Carolee Schneemann’s Cats
Cats Like Plain Crisps
8 Nov–2 Dec 2023
The first major retrospective of Carolee Schneemann since her death in 2019 has opened at the Barbican in London. Although Schneemann is best known for her groundbreaking performances and critical feminist voice, many of her works in the retrospective are linked by the recurring presence of her cats—her companions and co-conspirators throughout her long career. ‘The cat,’ she even declared in 1974, ‘is my medium.’ Carolee Schneemann’s Cats is an exhibition responding to this legendary artist’s feline muses.
Our multidisciplinary collective, Cats Like Plain Crisps, is newly convened and includes members from eight countries. Borrowed from an old piece of graffiti, the group’s name encapsulates some of our concerns: public art, fieldwork, objets trouvés, and text/writing. It also speaks to a posthuman and ecofeminist orientation as well as a playful, inclusive creative approach. Carolee Schneemann’s Cats is our first collaboration and—as we find Schneemann doing in her own work—explores the potential of the feral lurking within the domestic. Through our own multimedia works, realised individually and collaboratively, we will tap into Schneeman’s chaotic yet purposeful investigation into what is familiar and homely but turns out to be full of the unruly and unexpected.
Members include Yang Yeung, Hong Kong; Shauna Laurel Jones, US/Iceland/UK; Viv Corringham, UK/US; Roseanne Bartley, NZ/Australia: Johanna Hällsten Sweden/UK; Iris Garrelfs, Germany/UK and Cath Clover, UK/Australia.
Artists' Syllabus - Cats Like Plain Crisps
Saturday 11 NOV 2-3pm
Join Melbourne Art Library, Blindside and multidisciplinary collective Cats Like Plain Crisps for a discussion with the artists inspired by texts by Carolee Schneemann.
We'll be meeting at Blindside in the Nicholas Building, Room 14, Level 7, 37 Swanston St, Naarm/Melbourne from 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm on Saturday, 11 November.
Supported by the City of Melbourne and Michael Robertson.
Saturday 2 DEC 3pm
Performance by members of Cats Like Plain Crisps
Yang Yeung (artist’s performance)
Tariro Mavondo (writer/spoken word)
Catherine Clover (artist’s performance)
Artist publication by Shauna Laurel Jones available in gallery during the exhibition $20
Carolee Schneemann’s Cats is the inaugural exhibition of the international collective Cats Like Plain Crisps—whose members’ practices include visual art, sound art, filmmaking, performance, and writing—and explores the potential of the feral lurking within the domestic.
Cats Like Plain Crisps An international collective whose members’ practices include visual art, sound art, filmmaking, performance, and writing.
Members include Yang Yeung, Hong Kong; Shauna Laurel Jones US/Iceland/UK; Viv Corringham, UK/US; Roseanne Bartley, NZ/Australia: Johanna Hällsten Sweden/UK; Iris Garrelfs, Germany/UK and Cath Clover, UK/Australia.
Catherine Clover’s multidisciplinary practice addresses communication through voice, language and the interplay between hearing/listening and seeing/reading. Using field recording, digital imaging and the spoken/written word, she explores an expanded approach to language within and across species through a framework of everyday experience, including the use of extant material and found footage. With listening as a key focus and the complexity of the urban as a shared sonic space, her artworks prompt transmission and reception through the fluidity, instability and mobility of voicing and languaging. The artworks are social in nature, frequently involving collaboration with other artists and with audiences. Their forms include texts/scores, sound, installations, sound walks, performance, readings and external public artworks.
Clover lives between London, where she was brought up, and Naarm/Melbourne, on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation. She first arrived in Naarm as a visiting artist through Gertrude Contemporary in the 1990s. Her work has been exhibited and performed regularly within Australia, the UK and internationally since the 90s. Clover teaches in Naarm/Melbourne at Swinburne University (MA Writing) and RMIT University (MA Public Art), and she holds a practice-led PhD (Fine Art) through RMIT University.
Viv Corringham is an improvising vocalist and sound artist. She explores people’s sense of place and the link with memory through concerts, soundwalks, installations and listening workshops. She received an MA in Sonic Art from Middlesex University, London, and a Deep Listening teaching certificate from composer Pauline Oliveros. Awards include two McKnight Composer Fellowships through the American Composers Forum.
Corringham lives between New York and London, and she has presented her work in 26 countries in venues including the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Fonoteca Nacional de México, Issue Project Room (New York), the Onassis Centre (Athens), the Serralves Museum (Portugal), Ohrenhoch Sound Gallery (Berlin), Taipei University (Taiwan), Shantou University (China), the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), and universities in Bangalore, Calcutta and Delhi.
Articles on her work have appeared in many publications, including In the Field (UK), Leonardo Music Journal (US), Art of Immersive Soundscapes (Canada), Organised Sound (UK), Musicworks (Canada), Catskill Made (US), Playing With Words (UK) and For Those Who Have Ears (Ireland).
With a focus on sound, Iris Garrelfs explores the interplay between place, technology and voice in improvised performances, fixed media projects and installations. Often using voice as raw material—be that her own, that of places, or those of other species—her work has featured internationally, for example, at Tate Britain (London), the National Gallery (London), the Royal Academy of Arts (London), fruityspace (Beijing), Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Rome), MC Gallery (New York), and Transmedia Borders (Mexico). Residencies have included Grizedale Arts (UK), the Institute of Modern Art Celje (Slovenia), and the Onassis Cultural Centre (Athens). With a PhD from CRiSAP (University of the Arts, London), Garrelfs convenes the MMus Sonic Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she also co-heads the Sound Practice Research Unit.
Johanna Hällsten works primarily with text, sound and performance, focusing on translation between different cultures, species and forms in order to address the interrelation between sounds and environments. This often culminates in ruminations on noise, voice and utterance, seeking to understand something which has slipped between forms—but not necessarily to make sense. Her work is now extending into fabric and print as well as a return to handicraft to explore voice and place-making from an autoethnographic point of view.
Hällsten is from Sweden, where she gained a BA in Printmaking. She moved to the UK to complete a practice-based PhD on the uncanny in contemporary art at Staffordshire University (2004). She is currently the course leader for the BA Fine Art course at London Metropolitan University. Her work has been performed by Juxtavoices at Nottingham Contemporary as part of InDialogue, and has been in exhibitions including Personal Structures, Venice Biennale; Translation Zone(s): Constellation Hong Kong, Sze Chi Ching Exhibition Gallery; ANTI festival (Finland); and EV+A Biennial (Ireland). She has published in The Front Edge of Environmental Aesthetics, Contemporary Aesthetics, Somatechnics, EUP journal, and n.Paradoxa, amongst others.
Shauna Laurel Jones is a writer at the intersection of nature, aesthetics, geography, language and identity. Much of her work explores artistic engagement with the natural world and personal connections with landscape and animals. Recent research topics range from the iconographic value of puffins to the use of weaponised bats in World War II and the role of feathers in LGBT+ culture. In 2021 Jones was shortlisted for the Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented voices in nature writing in the UK, and from Spring 2023 onwards she will have a regular column on visual art in the American environmental magazine Orion.
Originally from the US, Jones received an MA in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then spent a decade in Iceland, immersing herself as a writer, educator and translator in Reykjavík’s vibrant art scene. In 2010, she founded Art in Translation, a major transdisciplinary conference and exhibition on language and the arts. She went on to receive an MSc in environmental studies from the University of Iceland with a thesis on local conservation biopolitics. Since 2018, she has lived in London, where in addition to her writing she works as a copyeditor and Icelandic-to-English translator.
Yang Yeung is a writer on art and an independent curator. She founded the non-profit soundpocket in 2008 and is currently its artistic director, and she was co-curator for the Listening Biennial (2021). Her recent publications include “What Good is This?” (for After Hope by the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco), “caring is a quality: on being touched by Alecia Neo’s Care Index” (for Dance Nucleus, Singapore), an exhibition essay for Francis Alÿs’ solo Wet feet __ dry feet: borders and games (for Taikwun Contemporary, Hong Kong), a review of Sumei Tse’s practice (for Taipei Fine Art Museum), an essay on Hong Kong–based artist Kwok-hin Tang’s practice (Yishu), and a performative lecture responding to Mary Lewandowska’s film Rehearsing the Museum (for Taikwun Contemporary, Hong Kong). Yeung devotes herself to following how artists think, move and make sense of the world. She was Asian Cultural Council fellow (2013–14) and resident writer at Contemporary Art Stavanger (2019). She is a member of the international research network Institute for Public Art, the independent art critics collective Art Appraisal Club (HK), and the International Art Critics Association (HK). She currently teaches ancient and modern classics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Roseanne Bartley is a Naarm/Melbourne based artist jeweller, craft writer & design educator. Her practice is collaborative and interdisciplinary; encompasses studio, social process, performance and public making – an approach she describes as facilimaking. Significant to this method are her use of peripatetic process, makeshift accoutrements and DIY manuals. Recently her work returned to an earlier interest in text and communication, with her current practice exploring the intersection between language and jewellery & literature and making; concepts she develops through studio making, creative writing and performance reading.
Roseanne completed a funded practice-based PhD in the School of Architecture and Urban Design at RMIT in 2018. Her work resides in collections of the NGV, Powerhouse Museum and Toowoomba Regional Gallery and has been supported by the Australia Council (2001, 2004, 2006, 2012) and Arts Victoria (2001, 2008).