Daniel Jewesbury

Daniel Jewesbury was born in London in 1972 and studied Sculpture at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin before moving to Belfast in 1996. Since then Daniel’s been working as an artist, a researcher and lecturer, a writer and editor, and a freelance curator. Daniel’s most recent exhibition in the Republic was as one of the selectors for Pallas Projects’ fifth Periodical Review exhibition, at Pallas and the NCAD Gallery in December 2015 and January 2016. Daniel also devised and curated the highly ambitious ‘re:public’ exhibition / happening / event programme at Temple Bar Gallery, in 2010. Daniel’s work, in a range of media including film, video, photography, radio and performance, has been shown internationally. Most recently he’s delivered a number of ‘performative lectures’ that investigate such concerns as urban development (particularly in Belfast), and the repressed, intertwined themes of sex, death and desire in art. He’s currently working on an artist’s book about FE McWilliam’s infamous sculpture, Woman in a Bomb Blast.

Daniel has been publishing art criticism for over 20 years, initially in Circa (where he was also a board member), and then in titles such as Art Monthly, Flash Art, Third Text and Enclave Review, as well as in catalogue texts for artists including Duncan Campbell, Willie Doherty, Garrett Phelan and Cian Donnelly. Daniel is currently a regular contributor to Source magazine. In his research, Daniel addresses a broad range of topics including the development of contemporary European cities and the histories of Irish visual culture and experimental cinema. Daniel is currently finishing a book on space and place in post-Agreement Belfast, with Robert Porter.

Jewesbury was a co-editor of Variant magazine for over a decade, until it ceased publishing due to the withdrawal of funding. Recently, he’s edited publications for Fingal County Council, 126 Artist-Run Gallery, and the European artists’ network Centrifugal.

Daniel is a lecturer in film at the University of Ulster (where he gained his PhD in 2001). He’s been a supervisor or visiting lecturer at many colleges including NCAD, Dublin, Limerick School of Art, IADT and, in 2015, at the Valand Academy of the University of Gothenburg.

TULCA 2016 OPEN CALL – is now closed

TULCA Festival of Visual Arts is pleased to announce that the 14th edition in 2016 will be curated by Daniel Jewesbury, independent curator and artist. This announcement also marks the Open Call for artists submissions to TULCA 2016

TULCA Festival of Visual Arts 2016 curator, Daniel Jewesbury outlines his aspirations for the programme: The theme for TULCA 2016 is The Headless City.

The city is dying. Even as more and more of us live in cities, and are dependent on them for our livelihoods, they are ceasing to function. Big cities, the playgrounds of property speculators and wealth managers, are too expensive for all but the very rich. Elsewhere, the productive urban economy has long since disappeared, and the city has become an anonymous brand, competing with other almost identical brands for the same round of sporting and cultural spectacles, striving to assert a distinctiveness that is the same as everyone else’s. The city is its own post-urban museum, a museum to the memory of the city. And, large or small, the city, and everything in it, has become one vast financial instrument, an algorithm for producing and extracting profit which is expropriated to offshore funds.

For centuries people have come to cities to escape, to break bonds of custom and duty and form new elective affinities, to find a kind of freedom by selling their labour and to make communities with strangers. Where can we escape to now? How will we live after the death of the city? After architecture, after spatial planning, after public provision, what will be the shape of our experience?

The Headless City is not a single concept, it’s a container for different ways of considering the potential of the city. Georges Bataille wrote that ‘headlessness’ was a precondition of the modern city: when the people cut off the tyrant’s head, the streets of their city are bathed in (anointed with) his blood. A new city, sacred to the profane will of the people, is born; but how quickly that headlessness is repressed by rationality and productivity. Utopian architects and urbanists like Bruno Taut, on the other hand, decried the non-hierarchical spatial organisation of modern cities, arguing that social cohesion depended on some great ‘city head’, a Capitol, like the temples of Angkor Wat.

The repressed may return as we try to imagine our future; not the expedient political straitjacket of official history, the national myth embodied as learned behaviour. Ways of being might be reasserted that we thought impossible, dismissed as irrational, denigrated as non-productive. The Headless City is poised, Janus-like, between these possibilities, between histories that are yet to be realised and the ruins of the future surround us.

TULCA 2016 invites speculative explorations of The Headless City in all media. Site-specific works, live art, performance and cross-artform collaborations are especially welcome. Unknown cities may be excavated; spurious archaeologies fantasised; escape trajectories plotted.