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Š 2016 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. ISBN 978-0-9968659-2-0


Alumni Miami Beach Urban Studios

CAssociation OLLEGE OF A RCHITECTURE + T HE A RTS

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F ROM T HE CURAT OR / 05 ABOUT T HE CATALOG / 07 EXHIBIT ION IMAGES / 08 INT ERVIEW WIT H T HE ART IST / 68 CRED IT S / 71

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F R I DAY, SE PT E MB ER 6, 2013 TH ROUGH FRIDAY, OC TOBER 04, 2013

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In 2013, New Zealand-born and Los Angeles-based Paul Donald was FIU’s Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) Gallery inaugural artist-in-residence. Donald was invited to take over the gallery space in whatever way he wished: the result is Cause Way, a hybrid performanceinstallation that tests the often tacitly scripted roles of artist and viewer. A causeway is a bridge that allows travel across water. Donald and I travelled over one of seven found in MiamiDade County—the MacArthur causeway—every day to get to the gallery. In this way, the title is at least partially a nod to the location of his installation. As I describe in my description of the catalog on the following page, the meanings of the words “cause” and “way” that make up the title also connect to the work’s themes. Cause Way is similar in conception to a bridge Donald built in 2011 at Sydney Art Space in Australia. However, the structure he built at MBUS Gallery is more akin to a raised walkway that one might expect to find in Florida’s swampy topography. The walkway, though, is not modelled on an existing one. Rather, it is an amalgamation of walkways Donald might have seen online or on television—or were conjured by text he read. Indeed, the emphasis on mediation (the embodied filtering of the world around us) emerges as an important theme for Donald in Cause Way. Donald would videotape each eight-hour day of working on constructing the bridge in the gallery. At the end of the work day, eight monitors on plinths

each played one hour of that day’s recording on loop. The plinth is a white cube mainstay that literally and metaphorically elevates the value of the artwork placed onto it. In fact, without the plinth the object may not be read as an artwork at all. By explicitly revealing the artist’s labor—which the plinth and the white cube veil as part of manufacturing the artwork’s exceptional status—Donald effectively disempowers the plinth and puts “art” and “work” in “artwork” in tension. Not surprisingly, “work” appears in the title of the Sydney installation: Would Work. Eventually, the accumulation of monitors blocked physical entrance into the gallery, allowing only views of the various days of edited video “documentation” of the making of the work. The glass door of the other entrance was covered over with plywood, too. However, tiny holes were cut out for viewers to spy the raised walkway. By preventing access to or providing only partial views of the entire gallery, Donald intervenes in yet another relationship of the experience of viewing artworks in the white cube: that between the viewer and the artwork. In a dramatic manner, Donald re-directs our attention away from an artwork as a disembodied pure form or object to one as a product of the labor of the artist as aforementioned and a viewer’s always already mediated experience. That is, even the direct, live experience we expect to have in galleries as viewers is an implicitly constructed one. –Alpesh Kantilal Patel

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ABOU T TH E C ATALOG

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This catalog contains almost exclusively images of Cause Way, mostly taken by the artist, the number of which mimic the multiplicity of screens that are part of the installation. The design of the catalog, produced largely two-and-half years after the exhibition took place, is not meant to function as documentation but further exploration of a core theme of the exhibition: the always already mediated aspect of viewing an artwork. For instance, the fact that this catalog is digital is not incidental. Indeed, the experience of the viewer of this catalog is through a screen—this time that of the computer or a smartphone, for example, rather than a flat screen television as in the exhibition. The catalog, then, is an extension of the artist’s exploration of the relationship between viewer, artwork, and artist. As part of the short-duration of his residency—roughly five days—Donald generously visited undergraduate courses and MFA studios to critique work. The carefully curated excerpts that appear opposite some of the images in this catalog are primarily from essays completed by undergraduate and graduate courses as part of an assignment for my “post-1985 art” course in the fall of 2013. The assignment was to explore the “contemporary,” a term which has increasingly been interrogated by art historians recently. The students could use Donald’s artwork as a point of departure and were expected to cite essays—from the section titled “The Contemporary and Globalization” in Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present (edited by Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson and published the year of Donald’s exhibition by Routledge)—that we had discussed in class. More specifically, the essays included Tim Griffin’s “Worlds Apart: Contemporary Art, Globalization, and the Rise of Biennials”; Terry Smith’s “‘Our Contemporaneity?’”’; and Jean-Phillipe Antoine’s “The Historicity of the Contemporary is Now!”.

The excerpts are not illustrative of the images opposite of which they might appear. Indeed, we have stripped the text (with permission of my former students) from their original context. At the same time, decisions were not completely random. Donald, designer Kelley Antoniazzi-Taksier and I compiled an archive of particularly interesting excerpts from all of the students’ essays. We then edited out any that were redundant in content. Finally, the texts were placed next to images to which the team felt were loosely connected. In other words, the metaphorical bridge between the image and the text is meant to be generative—a place of plenitude—rather than prescriptive. A causeway as aforementioned in my description of the exhibition which precedes this essay is literally a bridge and Donald’s artwork implicitly signals the importance of the metaphorical “in-between” a causeway embodies rather than origins and destinations. This is subtly captured in the work’s title, Cause Way, a splitting of the word “causeway” into two parts. The word “Cause” in the title implicitly brings up the word “effect,” but “Way” emphasizes the road or journey. Similarly, there is no explicit sequence of viewing the catalog, so it is possible to begin looking at the images from whatever page the viewer wishes. As one flips through this catalog, many pages are intentionally left blank—they are without text or image: this decision creates a cadence in viewing the images that is not predictable or formulaic and in-line with the interest in the performative as a “way” of doing. Also part of the catalog is an edited excerpt of an interview between the artist and Juan Brizuela, former FIU marketing coordinator. Overall, it cannot be stressed enough that this catalog not be seen as a mirror of the exhibition but rather a further exploration of the themes instantiated by Cause Way. –Alpesh Kantilal Patel Paul Donald / Cause Way | 09


“Going to Miami Beach Urban Studios to see the exhibition for the first time, I did not have any idea what I was in for. I did not read the blurb on the MBUS website and reached for the door handle to Suite 440 only to be denied immediately. Behind the glass door were two large pieces of plywood blocking visibility for anyone outside of the gallery, except for two square holes cut in seemingly at random. I walked over to the security guard and asked him how to get into the gallery. I did not even understand the security guard’s response until after he repeated himself. I was not supposed to enter the gallery. He escorted me to the other entrance to the gallery and showed me the mass of televisions that were supposed to document the process of the building of the installation.” –Rick Diaz

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“As one might gather from the lack of accessibility to this installation, Donald is equating the process of making and viewing art to the concept of world-making. Just as Miami was built on top of the wild and unfriendly swamps of the Everglades, art is a way of viewing the world that is built on top of the wild and unfriendly swamps of the psyche.” –Rick Diaz

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“Donald’s work seemed to emphasize not the completion, but rather the process of making something. Blocking the ‘final product’ from full view denies the viewer the classic white cube experience. The frustration caused by his confrontation was merely an extension of the result of global connectedness, the idea of being visually rewarded every second.” –Amanda Covach

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Donald had created a structure within a space, building a barrier between the viewer and his work, while simultaneously allowing the viewer to see the work during its completion. Inside the gallery space, he built what seemed to be a small boardwalk, crossing the space and moving around two columns within the gallery. The board walk was made out of common construction lumber, most pieces with the serial numbers still attached. However, all these details were nearly obscured from the viewer, as Donald had placed plywood pieces with crudely cut holes in them over the glass entrance doors. He then blocked a second entrance to the gallery with a barrier of television screens of varying styles, dimensions, ages, and brands. The television screens were placed on pedestals—the type that would normally display the works of art within the gallery space—and each broadcast between the viewer and the space one hour of the eight hours Donald took to in the building of the project. As he went assembling the project, he also began forming the television barrier, further obscuring (or further elaborating it) the work at the time it was being built, but allowing the viewer more clues into the process of constructing the boardwalk through the gallery. –Amanda Covach

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I like to have the room to consider what “artwork” and “audience” might mean in relation to myself as much as I like audience members to have the room to consider themselves and what they imagine the artist and/or artwork to be for them. –Paul Donald, in an interview with Juan Brizuela

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“His piece exists before the viewer as un-built, in process, and completed. This multiplicity of time is precisely what Terry Smith was referring to in his essay “Our” Contemporaneity wherein he talks about living in the “thickened present” and the present’s “transient aspects, its deepening density and its implacable presence.” –Amanda Covach

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In thinking of Paul Donald’s exhibition, the experience of what happened prior to viewing the exhibition, the moment you are with the installation, and afterwards— is mediated, everything. We are presented with multiple videos showing the actions that led up to the physical structure in the distance. There is a tension in the being in the now, viewing a physical object, and the viewing of an event recorded which happened in the past. –Phillip Karp

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“The final object/performance is a thing without reason except for its potential as propulsion for thought experiments played out materially and the gamble of exposure to an audience.” –Paul Donald, in an interview with Juan Brizuela

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“The need to ‘bridge the gap’ between one’s self identity and those of others has become quite emphatic in my work due to the diverse places I have found myself living.” –Paul Donald, in an interview with Juan Brizuela

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“The bridge activates the gallery space and the lack of accessibility draws it all together, making the installation both one that extends beyond the actual confines of the gallery and one that is so small that you can see almost all that there is to see at one glance.” –Rick Diaz

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“If there is distance between artist, artwork, and viewer, then there exists a cognitive space that allows for each of the persons involved to conduct ‘experiments of thought’ under her or his own terms.” –Paul Donald, in an interview with Juan Brizuela

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Terry Smith, in an essay titled “Our Contemporaneity?,” considers the etymology of the word ‘contemporary’ itself, saying the word could refer to ‘a multiplicity of ways of being in time, and of so existing with others-who may share something of our own temporality but may also live, contemporaneously, in distinct temporalities of their own [...]’ Paul Donald’s exhibition—the experience of what happened prior to viewing the exhibition, the moment you are with the installation, and afterwards—was mediated, everything. We are presented with multiple videos showing the actions that led up to the physical structure in the distance. There is a tension in the being in the now, viewing a physical object, and the viewing of an event recorded which happened in the past. Terry Smith brings up difference in his essay and how contemporary is “to live in the thickened present in ways that acknowledge the transient aspects.” Donald’s work could be read as exploring this idea. –Phillip Karp

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“A sense of distance, a sense of a gap or ‘being at odds with,’ clears a space in which my creativity can be enacted.” –Paul Donald, in an interview with Juan Brizuela

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“By forcing the audience into questioning their role in defining the object, the artist absolves the work of any stable authorship.” –Joe Locke

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“We all have our complaints about not fitting in or being excluded. I’m no different.” –Paul Donald, in an interview with Juan Brizuela

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“There is a question of accessibility. The doors and entrances of the space are blocked but only to reveal a hole or monitors showing an abstracted view of the same vista. We can’t physically enter the space to get close to the platform/bridge, but we are able to see it in the distance as well as in a prerecorded video format. How much do we explore art objects or is it always mediated by some variable? Can a video of an experience be the same as a physical action?” –Phillip Karp

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“Cause Way was designed to force the audience into asking questions about their role as participants, the role of the artist, the ambiguity of the object as art, to question what significance if any there is to medium or specialization within an artist’s practice.” –Joe Locke

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“Donald utilizes space to call into question the identity of the work itself. In doing so the author has forced us to consider the work not only in the frame of form, but also as an exercise in the conceptualization of art through a multitude of diverse arrangements.” –Joe Locke

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“Through the use of monitors and peepholes we interact with the piece in a way that asks the audience to question the author’s artistic intentions. What Donald creates is an artwork with a sense of open-endedness. The author (as he stated more or less in his artist talk) is neither trying to deprive us of a phenomenological experience in order to critique modernist sculpture nor trying to force any type of neo-modernist agenda. What is questioned, however, is the manner in which our specific individual experience interacts with the artist’s desired intention.” –Joe Locke

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“My work is an exercise in both practicing empathy for “the other” and an open call for the exercise of imaginative possibilities of this, albeit unknowable, “other.” –Paul Donald, in an interview with Juan Brizuela

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I NTERV I E W WI TH T H E A RT I S T by Juan Brizuela on August 26, 2013 What is your main objective in creating and exhibiting your work at FIU’s Miami Beach Urban Studios? It is my belief that my practice as an artist is made whole, or made complete, by the invocation of an audience. I am as much an audience for my own work as a perfect stranger might be and as such my work is an exercise in both practicing empathy for “the other” and an open call for the exercise of imaginative possibilities of this, albeit unknowable, “other”. What would you like viewers to take away? I’ve never really had any specific ideas about what an audience might take away from seeing my work. Really, I hope that audience members might find themselves in a condition of thoughtfulness without specificity. I don’t like to be dictatorial with an audience. I find it more interesting that audience members, with all their particular baggage/ emotions/opinions, would come see my work and find themselves becoming deeply thoughtful about all their own baggage/emotions/opinions, perhaps even to the extent that they think more outwardly about how all their “stuff” relates to others and aspects of the world around them. What interests you about the relationship between artist, artwork, and viewer? Do you feel that there is a disconnect between the three elements today? If so, is this beneficial or detrimental? 70 | Paul Donald / Cause Way

Funnily enough I am quite interested in maintaining a sense of distance between myself and the audience! I don’t know whether there is a sense of disconnect among all the three elements you mention but I think a sense of distance can be productive. If there is any sense of disconnect then I think that would be something specific to individuals and what they believe about themselves. Even if people were to look at my work and dislike it and dismiss it from their minds that would be perfectly fine if it were consistent with how they viewed themselves. If there were some egregiously willful denial of their own behaviour in the face of an artwork then perhaps this would be a case for declaring a problematic disconnect. However, if there is a sense of distance among each or any of the three elements—artist, artwork, and viewer—then I believe there exists a cognitive space which allows room for each of the persons involved to conduct “experiments of thought” under her or his own terms. I like to have the room to consider what “artwork” and “audience” might mean in relation to myself as much as I like audience members to have the room to consider themselves and what they imagine the artist and/or artwork to be for them. Does your heritage or your residence in Canada, shape your personal culture and, thus, your creative process? There is no escaping one’s heritage! I am a New Zealander who grew up in an era that valued self sufficiency, or a doit-yourself ethic. Due to a paucity of particular materials and services, and a culture of DIY, I was exposed to a lot of things that were made by people I knew (including my father). Alongside my own family being very hands on and making and building things they needed, I was also quite enamored by indigenous (Maori) crafts, which were a very present part of


New Zealand culture. At the time great value was placed upon skill in hand craft. Carving and weaving were highly valued; master carvers and master weavers were cultural treasures. To be a living and performing embodiment of knowledge was held up as a great role to undertake in life. I still admire people who not only know things, but practice that knowledge as a kind of living performance. After growing up in New Zealand, I lived in Australia for about nine years, and then the United Kingdom for about three to four years. I now live in Canada, Montreal specifically, where the majority language and culture is French and as such somewhat alien to me. We all have our complaints about not fitting in or being excluded. I’m no different. My sense of being an outsider began in New Zealand with my awareness of not belonging to the indigenous culture and also as being thought of as less than “manly” (I am open about my sexual identification and stood out in a culture dominated by macho models of masculinity and rugby culture). Moving to other countries reinforced my acceptance, if not comfort, with being at odds with the culture around me (gender and sexuality and other outsider issues are not at the forefront in the work I am presenting at FIU but they feature strongly in other work I do). But the need to “bridge the gap” between one’s self identity and those of others has become quite emphatic in my work due to the diverse places I have found myself living. This perhaps relates to what I said earlier in that a sense of distance, a sense of a gap or “being at odds with,” clears a space in which my creativity can be enacted. If you attended university, where did you attend and for what degree?

I went to university a little late in life after working in the design field and at other odd jobs. I was 32 when I started my arts degree. I started in New Zealand, skipping the introductory year as I had being a practicing artist for quite some time before. After a year I moved to Australia where I studied at Sydney College of the Arts, completing an undergraduate degree and then a Masters in Visual Arts (an MVA, which in North America is called the Masters in Fine Arts or MFA). How did you first discover art as your profession and passion? Like most children I enjoyed arts and crafts but for some reason I persisted with it into adulthood, probably connected to my admiration for craftspeople and DIY skills. I am strongly drawn to the process of thinking things out via material. The final object/performance is a thing without reason except for its potential as propulsion for thought experiments played out materially and the gamble of exposure to an audience. I heard that you are doing a residency here in Miami, with the help of Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel, and that you will be lecturing some of his students. What knowledge or perspectives do you plan on sharing with these students? I hope to share my particular approach to art making, not as the only way of doing things but as one possible approach amongst many. While I will come with a great many things of my own to say, I also expect to interact with the students in much the same way I conduct my art practice. Which is to say I am looking forward to working with them as they are in all they accept and resist. Paul Donald / Cause Way | 71


Alumni Association

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F I U'S MI AMI B E ACH URBAN STU DIOS IS GEN EROUSLY SU P P OR TE D BY T HE CI T Y O F M IAM I BEAC H , C U LTURAL AFFAIRS PROGRA M , C U LTURAL AR TS C OUN C IL. CAU SE WAY is organized by Alpesh Kantilal Patel, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory. EDITED AND COMPILED B Y Kelley Antoniazzi-Taksier Paul Donald Alpesh Kantilal Patel PHOTOGRA PHY Courtesy of the Artist CATALOG DESIGN Kelley Antoniazzi-Taksier CONTRIB UTORS Juan Brizuela Amanda Covach Rick Diaz Joe Locke Phillip Karp

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Profile for Kelley Antoniazzi-Taksier

Paul Donald | Cause Way  

Paul Donald is MBUS’s fall 2013 artist-in-residence. Donald’s installation on exhibit in the MBUS Gallery aims to explore the roles of artis...

Paul Donald | Cause Way  

Paul Donald is MBUS’s fall 2013 artist-in-residence. Donald’s installation on exhibit in the MBUS Gallery aims to explore the roles of artis...

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