Book Launch – Donald Rodney: Autoicon by Richard Birkett


Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) are holding a book launch for Richard Birkett’s: Donald Rodney: Autoicon.

From the inIVA website.

“Date and time: Mon, 9 Oct 2023 17:30 – 19:30 BST

About this event 2 hours Mobile eTicket Join us on Monday 9 October 5.30-7.30pm for the launch of Afterall’s newest One Works publication Donald Rodney: Autoicon by Richard Birkett at the Stuart Hall Library. The evening will include a reading by the author Richard Birkett who will be joined by interdisciplinary artist (and former Head of Multimedia at iniva) Gary Stewart as well as a poetry reading inspired by Autoicon from artist and writer Amy Ching-Yan Lam.

First launched at iniva in 2000, the web and CD-ROM-based Autoicon was conceived by Donald Rodney in the mid-1990s but completed posthumously, after his sickle cell anaemia-related death, by a group of close friends and artists ironically named Donald Rodney plc. With the work’s production overseen by Rodney’s occasional collaborator Mike Phillips and his colleagues Adrian Ward and Geoff Cox at Science Technology Arts Research (STAR) at the University of Plymouth, alongside Gary Stewart at iniva, Donald Rodney plc included artists and writers Eddie Chambers, Richard Hylton, Virginia Nimarkoh, Keith Piper and Diane Symons. As an index of entangled social and material relations, Autoicon offers a form of dispersed memory that challenges stable parameters of subjectivity and authorship.

Twenty-three years later, we reconvene at iniva to celebrate Autoicon through Birkett’s in-depth and generous study of a work brought to life by acts of communal and collective care. The publication will be available to buy alongside other Afterall works and specially paired with iniva’s publications for a special launch discount.

Refreshments served from 5.30pm.

For more information contact Jenny Starr,


Richard Birkett is a curator and writer based in Glasgow. He has previously held roles as Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and curator at Artists Space, New York. He has organized exhibitions at institutions including Yale Union, Portland; mumok, Vienna; MoMA PS1, New York; and the National Gallery of Kosovo, Pristina. He has edited and written for publications including Cosey Complex, Bernadette Corporation: 2000 Wasted Years, and Tell it To My Heart—Collected by Julie Ault.

Amy Ching-Yan Lam is an artist and writer. Her debut collection of poetry is titled Baby Book (Brick Books, 2023). Other publications include Looty Goes to Heaven (Eastside Projects, 2022) commissioned for the Commonwealth Games public art program, and Property Journal (forthcoming 2024, Book Works). From 2006 to 2020 she was part of the collaboration Life of a Craphead. Amy lives in Tkaronto/Toronto and was born in Hong Kong.

Gary Stewart is an interdisciplinary artist whose work examines social and political issues of identity, culture, and technology. Operating through a range of theoretical, fictional, and artistic frames he is part of a global network of collaborators who are advocates for equality, climate justice and better health through the arts especially those from marginalised communities. Working at the intersection of sound, moving image and computational creativity his work traverse’s media art, experimental music, and research. Between 1995-2010 he was Head of Multimedia at Iniva curating the digital programme including installations, exhibitions, public and online projects. Freelance since 2011, he is a founder member of London based research and performance group Dubmorphology and Artist Associate at People’s Palace Projects based at Queen Mary, University of London.


Afterall is a Research Centre of University of the Arts London, located at Central Saint Martins. Afterall focuses its research activities on the value of contemporary art and its relation to wider society. Its specialist research areas include ‘Art Becoming Public’, which addresses exhibitions, institutions and what happens when art becomes public and ‘The Work of Art’, which focuses on researching through the work of art, while interrogating the scope and parameters of this commitment. The research centre works with partners across three continents to deepen this enquiry and make it available through publications, digital access, conferences, screenings and talks.

Image: Invitation to launch of Donald Rodney: Autoicon, Web version, Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), 10 June 2000″