For two and a half weeks, London’s Camberwell Press – a “research-oriented” publishing platform housed within Camberwell College of Arts and fuelled by graduates and academic staff – are forming practical discourse around the concept of an “ideal and interactive studio” with their exhibition, Into the Fold. The likes of Rick Poyner, Fraser Muggeridge, Teal Triggs and Sam Winston will be taking up slots for talks and workshops and a publication will be produced from the esteemed collaborators’ thoughts. We spoke to James Edgar, the curator and creative director, for a little more on the concept and motivations behind such an intensive event…
What can you tell us about the concept for this show and how the exhibition came about?
The college asked us – Camberwell Press – to take over the Camberwell Space gallery, setting up a design studio within the space. The concept was initiated by discussing the notion of what constitutes a studio, regardless of discipline, and what an ideal studio could be. I am currently interested in the crossover between differing studio cultures and find that collaboration and dialogue occurs when so called non-related disciplines are brought together.
The conceptually ideal studio is not defined in terms of a well-designed and built studio space, rather a space in which design projects, workshops, discussions and events can take place.
What can we expect from all the designers and practitioners who will be visiting?
A diverse range of visual and written material that is curated and displayed onto the gallery wall as it is generated – the majority of the content will be created and produced within the gallery/studio.
The timing of the exhibition has meant that the invited practitioners have had little time to prepare their contribution but we anticipate that this will result in spontaneity and multidisciplinary collaboration.
In addition, an environment can be created where we are not only discussing and presenting but producing in a gallery space. In some cases it is temporal or ephemeral and located in action rather than product.
“Ideal” is a very subjective term – it could be the work that comes out, or the stuff that goes in, or the people that work there – what do you think it means?
One definition of ideal is represented by an abstract or hypothetical optimum and relates to my concept of the ideal studio, in a way that is what we are trying to achieve. Ideal in terms of satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect is very ambiguous and probably over ambitious, this could prove to be a weakness in the concept.
One contributor’s thoughts on using the space to work or present in could be very different to another’s and this could inform an exciting or disappointing outcome. There have been doubts expressed by some contributors regarding the appropriateness of presenting talks in a gallery space but perhaps the tension that arises from engaging in familiar activity in a new context is part of the ideal.
The content of the publication will arrive only once the show is over, how are Camberwell Press aiming to create something this content heavy in such a short (non-ideal) time?
The publication will be designed and produced daily as the content and material is generated within the studio – pages of the publication will be displayed in the gallery as it is designed.
The publication will be informed by visual and written material, curated on the gallery wall. The initial run of Into the Fold is to be produced in-house using photocopying and printmaking in an edition of one hundred; this edition will be available at the publication launch.
We will be publishing a greater quantity once the exhibition has finished but it is going to require a lot of hard work from the Camberwell Press team to assemble a publication in two days. Hopefully it’s a decision we will not come to regret but perhaps an ideal publication can be created when time is limited?