ANY WHERE V.II
ANY WHERE V.II
Foreword Su Baker and Anne Gaines
Introduction Sean Lowry and Simone Douglas
Mutant Space Atif Akin
Hal, Yes Dave, Do You Think They Can See the Work Up Here? Brad Buckley
Photo Essay Daniel Cherrin
The Visits (Of Which There Were None) Livia Daza-Paris
Pizza Block 2 EIDIA (Melissa P. Wolf & Paul Lamarre)
From Thread to Artefact Tricia Flanagan
The Writings Franklin Collective
Liminal Dimensions of Memory Karen Frostig
Up Against the Wall: Public Art, Precarity, and Witness Susan R. Greene
Drawing into Space David Griffin
Exodus Stations Marta Jecu
Pulse Project (2011-2016) Michelle Lewis-King
Unisex Lin + Lam
Calling Athlone Steve Maher
Absens Frauke Materlik
Communitas Frank J. Miles
How the Stars Stand Sara Morawetz
Cern Arthur Ou
Out of Place: Art in Practice and the Revolution Now Jane Philbrick
The Chronotopography of Mountains Sreshta Rit Premneth
Reflections on Critique and Critical Judgment in Art Re-Sited
Connect Sylvia Schwenk
Riding Through Walls Megan L. Smith
Archiving Fleeting Moments Tatlo (Sara Jimenez and Jade Yumang
Anywhere and Elsewhere: Art at the Outermost Limits of Location-Specificity, the second conference for Project Anywhere, commenced in New York City on the campus of Parsons School of Design on November 17th and 18th, just ten days after the temerarious United States 2016 presidential election. Artists from all over the world came to this location during the initial aftermath of this historical political outcome to attend a gathering that commenced in a country that is deeply divided in its social values and politics. These participants took this opportunity to critically engage in and promulgate the potency of art at a moment when the presence of their voices is most needed in this specific location. In spite of the hatred and oppression being lauded across the US throughout the recent election, these artists, activists, researchers, writers and curators amongst others gathered to unite through cogent discourse in deference to this moment. Through the presentations and critical dialogue participants named what they know to be important while deftly defending creative freedom and voice. These participants all expanded the possibilities of artistic impact and from the specificity of this place they pushed barriers that exist everyplace. Anywhere V.II is co-authored, edited and curated by Simone Douglas, Associate Professor and Director of the MFA in Fine Arts here at Parsons, and Dr Sean Lowry, Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies at Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, and is the continuance of this pivotal series. This collection of essays present multifarious disparate views and visions for those interested in growth, hope and freedom. This ongoing and networking collective motivates, empathizes and reinforces these societal ideals. Through Anywhere V.II, we celebrate a variety of undertakings that challenge and drive limits. The theories, projects and communities presented here are all thoughtful partners and together provide a much-needed plasticity and connection for creative communities of practice. Enjoy this inspiring journey through the many creative routes that are influencing positive and much needed change. â€”
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Anne Gaines Dean of School of Art, Media, and Technology Parsons School of Design
Here in Melbourne, in November 2016, we watched political events unfold in the US and thought of colleagues meeting in New York City at Parsons the New School. We remember wondering how it felt there at that time. Now we see the results of that conference. The artists and the writers, although not didactically or even perhaps deliberately, have captured the sense of urgency in artâ€™s discourses and the imperatives the drive towards examination explication and speculation. Whatever is going on in the geopolitical environment and what sense we can make of it, and no matter how overwhelming, artists and writers continue to explore, expose and expand the possibilities of art. In no part of this world are we immune from this. Perhaps we are in the death throes of global capitalism, perhaps we will see a new social order. At any rate, it has never been more important for the speaking of truth to power. Anywhere is indeed everywhere and we are all in one world and in many. I congratulate Sean Lowry and Simone Douglas, together of course with all those involved in this publication. I commend to you this work and celebrate this ongoing collaboration between Parsons the New School and Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. We certainly look forward to sharing in future events and in our ongoing exploration of this world in which we are everywhere and anywhere.
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Su Baker Professor Pro-Vice Chancellor Engagement Professor of Art Victorian College of the Arts Faculty of the VCA and MCM University of Melbourne
WELCOME TO ANYWHERE V.II
such activity is simply a placeholder with which to provisionally counter assumptions that new knowledge or experience is ideally communicated in any particular mode or format. At any rate, it serves as another vehicle for promoting ways of experiencing, knowing, and communicating ideas. At the cessation of Project Anywhere’s annual global exhibition hosting period, all projects are automatically eligible — irrespective as to any demonstrated capacity to meet proposed objectives — for inclusion in our biennial conference titled Anywhere and Elsewhere. Interestingly, it is at this juncture that curatorship is first introduced to the mix. Our free two-day event at Parsons School of Design in New York features presentations from artists that have successfully navigated blind peer evaluation through Project Anywhere together with a complementary selection of invited presentations from established artists, curators and writers. After each biennial conference, all contributors are invited to develop material for this biennial publication Anywhere. This publication — now in its second iteration — features contributions ranging from scholarly texts through to photo essays, annotated diagrams, and graphic illustrations (or indeed any other page based representation that points toward artistic projects located elsewhere in space and time). Much contemporary artistic activity is less interested in discrete materialisations or specific representations of processes but rather in art’s speculative potential at the borders of its wonderfully omnivorous domain of production. With artists increasingly pushing at the boundaries of established categorisations, it can be especially challenging to find a consistent tone or language set. Yet when considered in concert, it should be clear that Project Anywhere, Anywhere and Elsewhere and Anywhere together seek to represent distinct moments within ongoing and often indeterminate processes of making, doing, sharing and reflecting.
Artistic research, like the world of a work of art, can be accessed and represented in numerous ways in its uneven passages from conception through production to dissemination. Yet this characteristically indeterminate set of processes can invariably lead us to a question: how and when in the course of becoming should artistic research be captured, evaluated and represented? Are there more or less appropriate moments in the passage from a proposal through to a project’s afterlife in which to reflect upon its potential to form new insights and understandings? Surely none are wholly sufficient. Yet, when considered together, they can certainly provide more. Artistic research is an activity typically underscored by assertions that art can somehow produce both epistemological and experiential claims to knowledge. A common claim is that certain ideas are inimitably developed and communicated via processes of doing and experiencing doing. Sometimes research accompanying art might succeed as research whilst failing as art, and vice versa. Artistic research, like art, takes place in a spatialized network of elements that sustain yet do not delimit or define it. Like art, artistic research is characterised by a productive indeterminacy that is at once difficult to capture and nevertheless significant in the formation of new knowledge and understandings. Within this sometimes radically distributed matrix of competing material and mediated considerations, and coupled with the sometimes remote and/or radically distributed nature of the activities themselves, it can be extremely difficult to point to a singular or optimum point of entry into the world of a project. This publication follows a biennial conference which in turn follows a global peer reviewed exhibition program. It is simply another portal into the worlds reflected within. Accordingly, it is sensible to concede up front that the task of adequately representing a project that has occurred or is occurring elsewhere in space and time is bound to be a mixed enterprise. Perhaps at best, any attempt to represent
WE ARE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME YOU TO THE WORLDS CONTAINED WITHIN ANYWHERE V.II — Sean Lowry and Simone Douglas
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had over 50,000 residents. Modern-day Metsamor, founded in 1969, has a population of just under 10,000 people, most of whom are employees of the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant. The rest of the town is inhabited by refugees from the region. The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant was designed in 1969 as a water-moderated nuclear reactor, commissioned and constructed by the USSR shortly before Chernobyl. The plant currently supplies approximately 40% of electricity throughout Armenia, a country under economic blockade by its two neighboring countries, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Metsamor with its endless historical and contemporary layers lies between two sacred, volcanic mountains, Mount Aragats and Mount Ararat. Mount Aragats is home to a number of Stalin era scientific research establishments, including the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory Center and the Yerevan Physics Institute Radiophysics Research and Cosmic Ray Detection Center. The epicenter of the 1988 Yerevan earthquake was 50 km south of Mount Aragat. The epicenter of the 2011 Van earthquake was 140 km southwest of Mount Ararat. It is said that Mount Ararat was the final landing place of Noah’s Ark — the vessel designed to save the human and animal species from divine retribution — humanity’s so-called original allegorical catastrophe. The design of Noah’s Ark, speculative as it may be, evolved through religious mythology. Beginning as an ark, a box and becoming a three-story ship, Noah’s Ark continues to capture the imagination of designers in current times. The research consisted of visual surveys around power plants and physics research and development on radioactivity. Aimed to contemplate the politics of nuclear energy through artistic practice it crosses over multiple forms of visual media, and is embodied as installation, in online publications and as print material. The viewer is invited to look through layers, design, atoms and time to see Mutant Space.
Mutant Space is a large scope visual art project about nuclear power and radioactivity spanning vast periods of time, and encompassing past, present and future from 3 Gya (approximately 3 billion years ago), to 240,000 years into the future. The project contemplates radioactive spaces through the investigation and documentation of four sites: Chernobyl in the Ukraine; Onkalo in Finland; the Hanford Site in the United States; and Metsamor in Armenia. Mutant Space explores the mythical and scientific elements embedded in these sites, together with archaeological, technological, geological, architectural and mechanical components. Radioactive materials serve as both a point of reference, and as the core of each mutant space. Today, following the 1986 catastrophe, Chernobyl is an abandoned and isolated zone. A spectacle of both physical and mythical proportions spreading out through parts of Europe and Asia, the catastrophe has been transformed into a monument to the Cold War era. Chernobyl has become a symbol of ostalgie. The Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository is a deep geological repository for nuclear waste, the first of its kind in the world. Current discussion underscores the challenge of informing those who might live in the vicinity in the future that nuclear waste remains underground. The Hanford Site is a mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex operated by the US government in the State of Washington. Established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project in Hanford, plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the first nuclear bomb, which was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. The ancient city of Metsamor can be traced back to the Bronze Age, around the third millennia BC, with evidence of continued development into the seventeenth century. Traces of war, devastation, destruction and new beginnings are uncovered in ongoing archaeological digs, which began in 1965. Around the eleventh century BC, Metsamor is estimated to have
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Expeditions are joined and / or supported by Arteles, Alan Chatham and Laboratory Spokane, Samvel Baghdasaryan, Armine Hovhannisyan, Marianna Hovhannisyan and Can Pekdemir.
Mutant Space, (Metsamor, Armenia, Onkalo), 2015. Digital Image, Dimensions Variable.
HAL? YES DAVE? DO YOU THINK THEY CAN SEE THE WORK UP HERE? WITH APOLOGIES TO STANLEY KUBRICK
Introduction — A number of the ideas in this chapter are drawn from articles that have been written over the past several years with my colleague and collaborator, John Conomos. 1 This collaboration began in 1999 when we organised two successful forums at Artspace Visual Arts Centre in Sydney in the lead-up to the referendum which would decide whether or not Australia would become a republic. Thus, began a long discursive and polemical collaboration with Conomos. This chapter will attempt to outline the problematic relationship between the artist and the curator, and to examine one exhibition model that operated outside the museum or white cube context. The exhibition model chosen is the poetically titled Construction in Process, which offered a strategy beyond that of the curator — including the recent phenomenon of the ‘flying curator’ — as auteur. The Construction in Process model was conceived by the Polish artist, curator, filmmaker and writer Ryszard Wasko, and was in use during the 1980s and 1990s. It was an idea born during the rise of the Polish political movement Solidarity, during what turned out to be the twilight years of the communist Eastern bloc.
and values for the making, exhibiting and manifestation of art? Despite the current proliferation of curatorial and museum courses, what is painfully evident is the ascendancy of corporate managerialism in determining the curator’s modus operandi and raison d’être. This has had a pernicious influence on what artists produce, and on how they are curated, promoted and valued by all of us who seek and support art that is not banal or decorative, and that is full of critique and curiosity about our world and everything in it. Curating by Numbers — The late Anne d’Harnoncourt, the former director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, offered this advice to young curators entering the gallery or museum world: I think my advice would probably [be to] not change very much; it is to look and look and look, and then to look again, because nothing replaces looking . . . I am not being in Duchamp’s words ‘only retinal,’ I don’t mean that. I mean to be with art — I always thought that was a wonderful phrase of Gilbert & George’s, ‘to be with art is all we ask.’ 3 And yet who today, among our own curators, is looking, and is not governed by a non-risk taking, self-congratulatory and self-perpetuating ethic of more of the same? After all, looking should be one of the cardinal points of our compass of artistic creation, exhibition and understanding. Admittedly, looking is not simple: all of us need to be informed about everything that calls itself art today — what is in the traditional art museums, galleries, art fairs, biennales, artists’ studios and artist-runinitiatives and new media art, and what is not in those places, but in others. Sadly, what we have is a number of curators who appear to wish to be media stars and celebrities, who have been lost to the contemporary art scene’s aesthetic of razzamatazz and the spectacle.
The Curator — There is an emerging discourse about curators and what they do. If we accept the premise that our conceptualisation of the art critic has been well delineated since Baudelaire’s time, why is it that the curator’s role in the contemporary art world is fluid, vague and lacking a thorough critique? Why have we not adequately described and debated what takes place between the artist, the curator, and their publics? This gap is especially evident in relation to curators and curating outside the ‘white cube’ gallery or museum context, and the need for it to be filled has become even more urgent with the advent of digital curation. As Dutch theorist Henk Slager reminds us, ‘the paradigm of the public exhibition was formulated at the time of the French revolution in the 18th century.’ 2 The exhibition has, since that time, been expected to engage with broader social and cultural issues of the day. However, as has been noted by many commentators, contemporary art is caught between several masters — including the curator, corporate funders and museum trustees, and benefactors. Perhaps now it is merely entertainment for the general public? The question that stands head and shoulders above every other one is: how is art to be experienced directly by the spectator, in a society that is crowded with cultural, museological and selfinterest groups all vying to produce ideas, contexts
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Why bother doing research when you can simply browse the web and order takeout? — These curators reinforce today’s institutions’ blandness and predictability by selecting from the same shrinking songbook of artists — let us call them ‘the curators’ pets’ — who appear to be at ease with being led by their nose, and who create art that is increasingly empty, repetitive and cliché-ridden. The curator who stands in the limelight does a grave disservice to art in general, to younger aspiring artists in particular, and to any artist’s oeuvre. How many promising and talented artists have been left behind because of this narrow, canonical and museological curatorial context? Are these curators for art or against it? Does
act like courtiers — though courtiers whose works are dependent upon these curators. This highly problematic situation not only leads to a small group of artists parading their wares, time and again, around the same circuit of exhibitions and to the same critical reception; it also produces a crushingly boring spectacle of art as entertainment. It produces art that is empty of the critical ideas, forms and contexts we need if we wish to ignite our imagination and make us question our own times and engage in sincere, informed and reflective dialogue with the past. So, a small clique of favoured contemporary artists, have been transformed into court jesters or clowns — at best, they are ‘infotainment’ peddlers who do nothing more than reflect the inanities of our culture of distraction, fragmentation and globalism. They are repeatedly rewarded by a funding and curatorial patronage system in which the younger you are, the more malleable you are expected to be as a creator of products (artworks) that are really only ‘sound-bite’ packages of slick, facile, derivative ideas. Modern curatorial practice — regardless of whether it is the ‘embedded,’ institutional curator, the ‘adjunct’ curator who works in association with institutions, or the so-called independent curator who may be invited by institutions to be a guest curator — has many significant dysfunctional features and shortcomings that prevent a curator from maximising the artist’s lifelong Socratic project of achieving ‘an uncorrupted consciousness.’ 5 Curators ought to be able to facilitate free dialogue among artists, institutions and their publics, and to show that there is the possibility of a world other than our present one of bureaucratic rationalism, panoptic globalism, and media-saturated simulacra. This means being aware of how blindly dependent we have become on a post-fordist society whose very culture we should instead be systematically questioning, both individually and through our institutions, particularly given the aesthetic, cultural and political influence that curators can have on how art is seen and understood.
art, in fact, need mediation by a museum, gallery or a curator? If it does, what kind of curator will create such a curatorial pluralism, a new paradigm where art follows a fuller and more searching trajectory of possibilities? What role have careerist curators played in sustaining the ‘art star’ economy of art exhibition, production and critical reception? In the growing — and stifling — conformity of our art museum and gallery world, gifted artists (both ‘emerging’ and ‘mid-career,’ to use the current term) who choose to not chase ‘white cube’ recognition — primarily, we are told, because of the kind and amount of energy required to be part of the ‘scene and herd’ crowd (to echo Artforum’s witticism) — are invisible to the public gaze. This truth is evident to anyone who has even a passing familiarity with the curatorial, funding and ideological complexities and biases of the art world, where to say that ‘the emperor is naked’ leads immediately to being categorised as ‘difficult,’ a ‘troublemaker,’ a ‘stirrer,’ a ‘pariah,’ a ‘ratbag,’ someone who is rocking the boat. Who among us appreciates that in order to succeed as a curator or as an artist, one must accept and value the need for reciprocity between tradition and experimentation? If we wish to question the confused and pernicious agendas, empty-headed rhetoric, cowardice and global cultural cringe that afflicts our art world, we must approach the task with the key conviction that it is important to encourage criticism, debate, public scrutiny and, thus, new curatorial vistas. This means not kowtowing to our art, cultural and educational institutions and their mantras. On the contrary, it is important to speak plainly about how essential it is for us to constantly question ourselves, and to assert the fundamental value of reasoned critical thinking and policy action. Not all curators who work in a museological or gallery context are ipso facto responsible for this sad situation, of course, but the status quo needs to be called what it is, and we need to give voice to what is being said by the less privileged among us. Stefan Collini, a professor at Cambridge, in his recent lucid, insightful and fair but tough-minded manifesto, That’s Offensive! Criticism, Identity, Respect, 4 initiated a timely and necessary debate for all of us who are concerned with the rethinking of what a curator is and what they actually do.
Another Curatorial Model: Construction in Process — The Polish artist and curator Ryszard Wasko was the driving force behind the establishment of Construction in Process, which was first held in Łódź, Poland in 1981. Wasko seized the political moment when the ruling communist government was being challenged by Solidarity, the Polish trade union movement. A window opened in which Wasko was able to organise Construction in Process I and invite fifty-four artists from across Europe and North America to Łódź. One could speculate that it was Solidarity’s anti-bureaucratic stand, commitment to social justice and broader engagement with society
The Museum as a Presidential Palace —This critique aims to speak of what is not said about the flourishing corporatised museum culture that is in place throughout the West and Asia, where art museums function like royal courts in which curators produce a highly visible class of ‘indentured’ artists, who then
1 John Conomos is an artist, critic and writer, and Associate Professor and Principal Fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of the VCA and MCM, the University of Melbourne. 2 Henk Slager, The Pleasure of Research, Finnish Academy of Fine Art, Helsinki, 2012. 3 Hans-Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, Zurich, JRP/Ringier, 2007. For the late Anne d’Harnoncourt’s quotation see Christophe Cherix’s preface, 4. 4 Stefan Collini, That’s Offensive! Criticism, Identity, Respect, New York, Seagull Books, 2010. 5 See W.H. Gass, Fiction and the Figures of Life, Boston, Nonpareil, 1970 (quote from Gass,‘The Artist and Society’), 288.
that provided a model for how Wasko would ‘organise’ Construction in Process. The first Construction in Process was followed in 1985 with Process und Konstruktion II in Munich, Germany, and then others in Łódź, Poland (1990) and (1993), Negev, Israel (1995) and (Melbourne, Australia (1998). In 2000 the final exhibition, This earth is a flower — Construction in Process VII, was held, in Bydgoszcz, Poland. From the outset, there was no artistic director or curator, no one single figure pulling the levers of power, no one person shaping Construction in Process. Artists were invited to participate by a group of artists loosely associated with Wasko, and then each artist invited another group of participants, and so on, giving the project a democratic panorama that empowered artists rather than the curator. 6 As with many projects that have their genesis in an anarchic model, over time the energy that drove the original participants dissipated. Still, Wasko’s model does offer a strategy to rethink how artists might explore ways of being in the world that are beyond the tyranny of the museum.
6 I first met Ryszard Wasko in 1990, when Wasko was the artistic director at P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art in New York, and I was the Australia Council for the Arts Fellow, as part of the international studio residency program. I participated in My Home is Your Home — Construction in Process IV in Łódź (1993) and Co-existence — Construction in Process V in the Negev, Israel (1995). 7 Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (trans. Rodney Livingston), Towards A New Manifesto, London, Verso, 2011 , 71.
A Final Remark — As Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer argued in a recently published 1956 dialogue, which took place over three weeks, the mark of authentic thought is that it ‘negates the immediate presence of one’s own interests.’ 7 To do this one needs to bring out the utopian in a world which militates against doing so. All of us, regardless of who we are and what we do, need to be able to recognise and value the contradictions, tensions and fault-lines within and between our occupational lives and our private lives, to see the benefits of not separating theory from practice, life from art. Curating cannot be oblivious to itself.
The Story of the Silver Bullet (detail) My Home is Your Home‚ Construction in Process IV, 1993.
DANIEL A CHERRIN
Opposite Page: (Untitled) ATM in Taksim Square, 2013. Photograph, Dimensions Variable; (Untitled) A Protestor is a at Occupy Wall Street, 2010. Photograph, Dimensions Variable; (Untitled) Refugees from Darfur protest Omar Al-Bashir, 2009.Photograph, Dimensions Variable.
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(Untitled) ATM in Taksim Square, 2013. Photograph, Dimensions Variable; (Untitled) Palestinians Protest a Untited Statesâ€™ veto in the UN, 2011. Photograph, Dimensions Variable; (Untitled) Israel Police detain an Ultra Orthodox Protesting the Israeli State, 2009. Photograph, Dimensions Variable; (Untitled) Protestors Climb on a Destroyed Polic Vehicle in Taksim Square, 2013. Photograph, Dimensions Variable; (Untitled) ATM in Taksim Square, 2013. Photograph, Dimensions Variable.
THE VISITS OF WHICH THERE WERE NONE
A conversation with my (imagined) granddaughter — Yes, this was a long time ago. This is my mother, my father and me, at the memorials in Washington D.C. Your great-grandparents are 20 and 22 years old in the picture, and I am 50 years old. In this other picture, it is me and your great-greatgrandmother Lucia, and your great-grandfather Iván and his brother Raúl. You, my darling, you look so much like my mother Irma, your great-grandmother. We made these visits to the memorials every day for two weeks. We took our time there. We were surprised to find that being at the memorials felt like being in ancient temples in Greece. And this picture? That’s at the Jefferson Memorial. In this other one, we’re at the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial. I have wondered if these memorials have a memory, a consciousness of the empire they represent, of what they did to us. But so, what if they do? Shouldn’t we have the right to say something on that memory? Oh, it is a long story — one with a beginning that I do not really know and an end that I do not want to know. And yet. We were there, and we claimed these monuments to be witnesses of our family resilience, our love. And you, my sweetheart, now you know this much and you can take it with you in life. We were there. And through you, here we are still.
into their marriage, the events — the ones that determined their destinies — took place in the Lara region of Venezuela. Her husband was disappeared after an ambush attack by the military and she found herself as the wife of a man declared by the state “neither dead nor alive.” For most of our lives, we waited, holding on to the possibility of his return. A waiting that helped us survive, a waiting from our hearts. While the country’s Code of Military Justice specified that “a body fallen in war should be returned to the family,” all my mother received in 1966 was an unapologetic, stonewalling letter indicating that they would look into “the causes by which presumably your husband, Ivan Daza, lost his life.” She never received further information. My parents were participants in a movement that swept across Latin America, during a moment of optimism in the 1960s when notions of social and economic justice were not only a cause among leftist revolutionaries, but also a call for a dignified society. In the official history, there’s a lack of recognition that the leftist movement in which my father was involved actually existed within the context of Cold War geopolitics. But Venezuela was the scene of one of the most significant leftist revolutionary movements to arise amidst the global climate of the Cold War. Venezuelans suffered state-led human rights violations within a nominally democratic state that was supported by the CIA and the infamous School of the Americas. 1 During this period, state-organized violence impacted directly on our family, causing vivid loss and horror. We lived a clandestine life, uncertain of the truth about the political disappearance of my father. In the dictatorships of Chile and Argentina in the 1970 and 1980s, political disappearances under Operation Condor 2 took place on a massive scale, affecting large portions of the population. These disappearances were acknowledged, grieved, and protested at a mass communal level even as the state-perpetrated terrors continued. The experience in Venezuela, however, was one that occurred under a “democratic” state and one in which disappearances were not practiced extensively but were isolated cases under conditions of covert governmental actions and complex espionage. While the disappearances in Chile and Argentina have been thoroughly documented, these earlier “anti-leftist” operations that violated human rights in Venezuela remain largely surrounded by silence. With her letters, my mother wanted to let me in to the strange complexities of
Commentary I — In 1999, I found a journal written by Irma Paris that took the form of letters — addressed to me, her daughter — about her life. I found them on her night table, after her sudden death. On the first page, she writes that she needs to gather all her courage and try to tell me about “our lives,” so that then, perhaps, we can resolve the painful distance between us. I have not been able to read them completely. Instead, I have taken them with me, held them close, sensed them, and read them, though only in parts, as I also need to gather courage to go through them. But one day, the ghostly images of dead bodies bleeding on the beautiful path of my morning walks took over, and everything collapsed. Memories that I did not know of were released in me, and I knew right then what I know now: they are part of the story in the letters. My mother begins by telling me of how she found herself in love with Iván Daza, my father. She describes how getting married was an act of defiance for them, but also how she wore a lovely red dress with flowers that Iván liked very much. There’s a picture of them on that day; it would be the only one that they would ever be in together. A few years
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a disorienting and terror-infusing political period and helped frame our lives’ clandestine circumstances. Her writing reflects the public discourse’s silence over casualties of war and state oppression. The letters also speak of psychological displacement and mysterious and penetrating passages of historical trauma. And yet, it is possible to find something unexpectedly hopeful and radiant between her lines. It is an approximation of what German philosopher Ernst Bloch refers to as “anticipatory illumination,” 3 a vibrant utopian resistance in which imagination is something very different from fantasizing. It is an overturning of all circumstances in which humanity is degraded and forsaken. Commentary II — While considering the paradoxical notion of absence in presence, The Visits also plays with the semiotics of family portraits, intercepting notions of time, portraiture, performance, and politics. Typically, family members assemble in the same place at the same time; I appropriated this activity to create these assembled portraits. I was most interested in the connectivities between what has been “made to disappear” by political violence and the intangible resilience that remains. The Visits is at once a protest and a poem, and it resonates with the “anticipatory illumination” that gently spills from my mother’s recounting of the story. The work speaks of psychological states resulting from “complicated grief” 4 and the ways in which poetics can bring an empathic understanding to the contexts of social and political conflicts. As Stroebe and Schut have described, complicated grief derives from ruptures in reality caused by violent incidents, and it can become manifested in one’s life as states of melancholia. From my artistic practice, I have discovered that for the melancholic there is an abyss separating language from its referents, and this suggests that another language form is required to engage in
meaning making. The gift of poetic narratives promotes an understanding of the events, so that what has been lost can be assimilated. Imagination and poetic narratives do more than assist the melancholic to make sense of loss, as Darian Leader 5 describes. I would suggest that poetics can be instrumental in asserting a meaning-giving cosmology that has a profound and direct influence on how we can live our lives each day after following catastrophic loss. As a performative archive, The Visits returns to the value that classic Greek performance attached to participation in civic life. Its images are about more than imagery and symbolism; they are, in a way, alive. The work considers Judith Butler’s question of which lives are worth counting and which lives are grievable, 6 and it does so not from a conceptual conjecture but from what is directly experienced and deep within oneself. Witnessing is expressed with an insistence on remaining caring, resisting oblivion, and being aware that the images stand for lived lives with inconclusive deaths.
1 Gill, L. 2004. The School of the Americas: military training and political violence in the Americas. Durham: Duke University Press. 2 McSherry, J.P. 2002. Tracking the Origins of a State Terror Network. Latin American Perspectives. 29 (1), 38â€“60. 3 Bloch, E. 1995. The principle of hope. Vol. 1. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. 4 Stroebe M. and Schut H. 1999. The dual process model of coping with bereavement: rationale and description. Death Studies. 23(3). 5 Leader, D. 2009. The new black: mourning, melancholia and depression. Minneapolis, Minn: Graywolf Press. 6 Butler, J. 2009. Frames of war: when is life grievable? London; New York: Verso.
The Visits Year, 2016. HD Video Still. Dimensions Variable.
PIZZA BLOCK 2
EIDIA (MELISSA P. WOLF & PAUL LAMARRE)
All these things marinate. Collage is so much like cooking! 1 When I think about eating food and I think about art as a practice and I think about religion. It’s like ‘Art’ became my religion and it saved me.2
invited by the director of Performance Studies Bern University of the Arts, Valerian Maly, to present at “Mix, Mix the Elements, Cooking and Eating as a Practice of Contemporary Art” in March 2015 — an event held during a total solar eclipse. All is eggs . . . The world is born of the great yolk, the sun . . . A heap of eggshells, the moon. Dust of eggshells the stars . . . 4 A video was projected overhead during the Pizza Block 2 performance. The video, Baking Bread (1982), documents Lamarre making bread, following the complicated Tassajara Bread recipe, reduced to a three-minute comic action. (See video: https://youtu.be/ogiGcRX8ZpU) Lamarre won a, CAPS fellowship for this work. The dual presentation of these two works both bridges 30 plus years, and offers a glimpse into the evolution, steadfastness, and culmination of research that uses basic food creations as a metaphor and vehicle for conjuring other aesthetic realms. Uswwwing CAPS fellowship money, Lamarre moved into the Chelsea Hotel between 1983 and 1984, and created The Chelsea Tapes. With Wolf behind the video camera and working as editor, this series of 26 video performance vignettes told the story of an artist living at the Chelsea. EIDIA’s project FOOD SEX ART the Starving Artists’ Cookbook had its genesis at the Chelsea, and for EIDIA served as a test of the theorem of daily life as performative. FOOD SEX ART the Starving Artists’ Cookbook, (1986-1991), was a compendium of 150 video recordings of artists cooking in the US, Europe, and Russia. Whilst exploring artists’ relationships between art and life, the cookbook also served as both a portrait of the artist in society, and a document of socioeconomic condition of the arts community in downtown New York and internationally. EIDIA traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg twice in this series (1993 and 1995) after receiving a Citizens Exchange Council/International ArtsLink Fellowship for Collaborative Projects. More recently, EIDIA has devoted time and energy to their Williamsburg studio, which also houses PLATO’S CAVE an underground exhibition space exhibiting fellow artists since 2009. Meanwhile, EIDIA’s The Deconsumptionists, Art As Archive 48ft semitrailer is a “Nomadic Hybrid” traveling sculpture, archive, exhibition and events space with solar roof which offers an implicit of “white cube” commercial gallery spaces.
Pizza Block 2 is an ongoing series of performance actions exploring the transformation of memory through the production and sharing of pizza. Lamarre practices cooking as an ‘art action,’ and by extension describes it as saving his life through the everyday realization of the struggle of ‘life’ over death. In Pizza Block 2, Lamarre performs the act of constructing pizza whilst expounding a sequence of connected anecdotes about events from his tragic youth. Beginning from the age of five, and with the death of his younger brother, he postulates about how “art in my heart saved my ass from going insane.” He then relates a series of childhood incidents, including: his brother Greg’s death; having to start school; (years later) shooting a golden carp with bow and arrow (striking it in the right eye); and the following year, accidentally shooting himself in the right eye with a BB gun. This moment understandably changed his life forever. Lamarre sees the sharing of these stories as “regressive therapy — going back to my childhood to find out why . . . let me indulge myself in an effort to ’survive’ through art making.” Similarly, Joseph Beuys’ Honey Pump and melted animal “fat” material (“food”): express[ed] the principle of the F.I.U. (Free International University) that works in the blood circulation of society. Feeling is in the heart and in the flow of honey that runs everywhere the power of our will is represented by the chaotic energy of the duel engine which moves the blob of fat. 3 Lamarre performs the material formation of the pizza dough; initiating a creation involving four classical elements: fire, water, air and earth — a combined action resulting in an alchemic transformation. He then feeds those assembled for the performance. Cooking and eating as a social event is a collaborative form of art in itself. It is at once alive, fleeting, spiritual, and sensual — and importantly can be (re) produced anywhere! The conference theme for Anywhere and Elsewhere asked: “where is art?” For this EIDIA performance, the “where” of art comes from the bowl were flour water, yeast and salt mix to become dough, to the rise of it, to the cheese and sauce, to the oven, into your mouth, down your throat to the stomach, and eventually out your ass — hopefully to be recycled. Pizza Block, Lamarre explains, is like writer’s block. In this scenario, he can’t get the dough to rise. This work was first performed when EIDIA was
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1 Al Hansen, A Primer of Happenings & Time/ Space, Something Else Press, New York, NY, 1965, pp.85. 2 EIDIA, Paul Lamarre at Parsons School of Design, The New School â€œAnywhere and Elsewhereâ€? Conference November 17, 2016. 3 Joseph Beuys: The Art of Cooking, Edizioni Charta, Milano, 1999, pp.101. 4 Marcel Broodthaers: Strategy and Dialogue, Deborah Schultz, Peter Lang AG International Academic Publishers, Bern, Switzerland, 2007, pp.11.
Pizza Block 2, 2016. Video Still from Live Performance, Dimensions Variable.
FROM THREAD TO ARTEFACT THE SHAPE OF A WALK AND THE GEOGRAPHY OF SLEEP IN THE ERA OF HYPER-MOBILITY
a conscious choice. 8 At the end of the eighteenthcentury cities were becoming crowded. Walking had a revival in the figure of the flaneur. This walker was not a commuter, he was the loiterer, observing and consuming the experience of the city “whilst resisting the speed of industrialization and the pressure to produce.” 9 In the early nineteenth-century the flaneur tradition continued in the situationist derive who practiced psychogeography. The growing speed of information technology in the 1930s led Jack Burnham to described its impact on artist’s who turned to “art that is transactional in that they deal with underlying structures of communication and energy exchange.” 10 By the 1960s, the shift in emphasis from the aesthetic object had evolved to what Allan Kaprow called ‘diaristic gesture.’ Where the gesture was the main focus, and the painting ancillary, “a mere souvenir of that gesture which was now it’s subject.” 11 Richard Long’s acts of walking in the landscape exemplify this shift. He extended sculpture, by giving agency to the act of walking, either by acknowledging the line’s performative production or engaging the audience in the act of walking in order to view the work. 12 Flanagan’s work extends this definition to acknowledge and give agency to other entities. Viewing all things as actants gives the landscape a voice in the creation of the artwork, in GTS the temperature and humidity as well as the topography underfoot combine to craft the artefact. The fungible nature of code is used as a media “that enforces rules to generate some kind of representation rather than authoring the representation itself.” 13 In the ever-increasing speed of life hyper mobility is increasing. Increasingly, we live in and on the periphery of cities creating a new class of perry-urban — dependent on cars for mobility where walking is no longer used as a form of transport. Paul Virilio views the decline in walking as a form of sensory deprivation. 14 Rudolph Dodier developed a topology of lifestyles in the perry-urban in nine categories of increasing mobility. In his view, the two highest categories — hyper-mobile and absent denote forms of contemporary suffering. The hyper-mobile spend little time at home and suffer fatigue from constant travelling. Absent professionals work far away and come home once a week or once a fortnight and so are not often engaged with local space. 15 From a Marxist perspective, sleep could be viewed as the last bastion to escape the productive labour of work. Flanagan’s BODYecology is a performance installation where sleep bio -data feeds live into a portable dying machine. A pressure sensor on the sleeper’s pillow activates the machine which dyes a thread differing shades of indigo according to the sleep pattern, in the morning the thread is woven into a blanket. The activity takes place in public
This paper describes two systems oriented projects that begin with thread and produce textile artefacts through generative processes of interaction between materials, media and bodies. The processes involve sleeping and walking and raise questions about current human-centric perception in times of hypermobility and neo-liberal capitalism, postulating a position of agency for human and non-human entities through materials and making. Digital environments profoundly change the way we understand space and time and how we live in the world. Ever since the results of the 1970s — double slit experiment 1 revealed the potential bias of our human centric perception, our understanding of time and space has been under scrutiny. The Internet appears to be the antithesis of place, it is “fundamentally and profoundly anti-spatial.” 2 Google Maps navigate bodies through space like automatons, often in prosthetic capsules to augment speed of transit. “Bodies are not obsolete but they are increasingly perceived as too slow, frail unreliable for our expectations and desires — bodies become parcels to be transported by mechanical means.” 3 Bodies gaze at the world through screens augmenting our view. Michel de Certeau posits the cartographers view from above, is a god-like celestial eye, but has little resemblance to the actual lived experience of the pedestrian. 4 Walking in his view is an elementary form of the experience of place. Roger Sheffer interviewed Appalachian trail hikers and collected mental geographic maps of their experience. The drawings bear little correlation with the scales of distance or time of conventional maps, but reflect effort and emotional experience. 5 The mountain or the city can be viewed as narrative, nodes of activity are like landmarks or monuments of old that map out one’s journey. Flanagan’s Generative Textiles Systems (GTS) senses modes of walking as nodes of activity, not primarily as a means of transport but as physical experience, the body and its relationship with the environment influences the stitch, colour and thickness of textiles. Thinking in code, is what Michael Mates terms ‘procedural literacy.’ More than just a technical ability it is a form of communication and aesthetics, a symbolic way of representing the world. 6 Alternative concepts of time also appear in craft discourse where the time of making can override perception of mechanized time. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the experience of losing oneself in work as flow. 7 Flanagan’s GTS disrupts traditional garment manufacture, rejecting industrial modes of production, adopting a living sense of time that is spatially located and activated through a network of activity between the artists and participant walker. After the industrial revolution, walking ceased to be the major mode of mobility and rather it became
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Ingold proposes anthropo-ontogenic as a term to describe the way form can be viewed as emergent rather than applied, a kind of emergent makingin-growing. 23 Materials are mixed together in our bodies and our crafted artefacts. 24 Artefacts and organisms are assemblages of processes. Code is not bound by the screen it is embedded in the physical world. The knitting machine and the weaving loom with binary digits and punch cards, are the precedence of today’s computers, and are employed by Flanagan as prosthetic devises to mediate data flows, both digital and analogue. In Flanagan’s projects the body is plugged directly into the computer, without a keyboard interface, biodata directly feeds the production of textiles. In BODYecology, indigo responds differently to the alchemical traits of water and temperature and sleep-states determines stripes. In GST, the cloth is the embodiment of the pedestrian stride, coded with the stain of color from the weather; and the texture of the temperature. The punctuation marks in the knitting by buttonholes articulate a phrase, the duration of the day, determined not by the ticking of minutes but the pace of steps. The walker’s body becomes a node in a system, a conduit for data to flow through. The artist’s body also acts as a node. Both perform repetitive actions “the object of information never a subject in communication.” 25 Like thousands of women in the nineteen-forties employed as switchboard operators, the artist and walker perform semi-automatic tasks, patterns of daily rhythms mapped out like a punch card of life’s activity. 26 Both projects begin with a thread that creates a line, through gestures of the body, twisting, walking, sleeping, and through prosthetic extension the interloping and interlacing of the thread into cloth. The textile grows from this conversation of the body in the world. The outcome is born from this relationship — a garment in the shape of a walk.
space, weaving acts as a cultural probe, conducive to visitors who engage in dialogue. BODYecology could be seen as the colonisation of sleep into the capitalist machine of production. Average sleep used to be nine hours a night, now it’s less than seven. Contemporary society is suffering social jetlag 16 which is linked to mental illness, 17 obesity 18 and Alzheimer’s. Diurnal time influences circadian rhythms, the alarm-clock wakes us in the morning and electric light and flickering screens stimulate us to stay awake later at night. We binge sleep to make up for constant lack of sleep through the week. Rather than a cognitive-human centric approach to design, artists are meeting the materials half-way, we are developing the ability to listen and acknowledge other agencies. Rather than the designer projecting their will onto the materials, they become part of a nexus of parameters that are sculpted. Our relationship with tools is synergistic, we evolve with them. Technology evolves the way with think, perceive time and space, and live in the world. Bernard Steigler’s analysis of human tools promulgates technogenesis. 19 Once we gain competency in their use, tools seem to disappear and become part of the body. Competency in a software package similarly can engage in flow states between and idea in the mind and in the corporeal dimension of bodily knowing, and the object emerging. Flanagan’s work explores materials, bodies and technologies as cyborganic 20 assemblages held together within certain fields, environments or media ecologies. 21 Matter is in a constant state of atrophy, so things (human and non-human) are temporary assemblages. Jussi Parikka asks could we “approach things as intensive molecular flows, in which, for example, the notion of media was only the end result of connections, articulations of flows, affects, speeds, densities, discourses, and practices?” 22 Tim
1 Jonson, C (1974). “Electron diffraction at multiple slits.” American Journal of Physics. 42: 4 -11. Bibcode:1974 AmJPh..42 . . . .4J. doi:10.1119/1.1987592 2 Mitchell, William J. City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn. Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press, 1995, p.8. 3 Solnit, Rebecca. 2000. Wanderlust: A history of walking. New York, London: Penguin Books. p.258. 4 Certeau, Michel de. 1984. The practice of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press, p.92. 5 Harmon, Katharine A. 2004. You are here: personal geographies and other maps of the imagination. Vol. 1st. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, p.66. 6 Mateas, Michael. 2005. “Procedural literacy: educating the new media practitioner.” On the Horizon 13 (2):101-111. 7 Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. 2014. Applications of flow in human development and education: the collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Dordrecht: Springer. 8 Solnit, Rebecca. 2000. Wanderlust: A history of walking. New York, London: Penguin Books, p.267. 9 Solnit, Rebecca. 2000. Wanderlust: A history of walking. New York, London: Penguin Books, p.200. 10 Jack Burnham, “Systems Esthetics,” Artforum (September, 1968). 11 Solnit, Rebecca. 2000. Wanderlust: A history of walking. New York, London: Penguin Books, p.268 12 Solnit, Rebecca. 2000. Wanderlust: A history of walking. New York, London: Penguin Books, p.270 13 Bogost, Ian. 2012. Alien phenomenology, or, What it’s like to be a thing. Minneapolis: Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
BODYecology, 2015. Hand spun merino lamb’s wool, indigo, acrylic, aluminium, wood, electronics, sensors and actuators, micro controllers, 3 x 2 x 1m Generative Textile Systems (GTS), 2017. Polycotton, Merino lamb’s wool, wood, steel, knitting machine, electronics, sensors and actuators, micro controllers, 2 x 2.5 x 3.5m
14 Virilio, Paul. 1995. The art of the motor. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, p.85.
15 Rouge, Lionel. 2013. Rehabilitating the peri-urban: Eric Cez & Anne Zweibaum i’Atilier d’edition-Loco, p.37. 16 Wittmann, Marc, Jenny Dinich, Martha Merrow, and Till Roenneberg. 2006. “Social jetlag: misalignment of biological and social time.” Chronobiology international 23 (1-2):497. 17 Foster, R. G., Sn Peirson, K. Wulff, E. Winnebeck, C. Vetter, and T. Roenneberg. 2013. Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disruption in Social Jetlag and Mental Illness. In Prog. Molec. Biol. Transl. Sci. 18 Roenneberg, Till, Karla V Allebrandt, Martha Merrow, and Cé Vetter. 2012. “Social Jetlag and Obesity.” Current Biology 22 (10):939-943. doi: 10.1016/j. cub.2012.03.038.19 Stiegler, Bernard. 1998. Technics and time. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press. 20 The cyborganic is an embodiment of data contextualized into form by blending physical materials and data spheres. 21 Flanagan, Patricia; Frankjaer, Raune, The technocrafted posthuman: introducing cyborganics, Open Fields, art and science research practices in the network society, April 2017. 22 Parikka, Jussi. 2010. Insect media: an archaeology of animals and technology. Jackson: Jackson: University of Minnesota Press, p.xx-xxi. 23 Ingold, Tim. 2015. The life of lines. London ; New York: Routledge, p. 122. 24 Smith, P. H. 2014, Between nature and art: casting from life in sixteenth century Europe. IN: making and growing: Anthropological Studies of organisms and Artefacts, ads E. Hallman and T. Ingold. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 45–63. 25 Foucault, Michel. 1995. Discipline and punishment, the birth of the prison, New York, Vintage Books p. 200. 26 Plant, Sadie. 1997. Zeros and ones: digital women and the new technoculture. New York: Doubleday, pp. 119-20.
031701 Defer Outsource Defer Everything is going to be fine Can I get the last four digits of your social Today I was asked if I am a career minded professional and do I want to grow? Your bot is a battleground Expat de-frat Defeat There’s a reason why we only drag her out at Christmas He likes to walk the Bible But I think there’s peace in not knowing Plus who wants to spend Easter in the desert MSG gluten-free 031701 Defer Outsource Defer Everything is going to be fine Can I get the last four digits of your social Today I was asked if I am a career minded professional and do I want to grow? Your bot is a battleground Expat de-frat Defeat There’s a reason why we only drag her out at Christmas He likes to walk the Bible But I think there’s peace in not knowing Plus who wants to spend Easter in the desert MSG gluten-free
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021701 Il y avait quelquechose qui se plante de ces mots Oui c’est la douleur de la vie On est en train de souffrir Et ces mots inutiles nous donnent les droits légales On a se met dans la rue On rie On se met sous la troue Mais on peut rire Il yavait quelqu’un qu’on ne peut pas regarder Il vit encore On bois On regard Qu’est ce qui se passe? Les choses Les trucs Les pantalons L’argent Ce ça qu’on a pour vivre encore Quarante poids et un peu pour l’alcool 111602 One star unhappy face We are processing your order I’m CCing you guys in without Max and Marissa Is she wearing a wire? I emailed them twice already I changed the names because I signed an NDA today He violated C Accent E The worlds longest tunnel slide He is such a tit 100 milliliters in a clear plastic bag Laptops out Belts off
Sir no not you not yet Use your own phone Cleaning an AC under a running tap I hear a hospital got bombed in Syria today Why has cheese been added to everything? From PE to UC Barnett Newman zip Hillary Trump 111601 The work was interesting for a Thursday Naked men, lattes and Disney Bathing dogs Men in thongs America wants you to want it so badly Tell me my flag is sexy and unwanted brown all over Dirty how you like it I’m not sure when I learned to stop loving you Can i get a coffee to get toe Kerb with a K Kart with a K Kris with a K Where’s my car Where’s my uber Where’s my driver Where’s my phone 081604 We don’t pick cotton anymore I can’t see why you react like this When there’s so much real work to be done In 2010 a bourgeois indulgence was a bad thing Phantom pamphlets Bobos in a secondhand reader downloaded illegally The instructor’s new app ready for your texts Lemonade means we’re all united now He doesn’t want to talk to me He wanted to talk to you
Did it only seem fair to have socialite surveillance passive aggressive stares into computer screens Can anyone actually knw rght nw? A canned text and square format photo at the ready proving the need for less play studying outside cold ground for books E-readers and tablets need to wait until tuesday when you reach out Stream for me Stream for me Please Won’t you Streaming And faint before you close the chat window. 071602 Enjoy the status. Undue force necessitates a vice presidential pick Shouting unseen Right honorable Right foul Accept ! Accept ! Need-based assessment of the most recent goals Excepting that no clause comes between us You are in it You are mentioned there Media centers erected in the name of everything we hold dear in the great station of ours America’s most trusted name in home care Leave it to the senator his iron will shows us the way Buttons and duty-free beads we will wear — November is just that Is it even possible to give witness to that collective duty? A debt owed, a debt made
Hands exchanging simultaneous burdens of proof and commitment Who among us can outdo? Now recognize the late great nineteen sixty eight Non-telescopic batons as beautiful as rock n roll or a police radio — remind us to forget the time, no wound Vandals only dismantle the stage Nominees have hearts too you know XL XL XL law and order it only makes sense to bear forth here rather than elsewhere if only for the sake of claiming lawful military action against transgressors These are my most subversive students You should be proud to meet their parents Collections and collections like family heirlooms torn-up lawn signs some forgotten councilwoman that grabbed you by the wrist when you were young and demanded that you respect that sacred system she held so dear Hard as though she might pray each night to the almighty and to the kind state politician, his Volvo and his golden retriever that it not be a grandfather’s system Could her politics be a notch on a belt Another promise unkept and her child’s descent into the everlasting glory of cash-back and unlimited financing For her sake He might only hope that another alone and after-school member of a not so delicate progeny might too make confetti the leftover, rotten border-markers Plastic heralds of political property Now laying and waiting in Tuff Neck plastic bins A hangover when she was Gene’s clean friend We only thought it was worth asking if you’d rather not they can take the cause elsewhere in the meantime grab the new yorker attend another lecture sit back — those low hanging clouds are not worth your worry 071601 Make necessary the arrangements Exemplary ex-brexit Unsettling
as it may be maybe Unintended pushes towards Here’s the thing Are you looking into the future or do you mean that its not a “now” thing A moment of silence and a cold benediction Moving target like a fixation but that we wouldn’t automatically say yes to an electrified debate over winning concessions on making an abbreviated visit followed by the killings Amen to that uncles and aunts mothers and fathers brothers and sisters tweeting in unison A non-indemnifiable chorus Make now towards a handgun everlasting post-rhetoric knowhow Non-responsibility of empathy education two alerts in text form Consultancy firms now calling for legislative change looking at the most recent poll Shifting attitude Make shift memorial see you in Cleaveland Counciling personnel on hand and available to seek relief Holding only what was brought Something more dangerous than weapons Bipartisan committee erupting in a dozen cities overnight As he screamed for his father, I couldn’t help but detach as for me and my family head of house on a renewal lease Forcing you and them to the water’s edge Running with a limp body in her hands and on her arms
10 most outrageous things to say to a cop when you are asked to bow your heads and pray for the forgiveness Thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers Thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers Thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers Thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers Thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers Thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers thoughts and prayers t&p t&p lasting like a fight over a wedding dress its not about that you prick Thank you for your patience An unanswered call means they are never coming back that unidentified body is her son’s This doesn’t happen to people like us it just doesn’t happen to people like us I don’t know who it happens to The words the diatribe the hatred flow from the microphone and the sandwich board like weeping The broadcast network delivers the latest and most watched giving us only a taste of the good life streamed And we hope only that they will post about who was the last to jump. 111602 One star unhappy face We are processing your order I’m CCing you guys in without Max and Marissa Is she wearing a wire? I emailed them twice already I changed the names because I signed an NDA today He violated C Accent E The worlds longest tunnel slide He is such a tit 100 milliliters in a clear plastic bag Laptops out Belts off
Sir no not you not yet Use your own phone Cleaning an AC under a running tap I hear a hospital got bombed in Syria today Why has cheese been added to everything? From PE to UC Barnett Newman zip Hillary Trump 111602 One star unhappy face We are processing your order Iâ€™m CCing you guys in without Max and Marissa Is she wearing a wire? I emailed them twice already I changed the names because I signed an NDA today He violated C Accent E The worlds longest tunnel slide He is such a tit 100 milliliters in a clear plastic bag Laptops out Belts off Sir no not you not yet Use your own phone Cleaning an AC under a running tap I hear a hospital got bombed in Syria today Why has cheese been added to everything? From PE to UC Barnett Newman zip Hillary Trump 111602 One star unhappy face We are processing your order Iâ€™m CCing you guys in without Max and Marissa Is she wearing a wire? I emailed them twice already
I changed the names because I signed an NDA today He violated C Accent E The worlds longest tunnel slide He is such a tit 100 milliliters in a clear plastic bag Laptops out Belts off Sir no not you not yet Use your own phone Cleaning an AC under a running tap I hear a hospital got bombed in Syria today Why has cheese been added to everything? From PE to UC Barnett Newman zip Hillary Trump 111602 One star unhappy face We are processing your order Iâ€™m CCing you guys in without Max and Marissa Is she wearing a wire? I emailed them twice already I changed the names because I signed an NDA today He violated C Accent E The worlds longest tunnel slide He is such a tit 100 milliliters in a clear plastic bag Laptops out Belts off Sir no not you not yet Use your own phone Cleaning an AC under a running tap I hear a hospital got bombed in Syria today Why has cheese been added to everything? From PE to UC Barnett Newman zip Hillary Trump
LIMINAL DIMENSIONS OF MEMORY
A sense of time is continuously present in our lives. Memory, a marker of time passing, is steeped in a visceral stew of associations, informing our deepest sense of self, the meaning of family and the practice of community. Intrusive memories follow a different trajectory. These dark memories linked to past traumas create a disturbing disequilibrium between the past and the present. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I watched my father cope with intrusive memories emitted as long sighs while at the wheel, driving along a highway or sitting in a dazed state in front of a television set. Substantial evidence indicates that traumatic memory, related to genocidal histories, are transmitted from one generation to the next in the form of “postmemory.” 1 However, the process of transmission is not well understood. Nations also carry memory, generally regarded as a “social phenomenon, a dynamic agent connecting individuals to communities and nations.” (Doss 2010, 46). 2 Following the Holocaust, Austria claimed to be “Hitler’s first victim” and bore no responsibility for crimes committed. In 1991, Chancellor Franz Vranitzky made the first public acknowledgement of Austria’s culpability regarding its history of murder and plunder. 3 Since that date, Austria’s willingness to confront the past has progressed steadily, with a fair degree of caution. In 2006, thirty-five years after my father’s death, I returned to Vienna to find traces of my family’s history. Following years of research, I managed to recover the names of sixteen members of my family, starting with my grandparents, who were murdered in the Holocaust. The specificity of this research was astonishing, changing my sense of history and belonging to the past. I wondered about the parallels between my experience and the experience of Austrians coming to terms with the past. Following an exhibition at the University of Vienna entitled Exiled Memory, I began to experiment with ideas about graffiti art and performance art as a means of creating a large public memory project on the streets of Vienna. These ideas evolved into The Vienna Project. Staged in 2013, The Vienna Project was developed as a multimedia, interactive, enduring performance of memory that featured a spectrum of participatory methodologies. The project was based on the premise that memory concerning the past must be activated in the present, to be carried forward into the future. The goal of The Vienna Project was to make memory visible on the streets of Vienna by identifying historic
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sites of memory, and by naming actual victims, belonging to multiple victim groups, persecuted and murdered under National Socialism. The specificity of sites and names corresponded to my own revelatory experience of finding the names of relatives that had been lost for 35 years. 4 The design of the memorial project was intended to break through the silence that continued to surround sites of collusion and the names of Austrian victims. Openness and public engagement were key to the project’s success, aimed at sponsoring fresh discourse about National Socialism, at the 75th anniversary of the Anschluss. The Vienna Project had additional agendas, such as examining my status as an Austrian citizen and exploring the meaning of citizenship as the granddaughter of murdered victims. I wondered, could I inhabit a critical stance while investigating my yearning to reconnect to my father’s homeland, to belong to a country that 75 years ago, had expelled my father and murdered my grandparents? What did it mean to be patriotic as a descendant of Holocaust victims, to insist upon transparency and accountability regarding Austria’s ambiguous history of genocide? Would the government grant me permission to reveal Austria’s criminal past through the development of a temporary public art memorial? Would I find compatriots who wanted to work with me? Construed as a series of events performed in public spaces, The Vienna Project subscribed to a presentation of memory that inhabited a perpetual state of in-betweenness. The project explored a range of mindsets, rooted in the past and experienced in the present, such as that of victim and perpetrator, insider and outsider, dominant groups and marginalized groups, dissociative experiences and integrated memories, hidden and exposed, personal memory and institutionalized history, and archival and performative. Orchestrated as a multi-vocal project, various publics were invited to participate in a city-wide expression of public memory, occurring at 38 memory sites in sixteen districts of Vienna, over a one year timeframe. Liminal Dimensions of Memory presents a concise overview of The Vienna Project, a temporary participatory memory project followed by an introduction to a permanent naming memorial that is currently under review. The Vienna Project was the very first public Naming Memorial in Vienna dedicated to the murdered victims of National Socialism. It was the first memorial in Vienna to name multiple victim groups, murdered under National Socialism at the same
moment, without erasing differences between the groups. These groups included Jews, Roma and Sinti, Disabled and mentally ill, homosexuals, persons persecuted on political grounds, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Slovenian Partisans. The project became the first memorial project in Austria to dismantle the victim myth, naming Austrian victims and implicating Austrian perpetrators. The Vienna Project was also the only public memorial project in Austria to identify multiple sites in the nation’s capital, including governmental offices that acted in collusion with the Nazi party. Finally, The Vienna Project was the most critical and transparent expression of memory to date, breaking through years of silence. Echoing the silence I grew up with, the project was conceived as a gift to Austrian survivors, families of survivors, residents of Vienna, students, immigrants, government officials and visitors choosing to witness and participate in a series of public events enacted on the city’s streets. Organized as a “performance of memory,” performative memory took many forms. The project contained numerous modules including video projections, stencil sprays, installation art, performance, music, poetry, and dance, a memory map, film screenings, public plantings, social media platforms, readings, silent vigils, oral history interviews, and a guided tour program. Formulated as an interdisciplinary memory project, I collaborated with numerous Austrian historians, artists, designers, curators, video artists, engineers, educators, researchers, videographers, photographers, and translators. Producing the first smartphone app in Vienna to integrate rigorous archival research with contemporary performance art, the app featured the 38 memory sites (corresponding to 1938) where instances of aggression, exclusion, violence, resistance and rescue took place in Vienna, between 1938-1945. A spirited and respectful expression of memory, The Vienna Project cultivated community while addressing difference. The project recognized different forms of persecution regarding the seven victim groups, and different forms of community, living in harmony in today’s Vienna. The Vienna Project culminated in nighttime display of 91,780 names of murdered Austrian victims, projected onto the walls of the buildings surrounding Josefplatz. Most notably, the project brought together the seven different victim groups in a heartfelt demonstration of remembrance. In 2013, before completing The Vienna Project, I began to explore the notion of a permanent sequel to the project’s Naming Memorial at the Heldenplatzdenkmal, located at the outer gate of the city’s fortification walls, built in 1660. 5 The new Naming
Installation would be constructed as an interactive presentation of memory, positioned somewhere between a multi-sensory, interactive sculpture; a participatory museum exhibition, installation and a lab environment; a digital mediated archival library; and an anti-war memorial, located above the national crypt. 6 Like The Vienna Project, the Naming Installation would represent a meeting place between family history and national history, and personal memory and public memory. Visitors would be invited to investigate the history of National Socialism and reflect upon the enormous loss produced by Hitler and his brutal regime. 7 Akin to The Vienna Project, the new Naming Installation would focus on the meaning of memory linked to ideas about social justice and social responsibility, at a time when populism and right wing-fanaticism are on the rise. The Naming Installation proposed for the Heldendenkmal, is designed as a permanent, experiential multi-faceted setting. Ideally situated in the historic “Hall of Honor,” an expansive stone room with a large open roof, a series of eight vertical, oxidized metal panels, engraved with the names of thousands of victims will be positioned within the space to facilitate movement between the panels. Consistent with design of The Vienna Project, the groups will be listed alphabetically and differentiated by the use of font. Designer lenses will be specially crafted and digitized to access victims’ death records, biographies and artifacts, plus interactive maps and timelines. Using lenses, visitors will be able to interact with the panels, searching for names and supporting information aimed at providing a more integrated understanding of what occurred over a period of eight years (corresponding to the eight panels). Located above Austria’s War Memorial, the Naming Installation will tell a different story about the devastation of war and genocide. In summary, my work as an artist, activist, writer, and educator has spanned a number of decades, topics and geographic regions. Mentoring students in related coursework has allowed me to cultivate a range of activist projects, dealing with social justice issues, across the United States. In the current era, concepts of citizenship and community hold a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, functioning as a form of resistance to rising instances of authoritarianism. “Hope” the ultimate expression of liminality, is embodied in the human spirit. Memory, tethered to history sets the stage for social transformation, however, it is the imagination and the ability to create a radically new idea that makes change possible.
1 Hirsch 2008, 106. 2 In 1925, Maurice Halbwachs wrote “it is also in society that they [people] recall, recognize and localize their memories” (Doss 2010, 46). 3 Rathkolb 2010, 125-126. 4 My father died in 1971, without naming family members who were killed in the Holocaust. 5 Diem 2015. 6 Austria’s national crypt honors Austrian fallen soldiers killed on the battlefields of World War I and II. 7 “A disproportionately high percentage of Austrians had been involved in the expropriation and destruction of European Jewry: it was claimed that one in five concentration camp guards had been Austrians” (Rathkolb 2010, 246).
REFERENCES Diem, Peter. 2015. “The Outer Burgtor — an Austrian heroic monument?.” Austria-Forum, Last Modified 5 March 2017. austria-forum.org/af/wissenssammlungen/symbole/burgtor_-_heldendenkmal. Doss, Erika. 2010. Memorial Mania: Public feelings in America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press: 46. Hirsch, Marianne. 2008. “The Generation of Postmemory.” Poetics Today 29 (1):106. Rathkolb, Oliver. 2010. The Paradoxocal Republic: Austria 1945–2005. New York: Berghahn Books: 125-126
The Vienna Project’s “Naming Memorial”, 2014. Photography, 8 x 12.02in.
UP AGAINST THE WALL PUBLIC ART, PRECARITY, AND WITNESS
SUSAN R. GREENE
Steadfastness (Sumud) and resistance against the physical, and even more so the systemic, institutionalized violence, is the core sentence in the inner syntax of Palestinians in this land . . . [The] levels of distress, suffocation, bitterness, anxiety, and wrath are continually on the rise, as is the astonishment at Israelis’ blindness in believing that their violence can remain in control forever. — Amira Hass, Haaretz, 2015
Before the Wall  — I visited Palestine for the first time and lived in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank for three months. 1 There were few foreigners at that time, and I was an obvious tourist. People would often stop me in the street, sometimes weeping, and beseech me to take their story back to my people. Up Against the Wall  — On March 24, 2003, Israel began to extend the “Wall” — with names ranging from “apartheid wall” to “security fence,” depending on one’s location — through Mas’ha village in the West Bank. 2 The Wall would have a severe impact on life in Mas’ha, significantly disrupting movement, commerce, and all other forms of access, including access to health care. Ninety percent of Mas’ha’s farmland would be confiscated by the Wall. The Aamer family 3 — refugees who have lived at the edge of Mas’ha since 1948 4 — and other farmers organized a demonstration that became known as the Mas’ha Peace Camp. 5 For the following four months, Palestinians, Jewish Israelis, and international activists lived together on land that Israel was confiscating to build the Wall. The Palestinian organizers said, “We knew that we could not stop the Wall. . . . We wanted to show that the Israeli people are not our enemies . . . and that the Wall is not for security but about confiscating land.” The Mas’ha Peace Camp followed the Israeli bulldozers, ending up at Hani Aamer’s house. Hani reports that the Israelis offered him a blank check to move, telling him that the route of the Wall would be exactly where his house stood. The Aamers refused the offer, saying: “We fled our land in 1948. We will never leave again.” Ever since, the family has lived surrounded by the Wall on four sides, their home essentially incorporated into the Jewish-only settlement called Elkana, which the back of their house faces. The Aamers’ home is separated from Elkana by a 10-foot-high cyclone fence with closedcircuit cameras, electric sensors, and razor wire. The cyclone fence extends to the two sides of the Aamer property. A 24-foot-high section of the Wall was built right in front of the Aamer house, filling the family’s field of vision with concrete. A Jewish-settler-only road cuts through what is left of their property. Hani stated, “The soldiers and settlers told us that as long
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as we live in our house, we are considered enemies. I feel threatened and in danger all the time . . . ” Hani Aamer recalls when his three-year-old son managed to slip under the fence into Elkana, and the soldiers refused to bring him back to the family, despite Munira Aamer’s pleas: “We were scared that he would be kidnapped and taken away from us by the Israelis.” Palestinian workers in the settlement, who had taken care of the young boy, brought him back that evening. 2004–2005: On the Wall — In July 2004, the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS), 6 an organization that reports on human rights violations in occupied Palestine, invited Art Forces 7 — an organization I founded and direct — and artist Eric Drooker 8 to meet the Aamer family. Hani and Munira Aamer were very excited by the idea of painting a community mural on the Wall; they felt it might help their children by giving them an opportunity to transform their prison-like environment. The Aamers had no hesitation, despite a sign posted on the wall in three languages that says: “Anyone who passes or damages the fence endangers his life.” We met with Hani and Munira Aamer to plan the mural and hear more about their lives. They told us how their children were depressed and afraid to play outside. It was summer and they wanted the children to have fun. We brought two large suitcases of paint and, after convincing the Israeli soldiers to let us proceed through the gate, the Aamers and their five children, their community, local grassroots Palestinian and Israeli organizations, 9 US-based somatic therapists, 10 and Jewish-American and international activists and artists 11 covered two-thirds of the Wall with rolling hills full of giant flowers, several bright yellow suns, animals, people, and houses. The mural was bookended by a 10-foot bird with a snake in its mouth and an enormous golden phoenix taking flight against a brilliant blue sky. Munira Aamer, who never leaves the property because she is afraid the settlers will try to occupy her house, explained, “I wish I could open this cage and fly with my children — like the bird in the mural.” 12 Off the Wall: Tangled Up in Blue — Each day, we painted until early afternoon, when the Israeli army would force us to leave. On our last day in 2005, the
soldiers made us leave earlier than usual. Hani Aamer stated, “They are telling me that the visitors should leave. But they are my guests . . . I cannot throw them out.” Nevertheless he had to ask us to leave, in part because the Israelis were threatening to take back his hard-won key to the enclosure. 13 We left the remaining paint and returned the next day to interview Hani Aamer outside the large gate. 14 Someone excitedly said that Munira Aamer wanted to see me. I ran back to the small gate and Munira let me in. As I stood in the front room, my peripheral vision took in both the blue from the mural outside to my left and the blue of the newly painted walls and ceiling in the bedroom to my right. The morning light was strong, and I was tangled up in luminous blues. Munira had refused to stop painting; her shoes were covered in blue paint and she was beaming. The solidarity project of resignifying the Wall had moved from outside to inside the house. I had never seen her look so happy. Through the Wall: Solidarity and Witnessing — All of the participants in the Aamer Mural project — the occupied and the occupiers — suffer significant losses and are trying to maintain their humanity in the face of the occupation. For Hani Aamer, seeing others witness Israel’s cruel disregard was very meaningful. He explained, “When the Israeli government started building the Wall, many people from all over the world came to support us. The government arrested or deported all of them. They said, ‘You are now alone. You should give up. Who is going to help you?’ But our allies, including our Israeli allies, came back to help us again. It lifted my spirits when our allies came back to paint on the Wall.” Hani Aamer went on to say that after his children painted the mural, they played outside for the first time in a year. For Munira Aamer, the mural gave her a sense of connection to the world beyond the Wall. She
explained, “We remember who painted each section and how it felt to paint together. The mural is like opening a window to the world.” The mural transformed the Wall by marking it with joyful defiance. It acknowledged the Aamers’ experience of abandonment and supported their resilience to the deadly circumstances of occupation as well as, for a time, engendering in them a sense of hope and possibility. The invitation from the Palestinians to join their resistance helped the American and Jewish-Israeli participants in their struggle to face their role as occupiers. They felt their loss of a moral existence witnessed and, in turn, they had an opportunity to witness the occupation in a way that reinstated a sense of morality. 15 Nazeeh Sha’alabi, a Palestinian farmer from Mas’ha, said, “We wanted to provide an opportunity for Israelis to support our struggle.” Dalit Baum, a Jewish-Israeli member of Black Laundry 16 and Anarchists Against the Wall 17, said: “I need something from them [the Aamer family]. What I get is strength — strength in courage and persistence.” Ivy Sichel added, “I am grateful for the opportunity to participate. It is not a given.” Staci Haines, somatic therapist from the United States, observed, “The beauty [of the mural project] amidst devastation allowed me to come home empowered enough to continue solidarity work.” 2011: Back to the Wall — In 2011, I returned to occupied Palestine with eleven artists, activists, and therapists from Maia Mural Brigade 18. Hani and Munira refused my offer to restore the currently faded mural, saying they now see it as an attempt to beautify something horrible. The Aamers elected to whitewash the mural and invite people to write poetry instead. The only image they kept was the phoenix, knowing it will someday rise from the ashes of the Wall.
1 For more information on this project: http://bit.ly/2uDQgjD 2 For more information on the Wall: https://www.stopthewall.org 3 To learn more about the Aamer Family: http://bit.ly/2tC9hTv 4 For historical context regarding the 1948 refugees: http://bit. ly/2u1uM25 5 Tanya Reinhart (2004) provides additional information: http://bit.ly/2tZhOlq 6 For more information on the IWPS: iwps.info 7 To learn more about Art Forces: http://www.artforces.org 8 For samples of Drooker’s work: http://www.drooker.com 9 See the following organizations: Flowers Against the Occupation — http://bit.ly/2tXBU05 and https://www.afsc.org/ story/fatima-khaldi; Black Laundry — http://bit.ly/1Ud1sMt; Anarchists Against the Wall — http:// www.awalls.org and http://bit. ly/2u78dtF 10 Discover somatic therapy: Generative Somatics — http:// www.generativesomatics.org; International Trauma Treatment Program — http://www.ittp.org
those values, rules, and principles of interaction that we rely upon in our efforts to create and restore the space for each partner in the dyad to engage in thinking, feeling, acting, or responding rather than merely reacting.” Jessica Benjamin, “A Relational Psychoanalytic Perspective on the Necessity of Acknowledging Failure in Order to Restore the Facilitating and Containing Features of the Intersubjective Relation (the Shared Third),” International Journal of Psychoanalysis 90, no. 3 (2009): 441. Jessica Benjamin is a founder of relational psychoanalysis. 16 To learn more about Black Laundry: http://bit.ly/1Ud1sMt 17 For more information on Anarchists Against the Wall: http:// www.awalls.org 18 Check out the participating organizations: Maia Mural Brigade — http://maiamuralproject.org; Middle East Children’s Alliance , www.mecaforpeace.org— Estria Foundation — http://www. estria.org/water-writes.
This project was supported by Left Tilt Foundation, the Palestinian American Research Center, and the Middle East Children’s Alliance.
11 See John Halaka’s work http://www.johnhalaka.org 12 For more information on resistance to the Wall: http://bit.ly/2sEbEUs and http://bit.ly/2tC9hTv 13 For a year the Aamers did not have a key to their enclosure. Only after intervention by the UN and media exposure did the Israeli army relent. 14 See portions of this interview in “Confronting the Wall” by Alan Greig: https://vimeo.com/14074606 15 Jessica Benjamin, “Beyond Doer and Done to: An Intersubjective View of Thirdness,” Psychoanalytic Quarterly 73, no. 1 (2004): 546. As Jessica Benjamin writes elsewhere: “The moral third refers to
The Wall, West Bank,Occupied Palestine. Photo: Josh Zimber; One last photo after Israeli soldiers order painting to stop; Summer 2005. Photo: Susan Greene; Hany Aamer painting out mural; August 2011. Photo: Susan Greene; After painting out mural, Hani and Munira Aamer decided to leave one image on the wall, the phoenix painted by Eric Drooker in 2004. Photo: Susan Greene; Hani Aamer returning to his property from what is left of his fields, 2004. Photo: Eric Drooker; Viewing village of Mas'ha over the Wall, 2005. Photo: Archive.
DRAWING INTO SPACE
One day recently, I was angrily doodling in my sketchbook, very frustrated and tired of the rut that I was in. Unlike Euler, nobody was asking me anything . . . But then I did something . . . It was a tiny little doodle; a scribbling of blobby dots and jittery lines. It was something I had done, and seen done elsewhere, many times. But in that moment — in the 2 seconds it took to do this nothing diagram — my mind began to fill with everything! Like all my better moments, it seemed to come out of nowhere, and I quickly became obsessed with it: a tiny thumbnail over-spilling itself, mutating, growing into the most colossal drawing ever drawn. In its planning and execution, the drawing is a node-link diagram — something like Euler’s topographical walkabout, but much, much longer, as you will see. This line will have ~ 300,000 kilometers of length, and take ~24,000 years to complete itself (assuming a definition for “complete” that allows room for such gibberish). Fumbling around with the drawing, I saw it as a good chance to develop an Art/Science collaboration (I knew only the roughest outlines of cosmology, after all, and had never used any sort of LASER device, other than CD players). But whenever I tried to describe the project to people, they mostly seemed intrigued, but could never say why, nor get enthusiastic beyond the 1-minute elevator pitch. What was this big diagram showing/saying? I did see them as potential solutions — but the problem was the problem!! What if the thing addressed by a diagram is senseless? Is there a problem for which diagrams offer no resolution? These are questions worth asking in the context of our diagram-laden world, I thought, and what I saw in those little thumbnails in my studio have become an interstellar graphic — thumbnail diagrams writ large . . . Talking with people who understood the math and other problems, I got the sense that I wasn’t actually asking a lot; the problems were pretty clear. The work began to seem less like a collaborative project, and more like a strange exercise in willfulness, with some belief-beggaring entailments.I wrote the ideas into an academic paper form., and got some interest in a few places, including a few opportunities to present at conferences at RMIT in Melbourne, and
The following is a story of discovery, crossroads, and making stuff up. It is a tale of small things getting much bigger. Reading these pages, you will think you have witnessed the largest drawings ever made, end of story. So let's begin . . . (This graphic account of a drawing research project is excerpted here, with the text made legible in columns, proximate to the pictures they accompany.) In 1735, the great mathematician Leonard Euler was presented with a problem: Can you plot a route through the Prussian town of Königsberg (his hometown), such that you cross each of its 7 bridges only once? His “back of the envelope” solution was simple: Euler did not actually cross the town’s bridges, rather, he used them as characters in a visual scheme, transforming their actual, living attributes — that is, as connections between points in space — into a set of lines and dots on paper . . . BTW, THE ANSWER WAS NO!! Euler’s graphical re-construction of the “Bridges problem” has led us to an ever- expanding world of diagrams, simple schematic drawings — or what the philosopher Michel Foucault called “abstract machines” — mechanisms for producing knowledge from the simplest of visual elements, that is, points and lines representing attributes and relations . . . Diagrams allow us to see invisible things, to understand complex relations, and to manipulate logical systems, and because they are so useful, they have come to permeate human cultures, with applications in biology, social sciences, cosmology, engineering, computation, furniture building, etc. Diagrams help us get an intuitive grip on things that are otherwise in-sensible. Pictures show; words say; but a well-constructed diagram both shows and says! But what if a working graphic like Euler’s had something that is simply incomprehensible as its target? What if the problem you need the diagram for is not reducible to simple connections, like the Konigsberg bridges problem, or the social interactions of sea-gulls, or the biology of “ring species?” What if the problem addressed by the graphic is irrational? What are the upper limits of the usefulness of such diagrams?
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Cambridge University. Again, people found them intriguing, but had little to say beyond that. In fact, at one conference an important academic in my field, while giving his closing remarks, waved his hands as he called the work “a rhetorical drawing.” Of course, all drawings are rhetorical. Each is a kind of visual proposition. But as proposed, I was “making marks on surfaces,” like any other drawing, but the output did lack certain other characteristics of Drawing, namely, something to look at, to hold in hand. As drawn, it would be in-visible, un-real. And what exactly is a drawing that cannot be handled, examined, or interpreted? What’s it for? What is it saying? How does it work? Why bother? That is, while the intention is to actually trace the gargantuan spaces of the cosmos, the tracery will never be confirmed, nor dis-confirmed. Meanwhile the drawing will hang on, both here and not-here; the “As if” in response to the “What if?” (Christian Bok, 2002). So I had to make the drawings — to show, not say them — at the very least to give the academic who critiqued it a kind cosmic ‘fuckk-youu!’ (Bitter anger can be a real motivator). And (as another consummation devoutly to be wished), by figuring out all the logistical problems, I would also get to finger the relationship between art and reality . . . A rare opportunity for me to turn my gaze outward, for once. Firing a Laser-line, tracing space, would render the drawings, would make them real . . . make them realer than real. A diagram writ very large. I assembled a team that could help flesh out the details. We held a couple of meetings, during which I mapped out the project. The preparations seemed to be simple: Acquire a drawing tool powerful enough to leave the atmosphere — (one short “Alibaba” away . . . Make sure its a clear night (difficult, not impossible); Ensure there is no orbiting junk above our heads — (http://stuffin.space); Make sure the math is right, and that there is good line-of-sight to “the centre” (whatever that means!) Meanwhile, my friend Tony reminded me that the paper itself was utterly unreadable. So one night, with a belly full of wine, the notion entered my head of making a GRAPHIC NOVEL out of the paper. I had been teaching a narrative drawing course at my University, during which I frequently touted the great alchemical power in the blend of word and image, from Blake, to Schulz, to Kirby/Lee, to Satrapi, and on . . . But I had not been taking my own advice! A big swallow of plonk enabled a quick and dirty, useful insight: A graphical version of the paper would force me to boil down the strangeness; to create something real from the rhetoric! And clearly say something about what I was up to in this sometimes angry pursuit. This has been the route out of the rut, even as I wrote and rewrote the abstruse rationales.
Feeling like I was starting over, I returned to one vexing aspect of the project —something I had noted since the very beginning: the drawing is a perverse species of “readymade”: Quite literally “non-retinal” art, in Duchamps’ own words — idea and experience collapse into each other, drawn through the mind’s eye. Its reality can only be validated in conversation (with whatever that implies!). Its actual execution would not really show us much. Begun and gone in one second (to be finished in 24,000 years)!! And while most drawings may be fairly described as “visual metaphors,” this one will actually lay across its impossible referents (those things being drawn). It is as if the metaphor “love is a journey,” involved an actual act of love itself — or a journey. It is as if Euler took 7 giant paper dots, and 7 enormous paper lines out to the bridges of Konigsberg, and laid them down to show it was impossible . . . So what will viewers of the drawings actually experience? “Watching paint dry” is a phrase widely used to indicate something boring. There is a compelling back-story in watching paint dry, however, delivered through microscopy or time-lapse photography. It’s an experience of simplicity from complexity, and geometry in nature — oxidizing, polymerization, and molecular cross-linking. This deeper attitude has to be part of the actual Laser drawing’s performance. But how are we to judge its success or failure, qua Drawing? What is the significance of a diagram we cannot interact with, not because it is hidden away, but because it is simply beyond us? Where is it? When is it? Finally, reaching around Euler’s pragmatism, there must be a recognition of impossibility built into the drawing — a futility that reflects the general condition of Representation, from the perspective of painter, poet, or cosmologist. It is thick with unstable answers to ill-formed questions (a condition to which any productive 21st-century artist aspires). And in light of the sweet likelihood that we know nothing — really — but what we think, then all this activity surrounding the project is exposed as phantasmagoria . . . a ‘Pataphysical response to metaphysical aggression. [NOTE: ‘Pataphysics (1896): Alfred Jarry’s science of imaginary solutions, and the laws governing exceptions. An approach to explaining the Universe supplementary to this one, ‘Pataphysics is to metaphysics as metaphysics is to physics.] More to the point: from the arch-nonsense of Confucius to the babble of the brook, from painting elephants to painting elephants, ‘Pataphysics has supplied a framework for building knowledge that is neither square nor flush, neither stable nor manger, not true but free. The implausibility of this cosmic drawing — a ‘patagram — has been the source for much of the least credible, and all of the in-credible cultural production, in our delta of histories.
With the identification of a ‘pataphysical heart beating in the drawing, I began to make it, not talk about it. There was just one piece of the puzzle left to fit: I needed a location from which to fire the line-making machine. As always, location turns out to be everything. The launch-site had to be as high in the sky as possible, with a clear atmosphere, free of man-made objects. These were the necessary conditions, after which who knows what happens? Except that I am finally rid of this phantasm. A few months ago, my beloved decided to go to Peru for an extended visit, to take care of some family business. Thus quickly, unexpectedly, my lap filled again with answers to questions I had hardly (and badly) articulated. Near her hometown of Cajamarca — the ancient summer seat of the Incan ruling class in the Andes — there is a site called Cumbemayo. Scattered through that remote landscape are eerie rock structures, called Los Frailones by locals, (“Hooded Monks”). And woven amongst these are a series of aqueducts — innovative engineering by the Inca, thousands of years old, carved into the volcanic rock that underlies the highlands. Up high in a remote, arid Andean environment, touching the sky at 3500 meters, in a range of stone hills, sculpted by nature into oddly human forms — in this haunting, complicated, entangled landscape, she would perform the act that would result in a portrait of 24,000 light years. In this beautiful, difficult landscape, the drawing has happened . . . A line that will trace space itself, yielding a colossal diagram of pure intention, signifying its own length as a matter of no-thing, with fantasy and fact its function.
Scanned pages from Ut Picture Poesies: Drawing Into Space, 2016. Scanned Images.
through consideration as objects of research and collection, through dislocation, and via incorporation into both a museologic discourse and national patrimony. Given that collected objects are already transformed (both physically and ideologically), further transformations can invariably appear through the lens of artistic consideration. The project is also concerned with visual aspects of intellectual histories. Recent artistic approaches that consider display strategies and information transmission possess a capacity to render visible not only the physical patrimony, but also the immaterial heritage that museums project. Through specific archival investigation, artist researchers reveal a necessity to reconfigure cultural spaces in which the appurtenance of objects and documents found in museums, together with cultural representations and surrounding information such as memories and narrative content, might be related to colonial readings previously neglected by museologic display or historiographic narrative. This project therefore seeks to construct that which is variously described in specialised literature as the “post-ethnographic museum” 1 through the languages of contemporary art. All invited artists will begin by experiencing a residency in a museum during which s/he will closely participate in the activities of the museum, research museum archives, and interact with the museum’s curatorial staff. The artists, in considering that which has been accumulated within and alongside objects in their histories of circulation, will seek to make these trajectories visible. Through a series of residencies followed by exhibitions, newly produced artistic objects will be integrated and reconnected to existing museological histories. The project begun in May 2017 by organising artistic residencies followed by exhibitions/interventions in following museums in Portugal: CIAJG Guimaraes, Museu Carlos Machado in Ponte Delgada in Azores, at the National Museum of Ethnology in Lisbon. In Germany, we are working at Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth. Ten international artists are elaborating case studies that analyse histories of these collections (followed by an exhibition in Paris at Espace Khiasma that will conclude the project in late 2017). These installations, interventions and new objects will constitute a new framework for disseminating information, and offer an expanded, contextual and critical consideration of historical objects using the tools of conceptual art. The final exhibition will be followed in 2018 by screenings, discussions and a symposium with all participants (ten artists, five
Artistic research in museums containing artifacts of material culture is an increasingly significant cultural activity. My project begun with a fascination for some of Portugal’s museums of material culture — ethnologic, geologic, natural historic museums — all of which forcefully catapult the visitor into histories of display that are now decades, and even centuries, old. To me, they seemed to be museums of museology, within which one can follow paths that established the broad discipline of anthropology. Museums such as The National Geographical Society in Lisbon, for example, were designed a century ago to conserve previously acquired colonial heritage. Not only do the display spaces featuring these collections remain untouched (encapsulating mummified objects behind flat display cases), they also direct the viewer’s gaze toward an archaic museological experience. The viewer finds herself trapped in a hermetic universe featuring a hierarchic and often authoritarian display. In the first two images accompanying this text we see the main hall of the Society of Geography on the occasion of the Colonial Congress in 1930. In the third image, we see the Hall as it is today. The side walls host clearly feature the same display structure, labelling system and objects that they did 100 years ago. My research and curatorial project Exodus Stations invites contemporary artists to work with museological archives and consider a critical reconsideration of national patrimony, and by extension, issues connected to colonial collecting practices (together with historical archival, restitution, and acquisition policies). The project unfolds in museums, integrating artistic work into the existing museological context, and offering a critically and contextually performative approach to the museologic object. In focus are ethnologic colonial collections, both private or public. The project is situated in the broad field of decolonisation studies, for it follows collections that have been formed in the context of colonial collecting, yet is at the same time dedicated to an experimental and conceptual display in museums that re-negotiate histories for a broader audience. The project also considers the way in which the museums often draw on contemporary artists to help reformulate or reshape their image and symbolic capital in a specific cultural milieu or sphere of influence. The artistic interventions in the museums that constitute Exodus Stations take place across a number of ethnologic museums in Germany, Portugal and France. The artists consider what has happened to the objects, and by extension, ways in which has their nature, integrity and form been affected or modified
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curators and five museum directors). Participating artists include Marco Pires (Portugal), Tatiana Macedo (Portugal), Yonamine (Angola), Catarina Simao (Portugal), Mariana Calo + Francisco Queimadela (Portugal); David Casini (Italy), Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (France), Benoit Maire (France), Raphael Denis (France), Emma Wolukau WANAMBWA (UK) and Georges Adeagbo (Benin). The National Museum of Ethnology, Lisbon — a case study (forthcoming 2018) The most significant national Portuguese museum housing colonial collections is the National Museum of Ethnology Lisbon, containing over 36,000 objects. The collection was formed by research-led campaigns in the Portuguese African colonies Mozambique, Angola and Guinea, and organized by various ethnologic missions shortly before and after its founding in 1965. These missions have become some of the most authoritative voices in writing the end of the Portuguese colonial empire and legitimizing Portuguese colonial wars. The artistic case study that Exodus Stations will facilitate in this museum involves researching the Makonde sculpture collection and the documents surrounding it — all founding material in the institution. Around 1957, during the colonial regime in Mozambique, Margot Dias, the wife of the museum’s founder (herself an anthropologist), begun to construct a study of the Makonde, culminating in an exhibition in 1959 that determined the founding of the museum of ethnology by Jorge Dias in 1965. The two largest Makonde collections today are in the National Museum of Ethnology Lisbon and Musée Quai Branly, Paris. Exodus Stations is particularly honoured to offer a framework for researchers interested the contemporary Portuguese artist Catarina Simão. She is currently elaborating a complex of works that compare the way the Makonde pieces and documents ahve interpreted differently in Portugal and France, and by extension, the distinct ideological and political differences determined by both contexts in the treatment of the works. Theoretical background — The conceptual turn in art offered new perspectives on the nature and identity of objects. This project demonstrates that conceptual artistic strategies can contribute to the discipline of ethnology, particularly in regard to display methodologies by making specific historic information layered in time in the identity of objects visible. Art can also reveal changes that collecting and exhibiting introduce to the identities of objects. Seen from the perspective of the museum, the project also seeks to follow ways in which architectural displays and the visual scaffolding in museum design can shift in
response to critical artistic practices. In this sense, the project traces the way in which the participating museums implicitly reshape their symbolic capital, public image and political agendas. Considering the fact that we can no longer think in terms of fixed geographies and cultures understood as immutable entities, objects invariably hold different identities according to the meaning attributed to them. Consequently, it be interesting to access contemporary art that, in its conceptual nature, renders visible the multiple strata and the ideatic content that forms the identity of any given object. In this way, the way in which an object has been interpreted by the museologic ideologic apparatus will emerge from the object itself. This invisible structure, which puts meanings into circulation yet remains behind the stage, is given conceptual prominence. As a result, we learn about an object not so much by considering it as a homogeneous piece originating from a certain culture, but rather through the ways in which has been assimilated, traded, and used in its circuits of movement. Here, issues such as property rights (and the criteria to establish these) are being uncovered through an artist’s work with the museum’s archives. In foregrounding the concerns of new museology and methods of de-colonising the object, I propose to address the object as a performative presence that overpasses its identity as museologic object. Contemporary art has brought not only the performative qualities of the objects to the forefront, but also affirmed something that is not fully graspable and knowable. In contrast with museums that seek to ‘tame’ the mystery of objects (by subordinating them to categories and reducing them to some predefined qualities), conceptual art works with the hermeticism of objects as a creative process. Conceptual art introduced a performative approach to objects by extracting their meaning from their agency (rather than from their qualities — as museologic display seems to do). As has been demonstrated by Candice Lin, 2 acknowledging the agency of objects over humans is a political insight that destroys the paradigm of power as we know it (i.e. humans instrumentalising objects). Lin talks about the object as a hybrid being resulting from a ’creol’ identity — one that is the result of mixing categories that are never fixed. Reminding of Donna Haraway’s hybrid beings, she draws back to the co-evolutionary interpretative model that envisions the subject-object relationship as a reciprocal creation. In this sense, objects seen as hybrid formations and as a result of plural interactions, undermine one-sided relations of power between object and subject. One of the main objectives of this project is to elaborate cross-disciplinary methodologies and concretely follow ‘what art can do’ in the field of ethno-
1 Clemetine Deliss and Yvette Mutumba (eds.), Foreign Exchange. Or the Stories you wouldn’t tell a Stranger, Diaphanes, Zuerich, Berlin, 2014. Cited in: Lotte Arndt, Mathieu Abonnenc, Catalina Lozano (eds.), Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and affect, B42, Paris, 2016
logic museology. The intention is not only to produce this aforementioned series of case-studies in France, Germany and Portugal, but also to connect the involved artists and curators to previous initiatives in this field through international meeting sessions, a constant web presence, and regular presentations in Portugal, France and Germany which aspire to crystallize methodologies and evaluate outcomes.
2 Candice Lin, The Long Lasting Intimacy of Strangers, in Lotte Arndt, Mathieu Abonnenc, Catalina Lozano (eds.), Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and affect, B42, Paris, 2016, pg.104
Exhibition in the Museum Carlos Machado, Ponte Delgada in Azores — This exhibition, which took place in July 2017, sought an incursion into the history of the founding of the Museum Carlos Machado, and more specifically, its strategies of self-representation. Its point of departure is located in some of the first photographic images that document the museum’s founding exhibitions (from 1903 to the 1960s), which brought century old collections deposited during the colonial trade routes on the island together under the same roof. These images include representations of the initial display when the museum opened in its current location in 1930. Three artists, David Casinai, Benoit Maire and Marco Pires, were invited to interpret these images in respect to politics of display, the status and value given originally attributed to the objects (as it is visible in these images), and the circulation of cultural symbols and their classification according to disciplines. In these images, we can see how regional and colonial ethnology, natural history, and art objects were all displayed and treated in specific ways. The artists create a meta-discourse in which the historic photographs and their presence of today’s museum in the Convent of St. Andre are distilled and augmented by associations connected to their subjective heritage in material culture and personal methodologies of display.
Documentation and a publication associated with the exhibition can be seen at: www.martajecu.com/ publications/edited-books/ exodus-stations-1-publication.
Socidade de Geografia de Lisboa, 1930. Photograph; Socidade de Geografia de Lisboa, Unknown. Photograph; Socidade de Geografia de Lisboa, Visit of Don Carlos at the National Geographical Society, Unknown. Photograph.
PULSE PROJECT 2011â€“2016
Pulse Project is a performance and sound study series that seeks to create new knowledge of the body through drawing connections between artistic, medical, and technological practices. In this study, I embody research practice itself through becoming an instrument or investigative medium between others and myself and between cultural traditions for understanding and mediating the body. Pulse reading, case studies, live notations of pulses and programming soundscape compositions and installations are all methods that are used together to create a system of heuristics for exploring socio-cultural experiences of art, medicine and technology. SuperCollider (an audio programming language) is used to compose personalised algorithmic soundscapes that offer another perspective with which to conceive of and listen to the interior spaces of the body — as each participant’s pulse is interpreted into a unique set of sound-wave images based on Chinese pulse diagnosis and also according to traditional Chinese music theory. Moreover, this project uses diagnostic touch and interpersonal dialogue as artistic methods to enable the development of a mutual accord between participants and myself (as the researcher); and it is these forms of listening that inform my composing soundscapes for each participant. Consequently, Pulse Project engages with and is responsive to research participants within the research process. Each case study reflects both aesthetic and medical impressions of a participant’s ontology and also adds the participant’s commentary to the overall artistic production/aesthetic knowledge processes of this thesis. In this way, researcher-participant communication allows for an ethical acknowledgement of the processes by which knowledge is produced between the researcher and participants. The Pulse Reading Process — Chinese pulse analysis is a diagnostic system comprising both clinical and scholarly discourses that can be traced back to at least 221 BCE. For this reason, Chinese pulse analysis is described only very superficially here. Overall, Chinese pulse diagnosis consists of carrying out a technical procedure (this is described below) in tandem with applying one’s acute perceptive and intuitive intelligence. The pulse waveforms perceived during the procedure are then placed within a lexicon of twenty-eight waveform ‘images.’ However, given the fluctuating nature of bodily processes and the diversity of individual perceptiveintuitive interpretations of the pulse, it must be noted
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that a person’s pulse often varies from the twentyeight classical nosologies. Subsequently, CM pulse analysis is open to a wide variety of interpretation. It is precisely this allowance for individual interpretation to co-exist with standard interpretation (the twenty-eight categories) that, for me, places Chinese pulse diagnosis at the level of artistry. This is because it is a system that uses the technology of embodied perception to perform a type of medical analysis that includes somatic, intuitive, metaphoric and individualised forms of interpretation as integral aspects of its measuring process. The Chinese Pulse Diagnosis Procedure — On each wrist, there are three positions where the fingers are placed in order to palpate the pulse, making a total of six positions of palpation altogether. From each position, the practitioner registers at least two levels from which the pulse waveform qualities can be felt and are referred to as ‘superficial’ and ‘deep.’ This makes a total of twelve loci of palpation altogether for the pulse. Each locus or position is associated with specific organ-networks such as: the Lungs, Large Intestine, Stomach, Spleen, Heart, Small Intestine and so on. Each pulse position corresponds to a lexicon of both pathological and ideal pulse waveform ‘images.’ For example, at the middle position on the left wrist (the position of the Liver and Gallbladder), there is a list of corresponding images, e.g., ‘bowstring,’ ‘choppy,’ ‘replete,’ ‘fine,’ and these waveform images — given their amplitude and vibratory quality — reveal the state of a person’s health. During the performance itself, each pulse analysis is recorded through producing a set of case-study notes of clinical impressions based on CM therapeutic principles. During the pulse consultation, rather than just writing standard medical notes and impressions (such as the person possesses a ‘slippery’ pulse at the Spleen/Stomach positions) and only spending three to five minutes analysing a pulse (as is standard CM clinical practice due to time constraints), I spend at least twenty minutes reading each participant’s pulse in order to produce a hand drawn graphic notation of each unique waveform that emerges. This notation is then given to every participant as a record of the encounter and as an artwork that is created uniquely from and for them. The Notation Process — As mentioned above, each notation is produced as a document that offers a live translation of a participant’s internal organ-network cosmology via pulse analysis. These notations form a
record of the circuit between others and myself — as an inscription of the moment of my breathing (and their breathing), of touching (and their being touched), of listening (and their being listened to), of interpreting and responding (and their being interpreted and responded to). The notations are also a crucial aide memoire to the composing process as each of the lines within the notations serves to remind me of the somatic sensations and psychic impressions felt within the pulse. The strength and weakness of each line in the notation informs the amplitude of sine waves of the organ-networks represented within the soundscape compositions. These notation inscriptions describe more than just clinical ‘data,’ as I perceive/intuit something about each person from the moment of being literally ‘in touch’ with them. This ‘something’ can be an image that suddenly arrives in my mind or a suggestion of a particular musical signature or cadence. These extra impressions assist me in my meditation on each person as a unique symphony of embodied being. With these notations, I use my embodied perceptive consciousness to produce knowledge of others’ bodies as a challenge to the modern scientific view that mechanical production of knowledge of the body is more ‘legitimate’ than embodied (human) knowledge production. Pulse Project’s hand-drawn notations are created in contrast to the body as represented by x-rays, computed axial tomography (CAT) scans and medical records (inscriptions), not only because my notations represent how the body sounds and feels rather than how it appears, but also because Pulse Project’s notations materialise the production of scientific knowledge by using the body as a medico-artistic technology, i.e., through using diagnostic touch (this draws on my medical training and experience) and the artist’s hand 1 (this draws on my training in fine art and aesthetics) together to assess and represent the body as a temporal, multidimensional and relational entity — instead of simply as a discrete mechanico-physical object. The Composing Process — This project produces several layers of arts practice-based outputs that are woven together into an overall composition. The first output layer is represented by the performances, during which I take case histories, analyse pulse impressions and produce graphic notations. The second layer is represented by the translation of the notations into a digital language of commands, e.g., to create soundscapes as a list of sound ‘objects.’ The last layer is represented by the playback of soundscapes, which are produced either as headphones pieces or as multi-channel sound installations. My approach to the composition process is informed by ‘treatment strategy’ and ‘prescription’
functions of the Chinese medicine clinical encounter. Each of the frequencies, amplitudes and wave forms selected as part of the composition process, e.g., ‘saw-tooth,’ ‘triangle’ and ‘square’ sine wave objects are informed by analysing pulses in relation to the therapeutic principles of Chinese medicine and traditional Chinese music theories. In addition to being an artistic interpretation of both a person’s pulse (as a portrait that is sculpted in sound) and the clinical encounter, these soundscapes are composed to describe a ‘thinking-as-caring.’ Instead of responding to each person’s pulse quantitatively, i.e., as a set of frequencies, waves and rhythms, I meditate upon each person’s pulse qualitatively — as a considered, playful and therapeutically affective response to the emergent life of each person and to their act of generosity in offering to become participant-subjects of this study. Pulse Project as Rhythmanalysis — Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis (2004) aligns with the direction this project takes in syncretically layering poetic and diagnostic analysis together as a means for contributing to and extending transdisciplinary practice of art, science and technology. As Lefebvre remarks: The rhythmanalyst will not be obliged to jump from the inside to the outside of observed bodies; he should come to listen to them as a whole and unify them by taking his own rhythms as a reference: by integrating the outside with the inside and vice versa’ . . . The body produces a garland of rhythms, one could say a bouquet, though these words suggest an aesthetic arrangement, as if the artist’s nature had foreseen beauty — the harmony of the body (of bodies). (Lefebvre, 2004, p.20) Echoing Lefebvre’s description of the work of the rhythmanalyst, Pulse Project integrates together embodied, intuitive and empirical aspects of analysis in order to present new understanding of the relational human body through sonic practice. This is accomplished through translating the interior rhythms of the body into unique arrays of rhythmic sound that resound around, away from, and throughout the body — as Pulse Project soundscapes resonantly interconnect the rhythmic infrasonic patterns of the inner body with the life-rhythms and sounds of exterior environments. As an artist-acupuncturist who uses pulse analysis to interpret the emergences of the biological and technical together with the concrete and poetic, I extend Lefebvre’s speculations on rhythmicity and analytic operation as he defines it below: Often coupled empirically with speculations (see, for example, doctors in the field of auscultation, etc.), the analytic operation simultaneously discovers the multiplicity of rhythms and the uniqueness of particular rhythms
1 Here I refer to Daston and Galison’s discussion of the artist’s hand as it was used under the scientist’s trained judgment to create objective imagery of the natural world as rational and perfected (see Daston and Galison, 2007, p.88) — as opposed to an artist producing an image of nature without the cognitive direction of the scientist — which would produce a ‘distortion’ of nature through the agency of human error (see Daston and Galison, 2007, p.77).
(the heart, the kidneys, etc.). The rhythmanalysis here defined as a method and a theory pursues this timehonoured labour in a systematic and theoretical manner, by bringing together very diverse practices . . . medicine, history, climatology, cosmology, poetry (the poetic) . . . [thus] he pursues an interdisciplinary approach. (Lefebvre, 2004, p.16–22) Accordingly, Pulse Project responds to this discussion on rhythm as transdisciplinary and embodied by using the body as an instrument to conduct an artistic and scientific analysis of the cosmological rhythms of space, time and matter in order to produce unique knowledge of being-in-time. In Chinese medicine, the human pulse materialises the rhythmic condition of the entire body as it resonates in accordance or dissonance with the wider polyrhythms of social, technical and natural lifeworld processes. Therefore, in Pulse Project I practice and produce ‘rhythmanalysis’ as a holistic approach to knowledge production by using CM pulse analysis to interpret and sonify (and thereby communicate) the unique frequencies and cadences of participants’ Heart, Kidneys, Gall Bladder and so on . . . thus giving bespoke dynamic form to each participant’s relational being-in-time. In using my body as an instrument to measure and understand the significances of the unique rhythms of individual bodies in relation to the rhythms of the lifeworld, Pulse Project’s analytical operations not only create new resonant knowledge of the body, but by harmonically synchronising the rhythmic intercommunication between body, time and place, they also produce eurythmic equilibrium of the body-lifeworld continuum to enhance being-well in the world. Thus, Pulse Project performs, composes, and produces transdisciplinary research as a new rhythmanalysis practice . . . as an act of participation in and contribution to a larger always-emerging composition of ecological being and discourse — a knowledge activity that maintains an intimate connection with the gestalt unfolding of the world.
REFERENCES Daston, L. and Galison, P. 2007. Objectivity. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Lefebvre, H., 2004. Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life. Translated from French by S. Elden and G. Moore. London: Continuum.
Pulse Project Performance, 2011–2016. Performance.
LIN + LAM
Public performance and social practice thus informed our project and enabled its final iteration as a mixed-media installation. We transcribed our interviews with barbers and stylists and selected excerpts to appear as text in a three-channel video that highlights the history of hair grooming as it evolved through socio-economic shifts in the area. Shot almost entirely in close-up, the video images capture the intimacy of the ritual of grooming, but equally important, the cropped framing respects the privacy and protects the anonymity of the participants, some of whom may not have had legal status. The installation mimics the architecture of the salon in employing a two-way mirror to superimpose viewers’ own reflections with the images of beauticians and barbers at work. The salon atmosphere is heightened by delicate, translucent sculptures made of hair gel and permanent end papers in the shape of the tools of the trade: spray bottle, mirror, hair dryer, and clippers.
In June 2008, we were invited by the Queens Museum of Art to participate in the public art project, Corona Plaza Center of Everywhere. Our contribution, Unisex, evolved into a multi-pronged project through social and performative engagement with the community around Corona Plaza, Queens. It examines the cultural significance of grooming, the intimacy of relations within the salon, and the therapeutic role of the beautician. For the duration of five months, every day we took the A express from our Washington Heights home, transferring to the 7 train for the long stretch to 103 Street-Corona Plaza. In the space of two hours we traversed the distance between two remote neighborhoods, both of which are characterized by a large Dominican population. Having once been a hairstylist herself, Lan Thao was struck by the imposing number of barbershops and salons that crowded the span of just a few blocks. The voices and daily activities of these neighborhood barbers, stylists, and clients inspired us to visually and sonically map its diverse population. As sites that intersect the public and private, salons and barbershops have historically served as informal settings for political discourse and social networking, and were particularly prominent that summer leading up to the 2008 Presidential election when the barbershop as the center of Black political debate had emerged into mainstream cultural consciousness. Since the dynamic between stylist and client can be similar to the therapeutic process, who would know better than the local barbers and stylists what was going on in their community, what were current concerns—collective and individual, and fears and hopes for the future? In order to learn more about what was at stake for the people of Corona, we spent many hours in these personal/professional spaces where the wearable art of hair design was produced on a daily basis. We could escape the muggy NYC heat inside air conditioned walls, listening to how local residents felt about the issues important to them—from election predictions and questions about immigration, to attitudes toward beauty and aging, the significance of family, anxieties about work, and the rewards of leisure time. As we got to know the barbers, stylists, and their regular clientele, we wanted to broaden our contact with the community. Temporarily reviving her former occupation, Lan Thao offered free haircuts at Street fairs throughout the summer. Lana documented these interactions, which we compiled into two short videos, Los barberos de Corona and La experiencia hace al maestro, that explored the gender and raciallyspecific culture of grooming. We returned to some of the local salons and shops where we had earlier filmed, and donated the DVDs for them to play as clients got their cuts, trims, blowouts, and perms.
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Questions for Barbers/Stylists —How is/was your day? How did you come to choose this profession? How long have you been working as a barber/stylist? How long have you been working in Corona? How did you come to work in Corona? Do you live in Queens as well? How do you find living/working in Queens? What is your specialty — favorite way of styling/cutting — what are you known for? Could you show us? Is there a popular hairstyle in Corona? For men/women? What is it? Can you demonstrate? How would you describe your clientele? Have you noticed any changes in your clientele over the time you’ve been working? How’s business? Have you noticed any changes in business? Do you receive any support from the city for your business? Are other members of your family barbers/stylists? Can you tell us a little about your family history? Interview Excerpts — Wanda: Changes? Yes. Everything is going badly, many businesses are closed. Economically, many businesses have closed. I used to work . . . in the place that closed where I used to work, it wasn’t because it was going bad, but the owner wanted to rest, and she was the owner of the building, so it worked for her, but her son had depression and, well, she wanted to rest and she decided to close it and open a Kennedy Chicken . . . Yes, many people are unemployed. ¿Cambios? Sí. Todo está mal, muchos negocios cerrados. Económicamente, han cerrado muchos negocios. Yo trabajaba . . . en lo que cerraron antes que trabajaba, no fue porque estaba malo, sino la dueña quería descansar, y ella era la dueña del building, o sea que no le quedaba, pero que el hijo
tenía depresión y eso, y quería descansar y decidió cerrarlo y poner un Kennedy Chicken . . . Sí, muchas personas desempleadas. Eduardo: We can say that this is an area of Latinos, in general it [is] the Latino who comes here. But yes, there are clients from almost all nationalities. I would say that this is like a . . . a mosaic of races. This here . . . appears a bit of every nationality, a bit of every nationality, in accordance with the area. Digamos que este es un área de latinos, por lo general el latino es el que viene. Pero, sí siempre hay clientes de casi todas las nacionalidades. Yo diría que esto es como una . . . un mosaico de razas. Esto aquí . . . de todo un poco aparece, de todo un poco, acorde con el área. Junior: When the economy is good, then people go and spend more on themselves, therefore they will spend more with the barber, and in cases in which the economy isn’t going well, as it is now . . . Others used to go weekly, and now they are going every fifteen days. That is to say, it is because of the economy. And there are fewer, there are fewer jobs. Cuando la economía es buena, entonces la gente va a gastar más en sí mismo, entonces por lo tanto va a dar más al barbero, y en casos como cuando la economía está mala, como es ahora . . . Otros iban semanales, ahora van cada quince días. O sea, es por la economía. Y hay menos, hay menos trabajos. Henry: We are all . . . yes, already friends, workmates. But it is like a family because one spends more time here with them than with our own families, than with our wives. This here, we are all one. Somos todos de . . . si ya amigos, compañeros. Pero es como familia porque uno pasa más tiempo aquí con ellos que con la misma familia, que con las mujeres. Aquí esto . . . somos todos uno. Lucy: This is a job that when one is getting old, people or men no longer want to have their hair cut by you. They see another young woman and they want to go with the young woman. They don’t know the experience that one has. So, that is what I would like people to understand. That it is not youth, not how you look, nothing of that, it is only respect . . . I have had women here who are 50 years old, and I see that people look down on them, they do as if: “Oh, no, not with her, she is old.” And I say, “Oh my God! Where are we going to end?” In this job we don’t have . . . we have to pay taxes in order to subsist when we become old. But this job does not have, how would you say it . . . here if you don’t save, you are not going anywhere. Este es un trabajo que cuando uno se está poniendo viejo la gente o los hombres ya no se quieren cortar contigo. Ellos ven otra jovencita y ellos quieren ir con la jovencita. No saben la experiencia que uno tiene. Entonces, eso quisiera yo que la gente entendiera.
Que no es la juventud, no es como te ves, no es nada de eso, es solamente respeto . . . Yo he tenido mujeres ya que tienen 50 años aquí, y yo las veo que la gente les hace feo, les hace como: “Hay no, con ella no, está vieja esta. Y yo digo, “Oh my God! ¿Para dónde vamos? En este trabajo nosotros no tenemos, . . . nosotros tenemos que pagar nuestros taxes para poder sobrevivir cuando estemos viejos. Pero este trabajo no tiene, como se llama, . . . si tu no ahorras aquí, no vas para ninguna parte. I have also a very special client who passed away when she was crossing the border. Her children were here like 7 . . . 8 years old. She was crossing the border, she crossed, they were bringing her in a . . . they were already bringing her here, and she laid down like this in the car in which they were bringing her and there she died. And her children remained here alone with their father and everything. And we also cooperated also with that. And the children come here, they know that their mother used to get her hair cut here with us and they come here and are very friendly. Una clienta también muy especial que se murió cuando venía pasando la frontera. Sus hijos estaban aquí como 7 . . . 8 años. Ella venía pasando la frontera, pasó la frontera, la traían en un . . . la traían para acá ya, y ella se recostó así en el carro donde la que la traían y ahí se quedó muerta. Y sus hijos se quedaron aquí solos con su papá, y todo eso. Y también nosotros cooperamos para eso. Y los niños vienen aquí, saben que su mamá se cortaba el pelo con nosotros y ellos vienen muy amigables. Marlene: Normally, well, I think that, I don’t know, it is so normal because . . . How could I put it? It is like talking to a psychologist, no? Listen to the patient and keep one’s problems to oneself, to know how to keep our own to oneself. Normalmente, pues, yo pienso que, no sé, que es como tan normal porque . . . ¿Como le dijera yo? Es como decirle al psicólogo, ¿no? Escuchar al paciente y cada cual se reserva sus problemas de uno, saber reservar lo de uno. Elvis: For example, AIDS . . . I advise youth that . . . that if they are going to have sexual relationships, that they at least protect themselves. Yes. And, you know, I give them lots of advice because I am . . . I am a bit older than . . . the clientele are by chance young men, youth. And I give them lots of advice. Por ejemplo el SIDA . . . Y les aconsejo a la juventud que . . . que por lo menos, si van a tener relaciones y cosas, que se protejan. Sí. Y, tu sabes, les doy muchos consejos, porque yo soy . . . yo soy un poquito más viejo que casualmente . . . la clientela son casualmente todos muchachos, son jóvenes. Y, yo les doy muchos consejos. [What is a bad day of work?] When my legs hurt . [Qué es un mal día de trabajo?] Cuando las piernas me duelen.
List of Barbershops and Hair Salons in Corona Plaza, Queens:
El Negro and Boys Barber Shop 4006 104th Street Corona, New York 11368
Geminis Unisex 3745 103rd Street Corona, New York 11368
Peluqueria Unisex Mexicana 4105 National Street Corona, New York 11368
Doble â€˜Râ€™ Barber Shop 3720 103rd Street Corona, New York 11368
Caireles Salon and Barber Shop 4011 National Street Corona, New York 11368
Catherine Unisex 3756 103rd Street Corona, New York 11368
Luisa Unisex 102 Roosevelt Avenue Corona, New York 11368
Rizos Hair Salon 4123 National Street Corona, New York 11368
Leos Barber Shop 4307 National Street Corona, New York 11368
Ramirez Unisex and Barber Shop 10207 Roosevelt Avenue Corona, New York 11368
Cuenca Barbershop Corp 10825 Roosevelt Ave. Corona, New York 11368
Albania and Selene Salon Unisex 10215 Corona Avenue Corona, New York 11368
Monalisa Unisex 4012 104th Street Corona, New York 11368
Magical Touch.The Fade Magicians Barber Shop 38-14 103rd Street Corona, New York 11368
Marys Unisex 4011 104th Street Corona, New York 11368 Aichan Beauty Salon 4113 National Street Corona, New York 11368
Commissioned by the Queens Museum, consisting of an installation, videos housed in barber shops and hair salons in Corona, Queens, and free haircuts offered at Street fairs.
Garo and Milagros Barber Beauty Shop 3766 103rd Street Corona, New York 11368
Made In Columbia 4113 National Street Corona, New York 11368
Unisex, 2008. Mixed Media, Dimensions Variable.
CALLING ATHLONE THE HISTORY OF BROADCASTING IN IRELAND, ITS CONTEXT AND A POTENTIAL FOR TECHNOLOGICAL AGENCY
next to Rovaniemi, Helsinki and Oulu you will see Athlone. How did this town, in the middle of Ireland come to have such prolific moniker? The answer itself is tied to geographical location, the history of broadcasting and the foundation of the independent Irish state. Ireland on the edge of Europe, floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean offered a unique opportunity in the earliest days of radio’s evolution. Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937), considered by many to be the father of modern broadcasting technology, developed much of his pioneering radio technology in Ireland. Marconi would use Ireland’s western coast in order to carry out the first transatlantic broadcast, in addition to this under patronage of many ascendancy class Irish families, Marconi spent much of his life in Ireland, at least prior to the countries dramatic independent streak. Marconi’s Irish connection is historically well documented; however it’s not exactly common knowledge. After a period of relative political and social stability, wedged between the bookends of world war one and its sequel, the newly independent Irish state looked across the Atlantic to North America, the phenomena of modernism was well underway and Ireland was eager to make its first tentative into the new world. In emulation of the Hoover dam project and a realisation of the massive potential for power on offer through the Shannon River, the Ardnacrusha project was underway, upon completion it offered enough power for the entire country. Indeed it is still operational, now representing a comparatively paltry but still impressive 0.5% of Ireland’s electric grid. After its completion, the Free State of Ireland (Saorstát Éireann as it was then known) looked to the emergent technology of broadcasting. Having two small private stations established, in Cork and Dublin city respectively, the country looked towards a national station. There was precedent in the established reach of its electrical grid, indeed the radio itself became a catalyst for the grids dispersion. Athlone, played a central part in this development, by predominantly being the most populated urban area in the region which lied equidistant to all corners of the country and with little prospect of geographical interference. The town’s connection to the river Shannon meant canal accessibility which was still at the time a part of the industrial infrastructure of the island, these factors as well being a key
Athlone, a historic town of 20,000 people, in the heart of Ireland’s Midlands, is located by the way side of the banks of the island’s largest river, the Shannon. Among many claims to fame, Athlone hosts what is disputed to be Europe’s oldest pub, which by even the meekest powers of deduction one would reckon to be the world’s oldest pubs, pubs themselves not being known as a common feature outside of Europe, at least until relatively recently in the planets chronology. Whether this is true or not, it puts “arses in seats” and that is probably the proprietor of Sean’s Bar (AKA The Luain’s Inn) prerogative as countless tourists, Americans affectionately known as “yanks,” buy and consume ale supposedly based of a recipe from 900 AD. The brew itself is aptly known as 900 AD ale, although its reinvention is more likely a product of the craft beer craze which has recently swept across Ireland and the rest of the world. Irish pubs are known to have all sorts of knick knacks adorning their walls and Sean’s is no exception, memorabilia of long forgotten rowing heroes, hurling sticks/camáin, old tobacco advertisements can be seen. At the front of the building, in the snug 1, mounted on a corner shelf sits an ancient PYE 2 wireless radio, it’s speaker covered with a hessian beige fabric, still showing the stains of tobacco smoke which would have filled the bar 12 years previously, 3 the radio itself might have last been turned on a further 12 years prior to this. On the dial, are listed all the major cities of Europe from Rome to Berlin, Helsinki to Luxembourg. The furthest reaches of what could be loosely defined as “Europe” makes an appearance, Moscow, showing the impressive reach of the A.M. frequency. In fact during A.M. radio’s heyday, with the aid of a long enough antenna and on a clear night, with a measure of luck one could hear the faint whispers of broadcasts from the other side of the world. Nestled in amongst the many metropolises of major world players, sits quietly and inoffensively the name Athlone. Did some local decide to put their own mark on this valuable antique? Is it a regional re-production, the result of over-inflated local pride? Take drive anywhere in the country and seek out a 1940’s wireless radio and you will see the same town name. Drive 205 km south-east to Rosslare, ride a ferry to Cherbourg in the North-west of France, find an antique shop likely be greeted with same name on a similar device. Now drive almost 3,000 km to Helsinki, Finland, visit a local Kirputori (flea market)
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waypoint for rail meant the specialised equipment of the original Marconi transmitter, could be transported directly to the region. While the transmitter station was very much an aspect of the town, it was actually built in Moydrum (Magh Druma in Irish), within the same parish but about a 10 minute drive from the town centre. It sits on a plot of land originally granted to the Handcock family during the 17th century Cromwellian plantation of Ireland. On the land stands the ruins of their castle, burned down during the war of independence in retaliation to the destruction of Irish homes in the area by the British Military. The “Big House” notably featured as the subject of a photograph taken by Anton Corbjin for U2’s 1984 album An Unforgettable Fire. The transmitter building was constructed during 1920’s by the Board of Works and hosts a unique but undefined style of municipal architecture characteristic of the period. Half art-deco and half bungalow, faux palladium cement pillars with cracks revealing a rebar centred core, its inoffensive exterior obscures it’s fascinating interior which is a miniature labyrinth of antique broadcasting equipment. Raidió Teilifís na Éireann, the semi-state broadcaster are not known to dump assets no matter how redundant (which one can observe daily on some of their flagship television programmes) and every piece of equipment going back to the stations construction remains, 100% intact and on site. Having thoroughly researched the site, on a return trip to Ireland in 2014 I went to scope out the decommissioned transmitter. I had no intention of seeing inside and would have been content to simply take some pictures of the impressive mast and building, but alongside the building was a parked jeep. I knocked on the door and was greeted by Tommy Mollen who turned out to be Chief Engineer in Charge of the Moydrum transmitter as part of 2RN who maintain the site. As it turned out I was extremely lucky, Tom attends to site only once or twice a week to ensure all is above board. He has worked at the transmitter on and off since 1972 and just retired at the end on 2016. As well as overseeing the transmitter building in an official capacity, he is working as a member of the Marconi Heritage group towards getting it recognised as a national heritage site. In my research phase about Athlone’s history of broadcasting I encountered a Documentary made by Athlone Community radio named Athlone Calling, it offered much valuable insight into the oral history of broadcasting and technology in the region. I began consider the multiple generations of broadcasting at play in Athlone, which made the town unique not just in the context of Ireland but also Europe. At the time of the transmitters official opening by Taoiseach 4 Eamon De Valera in
1933 about 20 other transmitters existed like this in neighbouring Britain of which no others now remain. I am all for the potential for a sort of metaphorical catharsis on offer through explorations facilitated through technology and wondered if there was some way to literally “tap” into this history. Since the dawn of recorded history radio waves have passed through and bounced of our bodies, emanating from pulsars and the residual energy of the big bang, white noise. We tend to consider energy in the way we relate to domestic electricity as a physical medium like water from a tap; I feel this is in part a consequence of how we have formatted the medium in our contemporary homes, as a utility, much like how we now regard gas, telephone, modern plumbing and high speed broadband. In the earlier days of radio technology, the perception was not so confined and many accessed radio as unfiltered energy facilitated through its conversion into un-amplified sound by crude germanium crystals. These crystal sets were for many, outside of the electrical grid both geographically and economically the most viable way to access radio broadcasts, the simplest of parts could be used to listen in. A razor blade, lead from a pencil, some copper wire and an improvised antenna in a wire chain fence is all one needed to tune in. No additional power is needed for this circuit to work, it is entirely powered by the radio signal that it receives. No batteries and no electrical outlets. This innovation was used by soldiers as late as the Vietnam War as a means to listen to broadcast. Today as the AM frequency is slowly but surely decommissioned the technology still functions. My ambition was to harness these multiple factors; I began to reach out to the local community with the aid of a contact from the local Institute of Technology, with the Marconi heritage group and with Athlone community radio. I worked towards carrying out a communal radio building workshop and with financial assistance from the Arts Council of Ireland through its Annual Artist bursary scheme I was able to produce the project, I was also able to negotiate assistance from Luan Gallery who hosted an exhibition which in post would complement the project and disseminate to the wider public. RTÉ also gave permission for access to the site. The group, varied from locals who had heard about the project through an interview carried out on ACR’s arts programme “For Art’s Sake” to students from the local design college. I was also assisted by Cathal McCormack, a dear friend who lives locally, Cathal put me up for the night and helped out with the project, I am really in his debt. We departed from the town centre, facilitated by mini bus which I had contracted with some of the funding for the project. Tommy Mollen lead a tour of Moydrum, sharing both
1 A small alcove located at the front of the bar, which up until the early 90’s was reserved for women exclusively.
a deep wealth of first-hand knowledge and the history of each piece of technology. Tom answered questions and shared insights with the tour’s participants. After this, we returned to the town centre to the Aidin Heavney Library who had reserved their dedicated workshop space for the purposes of the project. We attended to collectively building crystal set radios, using a variety of parts sourced online; we proceeded outside to test our newly built radios with varying degrees of success. Afterward the radios were on display as part of an exhibition about the project, the ambition is for the materials produced and recorded as part of the project to be turned into a radio documentary which with the aid of Athlone Community Radio will be heard through the same radios we have built. It was my aim that this project would give the participants and local community the means with which to access their shared history. Truthfully, carrying out this practice collaboratively and as a shared experience is more likely to have been the real connect. While you can show people easily how to spend an hour and a half wrapping enamel coated copper tightly around a spent toilet roll tube it’s not likely to impress until that final payoff, where the seemingly inanimate object is brought to life by Ireland’s last remaining AM broadcast. I am content to have interacted with these people and to have shared some of my skill in electronics and knowledge of local history, as an artist one can’t help but approach these topics with grand ideals, the outcome is forever unknown but the relation persists and at the very least the limits of perception with regard to the nature of the world around us are pushed that bit closer to infinity.
2 PYE Ireland’s first and last major consumer electronics’ producers prior to being bought out by the iconic Bush Company, based across the Irish Sea. 3 Ireland introduction of the first smoking ban in 2004, the first of modern smoking bans introduced to workplaces 4 Irish Prime Minister, head of state.
Moydrum Transmitter, Moydrum, Co Westmeath, Ireland, 2017.
not a nostalgic ‘looking back’ or simply a soundtrack for changing landscape. It is a questioning of future developments and a mapping of spaces in-between personal and common memories and anticipation. Occasionally, I still buy vinyl records, and I sort them in chronological order according to the date of purchase. I would think, if I want to listen to the sound of last autumn, that I would know where to look. Flipping this around, when I listen to a song, I would immediately recall when and where I last listened to it. My record collection therefore functions as an audio-diary. Sound has a certain ability to trigger memories. Every memory is connected to a spatial aspect. With absens, I want to explore how to connect sound with space and memory, together with future perspectives. With this in mind, I invited composer Stephen Crowe to work with me. In autumn 2015, we departed on an audio excursion to get an understanding of how the land might sound. We visited some remaining working farms on the Norwegian west coast, where we recorded agricultural machinery, goats, sheep and cows at farms and at one of the remaining outfarms. Fig.2 During this fieldtrip, we perceived the landscape as rather fragmented, disconnected yet related. The recorded sounds appeared kaleidoscopic. These audio-fragments served as both an archive and as a starting point for a new composition. I wanted the sound piece to interact with its surroundings, that is, to take a ’new mountain sound’ back to the mountain. The context in which the work is experienced is clearly fundamental to its content. Fig.3 The final composition is installed in a former outfarm called Stavali, at an elevation of 1024m in the Hardanger National Park. Significantly, until three years ago there was an outfarm at Stavali that dated to the sixteenth century. It closed down due to financial reasons. Today, the tourist association operates a location that has become especially popular with hikers during the summer months. Fig.4 For the opening weekend, we invite the public to join us for the hike to Stavali, a tour which became a performance in itself (we ascended from sea level to 1024 m in six hours in challenging weather conditions). We walked the same paths that farmers and their cows had walked for the last 400 years. Fig.5 Around Stavali, loudspeakers are installed invisibly near farm buildings. Sounds are perceived at particular times over periods of varying length. (link to soundfile: https://soundcloud.com/scrowe/ invisible-goats) The sound increases and decreases, as if the farm animals were moving, coming closer and then disappearing again. Thus, the sound work embraces and interacts with the space. It is a process of highlighting familiar yet forgotten landscapes. The emptiness of the landscape suddenly appeared visible. Fig.6
absens takes place in the remote mountain regions of Western Norway and involves using sound and space interventions to explore transformations within landscapes and society. The project highlights gradually transforming infrastructures, looking specifically at formerly agricultural landscapes. absens connects audio and the environment, and translates into a sound installation of recomposed field recordings, a performative walk, and afterdinner-conversations. How do sound, memory, landscape and infrastructure relate? Landscape is at the core of memory. Spaces and places can be easier to remember through spatialsensual perception than simply through time-based events. absens examines relationships between landscape and memory by using sound to reanimate encounters between the past, present and future, and highlight the distinctive and local in a global context. absens seeks to make it possible to sense time, in the outside, and in areas that are rapidly changing. During the summer of 2016, a sound installation on the Hardanger plateau in Norway features recomposed field recordings of agricultural processes such as engines, and cows, goats, sheep — all with their respective bells — on summer pasture. Significantly, there are now hardly any animals grazing in the countryside. This is a fairly recent development, underscoring drastic changes in land use and infrastructure, thus also affecting the perception of landscape. Fig.1. For over one hundred years, Norway has promoted itself as a country of outstanding landscapes and beauty. These landscapes are however undergoing radical change. Since the 1970s, Norway has undergone transformations primarily due to oil resources that form the backbone of Norway’s economy and employment. By contrast, the nation’s economy was formerly based upon farming and fishery. Nowadays, change is increasingly visible in the landscape, with substantially decreasing working farms and local food production. Only 3% of the land in Norway is dedicated to farming. Due to the restructuring of farm funding and methods, there are now less and less animals on pasture, which has in turn prompted the land to be covered by new growth and a rapidly changing flora and fauna. It has become quiet in the outside. The impact of the oil industry has left its traces on every level of society. Yet, with oil prices going down and a subsequent rise of unemployment, the current question is: What comes after oil? The driving question for me is: How? How to investigate connections in order to discover how one factor, occurrence or process might lead to and influence another, or in turn point toward previous incidents? I call my methods ’investigative curiosity, ’ a process that seeks to gain new insights and to develop further leading questions. Thus, absens is
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‘inner’ images and time renderings, thus animating personal and collective memories and engaging in a debate regarding future possibilities. Fig.7b Consistently, we return to these questions: What needs to be preserved, discovered, and lived — both now and beyond the horizon of our present? How might sound and installation practice become a tool for exploring these questions? Norway is just one example in a global transformation. Comparable scenarios can be found in many other former agricultural regions. Fig.8 After a four-hour hike downhill, just a few kilometres down the road, we meet one of the latest infrastructure projects. It is another long tunnel through those mountains that we had just climbed. A tunnel illuminated by a special lighting design to keep the drivers calm yet awake. Fig.9
Together with guests from Norway, the U.S., Switzerland, Germany and Poland, we drank truly bad coffee at the mountain cabin (coffee with milk powder in little plastic containers, produced in France, shipped by trucks and helicopter to a place where there was fresh milk available for 400 years. This felt like an encounter between different temporalities. At the mountain cabin, there is no running water and no electricity. Yet the engineered food we consumed had travelled hundreds of kilometres. Fig.7 absens is embedded in an ongoing political debate in Norway surrounding the nation’s future direction and self-understanding — How do we want to live? Self-supplied or entirely relying on international markets? We seek to develop an artistic research strategy that will experientially convey transformations by employing sound as a means through which to create
absens is kindly supported by the Municipality of Bergen, Hordaland County Council, Arts Council Norway, The Danish Art Foundation, and is hosted by the Norwegian Tourist Association.
Kaleidoscopic Stavali, 2016; Fieldwork, 2013; Field Recordings, 2015; From 0 to 1024, 2016; Trodden Paths, 2016; Approaching Stavali, 2016; 400 Years, Now Empty, 2016; Sound at Outfarm Buildings, 2016; Cabin Interior with â€˜Kaleidoscopic Stavaliâ€™ Amongst other Artefacts, 2016; Guests Arriving, 2016. Return, 2016.
FRANK J MILES
Communitas feels so egregious to me since the election.
I’ve no idea what to submit.
I don’t feel art anymore I feel like a target.
I can’t even look at my art at the moment.
HOW THE STARS STAND
THE IMAGE SENSOR
Cern, Atlas Detector 1, 2013; Gelatin Silver Print, 8 x 10in Cern, Anti-Proton Trap, 2013. Gelatin Silver Print, 8 x 10in; Cern, Overview, 2013. Gelatin Silver Print, 8 x 10in; Cern, Atlas Detector 2, 2013. Gelatin Silver Print, 8 x 10in; Cern, Atlas Detector 3, 2013. Gelatin Silver Print, 8 x 10in.
OUT OF PLACE ART IN PRACTICE AND THE REVOLUTION NOW
Meaningless work can contain all of the best qualities of old art forms such as painting, writing etc. It can make you feel and think about yourself, the outside world, morality, reality, unconsciousness, nature, history, time, philosophy, nothing at all, politics, etc. without the limitations of the old art forms. 1 But telling artworks from other things is not so simple a matter, even for native speakers [in concepts of art], and these days one might not be aware he was on artistic terrain without an artistic theory to tell him so. And part of the reason for this lies in the fact that one use of theories, in addition to helping us discriminate art from the rest, consists in making art possible. 2 Between the actual site in the Pine Barrens and The Non-Site itself exists a space of metaphoric significance. 3 The excerpts nested above intimate in text form an anecdote by Pliny the Elder cited in the 1971 paper “Artworks and Real Things” by the late American philosopher of art and critic Arthur C. Danto. Pliny recounts a competition between two painters in which each inscribes three successive lines, each line scored within the previous one, thereby generating not only five new lines from just three marks but creating space within the line not ordinarily recognized as space. The artist excerpts each delineates spaces of reflection. For De Maria it is the intentionally purpose-free activity of “meaningless work” — a provocative paradox. Smithson designates an interstitial resonance “of metaphoric significance.” Into the gap his artist peers frame, Danto marks not space within a space, but inscription. Casting himself the role of interpreter, the philosopher usurps the agency of artists whose work his work purports to exalt, avowing, “Artistic theory consists in making art possible.” Danto doesn’t make space — he devours and conquers it with brilliant intellection. This deft feat of presumption and erasure reforms the ancient critique of art’s ontological inferiority as “mere imitation” to one of ontological dependency on a legibility read only through the canon of art history. “To see something as art requires something the eye cannot decry,” he admonishes, “ — an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an artworld.” Command and control. 4 This taming of the artist is a travesty. Pliny the Elder meet Danto the Domesticator. In the half century that followed and a century since Duchamp’s denunciation of “retinal art,” a stunning amount of art-looking prevails. Danto’s downtown world is global, an economic juggernaut
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and tourism mainstay. If domain mastery, per the Domesticator, is prerequisite, with non-“native speakers” in attendance far outnumbering select few artworld cognoscenti, what might everybody be looking at? Danto engages the schism endemic to the cultural project of the public art museum between the patron’s paternalistic impulses and an indifferent, unrecognized, and/or unmet audience, whose needs and identities are grossly sidestepped or subsumed, in his 1995 lecture “Museums and the Thirsty Millions.” The so-called multiculturalism of the decade witnessed the museum’s prerogative as culture arbiter, an emblem and currency of power, appropriately challenged as competing, hitherto suppressed and marginalized voices staked righteous claim. The philosopher-critic defends the evolution of the museum then underway from citadel of monocultural privilege to repository of extramuseal art ranging from Beuys’ actions to community-based art practices. While not quite eulogy, “Thirsty Millions” is a nostalgic and vain reflection. It is no small matter to bear witness to a revolution; i.e., the end of art. The philosopher-critic might claim another title, posthumously — fetishist. Obsessing on artist output, he overlooks the critical matter of artist methodology, a journey of raw imagination he does not take and cannot make. Back in the world and histories of actual artists, Allan Kaprow, in a 1967 conversation with Smithson, prefigured the artist’s shift from museum sanctuary — “mausolea“ — to a wider field of operation: . . . if we’re going to talk about the works being produced in the last few years, and which are to be produced in the near future, then the concept of the museum is completely irrelevant. I should like to pursue the question of the environment of the work of art; what kind of work is being done now; where it is best displayed, apart from the museum, or its miniature counterpart, the gallery. 5 In a prescient riposte, Smithson champions the “nullity of the museum” at risk, he forewarned, by efforts “to liven things up . . . toward a kind of specialized entertainment.” Indeed. Both conditions can nonetheless abide. Museums conceive and present spectacular exhibitions, providing entertainment and diversion to some, tiresome duty to others, communicating across cultural divides and prompting rare revelatory insight on occasion. “Experiences of art,” Danto allows, “are unpredictable.” 6 Museums are appropriately irrelevant to artist practice. They are repositories. What matters is how we do what we do; the artwork is byproduct of the process. Where museums fail is the demarcation they persist in circumscribing artists’ potent range. This
stubborn legacy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that proliferated museums subsumes a pre-modern, pre-industrialization history of the artist-innovator integrating multiple disciplines of science, engineering, technology, and design to produce projects of scale and real-world consequence. Kaprow intimates this possible future. It has not come, yet must. In his polemic, “Why New Worlds Conceived by Artists Do Not Get Built,” Paul Fend argues, In most cultures, even up to the early twentieth century in the industrial cultures, a person starting out as an artist, such as a painter or draftsmen, could graduate from one rank to the next, to eventually become a sort of artistgeneral . . . . One could expect to graduate from the canvas to the entire built, infrastructural landscape. But now, if one is an artist, one cannot hope to get farther than, say, Chris Burden, building at the Whitney Biennial, a survey of New Art, no more than sprawling models of toy cities. The enfeeblement of artists generates a direct danger to the survival of all. 7 Enfeeblement is not restricted to the artist; in the thrall of viewing, art audiences are trained to “look but do not touch.” Museums compete with artists, scripting viewers in narrative interpretations that buffer blunt, potentially revelatory, encounter with the art. Disenfranchised from our own pattern formation toward meaning making, we lose discoveries that exceed an artist’s determination and subvert convention, our independent agency captured. Advocating viewer curiosity and wonder beyond sanctioned venues marks the end of command/ control, not the end of art. “It is the role of artistic theories, these days as always,” Danto assured us in 1964, “to make the artworld, and art, possible.” How directly his position contradicts the emphatic work and words of artists from Duchamp to Warhol, both championed by the philosopher-critic. “If only America would realize that the art of Europe is finished — dead — and that America is the country of the art of the future . . . Look at the skyscrapers!,” Duchamp remarked on arrival to New York City in 1915. 8 Warhol’s Brillo Box, the fulcrum of Danto’s philosophical inquiry, reiterated a commercial household good. De Maria’s steel rods staked in sentinel formation conduct electric fissures tethering infinite sky to desert floor. What intellection and passive spectatorship subsume is the artist’s clearly uttered statement harnessing our undivided attention to this world, our things, this here and now. It is also more than this, of course. De Maria offers art’s possibility to “feel and think about yourself, the outside world, morality, reality, unconsciousness, nature, history, time philosophy, nothing at all, politics, etc.”9 This kaleidoscopic potential aligns with the esteem averred by New York Times art critic
Michael Berenson, cited in Danto’s Thirsty Millions, for great art comprising “an extraordinary concentration and orchestration of artistic, philosophical, religious, psychological, social, and political impulses and information.” To the artists of real, from the readymade on, at core is just that — the material real. Our deflected viewing and circumscribed producing have yet to fully encounter and radically engage our lived world. The gallery/museum is an abstracted frame, a scaled up version of De Maria’s Art Yard, a literal hole to be dug in the earth, the digging intrinsic to the artwork in its entirety. Artist vision and methodology are as needed beyond the museum precinct as within. A shift of focus and activity from presentation venues does not preclude production, collection, and exhibition of discrete artworks, but directs the artist to this world, now, with audience/viewer alliances that are fluid, reciprocal, contentious, and cooperative. New modes of city making can be envisioned, proposed, and prototyped; new transit networks and systems of production, from agriculture to education. In his final book, What Art Is, Danto restates his summary definition of an artwork: “artworks are embodied meanings.” A tidy judgment from the philosopher-critic-fetishist-art-tamer and a deliverable assignment for the dutiful, aspirant artist. Regrettably, obliterating the space of art, he misses the mark, by far. Interpretation, he claims, enables the existence of an artwork by negotiating the gap between reality (“mere object”) and what qualifies the designation “art”: The boundaries between art and reality, indeed, become internal to itself. And this is the revolution . . . [I]n a curious way, the Platonic challenge has been met. Not by promoting art but by demoting reality, conquering it in the sense that when a line is engulfed, what lies on both sides of that line is engulfed as well. 10 This self-referential project of art is a historical relic, aptly returning the museum/gallery to its etymological root as a library or place of study (Latin) or shrine to the Muses (Greek). It does not, however, allow or recognize the enormous range of the artist’s field of operation. To constrain or channel us to sanctioned venues rendering public commentary and modestly scaled (“tactical”) interventions relegates us, as Fend decries, to the diminished “status of domesticated pets, able to provide amusement, possibly intelligent, but certainly never with the power to build or effect anything that alters the industrial or constructed world.” It is not only the material world but also legacies of immaterial social practice that are nurtured by artist direct engagement. The freedom songs of the Civil Rights era offer vivid example. “You know you are . . . going to get . . . beaten, you know you might
even get killed,” an activist recalls, “but the sound [of the freedom songs], the power of the community, was watching over you and keeping you safe.” 11 Bull Connor, the notoriously brutal White Supremacist and Birmingham, AL, Commissioner of Public Safety, could not bear the defiant, transcendent resolve of jailed freedom fighters united in song. “He couldn’t stand their singing,” Civil Rights activist and lawyer Burke Marshall observed. It “drove him crazy.” 12 Danto alleges an internalization of art that “demotes reality.” This misconstrues the expressed directives of the artists — and activists — of his era. Lightning Field (1977) frames sky and earth. Song Delay (1973) sounds a material relay across abandoned shipyards of Lower Manhattan. Splitting (1974) and Canonical Intersect (1975) sites are real buildings. The stage of Roof Piece (1971) is four and five stories high. Work is frame; field of operation, world; focus, here and now; audience no more viewer than bystander than neighbor. The promulgation of an end to art is premature, except perhaps as autobiographical obituary memorializing an insular concept of art consistent with processes of consolidation and siloization that defined the last century. Art, it may have seemed, was hostage to command/control. “Politics,” the interpreter writes, “becomes a form of theater, clothing a kind of costume, human relations a kind of role, life a game.” 13 — not to the artist. De Maria couldn’t have stated it more simply, more directly, writing in 1960: “Grunt. Get to work.” 14 Boom.
1 Walter De Maria, “Meaningless Art,” in Compositions, Essays, 1960, unpaginated. 2 Arthur C. Danto, “The Artworld,” in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 19, Oct. 15, 1964, pp. 572. 3 Robert Smithson, “A Provisional Theory of Non-Sites,” http://www. robertsmithson.com/essays/provisional.htm 4 Danto, “The Artworld,” p. 580. 5 Robert Smithson, “What Is a Museum? A Dialogue Between Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson” (1967), in Jack Flam (ed.), Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), p. 43. 6 Danto, “Museums and the Thirsty Millions” (1995), in After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), p. 178. 7 Peter Fend, “Why New Worlds Conceived by Artists Do Not Get Built,” in Hans Ulrich Obrist and Guy Tortosa (eds.), Unbuilt Roads: 107 Unrealized Projects (Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 1998), p. 28. 8 Danto, What Art Is (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), p. 25. 9 De Maria, “Meaningless Art.” 10 Danto, “Artworks and Real Things,” in Theoria, Vol. 39, Nos. 1-3, April 1973, p. 16. 11 T.V. Reed, The Art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), p. 26. 12 Steven Levingston, Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights (New York: Hachette Books, 2017).13 Danto, “Artworks and Real Things,” p. 17. 14 De Maria, “Meaningless Work.”
Gilbert & Bennett, Redding Trail, Katherine Dreier & Marcel Duchamp, West Redding.
THE CHRONOTOPOGRAPHY OF MOUNTAINS
SRESHTA RIT PREMNATH
Chorten, Mani and Lapche are three kinds of sacred structures built with rocks that are found throughout the region of Humla in Northwestern Nepal and Southern Tibet. Chorten resemble small shrines built by stacking cut stone and reinforcing it with mud and concrete. Mani are made up of low, flat stacks of stone that stretch out like walls or platforms. Individual stones have prayers engraved on them. Lapche, the third and simplest category are cairns — simple rock mounds that any passerby may add to. Lapche interest me in particular because of the democratic way in which they are co-produced over long periods of time. Consider a mound of three rocks, each placed by a different passerby, one year apart. Another mound, an hour away that is five feet high and contains several hundred rocks — ten of them placed by the same person every year for the last decade. These mounds of rocks on the side of mountain paths may mark important geographical locations — a peak, a pass or a river. Others may mark the location of a death. Still others mark lines of sight — a clear view of a sacred mountain, lake or monastery. Some are single mounds while others are dense collections of smaller mounds. Each mound can be seen as a polychronous node — a gathering of many presences each marked by its own particular time. Lapche are an accretion of nows that are each embodied in the intentional selection and placement of a rock. Unlike villages or monasteries that serve as destinations for a traveler, Lapche are always in between or at the threshold of such places. They are polychronic nodes that mark non-sites en-route to somewhere. They are reminders of community in places outside habitation — traces of human presence to accompany and give hope to the lonely traveler. Rocks map scales of geological time that vastly exceed human time and indeed precede the very existence of humans and our conception of time. We are fascinated with things that exceed our ability to grasp, and so we literally grasp them, hold and touch them, to fill them with meaning and make them ours. Mountains compress space, and therefore time, in their folds. To quote Michel Serres “If you take a handkerchief and spread it out in order to iron it, you can see in it certain fixed distances and proximities. If you sketch a circle in one area, you can mark out nearby points and measure far-off distances. Then take the same handkerchief and crumple it, by putting it in your pocket. Two distant points suddenly are close, even superimposed.” 1 Following the undulating circumference of a mountain, a short distance
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as the crow flies may be a very long distance by foot. Furthermore, a kilometer may take either an hour or ten minutes depending on whether you ascend or descend a mountain. In mountains, time is much more useful as a unit of measurement than distance. How long from this node to that? From this Lapche to that? The time between two nodes might seem small for some and inordinately long for others. In fact, the time between nodes changes dramatically depending on the direction that you walk and the route that you take. Point A to Point B is almost never the same time as Point B to Point A. A map that charts the time between places could be called a chronotopography. Such a map would be peculiar because a chronotopography changes in relation to direction, ability, familiarity, weather etc. A route may become muddy, inordinately difficult or downright dangerous in bad weather. A bad stomach or altitude sickness might make an otherwise easy walk impossibly long. A landscape therefore has many chronotopographies even though they may share many of the same nodes. And, as mentioned previously each cairn that functions as a node is itself polychronous containing not only multiple human times, but also many layers of geological time that may even predate humankind. Consider each act of selection. This stone or that? I like this stone better. Moments of aesthetic judgement — I want to place this stone there. A pattern on the rock may resemble a deity or animal, or perhaps it is simply the novelty of its abstract striations, the intensity of its colors, the perfection of its shape. This aesthetic judgement is not restricted to the sense of sight. The feel of a particular rock, its irresistable texture, the way its volume fills one’s hand, its density and weight, these are all factors that influence the decision. Each mound consists of such individual aesthetic judgements aggregated into a single memorial or monument. However, this aesthetic judgement does not extend to the final form of the mound. In fact, such an object is never finished but always in the process of becoming. Here the aesthetic act is simplified to the intentional displacement of a rock from here to there; from its formless dimension as an anonymous rock to its newly assigned cultural function as marker, sign and node. For Robert Thorson the difference between a rock and a stone is that a “rock is raw material in situ.. [while a] stone usually connotes either human handling or human use.” 2 In the case of the Lapche the shift from rock to stone rests on the simple act of selection and recontextualization. In a landscape that is already a mound of rocks, the human act of
are cut off by the borders of nation states are often kept alive by surrogate bodies. Travellers who have access to it, and have seen the site become proxies for one’s own darshan. This potential to see and its consequent longing energizes the routes to and from a powerful node, which pulls pilgrims towards towards it despite political barriers. People bring home rocks and water from such sites as material evidence of their presence at the site. To summarize, a chronotopography consists of a network of polychronous nodes located in between destinations. These nodes are always in the process of becoming, as travelers add to them by making intentional aesthetic judgements at the moment of encounter. The space between nodes is measured using time, which in turn is affected by terrain, direction of travel, the ability of the traveler, weather, etc. This implies that the same topography has multiple chronotopographies. In a chronotopography visibility is almost equal to encounter, and collapses the distance between nodes. In a chronotopography one node may function either as a surrogate or marker for another, however the relation between nodes would better be described by and than or. In a chronotopography the destruction or cutting of one node affects multiple interrelated nodes, and if sufficiently powerful could destroy the entire chronotopography. Such destruction cannot be seen as the destruction of mere objects but rather the destruction of a phenomenological history aggregated in and between structures always in the making. While it is easy to see already present Lapche as sites for veneration and preservation, it might be harder to see all rocks in the mountain landscape as potentially sacred objects — objects that might be selected by future travelers.
touching, lifting and placing imbues the man-made mound with an aura of cultural significance that precedes our specific understanding of it. In other words we understand that the cairn is not natural and is therefore symbolically significant. This significance lies in between human attention and the intrinsic quality of a rock. Certain rocks are unusual and deemed potentially significant. This potential must be transformed through intentional selection for the rock to emanate an aura of significance. Imagine that a small stone topples off the structure and once again becomes anonymous. Imagine then that this rock is picked up once again by a second person and placed on the pile. One stone with two times. To refer back to Michel Serres’ handkerchief metaphor, points in a landscape that are separated by days of walking, can be very close by line of sight. Likewise locations may be very close but out of sight, hidden behind a ridge. Vision therefore plays a key role in empowering a chronotopographical node. Since Lapche often mark lines of sight, they bear a relation to more powerful nodes embodied in geographical features like mountain peaks, or manmade structures like monasteries. A node draws power from objects that are visible from its location, but not necessarily nearby. Darshan after all is the act of seeing and in turn being seen by the divine. A Lapche might act as a surrogate for a distant object by using the sense of sight to compress space. The time between a Lapche and an object that can be seen from its location is zero. On a cloudy day, or in the absence of a clear view, the Lapche acts as a sign or surrogate presence for that which is absent and a marker of sacred geography — a map without its referent. The preeminence of vision as a means of encountering the sacred allows the viewer to ignore boundaries — whether political or otherwise — as long as they do not obscure the sacred object. If an object that serves as a powerful node is cut off from travelers by a political boundary, and the object is too far away to see, all the subsidiary nodes that depend on the main node for their power may also wither away. Cutting off an important node in a chronotopography is tantamount to cutting out an organ from a body. However, powerful nodes that
1 Michel Serres with Bruno Latour; translated from French by Roxanne Lapidus. The University of Michigan Press, p.60, 61 2 Thorson, Robert M. Stone by stone: the magnificent history in New Englandâ€™s stone walls. New York: Walker & Co., 2002. Print.
Lapche in Humla District, North Western Nepal, 2016; Lapche on the Bank of Lake Manasarovar, Purang County, Tibetan Autonomous Region, 2016; Lapche in Humla District, North Western Nepal, 2016.
Echo from the Exhibition Sitelines, 2016. Wood, Plasterboard, Mirrors and Existing Window, Dimensions Variable; Pointform, 2004. Reflective Film and Steel Frames, Dimensions Variable.
Aesthetics, Re-Sited questions what the over-saturated and over-used terms “multi-disciplinary” and “inter-disciplinary” actually mean in relation to a work of art today. Are these terms simply “place holders” for a new, yet to be defined discipline? Or is the traditional notion of “discipline” itself is undergoing a critical re-evaluation? For Chapter One: Amore and Stover, will ask five artists to produce three identical works to be exhibited across five sites throughout New York City. The act of physically curating three identical works from each artist into different environments, seeks to actively question the multiple ways in which “site” alters the reception of the work.
Re-Sited is a not-for-profit foundation was founded by Melissa Bianca Amore and William Stover in 2016. Presented in the form of ongoing chapters, Re-Sited directly examines the alterations to the art-viewing process in our “meta-disciplinary age,” where the boundaries between visual arts, performance, science, technology and architecture, among many other disciplines, have become increasingly blurred. Re-Sited will evaluate historical and contemporary thinking structures by actively curating exhibitions that examine both the psychology of the “exhibition site” and the “conceptual space” — its particularities, materiality, and direct relationship to the work of art. Commencing with Chapter One: Post-Disciplinary
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In a world in which global interconnectivity is significantly differently today than it was yesterday, with ‘Brexit,’ US President Trump’s ‘American first policy’ and an increasing fear of otherness leading the wave of alienation and self-focus, the need for people to connect with one another is taking on more relevance and greater importance. It is in this context that this paper will look at connect. This project is made up a number of works that seek to break down barriers and build relationships with social outcomes, by bringing people together to share new experiences. These projects are based on socially engaged works of performance art performed in public spaces that use ‘performosis’ to build connections. ‘Performosis’ is a term the artist and author coined to encapsulate the way in which people become performers in socially engaged performance art, and by extension, ways in which spectators and passers-by — in performing everyday activities — become active parts in the performance. It is a play on the words osmosis and performance to express how people can pass through the perceived barrier between performances in the everyday — between ‘life‘ and ‘art.’ People are social by nature, and like solvent molecules in the osmosis simile are drawn to works of socially engaged performance art, to share ideas and be entertained. ‘connect’ is made up of a number of works. This paper will discuss connect : agapē and connect : kaleidoscope. connect : agapē — The feeling driving connect : agapē is true connection. ‘Agapē’ is a universal love for strangers — a love that is conditional upon nothing other than our shared humanity — that builds and maintains the basic requirements of life such as respect, hope and dignity within a social, psychological and environmental framework. In a world of increasing fear, we need to reach out to each other, to honor life and the amazing nature within each of us. This project is about coming together to celebrate our common humanity regardless of whom we are. While all humans are mostly the same, this body of work looks at the notion that the existence of differences is actually what makes us similar. It is the differences between one human being and the next that makes humanity exciting, and what makes each of us unique is of particular interest. Laughing, talking and connecting with others are powerful ways of achieving revolution and changing the status quo, one that will be longer lasting and without bloodshed. connect : agapē is an ongoing project that is being created with local communities in Blanca Spain,
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Schöppingen and Berlin, Germany, and New York City, USA. Over 120 people have participated in this work so far. For this project, the artist meets with each participant for 15 minutes. The artist asks five universal questions and directs each person to create a common gesture of connection that she films. The artist also holds participants hands, a simple but intimate gesture that heightens awareness of others and builds a deep connection. Handholding is known to increase feelings of trust, generosity and compassion, and decrease feelings of fear and anxiety. The artist is working with around 40 people from each city (with participants ranging from 3 to 94 years of age), to create a social and visual portrait. When finished, this project will be screened as a multi-media installation in each of these cities re-connecting with each of the participants. connect : kaleidoscope — The sentiment driving connect : kaleidoscope is connection. Connection between people. And a connection with the world we live in. This work was conceptualised in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, which recently marked its one-year anniversary. connect : kaleidoscope is a celebration of life. The work shines a light on how inherently wonderful people we don’t know, really are. This is more important now than ever. Based on a human kaleidoscope, this artwork is meditative, with an almost spiritual feel. Over 30 people performed this work at the ‘Summerfestival in Reelkirchen,’ Germany, many of whom met each other for the first time. The participants were excited about creating a new work of art and challenged themselves to do something new and stimulating. Some were nervous and sometimes a bit unsure. Importantly though, they took pride in creating and being a part of something bigger than themselves. The rehearsal of this work took place 45 minutes immediately before the performance, which intensified the experience and work. The performers had to work together quickly. They did not have time to think about whom they were working with and they bypassed rules of social conduct — of making small talk and working out where people fit in relation to one another. They were focused and wanted to present the work in the best possible way and they did not want to look stupid. It is quite beautiful to watch barriers being broken and to see the transformation of a group of individuals into a unified group of performers. To see ‘performosis’ in action. This usually happens about three-quarters of the way through a rehearsal and
it’s almost as though someone turns on a switch, a moment where everyone suddenly ‘gets it.’ It started raining heavily during the rehearsal. The artist called the performers together and asked the crucial question: ‘Do you want to commit to performing knowing that you will get wet or shall I cancel the performance?’
The performers looked at each other and said:‘We
go on — it’s for art!’
This performance was clearly changed by the rain. It prevented the normal interaction and ‘performosis’ that spectators would have had with the work with most people watching the performance from under cover — at a distance. The rain, however, also heightened the work. The connection between the performers was much more intense — they all knew they were participating and sharing in an incredible moment — and there was a much greater awareness of the environment and the organic nature of the work. There was a real spirituality. A sense of timelessness to people lying on their backs under a huge copper beech tree, performing
and sharing the unique experience of connecting with the earth and each other, while raindrops fall on their faces. The artist’s social works are transformative. They begin with dialogues, and result in ‘performosis.’ There is a real and immediate effect on the performers’ lives and perceptions: be it the building of friendships, or the simple genuine act of hand holding by people who were strangers before. Mutual recognition and respect develops. These changes are an integral part of the artist’s performances, as too are the longer lasting outcomes, such as the performers memories and oral stories. Artworks created in response to these performances go beyond documentation and capture the feeling of connection for new audiences to experience. Connection with others is one of the fundamental processes of human activity that the ‘connect’ project is reinforcing to counter the patterns of inward thinking and behaviour. Let us all laugh, play, listen, talk and connect more.
Connect : kaleidoscope I, 2016. Photograph of Performance, 420 x 297mm; Connect : kaleidoscope VI, 2016. Photograph of Performance, 420 x 297mm.
RIDING THROUGH WALLS
MEGAN L. SMITH
Riding Through Walls is a research-creation project in durational performance in physical computing, a mash-up of terms drawn from the disciplines of Fine Art and Computer Science that express the hybrid space that the work sits within. The performance, which began on December 1st 2015, is ongoing, taking shape as a cross-Canada expedition through Google Street View from behind the handlebars of a stationary bike. I had anticipated this performance would take 18 months but have resigned to the fact that the endpoint will remain flexible as I make my way across the immense territory of Canada. The project aims to explore, through practice-led research, the impact of visual and data driven performance, and tests new physical computing methods for extension into networked culture. The project objectives are to produce a new art work that generates original knowledge for the area of computational media arts while engaging with the situation of living within the networked age. The work is also exploring and critiquing major information stakeholders, such as Google, and telling a story about crossing Canada from coast to coast via the internet. I am cycling on a vintage ‘Air Wing’ exercise bike modified to incorporate an Arduino microcontroller. This networks it with a laptop to propel forward through Google Street View at pedalling speed. I occasionally wear a Google Glass to communicate while cycling. Each adventure is broadcast live on YouTube. During each 2-hour ride, I take snapshots and distribute these to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter while responding to community requests via these platforms. On November 8th, 2016, I rode for 6 hours from Moose Jaw to Regina, as a live studio performance, in which guests cycled along with me. This physical endurance test and new media performance is gradually forming an archive of a contrived visual experience. Furthermore, the intimate experience of journeying through Google Street View along the Trans-Canada highway enables an opportunity to carefully observe and unpack the blending of corporate curiosities and aesthetic discoveries. Context for Making — This piece is born from a research practice tied with the rapidly expanding Maker Culture that is evolving contemporary art practices and economical systems globally (More than Just Digital Quilting), and a desire to develop a
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real-time performance that humanizes the complexity of networked space through physically and metaphorically piercing the internet. Makers place emphasis on honing practical skills, working with a hive philosophy to distribute knowledge and access to information while inventing new technologies and creating new applications within society (Sharples, M., et al. 33). This movement has resulted in increased access to affordable electronic components, new tools, and economies that support growth within this industry such as Etsy.com, a peerto-peer web-commerce marketplace that hosts makers hardware and craft; Instructables.com, a ‘[place] to share . . . projects, connect with others, and make an impact on the world’ (Our Story); and Adafruit. com who combine free online education with sales of their products. Makers and artists embedded in this practice and philosophy are maturing into an important powerhouse that amalgamates knowledge across Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math (STEAM) to deliver rich creative content, solve complex problems and deliver powerful results across fields. As knowledge and challenges are communicated across these fields, creative solutions and innovate work is achieved and shared within the public domain, enabling progress in immeasurable ways as shared results circulate through the network. Artwork within this new domain, is rarely produced by one individual; it is through working within the network of hackathons, maker labs, online groups, and seeking specialist knowledge that artworks are accomplished. The final products are the result of a collective mind that continues to evolve within the cooperative system. Simultaneous with the rise of Maker culture, is a remarkable growth in artist practice that responds to and engages with the effects of post-internet life. This evolution in practice is highly influenced by working within the system just described, new screen culture, access to new tools and knowledge, and the social experience of living within the networked age. In this sense, post-internet art uses the social web as both a tool and a source of inspiration. This leads to reimagining situations, uncovering narratives, and the creation of new works of art shaped by tool and culture. It also builds communities of practice around the making of work, where artists work in teams with professionals in other fields to accomplish complex works of art. By nature of this exchange, the practice and research-creation is exposed to, and experienced
by a vast audience and large demographic. The artworks produced from this genre critically tackle the system from which they are generated, leading to an astute practice situated within a New Aesthetic. Artist, academic and identifier of this cultural shift, James Bridle says: ‘New Aesthetic [artwork] reproduces the structure and disposition of the network itself, as a form of critique . . . and why is it important to critique the critique as well? Because we live in a world shaped and defined by computation, and it is one of the jobs of the critic and the artist to draw attention to the world as it truly is.’ (Bridle: ‘The New Aesthetic and its Politics’) New Aesthetic art practice refers to digital culture while operating and exhibiting within the same system. Working in this way is about being imaginative, critical and systematic with the choices of technology used to tell and distribute human stories. It is about performing creatively within data and networked culture to amplify and project the situation, to test the limits, advantages and disadvantages of post internet culture and communal space, and to meticulously tease out of the web new narrative structures (Ruth Catlow). Methodology — RTW uses a methodology that is creatively embedded in discovering web-platform performance work, while forming a story about the cultural experience of physically navigating one small subsection of the internet and testing extensions into networked culture. The creation of the networked bike utilized the hive mind of Maker culture to source the necessary programming knowledge to build the bike. It also called on marketing techniques, such as the use of trending colours and ideas of nostalgia within the graphic design to build a project that catches the eye amidst the thousands of images consumed in day-to-day use of the web. The vintage ‘Air Wing’ stationary bike, while not the best tool for overall fitness achievement, works well to draw attention with its blue steel, curved handlebars, big wheel and simple frame. The design went through several iterations before finally condensing down to the simplest system. It only requires an Arduino Leonardo, a Hall sensor and two buttons to advance images tile by tile and navigate left and right. The project currently costs $40.00, if one already has a stationary bike and a computer, and Do-It-Yourself designs and tutorials will be released online. To add to the experience, the scene surrounding the bike goes through changes and enhancements as the journey progresses. The studio set has a fake road, turf, and clouds hanging from pulleys. Musicians and
guests have occasionally taken part in segments of the road trip. The journey began on Dallas road, at the Western tip of the Trans-Canada highway, in Victoria, BC. From there I cycle East with Sydney, Nova Scotia as the destination. The project website features a map of the route to date, including image markers depicting typical road trip sightings. Discovery — Within the first 2000 km of the journey discoveries have ranged from the ability to peer into the lives of those who travel the trans-Canada, to a greater understanding of the technical limitations of Google Street View. I have considered the placement of their logos on roads, in clouds, on vehicles and within the refresh layer that exists in the hybrid space between images. The first image photographed during the performance, of a man gazing upon the ocean from a roadside bench, helps me to understand how the platform is immortalizing experiences. The history of the individual may be lost, but his moment of contemplation has become a snapshot of a human behaviour in 2015, a bit of data that can be recalled when needed in the future. Surprise also manifests itself throughout this performance. I feel the thrill of experiencing once in a lifetime moments cycling through the image tiles, such as a helicopter travelling down the road on a trailer. Nothing prevents the return to this point of the road within the platform, though as I passed by I felt a sense of having witnessed an unexpected situation, a common feeling travelling territory unknown. Spatial awareness is also affected, as is the ability to experience a digital image with some physicality. Cycling through each image tile I have the sensation of penetrating the internet. Lines become distorted due to latency in image refreshing, fracturing the horizon and structures like bridges, power lines, streetlamps, and signage. Gaps in data occasionally prevent movement. This is most common at intersections, leading me to believe that the problem is due to errors in image stitching where arrays of data meet. While cycling over a bridge in Vancouver, I fell through the bridge to the road below. Despite this drop being purely virtual, the experience left me breathless. Teleportation is the term I associate with the sensation of time travel, which occurs as image tiles alternate between annual collections. This experience reveals what the Google-mobile drivers experienced over time, in different years, in different weather conditions, and how some drivers saw stunning scenery and others drove through overcast spaces. This also relays the quality of the camera
capture over time, the disappearance of pixelated content, and the sheer quantity of data that Google is amassing. There are human moments within the platform. I often see people taking pictures of the landscape, taking selfies and expressing their love for one another. People wave at the Google-mobile; I occasionally wave back. I am curious about the people captured eternally in this space. The blurring algorithm that hides faces often misses hitchhikers, truckers and children in busses, but removes the identity of cartoon-like public art sculptures, which makes me wonder about the analyst at work at the Google compound in charge of meticulously checking if faces are blurred and overriding the system to add comical value. Why? — I’m doing this to physically penetrate the internet so that I can understand current web architecture and culture in a richer way, in order to contribute an informed experience for those who come after me into this new social space. This is accomplished by sharing the practice as it develops, distributing the design and Arduino code files, and engaging with diverse publics as I travel across Canada. Ethically, the project is bound to Maker culture, whose system of values requires the reciprocation of knowledge back into the social system. I will analyse the impact of using Google’s maps and products as tools for communicating my experience world-wide across social media platforms. I will also look at the economic viability of building art works within this industry, though at present I have only made $0.74 by incorporating YouTube monetization. This piece is a multi-layered approach to pushing through the infrastructure of the corporate web and its accessible tools built for the general public, dramatised into a live and participative performance space. Researcher and open-source advocate Catarina Mota says “Acquiring preemptive knowledge about emerging technologies is the best way to ensure that we have a say in the making of our future” (Play with Smart Materials). At the root of this research is the artist’s role to tackle problems from unconventional angles and to contribute or uncover new dialogue. This is achieved within the framework of collaborative exploration of new media and the articulation of experiences of making within the medium. Working within this situation is accepting that the computer, social network and interface are all tools, medium and content, and that using them to tell rich narratives aids in decoding this new era of computationallytouched life experience.
BIBLIOGRAPHY “About Etsy.” Etsy. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. Available: https:// www.etsy.com/about/ “About Instructables.” Instructables.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. Instructables (n.d.) “Our Story” [Internet]. Available: http://www. instructables.com/about/ “About Us.” Adafruit Industries. N.p., Web. 20 Dec. 2015. Available from: http://www.adafruit.com/ about>. Ruth Catlow.” Gallery Films Furtherfield: New Media Galleries. YouTube. Artquest, n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIkRZZ3QkvE Bridle, James. “The New Aesthetic and its Politics.” BookTwo.org. 12 June 2013. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. Available: http://booktwo.org/notebook/new-aesthetic-politics/ Mota, Catarina. “Transcript of “Play with Smart Materials” TED Conferences. N.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. Available: https://www. ted.com/talks/catarina_mota_ play_with_smart_materials?language=en Sharples, M., McAndrew, P., Weller, M., Ferguson, R., FitzGerald, E., Hirst, T., and Gaved, M. (2013). Innovating Pedagogy 2013: Open University Innovation Report 2. Milton Keynes: The Open University. <http://www.open.ac.uk/ personalpages/mike.sharples/ Reports/Innovating_Pedagogy_rep ort_2013.pdf>. Monitor. “More than just digital quilting.” N.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2015. Available: http://www.economist. com/node/21540392/
Riding Through Walls, 2015. Livecast Durational Performance,
ARCHIVING FLEETING MOMENTS
TATLO (SARA JIMENEZ AND JADE YUMANG)
The Department of Accumulated Thoughts was a simulated form of canvassing as a way to have direct contact with the general public. Usually this systematic interaction has an end goal whether collecting for census, political campaign, or soliciting donations. Instead, the aim was to gather, archive, and share the mundane and extraordinary routines, thoughts, and niceties that structure various groups of people. Our goal was to accumulate and reflect back the unconscious and conscious thought patterns that weave through and interconnect populations. These fortuitous interactions were paused moments to highlight a brief encounter and a have a glimpse of someone’s personal story. Our initial intention was to create a fun and absurdist survey. What we soon realized was that people took the opportunity to tell us what they really think of the area they live in. The cubicle acted as a station point: instances where one can sit down and talk to us as we eagerly listen and jot down the exchange. The survey acted primarily as a framework, an icebreaker. The survey was divided in three sections based on daily routines, where they live, and personality questions. At the end of the survey we gave them the opportunity to draw a self-portrait. For the final iteration of the project, we ventured to Brooklyn to get a slice of people’s thoughts. From
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July 2014 until January 2015 we went to different parts of Brooklyn: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bay Ridge, East New York, Dumbo, Fort Greene, and inside the Brooklyn Museum. Although this does not cover the entire scope of the borough as we missed quite a few neighborhoods, the goal of this project was to catch a snippet of the goings-on of Brooklyn. Our intention was never to chart or make sense of the data collected. Our aim was always to create a space for dialog. The survey was a means to record the exchange. To our amazement people took the time to sit with us, sometimes lasting for an hour. Perhaps the site of a wandering cubicle with three people uniformly dressed was enough to quell someone’s curiosity, but more so that the cubicle acted as a reprieve from the day to day and give people a chance to just talk and share their unique stories. Our conversations with people were wonderful, some shared their concerns about the neighborhood; their happy and painful stories; some were pessimistic on where Brooklyn was heading, while others hope for a better future. We wish we had more time to cover Brooklyn, but for now we have an archive of fleeting exchanges with generous people willing to give their time to say hello.
Department of Accumulated Thoughts: Brooklyn Division (Dumbo; Fort Greene; Brooklyn Museum), 2014â€“2015. Performance and Sample Survey, Dimensions Variable.
Atıf Akın is an artist and designer living in New York. His work examines science, nature, mobility, and politics through an (a)historical and contemporary lens. Through a series of activities made up of research, documentation and design, Akın’s work considers transdisciplinary issues, through a technoscientific lens. In 2009, he took part in the Younger Than Jesus art directory project of the New Museum, published by Phaidon. That same year, Akın co-curated a seminal media art exhibition, Uncharted: User Frames in Media Arts, and edited an accompanying book. Akın was co-organizer of the zine project and exhibition, Apricots from Damascus, on behalf of apexart, and co-produced and hosted by SALT in İstanbul. Part of his longterm artistic research project titled Mutant Space on nuclear mobility and archaeology was shown in 2016 Design Biennial. Akın joined the Mason Gross School of the Arts faculty at Rutgers University in 2011. Brad Buckley (b. Sydney, Australia) is an artist, activist, and urbanist. He is a Professorial Fellow, Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of the VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne (Australia). He was educated at St. Martin’s School of Art in London, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Buckley’s work, which operates at the intersection of installation, theatre and performance, investigates questions of cultural control, democracy, freedom and social responsibility. His work has been exhibited internationally for over three decades. Buckley is also the editor, with John Conomos, of several books, the most recent of which is Erasure: The Spectre of Cultural Memory (Libri UK, 2015). Daniel A Cherrin is a photographer, filmmaker, artist and educator. He documents human and political struggles globally, as well as creating scenes that are metaphors for the human condition. Cherrin’s work focuses on the dichotomy of fantasy and reality; challenging comfortable assumptions, presenting documentary as art and art as documentary through a variety of mediums. He received a BFA in Cinema Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia, and an MFA in Photography and Related Media at Parsons School of Design in New York City. His images have been published by a variety of magazines and news outlets and displayed in galleries, screenings and shows globally. Livia Daza-Paris is a Venezuelan-Canadian transdisciplinary artist who has worked with dance, performance, video, text and documentary evidence. She uses artistic processes within art-based research, disciplines of narrative inquiry and poetic interventions to address historical trauma.
EIDIA (the practice of Melissa P. Wolf and Paul Lamarre) assumes the form of a consistently interdisciplinary collaboration that explores the dynamics of art politics, social spaces, and the environment. The resulting work is presented in the form of multimedia installations, photography, sculpture, film/video, painting, and other forms of aesthetic research. Their primary projects are: The Starving Artist’s Cookbook/Video & Archive, the nea tapes documentary & archive, and Plato’s Cave a public exhibitions space. They are also Sundance Institute Film Fellows and recipients of Soros Documentary Fund Fellowships 1997 and 1999. They received a fellowship and residency at Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) in 2011 (with exhibition), and in 2012 were appointed Research Affiliates of the University of Sydney for The Deconsumptionists Art As Archive. This project was also presented in its first museum solo exhibition, month long residency at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MOCAD, June 2014. Patricia Flanagan is represented in collections in Australia, Italy, Ireland, Germany and China. She is the winner of four CASP funded Public Art commissions, and recipient of awards — including an Australian Postgraduate Scholarship for PhD research in public art and alternative tactics. Flanagan established the Wearables Lab at Hong Kong Baptist University, and currently works at UNSW Art and Design in Sydney. She also serves on programming committees — including Design, User Experience and Usability in the context of Human Computer Interaction International. She is the founder of the ongoing experimental research initiatives: Peripatetic Institute for Praxiology and Anthropology and Haptic InterFace. Franklin Collective utilizes a unique mix of artists, designers, and art world professionals to create immersive environments and artworks. Employing the form of a particular system, The Collective appropriates its structure to develop a critique from within — skewing and nudging, redefining and revealing. The Collective’s The series of works have been said to function as living sculptures, engaging viewers in both online and physical realms. To date, works include The Call Center, The Flight, The Gallery, The Radio, The Tower, The Wine and The Writings. Franklin Collective has been featured in institutions and publications including: Ethan Cohen Gallery, VOLTA Art Fair, Stream Gallery, Artnet, BK Magazine, Expose Art Magazine, KRASS Journal and Widewalls while collaborating with Artists Space and the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library. Members of The Collective are bound by a mutual non-disclosure agreement.
Karen Frostig (PhD) is the Founding Director, producer and lead artist of The Vienna Project. She is currently Associate Professor at Lesley University, and Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Frostig is a multimedia and interdisciplinary artist, author, educator and cultural historian, engaged in inter- national activist projects dealing with memory, erasure and testimony. She exhibits her work across the US and Europe, is widely published, and has received numerous awards and grants. In collaboration with Kabren Levinson, her newest project, Staging Memory, will examine the history of World War II using art, data and technology.
Journal of Curatorial Studies; Esse Arts + Opinions; and books, including: Jim Elkins (Ed.): Contemporary Visual Culture Reader, Routledge, New York, 2012; Iulia Don- dorici (Ed.): Rumänien heute, Passagen Verlag, Wien, 2011; etc. In 2011, Jecu curated a.o. in Lisbon Subtle Construction, and edited the volume: Marta Jecu (Ed.): Subtle Costruction, Bypass, Malmo, Lisbon, 2011. In 2013, Jecu curated Open Monument at Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien in Berlin, and edited OPEN MONUMENT, Revolver Verlag, Berlin. Her volume, Architecture and the Virtual, appeared this year at University of Chicago Press (US) and Intellect Books (UK).
Susan Greene is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and clinical psychologist. Through public art and media, her work navigates borders, decolonization, environmental justice and memory. Her current work explores the augmentation of site-specific murals using analogue and digital technologies that provide easy access to contextual data and facilitates viewer engagement and connection. Greene conducts research at the intersections of trauma, creativity, resilience and resistance. In 2001, she founded and directs Art Forces, a multimedia project spanning locations ranging from the streets of Oakland, CA to refugee camps in Palestine and Lebanon. Originally from NYC, she resides in California’s Bay Area, where she maintains a psychotherapy practice.
Michelle Lewis-King (PhD) is a research fellow for CoDE Research Institute, where she investigates intercultural connections between art, medicine and technology. She has presented her research at: ISEA 2016, DeTao Node (SIVA, China), University Paris 8, London LASER and at conferences internationally. Her publications feature in: Digital Creativity, Journal of Sonic Studies, The Acupuncturist, etc. Notable exhibitions include: Todays Art NL 2015, Drawing Towards Sound (with Cage, Cardew, Boulez, etc.), Anatomy Museum (King’s College), Ex-Teresa Museum (Mexico), V&A Museum, etc. Michelle works collaboratively with artists, scientists and technologists — most recently at 4DSOUND (HUN) and The Port @ CERN (CH).
David Griffin (b. Kingston, Jamaica) works with certain antediluvian craft skills, modulated by impatience, but enriched by writing, in dynamic relationship with those skills. “I have an unhealthy relationship with belief, and approach the most important things from the perspective of the ‘Pataphysicist, for whom nothing is something.” David’s work has recently focused on music notations as true space-time drawings, allowing users to bridge the visual and auditory arts, and sing without making any sound. David has recently made a drawing that moves backwards in time. His next project is to end the Universe. His scholarly work has been published in a number of academic journals, and has been presented at conferences in Canada, the USA, the UK, and Australia. Insecurely employed as a Lecturer at OCAD University in Toronto, the artist holds a PhD from the Glasgow School of Art (2012), an MFA from The Pratt Institute (1999), and a BFA from Parsons School of Design, The New School (1986).
Lin + Lam (Lana Lin and Lan Thao Lam) have combined their individual strengths toward realizing multidisciplinary, research-based projects about immigration, sites of residual trauma, national identity and historical memory. Their work has been exhibited and screened at international venues, including The New Museum, The Kitchen, the Queens Museum, NY; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; 3rd Guangzhou Triennial; Arko Art Center, Korean Arts Council, Seoul; Taiwan International Documentary Festival; rum46, Aarhus, Denmark; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Auckland International Festival of Photography, New Zealand. Lin teaches in The School of Media Studies at The New School and Lam teaches in Fine Arts at Parsons. Lin earned her PhD from New York University and MFA from Bard College. Lam holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Each has been a Whitney Museum Independent Study and MacDowell Colony fellow. Together they were Vera List Center for Art and Politics Fellows in 2009–10. Currently they are working on a mixed media installation that takes Sigmund Freud’s residence and antiquity collection, which saw different kinds of violences in the aftermath of Freud’s exile, as its point of departure.
Marta Jecu is a freelance curator and researcher at the CICANT, Universidade Lusofona, Lisbon. She has been published in journals including: E-Flux; Kaleidoscope; Berlin Art Link; Idea Art + Society;
Steve Maher is an artist from Limerick, Ireland currently based in Helsinki, Finland. His work focuses on the memetic background of music and tropes, mining the artifacts and rituals of media to articulate new understandings. Maher’s relational practice focuses upon collaboration and dialogue, predominantly with communities oriented in musical practice, using the methodology of co-creation. To this end, Maher designs premises within which he co-explores ideas often realized as events and performances. Maher’s broader practice thematically makes use of the illusory and binary oppositions present in society, particularly when this opposition triggers cognitive dissonance. He also makes use of memes derived from TV tropes, subculture and historical research to negate or enhance this dissonance for the purposes of critique. Chronology and legacy are key to his explorations, together with the influence of seemingly arbitrary phenomena over long lengths of time. Cultural reverberations acting as provocations also offer a recurring source of inspiration within Maher’s practice. Finally, there is not one turning point but rather an infinitude/multiverse. Frauke Materlik has been pursuing her spatial practice since 2002, and holds degrees in landscape architecture (MA, University of Greenwich) and Fine Art (MA, Byam Shaw at Central Saint Martins). She works with sculptural, performative and architectural interventions, researching ways in which space is experienced and altered, thus conveying a deeper understanding of environments and social settings. After many years living in the Nordic countries, Materlik established an art space and research center in the countryside north of Hamburg, Germany. Frank J Miles is a pan-disciplinary visual artist, artistic philosopher and social sculptor based in New York City. Miles is the creator of Communitas — a creative think tank designed to anticipate new cultural topographies and bring people together to experience a refraction of the times we are racing toward. Miles’ work deals with atheism, death, competition, bonding, density and utopia. He is currently looking to establish new concrete possibilities for art and philosophy in Europe. Sara Morawetz is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores processes that underpin scientific action and in turn, examines of how these concepts can be leveraged through artistic inquiry. Her work is devised to test and expose the internal processes of methodological labor — employing systems, actions and processes to reveal the exhaustive, the obsessive, the poetic and the absurd — all aspects inherent to scientific endeavor. Morawetz’s work has been
exhibited internationally, including recent performances at Rapid Pulse International Performing Arts Festival, Bronx ArtSpace and Open Source Gallery. She is a recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award and was the 2016 winner of the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize. Arthur Ou works in photography, painting, sculpture, and installation. He has exhibited internationally, most recently in 99¢ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, and “Astoria,” at the Grazer Kunstverein in Graz, Austria. His work has been featured in publications including Artforum, Aperture, Blind Spot, Camera Austria, Art in America, and The Photograph as Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson). His work is featured in The Beauty of a Social Problem: Photography, Autonomy, Economy, by Walter Benn Michaels, and Photography is Magic, by Charlotte Cotton. He has published critical texts in Aperture, Afterall.org, Artforum.com, Bidoun, Foam, Fantom, Words Without Pictures, and X-Tra. Ou received his MFA from the Yale School of Art. He is an associate professor of photography at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Jane Philbrick is an artist, educator and writer. Her large-scale installations and sculpture range in media from ultrasound and rammed earth to magnetic levitation and found space. Philbrick works in collaboration across disciplines in science, engineering, architecture, music and performance. Her current work explores artists’ interventions in the built environment, applying the holistic and synthetic methodologies of artist practice to real estate development in urban and sub- urban settings. Her focus is brownfield regeneration and reuse. Academic affiliations include: Harvard GSD, Tsinghua University, Lund University, MIT, Valand School, Brown, Cooper Union, RISD, SVA, Cornell and Columbia. Sreshta Rit Premnath is an artist (b. 1979, Bangalore, India) who works across multiple media, investigating systems of representation and reflecting on the process by which images become icons and events become history. He has had solo exhibitions at KANSAS, New York; Gallery SKE, Bangalore; The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago; Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin; Wave Hill, New York; Art Statements, Art Basel; as well as numerous group exhibitions at venues including: The Logan Center, Chicago; Queens Museum, New York; YBCA, San Francisco; Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris; 1A Space, Hong Kong and Thomas Erben Gallery, New York. He is the founder and co-editor of the publication Shifter. Premnath completed his BFA at The Cleveland Institute of Art, his MFA at Bard
College, and has attended the Whitney Independent Study Program. He has received grants from Art Matters and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Re-Sited is a not-for-profit foundation was founded by Melissa Bianca Amore and William Stover in 2016. Presented in the form of ongoing chapters, Re-Sited directly examines the alterations to the art-viewing process in our “meta-disciplinary age,” where the boundaries between visual arts, performance, science, technology and architecture, among many other disciplines, have become increasingly blurred. Melissa Bianca Amore is an international curator, art critic and independent scholar. Her primary area of enquiry is phenomenology and interactive spatial aesthetics. Amore has curated and project managed significant exhibitions at contemporary art spaces, museums and non-profit organizations since 2001 including: ThreeFold, Architecture and Space, at El Museo de Los Sures, as part of the ISCP New York; The Jewish Museum of Australia Melbourne; Arc One Gallery, Melbourne and the Xin Dong Cheng Space for Contemporary Art, Beijing. As a highly acclaimed critic and essayist, Amore has written for leading publications and museums since 2005. William Stover is a curator of contemporary art for over 16 years, has held positions in important and diverse institutions including the Carnegie Museum of Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Independent Curators International and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Additionally, Stover has independently curated exhibitions including Alpine Desire, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York; Sites of Memory: Architecture and Remembering, Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, New York; and Clothes make the man?, Childs Gallery, Boston. Stover co-founded Re-Sited in the spirit of his lifelong practice of enabling viewer’s engagement with art to be about extended looking, thinking and interacting with art situated within different locations and contexts. Sylvia Schwenk creates new perspectives of the everyday and the familiar. Her practice looks at the relationship between performance and the everyday, reflecting upon the significance and beauty of commonplace activities and spaces. Schwenk’s practice unites art with social considerations. She works closely with communities in projects that explore local issues, creating works of art that are both context-responsive and universal in their presentation. Her works of socially engaged performance art are performed in everyday situations in spaces as diverse as prisons, naval bases, football grand finals, public transport, model airplane fields and art institutions. Schwenk is an artist of international standing who performs and exhibits her work in Europe, the US
and Australia. She is the recipient of numerous commissions, awards, grants and scholarships, and her works are held in public and private art collections. Schwenk holds a PhD from the University of Sydney and presents her research internationally in conferences, lectures and artist talks. Megan Smith (PhD) is a new media artist and curator. Her art practice probes new systems for delivering syndicated data through narrative structure and she often works with geolocation, live-feed installation, performance and community projects as methods for storytelling. She is currently focused on two main works, Riding Through Walls, described above, and Adrift, which takes shape as analyses of ecosystems and social structure along Canadian Heritage River routes, including the Rideau and the Yukon. Her work has been shown internationally, most recently at The Works Art Festival, Edmonton (June, 2015), Conversations électroniques, La Panacée, Montpellier, France (June–December, 2013) and Electric Fields, Ottawa (September, 2013). Smith was Creative Director and co-founder of Canada’s national capital Nuit Blanche festival (2012–2015)— a pop-up Contemporary Art event focused on embedding temporary trans- formative projects into public spaces. She holds a PhD in Contemporary Art & Graphic Design from Leeds Beckett University, and is Assistant Professor in Creative Technology within the Faculty of Media+Art+Performance at the University of Regina. Tatlo is a collaboration between Sara Jimenez and Jade Yumang. They met in New York City while completing their MFA at Parsons School of Design, and started to perform together in 2012. Sara Jimenez was born in London, ON and raised in Bethesda, MD. She received her BA in Semiotics and Communication Theory from the University of Toronto with departmental honours in 2008. Jade Yumang was born in Quezon City, Philippines, grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and later immigrated to Vancouver, BC. He received his BFA Honours in University of British Columbia as the top graduate in 2008.
The editors would like to sincerely thank: Parsons Fine Arts, School of Art, Media and Technology, Parsons School of Design, The New School; Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne; Anne Gaines (Dean of The School of Art, Media and Technology), Prof. Su Baker (Pro-Vice Chancellor Engagement Professor of Art, Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne); The Office of AMT and Fine Arts at Parsons. This publication would not have been possible without our forward thinking publisher, Conveyor Arts. This initiative is funded by: Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne; Parsons Fine Arts, School of Art, Media and Technology, Parsons School of Design, The New School; and Project Anywhere. Editors: Sean Lowry and Simone Douglas Design: Christina Labey and Sean Suchara Cover Image: NASA Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ISBN: 978-0-692-06323-1
Published by Project Anywhere and; Parsons Fine Arts, School of Art, Media and Technology, Parsons School of Design, The New School; and Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. All Included Images ÂŠ 2018 Copyright the Artist Unless Otherwise Noted
978- 0 -692- 0632 3-1