From the lounge

Steans, David (2018) From the lounge. [Artefact]

Abstract

The output is an artefact, a book of short horror fiction commissioned by Deptford X Contemporary Art Festival 2018. Steans was nominated for the commission by a panel of experts. Research process: Steans writes fiction as part of an intermedia and interdisciplinary art practice, and his ambition for 'From the Lounge' was threefold: (i) collect some of his writing from the last few years in an accessible package that would outlive the festival; (ii) directly represent his interest in genre horror; and (iii) explore the blurring of fiction and reality as artistic method, by writing around the conditions and context of Deptford, the festival, and the commission itself. Research insights: From the Lounge embodies conceptual themes and artistic methods that underpin Steans' practice-led research. Firstly, the book is an expression of 'realist horror' (Freeland 1995); a definition originally derived from film studies that is a key reference in Steans' doctoral research. Secondly, a blurring of fiction and reality is enacted by the book's folding of real-world referents into its fiction, and its fictionalisation of real-world contexts and locations; a strategy consonant with Burrows and O'Sullivan's concept of 'fictioning' (2017; 2019). Thirdly, it is simultaneously a work of contemporary art and of literature, a dual designation Steans attributes to the author-function (Foucault 1977) of the contemporary artist. Finally, the book typifies Steans' approach to genre by playfully evoking generalized reader expectations of experimental literature and horror, thus engaging in Frow's 'relational economy' (2015) of genres. Dissemination: Several stories collected in From the Lounge were adapted from prior public presentations/works at exhibitions/events, including: Mantel, Copperfield Gallery, London, 2018; MAMO 3: The Middle Ages in the Modern World, University of Manchester, 2017; Library Interventions: Moving Knowledge, Leeds Arts University, 2018; Radiophrenia Festival, Glasgow, 2016; Gruesome FX, Triangle Arts Association, Brooklyn, 2018.

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