I Can't Live Without...

We made three new works for I Can't Live Without... a one-off series of live events, screenings and a changing exhibition that took place at The Showroom across three Saturdays from mid-August to early September 2007. Curated by Shama Kanna, I Can't Live Without... 'aimed to address the view that "the non-essential is the most essential component of contemporary art" ([mis!]quote taken from a lecture by Liam Gillick entitled Factories in the Snow, delivered as part of the talks programme at Frieze Art Fair 2006) by examining attitudes towards the essential and the non-essential in contemporary practice.'

09:35 2nd Aug 2007

Ok, we need to get a conversation going for the showroom show and as we need to let them know by the 13th lets do it via the magical medium of cyber space. So Alec, been talking about a kind of inverted version of the Associates piece, ‘Can’t live without network’. So how this would work is by relating allthe invited participants for the show back to us, e.g. Lawrence Weiner has recently shown at The Maritime Museum curated by Lisa Lefeuvre who’s partner is James Porter who was a commissioned artist for ‘Wish You Where Here’, a project by Kelly Large who was commissioned by The Hut Project for ‘Associates’ and ‘The Hut Project Escort Agency’ (not sure we could use partners of, but you get the point). What I think this does is form solid (real world) connections (tongue in cheek) between this somewhat disparate collection of artists being brought together under the umbrella of this group show (being curatorialy linked) and so, by implication, having an assumed position in relation to the context of this show thrust upon them. So it becomes a critique of the ‘group show’, questions its validity as a curatorial model whilst at the same time, by relating everyone back to us, acknowledging that we (The Hut Project) actually can’t live without them, either by being in them or contriving them for our own work? Think this works ok for this show and think the more obscure the connections the better and so also think it’s absolutely possible to do. I suppose my problem with it is that it’s not very bling, but think that maybe that would come out through the obscure connections, i.e. through its humour. In terms of form, think it would make sense if it was a pull out that people would take away (as an act of giving of course!). Also been thinking another possibility is ‘stepping on the toe of the angel of the north’, had a real sense of why this made sense in this context but have lost the train of thought now (maybe just think it would really stand out in the show, but doesn’t really make sense, might find it again though so watch this space). Also keep coming back to our name, not what it means but why we have one at all, I suppose ‘The Hut Project’ mirrors the ‘group show’ (a very 90’s phenomena) in the sense that group shows stop being about the individual works (practice of the individual artists) but rather the narrative created between the works, as with the dialogue developed within a collective, so The Hut Project is a continuous ‘group show’?

Let me Know your thoughts


09:06 6th Aug 2007


re: showroom. getting happier with the 'group shows' piece. (think it should be called cant live without group shows tho ather than 'network'. more specific.) i think it does tick all the boxes, as we discussed, and IS a proper development on the associates piece, as takes the networking process out of our immediate surroundings and into its broader context. my only problem with this is that where ASS produced those networks this idea merely represents/reproduces them to wit i think we need to develop another aspect from the information/map we create.

my first thoughts were remarkably pedestrian. that we would mine some of the more interesting details from the map to produce a daily poster for the 'evolving show', or (ref. kelly's idea) have some changing ifno courtesy of an led display. of course, these ideas run into the problem we discussed, ie wanting to do something singular (yet of course complex behind the scenes),and in so doing deal with the broader issues of the 'essentialism ofthe non-essential'.

but it did occur to me that we could do the netwrking piece, and also find out from Shama which artists refused to be in the show. These artsists therfore not being curatorially linked any more through this show, we would want o put them together in a show to compnsate. one way to do this would be to put a list of their names in a document on our website, and therefore intervene in their google profile, as per 'hut project meta-artists of the world'. the group show would only exist on this invisible page, and we could do a press-release annoncing the show, that can be acessed only through google?

dos that make sense, its not as contrived as it sounds...

anyway, i think Katie has a phone card, so i may be ale to give you a ring at home for free tonight, what's your home phone number?

also i'll be on email most of the day.

have you been discussing this with alec ove the phone? dont have any emails...

Monsieur Evans

09:22 6th Aug 2007

also have you had any thoughts on the fact that Shama misquoted Gillick? think there is a good seed in there, provided we can do something active and not just illustrate that relational slippage. i havent had a chance to listen to the talk yet, but will today.

20:20 7th Aug 2007

Also been thinking about the ‘network’ piece and think this only really works (or at least works better) for Zurich. Thinking about what you where saying Ian about the ‘meta curators of the world’ idea. So all the names of the artists in the show go onto a blank page on our site (or a new site created for the piece) and all the hits (via Google) get logged in the space during the show. Erm…ye, think this is better but still not very excited by it. Can see your (Ian) big clock in the space with the hits being the plastic date changing thing? Don’t know, gonna go and have me tea…

10:50 13th Aug 2007

Hi Shama

So... we have settled on some new poster works for I Cant Live Without. We'd like to make a new poster for each Saturday, and to lay them in a small pile on the floor to be taken away. This Saturday's poster would say something like:

'The Hut Project has gone to tread on the toe of the Angel of the North'

subsequent posters will probably also refer to some similar 'action'.

Does this sound ok?

I'm off to price poster sizes this morning, is there a particular arrangement of the space that would limit the amount of floor space they could take up? I'm thinking they would probably be A2, or A1 at the largest.


p.s. you can get me on 07939244394 if you'd like to chat about this.

21:48 13th Aug 2007

heres a skype i had with steadman earlier, had kind of gone back to the single poster before we started and think thats the way to go. think the pile adds but dosent clearly develop the idea. so think we go with that if you agree...

[20:08:16] Chris Bird says: hey mate, so ian said that your dead set against having a pile of posters, i think your right if you consider it relationaly but i think that the nature of what the poster is actually saying councels that out. i dont think people will read it as sincere. i like it because i think it kind of gives the poster a life of its own, shifts its context, but ultimatley think its funnier and so does more than just a poster on its own which i actualy think could come across as far more ernest in that it blatantly refuses the context of the show, just says 'NO', shuts it down. i think being able to take them away still refuses but in a more layered way, its still a poster that suggests an action but has this ridiculas performativity attached to its distribution which i think critiques the context of the show far more strongly...?

[08/08/2007 19:42:54] Alec says: should be able to do 7 as its there, it might be 15 past or something before i get there but lets say 7.
[19:56:06] Alec says: alright mate, sorry day ran away with me. should be leaving the office in the next half hour. ill give you a bell for a chat then.

[20:14:55] Chris Bird says: tomorrow is the only time to work up a design so we need to make a decision on this tonight. dont really mind but am coming down on the pile side at the moment and ian thinks the same (or did the last time i spoke to him) so think it would be better to make the decision now and then just work on the design tomorow. so what you think?

[20:23:25] Alec says: I think the pile is a bit dogey, for me there is something really strong in the simplicity of the poster, a text statement defining a performative action and that action does exist (so not just saying no but doing what has been asked) but jsut not in the way she expected. I was also thinkin over the weekend about this cold dry poster but feel there is something in the disgn we can do to lighten it. Really not sure about the pile to take away, i know what you mean about the content of the poster overriding the sentiment of the action but still think people will read it as genuine and not sure it adds anything. The pile to me does add another layer of complexity but makes it messier rather than better, and think the single statement is a stronger statemt, and if written and desgned in the right way isnt a total rebut (was saying to Ian maybe ornage, thinking of out to lunch shop signs / summer shows, dont know, not that that is necissarily the right alternative.............)

[20:25:05] Alec added ian evans to this chat

[20:25:23] Chris Bird says: ians at work mate

[20:25:36] Alec says: oh, must have left his computer on.

[20:25:42] Chris Bird says: ye

[20:25:50] Chris Bird says: take your point

[20:26:04] Chris Bird says: and think it is risky

[20:27:12] Alec says: Im just not sure it needs it, feels like adding on to rather than developing........do you know what i mean?

[20:28:14] Chris Bird says: think your right

[20:29:12] Chris Bird says: its not a development but maybe suggesting that and it actualy not doing it does something if you know what i mean

[20:29:36] Chris Bird says: think im chatting shit

[20:30:26] Chris Bird says: think a single poster is actualy projecting the message and so is more open than being able to take them away

[20:34:11] Alec says: and i think its using that 60's conceptual mechanism already. always remember jean fisher taling about a sculpture who stoped sculpting and instead wrote a wall text saying i wlked over a hill, and how that was far more physical than shoing that happening or even doing it (hippy!). But thats the mechanism for me. textual sculpting...i think tthe mechanism of taking them away is definitely a funny one but think its something to be used for a different work where it more dirctly produces the content.

[20:35:21] Chris Bird says: ye, keep flip flopping about it

[20:35:36] Alec says: leaving the office now can i call you for a chat.

03:12 14th Aug 2007

its a 50/50 toss-up

either we do single poster and run the risk of being seen to 'close down' the context?


we do the pile and run the risk of being taken literally

personally, i think the pile adds another layer which highlights, augments the issues the singular piece is dealing with, and so opens it out. that risk is worth taking.

speak am

10:27 14th Aug 2007

I think it more than just being taken literally with the pile, i don't think it relates to this work, and don't think it does particularly open it out. it doesn't detract from it but really don't see it changing the closing down nature of the woke. But really don't think the poster weather singular or not does close down the invitation, kind of feel the pile does that more as that becomes an object?

some other things that were running through my head last night thinking about how to avoid the work being read wrongly, all of which have their own issues and don't think any of them are usable but anyway: pile of posters you cant take away rather than three actions over the weeks, one action but a few word each week so, "Gone to stamp on the", "Angel of the Norths" etc etc....so you cant get a complete reading of the work or take it all home with you unless you persiveer.

anyway, think the best is the single poster, and still pretty reluctant about the pile, but either way, as i know we need to get it sent off today.



Alec: 12:02:16
so did you get my email? As i said, at this stage we just need to get it done so either way, but still think the singal poster is stronger.

ian evans: 12:02:35
hi mate

ian evans: 12:02:39
just reading it now

ian evans: 12:03:36
i dont think that the single poster closes down the invitation

ian evans: 12:03:44
it just could be rad that way

ian evans: 12:03:45

ian evans: 12:04:17
my feeling is that the single poster operates between two poles

ian evans: 12:04:19
of the

ian evans: 12:04:23
and its representation

ian evans: 12:04:35
(as well as the other things it has)

ian evans: 12:04:40
the content if u like

ian evans: 12:04:53
to do the pile

ian evans: 12:04:58
adds a third dimension to that

ian evans: 12:05:08
and implicates the audience

ian evans: 12:05:23
making them performatively consume that representation

ian evans: 12:05:33
to me we need that to fully develop the piece

ian evans: 12:06:08
that the single poster is maybe lacking something without it

ian evans: 12:08:33
although reading back your email

ian evans: 12:08:42
maybe its amusing to have the pile

ian evans: 12:08:48
and you cant take them away

ian evans: 12:09:01
get some of that institutional barrier and an agry invigilator

ian evans: 12:09:13

Alec: 12:49:44
i think that the reading of the poster perfomitivly implicates the audience, just in a less litteral way, and using it for that reason is exactly the reason that people like Lucy Skaer and other bad tag on a bit of relationism artists use it. so that cant be our real reason or we are doing that not talking about it.

Alec: 12:51:29
sorry wasnt clear there so the action of reading a visualising the action is as performative as bending down to pick up the poster. and bending down is an unrelated performative act?? dont konw if i mean that..

ian evans: 12:51:53
ok i understand what you mean, just retying to decide if i agree or not

Alec: 12:52:43
Lucy Skaer piec for the year she was in beck was a series of performative interventions in the street, something with butterfly crystalisis...............she then

ian evans: 12:52:53
yeah rememeber the posters

Alec: 12:53:05
yea unlimited edition

Alec: 12:53:33
thats her response to the problem of how to reprsent performative work in a gallery based context

ian evans: 12:54:36
yea of course, trying to decide how much we want to punish this audience for coming to look at our work

ian evans: 12:55:06
you know the pile on the florr

ian evans: 12:55:09
is a bit like

ian evans: 12:55:15
gluing a penny to the floor

ian evans: 12:55:23
and laughing when people try to pick it up

ian evans: 12:55:26
its very aggressive

ian evans: 12:55:45
but i'm not sure

Alec: 12:55:46
what not being able to take them

Alec: 12:55:48

ian evans: 12:56:02
no being able to take them does the same thing

Alec: 12:56:22
Well yes execpt people love all that.

Alec: 12:56:28
something to take home

ian evans: 12:56:30
we are laughing at the very idea that they would take act to take away this static representation

Alec: 12:56:32
and thats my issue with it

ian evans: 12:56:44
its like people drawing wallingers state britain

ian evans: 12:56:50
irrelevent to the work

ian evans: 12:57:01
so with a single poster

Alec: 12:57:05

ian evans: 12:57:12

ian evans: 12:57:14
i know

ian evans: 12:57:26
but we are criticising the audience

ian evans: 12:57:32
for looking at a poster on the wall

ian evans: 12:57:36
which we put there

Alec: 12:57:54
not sure what you mean, how are we doing that

ian evans: 12:58:10
no matter

ian evans: 12:58:30
its a conversation for later, and related to the one we were having the the other night

ian evans: 12:58:38
why are we even doing these shows

ian evans: 12:59:03
hang on a sec

ian evans: 13:02:01
the problem for me is that if we are claimng the act of looking is performative

ian evans: 13:02:19
then how can we privilege the act over the representation

ian evans: 13:03:01
i think the thing falls flat without the extra perfromative element

ian evans: 13:03:11
to make the point that the looking is perfrormative

ian evans: 13:03:21
and raise the question in the first place

ian evans: 13:03:35
if that makes any sense

ian evans: 13:03:58
its a bilike a hall of mirrors this

Alec: 13:04:32
it does but i dont think it is doing that because its a response to being asked to be part of a performance / performatice / talks thing and not a show, that we always get lumped in and trying not to do something performative, whilst still full filling the remit.

Alec: 13:04:51
so dont really think its performative but know the art historical argument for it being as such

ian evans: 13:05:52
hmm ok

Alec: 13:06:28
i've got to run on now im afraid, will try and call later, but if you have t go ahead before then either way....

ian evans: 13:06:46
we dont we just need to design today

ian evans: 13:06:50
and print tomorrow

ian evans: 13:06:55
are you around tonight?

Alec: 13:07:38
yea, late at work but could meet for 8 - 8.30 somewhere.........

ian evans: 13:08:02
ok ill ring later, think chris is coming over ill let you know where we are

Alec: 13:42:53
sending now, should be able to open in Prieview which is built in to mac's

Alec: 14:15:45
did you get it, pretty orange!!

ian evans: 14:16:22
oh dear

ian evans: 14:16:28
here's a proper one

ian evans: 14:17:13
think it cant be on white at least as the walls are white

ian evans: 14:17:28
i'm going for the po-faced serious look

ian evans: 14:17:35
none of this wacky humour

Alec: 14:17:48
what was the file names, cant find it.

ian evans: 14:18:34
showroom angel

ian evans: 14:18:41
this is from chris

ian evans: 14:18:44
...like i just said (to ian), think we're making too much effort here, not in terms of thinking about the work but in the presentation. the work sits in us representing to a gallery audience an action that we are taking that they are not witness to and so the more i think about it, think it should be a hand written post it, like something you would leave on the fridge - a minimum effort to 'represent' this mammoth task to do something ridiculous, no?

ian evans: 14:18:53
he thinks we should just do a post-it

ian evans: 14:18:56
he has a point

Alec: 14:19:56
actually maybe that tru, hand writtn note???

ian evans: 14:20:02

ian evans: 14:20:09
but the balance is sood

ian evans: 14:20:14
between massive and tiny

ian evans: 14:20:22

ian evans: 14:20:57
it fits for the angle

ian evans: 14:21:07
but what if we do other ones for the other weeks

Alec: 14:37:12
yea, maybe a note, can this wait till tonight??]

ian evans: 14:37:29
yeah sure

ian evans: 14:37:31

Alec: 14:37:55
cool, just think we all need to sit down and really think this through again.

ian evans: 14:38:09
yep too much for skype

Alec: 14:38:23
Watch us wreck the mic!

ian evans: 14:38:24