Katherine Waugh

Katherine Waugh
Art as a Thinking Process

25 April to 27 May
Studio 2

Katherine Waugh was born and went to school in Skibbereen and has recently returned to the area.

Waugh’s present research flows from a substantial body of previous work in film, writing and curating artistic events, drawing on material overlooked or hidden: shadow archives, neglected cultural narratives in film, art and literature, disappeared or challenging areas of knowledge, often philosophically-framed.

She is presently expanding upon past research looking at the relationship with the non-human in art – the many profound and nebulous affinities artists develop with nature/the animal world, drawing on a rich body of theory in the ever-expanding field of artistic conceptualising, spanning philosophy, contemporary physics and ecosophy.

Her research focus also builds upon her past engagement with ideas from contemporary thinkers on invisibility and erasure in the art world from critical, ethical and feminist perspectives. Many of her past projects engaged with attempts to stimulate new ways of thinking from a platform of film and trans-disciplinary artworks.

Following her participation in the National Ethics Initiative by President Michael D Higgins, and its aim to foster critical thinking and the teaching of philosophy in schools, Katherine plans to create a research hub open to the public and invite local primary and second level school groups to workshops or presentations she would design. Alongside her film-based practice, a rotating collection of reference books she has collected from various disciplines will be made available in her studio.

One recently discovered book Thinking and Talking - found on sale in a Skibbereen charity shop, but with a history of belonging to both the library of the secondary school she attended in Skibbereen, and to Cork County Council public library prior to that - will be used as one sample catalyst to open up ideas about the currency and redistribution of cultural objects and texts, but also about thought itself as filtered through film, literature as well as ecologically based art.

She will create maps of new links and connections formed in situ using local history and more tangential cultural narratives, to explore more abstract ideas and concepts often found in contemporary art that resonate through the history of film, literature and art.

One research thread would be using the visit John Cage made to Skibbereen in the 70s as part of his work Roaratorio based on Finnegans Wake, the subject of a future film project, to create a workshop and performance with students and other local and refugee communities, around experimental relationships between film, literature, music, and nature (given Cage’s renowned expertise in mycology).

Katherine aims to create collaborative artistic diagrams of thinking as an artistic process, using images chosen through open studio contributions, and from personal film archives, alongside film screenings and workshops with artistic collaborators to try to create a sense of how art (at its best) facilitates original thinking in many areas of life.

Katherine Waugh is a filmmaker, writer and curator whose trans- disciplinary practice includes films such as her recently completed I See a Darkness, framed by an accompanying exhibition at Photo Museum Ireland in November 2022. I See a Darkness/e-flux announcement The Art of Time (co-directed with Fergus Daly), another film essay, on the complex temporalities in contemporary art, film and architecture, has screened internationally.

She has been the recipient of a number of Arts Council awards and was awarded a distinction in her MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths College London.

Her curatorial projects include Schizo-Culture: Cracks in the Street in SPACE gallery London (with David Morris): an exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1975 Schizo-Culture conference in New York. She curated (with Michaele Cutaya) a weekend art event combining performance and multi-disciplinary presentations Proposition: An Art of Ethics, in which creative forms of experimentation were explored in depth, drawing on the work of Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze.

For another residency, awarded by Callan Workhouse Union in Kilkenny, she presented The Posture of the Key; an eclectic programme of films and open conversations with philosophers and artists curated over a weekend which emanated from her research on Callan’s idiosyncratic history and famine workhouse.

She was awarded a film artist's residency in the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris (CCI) and curated the event/programme Strange Relations/Relations Étrange also at the CCI, and co-curated (with Bastien Rousseau) the experimental two-day film-based event ‘La Guêpe et L'Orchidée’ [The Wasp and the Orchid] at CAPC Bordeaux, including newly commissioned work by artists Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thompson.

She was the Irish producer for Sylvère Lotringer’s film The Man Who Disappeared, based on Lotringer’s decades of writing on Artaud. Other projects curated with Lotringer include Artaud on the Beach, Showroom Gallery London, The Question Itself, South London Gallery, and Strange Relations/Relations Étrange at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris

She has given talks on film and art and curated art symposia in numerous institutions in Ireland and elsewhere including South London Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, MIMA/AV Festival, Camden Arts Centre, CAPC Bordeaux and SUNY.

She has written extensively on art, with past reviews and essays published in Circa, VAN and Fugitive Papers. Her essays include a commission by Stony Road Press for an essay on Brian O’Doherty’s Structural Plays (a limited edition art book exhibited in IMMA Dublin), ‘Delicate Yet Deadly’ for the book Artist-Run Europe (Pallas Projects), and most recently ‘The Memory of Skin’ on artist Mary Ruth Walsh. Internationally published book essays include a Norwegian Art Prize Commission for artist Lars Laumann, and an AV Festival commission for Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland for Susan Stenger. She was also commissioned by Brooklyn Rail New York to write about her many film and art projects with philosopher and Semiotext(e) publisher Sylvere Lotringer following his death in 2021.

Images: Image of the book Thinking and Talking Katherine Waugh
Katherine Waugh, still from I see a Darkness, 2023, coyote filmed near Navada test site

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre's Artist Residency Programme is supported by the Arts Council and Cork County Council.

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