Fail Fest

 

We believe that radical thinking is needed.

GOLDSFISHS MANIFESTO

 

While finding ourselves immersed in this MFA program, a number of questions arise regarding our position within such a context, in relation to our current artistic practices and prospects for the future. Our driving curiosity and eagerness for learning have brought together a few of us, whose intentions are to explore in depth as many aspects as possible of this Here-and-Now (Goldsmiths College at New Cross, London 2014).
Departing from an nonconformist attitude we aim to reflect upon the given boundaries in both their micro and macro scales. The outcome after our starting up meeting is summarized by the following concerns:

– Porosity against Individuality. Taking into account the competition fostered by the individualist tendencies dominant in the current days, we aim to (virtually) tear down the partition walls dividing the studios, in order to open up space for discussion and exchange, embracing and exploring the (unavoidable) influence we are having on each others’ development.

– Inter-departmental Dialogue. The urban layout of Goldsmiths college has followed through the years an organic-like expansion bringing together a rich variety of humanistic faculties. We aim to nurture the dialogue, not only between the different art sections, but possibly also with students and staff from other departments.

– The institution as playground. A seemingly paradoxical situation exists when we think of the institution. On the one side we all willingly gathered here in order to cultivate ourselves and work on improving our professional life. On the other side, we have a somewhat feeling of oppression toward the institutionalized world. We aim to explore such a contradiction and try to find a position within. For instance, by using the interim-show as a playground where to experiment with the exhibition as a meaningful object instead as mere event for getting the individual works assessed.

– Socio/political consistency. Another paradox is to be found in the way our practices unfold in contrast to the seductive market-based art world. The fact that we choose for education at Goldsmiths hints to some -perhaps- socially engaged concern, although the nuances remain unclear to us. We aim to achieve a better understanding on that matter. For instance, by exploring the financial dimension of our profession in relation to the hyper-materialistic society we are part of.

We are aware of the magnitude of these claims and wish to tackle them in constructive ways through small gestures. We believe that radical thinking is needed in order to accomplish change though also consider than being humble and realistic is an appropriate ground where to work from.

Collaborative project, 
In an attempt to eliminate the individual, to constitute a generous connection which was theretofore lacking, and to challenge the institutional limits of our university, 15 out of 45 first-year students formed a collective for the interim examination. The demand was simple: to be examined equally and collectively. Nobody shows individual work, and the outcome of the examination would rely solely on the results of our conjoint effort. The catch was this: could Goldsmiths afford to fail 15 students?
In 
an urgent situation, this project offered purpose, from which I have learned a great deal. From inclusion to exclusion, from taking the lead to following, from practicalities to the highly abstract. After months of preparation, deliberation and writing the ‘Goldfishs Manifesto,’ we ultimately organised a weeklong ‘festival’ of daily activities within a contained space. This entailed a kitchen where we communally baked bread, made soup, and had lunch and dinner together. There was a pirate radio station broadcasting everything. A potlatch. An invisible tennis match. Performances. Readings. Discussions. Videoscreenings. Workshops. Et cetera. However, these works were not the main outcome. Confronted with each other and ourselves within this close collaboration in opposition to the seemingly untouchable institute lays the main impetus for our endeavours: to have a sense of purpose, and to act upon it.