• How buildings learn / Civilization and its Discontents

      Cornford, Matthew; Cross, David (2004)
      Two site-specific installations, “How Buildings Learn” and “Civilization and its Discontents” were created for “Values - 11th Biennial of Visual Arts”, Pancevo, Serbia. The context of the Biennial was the degraded economy, polity and culture of former Yugoslavia, following a civil war of ethnic cleansing, nationalist dictatorship, economic embargo and a NATO bombing. The installations advanced knowledge by stimulating public debate on the relationship between art, the social contract and the limits of political obligation. These ideas have subsequently reached a wider audience through photographic documentation of both works. For “How Buildings Learn”, Cornford & Cross made use of ready-made material in the form of documents and books from the Public Records Office to block a doorway within the actual building. The tight-packed book surface belied its dense mass of material, and the labour that produced it. “How Buildings Learn” acted as a paradoxical sign: both for the futility of all effort, and for the painful work yet to be done in relating history to memory. “For Civilization and its Discontents” the artists signalled a call to anarchy, from a position of security as foreign nationals. The flags, five feet square, referred to Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings, which relate to his interest in Islamic art. By flying them from civic buildings throughout the city, the artists questioned the split between the philosophical ideal of anarchy and its political associations with destructive chaos.
    • Inside Outside

      Cornford, Matthew; Cross, David (Taylor & Francis, 2004)
      Cornford & Cross were invited to contribute a paper for a special edition of “Third Text” focused on collaboration. The article explored the limits of collaboration and the tolerance and intolerances of institutions in the wake of the museum’s incorporation of post-conceptual practice. Writing about their art practice and nature of collaboration in relation to the institution, Cornford & Cross questioned the privileging of the art object, and the role of artists primarily as being either to produce such objects for consumption, or to facilitate community involvement in urban regeneration. Cornford & Cross do produce objects, installations and images, and they do engage in a range of interactions with various organizations and groups. However, the distinguishing aspect of their practice is ‘action research’, a process of creative and critical collaboration, which may transform social relations.
    • Unrealised: projects 1997 – 2002

      Cornford, Matthew; Cross, David (Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2005)
      With radical changes happening in arts over the past two decades, this book brings us up to date with the social and economic contexts in which the arts are produced. Influential and knowledgable leaders in the field debate how arts education - particularly in visual art - has changed to meet new needs or shape new futures for its production and reception. Opening up areas of thought previously unexplored in arts and education, this book introduces students of visual culture, peformance studies and art and design to broad contextual frameworks, new directions in practice, and finally gives detailed cases from, and insights into, a changing pedagogy. (Routledge)
    • Where is the work?

      Cornford, Matthew; Cross, David (2005)
      For “Where is the Work?” the artists produced photographs and texts, which explicate and attempt to stabilize a body of ephemeral, context-specific work. Cornford and Cross acted as artists, curators, instigators, designers and authors. The exhibition site itself is the work, the transgression is found in the decision to critically articulate and institutionally validate this work through a touring exhibition, publication and website. The touring exhibition and website constitute a key development of investigation by Cornford & Cross into the relationship between artistic collaboration, social engagement and site-specific installation. Their art practice leads from the proposition that a key function of contemporary art is to test concepts, assumptions and boundaries in everyday life. The touring show made visible the widest range of projects by the artists and included realized and unrealized projects, with the intent to engage a variety of audiences in reflection and debate.