Sunday, 15 November 2009

CONFERENCE - 29th January 2010 - The Story of Things: reading narrative in the visual

CONFERENCE: The Story of Things: reading narrative in the visual
PLACE: Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections
DATE: Friday 29th January, 2010

The production, consumption and interpretation of narratives in visual form is central to contemporary cultures. Within this context, the notion of narrative finding expression in the visual can be traced, for example, in the growth of the graphic novel form, the positioning of cinema as subject matter for art practice and the persistence of the artist’s book as an art form. Visual narratives demand specific forms of readerly interaction and critical response. They require a shift of reading focus from text to text-and-image or to image-only, and therefore require different critical apparatus and analytical skills.

This one day conference will investigate the reading of narrative in visual contexts, encouraging interdisciplinary approaches in addressing the following ideas:

Object as catalyst:
the potential for narrative within the artefact.
Visualising the remembered narrative:
archetype, biography, autobiography.
Authoring and reading the sequential narrative:
linear and non-linear approaches.

Keynote Speaker: Patricia Allmer – Relating the Story of Things

More about Patricia Allmer
Patricia Allmer is curator of Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism at Manchester Art Gallery. She is Research Fellow in the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) at MMU and has published widely on different aspects of art theory. More information available at

Registration Fee: £30 (£15 concession)

To book, or if you have any enquiries regarding the conference please contact Jonathan Carson & Rosie Miller at or on +44 (0) 161 295 6712.

This conference is supported by Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford along with the AHRC funded REACT programme:

Friday, 18 September 2009

stilled lives

stilled lives (detail of front cover). Photography Tony Richards.

stilled lives is a new limited edition artists’ book edited by Carson & Miller. It takes as its starting point the books held by Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections. Twenty-two contributors – including artists, designers, writers and poets – have reinterpreted this museum collection across the pages of this collaborative work.

Across the Garden Wall (The Last Lads) Clinton Cahill. Photography by Tony Richards.

stilled lives is published by Manchester School of Art’s Righton Press (Manchester Metropolitan University) and is edited by artists Carson & Miller. The book is currently displayed as part of MMU Special Collections latest exhibition: The Story of Things.

stilled lives is published in a limited edition of 130. Each copy is signed by the contributors and comes with a slip cover (price £55, ISBN: 978-1-900756-54-4).

Signed contributor pages from stilled lives . Photography by Tony Richards.

More about Righton Press
Righton Press is both a publisher and a book making collective based in the School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. Work from Righton Press is actively collected, with members’ books in many collections, including Tate Gallery and the V&A. More information available at

The Story of Things, curated by Carson & Miller

Carson & Miller's latest exhibition is now open. For more information about The Story of Things please read on...

In a museum ‘things’ sit beside one another in sometimes unlikely combinations. They tell something of their own story but also produce new narratives, just by being together.

Installation view of The Story of Things at Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections Gallery. Photography by Tony Richards. © MMU Special Collections & the photographer.

Working with MMU Special Collections, including the North West Film Archive, Carson & Miller have curated an exhibition that explores ideas of narrative, memory and collections. MMU academic Dr. Patricia Allmer (Research Fellow, MIRIAD) explores the activities of Carson & Miller in an essay written to accompany the exhibition: On Being Touched.

A visitor at the private view of The Story of Things examines an exhibit. Photography by Tony Richards. © MMU Special Collections & the photographer.

A new artists’ book by Carson & Miller – Scrapbook (the story of things) – has been published by MMU Special Collections to coincide with the exhibition.

In tandem to The Story of Things a Righton Press publication will be launched. Stilled Lives is a new collaborative work bringing together artists, designers, poets and writers from across MMU. Edited by Carson & Miller this limited edition volume showcases a striking and thoughtful range of responses to the books held in MMU Special Collections, provoking further explorations of narrative, memory and collections.

Installation view of The Story of Things at Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections Gallery. Photography by Tony Richards. © MMU Special Collections & the photographer.

For more information about MMU Special Collections go to
For more information about Righton Press go to

Doll’s head or lamp fitting (1920-1929), celluloid with painted details, from the Manchester School of Art Collection at MMU Special Collections. Photography by Tony Richards. © MMU Special Collections & the photographer.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Carson & Miller play again at Artist's Book Fair Liverpool - 20.06.2009

Join Carson & Miller to play Another Game We Made Up at Artist's Book Fair Liverpool, A Foundation on Saturday 20th June 2009, 3-5pm.

Carson & Miller will be playing Another Game We Made Up and invite you to come along. The game is based around the simple selection of cards and the asking and answering of questions - a preview of the rules is pictured above. You are welcome to come and play or to simply observe.

Carson & Miller will also have a stall at the Fair on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June where many of their books and other printed matter will be for sale.

For more information about Artist's Book Fair Liverpool and A Foundation (inlcuding location details and opening times) go to

Thursday, 30 April 2009

all the islands we have visited: 1981-2009 (2009)

155 x 120mm, edition of 20, inkjet printed on 120gsm paper.

Using the formal language of the map and their experience of visiting islands, Carson & Miller invert the expectancy of what a map should do. Rather than providing an accurate geography and a sense of how to get somewhere, all the islands we have visited: 1981-2009 records Carson & Miller’s travels to disparate island locations.

The resulting distorted geography owes more to memory than it does to reality. Scale and location is ignored; an unlikely list of islands is formed and displayed.

This publication is made in response to Ø (a Danish vowel but also the word for island). all the islands we have visited: 1981-2009 will be exhibited in Denmark’s Doverodde Book Arts Festival, 2009. For more information about the exhibition and the festival go to

Four Questions: a comic (2009)

105 x 210mm, edition of 50, inkjet printed on recycled paper. ISBN: 978-0-9557181-1-3

As the title suggests this book draws on the storytelling techniques of the comic format and tradition. Each story uses as its starting point a question. The resulting visual narrative is explored using a set formula created by Carson & Miller in their 2007 book The Exquisite Fold (see earlier post).

Thursday, 1 January 2009

A Game of Truth & Fiction (2009)

each image 148 x 105mm, litho printed postcard

Of particular interest to Carson and Miller is the complex and shifting notion of truth and fiction. Their investigations take a variety of forms; in this pair of postcards Carson & Miller document their game playing and provide you with rules to play by yourself.

Monday, 1 December 2008

A Game to Play on Friday November 14th 2008 between 2pm and 6pm at A Foundation, Liverpool (2008)

In November 2008 at A Foundation, Liverpool, Carson & Miller played a game of their own devising based on the principle of question and answer (founded in the surrealist game of exquisite corpse).

This one-off live event was the first time Carson & Miller had played one of their games within a gallery setting, allowing the audience to not only view the playing of the game but also to be invited to take part. The game explored some of the principles of Carson & Miller's artists' book The Exquisite Fold (2007), a publication developed by the artists in collaboration with Dr. Patricia Allmer and Dr. John Sears. These four practitioners collaborated again in 2008, writing the journal article Your Turn: experiments in narrative and play in The Blue Notebook: Journal for Artists’ Books (Vol. 3 No. 1: October 2008) - see below.

Your Turn: experiments in narrative and play (2008)

Your Turn: John & Your Turn: Patricia, each image 210 x 297mm, digital photographs

Published in The Blue Notebook: Journal for Artists’ Books, Patricia Allmer, Jonathan Carson, Rosie Miller and John Sears explore the making of the artists’ book The Exquisite Fold in their article Your Turn: experiments in narrative and play. Alongside the article are artists’ pages (pictured above) recording the narrative game playing undertaken by Patricia Allmer and John Sears under the instruction of Carson & Miller. Copies of The Blue Notebook (ISSN 1751-1712 - print, ISSN 1751-1720 – online) are available at

Sunday, 30 November 2008

A Game We Made Up (2008)

In A Game We Made Up (a new work they have completed during the first half of the Swap/Vaihto exchange project) Carson & Miller have created a series of bespoke narrative games, designed to be played in specific locations matched to particular players (drawn from the people taking part in the exchange). The resulting work - on show at Bureau Gallery, Salford until 9 August, 2008 - documents the playing of the games in audio and text format.

Presented here are a series of documents which detail the questions asked and the rules they played by. Also available are short audio files from some of the games played - to hear these excerpts click on

Carson & Miller thank all of their fellow players - they know who they are!

For more information regarding the Swap/Vaihto project go to

Stories We Have Been Told (2008)

Stories We Have Been Told starts where A Game We Made Up (see above) ends. In this multi media work - presented in audio and print - Carson & Miller reconsider the results of the games they played in A Game We Made Up, condensing and re-telling the narratives they documented when they played.

A partner work to A Game We Made UpStories We Have Been Told is produced specifically for the second half of the Swap/Vaihto project. Both works will be exhibited in the Cable Factory, Helsinki until 19th August 2008.

To hear selected excerpts from this work please visit

Carson & Miller thank all of their fellow players who inspired Stories We Have Been Told - they know who they are!

For more information regarding the Swap/Vaihto project go to

Thursday, 13 November 2008

A Reading, Recalled (2008)

111 x 175mm, inkjet printed on paper

As part of Carson & Miller’s exploration of re-telling, A Reading, Recalled borrows the principles of their previous works synopsis and A Tale Re-told. Here, Carson & Miller have negotiated the meaning of a novel resulting in an abbreviated, single text. Using letters cut out from two different copies of the novel in question, the sentences Carson & Miller have negotiated are laid out in alternating font. The resulting fractured aesthetic represents the settling of the artists’ negotiation.