Machinic Alliances

Rieko Akatsuka, Liz Arnold, Edwina Ashton, Marcus Coates, David Cotterrell, Lucy Gunning, Jaki Irvine,
Paulette Phillips, Kate Smith, Mo Throp, & Clara Ursitti

curated by Maria Walsh, Mo Throp and Danielle Arnaud
Liz Arnold Day Tripper
Liz Arnold  Day Tripper 1997
acrylic on canvas
79 x 97 cm


4 July - 10 August 2008


The 'machinic' is a process that expresses our capacity as humans to form alliances with non-human forces, be they animal, insect, plant or virus. The exhibition 'Machinic Alliances' takes this Deleuzian premise as the basis from which to propose unholy affiliations between categories of human/animal/technological.

The artworks in this exhibition seek to question, challenge, and flirt with traditional concepts of Western subjectivity. Thrown to the wind is the plot of an original wholeness and purity. Instead, 'machinic alliances' scramble and graft singular identities, creating perverse formations that escape the Oedipal trap of filiation (Donna Haraway 2004). These formations or assemblages have no father, like Frankenstein, and eschew anthropocentric identification. In their multiplicity, they push against the limits of form.

Categories are undone.
Awkward conjoinings arise.
Inhuman differences emerge.

But paradoxically, it is here in the interstitial spaces proposed by 'machinic alliances' that we can learn how to live differently. In these spaces, we can experience the 'mutual interdependences and productive mergers of forces' that characterise subjectivity at the end of the postmodern (Rosi Braidotti, 2006). The ‘new’ alliances explored by the artworks in this exhibition do not reproduce the antagonism of one self against another self, but generate a bestiary of possible selves, liberating us from the alienating problematics of narcissistic recognition and opening us up to the creative becomings of being. The artworks in this exhibition propel us to imagine wacky and wonderful possibilities for our identities. Disturbing, yet pleasurable, these 'machinations' acknowledge the difficulty of difference, yet relish in the production of anomalous differences that exceed categorization.


A catalogue will be published with writings by Rosi Braidotti and Maria Walsh


Rieko Akatsuka was born in Japan and lives and works in Tokyo. She graduated from Goldsmith's College in 2001. Selected exhibitions include: Liminal/Minimal/Nominal: Architectural Traces, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; Mega-City, Fukugan Gallery, Osaka, Japan; Agnes b, London; Centre of Attraction, the 8th Baltic Triennial of International Art, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania; The Entangled Eye, Danielle Arnaud contemporary art, London and Gallery Speak For, Tokyo; firstsite project Space, Colchester; Take One, Royal Festival Hall, London; Repatriating the Ark, Museum of Garden History, London.


Marcus Coates' practice questions how we perceive humanness through imagined non-human realities. An extensive knowledge and understanding of British wildlife has led him to create unique interpretations of the natural world and its evolving relationship with society.
Coates studied at the Royal Academy of Arts, 1990-93. Recent solo exhibitions include Marcus Coates, Whitechapel Gallery, London 2007. Dawn Chorus, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead 2007. Coates has staged performances at the Serpentine, Barbican and Hayward Galleries, London 2007 as well as in Japan, Norway and Israel. He was selected for British Art Show 6 and more recently for Manifesta 7.


Lucy Gunning is based in London; she works with performance, film, video and installation. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, and is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include; RePhil at the Philbrook Museum, Oklahoma, 2007; The Archive, The Event and its Architecture 2007, the culmination of a 6 month residency at The Wordsworth Trust, Cumbria.  She has work in numerous collections including: the Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London; Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art Toyama, Japan; Centre George Pompidou, Paris.


Jaki Irivine currently lives and works in Dublin having spent many years in London and some time in Italy. Her works in film and video, whether in single-screen format or in more complex multi-screen installations, weave together enticing, though ultimately elusive narratives in which image, voice-over and musical score variously overlap, coalesce and diverge. These languid explorations of human interaction with the natural world, the built environment, and with other humans are suffused with a melancholic lyricism and leavened by a dark, dreamlike humour. Subjectivities split and fragment as the boundaries that separate self from other, or human from animal, become fluid or permeable. In 1995 Irvine was included in the seminal exhibition of Young British Artists, General Release, at the Venice Biennale, and she represented Ireland at the 1997 Biennale.
Her solo exhibitions include shows at Project Arts Centre (1996) and the Douglas Hyde Gallery (1999) in Dublin, Frith Street Gallery (1997, 1999) and Delfina Project Space (2001) in London, and the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, Germany (1998). She has also participated in numerous group shows throughout Europe, Australia and Japan including Sonsbeek International, Arnhem (1993), NoWhere Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (1996), White Noise, Bern Kunsthalle, (1998), Intelligence, Tate Britain (2000) and Shifting Ground: 50 Years of Irish Art at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) (2000). A The Silver Bridge,was exhibited at IMMA in 2004. A 9-screen installation, In a World Like This,(2006) was produced as part of a fellowship at the Model & Niland Galleries in Sligo and subsequently shown at the Chisehale Gallery, London. A major new publication on her work is being published by Charta in the autumn. Her next solo show of new work, Room Acoustics Revisited, is at the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin in July-August 2008.Irvine is represented in the collections of IMMA, the British Council and in numerous other collections, both public and private.


Paulette Phillips' film installations evolve from an interest in how the subject leaks out of structures like language and architecture. She constructs uncanny experiences that amplify our attachment to voyeuristic pleasure. Recent group exhibitions include: The Tatton Park Biennale, UK; The Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris; The Power Plant, Toronto; ZKM, Germany; Kunsthaus Graz, Austria; Heidelberger Kunstverein, Germany, Ludwig Museum, Hungary and the Palazzo della Papesse, Italy. Reviews of her recent work can be found in Art in America, ArtForum, Modern Painters and Flashart. Based in Toronto, Phillips’ work is represented by Diaz Contemporary Art, Toronto and Danielle Arnaud contemporary art, London.  She has worked in theatre, film, and television and teaches at The Ontario College of Art and Design.


Kate Smith completed her BA in Fine Art at Sunderland Polytechnic in 1983, and MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in 1986. Since then she has worked from a sculptural perspective, in an expanded field, employing mixed media. In this capacity she has a long term professional relationship with Matts Gallery, London. Most recent exhibition - Uj Kor Tars, Lena & Roselli Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, 2008. On occasion she has expanded further into curating, including most recently membership of the Programme group at the Waygood Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne (2003-2006). She currently lives and works in London, teaching as a .05 lecturer on MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College.


Mo Throp studied Sculpture at Saint Martin’s, London before completing an MA and then a PhD at Chelsea College of Art & Design.  Currently she is Head of Undergraduate Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, London.
She has co-curated a previous exhibition with Maria Walsh at  Danielle Arnaud contemporary art; entitled ‘Transmogrifications’.  It is part of an ongoing collaborative project with the research group ‘Subjectivity & Feminisms’ from Chelsea College of Art & Design. The work is concerned to explore new transformative possibilities for conceptualising identity and subjectivity which is especially informed by recent feminist thinking.


Clara Ursitti has been working with fragrance since the early 1990s creating pungent installations that delve into the psychological and social aspects of scent. She is interested in non-verbal ( chemical ) communication and memory. Her work has been exhibited throughout Europe, North America and Australia including the Gothenburg Biennale; ICA, London; Tramway, Glasgow; and ACCA, Melbourne. She was awarded a IASPIS residency, Sweden and was recently the Arts Council of England Helen Chadwick Fellow 2006 - 2007 (Oxford and the British School at Rome)

Edwina Ashton They loved nature
Edwina Ashton They loved nature (detail) 2008
wallpaper, ballpoint pen, coloured pencils, ink and paint
Marcus Coats Red Fox
Marcus Coates Red Fox Vulpes vulpes (detail) 1998
self Portrait, red boiler suit
C type print 70cm x 70cm
Lucy Gunning Jessica
Lucy Gunning  Jessica  2006
Jaki Irvine Swimmers & SeagullsJaki Irvine Swimmers & SeagullsJaki Irvine Swimmers & SeagullsJaki Irvine Swimmers & Seagulls
Jaki Irvine  Swimmers & Seagulls  2005
Jaki Irvine WormJaki Irvine WormJaki Irvine WormJaki Irvine Worm
Jaki Irvine  Worm Drawing  2006
video  courtesy Kerlin Gallery
Paulette Phillips Dogwood Pond Paulette Phillips Dogwood Pond Paulette Phillips Dogwood Pond Paulette Phillips Dogwood Pond
Paulette Phillips  Dogwood Pond  2003
DVD, sound, beaver fur, wooden cabinet
Mo Throp Mermaid
Mo Throp  Mermaid  2003/2008
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