Oxford University, Department for Continuing Education, is organising and hosting a conference entitled 'Found and Lost: the object in contemporary British art' on Sunday, May 16, 2004, at Rewley House, Oxford, UK. Speakers include Mary Acton (OUDCE, Oxford), Marysia Lewandowska (University College of Art and Design, Stockholm), John Murphy (Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht), Rosalind Nashashibi (Glasgow), Cornelia Parker (London), and Richard Wentworth (Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts, Oxford). The conference will address the transformation and manipulation of the 'found object' in recent British artistic practice. Specifically, the participating artists will present selected recent projects in relation to the possibility of loss undercutting the ‘chance’ discovery of objects.
Reinstating loss at the centre of the concept of the 'found object' shifts attention away from the material outcome of the process of discovery, and to the frequently overlooked conditions determining the process itself. Losing the object, and sight of its 'original' context, emphasises transcultural exchanges between the artistic site of production (studio, dark room, marginal urban space) and the loci of representation (screening, exhibition, magazine). The 'found and lost object' further threatens the art object's assumed stability of place and meaning, a relative stability traditionally guaranteed by the author’s agency in the act of finding. What happens when this mastery gives way under the pressure of loss, either territorial or mnemonic? What stresses, and traumas, does the once found object reveal in the process of its active, and productive, loss?
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