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MARs Research Hub, Goldsmiths College

Room 101, Studio A, Barriedale Building


SE14 6AF

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MARs Sessions

MARs Sessions bring together researchers within Art, across disciplines, between institutions and beyond higher education for intentional, concentrated discussion and sharing of research. Each small-scale, curated event spans a single afternoon and engages around 10-12 people in conversation, all of whom share a research interest in common. The sessions are initiated, organised and run by members of academic staff in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths, keying into specific research interests.

Depending on the curatorial agenda, each MARs Session may have up to three ‘prep’ sessions involving readings, screenings, gallery visits, etc. Keying into the research theme/topic of the main MARs session, these ‘prep’ sessions are organised by an MPhil/PhD Researcher in Art in consultation with the main MARs organizer. The ‘prep’ sessions run on consecutive weeks leading up to the main MARs session.

Participants may choose to sign up for the main session only, but are welcome to attend any or all of the 'prep' sessions as well.

Accompanying image is Melissa Gordon, 'Artist's Hand' (2016).

MARs Session 1 - GESTURE

Organised and led by Melissa Gordon
with Jessica Wiesner, Fiona James and Josefina Camus

What is the syntax of a gesture, and is its behaviour interesting to look at, on the surface of an art work, in context, and in history?

In this MARs session we will be considering texts, a film and an experience with your bodies which examine questions of historic 'liveliness', questions around performativity, and the inherent relation of the body to gesture. The final session will include a presentation on Melissa Gordon’s research into the 'liquidity' of gesture, and on the question of a queer aesthetics, as well as a presentation by the artist Marie Lund on the role of gesture in her work.

N.B. Participants may choose to sign up for the main session only, but are welcome to attend any or all of the 'prep' sessions as well.

MAIN SESSION - Monday, 30 October @ 14.00-17.00
Conversation with and presentations from Melissa Gordon and invited guests Marie Lund and William J Simmons.

Prep Session - Tuesday, 10 October @ 15.00-17.00
Reading Group hosted by Melissa Gordon

Reading materials can be accessed at the following Dropbox Link as they become available:

Prep Session – Tuesday, 17 October @ 15.00-17.00
Workshop hosted by Jessica Weisner and Fiona James with Josefina Camus

Taking as a starting point their collaborative investigation in to the agency of involuntary gesture Fiona James and Jess Wiesner will lead a workshop entitled ‘The Palace of Anxiety’. Beginning with a short introduction to the bodies largest regulatory organ, fascia and moving though embodied exercises and group discussion this session will look to explore the studio and other places of production as sites of the involuntary, furthering our grasp of how control and criticality work for, and against, the body in support of a twitchier kind of logic.

Know this. Fascia is the material anatomist cut through while aiming for organs that seemed of more worth. It is also the largest organ in the body with a pivotal role in steering our neural networks plasticity, sensing and sending more information to the brain than any other and directly translating its will, conscious and other wise, in to movement and posture, action and gesture. It holds the memory of your history and your ability to adapt, be, and write from it. A series of tensile bands and connective tissues its predominant asset lies in its ability to harness liquidity. For all its form, its true strength lies in its flows.

What can be learnt from this oversight?

Prep Session 3 – Tuesday, 24 October @ 15.00-17.00
Film Screening of Routine Pleasures by Jean-Pierre Gorin (United States, 1986; 79 minutes; Color, Black and White, English)

What do a club devoted to model trains and the legendary film critic and painter Manny Farber have in common? These two lines intersect in Jean-Pierre Gorin’s lovely and distinctly American film, which takes as its subject the desire to re-create the past (the locomotive aficionados’ elaborate worlds in miniature, Farber’s teeming canvases) and expands to something richly philosophical and surprisingly funny. Routine Pleasures is a masterful meditation on America’s landscapes, real and imagined.


In addition to securing your place through Eventbrite, please fill out the following survey. The information here will help the organisers prepare the session and may used to select participants if the session is oversubscribed.

MARs Session 1 – Gesture


All MARs Sessions – including the main session and any 'prep' sessions – will be held in:

MARs Research Hub
Room 101, Studio A, Barriedale Building, Goldsmiths College
8 Lewisham Way, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

No. 4 on the Goldsmiths campus map:


Josefina Camus is a London based dancer, choreographer and art researcher. She studied Literature (Universidad de Chile) and Dance (Universidad ARCIS) in Chile and holds an MA in Arts with a dance specialisation (Université Paris 8, 2016). She has developed her experience in dance & performance in different cities – New York, London, Paris, Vienna, Santiago, Buenos Aires-, collaborating with local artists. Her interdisciplinary work explores ways to enlarge the use of perception, emphasizing the performance as a synesthetic experience, through the use of sculpture, experimental sound, light, video and movement. In September 2017 she starts a PhD practice based program at Goldsmiths University, in the Department of Arts.

Melissa Gordon is a painter, printmaker and editor living in London. Her work is focused on the question of gesture, and its behavioural qualities in relation to persona, value, and history. Recent exhibits include Something Stronger Than Me, Wiels Centre for Contemporary Art, Brussels, Routine Pleasures, the Vleeshal, Middelburg, Derivative Value, Kunstverein Lubeck, and she has exhibited widely including at Spike Island, Bristol, the Bluecoat, Liverpool, Artists Space, New York, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Her catalogue Painting Behind Itself was recently released with Revolver Press.

Fiona James works predominantly as a choreographer using performance to address how explicit social structuring might allow and support alternative methods of knowledge production. Considering neural-plasticity in line with notation, her approach suggest how the brains physical surface, inscribed with past events, sets the scope for our future plans of action, effectively acting as a fluid system of scoring we might take train for our better advantage. She works across gallery, theatre, therapy and education contexts. Past projects include GUTLESS SPEECH (and other impossible thoughts) supported by Kunstraum, London (2016), Circluding and Other Fluid Exchanges, a 3 month multipart program devised with Kym Ward for the Jan Van Eyck institute, Maastricht (2016-17) and the psychopathologicalpublishingproject, knowledge exchange hosted by the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2013).

Marie Lund is an artist who lives in London. Her sculptures and objects playfully explore function and imprint, and are humorous undertakings with material. Recent exhibitions include Scout, Jose Garcia, Mexico, and Holstebro Kunstmuseum, Denmark. She has exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, South London Gallery, London, Badicher Kunstverein, and the National Gallery of Rome, and with Cory Neilson Gallery in Berlin and Laura Barlett Gallery in London.

William J. Simmons is Provost's Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Southern California and a Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Women's History at the New-York Historical Society.

Jess Wiesner lives and works in London. She attended de Ateliers artists programme in Amsterdam and has been exhibiting both collaborative projects and solo work including at Hessell Museum, New York; Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; Tate Modern, London; KW Berlin; Montague Space, London; CIC, Cairo; Kunsthall, Oslo and Chisenhale Gallery, London. She recently participated in RUPERT artists residency programme in Lithuania and last year she was artist in residence at Cove Park, Scotland. She is currently an AHRC funded PhD candidate with Northumbria and Sunderland Universities.

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MARs Research Hub, Goldsmiths College

Room 101, Studio A, Barriedale Building


SE14 6AF

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