From, In and With Anne Tallentire

Anne Tallentire, From in and with, (2013). Photographers Gallery, Dublin. Photograph c. Brian Creegan

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This visual essay is composed of two parts. The first is a set of four double page spread compositions, each one comprising four components. On the right hand page is a photograph of Anne Tallentire, From, in and with, detail, work on paper, dimensions variable, (2013); and on the left hand page, a site-writing, consisting of three textual components, including – along the bottom in bold font – some experiments in citation. The second part is a reflection, informed by feminism, on citational practice in art and academia.

It started life in response to an invitation from the artist Anne Tallentire to produce a piece of feminist architectural historical research/writing as part of her work From, in and with which was produced for the project, STILL, WE WORK, commissioned by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), featuring artists Sarah Browne, Vagabond Reviews, Miriam O’Connor and Anne Tallentire, and first exhibited at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin in autumn 2013.

In response to the four photographs of Dublin that Anne sent me, I wrote four 100-word texts – ‘Gridlock’, ‘Blindspot’, ‘About to touch’ and ‘Inversion’ – which made spatial correspondences to the architecture shown in the photographs. I sent these to Anne along with instructions for typesettingthose words to create ‘site-writings’ drew out the role of urban space and architecture in women’s working lives, and also raised questions concerning the work involved in making art and writing history and criticism. I chose to participate in the process by responding to Anne’s brief with a work of my own, trying, in the spirit of my site-writing project, to re-make the photographs in writing. This interaction of call and response, as well as involving a translation from image to word and back again, also raised some important questions for me concerning the processes of authorship, production, collaboration and citation involved in the work of making art and writing.

In discussing the site-writings I made for Anne in talks on my own practice, I became interested in the conditions of possibility for presenting ‘Gridlock’, ‘Blindspot’, ‘About to touch’, and ‘Inversion’ outside the frame of From, in and with, and what might happen to Anne’s work in this process. This made me think – quite intuitively and loosely – about referencing as an ethical act, and citation as an academic correspondent to that act, and more broadly about how these operated as forms of ‘critical spatial practice’, a term I have introduced to describe acts that intervene into sites in order to reveal power relations at work I wondered too about the labour and invention of those artists and writers who have come before, and whose work has been buried over time, and about who gets to make the choice between making visible or/and rendering invisible. In several talks to graduate students – many of them artists becoming researchers and so learning the practice of academic citation – I presented a shifting range of citations where the relationship to the production of art and academic writing can be altered by simply by adding quotation marks, brackets and italics. In this essay the lines of text that feature in bold track the different positions of authorship and artefact, from art practice to academic writing.

This final refereed article was published in the special issue of Field, coedited by Karin Reisinger and Meike Schalk, called Becoming a Feminist Architect, (2017).

Oonagh Young was the designer of the publication From, in and with.


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