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THE TALKING STUDIO: Episode 1 (Station 116) Divergent Spaces

THE TALKING STUDIO: Episode 1 (Station 116) Divergent Spaces

Stephen Deffet and Daniel Manion
Daniel King | Jun 30, 2017

 

 

The Talking Studio

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This is the first episode of the Talking Studio, an audio discussion series focused on the creative work and experiences of students in the College of Fine Arts. By providing space for discussion, the Talking Studio hopes to shed light on the spectrum of interests and particular concerns driving students in their formative years.

 

 

In early February 2017, Talking Studio sat down with two senior B.F.A. studio art majors, Stephen Deffet and Daniel Manion, to discuss their collaborative research project concerning what they call “divergent art spaces.” In 2015, the two opened Station 116, a garage-based off campus gallery, on Columbus Street.

Solo and group exhibitions, performances, and gatherings have become regular events at Station 116, showcasing the work of local artists as well as others from all over the country. In our discussion, both Deffet and Manion maintain the time and effort spent with the gallery was out of a mutual interest in the community of DIY and punk venues, with the aim to develop a space for artists and students, independent of some of the hierarchies of academia.

 

Various exhibition events at Station 116. Image courtesy of Station 116.Station 116, called a no-profit art space, in Athens, OH was established by Dan Manion & Stephen Deffet in 2015.

 

In the fall of their senior year, the two received a Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fund (PURF) grant, giving them the financial resources to embark on a form of creative research that would stretch their understanding of non-traditional artist spaces. Their project, starting with core historical texts about the alternative space movements as described by Lawrence Alloway in the 1970’s, moved outward in an often discursive and meandering way, through social connections, revealing a loosely networked community.

In an excerpt from their collaborative research grant application Deffet and Manion wrote, “Most of the scholarship on alternative spaces begins in the 1960s in the United States and dies out around the 1980s. We believe that these spaces have been around longer than the 1960s and have had a recent resurgence with the advent of technologies and the culture surrounding a DIY attitude.”

Through field research, contacting and visiting exhibition spaces, and collecting first hand knowledge of various alternative spaces in Chicago, New York City and elsewhere, the two are attempting to develop an updated working definition of these non-traditional exhibition spaces as they exist today.

Courtney Kessel, gallery coordinator for Ohio University Art Galleries, wrote a letter of recommendation and support for Deffet and Manion’s research grant application. She describes their work as timely. 

“The definition of where and how contemporary and emerging artists exhibit their work and engage audiences is more fluid than ever before, especially with the visibility shift from what once was word-of-mouth to the space of the web. Many of these venues wouldn't exist if not for the internet,” said Kessel.

Manion and Deffet graduated in May.

 

 
On left, Stephen Deffet, photo by Dan Manion. On right, image from Photo of Stephen Deffet by Daniel Manion. Image on right, from "Whoever He Is He Must Be A Genius," 2016.
 

“My studio practice was vastly different before starting this space (Station 116); I really just stopped my studio work for months. In helping out with exhibition design and curating in general, here and at the Kennedy Museum of Art, I realized I am interested in the exhibition space itself, in every respect. Who it represents, and doesn't. Who is within it; and who’s outside of it. I don’t see this [work] as different than my studio practice. I don’t see the writing I do, and the preparator work I do, as being different. It’s all the same.”  — Stephen Deffet // stephendeffet.com

 

 

Artwork by Dan Manion on left, and photo of Dan Manion by Kelly Bondra on right.

Artwork courtesy of Dan Manion, photo by Kelly Bondra.

 

“Without one another’s encouragement it wouldn't have happened. We were interested in doing something that would work with the already established DIY punk scene that is interconnected and very supportive of each other [in Athens].” —Daniel Manion // www.danmanion.net

 

...

Explore Further:
Stephen Deffet’s interview with Jettison Magazine in March 2017: http://jettisonmag.com/featured/2082/stephen-deffets-absurd-spaces/
Donut Shop Mag spoke with Manion and Deffet about their collaboration at 116: http://www.donutshopmag.com/media/visuals/art/station-116-interview/

A list of divergent spaces referenced in the interview:
Drift Station: http://www.driftstation.org/
Clutch Gallery: http://www.clutch.gallery/
Acid Rain: http://acidrainproduction.com/
Stephen and George Laundry Line: http://sglaundryline.tumblr.com/

 


Read more stories from the Summer 2017 Alumni Newsletter.

 

 
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