Muleskind Proto-Publication, 2012
Muleskind Proto-Publication, 2012

Muleskind Proto-Publication, 2012

(publication and collaborative project)
The Müleskinders: A Proto-Publication

Contributors: David Berridge, Stuart Calton, Julia Calver, Neil Chapman, Susanne Clausen, Arnaud Desjardin, Ruth Maclennon, Katy Macleod, John Mullarkey, Tamarin Norwood, Simon O’Sullivan, Katrina Palmer, Francesco Pedraglio, Bridget Penney, John Russell, John Russell, Ola Ståhl, David Stent, Andy Weir and Italo Zuffi.

The Müleskinders is a project initiated by Neil Chapman & David Stent.

Recently we asked a number of artists and writers to contribute to a project entitled The Müleskinders. The work was described as concerning images, writing, and their relationships; how forms of visuality imply each other; the potential of names, events and their narratives. While indicating that a publication might be the work’s outcome, we offered no further details and made clear our commitment to the contingencies of process. Photographs were sent to each along with an ‘Invitation to Write’.

As we had anticipated, the writings vary greatly in form and approach. Last month during a residency at Meantime Project-Space in Cheltenham we began to address the material, to consider it more closely, collate it and to writing accompanying texts. We organised the material as a wall map of the project-in-progress, arranging and rearranging it with our evolving thought. Our residency at Meantime culminated in an installation and live event for which images and some texts from amongst The Müleskinders material was migrated from the wall to the surface of a circular barricade. From inside, we presented live readings and sound-collages. The Müleskinders material has found an identity in its mapped form, and leads us to think of the configuration as a diagram. Maps and diagrams are clearly enough related. But on another level, preparation is diagrammatic – and more demonstrably so when work unfolds as a material practice. Patterns preexisting in work’s material components are its animating forces, and its diagrams. The Müleskinders Proto-Publication can contribute to an exhibition on diagrams by drawing attention to the vitality of diagrams in preparatory work.
Elsewhere the mule has been described as a figure of slowness to challenge contemporary ideologies of productivity. But the valorising of preparation – the elevating of the prototype – is something else. It is a mode in which terms of progress or the lack of it no longer operate in the same way. Müleskinders: Proto-Publication should be presented as a body of textual and visual material to be studied, its provisional nature made apparent. But more specifically the presentation should develop the practices of migration employed previously to see their fuller potential. When different items from the collection are chosen for their specific focus and configured in relation to an exhibition’s other exhibits, the work’s diagramming is no longer an autonomous quality.

We hope the broader Müleskinders project will be encouraged to deviate, to be affected by exposure of its documents in unexpected company.