The Shit and Potential Soil of an Artist-run Gallery

aka. The Impossibility of Phenomenology, A Labor of Love/Labor of Hate, Compost Logic – Breaking Down (our?) Break-downs, Nutrients for the Soil of the Garden of Potential, Who I Am and What I Want

The following is a list of rejected immaterials. It is a list of stuff that I hate about my time working at Transmission Gallery in Glasgow. It is also somehow a love letter to the things I got from my time there. A reflection on a labor of love/hate, soil/shit. The list includes the things I hid away or tried to clean up but that washed up on my mind and in my body anyway, materials that passed through me and here are presented in their immateriality. The point of this list is to dwell on a kind of forgotten and rejected waste product, one that would never go into a funding application, the left out invisible side of producing an art-space. Perhaps like the spaces represented here. I think that it is within this crappy existence that organisms can start to grow. The list will be impossible to finish, an impossible phenomenology, a mess of a list that ends up connected with every other aspect of production. It is also a mess that can connect us here.

To provide it a context, it was written in a hurry when struggling with a project that was breaking down. I sat on a small jetty in the north of Sweden,* I stopped and went inside as it was cold, so the list suffered an early demise, I caught a cold while writing it. While most of this material is shit, rejected things that we clean away in order to present ourselves more powerfully, it is shit that functions as soil, both for the failed project, as well as this thing that you read/hear now.

Who I was and what I wanted:

  • A list of things that go into producing an art institution.

  • Friends

  • love

  • contacts

  • responsibility

  • party times

  • late hours work unlimited working hours unemployment

  • bad food

  • installing exhibitions

  • art institution workers

  • beer drinking

  • that I got a partner

  • power

  • complexity

  • examples of collaboration methods

  • dirty hands

  • paint on hands

  • pains in hands

  • an understanding for how an organisation works

  • a network in the art world, free dinners, untaxed per diems

  • a voice in the programme, a view on different art-work strategies

  • graphic design opportunities, contacts with printers

  • excel skills, writing application skills

  • less hair, broken clothes

  • un-agreed working conditions such as no health and safety introduction and almost blowing myself into pieces trying to rewire the electrical power

  • witnessing a murder outside the gallery

  • witnessing a junkie jumping on another junkies head

  • unpayable bills, as I had too little time to focus on paid work

  • experimental dance moves

  • the worst art, interesting art, performance art, more art, shit piss sweat tears blood saliva

  • broken back, treasured body power, free labor for two years

  • conflicts with workers who not understanding what renovation needed doing

  • tears from artists with no understanding

  • irrational fights with friends

  • disappointed members

  • allergies from dirt

  • rats, leaks, insurance money from broken material

  • broken sculptures, destroyed paintings

  • discussions about self organisation

  • to talk with artists with no self-esteem

  • and artist with too much self-esteem

  • body pain from moving boxes

  • bad eating habits from stress

  • bad manners from stress

  • bad teeth from not looking after myself

  • bad flat from too little time

  • bad bike from friend

  • bad weather from scotland

  • bad allergies from mould and a new job in another gallery.

  • pain in my body from sitting in bad chair writing extensive amount of application reports

  • The city got an internationally known artist run gallery in the city and an opportunity to brand the city as a place for interesting art

  • more fuel for the so called “Glasgow model” a model for culture politics that cities around the world now tries to mimic

  • a platform for young scottish artists to play around.


* In an area where the largest mass killing in peace-time took place; the murder of 69 women and 6 men accused of being witches. Today the area is suffering the effects of heavy depopulation.

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