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Public Sphere

Jamie Steedman

Jamie Steedman is a contemporary artist from and currently stranded in Glasgow, Scotland, Earth. Graduating with a First Class BA (Hons) in Art & Philosophy from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee, in 2018, Steedman has since been awarded the Alastair Smart Memorial Prize for Contemporary Art (2018), and the Sir William Gillies Bequest Award for his exhibition at RSA New Contemporaries 2019, in the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. He attained an Award of Distinction for his MA Dissertation ‘Case 655735: Enquiry for the Mowbray Monument’ in his first year at Royal College of Art (2019). Steedman has participated in and co-curated various exhibitions and projects across London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Utrecht and Asturias, as well as online. These include being featured in the exhibition Imminent Vibrational Logic, hosted by South Kiosk in May 2020, and co-curating the online festival 302_Redirect. Recently, he has assumed the role of co-editor in Windfall*, a quarterly arts publication which aims to champion unheard, up-and-coming contemporary artists working across the UK. He is also a co-founder and regular contributor to the semi-monthly radical arts journal FIENDS.  

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I support the current campaigns to hold HE institutions accountable for all actions that perpetuate systemic racism and contribute to the negligence of staff and student well-being. 

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Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Public Sphere

Establishing a very research-oriented methodology, Steedman’s fascination with specific narratives of state history frequently fuse with considerations of the grander systems of contemporary political strategy. Most recently this has revolved around the public swimming pool, and how these spaces work on disparate levels – from the invitation of different public bodies, the state ownership of civic space, relationships to the labour/leisure time cycle, and the afterlives of site and place. Through an increasingly pessimistic Scottish outlook on the instabilities of state power and cultural failures, Steedman utilises a frenzied array of sculpture, print, sound, writing and performance to navigate his labyrinthine concerns with speculative utopianism, nostalgia and the performativity of language.  

Reality //

Ideality //

Presence //

Obsolescence //

The end of a dream //

Let's start again.

The Progressions of Sistrum State
The work Antiapóleia manifests in three separate acts throughout the duration of RCA2020. Titled using the Greek lexemes 'anti' meaning ‘against’ and 'apóleia' meaning ‘loss, waste or ruin’, the work poses as a theatrical play of sorts, staging the life, death and reincarnation of the public swimming pool as we know it today. Act One of Antiapóleia - 'The Progressions of Sistrum State' - emerges as a chronicled video recounting the life of the public swimming pool under rapidly evolving political and technological conditions; onto an eventual state of abandonment. Through excerpts of political speeches and music - using fragments of both homemade and popular culture footage - the video tracks the decades in a sickly nostalgic yet almost possessed manner. While we see the pool thrive in its early days, as a place of communal pleasure and well-being, a sudden shift towards new dreams of flight dominate mid-20th century. Moreover, under increasing economic pressures in the 1970s and '80s, through measures of austerity and funding cuts, the priorities of the state and those sectors invested in become increasingly murky. New systems of both personal and collective leisure distressingly adapt, labour perpetuates and privatisation flourishes. These models of public space seem to be becoming more troublesome than profitable and, even with amplified public calls for re-use and reform, the pools’ sentencing to decay by the state seems inevitable.

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Medium:

Video

Size:

8'00"
AfterlivesArchiveFound FootageMusicNarrativeNostalgiaPoliticsPublic SpaceRuinSwimming PoolTechnology

Lacuna Tower - Side Elevation

Lacuna Tower - Waterslide Elevations

Lacuna Tower - Pyramid Section Floor Plan

Lacuna Tower - Cylindrical Section Floor Plan

Lacuna Tower - Hemisphere Section Floor Plan

Lacuna Tower - Night Projections (Here Instead of Elsewhere)

Lacuna Tower - Night Projections (Sara Tutto L’ideale)

Lacuna Tower - Night Projections (What Appears Is Ideal)

Lacuna Tower - Night Projections (Wir Wollen Alles Für Alle)

Lacuna Tower - Visualisation at Dusk

The second act of Antiapóleia speculates on a ‘rebirth’ of the public swimming pool in the near future, through architectural plans and conceptual diagrams. Proposing a utopian tower complex, resembling the model of Vladimir Tatlin’s 'Project for the Monument to the Third International', the design of Lacuna Tower imagines a new space of progressiveness, collectivity and societal synergy. The diagonal structure comprises a cubic section at the base, designated as a space for public and legislative meetings, alongside hospitality and clubhouse areas. Above this, a pyramid section holds changing facilities and entry points to a diving board and various, ridiculously constructed waterslides; encouraging the production of culture, through human’s desire for ludicity and play. A cylindrical studio is on the next level, housing the Ideal Life Radio Show, for participatory, feel-good radio transmissions and other media-related operations; such as print, film and slogan workshops. At the very top, laser light projections of reformed cultural and political slogans come from the upper hemisphere, puncturing the skyline at night. The Lacuna Tower revels in a suspended state of inbetween-ness; manifesting as a space of simultaneous possibility and absurdity. Constructing a complex of the sort today is entirely economically and materially viable, however it is the strong absence of faith in the competence and management of the state that make it but a fantasy. Today, the powers of the state fused with the freed visions of artists/creatives seems scarcely imaginable; and so the abilities of these undervalued groups to dream up new and diverse possibilities for the future seems to be an ever-increasing urgency.

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Medium:

Series of diagrammatic plans and architectural concept drawings

ILRS Cover Art

Ideal Life Radio Show Transmission Station — Tune in HERE for the latest broadcast…
Hijacking the zone of popular culture transmissions, the Ideal Life Radio Show materialises as a recurring radio broadcast promising an ideal escape from the chaos of contemporary society. The antagonistic DJ host’s reminiscent anecdotes, paired with an amplified mundanity of the everyday radio broadcast contents (including weather reports, callers-in and simulated competitions) supplies an ambiguous ‘service’ of cultural authenticity. Emphasising Adorno and Horkheimer’s theory of the performer as an entity within the culture industry, the use of throwback house and dance tracks aspires to construct new methods of collective euphoria in a now socially-isolated, publicly-void world. Radio and its capacities has become a medium felt more acutely in the current moment. The ILRS's provision of this seemingly self-prescribed, 'built-in demand' of media, while still alluding to those systems that prevail beyond it, seems to be where its value lies. It poses as a virtual and continual transmission space, operating through participation and shared experience, in order to infiltrate everyday life, and amplify the values of the commonplace. Within this tightly-wound, self-reflexive container, it both produces and performs an inquiry into ideas of the performativity of language, and how means of subtle, repeated resistance may be distributed. Nevertheless, with continual nods to the benefits of nostalgia, combined with a mediation of life pre-pandemic, and increasingly fanciful speculations on tomorrow, its establishing as a legitimate method of progression today is deemed very questionable.


Listeners can tune into full episodes of the Ideal Life Radio Show from 00:01 - 23:59 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The next broadcasts will be on 17th, 20th, 22nd, 24th, 27th and 29th July.


Check out the ILRS Collections below for more content; including a Spotify playlist, posters, stickers and adverts.

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Medium:

Radio transmission/performance

Size:

Broadcasting throughout RCA2020
Say Yes to Ideal Life

Say Yes to Ideal Life

ILRS Posters and Stickers

Ideal Life Radio Show - Advert 1
Ideal Life Radio Show - Advert 2
Ideal Life Radio Show - Advert 3
ILRS Spotify Playlist — Archived playlist of tunes from the latest Ideal Life Radio Show episodes; for all yer daily, isolated, boogie-ing needs. IDEAL!
Come browse the archives and collections of the Ideal Life Radio Show, during its off-air time: including a range of cover artworks, posters, stickers, interceptor advertisements and the published Spotify playlist for all tunes featured in ILRS episodes.

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Medium:

Audio and Merchandise Archive
Exercise, Exorcise, Rite, Right — Please follow the link in the description, to download a PDF copy.
The final act of Antiapóleia manifests as a performative exorcism of site and place. The reincarnation of the public swimming pool into a new utopian leisure facility was inevitably doomed for failure. This ritualistic sermon channels the destructive powers of language; intended to address and release the economic, state and historical powers which currently plague the pool, and every other abandoned and/or privately redeveloped public leisure site.

As it develops into the future, the sermon will begin to create a collaboratively networked map of lost public space, gathering recordings and footage of participants performing 'Exercise, Exorcise, Rite, Right' wherever they feel appropriate. The haunting and decaying of these sites is, primarily, a consequence of severe austerity measures and funding cuts to public, culture and leisure sectors over preceding decades. However, the current public voidness generated through social-isolation procedures brings to the fore further questions regarding the immediate future of these spaces. The making of the public is the dreaming of spaces together to build. How can we, collectively, envisage new methods to interact and communicate in a social and physical way? What are the first steps in creating new systems of public space and participation from now?


Those who would like to get involved can share their recordings/footage/recitations of the text with the artist via the email provided above. The text is available as a downloadable PDF, via the following links...


For the complete, designed publication:
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=12tAi1UzsQAdQCi-DJwM6KGnBd-qFt2uS

For a large text format:
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1R4dcDeLgugOgzGjC2cQZ8ME53cGYe_Ap

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Medium:

Text

FIENDS logo

Issue 3 - Economies

Issue 3 - Economies

Issue 3 - Economies

Issue 3 - Economies

Issue 3 - Economies

FIENDS is a semi-regular journal of thoughts and artistic investigations that started with members of the Public Sphere pathway on the RCA Contemporary Art Practice programme. It has expanded to include artists across all CAP pathways. At this moment, that is how it exists; as a non-hierarchical, non-authored mix of loose theory and art practice. FIENDS is usually presented as a physical, riso-printed theory object, folded and printed in 2 colours; however now also exists digitally at: http://fiends.gq/

The journal operates within a relatively tight, common public, yet simultaneously has the scope to go beyond. It is a fleeting object of intense, cooperative musings. The monthly issues explore divergent themes; from senses of futures and fictions, to the complexities of economies, to our collective understanding of nationhood and democracy. In this way, FIENDS becomes a material space of collective thoughts and common concern within CAP, and subsequently catalyses discussions in the pressing matters of publics, politics, identity and engagement that the group naturally share.

FIENDS is co-ordinated in collaboration with Mayssa Kanaan, Toby Tobias Kidd and Paola Estrella.

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Medium:

Publication
26 July 2020
17:00 (GMT + 0)

Contemporary Art Practice: Talk Chapter 2 – Fictioning as a Form of Resistance

With Sonia Bernaciak and Lawrence Lek
Read More
16 July 2020
23:00 (GMT + 0)

Contemporary Art Practice: Jamie Steedman, Ideal Life Radio Show

A recurring radio broadcast available for 24 hours
22 July 2020
13:00 (GMT + 0)

Contemporary Art Practice Talk: Chapter 1 – Empathy and Care as a Form of Resistance

with Jennifer Martin and Beverley Bennett – REPLAY
30 July 2020
17:00 (GMT + 0)

Contemporary Art Practice Talk: Chapter 3 – Archiving as a Form of Resistance

with Bisan Abu Eisheh and Michael Rakowitz
27 July 2020
17:00 (GMT + 0)
Zoom

Past/Future as a form of Resistance

Organised by Peter Spanjer with Sonya Dyer, Tanoa Sasraku & Alexandria Smith, Students Questions
27 July 2020
13:00 (GMT + 0)

Contemporary Art Practice Talk: Chapter 2 – Fictioning as a Form of Resistance

with Sonia Bernaciak and Lawrence Lek
21 July 2020
17:00 (GMT + 0)

Contemporary Art Practice Talk: Chapter 1 – Empathy and Care as a Form of Resistance

with Jennifer Martin and Beverley Bennett
31 July 2020
13:00 (GMT + 0)

Contemporary Art Practice Talk: Archiving as a Form of Resistance

with Bisan Abu Eisheh and Michael Rakowitz

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