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Anniversary Edition

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Unbreakable City 2014, Mixed media installation, by Lien-Cheng Wang


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Stanley Shoemaker

Mark Franz

Marta Stysiak

Thodoris Trampas

Lillian Abel

Leonid Dutov

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We live in a world made from visual contents, the streets are flooded with advertisements telling the viewer what is the ideal merchandise, what is beautiful and what is socially acceptable, photography as a medium lets people see the ideal world through the lens. As spanish photographer Joan Fontcuberta said, " Every photograph is a fiction with pretensions to truth. Despite everything that we have been inculcated, all that we believe, photography always lies; it lies instinctively, lies because its nature does not allow it to do anything else." So, this portfolio is a reminder of all the things photography can do as a tool to provide a different perspective on our own society.

My art is informed by two separate disciplines: Literature and Design. In regard to my research in Literature, it has been common for me to focus on 20th century American Literature, and its preoccupations with subculture, moral climate change, and political disenchantment. These ideas are prominent in my research and artwork, and it has become my pleasure to find unique ways to communicate these ideas visually. Poetry, as an excellent model for the non‐linear narrative, as well as its ability to concentrate imagery, is a primary source for inspiration in this regard. These ideas provide a strong foundation for pursuing further development in the design world. My artwork works to capture these themes in a non‐linear fashion as a marriage of poetry and design.

Marta Stysiak is a Polish cinematographer and the author of photographic projects and photographs of a filmic backdrop or related to film in general. She is the author of photography for documentaries, reportages, short features, video art and experimental videos. Her photographs were published among others in Polish magazines, Le journal de la Photographie, Dailyserving, GUP magazine and are in private collections. Also a co-founder of Synergy collective, which experiments with visual clichés and innovations but also plays around with narratives and storytelling. Stysiak is based in Warsaw, where she lives and works freelance.

The ongoing search of the human beings for their own image is found in the conscious and unconscious need “to be”. We are in the depths of an existence experiencing the loneliness in front of two empty tables, declaratory of the absence of “those who never came”. It is waiting and searching at the same time. It experiences rejection. However, the hope that they will come transfers those human beings to the area of utopia. With stereotypical moves, with quickly-moving hands and feet and after that, with an earsplitting creeping, they try to bridge the distance between the ideal and the real.

The paintings are an exploration of the space between abstraction and representation. They are abstracted by the palette knife, searching for hidden worlds and images in the paint that reveal on the picture plane. They need to be uncovered, stroked, massaged and moved onto the surface, brought up from where they are hiding; surprising me with their ability to come forth when called by my hand. Revealing the recognized of our ‘world sight’ as unrecognizable, opening the eye of the witness to the coalescence of fierceness and delicacy in Nature.

You have made a video and the video gives a message. This message is clear. Do you like the message? Is it a beautiful message? Or is it a dark message? A horrible message? You see it can be anything - it doesn't have to be good. Even a dark or horrible message can be beautiful - in a way. What the film is really trying to do is to engage with the viewer to get the viewer to face something - to feel something - which they may or may not like. Here - look at this - feel this how do you feel about feeling this? How do you feel about watching this? Does it make you feel good? Did you realise it's art? It has a message. It tells you something... can you accept its message or do you prefer to ignore it, to deny it, to...

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Thodoris Trampas lives and works in Athens, Greece

P. Paul and O. Avisar

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live and work in Vienna and Tel Aviv

Stanley Shoemaker

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lives and works in Mexico

Lillian Abel

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lives and works in Los Angeles, California, USA

Mark Franz Lien-Cheng Wang

Suzanne Smith

Petra Paul & Ophira Avisar

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Austria / Israel

Taiwan, is well-known as consumer electronic industry, where numerous electronic products are produced and discarded, older models are replaced by newer models. I collected hundreds of scraped and old CD-ROM drives which were originally connected with computers. They are actually functional and usable. But people throw them out because a newer generation model is published in the market. I used a different method with nutrients from the information on the internet, brought CDROM drives back to live. The Internet, the blood of my work, is itself a stream from which data, consisting of 0’sand 1’s, are put in(uploaded) and taken out (downloaded; accessed).

Suzanne Smith is fascinated with the politics of the everyday; her practice reflects the negotiation of an environment saturated with social norms and conventions. In her eyes, everything is odd and everything is interesting. Smith is intrigued by the point midway between appalling and delightful. It is the tension in the mundanity that really gets her going.Smith often works with text, found objects, photography, film and found image. A seam of appropriation, collage and humour runs throughout, as she feels for the edges of conventions where negotiation and collusion take place. Smith accumulates, plays and controls - imposing a preferred order on her subject and pinning it down in its new position it long enough to take a better look.

We are both feminist artists and do a lot of work against racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, misogyny. We have to prohibit discrimination based on any grounds, including sex, gender, color, religion, ethnic, disabitity, age, social origin, language or belief. Education is an important part for (or to learn) acceptance and tolerance as well as awarenss-rising. We are for peace, for respect, for equality, for solidarity... and we use this words in different ways, in film as well as in our performance. Our work is also asking questions about the male dominated public space. It is also about sustainability. When we use the beach of Tel Aviv as a drawing ground, we do it being aware to the constant erasing of the waves.

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livesand works in Athens, Ohio, USA

Leonid Dutov

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lives and works in Moskow, Russia

Marta Stysiak

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lives and works in Warsaw, Poland

Suzanne Smith

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lives and works in Manchester, United Kingdom On the cover Unbreakable City 2014, Mixed media installation, by Lien-Cheng Wang

Special thanks to Haylee Lenkey, Martin Gantman , Krzysztof Kaczmar, Joshua White, Nicolas Vionnet, Genevieve Favre Petroff, Sandra Hunter, MyLoan Dinh, John Moran, Marya Vyrra, Gemma Pepper, Michael Nelson, Hannah Hiaseen, Scarlett Bowman, Yelena York Tonoyan, Haylee Lenkey, Martin Gantman , Krzysztof Kaczmar and Robyn Ellenbogen.

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Movement Computing, 2015 Three channel projection, Stereo speaker


Lien-Cheng Wang Taiwan, is well-known as consumer electronic industry, where numerous electronic products are produced and discarded, older models are replaced by newer models. I collected hundreds of scraped and old CD-ROM drives which were originally connected with computers. They are actually functional and usable. But people throw them out because a newer generation model is published in the market. I used a different method with nutrients from the information on the internet, brought CD-ROM drives back to live. The Internet, the blood of my work, is itself a stream from which data, consisting of 0’sand 1’s, are put in(uploaded) and taken out (downloaded; accessed). Likewise, data in a CD-ROM can be put in(burned) or taken out (read). In my work, I want to convert the Internet data—the 1s and 0s—into the CD-ROM drives’ physical ejection and retraction, thus making the activity of logging on to the Internet both visible and audible. Audience stands in front of a wall linked by CD-ROM drives, they get sensation as if placing bodies in the data stream. Body receives outcomes and incomes precisely from the inorganic movement of the previously discarded CD-ROM drives. It gives audience in a grand informational torrent materialized by a collective of actions. The mechanic movement shall create a space with undefined, moving, developing and “massaging” mind and body all at the same time. Lien-Cheng Wang, new media artist residences at Taipei, Taiwan, obtained B.S. in computer science and M.F.A. in Art and Technology at Taipei University of Arts. His work involves with interactive devices and realtime sound performance. He uses open source to create installation arts and audio-visual real-time performance. The Works are committed to seamless combination of images and sounds created by computer algorithm as well as human perception with universe and nature. He often utilizes a volume of installed approach to achieve a specific physical perception.


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Lien-Cheng Wang An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Barbara Scott, curator articulaction@post.com

Highly stimulating in its communicative concreteness, Regeneration Movement is an extremely interesting project by Taiwan based multidisciplinary artist LienCheng Wang. His work reject any conventional classification and condenses a stimulating symbiosis between Art and Technology to provide the viewers with an immersive and multilayered experience. One of the most convincing aspects of Wang's practice is his successful attempt to go beyond the dichotomy between artist and spectatorship, urging them to evolve to conscious and active participants. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. Hello Lien-Cheng and a warm welcome to ARTiculAction. We would start this interview posing you some questions about your background. You have a solid formal training: you hold a B.F.A. in Computer Science and Information Engineering and you are currently studying at the Graduate Institute of Art and Technology, in Taipei: how do these experiences influence the way you conceive and produce your artworks? In particular, how does your Taiwanese cultural substratum inform

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the way you realte yourself to art making?

I am from computer engineering background, it gave me a good foundation in using technological materials. My works are also very related with digitalization and technological art. It must be said Taiwan's culture deeply influenced my creation although I am used to use a smart-hidden way to package it and cover it well. People would not notice it at very first sight. For example, in my work "Electric Position", the main concept is from electric fly swatter and mosquitoes. These two elements are mostly existed in low latitude country and lived in torrid zone; in "Regeneration movement", there are many CD-ROM drivers which generated by Taiwan in the past 10 years. I tried to discuss issues of globalization and how technology bring to our daily life in using taiwanese point of view. You are a versatile artist your experimental practice encapsulates several techniques, involving a stimulating use of interactive devices with sound performances: your practice reveals an incessant search of an organic symbiosis between a variety of viewpoints. The results convey together a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification: so


The Displacement, 2013 Raspberry Pi, Electromagnet, LED Strips, New Media Art Percussion Performance


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Electric Position, 2008 Refit electric shock, Refit electric mosquito zapper, Relay, Ultrasonic sensor 10


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before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://soulblighter0122.blogspot.it in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your usual process, we would like to ask you if you have you ever happened to realize that such multidisciplinary approach is the only way to express and convey the idea you explore.

First of all, thanks for the compliment. I am for sure to focus on the uniqueness of combination between formality and concept. It is very important for me. In my work, the audience participation is essential. There are less interaction with the audience in the traditional arts whereas I use modern technology to express my artistic concept. For this special issue of ARTiculAction we have selected Regeneration Movement, a project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once caught our attention of this project is the way your successful attempt estabish direct reations with the viewers when they get sensation as if placing bodies in the data stream: when walking our readers through the genesis of Regeneration Movement we would ask you what are your main sources of inspiration and what is your usual process to develope the ideas you explore.

The inspiration came from one day, my desktop CD-ROM drive was ejected and restored automatically without any warning. In such an orderly world we live, it is as if a tiny abnormal matter

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that could trigger a chain reaction, where things would turn strange one by one. I found this abnormality is interesting and wanted to enlarge it to a wall landscape. In the process of collecting scraped CD-ROM drives, which was relatively accessible for me because Taiwan is an electric products kingdom where numerous IT products manufactured and discarded every day, I realized those products I collected were still usable. We throw them away because new models comes to replace. Therefore, I started to build this work and made scraped CD-ROMs brought them back to live. Your works almost always offer fruible set of elements that trigger the viewers' primordial parameters concerning our relation with physicality and with everyday life, inviting us to a multilayered experience. So we would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

No, I don’t think so. I consider personal experiences produce the process of creation. If a person has no experience of life, he/she cannot connect to any creation. If I would not live in Taiwan, I could not create works such as ”Regeneration movement", and "Parallel Cities” etc. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impressed us and on which we would like to spend some words is Computed Scenery, that questions impact of cutting edge techniques in our unstable and ever changing contemporary age. The impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the

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Parallel Cities, 2014 Laser, Diffractive optical element, Magnifier, Mirror, Metal structure 13


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top has dramatically revolutionized the concept of Art: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the intimate aspect of the materiality of an artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. We are sort of convinced that new media will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and we will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

Since the computer was invented, more and more digitalization came into our life as well as into art industry. People use technology to help their creation. For instance, nowadays we can use projector as assistant to complete the large mural. I consider art and technology will NOT combine to assimilate one. But I think the direction of both will become the process of approach as close as possible. It just like digital and life, they are two different words. Your works could be considered multisensorial biographies that univeil the aestethic consequences of a combination between sound and light exploring unexpected aspects of the functionality of language on the aesthetic level: as Gerhard Richter once remarked, "my concern is never art, but always what art can be used for": what is your opinion about the functional aspect of Art in the contemporary age?

In my point of view, contemporary art is like a transition hub (like train station and airport), an interface of communication and exchange, strings different location, race, occupation and generation etc. and put them into conversation. Interactive art uses the method of technology to

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Unbreakable City 2014, Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp, Smart Film, Stereo sound, single-frequency projection, New

reduce the threshold and distance between audience and the artwork. You regularly take part in performances and art projects in public space, as you interesting performative piece entitled The Displacement: your

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practice provides the viewers with an intense, immersive experience: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience and how much


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Media Art

importance has improvisation in your process?

I think display art in public space is very essential because it represents a process of communication with the people. As I mentioned before,

immersive way is a form of communication. The improvisation in my performance is very critical, it reflects a direct relationship with the audience, make audience easy accessible.

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Regeneration Movement, 2011 Second hand CD-ROM drive, Aluminum structure, IC chips


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Wave Phenomena provokes direct relations in the viewers and accomplishes the difficult task of going beyond the surface of communication. We find this aspect particularly interesting since it is probabily the only way to accomplish the vital restoration you pursued in this work, concerning both the individuals and thier place in our ever changing societies: what kind of reactions did you expect to provoke in the viewers?

"Wave Phenomena" discusses a relationship between light, time and wave. It is a site specific artwork because there was a transparent celling at exhibition space. Natural sunlight shine through the space and through the installation. When audiences walk in the installation, the floor switch is sensed and installation be activated. The material "smart films" becomes transparent, people would feel like walk under the water, the ripples from light would spill from above. I expect the viewers to feel nature, technology and aesthetic unify in this installation. Over these years you works have been exhibited in several occasions, including your recent participations at OSTRALE´O16 in Dresden and your performance at the CONCIERTOS AUDIOVISUALES MADATAC. Your practice is strictly connected to the chance of establishing a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a mere spectatorship to conscious participants on an intellectual level, so before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your

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audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Acceptance of the audience is important for me, but not the most. It’s due to I think that contemporary art often has a problem and people usually tell me: they do not understand. I intend to break this line, then establish a bridge of communication with the audience. I use Mandarin and English to express my concept, never less to say, computer language as well. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Lien-Cheng. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. How do you see your work evolving?

I am currently developing a work called "Reading Project.” It is about 23 automatic machines which are flipping book. The average student number of primary school class in Taiwan is 23. The work will play out the voice reading the book from primary school's students, and discuss cybernetics, education, and the history of Taiwan.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Barbara Scott, curator articulaction@post.com


Linear, 2014 Single-channel projection, Stereo electric sound, Real-time computer audio-visual performance


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he ongoing search of the human beings for their own image is found in the conscious and unconscious need “to be”. We are in the depths of an existence experiencing the loneliness in front of two empty tables, declaratory of the absence of “those who never came”. It is waiting and searching at the same time. It experiences rejection. However, the hope that they will come transfers those human beings to the area of utopia. With stereotypical moves, with quicklymoving hands and feet and after that, with an ear-splitting creeping, they try to bridge the distance between the ideal and the real. A conflict of wishes upsets the ego, which wishes to escape from a sense of confinement by recalling desirable moments of integration in order to be able to balance. They daydream, they lead themselves beyond what has happened to them, they lose themselves within fantasy, they stand still waiting for what shall come. In the light, the form loses its outline, it fills with soil and water, it struggles to build all of “them” as well as their own image in the reality that they want to live and by means of the above-mentioned archetypal materials, that is the soil and water, by which human existence on earth begins. They free themselves from unconscious internal prohibitions, they break

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the limits of compromise, they clear themselves, they take any necessary time, they consciously experience fantasy, they surrender themselves to a concealed flow, they travel towards the satisfaction of the primary need; that of “to be”. Thodoris Trampas is a visual artist has been working with performance art and installation in space. He searches the limits inside and outside the body; while it moves, it generates some pace, which affects its relation to the space, it makes natural sounds, which sometimes interrupt and sometimes connect the constant flow. He also uses items and materials of modern life, such as trash bags and nylon together with organic materials, such as soil and water. He changes the properties of the said materials to give certain meanings to them, which are related mostly to the concerns of the human and in general, of the today’s society. Through improvisation, the free movement, he lets respiration get into every cell, recall memories, awaken the existence. Through experiential reality, he aims to highlight a human condition as an endless effort to balance within an “area”, which is constantly changing in space and time.

Thodoris Trampas


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Thodoris Trampas An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Dario Rutigliano, curator

how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

articulaction@post.com

Multidisciplinary artist Thodoris Trampas' work ranges from installation to performance to explore the limits inside and outside the body. In his work Scorched Earth that we'll be discussing in the following pages his inquiry into the the concerns of our contemporary and unstable society allows him to draw the viewers into an immersive experience in which they are urged to rethink the elusive notions of time and space. One of the most convincing aspects of Trampas' practice is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of creating a deep and autonomous synergy between our limbic parameters and our rational categories to highlight a human condition as an endless effort to balance within an “area”, which is constantly changing in space and time: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his multifaceted artistic production. Hello Thodoris and welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after having graduated with honors from the Athens School of Fine Arts you started your career as a multidisciplinary artists, nurturing your education with experiences at ΜΑΙ (Marina Abramović Institute) and NEON (Culture and Development Agency): how do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? And in particular,

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At first, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some paths of my artistic journey with you. My embryonic relationship with performance art began in the third year of my studies in the School of Fine Arts, when my teacher, Aimilia Bouriti, trained me through physical and mental exercises. As a result, I was initiated in performance. Those exercises were directly influenced by butoh, yoga and meditation and they still help me in self-concentration, stamina and flow to this day, aiming at the better performance of each project. As regards my collaboration with MAI (Marina Abramović Institute) and NEON (Culture and Development Agency), they brought me into contact with the legacy of Marina Abramovic, namely long-lasting performance. It was the first time in my artistic career that I faced the limits of myself and my mental and physical strength to such an extent. The process of the long-lasting performance has got inside me, after 329 hours of performance at the As One exhibition, leaving me with a strong realization of the concept of present Time and the confrontation with our personal limits. Due to my education in visual education, visual terminology almost always accompanies my work, giving rise to matters about composition, light and shadow, colour and sculpture.


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Cohesiveness, sound and silence, movement and stillness are also a part of my aesthetics. Ranging from performance art to installation in space, your approach coherently encapsulates several techniques and viewpoints, revealing an incessant search of an organic symbiosis between a variety of viewpoints. The results convey together a consistent sense of harmony. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://thodoristrampas.com in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your process, we would like to ask you if you have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to express and convey the ideas you explore.

According to the way I work, convergence is the way in which I face art. Sculpture, painting, video and dance often meet performance. All of them coexist, as if the limits of one art expand within the limits of the other. The coexistence of performance through installation and vice versa is something very important to the way I work. I take care that the materials I use have the strength and the value to support the theme on which I choose to work and that they create a full installation. In addition, my purpose is to create an installation using cheap materials and elements of nature, which can invoke an emotive atmosphere to the audience even after performance has ended. The place given to me each time, along with the current circumstances and its history, allows the work to be incorporated without leaving its central core. For this special edition of ARTiculAction we have selected Scorched Earth, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. We have

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appreciated the way the combination between the atemporal feature of ash and the ephemeral nature of human body accomplishes you to create a concrete aesthetics playing with the notions of time and memory. While walking our readers through the genesis of Scorched


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Earth would you shed light on the role of memory in your process? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

A real-life knowledge, an experience can be so strong sometimes that they play a definitive role in the creation of a performance, but other times external factors can provide a reason for searching and awareness, even something from the

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past that comes to the present through the memories of various events; everything contributes to the creation of an idea. In this case, being a child of immigrants myself, I felt the memories waking up after seeing the thousands of refugees being

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stacked and dying in their effort to come to my country, Greece, by sea. This is something that degrades human existence and an unprepared Europe, as the EU has said so itself. The Burned Earth deals with the bloody issue of


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and the endless effort of the individuals not to uproot themselves on one hand and the deep need to survive on the other hand. Then we continue to the liquid element, which symbolizes the Aegean Sea, with sea water sealed in plastic bags hanging along the installation. Scorched Earth captures non-sharpness with an universal kind of language, accomplishig the difficult task of establishing a channel of communication between the subconscious sphere and the conscious one, to unveil and challenge the manifold nature of human perceptual categories. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Everyone carries with them their own experiences, which are an inseparable part of their life and personality. I unconsciously meet experiences in front of me too, which I have to face and insist in delving deeper inside myself and study them. The final project arises as a personal “psychoanalysis� in this effort. Through the direct experience offered by the performance, you seek the multi-sensory communication with the audience hear and now.

immigration and being torn up by your roots, leaving your own country because there is no other solution. In this case I work with ash, which symbolizes the country that has been completely destroyed and has nothing to offer to you

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would like to spend some words is entitled Pangaia, that has been commissioned and produced by NEON + MAI. What has at once captured our attention of the process of union through destruction you have highlighted in this captivating piece is the way you unveil the elusive still ubiquitous relationship between the intrisic atemporal feature of nature and its continuous process of

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transformation. How did you balance the performative aspect with the performative feature for this stimulating piece?

Pangaea was a project which was taking shape every day. It was never the same. There were four processes in the project: •catharsis •imitation •creation • destruction. Each time the audience completed one of the processes, the project changed as regards its visual terminology depending on the intention I put into it. Every day, my body tried to experience the existence of nature through my connection with the rock. I had never imagined that this project would advance to such an extent. It was finally taken out of the platform and filled the atrium of the museum. It looked like a bombed place. As I have mentioned before, the balance between the performing procedure and the human factor was difficult. Sometimes the body could not endure and gave way, the exhaustion was so great that it collapsed. But that was the truth, the visitors awaited that moment, there is nobody and I have to go on, everything was a part of the action. In performance art you are not supposed to act, to play a role, you are what you have carried before and what you carry afterwards, everything flows. Performance is a living work of art, a living organism feeding itself off the Performers themselves. As the late Franz West did in his installations, Pangaia shows unconventional features in the way it deconstructs perceptual images in order to assemble them in a collective imagery, urging the viewers to a process of selfreflection. Artists are always interested in probing to see what is beneath the surface: maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your view about this?

For me, the artist is a part of society itself. S/he is not isolated and s/he must listen to the heartbeat of society and observe it. The artist is the restless intermediary of the existential

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matters of man. The best for me is to incorporate the audience into my process so that it feels free. The nature is always there to remind us that we have forsaken it in the quest for another, unnatural life. This is the sense I am trying to give to the public with Pangaea, that “despite all this destruction, Pangaea is still there�. Amorphous Mass accomplishes an effective investigation about the liminal area in which the subconscious sphere and the conscious dimension find unexpected points of convergence. Your inquiry into the themes of rejections and loneliness accomplishes an insightful exploration of the thin line that separes abstract symbolism that belongs to the realm of utopia from reminders to the everyday. German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how do you conceive the narrative and especialy the visual unity for your works?

Of course there are several symbolisms in art which are necessary for some works, the purpose of which is to arouse the human mind. Thomas Demand’s view comes to ratify to a great extent the role of performance as regards the psychoanalytic approaches of man. Of course a skeptical way of thinking nowadays has brought us to a point of material saturation and individualism. Precious values have been lost along the way and this is why the man has been isolated. This is the point where art must bring new channels to the surface in order to liberate humanity. The visual result is not an end in itself in my work. It arises through visual composition so that it serves the purposes of the narrative. In fact the narrative I use is the text of the

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performance, which gives the meaning in composition with image. Your works always provide the viewers with an intense, immersive experience: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space? In particular, how much do you

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consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience and how much importance has improvisation in your process?

My purpose is not to impress the audience but to trigger their interest. What matters is the way in which I seek the reaction of


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years, the audience has been moving towards performance art because it seeks this change. Performance art offers generously another kind of operation of society, more emotive, more real and humane. It offers another way to see art without isolating the audience as a spectator but seeking their personal position and asking them to participate in the experience. It builds a new form of communication with the fellow man. The audience is an inseparable part of the performance and this kind of art cannot exist without it. How much important is the role of improvisation in your art practice? And how do you develope your pieces?

the audience and the change in its way of thinking through the performance. The times we live in are very hard and inhumane. Art cannot stay the same like the old times, by wearing “a nice suit”. It must change and take a stand. And this change will be brought by the artists themselves and their work. During the last

In general, every project seeks its own way to exist. In some projects I only improvise, without having rehearsed anything, other times I work on a concept with a kind of structureless narrative which then starts growing into a full, organized and structured performance leaving a little room for improvisation, for the mistake of the moment. There are moments when I am moved by an internal need, an experience or a material which manages to infringe all the rules of structure on a project of mine without leaving room for a rehearsal. It is so sure and ready to be exposed. In addition, connection with the materials, as well as listening to the internal and external condition and where we are, in order to strengthen the connection between “what am I doing?” and “what is my intention?” is also important. Finally, I give much attention to the visual and aesthetic result, since it is a balance which is necessary for me. Over your career you have exhibited in several occasions, including your recent

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Mitsero/ Mine Kokkinopezoulas & Mine Kokkinogias: one of the hallmarks of your projects is strictly connected to the chance of establishing a direct involvement with the viewers, who are called to evolve from a mere spectatorship to conscious participants on an

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intellectual level, so before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making


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process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

I would say at this point that there works of mine to which the audience must react or interact, creating thus the final result.

Other times the audience must notice and feel what has happened. Given this opportunity, I would like to clarify the importance of interaction with someone else and the importance of reacting to something that is happening. Beginning

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with the latter, I have to say that reaction may be a shout, or stopping the action or even utter silence. Interaction needs something more: it means awareness of what has happened and what I am doing together with someone else. More specifically, in my latest project, “hostages”, I asked for the immediate reaction and interaction of the audience. I was tying people up and at the same time they had to decide for how long they would stay tied up, if they would release themselves, if they would tie me up. They could decide on how the project would go on. The question is how much do you want to participate in what is happening, how passive or active you are. I

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think that nowadays we have become passive, observing things only on the surface and lightly without applying any filters. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Thodoris. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

At the moment I am already working on my next project, which is titled “Convergence”. It is a live performance laboratory where we will work together with the audience very day and record every moment through various recording means. At the same time


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the recordings will be projected live. In this project I want to focus even more on the common experience, the personal testimonies and the energy level shared with the audience. The audience will be given the opportunity to create, feel and comprehend performance in a common framework, the purpose of which will be the softening of our personal boundaries and the study of our internal world. It is an experimental journey where I will try to incorporate various techniques and methods so that the audience becomes familiar with performance art as a new form of communication which arises mainly from the experience of every one. It would be

ideal if we could create a global art for all, which would unite society through free expression and the emerging of human relations in common quests. I am also preparing the Pangaea documentary, which shows all the progress of the project in almost an hour, a miniature of my experience there. Moreover, I'm going to take part to the Florence Biennale. Thank you for this great interview!

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Dario Rutigliano, curator articulaction@post.com

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P etra Paul O phira Avisar Petra Paul lives and work in Vienna and Ophira Avisar lives and works in Tel Aviv

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ince we met on October 2015 during an exhibition of Israeli graphic art at Hamakom in Vienna, we work together. We made some films and performance. Ophira Avisar is a multimedia artist. She uses various materials and many disciplines. Everything around her can become art. She invented a theatrical/artistic language in which she is drawing a story with a participation of non speaking actors. Another type of works is drawing moving actors or dancers on a transparent sheet. Her works deal a lot with femininity, dignity, and freedom. In photography Petra Paul plays with gender roles, with masculinity and womanliness to show the construction of both. She critiques gendersereotyping, sexim and patriarchy. She also uses photograph and the medium film for her work against racism, anti-semitism,... She uses her menstual blood and makes abstract, monochrome pictures, showing the abjection. We are both feminist artists and do a lot of work against racism, xenophobia, anti- semitism, misogyny. We have to prohibit discrimination based on any grounds, including sex, gender, color, religion, ethnic, disabitity, age, social origin, language or belief. Education is an important part for (or to learn) acceptance and tolerance as well as awarenss-rising. We are for peace, for respect, for equality, for solidarity... and we use this words in different ways, in film as well as in our performance. Our work is also asking questions about the male dominated public space. It is also about sustainability. When we use the beach of Tel Aviv as a drawing ground, we do it being aware to

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the constant erasing of the waves. We can write and rewrite on this "canvas". The current co-work starts from findings of both of us in Tel Aviv. Petra Paul a lot of photos, and a book. So she made a fictive story about a student of architecture, Chawa Lieber. ”Architecture is My Life” is a multimedia work, she made with this photographs. There are some true stories told by this work: Aron Menczer and the ”Children and Youth Aliyah” and the ship Atlantic. Chawa Liebers grandmother Rachel fled at the age of 6 with the help of the ”Children and Youth Aliyah” 1939 to Palestine. Grandfather Chaim escaped 1940 at the age of 10 on board of the ship Atlantic form Austria. Ophira Avisar made the series ”Belong Don't Belong”, after finding in the street a book about a city somewhere between Poland and Ucraine. She took some photos from the book and added a feminine figure to each of them. Selfdefinition and belonging are dynamic. They are contrarian to environmental political and social conditions. The people you belong to is also dynamic and contrarian. You choose and rechoose. Our definition is context dependent these works (Petra Pauls Chawa Lieber and Ophira Avisars belong not...). Are going to be co-exhibited at Kuenburg castle in Lower Austria on October 2016. Working on three new films. One deals with the combination male/war. And the other two deal with peace.

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Petra Paul and Ophira Avisar An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator articulaction@post.com

Over these months artists Petra Paul and Ophira Avisar have established an effective collaboration: when triggering the spectatorship's limbic parameters to rethink and critique the themes of gender-stereotyping, sexism and patriarchy, they accomplish the difficult task of drawing the viewers to rethink to the relationship between their cultural substratum and the stereotypized idea of woman. Both feminist artists, Paul's and Avisar's is an effective tool to fight against wide variety of issues that still affect our globalized and unstable contemporary age: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to Paul's and Avisar's stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Petra and Ophira and welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? How do your training experiences influence your evolutions as artist? In particular how do your cultural substratums inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general? Ophira Avisar: Hello ARTiculAction. Thank

you for this opportunity to tell your readers about Petra's and mine meeting and artistic cooperation especially in "transformation" and more. I say my training is on going. It started one day

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when I was a child and I discovered that I prefer looking on any other of the senses. The idea that I can create something that others want to see was hypnotic. My first teachers were Zvi Tadmor and Yaakov Epshtein. The first a painter and the second a sculptor. They introduced me to the bliss of succeeding to achieve the "je ne sais quoi" of art. After them came many teachers in many places. Till now my training continues. Petra is one of my teachers as well. Petra Paul: Hello and thank you for

inviting us. I always drew a lot. After a lot of different artistic expressions, I found my way in the 1990ies, when feminist and gender theory influenced my thinking. I see my work as a political statement. Usually I studied art history. It is in Austria very multidisciplinary, so I studied also feminist art history at the University of Applied Art, feminist film theory, feminist philosophy, also psychology, literature… I started with a series of waxed clothes, called ”strip, no body for nobody”. I was thinking with it about the scopophilia and voyeuristic male gaze. Then I learnt how to print photographs and I started with gender-role games in front of the camera, playing with womanliness and masculinity, wearing a beard and lipstick or female earrings. As a travesty of the travesty. Then I thought about misogyny, women are seen as unclean because of for example menstruation. So since 15 years I make art with my menstrual blood. Then I


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make also objects, like ”Uteri Ballet” or ”The Tampon Dancing Stars”. I started to make film as well as performance. I work also against racism, anti-semitism,… for tolerance, for peace. In photography I took different colors of the skin, or I put Osman Masouds (from Sudan) and my face together. Or I made a film ”Against Terrorism” with peace photographer Abdulrab Habibyar. Will make another film together with Abdulrab, Fanny Kafka and Wasil Faizi, which will deal with the feelings of a refugee. I often work with humor and this is a point, which connects me to Ophira. Our society is getting much more right-wing. This also includes more racism and anti-semitism. In Poland and Hungary the government is right. This means also censorship in journalism and art. I always try to find an aesthetic way, a own aesthetic language, to work with all this subjects. Multidisciplinarity is a key feature of your approach, that coherently encapsulates photography, video and performance, revealing an unconventional still consistent sense of unity. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://petrapaul.beepworld.de in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic productions: while walking our readers through your process and set up, we would like to ask you how did you develop your style and how do you conceive your works. Ophira Avisar: Being a multidisciplinary

artist is a natural evolving of these times I think and also a part of my choice to be "citizen" of all arts, of all times and of many points of views. My patria is painting and drawing. But I go to visit and even immigrate from language to language or even to no language at all as in my work

"Rishumon", in which I draw and erase a story of a woman on a blackboard and there is an actress that lives in my drawings story. I created, and directed the show. Petra Paul: We aways talk a lot via

messenger, we call each other. Since we met I was two times in Tel Aviv-Jaffo, will fly back there soon. We are very quick in thinking and working. It is a really phantasmic exchange between us. We met and we said, we have to work together. We act and react very good. Some things are planned, but we are also free to change something. We are spontaneous. The film ”FOR…” for example. I wrote the words ”for tolerance, for peace…” for ”Transformation” on my computer and translated it to hebrew. Ophira corrected it. Then we put the words with a projector to parts of our bodies. Then we made this film, which was not planned. For this special edition of ARTiculAction we have selected Transformation, an extremely interesting collaborative project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. This performative work project is a successful attempt to force the viewers' perceptual categories, inducing them to question the construction of masculinity and womanliness. When walking our readers through the genesis of Transformation, we would like to ask you what is the role of chance in your process: how much improvisation is important for you? Ophira Avisar: "Transformation" is a

collaboration between the two points of view of Petra and me. It is an artistic action that involves a natural change of terms. The old question "what is it?" is being dealt here using paint, object, and

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action. It is painting somebody red. It is erasing a person. It is a part of an old story about gender and the deconstruction of it. The roles painter-object are lost in the final embrace. hen I think of a new idea for a work I think of colors, forms, media and format. I think about what the viewers will see. Then I forget all this and go along with the situation. In "Transformation" the issue for me was to try to show that we are choosing a position and then we are defending it instead of questioning it. Transformation is an attempt to say we are free to consider. The red erase is the ultimate none, but it is also dealing with our obvious symbols. It is a swift journey between known and unknown. Petra Paul: Improvisation is very

important for us, to act and react. I am not an actress, who plays a play after strict rules. I am an artist, so it is important for me to act authentically. Not everything is planed. Wanted to put the words on me after I am red. It was not possible, so I put them before, but I think at the end it would be better. Ophira did not tell me, what she will paint, so I was watching her like the audience, when she for example painted the vaginas on the white sheet. �Transformation� deals with space. Ophira came to my space and had to do her painting job there. As I did not leave this space she had to paint me as well, or how we call it, erase me to red. Red is a very symbolic and powerful color. After the performance sculptor Rami Ater said, it was very disturbing. That is true, because it is an erasing to red. On a meta-level it is white, black and red, the colors of a swastika of the Nazi party. There is also a film of the performance: https://youtu.be/NNyzN5pN4fc Transformation is pervaded with an effective narrative, and your insightful

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Transformation

exploration of combination between the evokative power of the red tone and the act of paint a body captures nonsharpness with an universal kind of language, to establish direct relations with the spectatorship that goes beyond the symbolic reminders to blood: German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic


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strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how did you conceive the narrative for Transformation?

We all "know" red is not only blood but it is the first metaphor that comes to mind, and if it is blood it can be many kinds of blood. It is also a very nice color. There is a feminine red and a masculine one. Our transformation is red...y.

Ophira Avisar: I think nowadays we are all

interdisciplinary, spectators and artists. We scan through many fields of knowledge. In this work we mess with red.

Petra Paul: That is true. Red is a very

intense color. Red even can change the senses. During �Six-Day-Play� of Hermann

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Nitsch, people said, they can smell better, see or taste more intensive. Our question was, is it possible to erase me to red. In the film ”Shadowing Myself, Menstruating, in the Snowstorm”, I tried to erase me in front of a white wall to white, but in fact i made a shadow. We made ”Transformation” in a very authenticity

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and improvisational way, so we could act and react. Ophira said, that I should defend myself, and I answered, when I defend myself, you will loose, because i make self defense. It was an acting and reacting, a working together, see, what the other person is doing.


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how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space? Ophira Avisar: Art history is my

subconscious. It is there to be touched, hurt and burst whenever it may. Outside I am a kind of anarchistic, social, drafted artist. Especially in my performance works. Feminism for me is a means to achieve humanism. If I am a woman I have to be feminist in order to be a humanist. y conduct in the world is non chronologic. Everything is referring to and happens in relations to the subconscious centers. Contra posto and dada can be parts of a new necessary vocabulary. I must say that humor has a big role in my work. It is my way to state that any point of view is legitimate. In "Transformation" there are some non defined hints from art history that disappear quickly. Some feminine old forms. I hope banality is transforming to some questions. Petra Paul: As I mentioned before, Ophira

Transformation also inquires into the interstitial space between personal and public spheres, in which personal memories and universal imagery find unexpected still coherent points of convergence: this aspect of your work provides the spectatorship with an immersive experience that forces such a contamination the inner and the outside:

came in my space, which was actually a public space, a gallery. We play in this performance with space. In our societies the public space is still male-dominated. As women artists we take the public space, also in our films. One film has the title ”Raum für Frauwhen”. It is a word play with the word Frauen. Frauen sounds like Frauwhen. It means Room for Women When. But it does not work in english. As a political thinking woman i say, artwork in public is very important. For me art is politically. We can fight with art against discriminations, art can remember us, what happened during Nazi-time,… It is very important to know, what happened. And it is very important to depict any kind of discrimination. With art you can change the public space. For example Karen Frostig made ”The Vienna Project”, a very

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important project: http://theviennaproject.org. Or Ruth Beckermann made the video-installation ”the missing image” in front of Alfred Hrdlickas ”Memorial against War and Fascism”. It's absolutely remarkable how women impact the development of contemporary art: just to mention artists as pioneer of performance art Joan Jonas or crossdisciplinary artist Martha Rosler have actively produced irreversible changes in various paradigms related to art making. But while Martha Rosler's works often tried to incorporate cultural stereotypes into her analysis in order to subvert them, you rather seem to reject at all any attempt to accept any idea of woman that come from a male-driven cultural heritage. Do you think that there's an irreconcilable dichotomy between Feminism and the male dominated public space? Should we try to find hidden points of convergence or should we break any rapport between such antithetical points of view? Ophira Avisar: I am grateful to many

brave woman artists predecessors for inserting to my world and mind so many powerful images and statements. I know there is still a lot of work to be done until we get to a natural legitimation to talk and to be listened. But thanks to my predecessors I feel I can naturally take, and we took, parts of the public space for my work. It work. It is mine because I think it is mine. I am aware to a certain inner contradiction but I think this confidence is part of the feministic art action. Me action being a woman is part of all my choices. To be is feminine. That's part of my encounter with Petra. We represent two ways with similar goals. I say again humor is uniting us.

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re-recycling, 6,05 min., Tel Aiviv 2016

Petra Paul: Fact is the public space is

male dominated in patriarchal societies. There are more male street names than streets named after women. At the University of Vienna, there were till this year monuments for 154 male scientists, now they put there also 7 women


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scientists. A relativistic understanding of the room is marked by social processes. Room questions are questions about power. On a symbolic order it is male dominated. Women have to fight for public space again and again. Men mark this space for example with public pissing. I

made a photography series about �Public Pissing�: http://petrapaul.beepworld.de/publicpissin g.htm. This is a parody of this male strategy. Feminists have to fight back this public space, they do it for example when the knit around some things in the public

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Rishumon, with actress Iris Harpaz, 2016 Š Hanan Getreide

space. Knitting is a thing which is posed to the female and this a very subversive feminist strategy to femalize the public space. You have once remarked that education is an important part for acceptance and

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tolerance as well as awareness-rising: what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in the contemporary society? While the statement that "contemporary artists should convey an explicit political message of change" might sound as stretching a bit the point, it's also true


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Ophira Avisar: I feel I must be a hunter,

obliged to search and inquire constantly for a sign. Any subject I catch in my mind is floundering like a fish inside me and inside the society net. This last net is a burden. The society is forcing a definition upon the fish/idea and we must fight for air/art. This fight is first of all artistic but it is political as well. When Petra and I go to Tel Aviv sea shore and trace our marks we are counting on collective memory and political like propaganda. A temporary flag that penetrates your mind. Petra Paul: Yes, education is very

that even artists from Renaissance accomplished the difficult task of challenging a wide variety of cultural categories of their age. Do you think that artists should convey explicit political message or just hint the direction for change?

important, to understand things! If you are not educated, you believe things, people tell you and they are not right, you do not questioning anything. I read an interview with the political scientist Bassam Tibi from Syria, he lived there till he was 18 and he said, he was anti-semitic before he went to Germany, because he grew up with anti-Semitism. For me art is politically. The art react to our society, we are not out of the system, the artist is part. I always say, we do not change the world or influence something when we paint flowers. I am not against decorative paintings, but it is not my part. On the other hand there is a change, when you have a look at for example Piet Mondrians work. He started to paint a tree or a church and he ended after getting more and more abstract in abstraction. It is another way of seeing. You mentioned the Renaissance. A mark to public space again. A question is, what does it mean, when Francesco di Medici 1583 put Giambolognas �Rape of Sabine Women� on a prominent place like Piazza della Signora in Florence? It is a work about rape of women. Follow the line till today, the rape is in wars a form of discrimination of first of all men. If you think about it, it is

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unbelievable. Michel Foucault wrote a lot about power and sex. A lot of artworks are products from men, for men and they transform patriarchal ideas. After Diane Wolfthal (”Images of Rape. The 'Heroic' Tradition and its Alternatives”) it is a heroic, patriotic act. It is an aestheticization of rape. ”The Rape of Sabine Women” show the power of men and the power of the Medicis. And there are a lot of rape pictures in art: Rape of Europa, Danae, Lucretia,… The main question is also, what is shown and what is not shown in artwork (Daniela HammerTugendhat). We could not help to mention Marc Quinn and his well-known work entitled Self. There's a precise dichotomy in your use of blood: while Quinn uses his blood to convey in is his own biography providing it with a tactile feature, you rather use your menstrual blood as a tool to convey messages, to trigger the spectatorship's limbic parameters. While expanding on your choice of blood as a media, we would inquiry into the relationship between your own body and the message you convey. Ophira Avisar: I let Petra answer that one. Petra Paul: Yes, Marc Quinn. There was a

great exhibition of his work in Venice 2013, where ”Self” was also shown. Hermann Nitsch uses blood of animals for his work. Mexican artist Teresa Margolles uses in her artwork blood of violent crime, this was exhibited for example at Biennale di Venezia 2009. As feminist I am asking, why is the women the other (Simone de Beauvoir). As feminist I'm concerned primarily with women as a theme, or the showing of the ways women are discriminated against in this patriarchal society. Menstruation is a stigmatic

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Raum für Frauwhen, 4,38 min., Tel Aviv 2016

condition (Ingrid Johnston-Robledo | Joan Crisler). I am concerned with showing this mechanism and at the same time undermining it. By using menstrual blood in my informal and monochrome work, I draw attention to the negative taboo and publicy show something that is usually kept secret. The leaking women were seen as unclean. This understanding comes


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from all big religions, except buddhism. Blood is after theories of Julia Kristeva (”The Powers of Horror. The Abject Body”) abject. It is on the border between inside and outside. ”It follows that jouissance alone causes the abject to exist as such.” The abjection is coextensive with the social and symbolic order. Excrements and menstrual blood are the uncleanest

abjects. Kristeva wrote, abject is: ”Not me. Not that. But not nothing, either.” Using menstrual blood for me is also biographically, because it is my blood. I was very long alone with this theme, but 2015, there was a change. Kiran Gandhi ran a marathon in London, showing her menstrual blood. There was a big exhibition in Boston: ”Widening the Cycle:

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The Menstrual World, View from Space, 2015

A Menstrual Cycle & Reproductive Justice Art Show”, curated by menstrual designer Jen Lewis or ”Our Bodies. Our Blood”,

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curated by Alanah Correia in Halifax. In Austria there was a menstrual symposium on the Menstrual Hygiene Day (28th of


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May), organized by Valentina Anna Mitterer and Kathrin Sieder, were Elke Krasny spoke about menstrual art and I spoke about my work: http://menstruationsnetzwerk.at/symposi um/ It's no doubt that interdisciplinary collaborations as the one that you have established together are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... could you tell us something about this effective synergy? By the way, Peter Tabor once stated that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists? Ophira Avisar: The encounter between me

and Petra was quick and intuitive. Again I emphasize the big role of humor as a dressing for mutual subjects. I feel we created almost immediately a space of artistic dialog. I felt there is a kind of undefined bonding between our two artistic points of view that contains the differences. All the works we made together couldn't be made alone and not with another partner. They are made from our mutual minds. For the sake of our art we made some kind of relocation to each others way of thinking. Petra Paul: Yes that is true, because we

both work on a project, we both have ideas and we put them together. I could not do this work without Ophira. There is a lot of exchange between us. Even some work like her ”Belong Don't Belong” and

my work ”Architecture is My Life. The Fictive Life of Chawa Lieber” can be shown together, because we both used parts of books we both found in the streets of Tel Aviv. A big part of our work is the fun we have, when we work together. We are laughing a lot. We make serious work, but we really have a lot of fun. Other things we did could also be seen as artwork, but nobody documented it. We found a balloon in the street and we played with it on our way home, and we played with all people who crossed us. Everybody was playing with us except one man. It has to do with getting in touch with people, and a important point: the people were smiling. It is a very creative dialog between us, and also between us and the others. I really love working with you, Ophira! There is a deep understanding. I was irritated when I read, we just know some months. It is for me as if we know us all of our life. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? Ophira Avisar: I treat my audience as part

of one of my families. As I said I feel I am a citizen of many places, many ideas. I assume "my people" will understand and do their best to be with me. They are fellow wo/man. I expect nothing but I believe in their drive to listen deeply.

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Architecture is My Life – The Fictive Life of Chawa Lieber, Tel Aviv, Vienna 2016


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Petra Paul: You can see it in the film about

the performance. I left the scene at the end, when Rami Ater came and said it was disturbing. There was a direct exchange and talk about the performance after we did it. First of all the voices came from the off. Some reactions and questions. The audience reception is vey important for us. Ophira and I, we are always thinking about the spectator. Also when we make film. When we made �Re-Recycling�, we saw the film and we said, nobody will understand it. So we made a little sequence before, that people will understand. Hope, they will. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Petra and Ophira. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Ophira Avisar: Thank you for a very

challenging and interesting set of questions. I learned a lot from the need to answer. I have new buds of ideas that started during the process. I would like to continue Petra's and my drifting to places in Tel Aviv sea shore and elsewhere. Now working on a series of photos containing man and woman in which I change the rules. Feminine rules for man and the other way around. Testing the viewers. Thanks again. Petra Paul: Thanks a lot for your questions.

I am soon in Tel Aviv again. We will make three films. In one film we put the word PEACE in 82 different languages on our body, we also make another peace-film and a film which deals with male/war. We are going to be co-exhibited during a group exhibition with artists like Siax Soquel, Maria Antonia Gigi Schramek, Doris Neidl at Kuenburg castle in Lower Austria in October 2016.

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Petra Paul & Ophira Avisar

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Drawing Theater, 2016 © Pine Gabay

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S tanley Shoemaker Lives and works in Dallas, USA

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We live in a world made from visual contents, the

streets are flooded with advertisements telling the viewer what is the ideal merchandise, what is beautiful and what is socially acceptable, photography as a medium lets people see the ideal world through the lens. As spanish photographer Joan Fontcuberta said, " Every photograph is a fiction with pretensions to truth. Despite everything that we have been inculcated, all that we believe, photography always lies; it lies instinctively, lies because its nature does not allow it to do anything else."

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So, this portfolio is a reminder of all the things photography can do as a tool to provide a different perspective on our own society. It distorts and manipulates reality inciting the viewer to see beyond the image. Perception is the ideal word to describe this body of work, the viewer will know and discover that photography is not about reality, its about making your own reality by manipulating every image. The idea itself surpasses the image and creates a whole new way of communication.

Stanley Shoemaker


Stanley Shoemaker An artist's statement

We live in a world made from visual contents, the streets are flooded with advertisements telling the viewer what is the ideal merchandise, what is beautiful and what is socially acceptable, photography as a medium lets people see the ideal world through the lens. As spanish photographer Joan Fontcuberta said, " Every photograph is a fiction with pretensions to truth. Despite everything that we have been inculcated, all that we believe, photography always lies; it lies instinctively, lies because its nature does not allow it to do anything else." So, this portfolio is a reminder of all the things photography can do as a tool to provide a different perspective on our own society. It distorts and manipulates reality inciting the viewer to see beyond the image. Perception is the ideal word to describe this body of work, the viewer will know and discover that photography is not about reality, its about making your own reality by manipulating every image. The idea itself surpasses the image and creates a whole new way of communication.


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Stanley Shoemaker An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Katherine Wilson, curator articulaction@post.com

Mexican visual artist Stanley Shoemaker's work explores the aesthetics of landscape going beyond evokative reminders to draw the viewers into a multilayered experience. In is recent works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, he urges the viewers to extract a narrative from the image he captured, to challenge their perceptual paameters. His approach encapsulates both traditional heritage and unconventional sensitiveness and allows him to produce pieces marked out with a strong reference to contemporariness. One of the most impressive aspects of Showmaker's work is the way it allows the viewers to discover that photography is not about reality, its about making your own reality by manipulating every image: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Stanley and welcome to ARTiculAction: we would start this interview with a couple of questions

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Stanley Shoemaker

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Stanley Shoemaker

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about rich and multifaceted background. Are there any experiences that influence the way you conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

Hi, first of all, as you mentioned in your intro, I was born and raised in Mexico, my family is both mexican (from my mothers side) and american, so, as a child I was always traveling to the US and back to mexico on a regular basis, that, I think influenced me on the ways I saw my own culture, I found it captivating how different both countries were, it created a great impact on how I saw the world, so, both cultures made a great effect on my early years. Mexico is full of color, it has a vivid architecture, art and artisans here play with contrast and are not that shy about using primary colors in their work, for example, Rufino Tamayo has a very colorful palette and I suppose my work subconsciously was influenced by color and contrast, by saying this I mean the psychology of color, using it to emphasize something that I want the viewer to see, or playing with it to show the whole picture, I have a photograph that I made called “future generation� I placed the child facing backwards so that every person who sees this can form a relationship with the child. The red lollipop emphasizes the innocence of the subject. I made this image with the intention of creating a conscience for our own environment and to

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question our relationship with the planet we inhabit. The language you convey in your works is the result of a constant evolution of your searching for new means to express the ideas you explore in your works: your inquiry into the expressive potential of photography combines together figurative as subtle abstract feature into a coherent balance. We we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.stanleyshoemaker.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? In particular, would you tell our readers something about the evolution of your style?

When I was studying photography I was influenced by my teachers telling me that the medium was not a way to describe reality, that this reality comes from the photographer, Ansel Adams once said: “Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is creative art” and this quote really got me…I began making conceptual photographs in bw mainly because it was easier to combine a bw photograph, but I was not satisfied with the first results, I mean, Im not against black and white photographs, what Im trying to say is that they lacked that certain emphasis, I don’t know what was it but I was not satisfied with the results so I began making color photographs, so, I started creating images that had a subliminal statement, always wanting the viewer to create his or her own personal

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Stanley Shoemaker


Stanley Shoemaker

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meaning when viewing my work, my photographs and titles just give a hint on what Im trying to communicate, in a way, the final interpretation comes from the viewer who creates the final message by his or her own personal experience. For this special edition of ARTiculAction we have selected nuclear dream and awakenings a couple of pieces that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your work is its dynamic and autonomous aesthetics: in particular, it seems to communicate a successful attempt to transform tension to harmony, and it's really captivating. While walking our readers through the genesis of these piece, would you shed light on your usual process and your sources of inspiration?

As I said before, I think Im always trying to create a relationship between different scenes, mixing each image so that it works perfectly between on and the other, I traveled to cambodia in 2009 and was amazed by the devastation and post war apocalypse that they went through as a country, the khmer rouge destroyed society as a whole, when i was in tuol sleng prison I just couldn’t believe the consequences and psychological effect it had on me, so I took one of the beds that were used to torture prisoners and as I came back to mexico I knew that I needed to use that image not to emphasize the horror of civil war but to use it in a way

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that had an opposite effect as you see it, thats why I use the ocean as a background, the sea always has a positive and relaxing effect on me, and thats what Im trying to say, that even if your country has a darkest period in its own history you can always change things and see a positive future‌ In nuclear dream I thought of all the people that were at prypiat at the time of the nuclear accident, every gas mask that is on the floor represents someone who was at that period of time in the city, so, I want to depict and show that everybody no matter the gender, age or social status has to live and dream of a safer world. We have really appeciated the way you work provides a different perspective on our own society: while lots of visual artists from the contemporary scene, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to convey open sociopolitical criticism in their works, you seem more interested to hint the direction, inviting the viewers to a process of self-reflection that may lead to subvert a variety of usual cultural categories. Do you consider that your works could be considered political in a certain sense or did you seek to maintain a more neutral approach? And in particular, what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in the contemporary society?

I don’t think that my work represents a political approach, maybe it has a peculiar way of expressing our culture and our problems as a global society, I try to get in the viewers psyche, and in

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Steve Barnard


Steve Barnard

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order to do that I have to put my own past experiences to transmit an idea, I know that every individual has a different background but we as a society have global values that transcend borders, so, I think that my work is in fact an open statement that tries to emphasize our own time and place here on this planet. Our contemporary society is more visual, images have almost the same communication now as words, so we are always seeing billboards, propaganda, ads, etc with thousands of photographs these days. We need to have a certain filter to stop and think of what the image is trying to communicate. As the late John Szarkowski said “It isn’t what a picture is of, it is what it is about“ The theme of landscape is very recurrent in your imagery and it never plays the role of a mere background: you rather seem to address to viewers to extract a narrative behind the images you select, to establish direct relations with the spectatorship. German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". How would you describe the function of the evokative places you select from landscapes?

Landscapes play an important role on my body of work, I see them as a part of the whole picture, I mean, they are all part of the same context within the image, but also, the background plays

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an important role because it takes the viewer to a certain place, the space that surrounds the subject portrayed on a photograph is just as important as the subject by itself, by using a certain type of landscape you can get into the psychological part of the viewer and by this I mean, if I use a landscape with no elements lets just say a desert, the viewer can interpret a certain lonely, introspective image, so it all begins with what Im trying to emphasize. As the late Franz West did in his installations, your work shows unconventional features in the way it deconstructs perceptual processes in order to assemble them in a collective imagery, urging the viewers to a process of self-reflection. In particular, the equilibrium concerning the composition of your works gives them a permanence to the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the images that you capture. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I don’t think so, creativity and experience are blended together to form an idea, I can’t untie the fusion between these two concepts because they are linked together. Same thing happens to the viewer, I suppose that their own personal experiences have a direct impact on how they see my work.

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Steve Barnard

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You accomplish the difficult task of controlling the experience of place and in your artist's statement you have quoted Joan Fontcuberta who once stated that, "Every photograph is a fiction with pretensions to truth". Artists are always interested in probing to see what is beneath the surface: maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your view about this?

Thats true, I don’t think that Im making photographs, Im sharing ideas to everyone who happens to see my work, thats the beauty of the whole process, its not what you see in the picture its the symbolism that lies beneath the elements depicted in the image. So, its kind of a visual storytelling in which many objects unite and carry a certain meaning throughout the picture. When developing a multilayered language, you capture non-sharpness and bring to a new level of significance the elusive still ubiquitous relationship between experience and memory. What is the role of memory in your process?

I think that memory is part of a learning process in which information comes from the outside world and helps you take decisions that allow you to be part of your own essence, so, just by saying this I think that all of us make decisions based on past experiences. Now, Im aware that my own memory and experience affect directly the way I

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see and interpret my surroundings, this helps me judge and analyze pictures in a way that they work perfectly with my own past knowledge, that is how I can blend different images so they can be seen as a whole and have harmony between on and the other. One word that I think is beyond memory is perception, sometimes I can manipulate or construct an idea based on my own memory but one thing that I would not be able to control is how this final photograph will be perceived with my final audience, and thats scary but at the same time is what interests me the most. Over these years you have exhibited your works in several occasions, including your recent solo exhibition at the Museo Olga Costa, in Guanajuato: one of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

This is an interesting question and is directly related with what I was talking about perception, I can do whatever I want in my work, show the audience one, two or more elements working between on and the other but at the

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end the ones that are going to perceive and conclude the final meaning of this is the audience itself, and Im saying the audience but Im making a mistake I mean, the final idea comes from each and every individual that judges my image and makes a relationship with it, I have no control whatsoever in his or her conclusion I may be able to hint the way but at the end its the individual who will deliver the final statement and thats what will have an effect. I don’t make images based on what a particular person says or thinks. Im interested on the outcome that they have after they see my work, this does not affect the way I develop an idea. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Stanley. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I'm working on a group exhibition at the center of fine art photography in colorado, USA, First of all I wanna thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to share my work, I am currently working on a series that captivates the environment and the consequences it has in our future, I am also working on an exhibit at The center for fine art photography in the US, after that well, lets see what the future has for me‌ thanks again to all of you for taking the time and inviting me to this interview really appreciate it‌

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L illian Abel Lives and works in Los Angeles, California, USA

An artist's statement

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he paintings are an exploration of the space between abstraction and representation. They are abstracted by the palette knife, searching for hidden worlds and images in the paint that reveal on the picture plane. They need to be uncovered, stroked, massaged and moved onto the surface, brought up from where they are hiding; surprising me with their ability to come forth when called by my hand. Revealing the recognized of our ‘world sight’ as unrecognizable, opening the eye of the witness to the coalescence of fierceness and delicacy in Nature. Beginning from the darkness, moving to find hidden worlds that lay just beyond the edge of our awareness, calling forth the unexplored knowledge of the unseen. When the scales of our eyes are lifted we are brought to the underlying entity. The work depicts Nature, however it is made in the studio from memory, impulse and emotion.

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The work is created with a palette knife, laying down one, two or three colors together. The paint is moved around the wood surface to find the desired images. Often times a good image is covered up for the sake of the whole composition; and there are times when all the paint needs to be removed before starting over again. It is a process of finding the desired forms and composition of the painting, while not initially laying out the end piece. My process is to find ambiguous forms that make an impression, rather than an image. The work requires patience of the viewer to discover these forms, which allows a direct experience on both an emotional and intellectual level. Although the overall look is landscape, the desired outcome is the deeper sense of energy of nature, as well as within the nature of us.

Lillian Abel


Perpetual Cadence VII, 8x6


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Lillian Abel An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator articulaction@post.com

Artist Lillian Abel's practice accomplishes an insightful exploration of the liminal area in which abstraction and representation find a consistent point of convergence. In her works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she starts her imquiry into Nature to communicate draw the viewers through an unconventional journey on the limits between the tangible and the imagined. One of the most impressive aspects of Abel's work is her successful attempt to blend memory, impulse and emotion into an effective combination to trigger the viewers' most limbic parameters: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Lillian and welcome to ARTiculAction: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about rich and multifaceted background. You have a solid training and after having graduated from the Ohio University you nurtured your education attending, among the others, the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago and the Santa Reparata Graphic Art Center in Florence: how do these experiences influence the way you conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform

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Lillian Abel, photo by Eric Minh Swenson

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the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

The varied training I’ve had in painting and sculpture has provided the freedom to become an Artist who can move wherever the work takes me and not be tied to any one medium. I cherish those days of exploring, experimenting and

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learning skills. All the training I’ve had as a student in different schools had given me the ability to also move as an artist to different ways of making the work. My interest has always been what we don’t know, rather than what we do know. The order, synchrony, ending and beginning of the Cosmos, always a part of my Psyche, now, more than in the past, informs the present work. Putting into


Lillian Abel

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paint and clay, rather than into words, what is always on edge of my consciousness, too delicate to be exposed with a revealing, harsh light. The figurative language you convey in your paintings combines together figurative as subtle abstract feature into a coherent balance. The results convey together a coherent and

consistent sense of unity. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://lillianabel.com/ in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about the evolution of your style? In particular, would you shed light on your usual process and set up?

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I no longer use brushes to make the work. The palette knife is used to make the present work. The hard surface of wood or panel allows the choice of hard to light pressure in the application of the paint. Turpentine is the only medium used in the process. The one, two or three colors are sometimes directly from the paint tube. Most of the time I will mix the colors to produce the effect I seek for the painting. For this special issue of ARTiculAction we have selected Perpetual Cadence, a body of works from your recent production that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: when walking our readers through the genesis of this project we would like to ask you how do you select a media in order to convey the ideas that you explore. In particular, how much important is the relationship between its tactile feature in your choice of ceramics as material?

Working in clay is another way to meditation. The malleability of clay allows freedom in experimentation to find forms and layers. It’s not a search for the end piece, more of a discovery of the outcome, which, at times is unpredictable in the making of the piece as it grows and changes. Landscape is a recurrent theme of your work: your organic exploration of Nature seems to unveil the relationship between phenomenological experience and perceptual process in the way you convey such lively abstract feature in your pieces, as Antarctica. Your practice could be also considered as a successful attempt to create a bodies of

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Antarctica, Oil on Wood, 8x10

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The Thing In Itself, 8x10, Oil on Wood


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What Remains Will Begin Again, 16x20, Oil on Wood

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works that stand as records perceptual experiece and that captures nonsharpness. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process. Everyone has different experiences of the energy and visual they perceive. Their experiences inform their perception of the world. I work to share my experiences with others in order to provoke new observation for the viewer. Referring to “What Remains Will Begin Again”, I become overwhelmed in nature when experiencing its vastness and size, its struggle to survive, its gentle existence and violent beginnings and ends, its dangerous destruction, its incredible beauty. What once existed will always exist somewhere else, whether animal, vegetable or mineral. The mysterious and eternal forces of nature are a fascination on many levels, from kind, gentle growth to raging upheaval to create a new thing. The effective combination between delicate nuances of tones sums up the mixture of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

My palette has changed in that I will mix acrid colors for a particular painting and

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It Is As It Is In Everything, No. 2 18" x 24" Oil on Wood

peaceful colors for another. The color is important in that it binds together the opposites of the forms, strokes and colors. The intention of the color is to inform the mood and energy of the painting as well as to present opposites. For example calm peaceful colors, blues and purples are soothing, however, I use them to convey upheaval, chaos and violence depicting peace and turmoil occurring together at the same time.

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Hence there are many lines crossed to opposite sides that are shaded and not clear as energy flips its essence. To mention a Piet Mondrian's quote, "the position of the artist is to act essentially as a channel". Your practice is centered on the relationship between visual perception and our interpretation of the surrounding world, and your Reflection could be in a


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It Is As It Is In Everything No.1, 10x10, Oil on Wood

certain sense considered as an attempt to unveil the relationship between the subconscious sphere and the conscious

one. Do you agree with this interpretation? In particular, how would you define the relationship between

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Ecstatic Devotional Coalescence, Oil on Aluminum, 6x 8


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Reflection No2, 8x10, Oil on Wood

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Lillian Abel

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these apparently opposite levels of consciousness?

Thinking too much destroys the creative flow. Feeling too much does the same. There needs to be balance. The conscious and subconscious exist together at all times, however, when creating, the subconscious has more control than the conscious mind. When I see surprises in the work it appears I am in touch with my subconscious, perhaps even universal consciousness. When I contemplate the work after its completion, finding forms not particularly remembered and experiencing them change and move to something else as I watch them creates in me the same wonder experienced in nature. Every time I look at the completed work there is always something new to find. I am in a meditative state when I’m painting, thus the question of; where is the paintings origin and how did it come to its current state? The next question would be “How do I know when the painting is completed? It’s knowing and trusting when to stop. Your organic work to deconstruct perception also accomplishes an effective investigation about the relationship between the phenomenon we perceive from the outside and personal imagination, due to the way we reelaborate our personal substratum and the universal imagery we draw from. What is the role of memory in your work? We are particularly interested in how you consider memory and its evokative role in perceptual process.

The Memory of a thing or a place is always distorted by our continued remembering of it. Conversely, the energy and sensations of nature remain with us always as strong

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connections. The energy of the cycles of nature absorbed into our subconscious become stronger when transferred into our consciousness and the memory exists on many levels. In What's Underneath you emphasized the constructedness of reality or the world surrounding us. This project could be considered a visual biography of the conflictual symbiosis between perception and imagination. As the late Franz West did in his installations, What's Underneath shows unconventional aesthetics in the way it deconstructs perceptual images in order to assemble them in a collective imagery, urging the viewers to a process of self-reflection. Artists are always interested in probing to see what is beneath the surface: maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your view about this?

Everything is a Miracle as I stand in awe and enchantment in the face of the Universe and our planet. There is an overwhelming joy in this observance. The unknown is a perpetual fascination, whether inside or outside of us. Thus, there is the need to contemplate unknown forces within and outside of us. Nature is also in awe of us and brings to us indescribable changes as it merges with our internal landscape. Your works are in several collections and over these years you have internationally exhibited, from Los Angeles to Krakw, from New York City to Phnom Penh. One of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of

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Reflection No3, 8x10, Oil on Wood

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mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Ultimately the intent is for the work to provoke thought and be perceived on dark and/or light levels. The viewer’s perception is considered when I am choosing forms and colors. If it is beautiful to them, that’s good, if it is disturbing that’s also good. The most important experience desired is on an emotional, mysterious level of some kind. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Lillian. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

At present, I am feeling an exciting shift towards working on a larger format. There is a wonderful intimacy about working smaller that I think will carry over since I continue to be interested in experiencing what evolves from the paintings when they expand and contract. There is a perceptual shift that occurs when the scale changes both within the painting and in its format. When boundaries begin to fade I can get lost in this, and this is the best place to be. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator articulaction@post.com

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What's Underneath, Oil on Wood, 8x10

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M ark Franz Lives and works in Athens, Ohio, USA

An artist's statement

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y art is informed by two separate disciplines: Literature and Design. In regard to my research in Literature, it has been common for me to focus on 20th century American Literature, and its preoccupations with subculture, moral climate change, and political disenchantment. These ideas are prominent in my research and artwork, and it has become my pleasure to find unique ways to communicate these ideas visually. Poetry, as an excellent model for the non�linear narrative, as well as its ability to concentrate imagery, is a primary source for inspiration in this regard. These ideas provide a strong foundation for pursuing further development in the design world. My interest in design began primarily in the graphic arts as a chance to bring poetic imagery to life and was extended, as it became a possibility to reach a large audience through innovative design. The field of design has been plagued by its

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power in advertisement and its ability to be profitable. However, several artists throughout recent history have been successful at overcoming this obstacle and have been able to use design as a tool for communicating social responsibility. I strive to do the same. In the field of motion graphics in particular, motion design has been used extensively as a tool for storytelling and poetic expression. Inside these opportunities is where my art comes to fruition. It is often stated that people desire to hear the same stories told in different ways. While this may be too simplistic, it is true that there are a few themes in literary history that are often repeated, themes that resonate a uniquely human experience. My artwork works to capture these themes in a non�linear fashion as a marriage of poetry and design. Often this proves to be a difficult endeavor, but it is this challenge that helps me stay passionate and diligent as an artist.

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Mark Franz An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Barbara Scott, curator articulaction@post.com

Multidisciplinary artist Mark Franz's work explores a wide variety of features that marks out our media-driven lives: his works could be considered as visual biographies of the ubiquitous consequences of contemporary technosphere and find a point of convergence between Literature and Design. In his recent Zelda Deforested that we'll be discussing in the following pages, he draws the viewers into a dystopian world to discuss the conflictual relationship between technology and the natural world. One of the most convincing aspects of Franz's approach is the way it urges the viewers to evolve from the condition of mere spectatorship to reflect on the various roles of technology in our unstable contemporary age: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. Hello Mark and welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after having earned your MA of Electronic Art and Animation, you attended the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago, from which you degreed with an MFA of Art and Technology: how do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? In particular how does your cultural substratum due to your previous studies in Literature inform the way you relate

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yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

I had some encouragement from educators and peers regarding my poetry and I thought studying Literature would help develop formal skills related to creative writing. To my surprise, it didn’t work that way. A degree in Literature helped to foster the critical and theoretical skills necessary for academic writing, but did little to encourage writing poetry and fiction. After producing scores of pages on Neal Cassady’s influence on American counter culture, writing creatively seemed like a chore. As a result, visual communication really became the primary means of expressing my ideas, especially as an interpretation of the poetic abstraction, symbolism, and structure I had set out to convey. Studying with John Fillwalk, a student of Hans Breder, during my M.A. really gave me the vocabulary for what I was doing. The Fluxus legacy of Intermedia describes the space between media, and both Fillwalk and Breder are squarely within that tradition. I was interested in the space between poetry and visual communication, as well as literature and design. As a third generation Intermedia practitioner I finally had a vocabulary to describe my work and a community for critical feedback. Producing video poetry, motion design, sound experiments, and typographic studies became a permanent substitute for traditional forms of poetry at this point.


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Also during this time, I helped Golan Levin to install Messa di Voce and had the opportunity to view official Video Data Bank copies of Nam June Paik work in my studio. After that initial training I had the opportunity to work with several remarkable artists and designers at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. One of whom, Eduardo Kac, introduced me to the primary works and texts of what is called digital poetry, media poetry, or language art. This work resonated with me in the same way that Intermedia had by giving me a framework and vocabulary for what I was already creating. Developing this vocabulary was essential for understanding the unique problems and methods that existed in this work, and provided a way to discussing and critiquing it more specifically. In particular, I was struck by the notion that this work did not rely on language and that it did not need to contain any language at all to be successful. At the same time, I was studying non-objective animation, and found that Oskar Fischinger would give his animations names like “optical poem� and which further developed an investigation into kinetic and interactive work. I found that these ideas have a long history and had been at the core of some popular artists’ practices as well. This gave me confidence when applying these principles in the commercial design work I was producing for agencies in Chicago, as it relied more heavily on direct connections with the intended audience. Your approach reveals an incessant search of organic investigation about issues of dislocation, violence as well as other social constructions that affect our unstable contemporary age. The results convey together a consistent sense of unity: before starting to elaborate about

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your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://markfranz.org in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your process and set up, we would like to ask you how did you develop your style and how do you conceive your works.

My work is heavily influenced by figures from animation history like Oskar Fischinger and Ryan Larkin, and their use of color in particular. I would say my style is also due to a fascination with the intersection of art and design, or fine art and commercial art. Fischinger participated in the art historical current of visual music by creating color – organs, keyboards that played colors instead of sound, to induce a synesthetic response. In comparison, the group Single Wing Turquoise Bird made similar interactive synesthetic machines to provide visual elements at concerts for groups like the Grateful Dead. The audience for these works was different, the Guggenheim for Fischinger and the Electric Kool – Aid Acid Tests for SWTB, but the look and feel of the work could be considered similar. This kind of overlap between popular and obscure work, especially in kinetic or interactive form, interests me and affects the look of my work. The content of my work is really influenced by the sentiment that all people are connected in a way that makes everyone’s actions directly relevant to everyone (and everything) else. This includes violence in multiple forms. It could be violence in a traditional human form or violence that has been levied against an environment through social institutions. Social constructions are important in my work in the sense that they provide a venue for the creation and destruction of narratives. These narratives in turn levy violence against communities and people. This violence can be positive as well, in that it could help to break down

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constructions that are antagonistic to a more humanist cause. I try to give credit to viewers by giving enough information to lead them to a narrative, but allow them to make their own assumptions about how that narrative is interpreted. This is where interactivity becomes important. Interactive work often struggles to get past the gamified feeling of winning and losing, but in my work, I want to make that a secondary or tertiary goal. The primary objective is to offer social commentary through interactive environments, graphic elements, and motion design.

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For this special edition of ARTiculAction we have selected Zelda Deforested, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. Would you shed light on the genesis of this project? In particular, why did you decide to incorporate references to Nintendo's imagery?

Referencing Nintendo’s imagery was a conscious decision as it has powerful nostalgic qualities among certain viewers. The game is a satire and relies heavily on the knowledge of the original content as the meaning comes from the things that


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have changed in this satire and not the elements that have stayed the same. For instance, the moment when you receive the sword in the original game, you are told, “It is dangerous to go alone, take this.” Viewers familiar with the game will see the connection between that sentiment and the one that is created in Zelda Deforested that leads us to the conclusion that the characters are living in these caves precisely because it is dangerous. This satirical dystopian world suggests that an unregulated marketbased economy has led to complete destruction of natural resources. In this case, the most prominent and important

one is the forest. Those familiar with the original game will notice a significant difference in this landscape and are encouraged to reflect on the actions that led to these changes. In this way, a full understanding of Zelda Deforested relies heavily on the viewer’s knowledge of Nintendo’s imagery. After the idea was conceived, I used the process of rom hacking to create the game. I had used this process previously to create some graphic posters but had not really had a use for it until I started becoming interested in the topic of deforestation. The Zelda world was the

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perfect place to create this commentary. Rom Hacking is the name for modifying an image from a Rom (read only memory) chip, and several artists and designers have used this technique to create work that relies predominately on nostalgic qualities. Most notably perhaps, was Cory Arcangel’s Super Mario Clouds in which he removed everything from the original Super Mario game except for the clouds. In the case of Zelda Deforested, I edited every tile of the landscape to remove the forests and edited the narrative of the game through the text that is revealed when meeting characters in the caves and underworld. I also edited the hexadecimal code for the game to change the audio, as this was an important part of creating a dystopian feel for the game, and gave me a chance to use some previous training in experimental sound. When questioning whether an art piece using technology can elicit a response that is anti-technology, Zelda Deforested accomplishes the difficult task of creating a work that stands as a record of existence and that captures nonsharpness, going beyond the elusive relationship between experience and identity in our globalized mundanity. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

When we speak about John Cage in class, I sometimes ask my students if they think that an artist can be fully removed from their work. The answer almost unanimously comes back as no, for the reason that bias is unavoidable. However, bias is itself a social construction, and I am fascinated by the idea that work can be created through someone, without being

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created by him or her. I heard somewhere; maybe it was in a Jared Diamond book, that indigenous artists described themselves as not creating the work they were painting on cave walls, but that their ancestors were creating it through them. This idea resonates with me, because I don’t see people as individual islands of thought, but rather that what is often labeled genius or success is a result of a beautiful combination of events. Similar to how life itself is a result of hydrogen and stardust and going through an amazing and unlikely transformation. In that way, I wouldn’t describe my personal experience as an indispensible part of the creative process, but rather a very small part of a long chain of events. This perspective, I think, helps to promote empathy. Your approach accomplishes an effective investigation about the relationship between imagination due to the way the viewers re-elaborate their personal substratums due to the references to Nintendo's original game and the universal imagery that you subvert to create an effective non linear narrative. German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how do you conceive the narrative for your works?

I think contemporary art and design has a unique ability to communicate important social issues. Through the use of the vehicles of popular art, including film, video games, interactive applications and installations, and other media, psychological strategies come to the forefront of the creative process. The other day, John Maeda, one of my personal design heroes, tweeted “Good design is

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one part technology to two parts psychology and a swig of art history. Stir just until the lumps disappear.” This sentiment shows how important psychology is to creating value in a work of design. When studying user experience design in particular, understanding the basics of cognitive behavioral psychology is imperative to helping users navigate complex interactive systems. In the same way, “psychological narrative elements” are at the core of creating paths for viewers to engage with important issues while still giving them room to envision parts of the narrative from their own perspectives. The last part is where symbolism comes in, and although contemporary work may not be able to rely on it completely, it is still an important tool for directing viewers to a place where their brain gets satisfaction from the back and forth, dialectic, interaction. Zelda Deforested also accomplishes an insightful investigation about the interstitial space that highlights the ubiquitous dichotomies between physical and digital existence: in a certain sense, this work urges us to rethink about the notion of materiality itself. Our ever-changing society is marked out with an ephemeral feature that is constantly emphasized by the impetuous way modern technology has nowadays come out on the top: this has also dramatically revolutionized the concept of Art, that just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. We are sort of convinced that new media will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and we will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

The common answer here is that art has always been related to technology, in some form or another, but due to the phenomenon observed in Moore’s law, this technology has become increasingly complex, sometimes

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hard to understand, and therefore intimidating when compared to the “simplicity” of the previous technology used to create art. This is why I have an affinity for animation. Its very existence is due to complex technological innovations, but because the product is simple and dynamic enough to entertain children, and it has been around for over one hundred years, it is not considered as unapproachable as an art video game. Video games include animation, but add complexity through interactivity. Interacting with something like this is not a universal experience in our current society, but it will be in a hundred years. New media is a great title because there will always be new, new media, the question is whether people will get use to excepting that as equally valuable as art. Art has the burden of the “aura” that is created from authenticity, and mass production has been labeled as the antithesis of that, thank you Walter Benjamin, but the other option is to see authenticity as an event that can occur anywhere at anytime. Authenticity can be interpreted as a one of a kind experience instead of a one of a kind physical object. If this becomes a generally accepted sentiment in the art world, I think that new media will simply be a more acceptable form for works that are generally seen to have value. As far as art and technology assimilating into one another, we can say that has already occurred, if we accept the most liberal definition of technology, but if we are referring only to current contemporary forms of technology, I don’t think that will be the case. The traditional forms of drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and many others, are at the core of many new media processes, and will continue to be highly valued practices on their own. They are also highly technological in the contemporary

sense. Considering that, maybe technology and art should be considered as interdependent. This would certainly help to raise awareness of the importance of art among the fields of science, technology, education, and math. Zelda Deforested also inquires into the interstitial space between personal and public spheres, providing the spectatorship with an immersive experience that forces such a contamination between the inner and the outside: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space?

The role of art in public space means that is a social experience. Seeing a large public sculpture in a city is a completely different experience from stumbling upon a similar form in the wilderness alone, but both are social, and dialogues between the maker and the audience, intentional or unintentional. The only truly personal work is one that is created by the artist for him or her alone. The better delineation for me might be between intimate and open spheres. Small spaces meant for one viewer produce an intimate dialogue that feels personal and private, although it is not. That feeling is important however, and changes the interpretation of the work. The role of art in this public space then becomes tied to intimate experiences, and then can be translated to the public sphere through primary or secondary interpersonal communication. That is communication about the work specifically or that the work helps to produce. Work on a larger scale draws more viewers and simultaneously engages the public sphere in a public space. The great thing about Zelda Deforested is that it can be displayed as either a public or intimate interaction depending on the space and audience.

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Zelda Deforested - and your work in general - conveys an effective criticism concerning the materialistically driven culture that saturates our contemporary age. But while artists from the contemporary scene, as Ai WeiWei or more recently Jennifer Linton, use to express open socio-political criticism in their works, you seem more interested to hint the direction, inviting the viewers to a process of self-reflection that may lead to subvert a variety of usual, almost stereotyped cultural categories. Do you consider that your works could be considered political in a certain sense or did you seek to maintain a more neutral approach? And in particular, what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in contemporary society?

I do consider some of my work to be political, including Zelda Deforested, as it does hint at stereotypes often associated with certain political factions, such as “preppers.” This is not overt, and is open to interpretation, but I could see how these associations could be made, whether intentional or unintentional. In many ways, political work can be seen as synonymous with contemporary art. My last visit to one of the world’s most prominent collections of contemporary art was an immersion in politically charged art from artists around the world. This communicated to me that political art has immense cultural and economic value, and can even be seen as a form of entertainment, not unlike watching or listening to the news. But it also confirmed that art is a powerful venue for social change, as showing someone what his or her peers think is the most effective way to alter that person’s opinion. Besides producing your stimualting works you hold the Chair of the Graphic Design area, in the School of Art + Design at Ohio University and you teach Graphic Design, New Media, Visual Systems, and Interaction

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Design: how do these aspects of your work influence your practice? In particular, have you ever been inspired from your students' ideas?

My teaching and research are completely symbiotic because I enjoy teaching the principles and methods used in my practice. I am inspired by my students ideas all the time, and in particular, inspired by how group dialogue can produce increasingly good ideas. We use three distinct methods to develop ideas, one is the critique process, which is dialogue, and helps to verbally express and refine projects and ideas. The second is image making, sketching, drawing, and creating iterations or work in order to efficiently work through options. The third is research, reading, and finding references, in order to be informed about what is out there already, and what we can add to what has already been done. All of these methods produce extraordinary results that are inspiring. Over these years your works have been showcased in several occasions, including your recent participation at It Figures: The Body in Art at the ARC Gallery, Chicago. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

The audience reception is a important part of my process as a designer, and this is where the psychological aspect becomes really essential. I see formal qualities as building


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blocks toward a communicative dialogue. Even non-objective work has this dialogue, and can be qualitatively analyzed based on the viewer’s response. One of the more effective practices in game development is play testing, and though in commercial ventures the purpose is driven by economics, the same practice can be used to gauge an audiences’ ability to engage productively with an art work. Interactive work gets labeled as game-like because that is one of the most popular incarnations of interactivity is in games. This is changing due to the pervasiveness of mobile devices, but the design goals are limited in that venue. The problem of the audiences’ reception to serious games and interactive work that is built for purposes other than entertainment is to guide the viewers reception in a way that helps them to feel like they are engaging with serious work that self – reflexively critiques technology. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Mark. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I am working on producing letterpress prints from interactive, custom coded, applications. In this way they are all data visualizations, but my interest is in activating the space between these two technologies. The letterpress was stigmatized as an antihumanist industrial form when it was first conceived. As familiarity with the technology occurred, passed, and drifted into antiquity, the nostalgic quality made it a treasured humanistic process. Expressing images derived from computer code through this process is an experiment in linking two very human technologies together and therefore creating a discourse about time, technology, mark making, and the meaning of hand – made work.

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L eonid Dutov Lives and works in Moskow, Russia

An artist's statement

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ou have made a video and the video gives a message. This message is clear. Do you like

the message? Is it a beautiful message? Or is it a dark message? A horrible message? You see it can be anything - it doesn't have to be good. Even a dark or horrible message can be beautiful - in a way. What the film is really trying to do is to engage with the viewer - to get the viewer to face something - to feel something - which they may or may not like. Here - look at this - feel this how do you feel about feeling this? How do you feel about watching this? Does it make you feel good? Did you realise it's art? It has a message. It tells you something... can you accept its message or do you prefer to ignore it, to deny it, to...

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So the only way you can know what I feel or think is by writing what you feel or think - because the more you learn about your own contradictory, different feelings and reactions to this film, the more you'll be able to tune into and know my own. It's work. We prefer not to look to deeply, to feel too deeply. We prefer to tell ourself that we understand its message, perhaps better than other people do yet what is there to understand? What is the deeper isness of this video - beneath the surface layer of "art"? So yes, it's interesting to know what I think - but to know it you need to strip away the barriers to knowing which are barriers we put in place to avoid knowing our Self.

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Leonid Dutov An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator articulaction@post.com

Artist Leonid Dutov's work explores a wide variety of features that marks out our media-driven lives: her works could be considered as visual biographies of the ubiquitous consequences of contemporary technosphere and urge the viewers to rethink about the dichotomies between physical and digital realms to go beyond such dichotomy. One of the most convincing aspect of Dutov' approach is the way it accomplishes an effective inquiry into the evolution of ideas and how they engineer the reality to which we are subjected: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. Hello Leonid and welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have influenced your evolution as an artist? In particular how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

Thank you! I am very glad to be participating in your amazing? project and, of course, it would be my pleasure to tell a little bit about my background. When I was 11, my father enrolled me in

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martial arts classes. This was towards the end of the Soviet period, but nevertheless there was still hardly any information about schools and Eastern methods and everyone who studied them was actually moving forward in the dark. There were manually re-typed books on karate in English, there were Hong Kongese films, fan translations of Carlos Castaneda’s books, works by George Gurdjieff and Helena Blavatsky and that’s all. There was no living bearer of the tradition. My Master taught not only martial arts but also how to work with mystic energies and astral bodies. He taught two groups of students, who almost never met. And while we, who studied martial arts, were taught no more than the techniques of touchless attacks at most (he called us the outer circle), those who studied chakras, their balancing, out of body techniques and so on gained significantly more. When I was about 15 I asked him to allow me to attend classes of the inner circle. He refused, and added that one can practice such things only after 21, otherwise they are very harsh on the mind and one can go mad. However, he started delicately preparing me and once, on the first day of classes of a group studying the martial art of the Yamabushi monks and warriors, he told me to lay out a portable altar or mandala, which was meant to harmonize and focus the energy in the classroom. We had not


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had anything similar before. Just once, accidentally on purpose, my Master had laid it out when I was in the room, which had happened only a couple of days before this first class of the new group. Now, he told me to lay out the altar as I

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had seen him do it, with only 20 minutes to go before the start of the training, and then he left. The altar had to be laid out on a gym mat and consisted of pink and blue squares of silk, which had to be folded so that they


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his thoughts about martial arts and a black-covered notebook which contained his work on energies. To this collection were added an icon of an Orthodox Christian saint, a little bell and a shell. I had to lay all of them out and I did not remember the right way to do it. I did not even remember which piece of cloth had to be laid over which. But I did realize the importance of the task and the degree of responsibility imposed. Moreover, there was no room for error, I could not dawdle because people were gathering in the class and I also could not show my lack of confidence in what I was doing.

would form an octagon. On these pieces of cloth were laid a portrait of a prominent Japanese karateka, nunchacku, a replica of an Old Russian sword, two tonfas, a notebook with a red cover, in which the Master wrote down

So I just laid it out somehow, as I remembered and as I felt like, and, sweating from stress and exertion, went out to call for the Teacher to review my work. He came in, looked at my creation and said musingly: “An interesting solution�. Since then I was responsible for laying out the altar, and I did it six times a week for more than a year. If at any given training session the students were frustrated and it didn’t go as planned, or if the Master was not able to show a technique at the first try or, what was even worse, if he took a punch while showing the drills, he would stop the training and would firstly take a look at the altar. Needless to say, it always turned out that on those days the elements of the altar were misarranged and instead of harmonizing the room and and focusing energy in the class, it reflected the state of a teenager in the throws of puberty. I would rearrange the altar under his supervision, would do a hundred push-ups as a punishment and the training would be resumed. It is thus that I learned to study composition, color and light.

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Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest that our readers visit https://vimeo.com/user6066556 in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production. With the aim of telling our readers a bit about your methods, we would like to ask you how you developed your style and how you conceive the ideas for your works.

I would not suggest watching all the videos now, but apart from The Broom, you could watch Love (https://vimeo.com/80301540), Selfie (https://vimeo.com/127335525) and Untitled (https://vimeo.com/68962345). My method of work is really simple. Everything that I do is conceived when I exist in the moment, here and now. It is rather difficult to sustain this state in an aggressive information space, which all of us live in these days, and it is never an act of enclosure. It is interesting and absorbing, and it is always a challenge because one cannot permanently be in such a state because something always happens, something that takes you out of this state and it is always vivid and unique. To put in other words, I am in a perpetual state of surprise and out of my astonishment a statement arises. For example, one astonishing person and writer, James Merry, moved to Russia from England and has been living in Moscow and teaching English for over 10 years. When we met and I asked him why he lived in Moscow, he answered that Russia is the liveliest and the most holistic land among all those he visited and yet Russians have almost completely lost their connection with it. And he settled in Moscow, because, in this sense,

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Moscow is the darkest spot on the country’s map and if he is able to help at least one person here, in Moscow, to restore their connection with the land, then he will help the world significantly more than anywhere else. He talks to his disciples in the language of Dwarves, communicates with trees, and travels by bicycle through the country. The text I


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use as my artist statement was written by him, after he saw the video LOVE.

the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for The Broom?

For this special edition of ARTiculAction we have selected The Broom, an extremely interesting film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. We want to take a closer look at

Technically it was this way. I was doing a 3-day session of Sufi whirling and then stumbled upon the broom, which was lying exactly like it can be seen in the screenshot, and I started filming as I knew something was going to happen. I

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was shooting for about one hour and when I watched the footage I realized I needed to collect comments from people, who were unrelated to art, but who still knew me quite well, so that they, on the one hand, would be motivated to watch the video, and on the other hand, could share their thoughts about the footage and its author. So, hiding a voice

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recorder behind my back, I showed the footage on the camera screen to 15 people, and then edited some fragments of it into a rhythmic story. How long was the project?

What was the most challenging thing about making this film I worked on it for


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diversity of the materials, this one was not an easy task. The Broom invites the viewers to a multilayered experience that encourages them to deconstruct and recontextualise the flow of information that is conveyed by the images. This allows the viewer to get Inside and accomplish the difficult task of constructing an aesthetic from experience, touching upon both the conscious and subconscious. So we would like to take this occasion to ask you if, in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable to the creative process? Do you think that the creative process can be disconnected from direct experience?

about two years. I had to process all the monologues, to see them together, to single out certain essential phrases, and build up a whole rhythmic narrative thread out of them. And since I usually work on several different projects and my “intermediate� options need some shelf life in between editing, taking into account the particularity and the

Your question is too specific and contradicts the principles of versatility, which I follow. When one exists in the categories of habitual and natural minds this question is formulated in another way. And I cannot reduce my understanding into writing, however I can help getting an answer through the process of recognition of the habitual and natural minds, but in order to do it we would need to undergo a series of practices together. 6) From the first time we had the chance to watch The Broom we were astonished by the way it urges the viewers to extract a personal narrative, to pose questions, rather than the manipulative approach of most Hollywood productions. How did you develop your story-telling style? Every person is a big and seamless universe. We exist side by side, we look at the same objects, we discuss them, but we see them differently. This is a common-sense and a well-known truth.

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I am always interested in looking at things through different eyes. This is one of the reasons why my works are as they are, and have the effect that you point out. In this context, with my works I create the conditions for the viewer to interpret the work, with no allowance being made for my statement, which, of course, always exists. Your work also inquires into the interstitial space between personal and public spheres, providing the spectatorship with an immersive experience that forces such a contamination the inner and the outside: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space?

I can only say that by all means art is a very important and an essential part. And if I start developing my idea, if I go further and start talking about the role of art in general, I will inevitably touch upon the role of my art and the idea, which I follow when I create my works (apart from that one I mentioned earlier), and in this way I will create certain frames of interpretation and perception of my works for the audience. So my words will be “moulded in stone� as once ex-President Mr. Dmitry Medvedev said. And at that point my artistic story will be finished because I will not be able to go around this stone. As you have remarked in your artist's statement about your video, "you see it can be anything - it doesn't have to be good" As the late Franz West did in his installations, your artistic production unconventional features in the way it urges the viewers to a process of self-reflection. Artists are always interested in probing to see what is beneath the surface: maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of

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our inner Nature... what's your view about this?

When we formulate and discuss the idea of the role of an artist we fixate and limit it, and thus create a one-track perception. If I were an art expert or an


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art critic, I would gladly discuss this issue with you. Over these years your works have been internationally exhibited in several occasions and one of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create

direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of

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audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

As I said earlier, audience is very important for me in general. It makes no difference whether they will accept my work or not, but it is essential for me to understand why they accept or reject it. And it does not have to be a verbal response. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Leonid. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

So far I have worked on 10-15 new projects a year, some of them, due to the specifics of my approach, would be left for the next year, some of them were just weeded out, and some would become performed exercises. I do not focus on video only. For example, I had an installation, which once was exhibited and was supposed to become a part of a big Internet project, but then it just rotted away in the basement of organizers of that exhibition as even when disassembled it was a cube of one-by-one meter in size. It was the moment, by the way, when I made head or tale of the saying: “to contaminate a friend’s apartment with art”, which is a by-word with my friends, who are sculptors. This year I have carried out two photo projects, which I am going to transfer on paper next year. I also have a couple of longlasting projects on which I am currently working on and also projects, which I conceived a while ago and I am willing to carry out. But they require significant organizational expenses and financial

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investments, which currently outcome my resources. For example, one of them can be carried out only with a team of three members, at that, we have to make a series of trips, and although they can be short, but still they shall cover at least 10 countries from those in Africa to Canada.


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Another project, apart from a team, requires help from volunteers in various countries. And everything I do, I do only on my own dime and by myself or with a little help from my friends, when they have a desire and an opportunity to help. I have never applied for grants and have

never asked for money, as for me financial and psychological independence are more important than the chance to carry out a project. What is destined to be carried out will be carried out.

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Marta Stysiak

M

arta Stysiak (b. 1982) is a Polish cinematographer graduated from the National Film School In Łódź. Stysiak is the author of photographic projects and photographs of a filmic backdrop or related to film in general. She is the author of photography for documentaries, reportages, short features, video art and experimental videos. Her photographs were published among others in Polish magazines, Le journal de la Photogrphie, Dailyserving, GUP magazine and are in private collections. Also a cofounder of Synergy collective, which experiments with visual clichés and innovations but also plays around with narratives and storytelling. Stysiak is based in Warsaw, where she lives and works freelance.


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Marta Stysiak An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator articulaction@post.com

Warsaw based multidisciplinary visual artist Marta Stysiak's work explores a variety of themes as Memory, Identity and perception of time and space, to draw the viewers through an unconventional journey in which they are urged to challenge the relationship between their perceptual parameters and their cultural substratums. In Why it takes so long? that we'll be discusisng in the following pages she brings to a new level of significance the elusive notion of memory triggering the spectators' most limbic parameters to investigate about the act of remembering and its relationship with notion of identity: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production. Hello Marta and a warm welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you graduated from the National Film School in Łódź: over these years you worked with the Theatre Institute in Warsaw as well as with Canal+ and HBO. How do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to artmaking and to the aesthetic problem in general?

Hello, yes I am a Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School graduate and I was trained in film making. I am working as a cinematographer for documentaries and camera woman for varioius tv productions. Tv

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Marta Stysiak


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experiece I have has not directly put impact on me being an artist though it gaves me technical skills and put me through many situations in different environments and conflicts, which has given me a wider perspective when film or video making or other productions . As for documentary film expertise that I gained through commercial work is very important as it gave me the stamina of working on the set generaly. Making a film, documentary ir a video or whatever else is a constatnt struggle, struggle to get a good shot at the right time with the lighting you desire and the shot you want and never let it go even if that means getting up at 3 in the morning and always thinking what is good for the video/film, what would work better. So, working professionaly with a camera is my craft which helps in making art and translation the images I want into techical terms I must use. I used to take photographs on 35mm and 120 mm film and very recently changed to digital photography. I developed the films myself in darkroom and I think this is my main background as an artist, as I phisically learnt about the image, how it's being made but also how it could be demaged. And I think because my early training was on manual cameras, I seek this film look quality in my works. The grain on the image makes it harsh and I think at the same time more real. Why it takes so long the images were shot on 120 mm 20 year old or so film and I think the images there wouldn't look more natural and present otherwise. Your approach coherently encapsulates a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from photography to installation and video, revealing an organic investigation about aesthetic and social issue. The results

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convey together a coherent and consistent sense of harmony and unity. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://stysiak.com in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your

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process, we would like to ask you if you have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different approaches is the only way to express and convey the idea you explore.

Long time ago one gallery curator, after reviewing my portfolio and seeing such


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variety in it, advised me to come back after sometime because it seemed I was still searching, which meant she didn't like that as if I was not sure of what I'm doing. I never saw her again. I was ashamed of not working in one particular field as many artist do. I wanted to focus on one discipline but it never worked for me.

When I go to a place and make a film, I also drag the whole photography equipment on my back, I look like a snail with his house on, but I know I will use it. I can't think of a single journey without my cameras and lenses, film reels and sd cards, because what would work on film will not digitally. Also, taking pictures and

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editing film and video also requires a lot of writing work, I write 3 pages of text every day. I watch and perceive and at the end of the day the symbiosis seems natural. For this special edition of ARTiculAction we have selected Why it takes so long?, an interesting project that our readers

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have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once caught our attention of your exploration of the memory of an image is the way it draws the viewers through a multilayered experience, to challenge the relationship between space and time, urging us to rethink about the elusive


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nature of such notions: when walking our readers through the genesis of Why it takes so long?, would you shed light on the way your main sources of inspiration? Why it takes... was first shot on 120mm

20 year old film in London and around in 2008. Back then I was shooting with a pin

hole camera on old films. I relied on side effects that occur on old films (I still keep a few cans in the freezer for the last 13 years). Those in the projection have a quality of a demaged film as if I did it deliberately, but I didnt. It got demaged in developing process itself. Unpredictably.

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However, people waiting for the green on the light (3rd slide )are untouched as if the

don't even perceive it as a real thing. Eaerthquake on Mars is just one of them.

demage has done but they hadn't notice. And that brought me a paralell with space which is moving but we don't feel it. I thought that more is happening to the world and have influence on us and we

I was living in London at that time and I remeber the street and the natural light in the island fascinated me. It wasn't my first time in London but the city and the street

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was still different to the look of streets in Poland (Poland was new to EU as joined it in 2004 so there was still much to be done). I think the cosmopolitan streets of London were the inspiration. Some of the photographs that dissolve in the projection were taken in Hastings and this place was

so much more than an inspiration as I did many of my works there; To Mo, Way Home, Red, and part of 5 YEARS 23 ROOMS AND A FEW PEOPLE . It is a infamous for its crime record (or number of addicts) seaside town, a lot of retired and drug additcs, however the urban

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landscape always reminded me of Edward Hopper's paintings. Such landscape is difficult to find in Europe though I think the light and architecture is very much close to Hopper's, I had such impression at that time, I think I still have. I have very peculiar feelings for this place and with any other that I have it. I put it under one sky with London because memory is not resticted to just one place or picture, it alwyas brings memories in clusters / sets of images and sometimes they have loose connectins with each other or none. In Why it takes so long? the images slowly dissolve one into another, suggesting a process of deconstruction and recontextualization. This allows you to accomplish the difficult task of constructing a concrete aesthetic from experience, working on both subconscious and conscious level. Moreover, it's important to remark that you rely on people you truly know or love: so we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Absolutely indispensable. Even an abstarct painting is not a complete chaos, it may be structured, it may be not but the painter's state of being in the exact moment relys on his personal experience and he can't separete the two. Creative process is a wicked thing so I estabished my daily routines which frame my time for work. But still it's still within my life. My lates work is a set of polaroids of flowers taken after I gave birth to my child. I was exhausted with all sorts of things and never managed the to set the flowers for the photography when they were in full bloom but dead. They were my Selfportrait.

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I never take portraits of people on the street or photograph them unless they are part of the landscape (away from my camera). When I accustom a place for shooting I spend there some time and befriend the people. In my documentary photo serieses I 've known people who I photograhed for years, I live with them, eat, sleep and spend hours. This is my way of putting psyhological insight into my work and also I beleive it's then full, true picture of them or the place, which is not random and really means or meant something to me at some point. Moreover, I often come back to the place and the work is growing so it's getting a very long process before it's finished sometimes and big part of my life. My older videos like The bath, Way home is a reconstrucion of memory back to child memories or my close past so still very conected to my exepreineces when traveling and changing places of living. Your successful attempt to produce a dialectical fusion that operates at visual level creates a compelling non linear narrative that establishes direct relations with the viewers. German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how do you conceive the narrative for your works?

The symbolism is beautiful, it is an intrinsic part of a creative process. Anything could be a representative of someting and finally a symbol and very often works of art base on a rebus for the viewer to guess by reading given symbols. Though, so much was already described generaly that it's hard to find strong

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symbols not banal and I think working on psyhological level got more interesting for the viewer expecially. What I do to get to the viewer's iner instincts is to juxtapose images seemingly of non linear structure

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yet they become the part of a bigger picture. I now work on a film that would be a good example of that. It is based on Meister Eckhart quotation “When the Soul wants to experience something she throws


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out an image in front of her and then steps into it.� It has non linear, non feature like plot, and the story is depicted through the scenes of a woman, a man, a baby, a young girl and a monster. Those are

constructed with no apparent connection yet in one environment that brings it all together. However, I also hope that the scene of woman whiping herself is symbolic.

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Sometimes I have an issue around which I elaborate the narative or else the image I'm interested in drives my narrative. I also provide narratives in photo serieses. I can't help that. Because my background is film I always think what are the relations between the pictures itself and try to put them in a kind of story about the place or people (5 YEARS 23 ROOMS AND A FEW PEOPLE or BACKSTAGE. A JOURNEY FOR THE SHOW – where a circus troupe is juxtaposed with Iranian nomads, or in seeking a new flock – where a family of

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imigrants is combined with wild nature found in the city). You are interested in the relationship between architecture and sociology and the ambience you captured in your To Mo series reminds us the notion of non lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augè: your exploration of Hastings' urban landscape triggers the viewers' perceptual parameter in order to reconstruct the flow of information to whom these images belong. As the late Franz West did in his installations, To Mo shows unconventional


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aesthetics in the way it urges the viewers to a process of self-reflection. Artists are always interested in probing to see what is beneath the surface: maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your view about this?

To Mo is my favourite series. It is a reportage of some kind, the photogarps are put in sets in an order they appear on a film reel starting with the surroundings and moving deeper to the main character and

this character's places, though no sound and other details are provided only those seen have to make the story for the viewer. There always need to be more than it is seen at the first sight, some kind of story otherwise there is no need showing that. Even the landscape that looks flat conveys meanings. Auge studied non-places and coined the phrase "non-place" to refer to anthropological spaces of transience that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as "places", an example of which would be a hotel room, a motorway,

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generally places around which we organise our daily routines and spend much time. Those in TO MO look abandeoned but once were centers of public life and holiday destinations. They are also the artefacts of the past. By the way, what is for you the appeal of landscape images that isn’t found in other genres, such as portrait or still-life?

Seeming emptiness full of details Questioning the relationship between the environment and human experience, your work provides the viewers with an intense, immersive experience: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience?

I don't know. It's all about seeing these days, the last thing you read is a paper or a book, though the later you may listen on a car. So, it maters what you watch and what do you look at. As Claes Oldenburg said “Art is a technique of communication. The image is the most complete technique of all communication.” Your photographs seems to be the result of a lot of planning and thought, but at the same time they convey a sense of spontaneity that is a hallmark of your style. You seem to be wanting to move beyond standard representation, capturing a trascendental kind of universality: creating what at first appears to be a typical photograph but subverting its inner compositional elements, and consequently inducing the viewer to realize that your work conveys a different message. How important is for you the character that you as the photographer impose on the images you capture? Some of the ideas I had for the paricualr works

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came up years ago like the video I'm making know basing on Meister Eckhart quotation. It was first a short feature script with more traditional plot. However, over time it lost its appeal and the story does't matter any more, though the core, the subject is still important. The same is with photography. I try to convey the meanings, a message, a sociological issue of what or who I portray to give it a chance to be viewed and recognised by wider audience and after an interval of time. I think I keep my photographs in a simple style to let the message appeal to a viewer rather than the beauty of the picture itself otherwise I find it boring afetr sometime. So, the character of my photographs is never the issue itself, it helps to read the issue. With the photography series “With” the style was imposed from the very beginning to make an impression of shall I say “rabbit in the headlights”. Beacuse most wild animals in the city are seen at night crossing the streets, dogs are popular but snakes for instance are rare and hard to spot. So, night became the ally and with a flash lamp it draw the character of the images, which seem to be just portraits with beloved pets but show more of a social issue where a man domesticated the animal in the city. So, the character of those images also tells the story don't flatter the person on it. The same was with Simple things, where still lifes found and photographed in nuresery homes are far from beautiful apples or luxury goods. They are harsh and uneasy to look at. The use of manual camera here was crucial in order to get such look. Over these years your works have been internationally showcased in several occasions: one of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are

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urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

I always think of the audience and regard the audience as a very important critic when displaying the work. I like monitoring the whole preparatory process for the exhibition, I also buy them wine to feel good and cosy at the opening night. Though, I rarely think of them during the creative process. In terms of video and film making I care for the viewer to see what I'd like him to see and feel and use the means accordingly. I'm considering the narrative if it's conveying the message I want it to pass, however I don't choose the particular issues or language for the paritcular audience. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Marta. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Hmmm, hard to say. I still have a few ideas that are at the back of my head and waiting. I'm thinking of an animation film with documentary and feature elements in a doll house, finishing the project Seeking a new flock for doing which I hope to go to London once more, and I wish to go to Japan and see the mountain and the temple.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator articulaction@post.com

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S uzanne Smith Lives and works in Manchester, United Kingdom

An artist's statement

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uzanne Smith is fascinated with the politics of the everyday; her practice reflects the negotiation of an environment saturated with social norms and conventions. In her eyes, everything is odd and everything is interesting. Smith is intrigued by the point midway between appalling and delightful. It is the tension in the mundanity the something in the nothing that really gets her going.

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Smith often works with text, found objects, photography, film and found image. A seam of appropriation, collage and humour runs throughout, as she feels for the edges of conventions where negotiation and collusion take place. Smith accumulates, plays and controls - imposing a preferred order on her subject and pinning it down in its new position it long enough to take a better look. Occasionally drilling little holes to let some air in.


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Suzanne Smith An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Barbara Scott, curator articulaction@post.com

Manchester based fine artist Suzanne Smith's work explores a variety of issues that affects our unstable contemporary age, centering hes investigation on the point midway between appalling and delightful: her interdisciplinary practice installations urges the viewers to recontextualize the everyday to go beyond the conflictual relationship between perception and experience. One of the most convincing aspect of Smith's approach is the way it teeters between mismanaged exorcism and pointless accumulation of proof: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. Hello Suzanne and a warm welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BA (Hons) of Fine Art you nurtured your education with a MA of Cultural Theory, that you received from the Lancaster University and with a PGCE of Art & Design: how do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to artmaking?

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I only started studying Art in my very late twenties and I think this late introduction makes sense of my approach to art-making now. I was an earnest child and pursued the social sciences in a misguided attempt to be of some use in the world. I saw pursuing art as really self-indulgent. Nobody at school explained to me that art and design are as important as they are enjoyable. I worked in admin and support worker jobs for years and was due to start training to be a mental health nurse when I did a very basic art course and began to understand the role of fine art as visual philosophy. I became obsessed! I think perhaps because of this my real-world references are more noticeable. I definitely see myself as someone in the real world using art to understand it rather than an artist making work about the world. My practice has become less direct in clearly addressing specific issues (visual metaphors) and has become more playful and ambiguous. I've always been interested in notions of fairness and the politics of the everyday. I chose to study cultural theory at MA as I wanted to think further about the implications of my art practice in terms of gender politics. Again, being aware that whether intentionally or not, my own cultural productivity is as steeped in values as


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Suzanne Smith


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anyone else's. If you're not challenging something you're supporting the status quo and both positions are as political as each other. I now teach art and design in secondary schools and work really hard to contextualise art and design's agency in the world, rather than framing it as an vaguely pleasing past-time. Your approach coherently encapsulates several disciplines and you work with a variety of materials including text, found objects, photography, film and found image revealing an organic investigation about the tension between mundanity and the abstract nature of social norms and the results convey together a coherent and consistent sense of harmony and unity. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.suzannesmith.me in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: When walking our readers through your usual process, we would like to ask you if you have you ever happened to realize that such multidisciplinary approach is the only way to express and convey the idea you explore.

I can't imagine it being any other way. I don't feel very invested in any particular medium - I enjoy making but, for me, the idea dictates the presentation. I see the medium as craft and the ideas-based use of it as art.The medium is very much another layer of meaning with possibilities and parameters. It's never been a conscious decision to work in a multidisciplinary way it's more a matter of becoming

intrigued by something recurring in my environment and then I start gathering evidence...photographs of the sculpting of a specific type of garden plant, a list of lazy punchlines, a collection of preowned kitchen canisters. The collecting becomes part of a thought process that helps me play, and pinpoint what exactly it is that interests me. Then the possibilities open up. At the heart of it is collage. I'm basically gathering, sorting, editing and representing. For this special edition of ARTiculAction we have selected Unconditional, an interesting film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. While walking our readers through the genesis of this project, would you shed light on the way your main source of inspirations?

Unconditional is unusual for me in that it didn't start as art at all. I was doing teacher training and had done quite a bad drawing of Tilda Swinton as part of a portraiture project with the kids. My non-artist boyfriend at the time thought it was a) very good and b) Sting. He was wrong on both counts. I intended to spend about five minutes making a silly film to make my sister laugh - just a flashing image film and the phrase I love you. However, the more I declared my love, the more it tickled me. The accumulation of love and intensity and mania was really stimulating. The more I pushed it the more interested I became in it. The insistence,

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accumulation and resultant inappropriateness of the declarations of love. It's the accumulation and timing. The closest way of making to that was the billboard I made My Bottom Feels Funny. That same sense of being really, really tickled and almost daring myself to do it. In that case the idea came from being offered a billboard to make a piece of work for and being very much aware that I didn't have anything important enough to put on it (I didn't think anyone else did either, it's not a lack of confidence

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thing more of a suspicion of grandiosity). It came out of a throwaway remark to a friend that I may as well write "my bottom feels funny" because what could I possibly say that was important enough to warrant a billboard. Then the idea of actually using that line as the work started to become a possibility. I became really interesting in how shocking people found it. People's gasps were fascinating (and very addictive). It's such a something-andnothing statement that doesn't use explicit language or imagery.


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They're both very much about the boundary between appropriateness and inappropriateness that runs throughout my work.

much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how do you conceive the narrative that pervades your works?

Unconditional draws a lot from universal imagery: when playing with the evokative power of reminders to iconic people you establish direct relations with the viewers that goes beyond any conventional symbolism: German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so

I suppose although it can be related to art history and conventional symbolism (for example someone pointed out My Bottom Feels Funny was a direct reference to the nude in art history) my work is more about feelings, fleeting intensities. Art's function has changed very much with literacy, photography,

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print and now the internet - most people are really visually literate, publishing text and photography on social media and interpreting gifs, written word, videos, film as a matter of course. Conventional art symbolism was a necessary language that allowed artists and audience to communicate effectively about specific things. The whole context has changed. I don't intentionally probe psychological, narrative elements but it is certainly interesting to think about. Your installations as A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place conveys both metaphoric and descriptive inquiry into the politics of the everyday: the compelling narrative that pervades these installations invites the viewers to a multilayered experience and allows you to construct a concrete aesthetic from experience and symbols. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I don't see how it's possible to separate your own personal experience from any process, creative or otherwise. Our experiences shape our understanding of the world, the questions we ask and the subjects we're interested in. Even an artist who's heavily into 'pure' form - their thought process and understanding of possibilities are based on previous understanding of the art world. I don't think it's a problem, I just think that experiences and values are forever in flux within each individual and we can never be fully separated from these.

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Your works are marked out with an unconventional hybrid combination between abstraction and explicit reminders to everyday life's objects, especially found materials: this mix triggers unexpected reactions in the viewers, that are walked into an area of intellectual interplay in which are urged to question their usual relationships with a variety of objects that you recontextualize and bring to a new level of significance. Gerhard Richter once remarked, "my concern is never art, but always what art can be used for": what is your opinion about the functional aspect of Art in the contemporary age?

I think Art's function is to ask questions and to help people think, not to impress them. I'm much more interested in the gasp, the laugh or the tilted head rather than the "wow!". The art I'm interested in stimulates thought and questions assumptions on whatever scale. It might be a Richard Tuttle where I think "why on earth do I find that form and those colours so bloody stimulating?" or a Mika Rottenberg film that makes me laugh out loud whilst feeling really uncomfortably voyeuristic. Those are exciting experiences. I do get cross with artists who say their work isn't political. It is. It always is. And that's exciting! Your practice reflects the negotiation of an environment saturated with social norms and conventions: while lots of artists from the contemporary scene, as Ai WeiWei or more recently Jennifer Linton, use to convey open socio-political criticism in their works, you seem more interested to hint the

direction, inviting the viewers to a process of self-reflection that may lead to subvert a variety of usual, almost stereotyped cultural categories. Do you consider that your works could be considered political in a certain sense or did you seek to maintain a more neutral approach? And in particular, what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in the contemporary society?

My Chimera series of collages was an attempt to explore Britain's involvement in global conflict and my total horror but also lack of understanding of it. Machinery and body parts. I work with teenagers who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom intend to join the army. I care about them as individuals and wonder how much awareness has gone into their decisions and whether it's true free choice or a lack of other options. I find it overwhelming. War appalls me but I also feel extremely guilty that I don't fully understand how my own country is engaged in it. I'm aware that's an extremely privileged position. I think rather than standing on a soap box shouting about right and wrong it's possibly more important for me to use my work to say "this really worries me but I don't know the answers". It's okay to not know the answers as long as your part of a process of finding out. So yes, I suppose my work pivots around the idea of questioning everything. Seeing norms as social constructs rather than the natural way. There's a destabilising mentality to it.

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Over these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, including your recent solo Homunculus at Art Gene, Barrow-in-Furness. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Of course I consider audience perception but I enjoy the fact that I can never really preempt people's interpretations of my work. When I first started making art, I had very specific ideas about what I wanted the viewer to get from the work and if that didn't happen I saw it as a failure. I now embrace that side of art-making and actually find it much more exciting. There really are as many interpretations as there are viewers. Art is a space for experience and suspension. Too many people are suspicious of contemporary conceptual art and worry that there is a correct interpretation, which then means there is the possibility of failing as a viewer if you do not get that from the work. That's crazy. If an artist's got something really direct they need to say to their audience I think they'd be better off writing a letter. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Suzanne. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

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I've really enjoyed your questions! I've been thinking for some time I need to start dealing with more openly political stuff. I think it's incredibly important for everyone to have ownership over the politics and implications of their own behaviours and artists are no different. So that means me. The UK is in a mess at the minute (with the EU referendum result, austerity and social divides) and now is not the time to take a backseat. I

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think I may start to be more active in sourcing areas of research rather than being more purely responsive to stimulus. It will still be silly, and it will still be playful, but perhaps I need to be a little more stroppy.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Barbara Scott, curator articulaction@post.com


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ARTiculAction Art Review // Special Issue // Summer 2016  
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