Personal mythologies. Narrative architectures. Hidden religions. The space between. When story and image collide the result is an EPIC SOMETHING. Come with our cast of artists on a journey to the nexus of text and image, across a multitude of media: drawing, animation, installation, and writing. Witness the rising action of literal correspondences, translations from narrative to image, or from image back to text. Muddle through the plot twists, storylines hidden beneath the surface, and images that speak volumes. Marvel as each work climaxes in an EPIC SOMETHING that articulates the magical space between storytelling and image-making. The exhibition is accompanied by this limited-edition book filled with companion pieces to each of the artworks. Between these covers alliances are formed, dialogue is in sharp practice, and roads fork unexpectedly. No matter how fantastic the journey, denouement lurks just around the next bend. No story is as good in the recounting. Thank you for reading our EPIC SOMETHING.
TWELVE GALLERIES PROJECT PRESENTS QUARTERLY SITE #12:
Hosted by the Hyde Park Art Center November 18, 2012–February 24, 2013 Opening Reception: November 18, 3–5pm
Twelve Galleries Project 8. Curated by: Zach Dodson \ Dan Gleason 14. Caroline Picard / Featuring artworks by: Jesse Ball 48. Irina Botea 84. EC Brown 54. Lilli Carré 22. Ezra Claytan Daniels 96. Edie Fake 102. Heather Mekkelson 74. B. Ingrid Olson 38. Frank Pollard 76. Aay Preston-Myint 28. Deb Sokolow 52. Bill Talsma 26. Viktor Van Bramer 64.
Cover: Viktor Van Bramer. xccult of the pale watcher:article 001:currently unknown deity, 2012.
Twelve Galleries Project began as a roving exhibition series featuring the work of emerging artists over the course of one year. With each new month, a new location was selected and a new gallery was formed, producing 12 site-specific exhibitions from JANUARY all the way through to DECEMBER gallery. For its second transitory venture, Twelve Galleries Project presents the Quarterly Site Series. The Quarterly Site Series focuses its attention to the efforts of curators and current Chicago galleries. Every quarter over a three year period, within an existing Chicago gallery, three curators collectively organize a themed exhibition. Specific to the Quarterly Site Series is collaboration. With the exception of a predetermined theme that is conducive to varied interpretation, there are no rules. Because there are no rules, each group of curators has the possibility to develop a unique model of curatorial practice.
Quarterly Site #12: EPIC SOMETHING is the final exhibition of the Quarterly Site Series. www.twelvegalleriesproject.org
Twelve Galleries Project Chicago Illinois email@example.com twelvegalleriesproject.org
The Hyde Park Art Center is at once a contemporary art exhibition space, learning annex, community resource, and social hub for the art curious and professional artists alikeâ€” carrying out its mission to stimulate and sustain the visual arts in Chicago since 1939. The Art Center is funded in part by: the Alphawood Foundation; Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts; Chicago Community Trust; a City Arts III grant from the City of Chicagoâ€™s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Field Foundation of Illinois; Harper Court Arts Council; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; The Irving Harris Foundation; Joyce Foundation; Leo S. Guthman Fund; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; National Endowment for the Arts; Polk Bros. Foundation; Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust; and the generosity of its members and people like you.
Hyde Park Art Center 5020 S. Cornell Avenue Chicago, IL 60615 hydeparkart.org
Notes on the Twelve Galleries Project Narrative Jamilee Polson Lacy Founding Director
Over years and years, the Chicago arts community has come to represent a tremendously experimental culture of exhibiting contemporary art, thanks to so many individuals, initiatives and large and small organizations. The Hyde Park Art Center knows this culture well, as it was founded to support and grow right alongside the experimental gesture of local cultural producers. When in 2008 I learned Britton Bertran and Allison Peters Quinn were developing Artists Run Chicago, an Art Center exhibition showcasing the energy and audacity of some of Chicago’s most noteworthy artist-run and experimental spaces, I realized how badly I wanted to test out my own ideas on what constitutes a boundary-pushing gallery space and exhibition program. So I asked myself, as many arts organizers in Chicago do, how could I live in this city and not contribute to its internationally heeded definition of “alternative space,” to its history of apartment, loft and industrial galleries, to its reputation of breaking the unwritten rules of presenting the vanguard? Twelve Galleries Project was and still is my answer to that question. Twelve Galleries Project began as a roving curatorial program that placed artists into unusual spaces each month for one year. The shows, spanning from JANUARY gallery all the way through DECEMBER gallery, were always thrilling and surprising. Especially exciting were the ways artists could transform a site and disrupt the routine of a neighborhood with their ideas every thirty days. All the
while, I was able to broaden my curatorial repertoire through the development of atypical research and writing required by each site-specific solo or group project. I worked diligently with the artists to blur the boundaries between traditional art installation and full-blown exhibition design. With the help of an army of friends and volunteers, Twelve Galleries Project was able to make Lloyd Dobler’s dreams come true (JANUARY gallery’s Lloyd Dobler has the tightest schedule.), to keep the sky from being sucked into a black hole (OCTOBER gallery’s ACT II: SPIRIT FINGERS), and to walk the entire Underground Railroad at a three-hour opening event (JULY gallery: Underground Railroad Project). Admittedly, planning twelve month-long exhibitions back-to-back was an exhausting enterprise. The sheer pleasure of collaborating with artists, the adrenaline-fueled mania of install, and the sudden depression that comes after taking down each show created that emotional rollercoaster effect, but the results were totally worth it. Then, as fast as it always does, the year ended, and so did the monthly galleries. Though I cherished every working moment with emerging artists on the monthly series, I became hard-pressed to find some kind of forum in which I could be more experimental from a organizer’s perspective. So many of my exhibitionmaking colleagues, most of them artists, writers and thinkers as well, were doing the same thing I was: facilitating projects so out-of-the-box they would likely never show up in a
traditional gallery or museum setting. Suddenly, merely curating on my own and putting up a public exhibit with the input of so few people seemed less significant as a site for experimentation. Instead, I wanted to try and exploit the interpersonal and logistical dynamics that take place behind an exhibition, to see what that arena of curatorial exploration might yield. I realized that if I could somehow bring particular people together, to rely on their expertise, I could be a part of creating some of the most exciting contemporary art programming in the city. Also, like the organizers of Artists Run Chicago, I felt there was a need to bolster and display the smarts of Chicago creatives who, in addition to being incredibly innovative in their artistic practice, are expert collaborators and sophisticated curators. With all of those things in mind, I launched the Quarterly Site Series in 2010. See if you can follow the math: every three months over a three year period, three visual and conceptual artists-, graphic designers-, writers-, performersand/or already curators-cum-curators collectively organize a show. That equals thirty-six curators, twelve exhibitions, and a multitude of participating artists. For lack of a better way of putting it, I have used the Quarterly Site Series over the past three years to effectively curate curators, who then curate artists and artworks in a variety of spaces ranging from non-traditional places like apartments (Quarterly Site #1: Minimumixam) and alleys (Quarterly Site #3: Stay in your
lane! and Pool Party) to non-profit organizations (Quarterly Site #9: SUPPORT) and commercial spaces (Quarterly Site #11: Line-of-Site) to email (Quarterly Site #6: Minor Détournement) and the Internet (Quarterly Site #10: Blackworld 1970 – 1976). Each triad of curators implements a curatorial plan unique to their interests and relationships with one another. This multi-tiered project recognizes and attempts to clarify both the unwieldiness and the merits of independent curatorial projects and spaces, while giving participants the opportunity to expand on what exactly it means to curate. But more than that, this structure has helped me to reach my goal of increasing exponentially the experimentation and collaboration among organizers. Furthermore, the series has allowed a huge number of people to take part in a profusion of what I believe have been exhilarating, important and remarkably unique exhibitions. I feel extremely proud to tout the Quarterly Site Series vast and varied contributions to the history and discourse of curating and exhibiting contemporary art in Chicago. Quarterly Site #12: EPIC SOMETHING is the last exhibition of the Quarterly Site Series. The series ends within the Art Center’s cavernous Cornell Avenue space with a truly epic presentation put together by curators (and writers) Zach Dodson, Dan Gleason and Caroline Picard. This final show twists and turns like any good story through two floors and multiple rooms as it ponders artists’ ability to use narrative
amorphously to embody art and literature. And Quarterly Site #12: EPIC SOMETHING’s curatorial premise presents an apt metaphor for Twelve Galleries Project: though its narrative has not yet finished, Twelve Galleries Project will keep growing, changing and manipulating the experimental exhibition and curatorial fields. It will continue on its collaborative adventure to create one epic something right after another.
welcome to the races
a man holding an imaginary leash, walking the dog of his delusions
It feels wonderful to be able to share with you works by artists that I have respected for many years, and to see those works in an environment as special as the Hyde Park Art Center. “In the absence of an effective general mythology, each of us has his private, we sat on a porch at the end of summer, surrounded by dogs.
unrecognized, rudimentary, yet secretly potent pantheon of dream.”
Some of these pieces approach narrative in a very literal way- others in a more abstract, inferred sense, catering to the subjective experience.
i was distracted. i
hadn’t been around a dog in years, let alone three of them. i think we were talking about the art show but i was more interested in what the dog was doing in the yard. it had so much
THE GREYHOUND’S PURPOSE IS SERVED CAROLINE, THAT’S THE BEAUTIFUL THING. ALL MINE DOES IS LAY ABOUT.
as a group we are stronger than any cardboard material, so i wasn’t too worried. especially because dan offered
have you ever slapped
to use his nice
a greyhound on the
in such instances
when surgery was necessary. and why
shouldn’t a puzzle have three thousand sides?
eyes tightened, jaws clenched, face like a fist
“The unconscious sends all sorts of vapors, odd beings, terrors, and deluding images up
into the mind–whether in dream, broad daylight, or insanity; for the human kingdom, beneath the flood of the comparatively neat little dwelling that we call our consciousness, goes down into Aladdin caves.” when i read paintings that dream where your teeth turn to paper
about myself doing things i’d never been aware of before, i become paranoid.
napkins seem not like the best archival site 16
for thoughts, though i suppose the napkin that survived 100
years would be the bravest napkin of all, regardless of its contents.
My favorite art shows have always been like this, providing a portal to another time and place, an escape into the artist’s world. And these are all artists whose worlds I think you will find completely captivating. if we use the second person pronoun, it becomes possible to implicate the viewer and in doing so, stir up a kind of paranoiya.
ever y few months another phone book appears on the doorstep. they collect in the atrium between the street and our house. we could throw them up in the air togther and find an entirely different stor y in the open pages. we could rely on chance, trusting that what pages lay open want to be written about. all of those names have teeth too. tiny pointed smiling teeth.
a place where the only visible rodents are squirrels
1. zach said we could 2. take all of our ideas 3. and all of our stories 4. and throw them up in 5. the air and then find a 6. new, single, story in the 7. pieces. it would be like 8. putting a puzzle together 9. without any edge pieces 10. and maybe sometimes 11. jamming different parts 12. together even if they 13. didn’t want to get along. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
i heard if a bear
finds you, you have
finds you in the
to make yourself
woods, you should
as big as possible
run to a hill that
and make a lot of
slopes down and
very loud noises. it
run down as quickly
is good to beat a
as possible — the
pot with a wooden
steeper the better —
spoon. then the
because bears have
bear will think you
shorter front legs
bigger than she is.
and will either fall
I’m too important to the system- that’s why they don’t pay me anything- they don’t want my head getting too big. They already let me do all of the work.
woods and it wants to eat you, you’re supposed to curl up dead. but i don’t
believe those people. if i had to play dead, i
give up pursuing you it is impossible to beat a bear running up a 18
find a bear in the
into a ball and play
down after you or altogether.
people said if you
I try to avoid the ‘I want your skull’ crowd
would cover my neck.
the for tune teller read our puzzle like a palm. she said we’d know the future had arrived once we saw the loneliest dog in histor y. it would be a house pet, she said, and we’d know it by the lampshade it wore on its head.
i heard if a bear
I enjoy works that are extremely personal- revelatory of a bizarre interior narrative, a conversation, the artist processing his or her experiences or feelings or thoughts in a unique way. Perhaps slightly detached from the reality of these sensations, perhaps not- because hey, too much reality can be a bad thingescapism has gotten a bad rap!
your look is so disciplined, so fascist-chic
“Some chance word, the smell of a landscape, the taste of a cup of tea, or the glance of an
eye may touch a magic spring, and then dangerous messengers begin to appear in the brain.”
“Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth
dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche.”
reading a book is its own reenactment. the narrative is a world you stumble through. via reflection, we find possibilities for revolution and rebir th.
viktor’s dog had the most purpose in the
that dream where the cat swallows a light bulb
yard. even though it was dark i could see his white fur like
Don’t you have enough people serving up reality, revealing it to you day-by-day? Ah, the intense reality of a good kick to the shins- who wants to be reminded of that? Why not try some in your face nescience- yes, Molly Ringwald is in fact floating in space! the puzzle we made was like a chooseyour-own adventure jagged, mismatched
side was a different ending.
once i half-shaved my head. the next day not one person acknowledged it. i met several people that day, and a few
the world’s worst sound is an audible sigh
a fragmented body is another kind of puzzle. consider the stage hand cut in half by a magician, or aay’s fist-breast. or the last page of ever y mad magazine : the one with the pictures you could fold together. reading pictures is like reading tea leaves.
story where every
a ghost below the
very good friends. i think it’s fair to say the haircut was bad and its not being mentioned increased my sense of panic.
when wea r ing the sui t i wa s im m une to stor i es. i becam e invi sib le. t he sc aff old o f r eason wa s incons equent ial the bea r no longer had an y power. i r ea li zed i wa s d ead. i would no longer r ec eive post c ar ds from t he queen of engla nd. nor wo uld i under st and wha t it was t hat m a de people cr ea t e gods. i took som e c omf or t in t h e pea r ls on t he ha nds i had lef t behind.
So please, take a look- put your iPhone away, leave the side of that over-talkative friend, forget about the office for a moment, stop speculating on what you will be having for breakfast on Tuesday, and zone out on some works- become lost in them. Meditate, envision and enjoy.
a dog walking an imaginary delusion, holding the man of his dreams
Itals from The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell, 1949
Name Disremembered , 2012 ballpoint pen on paper 11 by 14 inches
Roommates is a series of drawings by artist Bill Talsma that depict the hairstyles of all his former roommates—twenty-eight of them to be exact. Both familiar and unfamiliar, complete and incomplete, the drawings betray Talsma’s selective memory of his roommates by isolating their hairstyles— both physically and descriptively—a gesture which reveals only a tiny sliver of a much larger story that spans four decades. In the empty spaces, Talsma invites viewers to complete these portraits by projecting their own thoughts and ideas of what the missing faces might look like.
THOUGHT FORMS: A SILLY ARCHIVE
Thought Forms is the title of a book published in 1901 and written by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, two leading proponents of theosophy. Along with spirit photographers, early psychiatrists, and phrenologists, the proto-scientific investigations of the theosophists into auras, mental and astral planes, and man’s “base” and “noble” instincts now read somewhere between quack medicine and psychedelic free verse. But old/odd logics aside, Besant and Leadbeater pose some interesting ideas about the realization of image through thought, and vice versa. Narratives are constantly woven from static and beamed out constantly through the ether, just waiting to be received—in geometric, pictorial form. Though these abstract form and color combinations draw from basic Western cultural assumptions about the symbolism of color, they end up producing images which are highly personal, specialized, and open to interpretation upon receipt. There’s something futuristic, almost utopic, about the potential of these psychic communications-turned-artworks, which actually come a good forty years before the superstar macho artists of mid-century America decided that they were going to sell us the essentialist dogmas of abstract expressionism and shut these ambiguities down. According to Thought Forms, subtexts are located in position. Meaning changes due to proximity and strength of signal. Vibrational empathy can penetrate the walls of particular belief systems. I’m interested.
The silly archive is a term coined by Lauren Berlant in her book The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship, a collection of essays published in 1997. In a section of the book called “I Hate Your Archive,” she argues for her academic use of such low-brow material as late-night TV ads, extremist political leaflets, and animated television. Berlant, and many theorists since, claim that it is precisely this material’s very ordinariness, lack of intellectual pretense, and disposable nature that makes it a valuable source of inquiry about the subconscious urges of mass culture—especially in revisionist fields like Queer Studies, American Studies, and Women & Gender Studies. I can imagine the resistance and derision this type of research would have provoked at the time, but now it seems apt, even commonplace. Maybe there’s just more quality (quantity?) trash to pick from—global pop culture, cable TV and the internet have come a long way in the last twenty-five years. The point is, if cultural analysis lies in reading between the lines, why not start with what’s all around us? Anyway. Upon looking over my material again, it is apparent that the silliness of my archive lies not as much in its sources (perhaps with exception of a particular sausage advertisement in my neighborhood which was the object of my fascination for several months earlier this year) but rather the information culled from these sources. In addition to what Andy Campbell has described as the queer project of “denot[ing] the importance of seeking knowledge in all the wrong places,” I am also seeking the “wrong” kind of knowledge in all the “right” places. This is an excerpt of my silly archive, my internal narrative, my thoughts taken form.
1. Reading Thomas More On Drugs / So Over Judy Chicago
2. A Sketch for Two Rooms
3. A Breast Which Restrains?
4. California Avenue el billboard drawn from memory and google image search
“SHOCKING JOHN CAGE AND MERCE CUNNINGHAM SEX TAPE SURFACES”
5. Tossed as it is Untroubled (1943)
6. 4'33" (1952)
Dirty Glass, 2012 photograph 9.75 by 7 inches
Hand fragment , 2012 photograph 14 by 8.5 inches Two Views drawing, 2012 gouache, ink and grease pencil on photograph 8 by 5 inches
A collection of ideas taken from studio notes, and potential titles for future works of art:
Grey light removed look Small Hot image, turn around. Watching Me Watch Knowing by stepping back A Fragment, multiple views Fragments from working From a pile of things in the studio Not singular, pay attention Objects to relate to Between art and documentary. Almost absent figures. Collage on bottom. Drawing related to thought The act of drawing Drawing as thinking. Shine light behind cropping and some full photos Process, etc. personal document experience also material problem. strong stance finding self- covering, cropping, placement, moved Top and bottom. Let figure fall back. nostalgia vs. future and digital tricks watching myself Myself what you know, what i know composed, or automatic, portrait or document Self and body Language or gesture as sculpture
filtering the everyday photograph, projected Background close up enlarges small things reversed Image looking away interactions, an object collage flattened things on things tension both good and bad inquiry surface/content indescribable idea/feeling movement in image white gloss, charcoal on top Matte Black over diffused light Two Spaces–Coming Together Abstract Object firsthand and relayed lack of differentiation repetition of modular elements Two moments, clearly
Figure Split in Two , 2012 photograph 12 by 7 inches
Middle ground portrait, 2012 photograph 12 by 8 inches
Drawing with features , 2012 photograph 14 by 10 inches
Distance portrait, 2012 photograph 13 by 9.5 inches
Profile with drawing, 2012 photograph 11 by 8 inches
Jesse Ball has been ruining napkins by imposing inky scenes almost at random for the last quarter century. It is perhaps to be expected that he cannot help himself, but does this repeatedly and without stopping whenever he is left to his own devices. The napkins are always thrown out. Recently, for the purposes of this exhibit, some have been saved. This represents a grave violation of the basic spirit of the enterprise. For these drawings, Ball was chided and punished as a child, save during a short and happy time when he received praise from the Queen of England. Now he manages to escape punishment for the most part. He is glad to have people think kindly of these miserable attempts and imagines that such kind thinking is purely a sort of charitable donation made by those who will soon die to one who is already dead.
drawings on napkins, etc, 2012 ink on napkins 4.5 by 4.5 inches
Sketch for de Kooningâ€™s Bell System (Version 3) , 2011 graphite, acrylic on paper 11 by 8.5 inches
Total Friction 3, 2005 Ink and acrylic on wood 6 by 20 inches
Seasonal Affective 2, 2006 Ink and acrylic on wood 2.5 by 36 inches
Seasonal Affective 2, 2006 Ink and acrylic on wood 2.5 by 36 inches
Seasonal Affective 2, 2006 Ink and acrylic on wood 2.5 by 36 inches
Get Out 1.3, 2003 Ink and acrylic on wood 6 by 20 inches
Health Science and Etiquette 13, 2001 Ink and acrylic on wood 6 by 16 inches
spoor of a ghost
the boy is praying on his knees next to a dying bird. he has learned about miracles, and is asking god to perform one. if the bird lives...
the missionaries are presenting slides of their trip to the amazon. the cocks and tits and assholes of the natives are scribbled out with a ballpoint pen. the boy feels a stirring, is transfixed by the beauty of the rainforest, by the glistening bodies. he feels shame, but it is not shameful for these people to be naked. it is shameful that the missionaries would ruin such beautiful images, for the shame that the missionaries think the natives should have. they look happy, natural. next slide: a bucket of monkey parts, skinned, for eating. they look like parts of a small human, the skin tone is not unlike the boyâ€™s own. people in the church guffaw. the boy thinks about eating the body of christ. in capuchin monkey society, the upper class lives in the canopy. the lower classes live below. they use a system of interspecies vocalizations that start at the bottom of the forest, and travel to the top, letting all know that there is a predator, or something amiss. the monkeys on the forest floor are required to forage for eggs, fruit, and other food to pass up. some choose, when they know they are not being observed, to hide an egg or other such delectable item, so as to return to it later, in the unproductive and dangerous hours of the day. then they can have what they have hidden to themselves. it is worth the risk.
the boy is with his uncle and aunt at a burger place. he starts to eat, is scolded for not thanking god first. they all join hands and pray. he asks about the souls of animals, and if they too go to heaven. â€œanimals do not have souls. jesus has a flock of sheep in heaven, and those are the only animals that are there,â€? the uncle replies. the boy cannot imagine such a boring place. he revisits the bird. it is sunken, covered in ants. he is not smart enough yet to see the beauty of this. he cries and looks to the sky. he is truly disappointed for the first time in his life. and angry. this is the way it is. one thing feeds the other, which feeds the other, and on and on. it is not a matter of strong and weak. it is not a matter of perceived success. it is a matter of participation. of participating forever until there is no forever, which may happen here. which will never happen there, on the outside. in this there is survival without fear. there is cooperation, coexisting, understanding, acceptance, growth. there is future. the boy is in the dressing room at the church, rehearsing for his baptism. he knows it is wrong, and says that he will not go through with it. the boy has found a strength, willpower. the pastor suggests that the boy will come around. baptism is the way to christ and all of his divine splendor, after all, the way to clean yourself of sin. the boy would rather stay dirty. he knows he will not come around.
he chooses dirt. it is something that he understands. something that he loves. he goes to church less frequently, then not at all. the boy wonders if this is his fault. did he ruin god for the whole family? he prays less and less.
he wanders through the desert, following roadrunners to invisible hiding places. he catches lizards, is awestruck by insects. “did that rock move?” he thought that was how he might find a tortoise. they must be wise to survive while moving so slowly in a world that, as far as he knew, was designed to kill all that lives in it. isn’t that what we are all fighting for? to stay alive? to tame and destroy what is around us in order to make a better world? to ensure safety? and comfort? living in the desert, the rain is a marvel. during its rare occurrence he would sit on his porch, and come to understand peace. not as the absence of violence, but as the unity of everything. after the rain, the desert changes. new colors, new life. there is an abundance that assures him that he is not alone, that his loneliness is a part of the world, but not of himself. he learns. and is ready to unlearn.
the cicadas hum in the trees. he stays up sometimes, sneaking out to watch them climb out of their old bodies with new wings. the bodies an unknowable green, which changes to the color of bark as they harden. his cousins show him how to cut the wings at the length of the abdomen, and how to excite them and stand them up so that they spin around like ballerinas. they all delight in the result. it isn’t until after they leave the cicadas, flightless and without magic, that he understands what he has done. typical north american cicadas spend thirteen to seventeen years underground, feeding on, but not damaging, the roots of various trees. this is thought to be an evolutionary response to predation by creatures such as the cicada killer wasp and praying mantis, who have a much shorter lifecycle. after the imago emerges from its previous body it lives for three to four weeks. they fly. the males create synchronous choral groups, which result in the undulating waves of sound that we are accustomed to hearing during the summer months. the leftover shells of former bodies are collected and used by the boy as toys. the family moves to upstate new york. he calls his stepfather dad. he is happy that his brother is alive after watching his mother take a blow to the stomach. after seeing her head slammed into a wall. he cries when they fight, asking them to make up. she always looks tired, confused.
the boy is fascinated by an orb weaver spider. he visits its web daily. ignoring the other playing children, he tosses insects onto the web and watches the spider encase the bugs in silk, penetrate them, wait for their insides to liquify. finally the spider drinks heavily.
they are staying at a long-forgotten family member’s house in little falls, new york. the boy gets contact dermatitis from a poison sumac plant. the great grandmother weaves a tale about a boy in the same predicament years ago. after touching a blister, he touched his private parts, which then swelled so much so that they had to be removed. the boy is careful not to touch his penis when he has to piss. he is terrified of losing that tiny appendage, though he does not know why. the boy is in his room at the house. the floors are painted white, chipping and creaky. wanting to see his mother, he walks into their room. she is standing. dad is laying on the bed, naked. his cock is massive, half upright. a beautiful curiosity. “get out of here you fucking faggot,” says the dad. the boy looks down. “close the door” says the mother. then they live in a place called volney with the great grandmother. one day, when the boy does something wrong, she makes him select a stick from the woods to be punished with. he finds the biggest and heaviest piece of wood that he can manage to drag, and presents it to her. she is not strong enough to wield it to any great effect, so the boy goes unpunished.
the great grandmother only allows them to watch movies about the holocaust, or christ, and only after the sun is down, for fear that the tv will go out in the heat. the boy sleeps in a room with his younger sister, waiting for the tell-tale rhythm of her sleeping breath, unaware. the room is stacked with dolls and stuffed animals. plastic eyes glisten in the moonlight. dead, judging eyes that he looks away from while he goes through the motions of a being preoccupied by self pleasure. groping quietly, he comes, night and night again, entombed in guilt and desire. then they are in fulton. in a new house. in a place saturated with the dad’s rules. in a home with doors that close, where no one, not even the great grandmother, can hear. when something is not in the right place, clothes folded improperly, toys not displayed in the right way, when the nintendo controller cords are not coiled in the right way, the boy is punished. the dad watches a movie while the boy has to stand “military style” in the corner. for three hours. if the boy moves, 15 minutes are added. he doesn’t move often. but when he does, “oh, are you a little faggot? are you wearing michael jackson’s underwear? are they making you itch?” 15 more minutes.
the paint on the walls moves, and talks, and makes fabulous shapes. in these quiet moments, the ones in which the boy doesn’t move, there is truth, he begins to understand that he is part of something, and the loneliness wanes. the world is becoming animate.
the first snow comes. they feed hard leftover biscuits to the gulls, amazed at how they choke them down. they make snow angels, men, balls. they go sledding. they wrap their sockcovered feet in plastic grocery bags before putting on shoes, to keep the heat in and the wet cold of winter out.
the stepfather and the boy wander through the woods. the boy picks up salamanders, millipedes, is curious about neon orange fungal growths, is slow and deliberate. the stepfather notices when the boy struggles in a depth of mud and continues walking, then running, laughing. the boy finally gets the foot out and his shoe is gone. he is alone. he runs, crying, curiosity replaced by fear. he comes to a road outside of the forest, the stepfather laughs. he is proud that the boy made it. “let’s walk home son”
the stepfather throws the christmas tree across the room after the boy and his mother and sister decorate it. the boy is furious. the brother is crying, too young. the boy screams at the stepfather, tells him to leave, tells him he is selfish. there is winter, its ice covers everything.
the boy plays a video game. his best friend showers. the friend comes into the room, and drops his towel. sits on the bed next to him. the boy thinks he is beautiful. the boy does not want to swear during the fight, but can think of nothing but “fuck you”. he is walking away with his mother. to nowhere. the stepfather is walking toward the house. instead of fuck you, he yells “forget you”. the mother and the boy have to go home. they have to make up. there is nothing else.
there is peace for a while, new friends for the mother, new weather. there is wandering along creek beds, picking up crawfish and wondering about their extra limbs. there are turtle heads peeking up in the pond. a mole gets picked up, its fur impossibly soft. it has huge hands and tiny eyes. there is an epic thunderstorm during which the pet parakeets die of fear. the boy sees a luna moth on the window of his science class, and hears nothing that the teacher says until it flutters away. on the boy’s birthday, in spring, he has a sleepover. they all sleep in the kitchen, weary of the mother, but not of the cockroaches. they play truth or dare. kissing awkwardly, and fondling each other’s newly hardened dicks, laughing. the family moves back to the desert. the mother and
stepfather rekindle their love. the boy finds a sunspider, or vinegaroon. he is not bitten, does not taste vinegar. the family lives together again.
the family watches the ike and tina turner story. the sister starts crying, and the boy comes to her defense. this is not just about the mother anymore. it is about all of them. there is crashing and screaming. he fights with a fury that brings the stepfather to tears. the stepfather pleads, asks for forgiveness, for another chance. the mother cries, inconsolable. the boy tells the stepfather to leave. he does. the boy tells the mother that if he ever comes back, the boy will leave. forever.
the earth loves them all, as they lay giggling, fondling, entranced by its glory. when they forget that they are natural, there is no sense. there is nothing but baseless inhibition, no freedom. there is a great forgetting that they are above all, animals, and part of this earth. the boy fears that they have all forgotten, but he, he wants to live. he wants to unlearn. he is the ghost of the animal he is hunting.
the boy wanders in the desert again. he watches kissing bugs on creosote leaves. he looks for rocks that might be tortoises. he walks between mountains, kicks beer cans aside. there is a moment he feels he is not alone. he spins in circles trying to find another presence. when he stops his eyes lock with those of a bighorn sheep. the mountains, jagged, tan and ever moving, frame his consciousness. the curling horns end in the eyes of the other, who stands as still as the boy. they know each other. and they know together, with all living things, that they are of the earth, splendid.
Spoor of a ghost , 2012 detail mixed media installation size variable
It was on the frontage road, running parallel to the Dan Ryan by 31st. An unbearably heartbreaking, but impressively resourceful use of something obsolete and wastefulâ€”lifting himself off of the frozen ground to sleep/camouflage/survive on the winter streets. The impression of a body was visible. The image was snapped. Another illustration about tools for survival.
It was at a recycling center on the far northwest side of the city. Pallets of plastic-bound fresh phonebooks. 107 gathered and piled high in the sedan to be taken and transformed into a replica of the bed. Heavy from being soaked in glue and pigments, they dried and became stones. Now not only an index of the downtrodden plight of the person living on the street; also a totem to the piles left in the entrances of vacant properties, a sign of obsolescence and the unnerving stubbornness of change.
Ends of Other Ages
76 The standard Agency field uniform is worn by all active field agents. It is fire resistant, and provides some protection against magical weapons. the suits may hold magical properties. field agents might hear an electrical sound when in close proximity to other agents wearing the field uniform. Field agents are advised not to gather in groups of more than three due to this feedback.
this agency field agent uniform comes with protective armor to gaurd against the dangers of live fire exercises.Â
During larger agency field operations, the Agency field administrators process orders for new equipment and perform management tasks. They are non-combatants, but in moments of danger they have been known to use small side arms to defend themselves and the agencyâ€™s paperwork.
The Agency falling suit is made from an unknown material that allows the user to fall without any acceleration. The suit is ideal for long accurate drops in hazardous environments.Â
The Agency driver does not actually drive the agency armored car, but instead rides in the driverâ€™s seat. They act as therapist and keeper of secrets. They relieve the burden on field agents who need to be subjective and concise in action. They are impervious to mental poisons and mind control techniques, making them an ideal depository for distasteful information.
The Agency splinter group is an independent group within the Agency organization. They kidnap and torture agency personnel for actions they believe are detremental to the group. The Agency has allowed them to continue operating in this manner. They provide the Agency with internal intelligence and policing. Â
This is the standard combat uniform for Agency solders. Slight variations can be made depending on mission parameters.
The Agency heavy ordnance team operates weapons that would kill a standard agency combat team member. The powered body armor alows the agent to carry larger weapons and other hardware. In the case of a building breech the heavy ordnance team members enter first to intercept direct attacks.Â
Photocopy , 2011 video
Photocopy/Fotocopia Susan Snodgrass
Irina Botea’s hybrid practice, encompassing video, film, performance and installation, recasts historical narratives through strategies of role-playing and re-enactment, at the same time questioning the role of the very media she employs in shaping our contemporary consciousness. Drawing upon political events, whether witnessed firsthand or filtered through collective memory, Botea seeks to remediate the historical traumas of the past, particularly those of her native Romania. 86
Reality for Botea is constructed both by the instruments of mediation and by what is actually lived; thus her works identify and, at the same time, perform the slippage between the two, one public, the other private. The result is the construction of what artist and theorist Alfredo Cramerotti terms “faction,” or the blending of fact and fiction, a strategy that belongs to a strain of contemporary art practice he calls “aesthetic journalism.” Artists appropriate the tools of investigative journalism, including documentary and narrative storytelling, to offer alternative views of reality than those produced by mainstream media, a power structure Michel Foucault identifies as part of the “truth regime.” In the factional Out of the Bear (2006), Botea inhabits the former hunting lodge of Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania’s last Communist leader whose dictatorship ended in 1989 by assassination. This stop-action video opens with the artist wearing a turban and reclining in the bath, a pose that emulates the iconic image of
Jean-Paul Marat, the French Revolutionary leader whose murder is forever immortalized in the painting by Jacques-Louis David. Botea as Marat as herself soon awakens then proceeds to tour the grounds, an intervention that exorcises the authoritative history housed within the dictator’s residency. Other works enlist actors to recreate historical moments, including the video Photocopy/Fotocopia (2011), a series of non-linear dialogues based on a list of words culled from mass public demonstrations that took place across Spain last year in disapproval of the Spanish political system and banking industry. Here, two women sitting on folding chairs face each other and begin an exchange of words and ideas (in Spanish and Catalan), each reacting spontaneously to what the other says. The dialogue begins with the word “manipulate” to which the other responds “government, media,” and ends with the two women chanting and marching in place. Botea participated in the protests while in Barcelona and, thus, creates her own “truth regime,” allowing the public a role in shaping the discourse of democratic, participatory politics. The title of this piece, Photocopy, suggests the importance of repetition and remembering in understanding the symbolic past, a kind of progressive nostalgia employed by Botea here and in her other works as a means for redemptive hope. Susan Snodgrass is a Chicago-based critic, a Corresponding Editor to Art in America and a member of the Editorial Collective of ARTMargins .
Remembering Out of the Bear by Irina Botea Mirela Tanta
When I first saw Irina Botea’s Out of the Bear I recalled how during a camping trip back in Romania we stopped for a few days at one of Ceausescu’s hunting houses. It was a brand new villa with expensive furniture and tall sunny rooms. Impeccable. We were there to stay with backpacks smelling of campfires and dirty climbing boots. I was happy to step on as many rugs as I could. Outside not far away from the house there was a little wooden cabin with too rooms built right on the bare-beaten earth. I did not want to know what the house was used for but I was curious about why the rooms had no floors, not even wooden planks. So I asked. I was told that the house was used to keep the unwanted hunted animals and the ground absorbed the blood. Why were these animals unwanted? They were too small, disfigured or stained with too much blood, or just too many.
One of my first reactions to seeing Ceausescu’s hunting trophies adorning the villa walls was the sense of witnessing someone’s childish games of pretending to embody wild and dangerous animals, of being forced to feel big enough to play the bear, the buck, the boar. Play but play with something illicit, something with which I should not be playing as though someone will soon come to scold me back into history. Botea’s Out of the Bear gives the viewer this kind of spare room to dare. Daring to die, to take a bath, to hide, to crawl on the floor underneath, inside, and outside of a bearskin. Outside of the bear you float on a peaceful lake in the middle of an old orchard. Outside of the bear there is no sign of killing just gravity pulling upon the viewer’s freedom to move up and down the lake, to move up and down the stairs. Going left and right and up again. As though the viewer were a soldier marching in no particular hurry. As though the viewer were a widow to history. Out of the bear is a film about memories you never had.
Out of the Bear , 2006 video
Nothing to Interrupt: Dialogue on Irina Botea’s Photocopy/Fotocopia Gene Tanta and Mirela Tanta, Bucharest 2012
What are we doing? Talking about Photocopy right? Right. What do you have to say? I have questions. I have questions too. Do you want to start with your questions? Yeess. What do you think it means to prepare for a revolution? Buy new shoes. For what? So you can run. From or to? … Both. Can you do a rehearsal for a revolution? Can you actually prepare? It’s a good question. Or is it based on some kind of spontaneous pathos. I don’t know if I have an answer but I have another question. What does it actually mean to prepare for a revolution? I was talking more about efficiency. Is this a place where we can talk about efficiency or should we keep a few untouchable places where
efficiency does not creep in? Right, is revolution a romantic project or is it more in line with the protestant work ethic that values efficiency? It cannot be done without method. Or not done well… But can you be playful about protest? Can you be aesthetic about protest? I think it’s a lot about aesthetics. That is what the hipster movement is. About aestheticizing the edge. Being cool and marginalized but according to a very rigorous code. But what about Photocopy specifically? If I can ask. It seems to me that a part of it has a roughcut feel that adds to its charm and power. But it seems that there is a fantasy of dialectical progress or a dream of synthetic justice that underlies the project. I call the enthusiasm animating Photocopy a “fantasy” and a “dream” but that is a critique when in fact I consider this a strong piece overall … I did not think about it that way.
It is definitely about dialogue. I thought more about internalizing the outside. Step outside the crowd, the noise, and the unpredictable onto a stage. Somewhere inside where it’s quiet, safe, where it’s so clean, nothing to hold your eyes. Nothing to interrupt. Yes, nothing to interrupt. The sound is so crisp it is almost hospitalized. You go in the middle of the crowd and write down words. You are playful but playful like police. You pay attention to the protest in a way… You are the observer. Yes. The two performers observe the protest then perform it. Did you say fantasy of political aesthetic synthesis or?… A fantasy of aesthetic justice. It is a kind of unity you see. But maybe it is more a mimesis of justice. I saw it more as a playful way to look at serious material. In an aesthetic way… What is the nature of repetition in such a performance? Between
it being lyrical, (beautiful and symmetrical) and oppressive, (to think but as a group and not as an individual)? I think repetition is essential in both cases. It can be oppressive the repetition but at the same time we breathe. How do you think it operates here? I think it is lyrical. But because it is lyrical, because you know it is playful, because the two women have the choice of what words to use, because you know it is not happening, it is staged… (it is abstracted) It makes the repetition so oppressive. Because, it plays on what you cannot see, on the imaginary. It plays on any march, any boots, any elbows, and any crowds that are stepped on. Yes the jackboots of rhythm. But, so I think that it is the rhythm per se and not so much what it signifies that I am suggesting as oppressive, as part of a phenomenological challenge about such a politically informed piece. How do you do
Photocopy/Fotocopia Fred Mecklenburg
rhythm about politics without indicating oppression to the viewer? I think there is a rhythm in almost all performances. Photocopy uses a rhythm that you recognize right away. It is the march that bothers you. The meaning comes with the rhythm. And it is in Spanish. So if you put this rhythm onto something else it comes with a different connotation than oppression. But in this case because it is about a march and a protest, it comes with a more oppressive connotation. In this instance, you cannot divorce it from its form … Yes. It is interesting that first you denied the unitary value in the piece and then you made two arguments about the power of unity. Which is good I think. No, I denied the unity of meaning in the piece, the synthesis. I think the piece is more arrested, broken. Aesthetically it does not give you space to do that
synthesis. Which I thought of as a good thing. In some way it keeps you focused on words. So how is march and dialogue not hope for synthesis? They do hope for synthesis. But how is it then an open piece? It is open because of the repetition, because of the flow of words. Some kind of humanlevel curiosity that keeps you focused on fragments instead of letting you imagine a completed narrative, a closed theme. So it resists closure because it is more aesthetic than political? The dialogue does not go to synthesis. I don’t think that this is more political then aesthetic or more aesthetic then political. Definitely the content is political, but I think the form she chose…
[DIALOGE BREAKS ABRUPTLY BECAuSE OF LOW BATTERY]
Seeing Irina Botea’s film Photocopy/Fotocopia for the first time, I thought of Duck Soup . That eruption onto a world that wars, from the then-recent trenches to Aida , to the dreams of the rising dictators soon to begin their own hecatomb dances. “ To war, to war ...!” From which proferred hand to take your bearings? Who do you trust in the Big One, daddy? This film knows the questions. As do we. Word shards can scar like sawtooth here. Within its rectangle of light, Photocopy/Fotocopia is as real as anyplace. Real as Freedonia, 1933. More so than many famous no-places, old Utopias spun from great or clever minds. Anita Serrano and Merce Ortega are halfway back from some-place better than nowhere, some-place only halfway to freedom, no doubt. Yet bearing its image, repeated and repeated like a smeared memo circulating in the office corridors of contemporary selfhood. Those corridors wind through both Spain and Irina’s native Romania, both having lived under the dance for decades after the heavy dancers left the building. Date stamps 1975, 1989...Barcelona, May-June 2011... los Indignados . Death and rebirth of the proscenium from the ontological structure of the modern world, the pre-Occupations of the theorist in you. In the first chapter we glimpsed freedom refracted through the re/constrictions of the commodity form...in the second chapter you were born...or halfway born, anyway... Enough thinking about this situation will drive anyone to want to break metaphors. The Theatre of the Oppressed here. A genealogy as well of Pong, talking head interviews, ProScan Surveys, and the deconstructed song of the collective nightingale: “ The people, united, Will never be defeated !” Not much need for begats, we’re all legitimate heirs.
Photocopy/Fotocopia . You’ve been there. Images of Tiananmen and Wenceslas, Tahrir, Madison and Madrid, Sanaa, Athens...and then what?
judy died, 2010 drawing on bristol paper 11 by 14 inches
Jesse Ball 1. Onward , 2012 glass cabinet installation Irina Botea 1. Out of the Bear , 2006 video 2. Photocopy , 2011 video
EC Brown 1. Health Science and Etiquette 13, 2001 Ink and acrylic on wood 6 by 16 inches 2. Get Out 1.3, 2003 Ink and acrylic on wood 6 by 20 inches 3. Total Friction 3, 2005 Ink and acrylic on wood 6 by 20 inches 4. Seasonal Affective, 2006 Ink and acrylic on wood 2.5 by 36 inches 5. Seasonal Affective 2, 2006 Ink and acrylic on wood 2.5 by 36 inches 6. Shaheen Maneuver, 2012 Ink and acrylic on wood 5.5 by 36 inches Lilli Carre 1. Used To It, 2012 laser-cut black stonehenge paper, framed approx. 24 by 11.5 inches Ezra Claytan-Daniels 1. Upgrade Soul VIDEO Edie Fake 1. Come Over , 2010 two drawings on bristol paper 9 by 12 inches each 2. Over Come , 2010 two drawings on bristol paper 9 by 12 inches each 3. Judy Died , 2010 drawing on bristol paper 11 by 14 inches
Heather Mekkelson 1. Ends of Other Ages , 2012 INSTALLATION size variable B. Ingrid Olson: 1. Drawing with features , 2012 archival pigment print 14 by 10 inches 2. I, In the mist drawing , 2012 Gouache, ink and grease pencil on photograph 7.75 by 6.25 inches 3. Dirty Glass , 2012 archival pigment print 9.75 by 7 inches 4. Window, Ceiling collage , 2012 archival pigment print 13 by 8.25 inchesÂ 5. Hand fragment , 2012 archival pigment print 14 by 9.5 inches 6. Is a Woman , 2012 archival pigment print 11.75 by 9.25 inches 7. Half sculpture portrait , 2012 archival pigment print 11 by 8 inches 8. Figure Flowers, paper, hand , 2012 archival pigment print 9.5 by 6.5 inches 9. camera portrait , 2012 archival pigment print 9.75 by 6.75 inches 10. Standing Looking, nude with shadow , 2012 archival pigment print 11.5 by 10.75 11. Figure and space , 2012 archival pigment print 10.5 by 14 inches Frank Pollard 1. Uniforms, 2007-present acrylic on wood 7 by 11 inches 2. Molly Ringwald floating in space, 2010 vhs
Aay Preston-Myint 1. Untitled (Thought Map), 2011 ink and gouache on paper 42 by 56 inches 2. Thought Forms, 2012 fabric, thread, other mixed media 36 by 48 inches each Deb Sokolow 1. de Kooningâ€™s Bell System (Version 3), 2012 acrylic, graphite, charcoal, tape, collage on panel 50 by 38 by 1.5 inches Bill Talsma 0. Roommates , 2012 Ballpoint pen on paper, Ikea Ribba frames 12.5 by 16.5 inches each 1. Mary Jo 2. Fred #1 3. Julie 4. Amanda 5. Fred #2 6. Laura 7. Jenny 8. Jack 9. Stephanie 10. James 11. Marco 12. Mark #1 13. Mark #2 14. Meenakshi 15. Annie 16. Lee 17. Nichole 18. Cat 19. Chris 20. Takeshi 21. Name Disremembered #1 22. Name Disremembered #2 23. Carlos 24. Andy 25. Name Disremembered #3 26. Tamara 27. Megan 28. Nico Viktor Van Bramer 1. Spoor of a ghost, 2012 mixed media installation size variable