Book Launch: What We Do Is Secret - Camden Art Centre

with Larne Abse Gogarty, Adam Farah-Saad (aka free.yard) and Esther Leslie

Written by Larne Abse Gogarty in the wake of the far-right populist turn in Europe, the US, and beyond, What We Do Is Secret addresses aesthetic and intellectual affinities between recent art and conspiracy. This inquiry takes shape across chapters on the politics of post-internet art aesthetics; the sublime and possessive individualism in recent ‘critical’ art; Cady Noland’s security fences, and silkscreens of the Symbionese Liberation Army; and mutuality, secrecy, and improvisation in the work of Ima-Abasi Okon.

For the book’s UK launch, Larne Abse Gogarty will give a reading followed by a conversation with artist Adam Farah-Saad (aka free.yard) and Esther Leslie, Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck.

The book will be available for a reduced price on the night.

Image: Caspar Heinemann, Glorie #2, 2022. Cardboard, acrylic, tape, string, wood, Huberd’s shoe grease. Courtesy the Artist and Cabinet, London.

The Artists

The Artists

Larne Abse Gogarty is a writer and art historian from London. She works as a lecturer in History and Theory of Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. Alongside What We Do Is Secret, she is the author of Usable Pasts: Social Practice and State Formation in American Art (Brill, 2021) and has published in journals and magazines, including Art MonthlyNew SocialistTate PapersThird Text, and Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte. In 2020 she co-edited with Andrew Hemingway a special issue on ‘Keywords for Marxist Art History’ of the journal Kunst und Politik.

Adam Farah-Saad (they/them) – sometimes known as free.yard – is an artist, composer, sauce-maker and bootleg archivist. They are also a Capricorn Sun, Leo Moon and Cancer Rising. Working in a range of media and performative gestures, from moving image, sculpture, poppers, peppers and iPods to walking, cruising and microdosing, Farah aesthetically highlights and dwells on various ephemeral and poetic moments in order to open-up forms of critical reflection and connection.

Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck. Her interests lie in the poetics of science and the politics of technologies. Her current work focuses on turbid media and the aesthetics of turbulence. Recent work on the biopolitical economy of dairy (written in collaboration with Melanie Jackson) includes the publications Deeper in the Pyramid (2018/2023) and The Inextinguishable for the Limerick Biennial, 2020–21. Leslie’s book on the anti-fascist radio pioneer Ernst Schoen is forthcoming with Goldsmiths Press, as is a study of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and its impact in Teesside with Palgrave Pivot.