Goldsmiths Radical Media Forum – Marc Garrett, “Disrupting The Gaze: Part 1 – Art intervention & the Tate Gallery”, 21 Feb 2013

The Goldsmiths Radical Media Forum “Disrupting The Gaze: Part 1 – Art intervention & the Tate Gallery”. By Marc Garrett.

Thursday, February 21, 2013, 5:30 (New Academic Building 102)

Marc Garrett will present the first section of his two part paper ‘Disrupting The Gaze’. Part one ‘Art Intervention and the Tate Gallery’.

“The word “art” can conjure up a vision of objects in an art gallery, showroom or museum, that can be perceived as reinforcing the values and machinations of the victors of history as leisure objects for elite entertainment, distraction and/or decoration – or the narcissistic expression of an isolated self-regarding individual.” (Garrett & Catlow 2012)

We live in a world riddled with contradictions and confusing signals. Our histories are assessed, judged and introduced as fact yet there are so many bits missing. We accept what is given through sound bite forms of mediation and end up using misinformation as our cultural foundations, and then we build on these ‘acquired’ assumptions as our ‘imagined’ guidelines. This critique studies how contemporary artists are challenging these defaults through their connected enactments and critical inquiries of the existing conditions. It highlights a continual dialogue involving a historical struggle between what is condoned as legitimate art and knowledge, and what is not. It looks at a complexity, embedded in our culture and its class divisions in Britain. And draws upon struggles going as far back as the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, colonialism and slavery, to present day concerns with neoliberalism and its dominance. The Tate gallery is used as a reference point and a site of focus for these various historical and contemporary, political and societal conflicts.

The artists’ and art groups featured, include Graham Harwood, Platform, Liberate The Tate, IOCOSE, Tamiko Thiel, and Mark Wallinger; each has delivered a particular (unofficial and official) mode of art intervention at the Tate Gallery. Whether these artistic activities concern economic, ecological, historical, political or hierarchical conditions, they all connect in different ways. They meet, not through style or as part of a field of practice, but as contemporary artistic practitioners exploring their own states of agency in a world where our ‘public’ interfaces are as much a necessary place of creative engagement, as is the already accepted physical ‘inner’ sanctum of the gallery space. However, their work has become equally significant (perhaps even more) than, the mainstream art establishment’s franchised celebrities.

In keeping with Gregory Sholette’s recently, published vindication for those artists hidden away where the art establishment’s light rarely shines, “when, the excluded are made visible, when they demand visibility, it is always ultimately a matter of politics and rethinking history.” (Sholette 2011) This paper draws upon a wider, contemporary art culture and audience existing out there. However, the artistic discoveries and discourse coming out of this independent art culture is not reflected back to us. Instead, we receive more of the same, marketed franchises. The central, mainstream version of contemporary art has found its allies within a global and corporate culture, where business dictate’s art value. Yet, there is a spirit of artistic emancipation that exists and is thriving out there. It is self styled, self governed and liberated from the restrictive norms that dominate our mediated gaze, and this is what this paper is mainly about.

Marc Garrett is co-director and co-founder, with artist Ruth Catlow of the Internet arts collectives and communities –,,, also co-founder and co-curator/director of the gallery space formerly known as ‘HTTP Gallery’ now called the Furtherfield Gallery in London (Finsbury Park), UK. Co-curating various contemporary Media Arts and hybrid exhibitions, projects nationally and internationally. Co-editor of ‘Artists Re:Thinking Games’ with Ruth Catlow and Corrado Morgana 2010. Hosted Furtherfield’s critically acclaimed weekly broadcast on UK’s Resonance FM Radio, a series of hour long live interviews with people working at the edge of contemporary practices in art, technology & social change. Currently studying Art history Phd at the University of London, Birkbeck College.

The Goldsmiths Radical Media Forum is a lecture series sponsored by the Department of Media & Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is currently being organized by PhD student Corey Schultz (email: c.schultz AT Like the diversity of the department itself, our aim is to create a wide range of speakers from a variety of fields related to media and communications, including (but not limited to), film, journalism, art, and cultural studies.

The topic for the 2012/13 year is “Radical Media Forum: Media Experiments.” The aim is to showcase various kinds of innovative work that are currently being developed in the discipline, and these experiments can therefore be conceptual, textual, visual, methodological and technical. We are interested in presenting transdisciplinary work on media as well as work that crosses the theory-practice divide. At the same time, we want to feature theoretical or empirically-driven presentations that experiment with ideas and concepts around “the media,” or with ways of “studying media.”