Thursday, 3 April 2008

Charlotte Morgan

'The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of truths [...] is inborn in us.' Paul Valery 1895.


Note: These balls are universal and adaptable, though attempts to use them outside of the pre-conceived bounds of the ball pool may cause irritation and/or confusion to prospective playmates.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Stephen Sharp

The image is of a rolled upnewspaper and I feel it best represents my artistic practice at themoment which is text based, political and temporary.
The most important aspect of the art bat metaphor for me is the ideaof art being a game that artists have to play. The strategical use ofthe artists art bat when networking, going to exhibition openings andso on are examples of artists playing the game to further theircareers. I feel that not all artists are willing to play this game andset out to question this hierarchy but I think they will always be partof some game/system.

Ian Baxter

My general feeling about the art-bat metaphor was that, in cricket at least, I've always rooted for the bowler. Unlike the Batsmen, Bowlers (like artists?) don't have an implement to wield or represent them. What that says about me I don't know.
Anyway my art-bat is this old delay pedal not only features in most of the pieces I've made but its very nature seems to sum up what I'm interested in. It sounds utterly charming in a way that modern, digital technology cannot hope to match. It seems to make everything sound good. I think this is mainly because it acts as a filter for high frequencies and I like the fact that technical people would object to this and see it as a design flaw and yet I exploit it and enjoy it's sound. Of all the bits and pieces I use in my studio it's among the cheapest pieces of equipment - just £15. This makes it even more magical to me, I feel like a get a lot out of it for putting very little in.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Art Bat Submissions

Follow the link below to go to our flickr page to see all the current art bat submissions handed in at the exhibition. More to follow.

Friday, 14 March 2008


This clip documents an activity in which visitors to BEAT ATTACK THWACK! arrange themselves in hierarchical order based on the threat posed by their art bats.

Video caption: BEAT ATTACK THWACK! by Daniel Simpkins and Penny Whitehead


In contrast to other responses to the art bat metaphor we have not attempted to reduce an artist’s practice to representation by an object, but explored as an alternative the complex system of art world power relations that the metaphor reveals. If an artist’s cultural weight can be translated into an object with connotations of competition, masculinity and aggression, how then can we discuss the action, practice or function of other art world players?

No Fixed Abode asked the question: ‘what if all artists had art bats?’ What then if each curator specialised in a different martial art?...

Image: Gavin Wade: Sumo

Image: Nicolas Bourriaud: Ninja

Or if each viewer owned a different breed of dog that posed a varying degree of threat to others?...

Image: Fan of art activism's alsation and regular visitor to Vyner Street openings with pooch

Monday, 10 March 2008

My art bat is a reflective colander

My art 'filters the everyday' to raise issues and questions aboutideological bias in reality.- 'Sifting the wonder from the mundane and finding the unsentimental withinthe domestic'.

Jess Laljee

Black Dogs living the Good LIfe

The second talk of the series saw Black Dogs presenting a talk about the ethics of their working practice rather than the actual works itself. In the past Black dogs felt that their work, although well received, has its underlying politic content often misplaced. In an effort to combat the mis-representation of their art bats they put together this talk.

The talk consists of the first episode of the 1970's sitcom The Good Life. The ethics and values found within a do it yourself self sufficient lifestyle has many similar lines and points with that of Black Dogs method of working practice. Over the film Black Dogs provides a narrative, almost manifesto, on art production outside of consumerist modes of reception.

Film to follow.

The Art Bat exhibition is now well under way with the opening event a great success and the first two of the talks having taken place and generating interesting and engaged debate.

Daniel Simpkins and Penny Whithead's talk 'BEAT ATTACK THWACK' explored the inherent hierarchies involved in art production and the art world, using the 1970's film The Warriors and art bat diagrams to expound these ideas. The talk culminated in a exercise where the audience were taken outside and invited to line up in relevance of size of their respective art bats. Expecting fierce debate and discussion, the Simpkins and Whitehead were instead confronted with a passive and uncomfortably polite affair, each participant reluctant to place themselves higher or lower than their neighbour.

Friday, 29 February 2008

'Cricket Bat’ – Sean Williams

This bat far outweighs my sway as an artist BUT approximates my cricket ability and reputation in Cheshire’s lower leagues, and is a beautiful object. I keep it in my studio and reminds me of past glories; for example, 75 on a difficult track at Hale Barns.
Join Neil Webb and myself for net practice this summer in the Bloc courtyard.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Perceptions of an Elephant

The status of an Art Bat means different things to different people.

Blind Monks Examining an Elephant, Hanabusa Itcho,

Differences in perception are explored by the story of the blind men, or men in the dark, exploring an elephant and then sharing their impressions.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Gibson or Telecaster?

S Mark Gubb wrote:

'...I'd like to think my bat would be a late 60's Gibson Les Paul Sunburst, though it's more likely to be be re-issue Fender Telecaster.'

Art Rock!

Elephants as Bats!

The Elephant in the Room
Tensions between object and process in socially engaged new media art.

Ele Carpenter has suggested that her bat may well be a white elephant. Here's what she wrote:

Art bats... hummm: me thinks mine is a white elephant!
somewhere between bric a brac, and the fact that it's the thing in the room that no-one talks about because they don't know what i actually 'do'.
At the moment I'm writing about art which is not embodied through an object, and the problems with that. Objects are so much more resolved than processes. Although not always so much fun.

(could try find chocolate elephants for easter....!)

In fact that would be a good art-bat 'object' - a chocolate elephant on a shelf in Access Space.... see if no one eats it before easter...... (doesn't have to be white chocolate....)

Hewtitt and Jordan's Bat

For us the metaphor of the artists’ bat enables one to question the popular misconception of art being a universal or disinterested field of practice and that we can somehow compare the relative success or influence of each artist/player based on an agreed or common criteria.
We instead begin to see that there are many forms of bat, that they play many functions within the strategies and tactics of a range of different games, and that they have fans and as well as opposing supporters.

We will talk about difference in the artworld using amongst other things Habermas’s theory of the public sphere, the debased public sphere and counter public spheres.

Hewitt and Jordan.

Does the Bat make up for an Artists lack of Power?

Had an interesting chat the other day done at Access Space with Guy. Mused over the idea that the Art Bat was to fill a lack in the power and position artists have in society. This aspect hadn't occured to us before. Guy mentionned that the art bat might be seen as an aggressive symbol of power within this context which, of course, is an interesting point at this stage. We suggested that we alligned the metaphor of the bat more with the idea of holding an object which was used as a compulsary means of progression within a specified field, ie. within the game of baseball, without the bat the team cannot strike the ball, gain runs and compete within the game. Fundamentally, the batter externalises his hopes, his dedication, his love of the game through his actions with the bat. In this sense, an artists bat could be a defining piece of work in his career.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

BLOG Up and Running

The Swing that Art Bat blogspot is now up and running. We would like this to be one of the most productive interfaces for taking the project forward from now until the opening and throughout, playing a huge part in informing how the exhibition space will evolve and the activity within Access progresses. The show opens on 29th February after the Art Sheffield 08 symposium has finished so please all come along. We will be presenting our 'Art Bat' and elaborating on why we feel that it represents us.
We are very excited by the series of talks and again these will be pivotal in adding new chapters to the project offering some thoughts for reflection. We will be at Access Space throughout the month for around 2 days a week and we will put the times and dates up on here.

Horatio Eastwood and Terry Slater
No Fixed Abode

Friday, 8 February 2008

Have Your Say!

Contribute to this blog by emailing your thoughts, ideas and views to or comment on the below posts.

Please also email us your pics, videos or anything else Art Bat related.

More posts to follow.

New posters!

Here's the Art Bat posters fresh off the press.

Thursday, 31 January 2008


Welcome to the Swing that Art Bat Blog, the intention of which is to start a debate around the means of discussing the values attributed to the vicissitudes of artistic activity. The event will occupy the online space of this Blog and also the physical place of Access Space, Sheffield. Throughout there will be a programme of talks which are as follows:

friday 29th febuary 18:00-20:00
meet + talk to No Fixed Abode and drink booze.

Saturday 1st March 14:00
Daniel Simpkins and Penny Whitehead present ‘Beat Attack Thwack; an exploration of the power structures underpinning contemporary artistic practice.’ Visitors are invited to bring a bat representing an artist of their choice.

Saturday 8th March 14:00
Black Dogs present ‘The Good Life; a presentation on the implications of diy, punk and self organisation in art.’

Saturday 15th March 14:00
Ele Carpenter presents ‘The Elephant in the Room: Tensions between object and process in socially engaged new media art’

Saturday 29th March 14:00
Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan (Freee art collective) present ‘How to Bat; How the artists’ bat enables one to question the popular misconception of art being a universal or disinterested field of practice.’

Friday 4th April
closing event