Lying Freely

A multi-location, itinerant project by Ruth Buchanan that probes questions around the tension between private and public spheres

28 March–2 May 2010 / Casco HQ
Opening 27 March, 17:00–19:00 with the book launch of Lying Freely and a group reading

“Today I will guide you through the city of Utrecht toward the Rietveld Schröder Huis. What was once uncontrolled space has been cut through by a motorway that forms a curve through this previously open-view. And it is exactly this curve, or this angle, or this straight line, this distorting of an apparent open-view that I will speak about today, in that I would like to think about particular working methods or figurations of methods …” 

– Ruth Buchanan, Nothing is Closed-Lying Freely Part I, guided tour to the Rietveld Schröder Huis 

How can individual agency be negotiated within collective existence? How can a space of privacy and freedom be acquired without merely retreating from the public realm? How can a singularity arise with an acknowledgement of communal legacies? How can we deal with “this curve, or this angle, or this straight line, this distorting of an apparent open-view?” 

In her itinerant project Lying Freely, that has evolved in various locations since June 2009, Ruth Buchanan probes questions around the tension between private and public spheres by practicing a method that might be named after the project title, Lying Freely. This has involved Buchanan weaving stories by and about the public personas of three female writers Janet Frame, Virginia Woolf and Agatha Christie into her own speculative writings. The writing becomes scripts for maneuvering through spaces of systemization and behavioral codification, such as an archive (The Hocken Collection), a hotel (Old Swan Hotel), a library (The British Library). These spaces, each associated with one of the authors, were reconfigured in a haptic choreography performed for and within different locations that hosted the project – a monumental house, a theater, a gallery. 

The last station of the project at Casco is an attempt to communicate the journey of the project thus far or to resituate its publicness without intending to give an overview but rather to create a variation of its topological movement and to rejoin the issues and forms that have emerged. The Casco space is reconfigured for this purpose, including the construction of a staircase and viewing platform around which the new script is voiced and deliberate forms of “appearing in public” can be exercised. 

Ruth Buchanan is part of the If I Can’t Dance… Edition III – Masquerade: From Dusk Till Dawn that takes place at Van Abbemuseum on 19 and 20 March 2010. More information: www.ificantdance.org and www.vanabbemuseum.nl.


Many thanks to Andreas Müller for co-developing the viewing platform and Jasper Kaarsemaker for construction work.

Lying Freely was developed in three stages: Nothing is Closed (Part I) at the Rietveld Schröder Huis, Circular Facts (Part II) at the Frascati Theatre and Several Attentions (Part III) at The Showroom gallery space. It has been realized in collaboration with Casco, If I Can’t Dance, The Showroom and Jan van Eyck Academie. The book Lying Freely is co-published by Casco and Jan van Eyck Academie.

Lying Freely also marks the beginning of Circular Facts (2009-2011). Circular Facts is a cooperative circuit for itinerant research and projects by artists and other practitioners initiated by Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory (Utrecht), Objectif Exhibitions (Antwerp) and The Showroom (London) in collaboration with Kunsthalle St.Gallen and Electric Palm Tree. It is financially supported by the European Union Culture Programme. The official launch event takes place on Sunday 25 April at 17:00.

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