Rachelle Viader Knowles
A translocal approach to dialogue-based art

Project 3 - #3CityLink 2014 - 2016

go to -
Coventry University exhibition brochure
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Coventry University Year 2, student info pack
go to - hashtag3CityLink.net blog/documentation site
go to - @3CityLink Twitter feed
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#3CityLink Twitter hashtag
go to - #3CityLink Coventry student comments

 

A collaborative, dialogue-based, translocal, pedagogical exchange project, #3CityLink culminated in three simultaneous exhibitions/events in Regina, Canada; Coventry, UK; and Gyumri, Armenia. Transversals between the three physical locations occurred through the fourth project zone: web-based documents and interaction through telecommunications and social media platforms. Three educational institutions participated in the project, with students in Fine Art at each institution participating as part of their curriculum. At the University of Regina, fifty students participated from a class in Expanded Cinema, a class in Sound Art, and a class in Intermedia: the project was led by Dr Christine Ramsay. At Coventry University, one hundred and three students participated from Level 1 and Level 2 Fine Art, and Fine Art & Illustration: the project was led by Rachelle Viader Knowles and Jane Ball, with Jacqui Bleetman and Katherine Wimpenny from the Coventry University Disruptive Media Learning Lab. At the Gyumri Art Academy, thirteen students participated from a class in Drawing; Mkrtich Tonoyan led the project with Karen Barseghyan and Hratch Vardanyan in the role of project co-curators. At each location, a team of researchers and organizers worked with the students to facilitate, activate, document and manage the unfolding projects.

At each of the three locations, a gallery space acted as the locus of activities with the entirety of the two-week proceedings open to the public and conceived as a time and place-based artwork. In Regina, Canada, the Fifth Parallel Gallery at the University of Regina is a student-run exhibition space located in the main student centre on the University campus. The Lanchester Gallery at Coventry University in the UK is a creative research space for the Coventry School of Art and Design, located in The Hub, the main student building on a city centre campus. Gallery 25 at the Berlin Hotel is a unique cultural institution in Armenia. It is an artist-led semi commercial space in Gyumri, Armenia, located in a former German Red Cross Hospital. Now a social enterprise project, the Berlin Hotel and the Gallery 25 art gallery generate revenue to support the work of an adjoined outpatient mother and baby polyclinic.

The project presented a platform for translocal (local to local) creative interactions using online screen-based media and on the ground dialogues. #3CL unfolded in three phases. In the initial two week ‘research phase’, artists and students in each city investigated the current concerns of their locale and questioned the role of the artist in building narratives, revealing lost histories and imagining the future of where they live. During the ‘live phase’, the three groups used Skype and social media to ‘live link’ over two weeks for two hours each day, working together to find common links, build intercultural connections and create a collaborative installation artwork in three gallery spaces. These gallery spaces, in each city, hosted students’ work as they created an unfolding dialogue of images, sounds, videos, physical structures, objects and stories in response to the question of how artists can shift the narratives of their cities beyond histories of trauma towards linked, creative futures. Together, students worked to transform each local space into an imagined translocal place drawing from elements of each of the three cities. A library area in each gallery featured research materials such as maps, newspapers and catalogues giving insight into the context of each location. In the third and final ‘outcomes’ phase, the project shifted from student-facing to research focussed. Five of the participating researchers reflected on the project for a suite of linked papers delivered at the ‘Arts in Society’ conference at Imperial College London (July 2015), in response to the special conference theme ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Networked Society’. The outcomes of the project are further consolidated in a multi-authored articlel (Knowles, Ramsay, Speculand and Wimpenney) as the concluding international dissemination element of #3CityLink. The article "#3CityLink: a translocal art/pedagogy exchange project: evaluating the disruption" is in pre-print.

Our project title #3CityLink makes direct reference to the history of telecommunication art and in particular Three-City Link 1989, using fax and slow-scan transmission between artists in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Boston, previously mentioned in Chapter Three. #3CityLink reframes that project 25 years later within a growing discourse of participatory social practice art in the sphere of inter-human relations, in an era where telematic communications and interactive screens are now ubiquitous, and a global context where new forms of translocal engagement are emerging. Unlike works produced under the umbrella of mediated communications art, the aims of #3CityLink were not located in communication as technological innovation but as a way to encourage students to consider how contemporary communications occur as a multi-modal web of interactions using voice, text, image, face to face and at a distance. This is how communications occur in the age of networked society and we were interested in this project to introduce students to the idea of art as a state of encounter.