Palin, Tom ORCID logoORCID: (2017) Daybreak. [Show/Exhibition]


Daybreak is a project initiated by the RCA’s School of Fine Art to provide a forum for the practice-based researchers engaged in the School’s MPhil and PhD programme. It was the first time the School’s student researchers had come together to work on an off-site project, working closely with each other, staff from the School with curatorial expertise and outside professionals. The result; an exhibition, live event and research symposium, which happened over four days at the end of June 2017 and included contributions by over 40 research students. The events took place at three different sites in Peckham. On preview night, Thursday 29 June, the audience was invited to attend live performances and screenings at Asylum, a chapel on Asylum Road, before promenading through Peckham to AMP, a gallery space, to see artworks and performances and then continuing on to the larger exhibition at Safehouses, near the well-known Bussey Building. The venues and spaces drew out the range of individual student’s projects and the walk between them takes around 15 mins. The project made public the vast range of ideas, approaches and practices that represent current contemporary fine art research. This year the research programme explored what the notions of commitment and resistance mean for the contemporary artist. It also considered how fine art methods might provide useful models for research. One group of students, of which I was a part, looked at the idea of magic as a method of investigation, with a practical and theoretical relevance today. To invoke magic, as a contemporary artist, is, in part, a means to subdue the rational impulse in favour of the irrational. In a post-industrial information age, that which opposes or seeks to short-circuit an over-determined, mechanistic message seems desirable. Yet, seeking out unknowing is not, in itself, a denial of Enlightenment thinking. In its appeal to possibility, process and ritual, magic becomes a strategy to rethink anew one’s connectedness to material, technology, language and change.

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