Progetto Grafico – The Revised Body

Italian Graphic Design Magazine 'Progetto Grafico' asked Evening Class to contribute to the Spring 17 issue 'Around the body' edited by Jonathan Pierini, Claude Marzotto and Silvia Sfligiotti. It was an occasion for us to inspect our own collective body, to look at it and recognise its current state.

The Revised Body Evening Class Bulletin 003

The following text is a result of a group discussion between Evening Class members, thinking about our activities and how they are shaped through the use of a collective body. What we realised is a lot of what we produce has no tangible outcome — bits are recorded using various methods , there is a record in our mind and the rest becomes ether.

A poem with interjections
to be performed by 24 voices (realistically more like 12)
on a Tuesday or Thursday evening at 7.30pm
in a shop in London.
Seated around a picnic-style bench of ones own / particular? design, with others on chairs off to the sides.
Hopefully with equal female and male voices
What is said by whom is not specified, allowing for interruptions, awkwardness, or conflict.
‘Is it ok if I take notes?’
A body without a Head
A body with twenty-four heads (though some have been removed, with various blunt instruments …).
A body, going through puberty
A functioning, healthy body (?)
A body of work
‘It seems like there’s so much going on’
A presence of body, at 10pm, asking:
Why does the body do what it does?
Why does the body use the tools it does?
Why does the body give things the shape it does?
‘If I think of Evening Class as a body, I think of … I don’t know what I want to say’
A disputing body
A body doing non-physical things, ‘stimulating intellectual exchange’, making jokes
A body producing , censoring things
A stressed body — showing tangible evidence of activity
A tired body, not always showing up when we have things to do,
(what day is it ?)
‘What actually happens in the shop?’
A body learning
but mainly sitting;
[ raises an assertive hand ]
A procrastinating body
The body is a process
Trying to be a body
A chemical body, feeling
A core of active muscles
A body responding to a group dynamic
A vessel for the intangible, collective conscious
‘I liked how we agreed that some of the best things in EC have no tangible results’
A channelling body
A networked body, trusting
A body in encounter, triggering economies, work
‘Is there something really relevant that we want to say?’
it continues to live without formalities
it continues to live despite formalities
‘We are trying to establish a critical body!’

The ageing body of Evening Class

The Past
On 9 June 2016, we hosted an event at our space as part of Anti-University Now 2016. We initiated and hosted a discussion around issues of alternative education and ways of working collectively, with a particular focus on creative work. In an attempt to operate the discussion in a non-hierarchical way, all attendees were encouraged to speak on equal terms — whether teacher, student, both or neither. Our first major interaction outside of the ‘inner self’, the twenty-four headed beast reconfigured itself to have forty-plus heads — some craniums talking more, and louder than others, in the ensuing discussion.

The Present
At the point of writing, Evening Class is close to completing the design for the book ‘Training for Exploitation?’ by the Precarious Workers Brigade, an activist group based in London. Our approach was to have all twenty-four of us become one entity when designing the book: working together to challenge the familiar / conventional design processes where one individual or a small group assert a total stylistic vision. Negating the cult of the individual and embracing the multiple, often clashing viewpoints, we implemented strategies that allowed various people to direct the visual [ style ]. As a trial run in designing collectively, it has been a problematic but necessary step, and an exercise in testing working structures within the group dynamic. We will include a written contribution in the book , outlining the approaches we attempted, acknowledging each individual’s part. Also, in designing eight variant (yet consciously linked) covers, the fact that many hands and minds have been involved in this ninety-six page, 240 ×170 mm perfect-bound book will hopefully be apparent .

The Future
As we progress into Autumn and the new year, we hope to work on a new project with our neighbours. Before starting, we ask ourselves: Will a wider engagement within the local community, manifest into an expansion of the body?
Do we acknowledge that community-based art projects are problematic?
Within a territory that is soon to be erased, and re-imagined with a prosthetic history; can we find ‘value’ in the chance to work with existing residents? Can we get a true record of place, people, situations, events and voiced feelings on what
is to transpire? Would all of this be realised through: organising a street party, workshops, walks, talks, storytelling techniques, and documentation using sound, words, pictures and film?
Is this archive of a place, which will soon become the past, a constructive ( last ) act of resistance from a greater collective body, that will eventually expire?

Reading Further:
Raymond Williams

Mobile Autonomy — Exercises in Artists’ Self-Organization
Nico Dockx & Pascal Gielen ( eds. )

More than Human
Theodore Sturgeon

The Third Mind
William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin

The Pandrogyne Project
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

Let’s Take Back our Space
Marianne Wex

Functional Configurations
Celine Condorelli

The Ecstacy of Influence
Jonathan Lethem

A reexamination of some aspects of the design arts from the perspective of a woman designer
Sheila Levrant de Bretteville

Do the Right Thing
Lisa Nyberg and Johanna Gustavsson

A school is a building with a school in it
Paul Elliman

The Tyranny of Structurelessness
Jo Freeman

Bread & Roses: Artists and the Class Divide
Lukasz Ronduda, Natalia Sielewicz et al.