Some loose thoughts on other artists' work
The latest readings were sparked by the conflict I felt throughout the crit on the film piece. And really, my need to make sure I understand what I am talking about and go one step further in researching but also in understanding myself and being able to analyse things. I read about the durational aspect of artwork, and watched a documentary about Ai WeiWei’s so pertinent ‘Fairytale’ project, which crosses boundaries of public, social art in the neo-liberal context.
'Art and Activism in the Age of Globalization' NAi publishers, included some anti-capitalism theories, ethics, a little about film theory and Geleuze (again), the work of artists who use archives (there was about 1 month that the archive was alive in my e-mail inbox).
I read about institutional flatness in education, which was a pertinent and present subject of discussion in the London Radical Fair, demonstrating its authority and validity in our contemporary context: the one I am living.
I read about Cornford and Cross, whom with I identify a lot and together with a few exhibitions who took over large spaces reminded me that my initial Masters proposal is the public book, thus scale might make a difference. I suppose that if matter behaves differently when at nano scale (Sangeeta Bhatia at ted.com), it should also behave differently at expanded scale and therefore a different effect on the viewer?
I went to a brilliant exhibition. It only had 4 pieces. 2 of them, simple, looked unique, strong visual transposition of concepts into materialistic output. 2 others looked banal, trivial. One of which was deeply meaningful through its interactivity, and the other because it was an open piece with no description whatsoever in the PR statement. I was lucky enough to be able to chat to the gallery assistant about all of Marco Godoy's work, and then push the conversation forward into a questionnaire about : This work is clearly critical of our socio political situation in Europe. The artist is clearly being critical of the situation we are socially living. What is the gallery’s position? Is it supportive of the artist for the sake of artist, or is the gallery supporting the ideas behind the work too? Answer: no stance, they are a commercial gallery. Great! My next question is then obsviously: ‘Who is going to buy this artist’s work?’ Why is it so bad to have an opinion these days in the art world? Can’t it listen to anything but money? Hence I feel that Capitalism is a religion, dogmatic at its core. The shopping mall visit, harnessing cash for the sake of spending it. . . well… depressing stuff…. Money, for the believers, is the ultimate freedom kit, just like resurrection but on a quick fix (check out the study that Harvard conducted for 75 years on happiness Robert Waldinger on ted.com), without the bother of believing thus becoming the ultimate blindly embedded dogma. The world needs a cultural, intellectual and empirical shift.
Ruben de Roos and Renzo Marten with ‘Enjoy Poverty’ and the theorisation of its meaning had a major impact on me in the sense of being hopeless and not: you are part of a system that is kind of omnipresent, no matter what you do, it catches up onto you. What can you/we do to step ahead of the game? Is there a point? Does fighting for the sake of being right makes it redeemable at a meaningful level? A little like the Copperfield gallery, who I felt , wished they could have a stance, but at the same time already had compromised their critical complacency to the neo liberal values of the self-regulating international art market.
I finally went to 'Electronic super highway' at the Whitechapel Gallery and watched a beautiful film piece with spoken word as sound track that demonstrated the versatility of the book and the origins of the world… magical! Camile Hanrot showed with 'Gros Fatigue' influences of 'Prospero's Books' by Peter Greenaway but including technology as a medium and simultaneously subject matter.
John Akomfrah 'The Nine Muses' was also another inspirational piece, as it reminded me of the contrasts between imagery and complexitys that are well filtered.