Welcome to the Institute of Failure. On this site you can find the collected documents of the Institute. These range from papers presented at live events to essays and artworks commissioned or collected especially for the site. You will also find links to related information at the bottom of this page.
The Brightest Thing in the World
A portrait of visionary naturalist W.N.P. Barbellion & tribute to historian and teacher George Roeder
by Matthew Goulish
A performance lecture by Matthew Goulish (director and founder of the Institute and founder member of Goat Island theatre company, Chicago, USA); a tribute to both W.N.P. Barbellion and George Roeder, and a snapshot of a moment in September, 2004.
Read The Brightest Thing in the World
download a printable PDF of The Brightest Thing in the World (184k)
by Sara Jane Bailes
Sara Jane Bailes (a performer and writer currently at the Performance Studies program at NYU) contributes this essay on distraction.
download a printable PDF of Distracted (37k)
The Small Failures
by Tim Etchells
Tim Etchells (director and founder of the Institute, artistic director of the performance ensemble Forced Entertainment, Sheffield, UK) catalogues and examines a series of on-going failures from his own life in such diverse areas as untidiness, failed romances and a failure to complete narratives.
Read The Small Failures
download a printable PDF of Small Failures (41k)
The Maintenance of Daily Life
by Tim Etchells
The Science Fiction writer J.G. Ballard wrote that "one day in the near future anthologies of 20th century inter-office memos" might be "as treasured as the correspondence of Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot." The Institute of Failure presents a catalogue of failure, breakdown and maintenance related email memoranda gathered from a managed workspace building. Categories: Damage Control, Warnings & Preventive Measures and Missing or Unidentified Objects & Persons.
Read The Maintenance of Daily Life
download a printable PDF of The Maintenance of Daily Life (41k)
Mistranslation, folly and anti-photography: Three fragments for Saatchi & Saatchi
by Tim Etchells and presented on his behalf by Ant Hampton at the Shooting Live Artists event, Saatchi & Saatchi, Thursday 16th May, 2002.
Read Mistranslation Online
download a printable PDF of Mistranslation (34k)
Watch a Streaming Video of the Presentation [NOTE: This will launch as a Real Audio File. You need appropriate plugins.]
See a Still Image from the Live Event
Fragile, Father, Dead: 26 short failures in performance, place, and economics
by Abhay Ghiara
Read Abhay's Essay
download a printable PDF of Abhay's essay (55k)
Lecture in the Shape of a Bridge Collapsing to inaugurate the Institute of Failure
by Matthew Goulish
Matthew Goulish (director and founder of the Institute, founder member of Goat Island theatre company, Chicago, USA) introduces the Institute and its study of failure with a wide ranging essay that moves between the events of September 11th 2001, the writings of artist Kenneth Goldsmith, the burning in 1904 of Coney Islands Dreamland amusement arcade and the more recent exploits of the animated childrens character Bob The Builder.
Read Matthew's Essay
download a printable PDF of Matthew's essay (43k)
Introduction to the Launch of the Institute of Failure
(December, 2001) by Adrian Heathfield
Adrian Heathfield (lecturer at Warwick University and independent curator) sets the scene for the Institute and Matthew Goulishs Inaugural lecture.
Read the Introduction
download a printable PDF of the Introduction (26k)
Manual of Assisted Appliances
by Howard Matthew
A manual for the completion of failed appliances including rigged chairs, slapstick wardrobes, collapsing ladders and rotating beds. Howard Matthew is a visual and performance artist who graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 1997. His work has been exhibited throughout the UK and internationally.
VIew the Manual Online
download a printable PDF of The Manual of Assisted Applicances (356k)
by Cheryl Weaver
View Pedestrian Errors Online
download a printable PDF of Pedestrian Errors (156k)
Private Lives/Public Disposal
by Mary C. Wilson
An excerpt from a young girl's memoire found in the garbage during a nine month residency at the San Francisco Sanitary Fill Company. Mary C. Wilson is a visual artist and writer currently in the Visual Criticism Graduate Studies program at the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francsico.
View Untitled Private Lives/Public Disposal Online
download a printable PDF Version (135k)
Links to Related Information