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    Furtherfield: twenty years of art, technology, and social change

    Garrett, Marc (2021) Furtherfield: twenty years of art, technology, and social change. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Furtherfield is London’s longest-running centre for art and technology. Its current mission is to disrupt and democratise art and tech through co-creation, in-depth exploration, open tools and free-thinking. Since 1996 Furtherfield has developed an international reputation for initiating experiments in artistic co-creation across digital networks. As a global hub that has grown up on the web, the time and energy of its team and participants have been focused on decentralised and distributed peer-to-peer practices, fostering new projects with artists, and seizing and challenging debates about the role of art and technology in society. Founded by Ruth Catlow and me, it is an international hub and community for artists, technologists, writers and cultural hackers. Furtherfield has two venues, the commons and the gallery, in the heart of London’s 150-year-old, Finsbury Park. This research presents an autoethnographic study of Furtherfield’s twenty-three-year history to date. The study focuses on the motives, strategies, and values of the Furtherfield community as expressed through its projects and debates which are often critical of UK art-market frameworks and belief systems. It examines the relationship between essential artistic practices and social, political, and cultural conditions associated with the emergence of planetary-scale network technologies. It presents and analyses the significant role played by artists in reshaping the narratives and uses of these technologies. Since its inception, Furtherfield has formed alliances with artists, technologists and activists, dedicating their lives to learning and updating their skills and practices, questioning the values, defaults, and structures of art-world systems that support and promote established norms in cultural production. This thesis draws on public documents, interviews, and private records for its autoethnographic research. In doing so, this thesis aims to present an objective analysis of the materials, while acknowledging the inevitable partiality of any study of community practice in the networked environment. Through an examination of people, platforms, places, campaigns, theoretical groundings, and public programmes this research traces key social themes of a dynamic organisation shaped by a plurality of voices from the margins and with the community at its heart.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2021 11:43
    Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 11:44


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