Documents, Alternatives

A series of exhibitions of ephemeral artworks connected, as if in conversation

Curated by Angela Bartram

Artists include: Tim Etchells, Andrew Pepper, Emma Cocker and Clare Thornton, Rochelle Haley, Kate Corder, Steve Dutton, Luce Choules, Morrad + McArthur, Brazier and Free, Andrew Bracey, Louise K. Wilson, and Angela Bartram.

The documentation of ephemeral artwork, works made to be transient, changeable and un-fixed, is often problematic for the intent and premise of creation as it aligns itself with a particular moment, place and viewpoint in time. Lens-based methods are mostly relied upon to communicate actuality and happening and to fix the un-fixed memory of the artwork, and this is part of that problem. Effectively, this type of documentary device works in opposition to the concept of the artwork, cementing into a fragmentary history when all it wants is to be fleeting in its temporarality. The lens-made recording tends to generalise vision and, by extension, it does not fully communicate the experience of ‘being there’ and present. Experience is difficult to replicate through a lens. This is problematic for artwork whose very premise is to be transient and time-based, and for which direct experience is a priority.

‘Documents, Alternatives’ is a collection of interlinked exhibitions that include time-based works relyiant on performative process and created experience for understanding, which aim to resolve this issue by making the document and artwork reflexive. In doing this they acknowledge their need for change so to remain continuous and in process through staging a practical and thought provoking dialogue across venues. Positioned to operate at the intersection of artistic and academic domains, the project is as creatively stimulating and progressively invigorating as theoretically interrogatory and analytical. This is an experimental, discursive curatorial strategy whereby the document becomes a new artwork and the artwork becomes a new document to keep the ephemeral evolving and in transition. ‘Documents, Alternatives’ is in response to, and as a continuation from the pilot exhibition that curated a selection of international artists’ work to demonstrate the ways in which ephemeral practice can be renewed through re-staging the document as new artwork. It is a re-drafting, re-configuration, re-grouping and re-working of this pilot, ‘The Alternative Document’ at Project Space Plus in Lincoln (13th February – 11th March 2016), and as such it continues the conversation and the lifespan of these works and their relation to others with the exhibition.

To be true to the nature of ephemera, the discursive environment that is ‘Documents Alternatives’ is curated to map a staging that is in ‘motion’ and responsive to artistic meaning and intention. Here, the artworks learn from their prior incarnations, and respond to a re-grouping with the others in the collection of ‘conversational’ exhibitions, of which they are now becoming familiar, and their own concepts to be kept very much in the present. Moving beyond traditional unsympathetic means used as sole mode of translation, it offers a more effective way of communicating the artwork by keeping it current and active, and by denying its relegation to the historic past. To do this it positions the artwork as document and new work simultaneously thereby creating a generating loop of reflexive and developing activity. The exhibitions foreground fluidity and diversity of translation and includes multiple art voices and modes of output including video, light and holography, text, painting, print, web work, ethnographic environmental trace, jam making, and sound.

Airspace Gallery, Stoke on Trent: 17 November – 16 December 2017 (Airspace webpage)


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Verge Gallery, Sydney: 18 January – 24 February 2018 (Verge webpage)

BSAD Gallery, Bath: 20 April -11 May 2018 (including a symposium on 20 April)




Be Your Dog

A DIY project for the Live Art Development Agency staged at KARST, Plymouth, 2016.

Be Your Dog is about establishing relationships beyond the hierarchies of pet and owner. This will see participants and their dogs attend workshops over two consecutive weekends to learn how to establish empathy, equality and connection. This will include learning strategies for dog and human to ‘be’ equals with each other and developmental discussion. A concluding public event will be staged following the workshops where all participants, human and dog, will perform as collaborators.

This project forms part of DIY 13, a Live Art Development Agency initiative developed in collaboration with the following partners: Artsadmin, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Chapter, Colchester Arts Centre, Compass Live Art, Create (IRE), DaDaFest, Delfina Foundation, Folkestone Fringe, Forest Fringe, hÅb, Heart of Glass, Home Live Art, KARST, Live Art Bistro, The Marlborough Theatre, National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Tate (Early Years and Family) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Be Your Dog KARST 2016 – reworked video footage


The Alternative Document

The Alternative Document is a project that comprises a symposium, an exhibition and published texts.

The project seeks to expand on the idea of the ephemeral artwork and its loss by offering a platform where alternative acts of legacy can be discussed. Through this I am positioned as ‘inter-‘  moving between the various modes of output and through the positions of artist, curator, writer, organiser, principle investigator.

The project, which began in 2015, includes:

A symposium Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, 12th & 13th February 2016. Keynotes by Tim Etchells (paper) and Jordan McKenzie (performance). Presentations and papers by Annalaura Alifuoco (UK),  Hector Canonge (USA), Ana Carvalho (Portugal), Rachel Cherry (UK), Luce Choules (France/UK), Emma Cocker & Clare Thornton (UK), Stewart Collinson (UK), Kate Corder (UK), Rochelle Haley (Australia), Min Kim (UK), Sophie Kromholz (UK), Anya Liftig (USA), Chiara Passa (Italy), Andrew Pepper (UK) and Louise K. Wilson (UK).

– An exhibition –  Project Space Plus, Lincoln, February – March 2016.  Artists: Bartram O’Neill (UK), David Brazier & Kelda Free (Australia), Hector Canonge (USA), Rachel Cherry (UK), Luce Choules (France/UK), Emma Cocker & Clare Thornton (UK), Kate Corder (UK), Tim Etchells (UK), Chris Green & Katheryn Owen (UK), Rochelle Haley (Australia), Jordan McKenzie (UK), Andrew Pepper (UK) and Louise K. Wilson (UK).

A guest edited journal dedicated to the Alternative Document – Studies in Theatre and Performance, to be published 2019.



2016                Chisenhale Space, London

2015                Horse and Art Research Centre (Barnag, Hungary)

2015                Summer Lodge, Nottingham Trent University

2014                Gray Zone for Performance Art (Kingston NY, USA)

2012                Grace Exhibition Space (New York, USA)

2005                Adult Education Centre, University of Nottingham


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