The History of No Working Title: Since the 1960’s artists have been inventing or adopting rules, systems and strategies as a way of generating artworks. Often removing the execution of the artwork from the hand of the artist himself artists such as Sol Lewitt, Alghiero Boetti, Vito Acconci, Douglas Huebler, John Baldessari and Fluxus have not only challenged the status of the art object but questioned the role of the artist as author. In 2009, following this framework Natasha Kidd, Jo Addison and Alex Schady, 3 artists and lecturers in Fine Art from 3 UK Higher Education institutions devised the project No Working Title.
No Working Title set out to provoke a dialogue between students and academics from the Fine Art departments of 3 HE institutions and establish a collaborative relationship between these institutions and an international gallery curator. No Working Title was originally launched as a collaboration between the undergraduate fine art departments at Bath School of Art & Design, Norwich University College of the Arts, Winchester School of Art and Tate Modern, London. The project has since expanded to include Chelsea School of Art & Design, Camden Arts Centre and will continue to expand to other guest institutions and organisations.
What happens in No Working Title: 10 year two students are selected from each institution involved. Each student is paired with another from one of the other colleges. With their own practice at the centre of the process, each student devises a set of instructions that enables their partner to make a piece of work. The instructions take many forms and are sent by various means, including email, mobile phone, post and Facebook. On receiving their instructions, each person carefully follows the specifics of their partner’s request to make the work. Communication is limited to the issuing of instructions only. After a two-week period of realizing the works they are all packaged for transport to London where partners and works meet for the first time. A critique / debate surrounding this pop-up exhibition is chaired by an international curator. For students and staff alike, it is a challenging process that calls into question important issues around provenance, control, duty and ego. It encourages a dialogue about art in which ideas are primary and are communicated and interpreted through verbal and non-verbal language.