Welcome to Welcome

April 27, 2019

Welcome at the Waterfront Gallery, University of Ipswich

19 April-5 May, OPEN DAY 3 May 12-5pm


Welcome Gallery Notes

Welcome to Welcome. This exhibition is a study in contradiction – you are welcomed in only to be confronted with a recommendation to depart. This inconsistency reflects the experience of the immigrant, one who lives in an internalized, as well as often actual, state of uncertainty. There is a sense of impending disruption. For the first couple years after moving to the UK, I repeatedly dreamt of an inability to find home – in my dreams I anxiously went from place to place, never finding where I belonged.

The immigrant’s experience involves a continual negotiation with the state, which is often accompanied by feelings of dehumanization. Theoretically, positioning the regulation of populations over individual bodies looks to both Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault. Agamben’s focus on law and citizenship itself references Foucault’s concept of biopolitics. This reduction of the individual as a necessary means to serve the functionality of the state often produces moments of absurdity, pathos and humour.

The work presented here suggests such moments of slippage and discrepancy that form parts of my immigration experience. The Unacceptable Drawings are based on the UK Border Agency Photograph Guidance, rules that must be followed in order to obtain a Residency Permit Card. They are of course not photographs, and actually more paintings than drawings. They range in style from basic illustrations to portraying individuals. The accompanying text, taken directly from those guidelines, often strikes me as poetry: ‘even the slightest smile distorts the normal facial features.’

The poetry and absurdities that I encounter in engaging with the state as an immigrant to the UK resonate and linger. For me this is where the humanity within an often overwhelming bureaucracy endures. This is not meant as a rebuke of the UK or even the UK immigration system but rather a presentation of my experience and those particularities that catch my attention.



April 24, 2019

Waterfront Gallery, University Suffolk, Ipswich, UK

‘Welcome’ is based on my experience as an immigrant to the UK. Incorporating drawings based on immigration documentation alongside appropriated objects, this singular narrative exists amid a backdrop of ever increasing migration around the world.

Waterfront Gallery, University of Suffolk, Waterfront Building, 19 Neptune Quay, Ipswich IP4 1QJ.  +44 (0) 1473 338000


Los Angeles

performance at the Poetic Research Bureau with David Buuck, February 2017


performance at Anagram Books with David Buob July, 2017


performance for Anihilation Event at Lethaby Gallery, Central St Martins, Kings Cross

Drawing and Other Writing

December 6, 2017


DaOW descriptionThrough the work of SE Barnet and Sally Morfill, the Everyday Press publication Drawing and Other Writing offers a look at how meaning is formed and interpreted when we make a mark. The practices of these two artists include a range of influences and source material; from the Mass Observation archive to Henri Michaux’s alphabet of lines. Additionally, artists Ana Čavić and Louisa Minkin have contributed work to the book.

The Everyday Press

images of pages from the book

Debut at Offprint Tate Modern, London 2016 with Sally Morfill, Ana Čavić, and Louisa Minkin


These were included in the Florence Trust Summer Show 2014 as part of the end of my year-long residency.

The drawings are  made with ink on paper. All the images come from Mass Observation archive diaries from 1937 – from people that lived here in London then. Some of the drawings portray a whole sentence or paragraph while some may be just an isolated spot – kind of like looking at the mark through a microscope.

Florence Trust Summer Show

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Two essays from the catalogue for both exhibitions General title given by myself  and  A day of continual irritation for myself

Ghosts in the Archive by writer David Buuck

Domesticated  by writer/curator Esther Windsor


Installation images from Five Years Gallery exhibition A day of continual irritation for myself












A day of continual irritation for myself*
SE Barnet, co-organized with Sally Morfill

7 December – 15 December 2013
Preview: Friday 6 December 6-9pm

There will be an Open Conversation on 7 December from 3pm

Five Years Gallery, 66 Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, London, E8 4QN

The second in a series of two exhibitions on making marks and meaning, offering a look at an early complicit engagement with surveillance and diaristic self-exposure, and its resultant surfeit material.

A day of continual irritation for myself* presents a filmed performance of team proof-reading based on materials from the Mass Observation archive. Part of a larger project involving a number of activities, (from extensive transcription to the creation of drawings, through scripts for performance and film to daily tweets) it employs these materials towards re-appropriation and détournement. The project offers a look at an early complicit engagement with surveillance and diaristic self-exposure, with its resultant surfeit material.

This second in a series of two exhibitions on making marks and meaning, follows on from the transcribing, copy-editing and proof-reading performative activity begun during the exhibition General title given by myself at Five Years Gallery in July 2013. Here, the proof-readers are enacted by Mexican artist Fernando León-Guiu and writer France León. The pair are based on a couple well known throughout the publishing world for their facility and formality.

The starting point for all this activity comes from the Day Surveys of 1937-1939 from the Mass Observation archive. This British movement begun in the early 20thcentury, aimed to create ‘an anthropology of ourselves’ by recording everyday life in Britain through a panel of untrained volunteer observers who either maintained diaries or replied to open-ended questionnaires. These observers acted as recorders, attempting to capture the details of their own everyday lives and the lives of those around them.

* This line of text comes from the Day Survey of an unidentified contributor of 12th March, 1937


Open Conversation

In response to questions raised by Marking Language, currently at the Drawing Room, and General title given by myself, at Five Years last July 2013, Barnet and Morfill offer an open Conversation engaged with the look of words and the meaning of marks.

Please join artist/organizers SE Barnet and Sally Morfill in an Open Conversation at Five Years Gallery on Saturday 7 December from 3pm.

MO film shoot

November 24, 2013

The amazing Fernando León-Guiu and France Leon filmed team proof-reading a transcribed day diary from the Mass Observation archive. Extraordinary camera work from Michelle Deignan!SONY DSCMOfilmstills03 MOfilmstills02 

from Five Years Gallery in London July 6-14

Documentation of Transcribing, Editing and team Proof-reading texts from the 1937-38 Mass Observation archive. The Day Surveys selected are from contributors who worked with text daily; translators, transcribers, typists, clerks, journalists, etc. As part of a contemporary archive, contributions from a call made in 2012, on the 75th anniversary of Mass Observation’s first publication,were on display.






















* This line of text comes from the Day Survey of J. Axton on 12th August, 1937

The exhibition of General title given by myself* offers a look at the production of text towards its dissemination into the public sphere. Throughout the duration of this exhibition activities of Transcribing, Editing, and Proof-reading will be performed in the space of the gallery. These are removed from the contemporary arena of the digital age and executed through techniques from the early 20th century to coincide with the source-work.

The starting point for all this activity comes from the Day Surveys of 1937-1939 from the Mass Observation archive. These day-long diaries describe in detail the everyday lives of self-selecting correspondents who contributed the documents to the collection. Within the archive, their words became pictures as they were scanned for digital presentation. The result of the activity within General title given by myself returns these pictures of words back into marks on a page.

* This line of text comes from the Day Survey of J. Axton on 12th August, 1937