Intelligent Trouble
Intelligent Trouble at the Institute of Making
Using the staircase at the river-end of the main axis of the Strand campus of Kings College London as site and inspiration, Intelligent Trouble will draw on rope-making as a way of working with spaces, materials, processes and people. The staircase moves through the vertical height of the whole building and will be used as a vast studio space. We will respond to the space, working over the course of the week to make a constantly evolving and growing intervention. More info here
Venue: Kings College London, Strand Campus, Staircase at the river-end of the main axis
7th – 11th November 2011
Ongoing throughout the festival from 10am to 6pm

Intelligent Trouble (Helen Carnac, David Gates, Katy Hackney and Shane Waltener) are taking part in the Festival of Materials and Making from 7th – 11th November 2011. We’ve been beach combing along the Thames in advance. More info about the project will follow shortly.

Intelligent Trouble has shifted, changed, and remained the same. Six artists making work between them: suggesting, prompting and responding with objects, materials, sounds and words.

As a group of makers we have explored the possibilities of working together and what new things could be done. Without jettisoning our own identities, opening our selves to the actions and provocations of others. Trying to find out a little about how each of us works and thinks, locating the overlaps in approaches.

Without immediate plan or intention ideas have moved across disciplines and practices resulting in improvisatory and contingent points. Packages of half-made pieces and raw material were ferried across London or posted across the Atlantic and back, changing and mutating. Having in each of us the trust to work directly with each other’s work and components, with no instructions pieces emerged directly from the response of making. We spoke a little about possibilities or direction but more than usually said something along the lines of ‘do what you like to it’.

An emerging theme, or perhaps even subconscious intention has been the blurring of the boundary between the displayed and the displayer: of how discreet or autonomous objects might sit within or upon other objects to make a new whole. Blurring the object, blurring the hands.

As much as being finished objects the works in this collection are pauses in conversations, bringing together exchanges that have happened and pointing to ongoing possibilities. The processes of collective production are laid bare, any ‘aesthetic’ runs deeper than the surface – they look, and sound, like what caused them to be.

text and images copyright David Gates, London 2011

As with all our projects to-date we have a literal ‘line’ of communication. Please send us your jewellery stories and we will post them up here and on the lines in the gallery space. We will be gathering them throughout the current exhibition and beyond.

Under the Counter has been curated and designed by Intelligent Trouble – an ongoing collaboration between four makers: Helen Carnac, Lin Cheung, David Clarke and David Gates. With their own practices originating from various disciplines, they all have an inquisitive and open approach to practice, seeking to explore definitions of making today.

They have asked five jewellers to show their work alongside a selection of Intelligent Trouble works from their 2010 collaborative exhibition: ‘A Curious Exchange’.

Intelligent Trouble aim to explore collaboration, seeking to interrogate and subvert conventions of authorship, ownership and trust and to question the autonomy of singular artefacts when considering and showing creative work. Their works seek to establish a site of collaborative, social production.

The works exhibited here are an edited ‘conversation’ of works that were passed between the artists earlier this year when they gave each other ‘permission to (re)-interpret, continue or dismiss any given passage’.

‘During the recent editing of this work we found, that like many conversations, there were forgotten phrases, mistakes and repairs but also memorable excerpts, discoveries and jokes. Shown in London in February 2010 as “A Curious Exchange”, after five months on hold we feel that the pieces shown here speak most eloquently of our interactions’

Alongside these works the exhibition seeks to explore contemporary studio jewellery that takes an outward-looking view. On the premise that contemporary studio jewellery practice has excelled in its exploration of materials and value, use, meaning and materiality in recent decades, and with a focus on examining the artist’s making of the work or the owner’s act of wearing – can it be argued that much jewellery is a project of the self?

Through the work of these five artists this exhibition seeks to explore jewellery’s communicative role and potential in a wider social field. Beyond notions of personal ownership and adornment can wearing and meaning-making be taken further and can we look beyond a practitioner’s relationship with her or his materials to understand something more of the work?

It’s been a busy time for IT. The show is down at CAA and it’s time for us to collect our thoughts and move the conversation on. Over the month long installation we did six talks and there is a huge amount to think through, reflect on and grasp. We all feel incredibly fired up about it and look forward to sharing some new thinking on it all.

Since then we have all been involved in the Craft Rally – Lin and David C ran the ‘Lines’ on the Parade Ground at Chelsea College of Art, David G gave a talk about IT at the Rally and Helen Curated the Rally day…so busy, busy, busy. Here are some images of the lines courtesy of the two Davids. It was a space to get conversation going, to ‘trouble’, to give out badges which were designed by Timothy Information Ltd and to swap objects that visitors had been asked to bring with them.


…and of course there was time to play bat and ball with saucepans!