Plan 9

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Free Press - 6-8 March 2009


Trade Union Logo




6-8 March 2009
David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Karen Di Franco, Pippa Koszerek, Matthew MacKisack, Sophie Mellor, Ashkan Sepahvand

Link to the Free Press Microsite


With environmental crisis and failing financial systems, global infrastructure and mobility are starting to shrink.

Trade Union looks to explore ways of working that embraces the here and now of the geographical and social locality - exploring the local, not in opposition to the global, but as a way of sustainable and fleet footed mobility. Developing new forms of agency, economy and dissemination, the project will attempt to devise strategies to circumvent increasingly institutionalised structures - remaining agile whilst presenting successful models of development.

As part of the project, Trade Union has initiated the critical collaborative publication Free Press, inviting six artists/writers to take part in a three day closed workshop where the participants will work together to decide the form and content of Free Press, a publication investigating the economies of contemporary art and the possibilities that could arise from the current geopolitical climate.

Free Press Participants

Rachel Lois Clapham is a writer and curator. Her curatorial practice centres on live and participatory art that explore alternate models of criticality and artistic responsibility. Recent projects include Nahnou-Together Now, an exhibition of socially engaged art at Tate Britain. She is Co-Director of the critical writing initiative Open Dialogues and writes a regular column for Dance Theatre Journal entitled 'Inside Performance'.

Ashkan Sepahvand is a writer, translator and curator based in Berlin. His practice includes curating/performing texts/documents, writing/fictionalizing history/identity, marginal social/religious/cultural formations in the Middle East and art market/institutional analysis. He is currently working with the open art network Reloading Images. He has written for various publications including Bidoun, Muhtelif: Magazine for Contemporary Art Istanbul, and RES:World Art/Art World. He is  working on his first novel - 'To Whom Life', set to be published in May 2009 by Book Works as part of their Semina series, edited by Stewart Home.

David Berridge is a writer, with a background in Human Ecology. He writes and edits the blogzine 'More Milk Yvette: A Journal of the Broken Screen' focussing on artists films and videos. He is currently curating a conference/screening programme on contemporary relationships to Warhol's film work.

Pippa Koszerek creates organisations as artworks/curatorial projects such as the Independent Art School (1999-) and The Unasked-for Public Art Agency (2006 -). These often have activist or critical origins and often seek out alternative models of practice. She is interested in blurring the boundaries between art and non-art environments and  borrows materials or ways of working from other vocations. The Unasked-for Public Art Agency delivers an unasked-for consultancy package to a host organisation within which Pippa has nominated herself as ‘artist in residence.

Matthew MacKisack is an artist and writer. His practice currently consists of video and drawing. He is currently undertaking a PhD at Goldsmiths, looking at models of ideological and experiential contestation.

Sophie Mellor an artist/curator based in Bristol, UK. She is also co-founder and co-director of Plan 9, an artist-led visual arts organisation established in 2005. Her practice focuses on creating discussion through action and provocation, setting up systems and constructs that examine preconceived notions of self and society. Current projects include Girl Gang, which sanctions the exploration of different modes of behaviour via a slight change in individual perception. With Karen Di Franco, she has initiated Trade Union and the associated Free Press, which sets out to explore the current econmonic and environmental reality, seeking to effect change through collaborative working; the free flow of ideas; testing out possibilities; taking action to find workable alternatives to present conditions; and centralising the process within the everyday of the participants.

Karen Di Franco is an artist and archivist based in Bristol, UK. Co-Director of Plan 9 since 2007 her practice is divided between explorations of an artistic economy with projects such as Trade Union, initiated with Sophie Mellor as a strategy to combine their artistic practice with their roles as directors of Plan 9, and a studio based practice that explores narrative and archival research.