do you need support?
Support Structure is an architectural interface. Support Structure aims to create a space which is continuously reinvented by its users in relation to its context. Support Structure houses artefacts as well as activities and aids reconsideration of existing spaces as an impulse for future change. Support Structure is an evolving collaborative project between architect Céline Condorelli and artist-curator Gavin Wade. Our aim is to design and create a universally adaptable support structure that approaches the specific rather than the generic. To achieve this we are putting Support Structure through a learning process.
Support Structure began its life by defining and facilitating spatial organisation in relation to I Am A Curator, at the Chisenhale Gallery, London. Support Structure offered storage, archival and organisational space for all the artwork in the exhibition, and provided an interface between the public and the artworks, and between the daily curators, the gallery staff and the artworks. Support Structure facilitated the daily exhibition making of I Am A Curator and was also a work in the exhibition.
I Am A Curator was an ambitious project that empowered the viewer, giving Chisenhale Gallery's visitors the chance to be a curator for one day. Over the course of the project, prospective curators could book a one-day slot at Chisenhale, and each individual was then given the opportunity to curate their own exhibition during the course of the day. Each curator was able to select artworks housed in a specially constructed architectural environment inside the gallery. Here, there was a large and diverse pool of work available to each curator: sculpture, video, sound works, painting, performance proposals, drawing, social intervention and action descriptions.
The result was 30 exhibitions taking place over 30 days: www.chisenhale.org.uk
Conceived and directed by Per Huttner
Support Structure by Céline Condorelli & Gavin Wade
Support Structure production by Sebastian Pedley
I Deal Opportunities deck of cards by Scott Rigby
Gallery Crew concept: Morten Goll and Joachim Hamou
Gallery Crew director: Hannah Rickards
Support Structure -phase 2 responds to Alison & Peter Smithson's proposition of The Economist building as a micro-city. Its three octagonal towers form a "cluster" containing corporate offices, public/commercial space and private residencies on three different scales around a raised plaza. On the 40th Anniversary of Alison and Peter Smithson's landmark building Support Structure was the first artwork designed for both its interior and exterior spaces.
Support Structure's objective was to initiate discourse between existing and new users of the Plaza and to open the function of the ground floor spaces for readjustment. Adaptable architectural structures offered new relationships between the three scales of the "plaza city". Referencing Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich's The Velvet and Silk Cafe, Women's Fashion Exhibition, Berlin, 1927, curtain elements were introduced into the hard geometry of The Economist Tower, extending the newly curtained Shumi Restaurant in the commercial tower, Boodles Gentlemen's Club's discreet windows and the private draped spaces of the smaller tower.
Support Structure proposed reorganisation, new use and misuse of The Economist Plaza, updating the Smithsons radical but contextually sensitive vision of a new community structure.
Support Structure used the ground floor of the Economist as a temporary office, studio and event space. Support Structure was available for use during the period of the residency, and facilitated the hosting of public displays, events and meetings, across the smithsons public ground floor, both in and out of the building.
What is multicultural?
Support Structure proposed to form a multicultural library to define and expand what multicultural means. This can become a library of multicultural ideas for a multicultural person, public or society, a multicultural library, a flexible definition destined to change in time. Is multicultural a language, a theory, a book, a colour, a shape, a network, a tool or an attitude? Is it political or optimistic to be multicultural? Is it one thing or many things? We are actively seeking suggestions and donations for the library, which is housed in a small mobile unit as part of a discreet set of architectural tools inserted into the group's temporary offices in Victory Business Centre.
Proposal: presentation and feedback Tuesday 25 May 2004
at the Portsmouth School of Architecture
For Multicultural Group and open to general public presentation of Support Structure tools and methods, summary of research and findings proposal options for Group to consider.
Final Event: Friday 18 June 2004, 18.30 to 20.30
The development of a new shape for The Multicultural Festival (taking place in September) was launched by its inscription on the ground of Castlefield, Southsea, on Friday 18th June.
call for suggestions and donations
Support Structure and Portsmouth Multicultural Group aimed to build a multicultural library and sought help from the citizens of Portsmouth by making a call for proposed books that such a library should contain, which was distributed in the local papers. It read as follows:
Please let us know which books you think should be part of the library and why.
or if you can, donate a copy by contacting us // sending to the address below // or filling in the feedback form:
Portsmouth multicultural group
PO BOX 597
Portsmouth PO1 1QX
|what is multicultural?
is it a word?
is it prized?
is it profitable?
is it real?
is it a future?
is it political?
a rally cry?
a TV show?
is it shared?
is it one thing?
or many things?
After 60 years of military control, Greenham Common has only recently been restored to a state of common land. As such, Greenham and Crookham Heath are open to the general public, while those with 'commoners rights' may graze their animals, take gravel, cut turf and collect firewood. In 1941 the land was requisitioned by the Air Ministry as a military base, home first to British squadrons and then the American Air force. In 1981, the US Army infamously deployed nuclear missiles on the site, which sparked 10 years of anti-nuclear and peace demonstrations by various women's groups. The site was opened to the public in 2000 and is managed for Wildlife by West Berkshire Council as a site of special scientific interest' (SSSI).
Support Structure.... is questioning the relationship of the Common to the surrounding communities of Greenham, Newbury and Thatcham, and posting an Act that will encourage rambling and thus a renewed ownership of the land.
Common Use.... plays on planning and advertising language to promote public awareness and provoke a less passive use of the land. A large billboard with a new slogan for Greenham Common forms the heart of the project. The Act is a prompt for the new slogan. The billboard was constructed on the former base's control tower, the Common's most visible feature. As one of the few tangible remains of the land's past the Control Tower is pinpointed as a destination for ramblers. Smaller notices announcing the proposed Act were posted around the whole Greenham, Newbury and Thatcham area.
Walking....is proposed as a social act understood in terms of both the flaneur's observation of the city and the rambler's pursuit of pleasure. In Common Use we wish to use the myriad pathways around the Common to connect it to the neighbouring communities.
A Common Use Walk is available for members of the public to try out on Sunday 24th October 2004 and subsequently. At a later date to be announced Support Structure will support an auction of Commoners rights for Greenham and Crookham Common.
Greenham Common Control Tower,off Burys Bank Road (half way along), (off A339), Greenham Common, West Berkshire & various sites around Greenham & Crookham Common, Newbury & Thatcham including Thatcham Discovery Centre,
Common Use Walk & Unveiling Sunday 24th October, 12:00, meet at Control Tower
Common Use Public Artist/Architects Talk Wednesday 27th October, 6pm, New Greenham Arts
Common Use Workshops: New Slogans for Greenham, Weds 27th October, 11am & 3pm, Venture West, New Greenham Park.
"you have a future in common use" – article for Static 04 by Céline Condorelli (PDF)
walking & talking
walking & talking aims to utilise the social premise of the university campus as a platform for conversation and debate to form a new map for the past and future communities of Wivenhoe Park.
"we walked and talked the site together..." Albert Sloman.
In the tradition of the founding Vice Chancelor and Architect, Albert Sloman and Kenneth Capon, Support Structure proposed a course of walking and talking with users of Essex University from its 40 years of existence. Support Structure is questioning the configuration of the site amongst the ever changing flow of communities that inhabit it. Walking & talking presents new possibilities emerging from the synthesis of art and architectural practice, proposing new structures for Essex University by ensuring that we are "seen" to be listening.
Call for walkers & talkers
A public call was made and over a 6 month residency, Condorelli and Wade were taken on walks and talks around Wivenhoe park, researching and recording the diversity of the University in the same way that it was originally conceived. The walks and talks act as a register of collective memory and experience of the site from its creation to now. The conversations led to the production of a set of temporary signs located around the site to encourage conversation and an awareness of social acts.
The gallery space acted as a base/office for activities around walking & talking, offering a complete set of transcriptions of all the walks & talks, a discreet selection of archive material and along with the original model of the site, a large aerial photograph of the university used to collect stories from people visiting. Small cards could be attached so that a layered map of personal experience and belonging was allowed to continue to emerge during the exhibition. An exhibition design created from a second set of temporary signs mapped out the original unrealised extended plan of Essex University across the gallery space as a prompt to reconsider the system of forms and experiences across the site.
A walking & talking map of the entire site works in conjunction with the signs to inscribe peoples stories into the landscape, and a document for all new users and visitors to the site.
download essex university map (PDF)
download essex university map – back (PDF)
University Gallery and various sites around the campus and Wivenhoe park
How can we support you?
various sites, 2007
seminar on support
Mark Cousins & Jaime Stapleton
Phase 6 focuses on Eastside, Birmingham as a site of future potential in flux. A series of temporary billboards and hand drawn placards are positioned for use across Eastside as a brief for the many ways that the people who inhabit the site would like to be supported. We asked the questions:
How can we support you and your business?
And How can we support Eastside?
A booklet -available for free- presents the set of briefs for support given to us by residents of Eastside and experts in the field of architecture/art who were also asked to give a definition of support. These definitions form the section Defining Support.
Seminar on support brings together Mark Cousins and Jaime Stapleton, two eminent figures in the fields of architecture and law to present and discuss how support functions in the built environment and support structures for cultural practice in the era of economic globalisation.
Mark Cousins is a British cultural critic and architectural theorist. He is Director of General Studies and Head of the Graduate Program in Histories and Theories at the Architectural Association. He is also Visiting Professor of Architecture at Columbia University and at the University of Navarre, Pamplona.
Dr Jaime Stapleton is Associate Research Fellow in the School of Law at Birkbeck, University of London. He is an external consultant to the World Intellectual Property Organisation and an advisor to Cambridge University's Primary Sources on Copyright project. He is also part of the CRIR Group of researchers in residence in Christiania, Copenhagen, where his work focuses on concepts of ownership, property and cultural expression.
music for shopping malls
collaboration with Beijing based architect Wang Hui for a commission by The British Council and Get it Louder (GIL). The project turns the shopping mall from a place of consumption to a place of production.
music for shopping malls uses the existing commercial typologies of the mall in the form of muzak and shopping bags, providing every day components that make its environment work, as a system in a bag. What type of cultural and experiential knowledge does a mall produce? music for shopping malls treats malls as contexts mixing high and low culture - as spaces of public appearance, choreographed, laid out and organised as complete environments with an almost total absence of an outside, spatially, but completely integrated within a global economy and cultural infrastructure.
The made in shopping bag interrupts the seamless and invisible appearance of transactions by offering an opportunity to adjust, reinvent and translate the ubiquitous shopping bag form to fit individual ergonomic, fantasy or purchase requirements. A team of seamstresses are located outside the GIL shop cutting and sewing bags on request from basic templates or new propositions. The fabric is stamped with a carp, a Chinese representation of value, and the words 'Made In' which are taken from the English phrase Made In China - the three English words universally understood in China.
The customised bag can be used for general shopping, to hold other products from the GIL shop and also or specifically the music for shopping malls CD which support structure & wang hui have commissioned as part of the project. Three Beijing musicians were invited to create a soundtrack for the shopping malls and GIL exhibitions. The music is designed specifically to be listened to as background music - or muzak - but in the tradition of Eric Satie's furniture music from 1917, where the musician proposed that music fit specific rooms and architecture in the way that furniture is designed. The CD cover further presents Western dot-to-dot and colouring-by-numbers drawing forms - forms not commercially available within China - as a method of discovering the traditional background essence of Chinese painting. The CD is available to buy in the shop and will be playing through the existing mall sounds systems for the duration of the exhibition. It features the Beijing artists: 718, Yan Jun and Zafka and original furniture music by Eric Satie and has been released on Kwanyin records especially for GIL 2007.
‘A.L.S.’ by Zafka
‘music for shopping malls pt. 1’ by 718
The music for shopping malls elements have been designed and produced to be fully integrated within the landscape of the shopping mall with added ingredients/questions of spatial and cultural production. The active workshop, shopping bags, soundtrack and background are support structure & wang hui's tools for knowledge production as an interface to unlocking roles and designations of producer, retailer and consumer where traditionally the exhibition takes on the role of middleman.
Chief curator: Ou Ning. UK curators: Emily Campbell, Shumon Basar, Joshua Bolchover
For more information: www.alternativearchive.com
Phase 8: in support of Institutions comprises ‘music for museums’ and ‘curtain as declaration of desire for change of function’.
‘music for museums’ took its lead from ‘music for shopping malls’ to produce a soundtrack for museums using the history of the muzak corporation, with the same musicians as well as the two UK based Isambard Khroustaliov and ISAN; background music was developed for a specific range of functional areas within gallery and museum spaces. The piece questions contemporary exhibition environments’ default position of ‘neutrality’, and reconsiders them as places of production; it addresses the existing cultural and commercial typologies of the museum to stimulate critical engagement with ‘functional music’.
This functionality is addressed in its human level with ‘Curtain as declaration of desire for change of function’, which focuses on how an institution recognizes and documents its own workings. Support Structure proposed that the ICA make a list of every person who has been part of the ICA during its sixty years, and to maintain this list into the future. The project highlights the difficulties in quantifying such an accumulation; the past dependent on access to archives often lost or sold, and the future subject to the reality of institutional and pragmatic shifts of commitment- but it also revealed the contractual nature of such a history, while the only documents that could be used were those from publications and accounts, excluding therefore other, more casual forms of engagement. The vastness of the list functions as an equalizing system as both artists and employees appear in it, and are therefore registered as workers in the institution.
‘music for gallery’ by ISAN
In support of public is Eastside Projects, a new artist-run space as public gallery for the City of Birmingham that opened in September 2008. By integrating the design, architecture and management as well as the curation of the space as its programme, Support Structure is developing an open-ended long-term gallery system that will evolve in collaboration with invited artists to the gallery; Wade is gallery director and lead artist-curator and Condorelli is architect-curator. Support Structure’s role is to generate a space where the building itself from passive becomes active, and articulates a changing and cumulative context with and for exhibition-making. This allows the art space to enter a discourse of performativity within a highly constructed and critical environment, inventing alternative modes of display and engagement with art production. The first exhibition ‘This is the Gallery and the Gallery is many Things’ took place as a sequential building site, with artists invited to work on different parts of the building with Support Structure.
Eastside Projects is organised by a founding collective comprising Simon & Tom Bloor, Céline Condorelli, Ruth Claxton, James Langdon and Gavin Wade.
Sternberg Press, Berlin, New York (2009)
title: SUPPORT STRUCTURES
Author / Editor: Céline Condorelli
Publisher: Sternberg Press (2009)
In co-production with:
Support Structure: Céline Condorelli and Gavin Wade
with James Langdon
Design: James Langdon
Support Structures is a manual for what bears, sustains, props, and holds up. It is a manual for those things that encourage, give comfort, approval, and solace; that care for and provide consolation and the necessities of life. It is a manual for that which assists corroborates, advocates, articulates, substantiates, champions, and endorses; for what stands behind, underpins, frames, presents, maintains, and strengthens. Support Structures is a manual for those things that give, in short, support. While the work of supporting might traditionally appear as subsequent, unessential, and lacking value in itself, this manual is an attempt to restore attention to one of the neglected, yet crucial modes through which we apprehend and shape the world.
Support Structures is a publication project for the creation of the missing bibliography of support structures. Support Structures is the culmination of several endeavours. The first is the collaborative project ‘Support Structure’ by ourselves, Céline Condorelli and Gavin Wade, from 2003 to 2009. The second, prompted by the first, is a critical enquiry by Condorelli that exposes an almost complete absence of literature or theory on what constitutes ‘support’, and therefore the imperative need to create a bibliography on the subject. Lastly, this book, Support Structures, is itself articulated as a supporting structure, a manual for engagement in and with its subject, which attempts both functionally and structurally to operate much like it.
Support Structures offers support through potential methodologies, inspirations, and activations for practice. While registering and collecting reference projects in a new archive of support structures alongside its ten-phase project, different writers, thinkers, and practitioners were invited from various fields to elaborate on frameworks and work on texts , which form the theoretical backbone of the publication. A collection of contributions offers different possibilities for engaging in this unchartered territory, from theoretical frameworks to projects, existing systems to ones invented for specific creative processes. ‘Support Structures’ offers support through potential methodologies, inspirations and activations for practice, and addresses important questions for art and architecture practices on forms of display, organization, articulation, appropriation, autonomy, and temporariness, and the manifestations of blindness towards them.
Essays by: Céline Condorelli, Mark Cousins, Jaime Stapleton, Andrea Phillips, Bart de Baere, Wouter Davidts, Eyal Weizman & Rony Brauman, Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, Jan Verwoert.
With works by:
Michael Asher, Artist Placement Group, Can Altay, Conrad Atkinson, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan, Filippo Brunelleschi, Banu Cennetoglu, Christopher D’Arcangelo, Martin Beck, Cevdet Erek, Flatpack 001 (Mark and Stephen Beasley), Andrea Fraser, Buckminster Fuller, Ryan Gander, Ella Gibbs, Gareth Jones, Frederick Kiesler, Lucy Kimbell, James Langdon, El Lissitzky, Gordon Matta-Clark, Enzo Mari, Antoni Muntadas, Peter Nadin, ‘The offices of Peter Fend, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Jenny Holzer, Peter Nadin, Richard Prince & Robin Winters’, Radim Pesko, Lilly Reich, Jane Rendell, Support Structure, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kurt Vonnegut, Lawrence Weiner, Christopher Williams, Carey Young, a.o.
support structure phase 1
catalogue text by Céline Condorelli and Gavin Wade
from Two Minds: artists and architects in collaboration, edited by Jes Fernie, Black Dog Publishing 2006
"Doing democracy" Andrea Phillips
Local operations at Serpentine Gallery, may 2007
"Support, Participation, Equity"
conversation between Céline Condorelli and Eyal Weizman from “The Violence of Participation”
edited by Markus Miessen, Sternberg Press 2007.
Support Structure was a project taking place between 2003–2009 by Céline Condorelli and Gavin Wade.
Céline Condorelli is an artist based in London; she is one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK and is currently Professor at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti) Milan.
Recent exhibitions include The Company She Keeps, Van Abbemuseum, Céline Condorelli, Chisenhale Gallery, bau bau, museum refectory, permanent installation, Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig, Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks, MuHKA, Antwerp (2014), Additionals, Project Art Centre, Dublin, Puppet Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, Things That Go Without Saying, Grazer Kunstverein, Austria, The Parliament, ‘Archive of Disobedience’, Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2013), Surrounded by the Uninhabitable, SALT Istanbul (2012).
Gavin Wade is an artist-curator, Director of Eastside Projects, Birmingham and Publisher of Strategic Questions. In 2010 he was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund Award for exceptional cultural entrepreneurs. His curated solo exhibitions include Bill Drummond, Gunilla Klingberg, Cao Fei, Mike Nelson, Yangjiang Group, William Pope.L, Dan Graham, Carey Young, Liam Gillick, Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, Nathan Coley and Bas Jan Ader. Curated projects include: Trade Show (with Kathrin Böaut;hm) (2013–14); Painting Show (2011–12), Eastside Projects; Public Structures, Guangzhou Triennial, China (2005); Spectator T: ArtSheffield (2005); and In the Midst of Things, Bournville (1999). His books include Missing Houses (with Céline Condorelli), National Trust & Nottingham Contemporary (2012); Has Man A Function In Universe?, Book Works (2008); and his novel The Interruptors, Article Press (2005).
The Support Structure project, after being developed over ten phases and seven years, has come to an end as a working rubric in its previous configuration. Set-up explicitly as a curriculum, where Support Structure was taken through a learning process, this multi-part, collaborative endeavour came to its natural conclusion with its two final phases – the opening of the art organisation Eastside Projects on the one hand, and the publication of the manual and reader, Support Structures on the other. Eastside Projects has developed its own narrative and established a strong national and international profile. It has also enthusiastically re-articulated the working relations that gave birth to it in the first place and while we continue to work together, it is not in the guise of Support Structure, but as directors of the organisation or as collaborators bearing merely our own names.
Much still remains to be explored. Questions raised by the notion of support structures concern not just a set of issues around display, but also forms of association, and the higher potential in the collective and common, residing in affective as well as intellectual labour. The necessity of working together, to invent possibilities and realities that have not yet been co-opted or exploited, is what also defines relations of friendship. The friendships from the project in effect endure, and in many ways have become for our practices a model of production – of work and of life. Support structures as a process and a methodology entail a way of doing things that creates close ties and connections between people, but also with things, ideas, sites, institutions, books; projects in this way speak through a multitude of voices and propose something that each could not do or say alone, and as a result offers more than the cumulative part of their components and fragments. The friendship they propose is both a practice and a position.
For the future we remain open to invitations to develop new works in response to an individual or groups need of support.
How can we support you?