The Next Art-of-Peace Biennale 2015-17

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‘The Ideal Hunter (After Robert Filliou)’ is an online video performance by Roddy Hunter for Artʼs 1,000,050th Birthday. The performance is of Filliou’s score ‘Le Filliou idéal’ and is accessible at from the beginning of 17 January 2013 CE in Kiritimati, Kiribati (Wed, 16 Jan, 10:00 GMT) until the day’s end in Alofi, Niue (Fri, 18 Jan, 11:00 GMT). Visitors to the site will also be able to exchange greetings for Art’s Birthday. Poi-Poi!

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Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett (furtherfield) interviewed by Randall Packer


RC: It was at the stage the web was just taking off and we were able to make webpages by patching together bits of html, we could teach ourselves to do that, […] and then sharing our early reviews of art that we thought deserved discussion on topics that we thought deserved discussion with people all around the world and just found oursleves in a network of really interstsing people who were intersted in building their own art context and I think that was where the adventure started really, just understanding that the web being as unformed as it was in the early 90s meant that we could work with the people we connected with to shape the socual relations through which the artwork eas experienced. That was the first explosion of excitement, a sense of something really interesting and worth doing.


RC: I think one of the things that’s useful in the idea of the platform is that its a space that is constructed, that is deliberately constructed to enable certain kinds of interactions and collaborations and behaviours and I think that’s why it works really well as a description for what furtherfield is.

Ruth Catlow & Marc Garrett

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Baran, P. (1964). On Distributed Communications, Memorandum RM-3420-PR. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation. Available at: (Accessed May 29, 2017).


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The Budapest Poipoidrom Project 1976/1998 – Artpool

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‘However, Lefebvre’s (1991) own work—The Production of Space—does not marginalise spatial practice (Merri eld, 1995). Rather, Lefebvre recognises the equality of space, place and practice; he does not reduce space and place to the abstract and concrete (Merri eld, 1993b). Instead, spatial practices transform imagined geographies de ned as ‘representations of space’ (i.e. space) into the materiality of everyday life as constituted in ‘representational spaces’ (i.e. place). By failing to privilege either the conceived or lived, many of the essentialist assumptions of radical geography are absent. That is, it is not assumed that either the conceived or lived space is more (or less) important or more (or less) empowered than the other. Consequently, spatial practices (debates, policies and outcomes) are the focus and the relative power of each is contextualised.’

Gatrell, J. D. and J. Worsham (2002). ‘Policy Spaces: Applying Lefebvrian Politics in Neo-institutional Spaces’, Space and Polity, 6(3): 327-342.


‘Whereas some have represented Lefebvre’s spatial schemata in a triadic arrangement of three points (e.g. Gatrell & Worsham, 2002), I prefer to stress its fluidity, openness and relationality. For Lefebvre, spatial practices, representations of space, and representational spaces stand in direct relation to the dialectical triad: the perceived, the conceived, and the lived.’

Pugalis, Lee. “A Conceptual and Analytical Framework for Interpreting the Spatiality of Social Life.” FORUM eJournal 9 (2009): 77-98.

Q. How does the spatialised trialectic map onto the online/offline relationship and vice versa?

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1967-1974, New Babylon
paper architecture

Constant. (1967) Cross section for Large Yellow Sector © Collection Fondation Constant, Amsterdam.

Constant. (1974)New Babylon Theory Collage No.8 ©Collection Gemeentemusem Den Haag, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Constant. New Babylon (2015) [Exhibition]. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. October 21, 2015 – February 29, 2016

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Plan d’un Phalanstère, Charles Fourier

Charles Fourier. (1829) Plan d’un Phalanstère.

Charles Fourier: Utopian Socialist

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1899 – 1969 – 2011, Paris, 18e arr.
Monument à Charles Fourier

Monument à Charles Fourier. Paris, 18e arr., boulevard de Clichy (Seine)

The Plinth Remains.

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The Ideological Abuse Hidden in The Decorative Display of What-Goes-Without-Saying

Roland Barthes. (1957) Mythologies. Paris: Du Seuil.

‘The starting point of these reflections was usually a feeling of impatience at the sight of the ‘naturalness’ with which newspapers, art and common sense constantly dress up a reality which, even though it is the one we live in, is undoubtedly determined by history. In short, in the account given of our contemporary circumstances, I resented seeing Nature and History confused at every turn, and I wanted to track down, in the decorative display of what-goes-without-saying, the ideological abuse which, in my view, is hidden there.’ (Barthes, 1991)

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November 1971, Dutch TV
The Real Political Task in Our Contemporary Society 

Michel Foucault. (1971) Menselijke Natuur En Ideale Maatschappij (‘Human Nature and Ideal Society’). [TV Broadcast] Nederlandse Omroep Stichting.

‘It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticize the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticize and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them.’ (Chomsky and Foucault, 2006)

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June 1957, Cosio d’Arroscia
Platform of a Provisional Opposition [Plate-forme d’une opposition provisoire]

Guy-Ernest Debord. (1957) Rapport sur la construction des situations et sur les conditions de l’organisation et de l’action de la tendance situationniste internationale. Cosio d’Arroscia.

‘Next, we need to remember that if every truly experimental attitude is useful, nevertheless the excessive use of this word has very often served as justification for an artistic act within a current structure, i.e., one discovered previously by others. The only valid experimental approach is one based on the uncompromising critique of existing conditions and their conscious supersession. Once and for all, it must be stated that we will not dignify with the term creation what is merely personal expression within the limits of means set up by others. Creation is not the arrangement of objects and forms, but the invention of new laws for such an arrangement.’ (McDonough, 2002)

[Ensuite, il faut rappeler que si toute attitude réellement expérimentale est utilisable, l’emploi abusif de ce mot a très souvent tenté de justifier une action artistique dans une structure actuelle, c’est-à-dire trouvée auparavant par d’autres. La seule démarche expérimentale valable se fonde sur la critique exacte des conditions existantes, et leur dépassement délibéré. Il faut signifier une fois pour toutes que l’on ne saurait appeler création ce qui n’est qu’expression personnelle dans le cadre de moyens créés par d’autres. La création n’est pas l’arrangement des objets et des formes, c’est l’invention de nouvelles lois sur cet arrangement.] (Debord, 1957)

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Performance-presentation, ‘Video Breakfasting Together, If You Wish (after Robert Filliou)’ at ‘Learning From The CRUMB Method Over A Cup Of Tea: Reflections On Creating And Exhibiting Digital Arts’ panel, ISEA2013: 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Sydney.

As part of a conference panel alongside fellow CRUMB researchers at ISEA 2013 (Learning From The CRUMB Method Over A Cup Of Tea: Reflections On Creating And Exhibiting Digital Arts), I outlined my research in identifying and developing curatorial models of practice after globalisation that articulate the principles of The Eternal Network, created by artists Robert Filliou and George Brecht in 1968, in which the network itself is the artwork. More than solely a means of distribution or medium of production, The Eternal Network became a conceptual context for ‘permanent creation’ [1]. My research explores the attractiveness of networks as decentralized or distributed environments bypassing institutional curatorial spaces. There is often a political as well as aesthetic dimension to the attractiveness of networks-as-artworks. This may now be undermined by a dependence of these networks upon the Internet, argued to be ‘the most material and visible sign of globalisation’ [2].  Lovink [3] observes that the ‘pace [of globalisation] has increased with the advent of new technologies, especially in the area of telecommunications’ and so artists, activists and commercial, corporate players alike have employed online networks in search of their respective ‘utopias’. Lovink elaborates that ‘we need to develop a long-term view on how networked technologies should and should not be embedded in political and cultural practices’ [4].

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I founded The School of Human Activity when developing a workshop for the School of Performance at The Days of Performance Art, Dzyga Art Association, L’viv, Ukraine, 5-7 September, 2013. The School is a temporary, non-institutional gathering of diverse participants exploring relationships between (performance) art, pedagogy and everyday life. Over three days in L’viv we explored relationships between (performance) art and human activity as cultural, political and social practice. The work of the School contributes towards Robert Filliou’s conceptualization of the ‘Art-of-Peace’ (Filliou 1970), as ‘work by artists that deals with the specific problem of making the world a world with peace and harmony.’ (Thompson 2011). This led to the 1985 exhibition ‘Towards an Art-of-Peace Biennale’, a project resumed now as series of collaborative offline/online events entitled ‘The Next Art-of-Peace Biennale 2015-17’. ( Filliou, author of ‘Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts’ (Filliou 1970b) was also co-creator of the ‘Non-École de Villefranche’ whose motto ‘carefree exchange of information and experience / no student, no teacher / perfect license, at times to talk, at times to listen” (Filliou 1970b) is of central inspiration to this project. The visual identity of the School, disseminated through its stamp, posters and postcard created in an edition of 100, borrowed heavily in its graphic presentation from both Filliou’s stamp establishing the conceptual, ambulant, itinerant institution of the ‘La Galerie légitime’ and the letterhead for the ‘Non-École de Villefranche’.

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Robert Filliou declared that Art was 1,000,000 years old on 17 January 1963, the date of his own 37th birthday. Filliou has been said to suggest that on 17 January 998037 BC, Art was born ‘when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water.’ A global network of artists and friends have since celebrated Filliou’s vision of undifferentiated ‘art’ and ‘creativity’ annually on this day. Art’s Birthday epitomises the capacity of the The Eternal Network for shared creativity and play, for the celebration of ‘art’ and ‘life’. This global event has also been a context for developments in networked art practice over the last fifty years. Local meetings of artists and friends across The Eternal Network have been connected through forms of conceptual, postal, fax, telecommunication and online art practice. It is then an important opportunity to maintain continuity with practices of the past while developing new creative strategies to our own times globally. Art’s Birthday is significant to this research in providing opportunity to research an unusually long-term annual networked art event involving a wide range of people, practices and media. It is also continues to offer a context for practice-based curatorial experimentation during the research period itself.

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Mail artist H.R. Fricker declared the Decentralised World-Wide Networker Congress would occur wherever and whenever ‘two or more artists/networkers meet in the course of 1992’. He elaborated ‘The Decentralized World-Wide Networker Congress will serve as a meeting point for all kinds of networkers. The meaning of the common role as networkers should be the focus of the discussion.’ (source – TBC) In the end, a reported 500 artists from 25 countries and over 250 events took part in the congress according to this model. To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Fricker’s event five artists’ organisations in Cornwall (UK), Odzaci (Serbia), Ponte Nossa (Italy), La Plata (Argentina), and Roanoke (USA) organised exhibitions/events which were connected one to the other largely through social media.

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Dear Art-of-Peacemaker,

I’ve been trying to draw some very initial thoughts together which might in turn connect Robert Filliou’s thoughts on art, materiality / materialism, network technology and labour. I think doing so might help explain why Filliou was so engaged in utopian ideas of network on one hand but not so much with network technologies on the other. So here goes with a very initial sketch. Discussion welcome.

Let’s begin with the materiality / materialism issue. Filliou’s works are noted for their conceptually-driven ephemerality consisting of performative, often social, gestures and/or economically cheap, disposable material. In combination with his utopian socialism after Fourier and later engagement with Zen, Filliou’s practice is thus read as both a Marxian critique of commodification and a Buddhist critique of materiality. The economic precarity and poverty of his living conditions – he dropped out, remember – is often anecdotalised and to an extent romanticised in recollections. Though declaring the historical avant-garde to be obsolete, Filliou is still in many cases the perfect formulation of the humble but heroic artist disengaged from the vulgarity of making a living and the trap of alienation therin. Still, he was not a hermit as that formulation often requires – he was a networker, and one of few who espoused the importance of social relations as the basis of networked coproduction. His conception of The Eternal Network concerns cosmological consciousness more than infrastructural efficacy but was also a karmic potlatch of hospitality and reciprocity through which the artist could economically survive and creatively prosper. A potlatch where the gift-giving is of innocence and imagination. This network, this La Fête Permanente, is the poetical economy Filliou desired to transcend the political economy and which could only be realised through networked solidarity.


image: postcard of Statue of Charles Fourier, Place Clichy, Paris before German occupation of 1940

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Dear Art-of-Peacemaker,

Welcome to the weblog of The Next Art-Of-Peace Biennale 2015-17. Here you can find out more about the curatorial ideas behind the Biennale and the broader research project ‘Curating the Eternal Network After Globalisation’.

You may be aware of Robert Filliou (1926 – 1987) already and that ‘The Art-of-Peace Biennale’ was originally his concept and research project. His appetite for research as ‘the domain of those who do not know’, rather than the privilege of those who know led to concepts such as ‘The Art-of-Peace Biennale’ but countless others including ‘The Eternal Network’, ‘Art’s Birthday’, and ‘The Territory of the Genial Republic’.

image: Robert Filliou, ‘La Territoire de la République Géniale’, 1971

 image: ‘La Territoire de la République Géniale’ remediated during ‘Art’s Birthday 2015: What is Peace?’, London, 2015

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