At art school in the 1980s I tried every art
form I could, enthralled by the many ways of making things
that could have both aesthetic and intellectual aspects. Later,
established myself as an artist using video, audio, and mixed-media
Twenty-five years into this career I undertook
a PhD. I wanted to develop my thinking about the role of art
scientified world, especially through writing. I gained a doctorate
from Slade School of Fine Art/UCL with a written thesis: What
Art and Science Want: Disciplines and Cultures in Contention (2011).
I collect video and audio, make photographs
and write (essays, rants, blog posts, lyrics, proposals). Whatever
form of my exhibited work I am interested in the mixing
up of discourse and emotion, and in partial perspectives on
seemingly monolithic ideas, such as the scientific, the
idea of culture
itself, and Englishness. My work reflects an ongoing attempt
to incorporate multiple positions, to escape uninterrrogated
belief of any kind.
I write and teach on the themes briefly covered
in this statement, especially on the disciplines and cultures
art and science
in the context of wider public culture. In addition to my individual
practice, I work in two collaborative settings: with artist Frances
Gec and Louise K Wilson.
As well as using audio in art works, I make
music. I released a first full-length album of songs and music:
in Yorkshirama in 2010. At time of writing, a second
is in production.
This web-site is a hub and an archive
for all these activities.
Crown Drop 1990. Mixed papers and
pigments, 2160 x 2490mm.
Class 1990. City Gallery Leicester.
The Conditions 1993. Tate Gallery
Those Days Are Gone 1994. Holden
Crowd Control 1997.
Bonington Gallery, Nottingham.
Atlas 2004. Chisenhale Gallery,
Midnight at Wildbrow Hall 2007.
Peri Gallery, Turku, Finland.
and Extinction Photowork
I began my artistic career with a body of several
hundred drawings, collages and paintings, and via grants, residencies
and commissions I found ways to continue working with video and
Once outside the academy I developed academic
interests: for instance, in the intellectual world
of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and the relationship
between institutionalised scientific knowledge, colonialism
around questions of British cultural identity and received
history. I explored the confusion around heritage, tradition
in Britain, as the integrity of nation-states began to be eroded
I studied the social musics of different places,
working my way through what would now be called the "world
music" section of my local record library. [Another
impression of this period, centred on my musical interests, can
be found here:http://www.mistersalmon.com/TALE]
early time-based works, especially Salmon
Song (1987), grew out of adopting rules or
constraints which limited the way a video camera could
be manipulated. My work process often entailed crossing
or space which interested me, taking a camera in some kind
of trolley or harness. I treated the camera as an automatic
device, collecting continuous, time-based evidence of phenomena
created and revealed by the traverse itself.
These cycles of action, effect and documentation yielded
footage which I began to fashion into multi-screen video
I combined this approach with more conventional
means of production, structure and signification.
My time-based work makes explicit something
common to my work in general: the use of variations in aesthetic
or emotional intensity to convey conceptual shifts. For me
this approach is related to both music and discourse, since
it relies on rhythm, cause and effect, proposition and response.
Given that even static marks, objects and spatial divisions
must be apprehended in time, I assume that this "time-based" model
is relevant to the production and reception of many kinds
In the 1980s and 90s, via a worldwide network
of video art festivals, I found audiences for a series of single-screen
video works, such as Common Knowledge (1989), A
History of Disaster with Marvels (Channel 4 Television,
Difficulties (1995), and others. From around 1989
I made installations combining video and audio with various kinds
of projection and lighting, often within quasi-architectural
interior constructions. Works such as Geiger (1989), Class (1990/93), Flare/Cataract (1992), The
Conditions (1993) were presented in various locations
around the UK, and elsewhere in Europe. Often, due to their scale
and mix of technical and physical media, the pieces were
shown only once or twice.
My finished works usually focus an ongoing interest
via exemplary images, objects or actions. In installation, I
have used video, audio and other media to bring elements of the
natural or social world by proxy into a place of scrutiny. I
have frequently altered interiors to create a productive interplay
between such proxies and the site temporarily containing
them. This is the basis of my engagement with site-specific and
temporary public art.
Those Days Are Gone (1994)
required the vaulted interior of a large gallery to be truncated
and darkened by a false ceiling, cutting across taken-for-granted
architectural features redolent of an earlier period. An ersatz
thunderstorm played out above the ceiling, lightning intermittently
flashing around its edges. Normal Numbers (1998-2008)
consisted of an array of numerals and abbreviations in neon,
electronically sequenced to create a flow around the top of the
Manchester People's History Museum. The flow recalled the nineteeth-century
use of the building as a pumping station for hydraulic power,
but the text represented various cells and substances in "normal" human
blood. This scientistic interpretation of the body politic contrasted
with the socialistic one promoted by the Museum.
I have interrogated the idea of Englishness
in various ways. Crowd
Control (1996/7) was a suite of gallery installations
containing nineteenth-century natural history engravings,
photographs related to the end
of the Victorian era and the 1914-18 war, and a video clip
from a televised Queen's Christmas Message. All were contextualised
using laboratory equipment, early microfiche readers,
modern surveillance apparatus, and customised
The imageless single-screen video Victorian Car
uses just subtitles and audio, finding a darkly comedic Englishness
in the accumulated soundtrack of British cinema, TV and radio.
The temporary neon work Provincially Provisionally (1998)
was created to parody the fuzzily aspirational tone of administered
public culture. It was installed high on the exterior of
the now-demolished Sheffield Town Hall extension. Cloud
Cover (1999), a suite of installations for
Battersea Arts Centre, drew on population statistics, satellite-assisted
weather forecasts, and live surveillance of the main foyer
BAC itself; a building designed and built as a Town Hall,
with a hierarchy of access inferred in its architecture.
In 1997 I made a first collaborative work with
artist Frances Hegarty. For Dublin was
a multi-site, temporary neon work in Dublin city centre, and
the first Nissan Art Project, in association with the Irish Museum
of Modern Art. The work was intended as both an aesthetic pleasure,
and an invocation of two ideas closely associated with James
Joyce's Ulysses: psychogeography and gendered speech.
Hegarty & Stones have made several site-specific,
temporary public art works, often bringing elements of illusion
and temporal play to public locations: Seemingly
So, Evidently Not, Apparently Then (Sheffield 1998); Orienteer
(A-Z, Dawn to Dusk) (Birmingham 2000); Overnight
Sensation (Belfast 2001); Extra (Bradford
2002/3). In 2006 we were commissioned to make the large-scale
video/audio work Ex Machina in Carlow,
Ireland: an artistic response to the asset-stripped remains of
the recently closed Carlow Sugar Factory.
Tactically Yours (Kilkenny,
2007) is a suite of four video
installations by Hegarty & Stones commissioned by the Butler
Gallery in which the tactics
of the street protestor are brought into association with a series
of combative performance drawings.
[For Hegarty & Stones see link at bottom]
In 2001 a Fellowship with the National Endowment
for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA, UK) enabled me to
develop my interest in the historical
narratives and spectacularisation of science. I set up short
residencies at Arecibo Radio Observatory (Puerto Rico) and Big
Bear Solar Observatory (California), and made visits to CERN
(France/Switzerland), collecting images and recordings in each
location. Exhibited and published outcomes from these excursions
include the installation Atlas (2004)
which uses video shot at CERN; the audio installation Tell
Us Everything (2003), for the Faraday Museum at
the Royal Institution, London; the videotape Hubble (2004);
and the monograph Andrew Stones - Outside Inside (2004). Outside
Inside documents almost twenty years' of work, and also
carries the first photo-works emerging with my increased use
For the exhibition Midnight at Wildbrow
Hall (2007) and the photo-blog From
Wildbrow Hall I introduced the
conceit of a roving aristocratic photographer. This avatar (for "aristocratic" read "artistic")
allows me to indulge in some creative double-think: to assert
personal authorship and maintain subjective taxonomies of
meaning, even if, today, all images are destined for an unregulated
global reservoir of aesthetic tokens.
In 2013 I began to work
collaboratively with artists Stefan Gec and Louise K Wilson,
our first public project
being Three Artists, Two Days, One Room (2016).[For
Gec, Stones, Wilson see link at bottom]
Recent and current
In recent years I have deepened my knowledge
of audio production, composition and arrangement. I'm still working
within the multi-channel "musique concrète" model
used in previous installations and audio-led events, but also
song cycles and straightforwardly musical works.
I continue to explore the territory between
the still and moving image, especially through animated series
of photographs and strip works: forms related to film and video.
In some instances, here, repetitions, sequences, spaces and overlaps
are like segments snipped from longer chains, perhaps from a
collective "aesthetic DNA".
(Photoworks) on this site]
I am working on interlinked writings and artworks
concerned with the coexistence of art and science, with a view
to publication and exhibition. I touch on this theme intermittently
on my blog
This Moaning. [See: Writing and Blogs on
I continue to be motivated by questions: What
is the role of art in an increasingly scientified world? How
does the individual respond to the many knowledges and narratives
(of art, science, politics) which press insistently into the
public realm? How does the artist negotiate
of their art
world if they also uphold the ideal of art as a vehicle for outsider
Copyright © Andrew Stones 2016
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Hegarty & Andrew Stones: joint works
Stefan Gec, Andrew Stones, Louise K Wilson: group works
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