Conversations: Dave Beech and Esther Leslie
For this episode of Conversations, Dave Beech and Esther Leslie navigate Olga Balema’s installation Computer to examine a range of formal, material and theoretical concerns. With a focus on the geographies of production, digital processes, architectural grids, artistic labour, and how domestic spaces have also functioned as workplaces since the onset of the pandemic. In doing so, they reflect on Walter Benjamin’s writing on the reception, engagement and interaction of the horizontal plane in art, design and media, whilst interweaving historical narratives regarding Goethe’s fascination with the Ginkgo plant.
Dave Beech is an artist and writer. He is a Reader in Art and Marxism at Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon, the University of the Arts, London. He is the author of Art and Labour: On the Hostility to Handicraft, Aesthetic Labour and the Politics of Work in Art (Brill 2020), Art and Postcapitalism: Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production(Pluto 2019) and Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics (Brill 2015), which was shortlisted for the Deutscher Memorial Prize. Beech is an artist who worked in the collective Freee (with Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan) between 2004 and 2018. His solo art practice revisits the critical traditions of photomontage, documentary photography, digital print, the photo archive and the photobook.
Esther Leslie is a Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck. Her books include Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde; Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry; Derelicts: Thought Worms from the Wreckage; Liquid Crystals: The Science and Art of a Fluid Form, and the milk projects, Deeper in the Pyramid and The Inextinguishable (both with Melanie Jackson).