Posted: May 16th, 2013 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
There is a volume of orange light filling my studio on 11th Street in Brooklyn,
the major part of it is not visible.
This is the title, and consequently the content, of a conceptual construction by Fred Sandback from 1969. Like much of Sandback’s work, consisting mainly of minimal sculptures and prints, the text addresses the visual or conceptual perimeter of an idea or space. A practice that encourages the viewer to translate a subtle gesture into a complete form.
I came across this text, a transcription from the original typewritten piece, scrawled on a white sheet of paper tacked loosely to the wall of Victoria Haven’s South Lake Union studio. The text was brought up during a discussion around the impact of space and proximity on artistic practice. Haven had come across it while installing work for a show at The Lumber Room in Portland, a memory that was recalled after a brief lamentation of the sickeningly sweet smell of pastry wafting in from the Hostess factory adjacent to her studio.
“Sometimes I wonder, is it psychologically affecting me? Is it making me angry? Is it making me anxious? Sometimes you don’t realize it until you see it in your work, then you think about it more intentionally.” Below Sandback’s text, on the same page, she wrote, I arrived at the Studio today to find a notice of Proposed Land Use Action posted on the north corner of our building where the alley meets Harrison Street.
“I was thinking a lot about how the different spaces I have occupied seep into my work” Haven explained, “How we relate to the way a light comes into a building or how the aspects of a city that we see everyday become imbedded into our consciousness.”
Haven has transitioned through eleven studio spaces in the past twenty-four years, shedding and accumulating materials accordingly. This pattern of migration, exposure to new environments, and use of available materials has become broadly evident in her work. Her most recent show, Proposed Land Use Action, includes a number of site specific works that echo the words of Fred Sandback in their ability to discreetly articulate total forms and trajectories to map the narrative landscape of Haven’s studio practice.
This issue of place, relocation, and intentionality has been part of a broader regional discussion around topics discussed in this issue of Arcade. A while back I created a short survey to draw together information from artists, makers, and thinkers about their neighborhoods and work environments in an effort to create a dialogue around cultural ecologies and commercial vernacular, motivations for choosing a location for a home or studio space, and the perceived impact of thinkers and makers upon their neighborhoods and cities.
The responses I received seemed commensurate with the classic tropes of gentrification and peripheral characteristics of what has become known as the SoHo effect. What stuck out most while reading these responses was not so much the perceived impact of artists on their neighborhoods or cities, but the impact of these spaces and circumstances on the Artist’s practice. In addition to the effect of these subtleties of space — qualities of light, scent, or landscape — on the artist’s work many of these conversations addressed the issue of space as a commodity.
Economic concerns have long dictated the live/work situations of artists and for many, has influenced their practice in various ways. “The apartment I live in is small, so the work I do has to be small” remarked Rebecca Severn, a Brooklyn based artist and educator. Severn moved to Bushwick a number of years ago and was lucky to find an affordable one bedroom apartment for herself, her husband, and Grr – their standard poodle. Meanwhile on the left coast this scenario is echoed by many artists living in metropolitan areas, including Seattle. Jamie Braden mentioned how similar spatial restrictions have affected both the scale and overall feel of her work, “I had to stop collecting as many materials because I cannot afford a place to store it…It’s probably cleaned up my aesthetic a little bit.”
These restrictions and influences of place have in some ways turned the physical gesture of artistic practice into something almost performative, working in concert with one’s environment to produce traces of those interactions that highlight an artist’s relationship to place. Like the volume of unseen light in Sandback’s studio, these traces are uniquely tethered to those spaces. In his words, “More and more, working seems to be like performance; not in the sense of presenting a process, but in the conditions required to complete a piece. Some things are done and complete in my studio, but others are ambiguous until done in a particular place. A studio is necessarily vague and hypothetical for pieces like that. I like the connectedness of that kind of piece—you can’t stick it under your arm and carry it home. It has its own place and lifespan.”
From ARCADE 31.1
Posted: May 16th, 2013 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Over the past several months I’ve had the unique pleasure of working with Seattle based artist and designer Anna Telcs on developing, installing, and presenting her most recent iteration of The Dowsing at the Henry Art Gallery. As a curator focused on experimental education strategies and installation programming, I found working with Anna to be a delightful and challenging experience. Working with someone on the brink between worlds, (art + fashion + performance + Social Justice) it was at times difficult to find the words to describe her practice. After spending many hours in the studio (and in the bar and in the sunshine) I had the pleasure of getting to know Anna as a colleague and as a friend. The more we spoke the better understanding I got of her work, most often gleaning the most pertinent incites during completely unrelated conversations. In the end my role gravitated toward that of an interpreter, problem solver, and enthusiast.
Using fashion as a point of departure, Telcs explores the liminal space between form, fashion, presentation, and performance. Her recent work attempts to question existing perceptions about manufacturing, worth, and beauty – ultimately seeking to delve deeper into the armature of the fashion object itself and the systems and structures that contextualize and regulate it.
The work Telcs has developed for the Henry, The Dowsing 2013, is an extension of her research at the museum’s Reed Collection Study Center, comparing late 19th-century undergarment construction and tailoring techniques with contemporary layered street fashion. The Test Site features a new line of textile objects that will also be part of an outdoor event that draws inspiration from religious ritual, traditional fashion shows, and performance art. The project builds on the layering and live dressing ritual devised during Telcs’ 2012 residency at The Watermill Center in South Hampton, New York. Her work at The Watermill examined materials and hand sewing techniques, highlighting texture, silhouette, and tone.
The Dowsing 2013 took place on March 22, 2013 and included three performances throughout the course of one day in the University of Washington’s Red Square. The events focused on materiality, color, and process. The performances also included live original music and choreographed movement. These presentations were preceded by a series of public dialogues on the variable economies of fashion and manufacturing. After their public presentation in Red Square, Telcs’ textile objects were returned to the Test Site for further examination and discussion.
Check out the video from The Dowsing 2013 here.
Interview Magazine 2013 - The Many Layers of Anna Telcs
Vanguard Seattle 2013 - The Dowsing 2013: A Parting Glimpse
City Arts Magazine 2013 - Plain Old Magic
The Sunbreak 2013 – Strath Shepard Visits Anna Telcs’s Fashion Exhibit “The Dowsing”
Vanguard Seattle 2013 – The Art of Fashion and Manufacturing with Anna Telcs and Strath Shepard
Vanguard Seattle 2013 - Anna Rose Telcs and the Art of Invention
Vanguard Seattle 2012 - The First Annual Screen Style Film Series
Seattle Met 2012 - Anna Rose Telcs, Fashion Designer and Artist
City Arts 2012 - En Noir
City Arts 2012 - Dowsed in Aesthetics
City Arts 2012 - The Softer Side of Death
The Stranger 2013 – The Dowsing: Dickeys and Fabergé
Posted: May 9th, 2012 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
This summer the Henry Art Gallery, located on the university of Washington campus, will host and exhibition of sonic proportion. The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, is the first museum exhibition to explore the culture of vinyl records within the history of contemporary art. Bringing together artists from around the world who have worked with records as their subject or medium, this groundbreaking exhibition examines the record’s transformative power from the 1960s to the present. Through sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, sound work, video and performance, The Record combines contemporary art with outsider art, audio with visual, and fine art with popular culture Featuring over 99 works by 41 artists, ranging from Dario Robleto and Mingering Mike to Jasper Johns and Ed Ruscha. Check out the Nasher’s website for videos and interviews with the artists and more info from the curator of the exhibition.
Flip the record and visit the Henry’s Test Site for The B-Side, a participatory learning and resource lab presented in conjunction with The Record. In addition to providing access to locally produced records from a variety of Northwest Record Labels, this project will investigate the curious relationship between contemporary art and music by looking at economies of production and distribution. Using oddities and ephemera from the world of vinyl records, The B-Side will observe the history and significance of music production in the Pacific Northwest, its relationship to visual art, and the role of the record as both method and material.
The B-Side will feature programming ranging from performances by The Hive Dwellers and Slashed Tires to Live Lathe production workshops with PIAPTK and listening parties featuring artists such as Kathy Slade, Matthew Green, and Rachael Kessler. During the opening week of The B-Side, Mike Dixon will cut a series of limited edition high-quality, 10” lacquer recording blanks, in real time, on a 1940’s Presto 6N record lathe in the Henry’s Test Site. A new artist will be featured each day and records will be made available first come first serve to visitors.
Dixon is the proprietor of PIAPTK Limited Edition Vinyl Recordings and Handmade Musical Artifacts, a vinyl and digital only record label in Olympia, WA. PIAPTK specializes in handmade artwork and bizarre record formats for psychedelic folk-pop and artists from all over the world and has produced turntable-playable records out of a variety of materials from picnic plates and laserdiscs to X-Rays and 90% cacao chocolate.
Check out the Henry’s website for more information on opportunities to experience the record in its most exploded sense.
Posted: April 2nd, 2011 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Tactical Gestures of Critical Discourse
Beginning with the notion of a gallery as charged or loaded space, Vancouver-based artists Erik Hood and Sam Willcocks produced a fleeting gesture based on military traditions and tactics of deception as part of a year long series of experiments in free choice learning at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery
. Their endeavor was at once bluff, truth, and double bluff.
Erik Hood and Sam Willcocks. 2010
As part of their performance the artists built a Quaker Cannon, using found materials, and aimed it directly at the entrance to the gallery. This occurred shortly after the Smithsonian’s removal of Wojnarowicz’s film from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, and though its creation had no direct or intentional correlation to that event it acted as a reminder of the conversational context of a work of art. Situated in a space that had recently hosted a screening and discussion of the censored film, the work provided a new context of confrontation.
Its presence was palpable and at the same time benign, urging the viewer to linger in thought while considering advancement. This momentary suspension of disbelief situated within the active space of the gallery– a space commonly used for screenings, discussions, and other social events — brought into relief the discursive nature of art as a social object. Though not a controversial work in itself, this gesture recalled the tactical potential of art to be used as a tool for discussion. In this context the Quaker Cannon served a dual purpose as both a false weapon (object) and a target (conversational proposition). The recoil of this false firearm was comparable to its discharge, producing a period of latent repose — a reminder that the power of art lies in its ability to create a space for reflection, discussion, and critical thought.
Around the same time The Henry Art Gallery, a contemporary art museum located on the University of Washington campus, hosted a community Seminar on Censorship to explore and analyze the complex issues surrounding the removal of Wojnarowicz’s film from view at the National Portrait Gallery. The afternoon was focused around a series of small group dialogues sandwiched between a panel of regional museum directors and convening with a panel of artists, curators, activists, and other cultural producers. This opportunity for public discourse was designed to encourage informed discussion and foster a community dialogue on a variety of censorship topics from the politicization of the work of gay artists by conservative activists to the silencing of artists through censorship and the specter of renewed culture wars.
Utilizing the museum as a discursive space, knowing that the intention was not to answer questions but to promote more asking, attendees broke out into several discussion groups and generated a series of questions for the panelists and fellow attendees. Many of the questions generated by those in attendance focused on issues of selection, self-censorship, the responsibility of arts institutions, and the relationship between discussion and prevention.
“What are the techniques institutions can use to combat issues of censorship?”
” What IS censorship? Is it more dangerous to self-censor?”
“Are we moving towards an overly safe society?”
“Can discussion = prevention?”
Erring on the side of optimism I’ve come to believe that the most realistic response to censorship, for individuals and institutions, is continued discussion. If art is a way of thinking and thinking is phenomenological, the most powerful act of solidarity and protest is critical discourse. This participatory act creates a shared ownership of experience that not only supports accountability, avoiding self-censorship and the creation of regressive cultural feedback loops, it helps to create a safe space for learning and artistic exploration.
In thinking about our current social and political climate of censorship, budget cuts, and bigotry the gesture of the Quaker Cannon is an encouraging reminder that art and ideas carry with them a force and trajectory that is defined by public discourse and social circumstance. Though it may sometimes be seen as a threat to those who choose to place themselves in opposition, this tactical gesture can be used effectively to delay an immediate response, buying time for consideration. The force that it carries is only that which is projected upon it. If we are indeed encountering a culture war our best defense/offense is to continue to utilize art as a method of discourse.
This entry was written for Art21′s new Ideas blog. With a number of recent art world controversies in our midst, from the National Portrait Gallery’s removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video, A Fire in My Belly, and MoCA Los Angeles’s whitewashing of a mural by the artist Blu, to the United State’s House of Representative’s Spending Reduction Act of 2011, which proposes to end the National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities, it may seem like art has not been under such incisive fire since the Culture Wars of the eighties. However, not only have artists raised eyebrows and stirred emotions since the days of Manet’s Olympia and even before, but they also continue to grapple with hot-button topics even without the ire of political figures or museum administrations. This inaugural issue of Ideas looks at the artists and historical events that continue to give art its vibrant, confrontational, and urgent reputation.
Posted: December 31st, 2010 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
For their Seattle-area debut, New York-based Alison Brady and DC-based Sarah Knobel present a collaborative photo-media exhibition, titled Over Again, on view from January 8, 2011 through March 3, 2011 at the Kirkland Arts Center.
Featuring a variety of collaborative and individual works, including video and large-format color photographs, the artists each manifest a personal narrative through darkly humorous revisions of classical formats including the self-portrait and the female nude. Using elements of pop culture and contemporary social constructs the artists create an inverse arc of cognitive dissonance that seeks to disorient the real and surreal. The title of the exhibition, Over Again, draws its name from the exhibition’s keystone – a joint video installation that combines the absurd and the banal, wry humor with a low-tech sensibility to create a surreal world that both mourns and celebrates the anxious uncertainty of the everyday.
With this installation the artists examine the process of transitioning from carefree to careful adulthood – how expectations, fears and desires alter. Brady and Knobel draw from their own experiences to present views on human interaction and the malleability of social constructs. Simultaneously alienating and cathartic, the work of Alison Brady and Sara Knobel occupies an uncanny valley between the familiar and the foreign. The imagined and the expected.
Listen to the Interview.
Posted: November 4th, 2010 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Using variable media – taking on the form of tapestry and sculpture to performance, cinema, and stereoscopic imagery— Kentridge calculate(s) a not so obvious curve to create socially informed work that challenges the way we look.
In early October the Henry Art Gallery participated in a preview screening of Art21’s William Kentridge: Anything is Possible. To celebrate the upcoming release, the Henry invited local animator Tess Martin to teach an all-ages animation workshop, inspired by Kentridge’s work. The workshop allowed participants to explore the creative process behind modified base, a technique used by the artist in his many animated films. Following a brief introduction to the history of stop-motion, from flips books to Victorian parlor toys to Muybridge, workshop participants were asked to experiment with three mediums – charcoal/pastels, paint, and grain – to create a collaborative film.
Participants, mostly twenty-something adults, came from a variety of backgrounds including drawing, film, video, and digital animation. Pens and notebooks in hand, each brought with them a sense of eagerness and a variety of questions about the animation process. While many focused on the practicality of production, there were some participants who seemed more interested in the process of animation and what it means to animate an idea. This led to a later conversation around Kentridge’s use of animation, and his practice as a whole, as a tool for exposing the viewer to the act of seeing. Taking a cue from the film, one participant pointed out how Kentridge used found materials and familiar objects to create fantastical situations in which the viewer is made aware that they are looking and in-so-doing made aware that they have control of what they see and how they interpret it. This realization brought up an interesting correlation between this awareness of seeing and the socio-cultural context of much of Kentridge’s work.
In addition to his love of music and theatre, Kentridge was largely influenced by his personal history growing up in South Africa. His work uses elements of theatricality to explore themes of history, oppression, and social inequality in a way that calls into question the nonsensical nature of bigotry. Through a carefully crafted combination of humor, whimsy, and the absurd he is able to intimately address topics that might otherwise make audiences restless or uneasy. He does this not by masking the issue at hand but by creating a third space in which the viewer is better able to face the issue without reservation. In the tradition of many animators and artists before him, Kentridge has developed an uncanny ability to simultaneously call attention to both material and subject matter by creating a space for viewers to consider the act of seeing – getting just close enough to the subject to distort our discomfort and push us to make sense of what we are truly seeing, both literally and figuratively.
Art is often used as a means to convey material that is, for reasons of ill nature or physical impossibility, otherwise difficult to convey. Choosing to focus on the “universality of laughter “ over “the particularity of tears” allows Kentridge to communicate socially relevant subject matter in a way that is accessible. But what is it about animation that dissolves our natural tendency toward judgment? Why is it easier to confront a near facsimile of an idea rather than face it in the flesh? These questions were at the core of a discussion instigated by Seattle based artist and animator, Brita Johnson, during a performance this past summer hosted by the Vis-à-vis society, titled Why Cuteness? Why Failure? Why Now? During this performance Johnson, who taught a series of animation classes this past summer at The Henry, gave a lecture on the hypothesis of the uncanny valley and explored the relationship between the ideologically familiar and the conceptually foreign in animation.
The uncanny valley, was a term coined by roboticist Masahiro Mori in reference to Ernst Jentsch’s 1906 essay, On the Psychology of the Uncanny , in which the author explains the nature of the term uncanny, “Without a doubt, this word appears to express that someone to whom something ‘uncanny’ happens is not quite ‘at home’ or ‘at ease’ in the situation concerned, that the thing is or at least seems to be foreign to him. In brief, the word suggests that a lack of orientation is bound up with the impression of the uncanniness of a thing or incident.” Though often applied to the field of robotics, the hypothesis of the uncanny valley refers broadly to the inverse arc of cognitive dissonance that occupies that space between the real and surreal. The animated and the actual. The method and the material.
As a medium, stop-motion animation is method of deconstructing and reconstructing the reality it portrays, maintaining a dual sense of both the familiar and the foreign– allowing the viewer to critically assess both the content and context of the work without reservation. Though animation is only part of Kentridge’s practice, it is a rich example of his interest in, “Machines that tell you what it is to look, that make you aware of the process of seeing.” Kentridge’s machines and methodologies encourage us to be aware of how we construct the world through looking at it, and encourage us to consider “looking and seeing as being a metaphor for how we understand the world.”
Posted: August 16th, 2010 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
…but sets up the conditions necessary for creative production, and by extension the conditions for collaboration and social engagement.” — Anton Vidokle
"Figure 1. Curiosity as a function of information" Anthony Humberman, 2007.
Recently a young artist told me he believes Photoshop to be the most elegant synopsis of the process of artmaking and how we learn to use artistic talents. His theory is simple: proficiency breeds reserve. Photoshop is no different – once you become a master, the drop shadow tool becomes less exciting and more vapid. An ideal arts education would foster a student’s proficiency to be reserved. His claim is supported by a hypothetical solution posed by Dexter Sinister to use the Photoshop toolbox as a method for investigating and understanding the historical references and skills behind each tool. Though it is subversive in its re-appropriation of economized technology as the symbol for deeper understandings of art, this method is pedagogically recursive and intellectually emancipating. The opportunity presented to members of the arts community, and arts educators specifically, by incorporating highly conceptual forms and anti-conceptual work into their curriculum to support and motivate students is unprecedented.
Pieces of art theory that traditionally require a history of point and counterpoint can become incredible aphorisms in the modern age to inform the entire spectrum of education. It’s useful to instill in young learners the simple notion that the fixity of meaning can be questioned, or more importantly, that the creation of meaning does not have to take a predetermined form. This suspension of information becomes a part of the new toolbox for a new generation, irrational in everyday representation, but nonetheless informing and influencing the entire schema of thought within each individual.
In order to overcome conceptual alchemy and become a tangible object, art must be surreptitious in its tactics. A derived arts education will not hold up to the Internet and the radically cheapening status of the image. New methods are needed that are flexible and strategic – methods that provide multi-disciplinary, hands on, and truly empowering experiences. By providing a deeply considered program of exhibitions, happenings, experiences, and general chaos that parallels the real life of art, arts educators can help students to better understand the ways in which art can change and manipulate their lives and the world around them.
Corin Hewitt at Western Bridge, Seattle. Part of the New Year Project, 2010.
The benefit of arts education is generally twofold, employing both creative and kinetic practices to broaden a student’s synaptic frontiers. However, many programs make the mistake of setting themselves too far apart from the reality of the art market and process of artmaking. It is easy to point out differences between the practicing art world and the dominant educational model. We are of the opinion that the gallery and the studio play an essential role in arts education. Often, these spaces are more nimble and less controlled and as a result they have an advantage over the sluggish momentum of academic bureaucracy. There must be space within the institutional structure to provide for a variety of experience. A lack of this space is ultimately a lack of tangible experience and ultimately a lack of the “dangerous” ideas that inform the forward progression of art.
As both a process and an outcome, art is inseparable from the people and places where it is displayed, made, bought, performed, or destroyed. To leave this out of an education in the arts is to simply miss the most crucial component of art – experience. Situational understanding is crucial to the dialogic process of education and encourages learners to explore the dynamics between information and curiosity. Unlike the mediated learning space of the classroom, the gallery and studio offer practice-based experiences in the everyday world of art commerce and allow for teachers and learners to explore, replicate, and produce work in a way that is uncompromisingly accountable. If the art community as a whole is committed to improvement, a necessary step will be to energize current practicing artists to pass on their experience to the next generation and beyond. We don’t need everyone to become a professor, but small commitments to conversations, demonstrations, and introductions can make huge leaps in fostering critical minds and advancing interest in the arts. By encouraging collisions with the greater cultural community, students are exposed to non-topical platforms for exchange that expand their edification.
We believe that galleries integrating arts education and programming for patrons of all ages are absolutely necessary to avoid a prolonged cultural drought. So many art practices seem insular and unkind due to a lack of communication between the classroom and the gallery. Making this type of connection becomes crucial to solving a lack of appreciation for arts education and its flaws. Unsurprisingly, the contingent factor in the success of these programs is hard work. It requires artists, educators, and the associated art community to understand that we need relevant, engaging, and intelligent programming, including experiences that are not diluted, controlled, or otherwise mediated by the classroom. Programming that manifests itself as direct exposure to the process and products of art. The stakes are high in the information economy, and cheapening art reduces it to the status of mere image commodity.
Art risks everything if it attempts to dilute itself and ultimately become nothing more than a toolbox of icons. Certainly, we may start from a toolbox, but it’s crucial to dig deep and actually utilize each tool, gain a feel for it and observe its use. We need to be constantly and commandingly producing quality art activities in order to give the next generation the passion and drive they need, and to hone our own skills as well. It doesn’t pay to be alarmist, but the seeming condition of art and art education is grim, leaving one to hope this is the bottom of the curve. To kickstart the art cultural economy, and truly attack the difficulties of engaging different audiences, we need to embrace individual learners and empower students to articulate clearly the conditions and purpose of what they’re dealing with. The conceptual revolution gives arts education the tools to incorporate all learning into art, and further reinforce that learning with art. Harnessing this potential means creating citizens who care about aesthetics and are curious about art, even if they don’t directly participate in its production.
This article was written by both Whitney Ford-Terry and Jessica Powers. The collective will begin as co-curators of the Hedreen Gallery at Seattle University in late July. Programming will start in October.
Posted: June 29th, 2010 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Art361 | No Comments »
“It is thus my contention, which I really want to offer as an opinion, that the triad of notions, “attitude-practice-deconstruction,” is not the post-modern paradigm that supposedly substituted for the modern paradigm, “creativity – medium- invention”. It is the same one, minus faith, plus suspicion.” – Therry De Duve
Through the use of post-production audio and composited screen captures from iChat conversations and glitched out stills from the film Sympathy for the Devil, this video explores the intersections of three themes by way of three acts – to Appropriate, to Destroy, to Publish.
The film uses Command:Shift:3 composites of a region 2 DVD copy of Jean Luc Goddard’s 1968 Film, originally titled One Plus One, played on a laptop in a region 1 format. The result of this digital translation was a dysmorphic abstraction of the film’s opening credits. In the style of an animated .gif these stills were then edited together with a series of accompanying dialogical elements resulting in a multi-layered reflexive adaptation of the themes explored on the blog over the duration of the course.
Elements of the dialogue used in this film were inspired by a contemporary adaptation of Richard Serra’s Verb List Compilation: Actions to Relate to Oneself made by visiting artists Hadley + Maxwell during a lecture at the University of Washington last May. The Meta-abstraction used in this short video was a riff on a riff with a bias toward digital and web based art. The verb list compiled for the audio also appears in screenshots as the video progresses.
On the day of the final the video was published as a comment on every blog post made during the course of this class. This method of disbursement was both an act of distribution as well as destruction since its reception in multiplicity would render its content unpalatable to the repeat viewer – the way words lose their meaning after constant utterance.
In short the project appropriates the use and proliferation of common materials, visual and conceptual, provided by the course and destroys them by way of accessing a series of known formal systems- digital degradation and spam. In this way the class context and materials act as both the content and methodology by which the project was produced and distributed, relying upon the framework of socially mediated spaces, collapsing the intent of the blog back in on itself by crudely rephrasing common tools, mixing “basic skill ennobled with humanistic knowledge.”
The response to these acts was varied. Some saw the project as a performance and some as a method by which to provoke conversation. Some were offended by the influx of emails and comments on posts they felt didn’t relate to the content of their specific post.
Posted: May 5th, 2010 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Though, they aren’t far off. Similar to a child encountering a lobster for the first time, an encounter with the numinous can invoke two parallel emotions, fear and fascination. According to Rudolf Otto this feeling of mysterium tremendum and mysterium fascinans is somewhat displacing and although it is often referred to in a non-secular context this form of engagement with something wholly other is not altogether unlike that feeling I get when I encounter a compelling work of art. Something with the capacity to transcend snap judgments and take you into the wake of differentiated thought. A work that allows you to encounter its capacity as a physical manifestation of thought or encounter. The sublime or numinous qualities of a work of art allow the viewer to see the space between the imagining of the work and the creation of the work – the liminal space between inspiration and inception.
This topic warrants a much longer explanation, but I feel this summation will suffice for the context of this class.
For more, check out this article by
Bernard X. Bovasso.
In conjunction with a recent lecture and panel discussion with Jonathan Middleton, Flint Jamison, and TARL - I’ve come to find the idea of examining process to be extremely compelling and was glad to see it represented is such a realistic and tangible way. As ephemeral these discussion can get, its important to register the realness of process, collaboration, and creation. I feel these panelists were able to provide some latitude to this discussion, each in their own ways.
Also, I don’t have words for how unbelievably excited I am for Flint’s new space in PDX. It keeps blowing my mind and reassembling it in different ways. Stoked.
Posted: May 3rd, 2010 | Author: whitneyft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
“An art school, it would appear, does not teach art, but sets up the conditions necessary for creative production, and by extension the conditions for collaboration and social engagement.”
- Anton Vidokle
The idea of correspondence between thoughts and their manifestation as art practice is an undeniable theme in this class and was made quite evident in The Collected books of Jack Spicer. Unlike many traditional approaches to a making work, this idea brings about the concept that one, regardless of medium, can indeed “create poems with objects”.
If you have an idea, about say encountering space, you can fabricate that idea in any medium that would best suite its purpose. In opposition to the thought that a painter would paint an encounter with space or a photographer would photograph an encounter with space. The idea of a medium independent artist is one that I feel i greatly lacking in many formal art education programs. With the exception of a few, many academic institutions tech you the skills to create a work in a specific medium, or perhaps a number of mediums. However, it is not often that these programs invite students to be truly innovative in their exploration. Understanding of course that skill and training is a part of many people’s practice, these formal elements aren’t always needed to create a successful work of art. In many ways creativity, attitude, and innovation out-school talent and push the notion of a new emerging contemporary art practice, one that has surprisingly been in the works forever but is now gaining recognition in academia. In this way I truly appreciated Thierry de Duve. I look forward to what the future of Art school truly has to offer, and I think institutions are starting to to realize their part in it.
Interested in more on info on Alt Ed Art School? Check out the Manifesta 6 reading list, it’s chalk full of readings from Olaf Metzel, Anton Vidokle, and more. This course pack came out of the Manifesta 6 biennial – which never actually happened.
More on the Manifesta International Foundation: “While our core business is the governance and production of roving biennials, the day-to-day activities of Manifesta include overseeing the publication of catalogues, books and the tri-annual Manifesta Journal, maintaining our ever-growing archives and staging symposiums, international cultural events and our own Coffee Breaks.”