The Falmouth Convention
  • Keynote: Lucy Lippard

    Imagine Being Here Now: Towards a Multicentered Exhibition Process

    Lucy Lippard has kindly given permission for us to publish here the text of her keynote lecture given in Falmouth, Cornwall on 20 May 2010.

    Imagine Being Here Now is a title I offer up for advance publication when I have no idea yet what I’ll talk about, but also because I enjoy the paradox.  Why would we have to imagine a place if we are right here now? Because we’re always doing it, because every day we imagine and then live a version of our new stories, our histories, which we then disseminate through friends and family.  “Imagine,” John Lennon exhorted us. And artist David Wojnarowicz said in the 1980s, “I’m beginning to think that one of the last frontiers left for radical gestures is the imagination.”

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    Lucy Lippard interview with

    Visit to read Rupert White’s interview with Lucy Lippard on place, places and conceptual art.

    The Falmouth Convention in Retrospect

    Six months on from The Falmouth Convention, Axis, the online resource for contemporary art, commissioned Lucy Lippard to reflect on the event. Lippard’s text is published here by kind permission of Axis.

    In retrospect, the Falmouth Convention was a model of organisation and content.

    The field trips, everyone has agreed, gave it a grounded, local flavour that suffered only from the fact that we couldn’t go on every one of them.

    I came out of the Convention dubious about the necessity or perhaps even the possibility of taking part in an already formed, controlled, and conceptualized international Manifesta, and wildly enthusiastic about an independent, long-term project that would have time to learn from its own successes and failures. Read more

  • Field Trip Reports

    The Falmouth Convention commissioned writers based in Cornwall to accompany four of the field trips and to provide an account of their experiences. Two of the field trip reports are presented as photo stories.

    Field Trip 1: Assembly Walk and Talk

    This Isle is Full of Noises
    by James Kearns

    In Cornwall there is a south coast and there is a north coast, but what is often forgotten is that there is also a west coast. Our field trip will take us along a section of this west coast, and we will start from The Assembly, a residency space for artists, housed in an old Wesleyan chapel dating back to 1757, and situated in the town of St. Just itself. We arrive by coach and disembark. The Assembly building is fittingly unassuming and peopled with a number of like-minded collaborators and newly formed friends who, perhaps tentatively, await our arrival; we are perhaps a little apprehensive too. Read more

    Field Trip 2: Boat Party

    Lucy Gunning and Tacita Dean were students together at Falmouth School of Art in the 80s. For a year they were also neighbours and when Lucy finished and moved to London they tried to correspond with each other by sending postcards every day. For this field trip they decided ‘to map a more biographical route around the coastal outline of Falmouth’ and each started by drawing a sketch map of the area as she remembered it, indicating the sites that were of most significance at that time. They drew their maps without reference to each other and were struck by how different they were – one drawn from the perspective of the sea, the other concentrating on the land. Read more

    Field Trip 3: Hydroplutonic Kernow

    Cornwall’s Best Kept Secrets
    by Jo Thomas

    Our journey into the unfamiliar begins with an exploding map. A straightforward Ordnance Survey style representation of the Gwennap mining district, but with the secrets of the strange complicity between water and the earth’s core hidden in its folds. Read more

    Field Trip 4: Studios and Stones: new perspectives, new stories

    Stories in the Stones
    by Lynn Parr

    The stones of Cornwall are like the bare bones of the soul. Elemental, wind-scoured. History looking back through the glazes of centuries, untouched by the human melée; not even noticing the frenetic dance of life.

    Sculptors may try to make stone look like something else; yet it is still stone. It will always be stone. Nothing can change its nature except the slow drip of time itself. Read more

    Field Trip 5: TelePort – A Tour of the Lizard’s Landscape of Telecommunication

    Steven Rowell devised this field trip with Daro Montag, to explore the many telecommunications sites on the Lizard peninsula. The tour started at the Marconi Museum in Poldhu and with a visit to the monument that commemorates the Marconi Company’s first trans-oceanic wireless communication between Cornwall and Newfoundland in Canada. Other points visited on the trip included the Lloyds Signal Station and Marconi Wireless Station on Lizard Point and the Goonhilly Satellite Station on Goonhilly Downs. The group stopped for lunch in Britain’s most southerly café, above the old Lizard lifeboat station at Polpeor cove. Read more

    Field Trip 5: Teleport – Adam Chodzko’s response

    Adam Chodzko was asked to give his response to the Teleport field trip to the Lizard peninsula. He has sent the following text as a record of his presentation at the Convention on Sunday 23 May. He writes: ‘Attached is my memory of my field trip response. It is taken from a few sketchy notes I made at the time and tries to fit with the sequence of images I showed (which I know are in the correct order). So I guess it is the skeleton of my talk as I remember it now in Cove Park, 17 July 2010.’ Read more

    Field Trip 6: Tristan and Iseult in Cornwall

    Tristan and Iseult: A Cornish Pilgrimage
    by Matt Cox Read more

  • Conference Presentations

    Audio and Video Recordings

    The conference at Woodlane Lecture Theatre, Falmouth on Saturday 22 May was recorded on University College Falmouth’s Echo 360 recording system.

    An annotated version of the conference programme is given below, to assist with navigation of the Echo 360 recordings. Click on the headings for Parts 1 to 4 to link to the recordings. Read more

    ‘The Theory of Applied Enigmatics’

    Bassam el Baroni read from ‘The Theory of Applied Enigmatics’ in his presentation for the Convention and has kindly made the text available for internal study and reference purposes. It may be accessed here in jpg format and may not be copied, pasted, quoted or otherwise turned into text. It will be published in the catalogue of Manifesta 8.

    ‘The Theory of Applied Enigmatics’ (jpg) – Page 1, Page 2, Page 3

    John Cage short story

    In his concluding remarks on Saturday 22 May Jeremy Millar read a short story from the collection Indeterminacy by John Cage.  Click here to read the story.

    Video highlights from

    Visit to see video clips of some of the conference presentations.