Smith and Gausden

Here Gausden and Smith speak about their collaboration so far, emphasizing the importance of experiential knowledge, and on the definition of Smith’s art as a social practice. Gausden outlines some of the features of a conversational methodology developed between them and they discuss the possibility of writing a paper that will involve Smith’s practice and Gausden’s work with the environmental organization South Seeds. Smith discusses her interest in the qualities of sociability in relation to her practice introducing Michel de Certeau work in the Practice of Everyday Life (1984) where he defines the act of speaking as a liberating act, an intervention. They spend some time discussing the difference between written and spoken forms of communication. Smith stresses the importance of a shared language in social art practice and also asserts the huge value and need for participant voices in discourse around projects. During the conversation both refer to a written abstract framed around cultural mapping that Gausden has produced as a guide to the conversation and in response to a conference on the subject, so that in parallel to their conversation they also cross between written and spoken forms. A large section of the discussion focuses on different forms of organizational and institutional practices. While Gausden initially emphasizes the question of the separation between the spaces we occupy in relation to power, Smith points to the question of time, suggesting that we do not all exist in the same time frame. 

Through discussion of the South Seeds context in Govanhill, Gausden approaches the questions of commons, so that the conversation can be seen as an attempt to imagine how artistic practice and research could contribute to creating the necessarily shared time and space that commons projects require. Gausden describes her use of strategies learned from Smith’s artistic practice in order to move in the organizational structure at South Seeds, which, after being a founding member, she was returning back to as a guest. From there Smith details her work on the Lavender project and the development of a more collaborative model for the organization through key activities, including the gathering together of different people around a meal. The recoding is cut in places but ends with a consideration of both archiving as a kind of cartography. Finally, the pair arrive at the question of how a social practice could be transferred to other contexts or replayed. They draw an important distinction between a critical framework and a methodology in relation to the field of politics. 

Audio Title: 
Caroline Gausden and Helen Smith, Aberdeen
Audio Accession Number: 
MW. 001
Audio Speaker: 
Caroline Gausden and Helen Smith
Audio Annotation: 
A discussion in the research environment between Smith and Gausden as part of a longer collaboration.
Audio Location: 
Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen
Audio Date: 
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Audio Duration: 
Audio Type: 
Private Conversation
Audio Technical: 
Mostly clear
Audio Recording type: 
Zoom recording