We are delighted to announce the 10th Anniversary edition, UCS/ X, is now published. It includes a special feature on the work by UCS founders Fiona Yaron-Field, David George and Spencer Rowell, together with the work of another eleven outstanding artists, all of which respond to the theme of uncertain states. This ‘X’ edition of UCS is the third collaboration with Norwich University of the Arts Human Interfaces Creative Lab Research Group (NUA H.I.) and we consider it an honour to be able to work as guest editors of UCS, even more so for this special edition.
To mark the anniversary, we asked our colleague Dr Rob Hillier, Subject Leader on MA Communication Design at NUA and the designer of Sylexiad (a typeface for the adult dyslexic reader) to create a dedicated front cover image. The ‘X’ in the image echoes the manifesto of the NUA H.I. research group, which represents our research interests in questioning, challenging and addressing the complexities of who we are, who we are not, and the in-between of these dualities. The letter ‘X’ could also suggest the ethos, the drive and the compassion that we think Fiona, David and Spencer must have felt when they formed UCS in 2009 and during those years when they tirelessly developed their highly influential and widely respected artists’ collective.
A broad array of meanings are often associated with the letter X and it might be that no other letter in the English alphabet signifies such paradoxical, complex and perversely wondering meanings as X. Among those many incongruous connotations are the binaries of certain/uncertain, known/unknown, life/death, intersection/estrangement, attachment/antipathy, error/accuracy, evil/humanity, danger/protection, etc. On the other hand, the letter X appears to be one of the most stabilised, balanced and unprejudiced letters, with its horizontal, vertical and rotational symmetry.
For our anniversary edition that coincides with the most peculiar and extraordinary time in UK history, X is flown at half-mast next to the solitary flagpole that stands tall as a beautiful and honourable memento of time passed. The colour of purple crosses the borders and combines the symbolic forces of red and blue. There is a black and white sky and a formation of clouds in the background. Whether we should call it a cluster of or scattered clouds is uncertain. We aren’t sure either if fair weather is going to stay or a shower is approaching, but the sun-lit flagpole reassures us that the clouds aren’t thick enough to block out the light. The unapologetic and ambitious X is positioned off the grid of the frame as if to pay homage to the power of X that rigorously resists all attempts to restrain it.
We hope UCS/ X acts as a vehicle to celebrate and mark the extraordinary contributions UCS has made to the continual development of the medium of photography through their innovations and collaborations with numerous writers, artists, designers, printers and academics over the last 10 years.
To find more about our featured artists, please see UCS/ X and @uncertainstates
Free copies of UCS/X are available from Oct. 18 at our nations best galleries, museums and universities such as: British Library, Arnolfini: Bristol, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art: Newcastle, Ffotogallery: Cardiff, Four Corners: London, Impressions Gallery: Bradford, Modern Art Oxford: Oxford, Open Eye Gallery: Liverpool, Photofusion: London, Photovoice: London, Stills: Centre for Photography: Edinburgh, The North Wall Arts Centre: Oxford, The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts: Norwich, Cambridge School of Art, Falmouth University, Royal College of Art, The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of the Arts London/LCC, University of Portsmouth, University of Westminster and Norwich University of the Arts.
Uncertain States is a lens-based, artist led project.
The work we show reflects some key social and political concerns and challenges how perception is formed in a new contemporary society, on issues as diverse as politics, religion and personal identity. Releasing a quarterly broadsheet and through regular discussions we attempt to expand a critical dialogue and promote the best of lens-based art.
In a time where the proliferation of imagery is rendering itself insignificant and meaningless, the artists in Uncertain States are concerned with the intention of the work. All the work published is concerned with the meaning and reading of the photograph. We celebrate the ‘hard copy’ and the ‘physical meeting’.
Uncertain States aims to showcase both established and emerging artists also through our Broadsheet, exhibitions and talks. We include work from all photographic genres.