SQAL/LP international
systems questioning art live /life project. 2000.

Origin of the project 1997 The Questioning Office of Art St.Ives.; a year later 1998 LAR lntergenerational video, interviews with indlvidual live art
artists. Then in1998 an lntergenerational Gathering at belt a space in between, of twelve performance artists in discussion on social and philosophical questions, with support from ACE and SWA. 1999 meeting with Bill Beech and the develoment of a collaboration
between Live Art Realities {Ken Turner}, belt (Ella Gibbs) and Brlghton University with Jane Whitaker and Mina Kaylan toward setting up SQAI/LP with ACE $upport. The first phase of SQAL/LP will take place in/and around Brighton: 2nd to 9th July 2000, based at the Fishing Museum Arch, Brighton beach.

The project's main purpose, both in event structure and debate, is to question the role of the artist (performance/live/art) and systems under which art is nrade and propagated. To also look at cultual and politieal changes necessary to increase the awareness of perforrnance art and whether art itself is really good for you in the kind of society that we have
now? (do we really need it?) lf the answer is yes, then one has to consider how. when. where, and why, as a real problem, given today's socio/cultural and economic values.

These qustions lie at the heart of sqallp's critical and philosophical grounding compounded by its intergenerational mix that spans four decades from 1960 to 2000 made up of live art experience from the twelve artists taking part. There is also considerable aetive support from students, thereby increasing the intergeneration $pan, lt is proposed that though $ystems are necessary, the work of the artist is
to some extent enframed by existing systems and therefore these are to be questioned in all cultural fields: artistic, economic, social and political.
Such a highlighting of systems in a concentrated forrn across four decades of art aetivity as a live event over eight days, is an approach which will bring to the fore a multiplicity of directions in action and debate. Without doubt this is a cultural and archaeological dig brought into present day physicality, and towards a definite affirmation of the importance of performance art in the present day environment.

The project iteself has to be seen as artist-led, through a series of actions, conversations, discussion and documentation. THE DEFINITION OF PERFORMANCE LIVE ART TAKEN BY SQALLP IS ONE ALLIED TO SCULPTURE. Thus, Image rnaking in the discipline of perfornance-live-art is considered as live art sculpture with participatory and performative purpose whether it is in physical materials, movement. sound, video, text in participation or installation.

Most of the artists taking part have a background in visual art but see their work as contextural in its examination of social structures, environment, architecture, geography, economics and cultural systems generally.

the thinking behind actions need to be seen reflectively as a critique on the difference between artists whist seeking out connections and the parallel nature of ideas that have emerged over the years in question: and how they relate to live art today. This particularly with regard to its changing notions of definitions and ways of working in response to the cultural climate. ln addition, guest artists from the field of performance will be invited to join the debate. This applies to those individuals or groups who have made critical inroads into live art/life manifestations.

Conplexity, arnbiguity, indeterrninism, and dare i( be said, chaosmosis will form and be reforrned in the manner of interaction, First and foremost though, this interaction must be between artists themselves.Then, as the intrinsic qualities of socie/cultural concerns of each artist unfold in the dynamic of intention and art events, the public, as audience and participant in
response to each artist's concentration in perfomance and specific presentation, are enabled, by the structure of intention in the project to become involved.

Thus, over the eight days of the project events will flow into discussion, conversations and debate which
will run, as if woven, woven. over/under the fabric of meaming, expression and purpose: balancing the poise of thought on the radical edge of change and uncertainty, in the attenpt to clarify meaning in an historical view of live art and its rclativeness in the life
of the everyday. The question of documentation as an inportant element in the process has to be approached with critical awareness if it is to be a useful tool in SQAL/LP's 'analytical' investigation. Essentially to become part of the art work and process of questioning with attention to the rnanner and approach in its interpretative qualities. designated 'presenter/interpreters' will  direct the overall video and photographic docunentation, later to be published as video archive, CD-ROM and artist rnade book, and publieation on the Web for information, discussion and debate.

The artists taking part have an accumulated track record of thought provoking attitudes in their work; it is well known that they can be both direct and strategically indirect in searching out cracks in the pattern of everyday systems. How, when, where, why, remain a stabilising factor and focus in their work, giving, as it will, much to the projects purpose in ideas and interpretation.

Overall, the project's task is formidable. However, the schedule of live art installation/events/participation and discussion gatherings between artists' themselves and audiences are set to produce a dynamic contravention in realising individual realities across the layers of consultative relationships, bringing view a picture of four decades never attempted before.

Further to this, it is hoped to enlarge the project's scope, both artistically and geographically. That is, to gather together in other locations, throughout the UK.





SQALLP in making a space at the Fishing Museum in Brighton, (July2000) made a singular poetic/artistic space, not as a group but as individuals with similar concerns in questioning live art/ life through art into society. (Artists were: Anne Bean. Bill Beech, Anna Best, Rob La Frenais, Ella Gibbs, Mine Kaylan, Alastair MacLennan, Roland Miller, Francoise Rod, Ana Laura Lopez De La Torre, Ken Turner, Zbigniew Warpechowski, Jane Whitaker and students from the University of Brighton).
This fitted well with, to quote from our original brief. "For the artist to be successful in researching experimental ideas, to break systems of thought, vision, method and philosophy, there is a necessity to work outside the main historical cultural hierarchy, to counter, within the field of heterogeneous complexity, against the regular, the norm, linear development of a persistent and perspicuous product culture" (part description to ACE for Brighton project)
Hans Haacke however posed a problem. (‘Art into Society, Society into Art’ ICA 1974) "Artists as much as their supporters and their enemies, no matter of what ideological coloration, are unwittingly partners in the art-syndrome and relate to each other dialectically. They participate jointly in the maintenance and/or development of the ideological make-up of their society". Likewise Gustav Metzger.
" The use of art for social change is bedevilled by the close integration of art and society".
What in fact artists in sqallp participated in jointly was, ‘a work in art’. A kind of space that enabled exploration, experimentation and collaboration, according to the ethics and method of art, to take place. To be at risk in a (re)searching experiment; creating a space of expectancy and reciprocity in intergenerational dynamics. Through four decades of knowledge, fixed points broke loose to become, ‘history of many moments’, levels of webs, interwoven into both intentional and unsuspected possibilities. A validation of the name SQALLP in its searching emergence of questioning through art
Documentation worked in the same dynamic to catch the mood of moment, dialogue and action.
SQALLP’s ideas spring from reference to past artists and movements in art that reflect protest and questions on art and society.
More immediately in the ‘Questioning Office Of Art’ (St. Ives 1997). Then in 1998 with video interviews with performance artists by Ken Turner with Paul Burwell, Bruce MacClean, Anna Best, Ella Gibbs, John Latham, Ian Hinchliff, Bruce Gilchrist - to the intergenerational ‘GATHERING’ at belt a space in between – 1999 in which Anna Best, Anne Bean, Paul Burwell, Ella Gibbs, Ian Hinchliffe, Bruce Gilchrist, Alastair MacLennan, Richard Lazell, Francoise Rod, Myles Stawman and Ken Turner met over a meal discussing the role of the artist and documentation. From the above encounters the inevitability of SQALLP became more possible.,
In this connection conversations on ‘belt’ and SHAYE with Ella and Anna and Ken show an interesting lineality.
AND THEN FURTHER BACK TO OTHER PROTEST MANIFESTATIONS SUCH AS DADA, SURREALISTS, also TATLIN, LISSITZKY. And to the ‘NOW’ of popular working culture world-wide of multicultural societies: SQALLP in history to the present day: an artistic approach toward an art/public/street/art/life; as it was on the sea-front and town in Brighton, through dialogue and debate in ‘performance’.
In terms of to-days increasing globalisation of capital, Hugo Ball’s cry is still pertinent. "The dadaist is fighting against the agony of the times and against inebriation with death".
Also apposite to SQALLP’s concerns are the words of Willy Verkauf, an authority on dada, "They were also aware of the fact that formal revolt by itself did not suffice for the human and artistic development of the artist unless an adequate substance kept pace with it. Otherwise every new form would degenerate into a meaningless façade".
This ‘substance’ is the kernel of sqallp’s progress through action and dialogue and the idea of questioning as a means to throw light on systems of constraint. Also to highlight an important dynamic between different age groups, cultural background and gender.
It is precisely because of these differences that SQALLP needs to continue. Though paradoxically, what was revealed in the Brighton experience was not so much that differences occurred, but that these differences became the ‘art project itself’. Thus to become important in questioning the changing culture of a ‘society project’ into becoming a ‘market project’.
SQALLP’s various ‘strands’ of ‘performance’ in difference, bonded, as it were, in purpose. However tentative, subconscious, subtle, subjective or direct, investigation through debate and action on the effect of an economy driven society SQALLP’s course was, it established the means by which it became possible to make an important contribution to the debate.
These ‘strands of performance’ were observed as the five intergenerational territories.
1. Art as Event – performance art as performance.
2. Art as Discourse – process and debate.
3. Art as Continuous – disappearance of the artist into life.
4. Art as Ethic – principles on which all the artists bonded.
5. Art as research - in documentation and event experiment
The idea of ‘chaosmosis’ as indicated in SQALLP’s original brief, was also crucial as a fulcrum or pivot, by which a group of artists working from the idea of difference became centered poetically, as it were, into a dynamic working situation.That is, given a space and, that that space being posited as “open’, set a pace and a direction out of which came ‘nothing’ into ‘something’.(a practice in the word, chaosmosis)
Thus the debate is not essentially about a process/product dichotomy. (In the sense of the project, it is best not to think of opposites but more of similarities).
The work of art does not by definition represent commercialism, only if market interests govern: and process is just as much a part of an art object as is the idea of the artist in process of investigation and contact with people in a continuous project. They both are able to work under the same ethical and artistic principles.
Sqallp is not a fixed group and is open to other artists joining to further investigations of past, current and emerging live art practice. Artists taking on an additional creative role as investigators. Sqallp’s debating platform thus is one of enlargement, and in its development believes it essential that practice in action/event/performance needs to be comensurate with debate, investigation and dialogue.
Touring in this sense will enable Sqallp to evolve creatively through its own contextual momentum and kept alive by new input from place to place.
These objectives can be achieved in various ways,
1. An exchange of artists from within the core group by specific nomination, artist to artist: new blood into questioning process enabling growth of ideas and directions if a reasonable number of ‘Brighton Artists’ remain as practitioners and investigators.
Also ‘Brighton Artists’ to act peripatetically in critical purpose in continuing contact.
2. That a ‘Large Wall Newspaper’ as an installation be made for public comment, questions and contributions, and information passing from venue to venue.
3. That a large video screen is viewable to a wide passing public to promote more dialogue as it shows the project as ‘daily news’. (An ‘incidental’ environmental addition)
4. Invitations to artists’ groups and artists to relate and participate as they did in Brighton.
5. Integration with the different venues, as will be the case, in their particular connections, vis á vis local communities and artists, also looking to future involvement in similar projects where mutual interests can be further explored.
(London, St. Ives, Hull.)
6. Documentation/Archive material is made on the basis of continuity and linking, one venue with another to enable an investigatory function of video ‘recording’ to be interwoven into developments of the project’s events themselves.
7. Tour development is not to be seen as a definitive package.The live art programme
of events and debate is one that encourages change through learning and reflection. New artists will be welcomed to join in debate. New venues bringing new audiences will stimulate change & development. The dynamic of interchange and exchange is necessary to the questioning programme.
SQALLP is presenting an argument that needs to continue in its re-search and persistence in defining questioning. A kind of questioning that intrinsically springs from live art itself. Whether in performance as event, or process as event, it is the working events themselves that expressed clearly ( in Brighton) the original intention of the project. The momentum of this purpose now being specifically to
The Dilston Grove ‘a state of emergency’events are a direct development from sqallp, and a linkage has been formed: thus the enlargement of debate is being made.
Some of the artists from sqallp are participating in these events and it is hoped that more individuals and groups will emerge.
Alastair MacLennan
Performance is not fundamentally an art movement among other art movements within the twentieth century. Its primary relations spring more from living than other art.
Analysis is one way of looking through a conceptual lens, there are other ways and other lenses, ie. those of synthesis..
The heart of live art has its roots in education, social/ environmental concerns, science and politics. In the public mind it is still perceived as a bastard child. This view can be altered through appropriate education and open minded discernment, involving artists and non artists alike.
Talking with you right now, you are my audience, when you speak I am yours, there are many different ways of talking, sometimes you need to speak just to get something off your mind, someone acts like a surface to bounce a ball off. I think you are acting as my wall at the moment. I’m answering your questions, but we’re not really having a conversation. Conversations are about exchange & sharing, even if it ends up in a full blown row, disagreement, an exchange took you to that point. Anyway in that case I think it’s hard to say who is the audience, and who is not, or perhaps you both are and both not at the same time, you are both participating.....there are many ways of listening too.........................................................................................