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Simon Clark

Dr Simon Clark PhD

Associate Lecturer

School of Art, Design and Fashion

023 8201 6538 ext. 6538 Room no. BB226

Biography

Simon is a performance artist, musician and writer. In 2014, he was awarded a PhD from Goldsmiths College for his practice-based thesis on zombies, capitalism and melancholia.

Simon has exhibited and performed at art venues around the world, and regularly plays in a diverse assortment of bands and ensembles. His writing has been published in a range of peer-reviewed journals, catalogues and national newspapers.

He was a member of the Leeds 13 – a group of art students who hit the national headlines after returning from a boozy jaunt to Malaga at the taxpayer’s expense. The ‘holiday’ was in fact an elaborate hoax designed to interrogate the authority and knee-jerk sensationalism of the tabloid press. 

Taught courses

Further information

  1. Teaching experience

    Simon has gained extensive experience teaching fine art. Click the link below to find out more.
    • Associate lecturer, BA (Hons) Fine Art. Southampton Solent University: September 2014 – date.
    • Lecturer in fine art (teaching and research), BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History. Goldsmiths: September 2015 – December 2015.
    • Lecturer in fine art (studio practice), BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History. Goldsmiths: September 2013 – June 2014.
    • Associate lecturer, MA Fine Art. University of Kent: January 2014 – September 2014.
    • Associate lecturer, BA (Hons) Fine Art. University of Kent: January 2014 – June 2014.
    • Assistant lecturer, BA (Hons) Fine Art. University of Kent: September 2012 – January 2013.
    • Visiting tutor, BA (Hons) Fine Art & Art History. Goldsmiths: January 2012 – June 2012.
    • Occasional lecturer, BA (Hons) Fine Art. UCS (Ipswich): September 2011 – June 2012.
    • Visiting tutor, various courses. Goldsmiths: October 2008 – June 2012.
    • Teaching bursar, various courses. Goldsmiths: October 2008 – September 2011.
    • Teaching assistant, various courses. Goldsmiths: February 2008 – April 2008.
  2. Research interests

    Simon's practice is primarily concerned with songwriting and live performance. He stages playful collisions between words, sounds and his body, weaving strands of humour and sensory oddness into his typically morbid compositions.

    Simon’s most recent research speculatively sketches out the blueprint for a ‘post-toupée’. The traditional male wig typically constructs baldness as an alterity – a glitch in conservative masculinity – that needs to be normalised. In response to contemporary debates surrounding 3D printing, posthumanism and multispecies ethnography, Simon attempts to drag the toupée into the Anthropocene, re-figuring the thinning pate as a print bed onto which radical plastic forms might take seed and proliferate.

    In response to Irit Rogoff’s writing on criticality, Simon has been researching performativity in relation to higher educational teaching practices. In his lecture series at Southampton Solent University, he triggers moments of pedagogical weirdness in an attempt to address and explore the micropolitical tensions embedded within contemporary art education. The ethos of collaboration and experimentation is central to his teaching practice. He nurtures the idea that learning is facilitated through moments of knotty communication, committed confusion, entangled self-reflexivity and thrilling uncertainty. In this model, students are not passive recipients, but active participants in a live and ongoing set of complexities.

    During a residency at Beaconsfield, Simon investigated reading as a performative, collaborative process. He installed four texts in a dark gallery space, and then built a series of slapstick/ absurd 'machines' that illuminated these texts for the viewer. Each machine needed to be activated by his own body in 'real time' in order for the text to be revealed. The viewer's encounter with the text was mediated by his mute performance, turning the act of reading into a silent, playful negotiation within the space. Simon understood the work as a form of textual 'ventriloquism' that displaced my embodied voice onto the printed page.

    Simon regularly collaborates with the artist/musician Jenny Moore. In 2015 they worked on an improvisation project called House Music with three other artists/poets/musicians. The band collided sound poetry and vocal noise with a barrage of minimal post-punk soundscapes and excessive disco wig outs.

    Whilst working on his PhD, Simon attended various international conferences and symposia, staging surprise musical interventions instead of the more conventional academic papers that were expected of him. This work irreverently toyed with the normative protocols associated with these academic events.

    Simon's practice-based PhD project is titled Undead Melancholia: from Lost Modernism to Haptic Antagonism. It grows from the point at which psychoanalytical language is unable to contend with and capture the uniquely liminal state of undeadliness proffered by zombie fiction. He invents a glossary of fictitious psychoanalytical terms that allow him to set up undeadliness as a modernist utopian phantasy and then as a materialist critique of neoliberalism.

    He is currently thinking through contemporary performance, 3D printing, prosthetics, the posthuman, sublime landscapes and the Anthropocene, insects and superorganisms, the human microbiome, political pop songs, witches and ritual, storytelling, post-queer theories, gender studies, science fiction, thing theory, glitching, micropolitics and meditation, socially engaged practices, mental health and cephalopods.

  3. Exhibitions and performances

    Find out more about Simon’s recent exhibitions and performances.

    2016

    Sergina: Simon wrote a song for a drag act performed by Elly Clarke at the Brighton Digital Festival.

    Wysing Polyphonic: A performance with Jenny Moore, two drum kits and a choir.

    Juniper Woods Residency: A residency/performance with Jenny Moore, two drum kits and a choir.

    Servant Jazz Quarters: A music performance with Jenny Moore and Andrew Kershaw.

    Total Refreshment Studios: A music performance with Jenny Moore.

    Biddle Brothers: A music performance with Jenny Moore and guests.

    Art Review Bar: A music performance with Jenny Moore.

    2015

    Gala at the Arcola Theatre: Simon was a chorus member in Ergo Phizmiz’s opera.

    House Music: A collaborative and improvised music performance at Matt’s Gallery as part of Jenny Moore’s radio project You Can’t Win Them All Ladies and Gentlemen.

    Art Workers Guild: Simon was a chorister/moving body in Jenny Moore’s performance at the Block Universe Festival.

    Do the Cou Cou: Simon devised and performed a song/dance routine addressing sexual politics as part Jenny Moore’s radio project You Can’t Win Them All Ladies and Gentlemen.

    Failing in Love: Simon made a promotional music video for singer/songwriter Alice Mary.

    Beaconsfield Residency: Simon took part in a month-long public residency at Beaconsfield gallery, culminating in a solo exhibition that explored reading as a performative and collaborative activity.

    Saturdays Live at the Serpentine: Simon was a chorister/moving body in Jenny Moore’s performative response to the gallery space.

    2014

    Space-Time: The Future: A performance with Jenny Moore at Wysing Arts Centre.

    Open School East: A performance with Jenny Moore.

    Biddle Brothers: A performance with Jenny Moore.

    Resonance FM: A live radio performance with Jenny Moore.

    2013

    October Gallery: A performance with Jenny Moore.

    Supernormal Festival: A performance with Jenny Moore.

    The Dentist: A performance with Jenny Moore.

    Duke of Uke: A performance with Jenny Moore.

    2012

    Save the Schoolhouse: A performance with Jenny Moore.

    Songs for Reading Into (parts 1, 2 & 3): Publishing project and performance with Jenny Moore at X Marks the Bokship.

    Jam (1): A performance at the Sugarhouse in London with Jenny Moore.

    2011

    In Pursuit of Hirsute: Solo performance at Netil House in London.

    Wedding Vows: A new song and performance in response to an invitation from the artist group Gandt for the And/Or Gallery in London.

    Galapagos Postcard Project: A tradition on the island of Floreana invites tourists to leave a postcard without a stamp in a barrel on the beach, in the hope that a future visitor will one day pick it up and deliver it on to its intended destination. Simon found 22 postcards addressed to locations across the UK, and hand-delivered them in a single journey travelling by train and bicycle. The work featured in The Mobility Project – an event hosted at the Suvi Lehtinen Gallery in Berlin and the Meter Room in Coventry.

    1998 – 2010

    Blue Movie: Simon won a national award for a short education film that he facilitated with a group of young people in Brent, North West London.

    Banff Centre Residency: Simon devised and performed a new body of work that responded to the residency’s location in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

    Requiem: Simon wrote a Requiem for a de-consecrated church within the Museo de la Ciudad in Quito, Ecuador. The Latin lyrics of the Requiem were translated extracts taken from his existing body of songs. He set this text to an original score and performed the piece live with a string quartet and choir.

    5217 St Laurent: Solo performance in Montreal, Canada.

    Broadcast: A month-long collaborative project in Montreal with British artist Jesse Ash supported by the British Council and Articule Gallery.

    Sonar Festival, Barcelona: Live performance.

    The Feast of Silenus: Live performance at the Edinburgh College of Art.

    Late at Tate: Live performance at Tate Britain.

    Arrivals: Simon's songs were featured in a graduate group show at the Pump House Gallery.

    Wight Biennial, Los Angeles: Simon was selected to perform Sad, Sad Songs of Wretchedness and Death – a repertoire of songs and short stories – at an international exhibition of graduate work curated by UCLA.

    The Degree Show: For their graduating project, the Leeds 13 staged an exhibition of other artists’ work, including Damien Hirst, Auguste Rodin, Jo Spence, Marcel Duchamp, Christo, Barbara Hepworth, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Margaret Harrison, Henry Moore and Jeff Koons. 

    Leeds 13, Going Places: Working as an art collective, Simon and his university course-mates secured a public art grant to put on a ‘conventional’ exhibition. Visitors to the event were taken to Leeds Airport just in time to see them arriving back from a week’s holiday in Spain, courtesy of the grant. As the tabloid press reacted with indignation and fury, they revealed that the holiday was in fact an elaborate hoax; they never left the country nor spent any of the money. The entire trip was simulated using the Scarborough coastline, false travel documents and lots of fake tan.

  4. Recent publications, conferences and speaking engagements

    Simon has contributed to a number of publications and has attended many conferences. Click below to find out more.

    Recent publications

    2016

    Writing the Post-Toupée: A performative piece of creative writing published in the 3D Additivist Cookbook.

    2015

    Without: Simon was commissioned to write the catalogue essay for an exhibition at Chandelier Gallery by Sally Underwood and Roxy Walsh.

    2014

    The Nomadic Journal: An expanded and theoretically reflexive version of the article Simon wrote for the Guardian newspaper (see below). 

    Performing Things: From Undeadliness to Critical Practice: An essay published in a peer-reviewed journal: Studies in Theatre & Performance, Volume 34, Issue 3. Special Issue:  Zombies & Performance (Taylor & Francis). Simon initially discusses how the psychoanalytical ‘Thing’ casts the breakdown of language as a melancholic tragedy – exemplified by the zombie oeuvre. He then suggests that the Thing, when liberated from the conceit of undead fiction, might articulate the dimensions of a performance practice that knowingly engenders glitch, nonsense and semiotic collapse as a critical strategy.

    Doing the Zombie Glitch: Haptic Undeadliness as a Political Theory: A peer-reviewed publication in: The Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory, Issue 13.2 (The Whitestone Foundation). Simon understands the zombie’s gory and slapstick excess as a spectacle of haptic materiality that ruptures the hermetically-sealed diegesis of narrative cinema. He subsequently theorises a performance practice that, by aping Romero’s irreverent filmic methodology, might interrupt the formal protocols of contemporary cultural production.

    2013

    Postcard Secrets from the Galapagos Islands: Simon published a feature article in the G2 section of The Guardian Newspaper about a project in which he travelled across the UK by bike hand-delivering 22 unstamped postcards found in The Galapagos Islands.

    2012

    The Haptics of Undeadliness: a Methodology for Melancholic Practice: A 6000-word essay for the art, horror and philosophy journal Incognitum Hactenus (Volume 3), editors: Caryn Coleman and Tom Trevatt.

    Hairy: Simon was invited by his tutees at Goldsmiths to write the catalogue essay for the BA (Hons) Art/Art History degree show.

    1999 - 2011

    Hydra’s Discourse: Each Head Cut of Grew Seven More: A collaborative essay published in Text Zur Kunst – Issue No. 82.

    The Undead Martyr – Sex, Death and Revolution in George Romero’s Zombie

    Films: Simon's essay on zombies in relation to Freud’s theory of the instincts was included in the book The Undead and Philosophy, editors: Richard Greene, K.Silem Mohammad (Chicago: Open Court Press).

    Edna Lumb Memorial: Simon wrote the catalogue essay for an exhibition at Leeds Met Art Gallery.

    No Artist is an Island: An article about collaborative practices written by the Leeds 13 for the Times Higher Education Supplement.

    Conferences and talks

    2015

    The Slade: Visiting speaker for the practice-based PhD programme.

    2013

    BBC World Service: Simon spoke on the ‘Weekend’ programme about his Galapagos postcard project.

    International Conference on Narrative: Simon presented a paper/performance at Manchester Metropolitan University.

    Zombies: Walking, Eating and Performance: Simon presented a paper/performance at Plymouth University.

    2012

    Euroacademia: Simon presented a paper/performance at a symposium in Prague.

    ASAP: Simon presented a paper/performance at a symposium at the Royal College of Art.

    2010

    Research as Catastrophe: Simon co-organised a symposium for PhD students at Goldsmiths.

    Bergen Biennale II: Simon presented my research and staged a live performance.

    Real Horror: Simon presented a paper/performance at a symposium in London.

    Beyond Representation: Simon co-organised a symposium for PhD students at Goldsmiths.

    Catalogues

    American Zombie Gothic: Kyle William Bishop, 2010.

    Reaparecidos: Catalogue edited by Cecilia Canziani and Vincent Honore, 2006.

    The 2003 Wight Biennial Catalogue: Edited by Shana Lutker and Doris Chon, 2003.

    The Necessity of Artspeak: Roy Harris, 2003.

    As Thick as Thieves: Art Review (UK) vol. 53. Gemma de Cruz, 2002.

    Art in the Age of Mass Media: John A. Walker, 2001.

    A BBC Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art: P. Glinkowski, 2000.

    Yours Sincerely: Frieze, vol. 42. R. Rugoff, 1998.