Nothing Abandoned June/July 2017

Nothing Abandoned Exhibition

Nothing Abandoned was a theme chosen by a collective of MMU PhD researchers and myself as part of MMU’s Prologue series of research events. I returned to an abandoned project from last year’s Resisting Absence Residency, a post-MA collective of four artists, who meet a couple of times a year. Nothing Abandoned provided the opportunity of a second attempt to get an unwieldy piece of work under control. An audio recording formerly played alongside projected images didn’t quite intersect as spontaneously as intended, so I had parked the project for a while, to be continued.  Returning to the work, instead of projected images, I had the photographs made into a pack of cards. In the exhibition at Paradise Works, Salford, players listening to the audio on headphones played cards. The images on the cards intersected randomly into the 5 minute narrative. To add to the shuffled effect, the audio was a scrambled and speeded up story . The aim was to trigger brief instances where the images resonated with the story, while competing with the distraction of the card game and any other thoughts occupying the player’s mind. I am interested how the mind scrambles to make sense from nonsense. Perhaps this is a useful skill worth exercising.


Bob Dickenson and I playing Snap while Bob listens to the audio.


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Reading material compiled by Isabel Taube.





?Value Added is an ongoing project which seeks to add value to library books. During Nothing Abandoned and as a manifestation of my itinerant methods, I restarted an experiential, long-term project of taking out a library book to be signed in person by the author. It is then returned to the library, arguably with ?Value Added for the benefit of the next borrower. In addition is the ambition to connect the specific situation of the encounter and signature to the content of the book, to document it and to open a dialogue with the author. Of the Nothing Abandoned series of talks which I attended, Katy Deepwell, Mishka Henner, Nina Power and Maria Fusco took part in this project. The timing of this project coincided with Manchester International Festival’s ‘John Robb Presents’ at the Pavilion Theatre. In this, Cosey Fanni Tutti was interviewed and was signing her latest book so I joined the queue to get Maria’s book, Cosey Complex, from MMU library, countersigned by its protagonist, Cosey Fanni Tutti.


Nothing Abandoned series of talks:

Sophie Woodward is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Manchester who carries out research into material culture and everyday life and is particularly interested in developing inventive methods for understanding material culture. She is the author of several books including Why Women Wear What they Wear (2007), Blue Jeans: the art of the ordinary (2012). In this talk, she discussed current research into Dormant Things – forgotten or hidden domestic objects. (31st May)

Katie Deepwell is the founder and editor of n.paradoxa: international feminist art journal ( and Professor of Contemporary Art, Theory and Criticism at Middlesex University. In this talk, she spoke about her new MOOC (mass open online course) on feminism and contemporary art ( in relation to art education and feminism research in the visual arts and on the work of contemporary women artists. (14th June)

Mishka Henner is among a new generation of artists redefining the role of photography in the Internet age. Much of his work navigates through this vast digital terrain to focus on key subjects of cultural and geo-political interest. He was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Art and shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2013 and the Prix Pictet in 2014. His works are held in the Museum of Modern Art, Tate Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library, the Centre Pompidou, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He has exhibited internationally in numerous group shows and surveys. In this talk, Henner discussed his work in connection to ideas of appropriation. (22nd June)

Katy Goodwin is an artist and filmmaker who gleans the neglected and recycles them as subjects in her moving image work. In this talk she discussed what we would normally not see, highlighting hidden labour and contemplating our legacy — what we leave behind. In doing this her work reveals why it is often the things we overlook that can become the most important path to curiosity, creativity and output. (28th June)

Nina Power teacher Philosophy at the University of Roehampton and Critical Writing in Art & Design at the Royal College of Art. She has written widely on European philosophy, politics and culture and is the author of One Dimensional Woman. Her talk explored ideas of failure and writing, drawing upon her own work and collaborative projects – textual and political – undertaken in recent years. (5th July)

Maria Fusco is a Belfast-born writer based in Glasgow, working across fiction, criticism and theory, her work is translated into ten languages.  In this event, Maria Fusco made a performative reading from her new book, Legend of the Necessary Dreamer: a novella; a prose essay; an excavation of the ruined Palácio Pombal; a work of impatience and death, described by Chris Kraus as “a new classic of female philosophical fiction”. She also discussed the methods of writing abandonment. (12th July)


Nothing Abandoned was also part of Prologue (MMU) and Manifest Arts Festival:



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