An Invitation

This project is designed to facilitate collective ownership of cultural artefacts. This humble experiment will establish a social method for cultural preservation, acknowledging cultural production and consumption as inherently collective. Inspired by an interest in alternative models of exchange, paired with the imminent pragmatic concerns surrounding my upcoming relocation, I have devised a system of social custodianship of my artwork.

Upon entering a transitional phase of my life, I am no longer able to care for an ever-growing collection of works. I want to invite others who value my practice and work (maybe you), to enter into custodial relationships with one or multiple of my pieces. This relationship is personal and reciprocal, formalised though the signing of a legally binding custodian agreement. Custodians become caretakers responsible for the continuation and maintenance of the artwork under their care, but also are able to access and enjoy the work freely. They become part of an extended network of custodians, acknowledged as active supporters and entitled to a financial stake in the work. Ultimately this relationship is intimate and personal, encouraging dialogue and conversation about our positions within the production, consumption and preservation of culture.

The template Custodian Agreement is available here. This agreement can be used or modified by anyone interested in adopting a similar custodial structure.

Further Reading:

— Tamen, Miguel. (2001). Friends of Interpretable Objects. London, England : Harvard University Press
— Hirsch, Antonia Ed. (2012). Intangible Economies, Vancouver, Canada : Fillip Editions
— Simpson, Moira. (2007). From Treasure House to Museum… and Back. In Watson, Sheila (Ed.), Museums and their Communities. New York : Routledge
— Hyde, Lewis. (1983). The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, Canada: Random House


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Drawing Machine State 24:10:07

First iteration of Benjamin Forster’s Drawing Machine. Examining drawing as compositional responces to a rectangular plane.

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Expanding set of points, 2011

An expanding collection of ephemeral drawings. Exhibited as part of )( at Fremantle Arts Centre in 2011.

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connected (installation view)

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An overview

Spatial Drawing
27 July – 31 August 2012
VENN Gallery, Perth

Spatial Drawing investigated contemporary approaches to drawing, featuring works of three Western Australian artists, Benjamin Forster, Tom Freeman and Clare Peake. Drawing underpins diverse and complex approaches to art making for each of these artists, whose practices also comprise of sculpture, video and installation. In Spatial Drawing each artist explored drawing further through the creation of physical formations and sculptural works that discuss notions of how we engage with space.

The catalogue essay by Gemma Weston is available here.


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Postulating the Accumulation of Meaning Through the Constantly Becoming Constellation of Signs. 2011

As part of this event an edition of one-hundred unique prints on tracing paper were free for visitors to take away.

Installation View

Fremantle Arts Centre
25 Mar – 15 Apr 2011

The result of an extended residency through FACAIR, Fremantle Arts Centre’s Artist in Residency Programme, )( continues Forster’s critique of drawing, tracing the boundaries of logic, economy and the role of the artist in art making.

Forster’s curiously titled )( engages in the meaning of construction and the construction of meaning. His work is full of the fun of language puns but also a serious critique of the limitation of language. In )( Forster has erased much of the source material only to find a significant new language in the often overlooked lynch pins of text – punctuation and space. Forster reminds us that translating meaning fundamentally relies on a constant and expected language, however an artist’s practice, and importantly for Forster drawing, relies on and expands from the shortcomings of this same language.

Detailed list of works ( download ).

Catalogue with essay by Liang Luscombe ( download ).

“All the books, no matter how diverse they might be, are made up of the same elements: the space, the period, the comma, the twenty- two letters of the alphabet… In the vast Library there are no two identical books. From these inconvertible premises he deducted that the Library is total and that its shelves register all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographical symbols (a number which, though extremely vast, is not infinite) : In other words, all that is given to express, in all languages.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel

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Discourse (video + transcript)

Discourse, Primavera 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Image courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Photography: Robbie Karmel

Adam SMITH: to have been always exported by foreigners who gave in exchange for something that had been purchased with it but only to one or other of those four ways are themselves productive labourers.
Karl MARX: several big branches of business.
Adam SMITH: industry or of certain districts of the country could absorb and employ will return upon it almost as fast as they were emptied.
Karl MARX: until after three weeks are up that is to say in the sphere of production.
Adam SMITH: in general idle and poor.
Karl MARX: capitalists.
Adam SMITH: of money being necessarily regulated by what can commonly be given for the use of the loans.
Karl MARX: borrowed land and capital borrowed by the industrial capitalists employ their capital to pay for labour power and thereby to maintain it.
Adam SMITH: increase very considerably the annual produce of the land and labour of any country which is employed in agriculture not only occasion like the workmen in manufactures the reproduction of a value equal to the revenue of all its dealings.

Premise: Structure = Interaction of Elements, 2008

One of Benjamin Forster’s first experiments using computer programming to ponder ontological propositions. This system can best be described as the tracing of simple interactions onto a visual surface. There are numerous particles each assigned to be positive or negative. Each of theses particles effect the motion of its neighbours. Particles are repulsed by others of the same polarity, and attracted to their opposites, similar to magnets. Very simple interactions when traced, produce complex and varied structures.

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( sms selection )

A selection of SMS’s sent from Short Message Service, 2012.