The Institute For The Magical Effect Of Actually Giving A Shit (a note to our future self)

A conversation in several parts

A new website and resource exploring and reflecting on The Institute For The Magical Effect Of Actually Giving A Shit (a note to our future self), Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan's first-ever permanent commission, which opened in 2021 as part of Studio Voltaire's capital redevelopment.

The new site takes the form of an illustrated text. It has been developed from a public in-conversation between Tom O’Sullivan and Fiona Jardine, a long-time collaborator of the duo, held at Studio Voltaire in 2022. Ranging from the commission’s production process to a ‘standing stone dress’, the poured concrete murals of William Mitchell, and a dramatic reading of Rabelais' scatalogically inclined Gargantua and Pantagruel, this key resource reflects on the commission in the context of Tatham and O’Sullivan’s wider practice.

The Institute For The Magical Effect Of Actually Giving A Shit (a note to our future self) emerged from Tatham and O’Sullivan’s long-standing relationship with Studio Voltaire, having collaborated on projects with the organisation since 2004. Testing the specific context of a public toilet, their work uses both humour and exacting design principles to further challenge the status and function of art in public space.

The website is best viewed while on the toilet.

User information

Please navigate the text by scrolling down on your computer or phone.

Click on the coloured circles within the body of the text to access images.

Alt text descriptions are available.

The new website was produced with support from the Royal College of Art RKE Research Costs Fund. The Institute For The Magical Effect Of Actually Giving A Shit (a note to our future self) was supported by Art Fund.

Design by Modern Activity.

  1. Working across sculpture, installation, performance, and publishing, Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan (b. 1971/1967, West Yorkshire/Norfolk) have collaborated since 1995. Together they have developed a distinctive visual language that is rich in content and attitude. The artists’ are interested in sculpture as a mode or form with specific histories and conventions of use, which can be reframed or repositioned as a means to critique art’s values and behaviours.

    The duo emerged from an important generation of Glasgow–based artists who brought international attention to Scotland’s contemporary art scene, and have staged significant commissions at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (2018); Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2017) and Tramway, Glasgow (2014; 2010; 2001). In 2005 they represented Scotland at the 51st Venice Biennale. Tatham and O’Sullivan are represented by The Modern Institute / Toby Webster Ltd (Glasgow).

  2. Fiona Jardine (b. 1970, Galashiels, Scotland) is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and academic based in Glasgow.

    Jardine works collaboratively with curators, designers and community groups on research-led projects involving specific histories, collections and archives. In 2019, Jardine designed a trade union banner for ScotPep (a Scottish charity promoting sex-worker’s rights) with the film-maker Petra Bauer and Collective, Edinburgh. She also works with curators and designers Panel, Maeve Redmond and Sophie Dyer, as a co-publisher of 'The Persistence of Type', a sporadic broadsheet devoted to creative interpretations of Scotland’s advertising and typographic histories. Her work has been the subject of solo commissions at Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow (2007); and the ICA, London (2008). She has also featured in group exhibitions at The Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (2021); Tramway, Glasgow (2015); Glasgow International (2014); Dundee Contemporary Arts (2009); and Transmission, Glasgow (2006).

    Jardine currently teaches at The Glasgow School of Design as Lecturer in Design History & Theory. Her PhD (2008–2013) analysed the changing construction of artists’ signatures in their material forms, with specific reference to Marcel Duchamp’s readymade, 'Fountain' (1917).

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