Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness – Dr. John Walter

Evening Lecture and Book Launch

10 November 2017

This lecture addresses the exhibition Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness, which Dr.John Walter has been curating for Hayward Touring opening at The MAC in Belfast in October 2017 and traveling to DCA Dundee and Bury Art Museum in 2018 with an accompanying Hayward Gallery publication. Shonky is a slang term meaning corrupt or bent, shoddy or unreliable, standing here for a particular type of visual aesthetic that is hand-made, deliberately clumsy and lo-fi, against the slick production values of much contemporary art. Shonky theories a critical framework for thinking about visual awkwardness through discussion of work by a range of architects and artists that include Arakawa and Gins, Hundertwasser, Niki de Saint Phalle, Justin Favela, Kate Lepper, Louise Fishman, Duggie Fields, Andrew Logan, Cosima Von Bonin, Benedict Drew, Tim Spooner, Plastique Fantastique and Jacolby Satterwhite. Shonkiness is characterised by dissonance, imbalance, the al dente, inconsistency, bad taste, the handmade and the organic – techniques that can be employed to reanimate a number of discussions about space, feminism and queer theory. The publication is designed by Fraser Muggeridge with a written collaboration by Louise Welsh and Zoe Strachan.

Dr John Walter is an artist and academic who co-teaches Diploma 7, which is currently on hiatus during this academic year. Recent exhibitions include Alien Sex Club (2015) and he is currently working on CAPSID in collaboration with Prof Greg Towers at UCL, which is supported by a Large Arts Award from Wellcome.


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