Tim Etchells

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Tim Etchells
Tim Etchells.jpg
Tim Etchells in 2012
Born 1962
Nationality British
Known for Theatre, writing
Awards The Legacy: Thinker In Residence Award, Bessie Dance and Performance Award for Outstanding Sound Design
Tim Etchells: the future will be confusing, Mousonturm, Frankfurt

Tim Etchells (born 1962) is a British artist and writer based in Sheffield and London.[1] Etchells is the artistic director of Forced Entertainment, a world-renowned experimental performance company founded in 1984.[2][3][4]


Etchells regularly collaborates with many artists, including photographer Hugo Glendinning, with whom he has worked on several projects, such as the 1999 exhibition Void Spaces[5] and the ongoing series Empty Stages,[6] which has been exhibited widely, including as part of Etchells' solo show at Jakopic Gallery in Ljubljana in 2013.[7]

Other collaborations include writing essays for performance artist Franko B's Still Lives publication and for the visual art duo Elmgreen and Dragset's project Drama Queens and working with the pair on their later project Happy Days in the Art World.[8] The Art in America article on Happy Days in the Art World says, "Etchells is an experimental British playwright of some fame whose work is Beckettian, not Beckett-esque. His work is mocking and meandering but can really get under the skin, and prick at latent feelings of abjection, loneliness, the inability to communicate, futility."[8]

Etchells collaborated with interactive performance maker Ant Hampton on two projects Lest We See (2013)[9] and The Quiet Volume (2010) which has been produced in English, German, Spanish, Slovenian, Japanese, Polish, Dutch and Portuguese.[10] The Quiet Volume won a 2013 Bessie Dance and Performance Award for Outstanding Sound Design following presentations by Performance Space 122 and PEN World Voices Festival. The citation for the award ran as follows: "For their use of intimately whispered text in a work in libraries across the city and for a score which heightened the experience in a space at once public and private".[11]

Etchells is currently Professor of Performance at Lancaster University[12] and has been teaching extensively in a variety of contexts. In 2006, he convened The Presence Project, a series of workshops at Stanford University.[13] In 2006 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dartington College of Arts, in recognition of his writing for and about contemporary performance.[14][15]

Etchells' recent publication, Vacuum Days, based on his year-long web-based project which lasted throughout 2011, was published by Storythings in 2012.[16] Etchells has published several works of fiction, Endland Stories, The Dream Dictionary for the Modern Dreamer and the novel The Broken World and has written extensively about contemporary performance in a wide variety of contexts, from articles in The Guardian newspaper[17] to contributions in artist monographs, such as an MIT Press publication on the work of Tehching Hsieh[18][19] and a Live Art Development Agency publication on Ron Athey.[20]

In 2013 he was guest curator of Ljubljana's Exodos Festival – selecting an international programme of work in performance, theatre and dance.[21][22] On 25 November 2013, Etchells gave a public keynote address Live Forever,[23] at Tate Modern in the frame of their research series 'Collecting the Performative'[24] A new public sculpture work by Etchells, 'A Stitch in Time' was commissioned for the Lumiere Festival 28 Nov – 1 December 2013 and was installed on top of the old Rosemount Shirt Factory as part of Derry-Londonderry City of Culture 2013.[25] The work comprises a 23 metre long and 2-metre high sign made with white LED bulbs.[26][27]

Awards and honours[edit]

Between 2008 and 2013, Etchells was the recipient of The Legacy: Thinker In Residence Award, a joint initiative by the Live Art Development Agency and Tate Research.[28][29][30] Within the framework of this award, he produced a new publication, While You Are With Us Here Tonight (2013).[31]


  • Endland Stories (1998)[32]
  • Certain Fragments (1999), published by Routledge[33]
  • The Dream Dictionary for the Modern Dreamer (2004), published by Duckworth[34]
  • The Broken World (2008), published by Heinemann[35]
  • Vacuum Days (2012), published by Storythings[16]
  • While You are With Us Here Tonight (2013), published by Live Art Development Agency and Tate Research[31]

Forced Entertainment performances directed by Tim Etchells[edit]


  • The Last Adventures (2013)
  • The Coming Storm (2012)
  • Tomorrow's Parties (2011)
  • The Thrill of It All (2010)
  • Void Story (2009)
  • Spectacular (2008)
  • The World in Pictures (2006)
  • Exquisite Pain (2005)
  • Bloody Mess (2004)
  • The Voices (2003)
  • The Travels (2002)
  • Instructions for Forgetting (2001)
  • First Night (2001)
  • Scar Stories (2000)
  • Disco Relax (1999)
  • Dirty Work (1998)
  • Pleasure (1997)
  • Showtime (1996)
  • Hidden J (1994)
  • Speak Bitterness (1994)
  • A Decade of Forced Entertainment (1994)
  • Emanuelle Enchanted (1992)
  • Marina & Lee (1991)
  • Some Confusions in the Law about Love (1989)
  • 200% and Bloody Thirsty (1987)
  • The Day that Serenity Returned to the Ground (1986)
  • (Let the Water Run its Course) to the Sea that Made the Promise (1986)
  • Nighthawks (1985)
  • The Set-up (1985)
  • Jessica in the Room of Lights (1984)

Solo visual art exhibitions[edit]

  • 100 People and 3 People, The Gallery at Sketch, London, 2007[37]
  • Tim Etchells, Gasworks, London, UK, 2010[38]
  • Fog Game, Künstlerhaus Bremen, 2010[39][40]
  • From Afar, Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków, 2011[41]
  • Shouting Your Demands, Curtain Road, October 2013. Curated by Make-Room in collaboration with Duggan Morris Architects[42]
  • What is, and What is Possible, Jakopič Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2013[43]

Video works with Hugo Glendinning[edit]

  • Starfucker, Down Time.[44]
  • Kent Beeson is a Classic & an Absolutely New Thing.[44]


  1. ^ "Interrupting the Narrative: A Talk with Tim Etchells". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Interview with Tim Etchells of Forced Entertainment". Aesthetica Magazine. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Kaye, Nick (1996). Art into Theatre: Performance Interviews and Documents. Psychology Press. pp. 235–252. ISBN 3718657899. 
  4. ^ "Bittersüße Geständnisse: Tim Etchells und die Theatergruppe "Forced Entertainment" in der Reihe "Porträt" im Mousonturm". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 26 November 2003. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Hugo Glendinning, Tim Etchells & Forced Entertainment". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Making of Empty Stages by Tim Etchells and Hugo Glendinning LEA Magazine Article". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Tim Etchells: What Is, And What Is Possible". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Performa Playbill: Elmgreen & Dragset, News: Art in America". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "lest". Anthampton.com. 1 September 1939. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "tqv". Anthampton.com. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Winners of the New York Dance And Performance Awards-The Bessies". The Dance Enthusiast. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts: People". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Tim Etchells The Presence Project". Stanford. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  14. ^ http://www.dartington.org/newsletters/issue71_decjan07.pdf
  15. ^ "LICA > People". Lancaster.ac.uk. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Storythings – Vacuum Days". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Tim Etchells – The Guardian". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Out of Now – The MIT Press". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh, Adrian Heathfield: Writer, Curator". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Pleading in the Blood: Art and Performance of Ron Athey, Publishing: Live Art Development Agency". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  21. ^ http://www.ljudmila.org/~exodos/index.php?a=what
  22. ^ http://www.ljudmila.org/~exodos/index.php?a=enjoy
  23. ^ http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/talks-and-lectures/live-forever
  24. ^ http://www.tate.org.uk/about/projects/collecting-performative
  25. ^ http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/nearly-180000-at-lumiere-festival-29802032.html
  26. ^ http://www.lumiere-festival.com/derry-londonderry/programme/
  27. ^ http://www.lumiere-festival.com/derry-londonderry/programme/a-stitch-in-time/
  28. ^ Keidan, Lois (October 2013). "Tim Etchells (Legacy: Thinker In Residence Awards)". Tate. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  29. ^ Keidan, Lois (October 2013). "Legacy: Thinker In Residence Awards". Tate. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  30. ^ "Legacy: Thinker in Residence Awards". Live Art Development Agency. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "While You Are With Us Here Tonight – Live Art Development Agency". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "An Interview with Tim Etchells about Endland Stories". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  33. ^ "Certain Fragments: Texts and Writings on Performance (Paperback) – Routledge". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  34. ^ "Pick of the Week: The Dream Dictionary for the Modern Dreamer by Tim Etchells, Books: The Guardian". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  35. ^ Jones, Thomas. "Loserdom". London Review of Books. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  36. ^ "Project Index". forced entertainment. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  37. ^ Schmidt, Theron (3 November 2007). "100 People and 3 People | Join in". a-n. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  38. ^ "Tim Etchells". Gasworks. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  39. ^ "Kilian Ruethemann and Tim Etchells". e-flux. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  40. ^ "Presse " Tim Etchells // Fog Game " Künstlerhaus Bremen". Kuenstlerhausbremen.de. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  41. ^ http://krt-festival.pl/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/KRT_2011_program11.pdf
  42. ^ "Duggan Morris Architects". Duggan Morris Architects. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  43. ^ "Tim Etchells: What is, and What is Possible » Jakopič Gallery". Mgml.si. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  44. ^ a b "Live Culture: Organisers and participants: Forced Entertainment". Tate. Retrieved 20 November 2013. "A programme of video works by Forced Entertainment's artistic director Tim Etchells and longtime collaborator photographer, Hugo Glendinning. Videos include Starfucker, Down Time and Kent Beeson is a Classic & an Absolutely New Thing." 

External links[edit]