April 09, 2005

CALL | There Is Always An Alternative

A call for submissions for a publication charting the emergence of alternatives within contemporary art in the 90s. The publication will consist of essays, anecdotes, statements, documents and works both from the period and in response to it. The publication is produced to accompany an exhibition, also called There Is Always an Alternative, which will be at temporarycontemporary gallery in London, in June, and travel to The International 3 gallery in Manchester, in September.

There Is Always an Alternative will articulate an alternative history of art practice and a history of alternative art practices around the early 1990s based on a political understanding of the position of the artist. The title derives from an inversion of one of Margaret Thatcher's favourite ideological phrases, "there is no alternative". This is a phrase used by people attempting to undermine whatever alternative there is and in that sense is always false and falsifying. On the contrary, there is always an alternative.

One of the techniques available to the status quo is to minimize or eliminate the sense of any alternative in the present or immediate future by obliterating the alternatives that existed in the past. The market is a very good mechanism for this sort of institutionalised selectivity. It is through recovering alternatives in the past, therefore, that we will inform and spur on alternatives in the future. There is Always an Alternative documents an under-represented array of radical practices from the early-90s in order to provide potential models of radical individual and collective art practice now and to come.

Exploring models and possibilities for artistic practice that resist, undermine or otherwise oppose the closures, absences and exclusions in dominant art discourse and practice, There is Always an Alternative will raise awareness of an alternative history of art in the early 1990s and in so doing, provide a resource for all those practices seeking to confront the limitations, both arbitrary and ideological, upon what can be done now.

Send submissions to dave.beech@clara.co.uk or post them to 108 Slade Lane, Levenhsulme, Manchester M19 2BA. Deadline for submissions 25/04/05