Revolve:R, edition one


Revolve:R, edition one (Arrow Bookworks, 2013)

Bookwork: 21.7cm, 21.7cm, 2.6cm.
138 pages (92 Artworks).
Card, cloth, 170 gsm paper.
Limited edition /60. 

If a butterfly flaps its wings in the tropics this might cause a storm in Antarctica. If an artist creates a two-dimensional artwork and sends it to a number of other artists around the world, this might not cause a storm anywhere, but it might result in a series of responses and start a colourful conversation. In October 2011 we – Sam Treadaway and Ricarda Vidal – created just such a work together, the first artwork of this book.

This page was made with reference to chaos theory, specifically the hypothesis of the butterfly effect which suggests that a small change at one place in a non-linear system can result in large differences to a later state. The page was sent by post to eleven invited artists based throughout Europe and the USA.

The artists were each asked to respond to this page with a two-dimensional artwork consisting of one or any combination of the following: drawing, painting, print-making, collage, photography, or text. The only guide was that the work had to measure 21cm²  and if both sides of the page were utilized, then one side needed to be in black and white. Therefore some pages in this book are black and white and others are blank.

As we received the pages we catalogued and numbered them in the order they arrived, a process which would also determine the final page sequence of the book. We then viewed the collected artwork and produced the next page, in reply to the collective response. This page was again sent to all participating artists so continuing the conversation. This cycle of correspondence, which we referred to as a Revolve, occurred six times during the project. The six pages produced by us are the only ones in the book which are in colour on both sides, each marking the beginning of a new Revolve.

With each Revolve the narrative of visual correspondence evolved between us and all members of the project. At the fourth Revolve, approximately half way through the bookwork, we decided to add new perspectives and broaden the conversation by inviting three guest artists and a mathematician to participate.

The Revolve:R project took a year to complete, almost exactly to the day. The collaborative journey undertaken, from the first to the final page has been at once challenging and rewarding. Based in six countries, many of the artists have never met one another in person, though perhaps, in time, they might. Either way, all are now connected by their involvement with Revolve:R.

When we embarked on the project our aim was that Revolve:R would act as both site and source for collaborative experimentation for diverse artistic practices, leading to the development of a new collective language, made physical in the shape of the Revolve:R bookwork. The pages in front of you have travelled many thousands of miles around the world to be with you today. It is now up to you, as the viewer and reader, to discover your own narrative within its covers.

Sam Treadaway and Ricarda Vidal (2011).

See: Revolve:R

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