, yet the dialogues, processes and subtle language of production that form the scaffolding of print often remain a mystery, hidden behind studio doors.
My talk will follow the participatory dynamics of the Studio and explore the potential of the more fluid structures of print and its material development. By seeking out the harder to evidence and transitional spaces, I explore how artists use print's underlying mechanisms to add value and critical content to their work, and as a vehicle to re-humanise and re-tell its stories.
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