Steans, David ORCID logoORCID: (2021) Curtainz. [Creative Project]


The output is a Creative Project authored by Steans. ‘Curtainz’ is an original text commissioned for Documents of Contemporary Art: Magic (ed. Sutcliffe 2021). This project also includes a related film 'Puppy the Goblin' as well as a window display created by Steans (photographic documentation by Andy Keate). Research Process:‘Curtainz’ is included in the third chapter of Magic, Ritual Media, which ‘looks to magic’s complex relationship to technology [... and] questions the intrusion of the magical into artists’ engagement with the digital’ (Sutcliffe 2021). Responding to this, Steans’ text performs a kind of ‘legend-tripping’ (Kinsella 2011), via a short fictional piece of writing. ‘Curtainz’ employs motifs including fictional cultural output (in this instance the eponymous children’s tv show) and the location of genre horror qualities in the processes, technologies and cultures of cultural production. In Steans’ work, practices and processes of cultural production and reception are ‘made strange’, rendered here as a ritual-like process, suggesting the text itself might function like a spell. Research Insights: ‘Curtainz’ picks at and entangles the threads connecting ostensibly ‘factual’ and ‘fictional’ modes of culture-making and knowledge-sharing. ‘Curtainz’ also riffs on the tropes of the ‘making of’ documentary, which Steans understands as a ‘micro-genre’, and has explored in the work Necrotic Biography Room (2019) and the conference paper ‘The Making of the making of the make-up scene' (2017). Dissemination: ‘Curtainz’ was commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press for Documents of Contemporary Art: Magic (ed. Sutcliffe 2021). Steans also created a window display for the launch of Magic in the Whitechapel Gallery Bookshop, and screened his work Puppy the Goblin: ENGLISH SUBS (2020) (which was also screened at Tate Britain, 19 November 2022, as part of "Show and Share: Visions of the Occult") an online symposium launch event for Magic.

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