Thursday, April 27, 2006

I think Test was beautiful last night. The highlight for me was an extended and engaging Q & A in which Margaret and Brian discussed, among other things, the need for closeness (a degree of sincerity?) when working with found text (I think Brian's soundbite quote was "there's no detail at a distance") and Brian and audience-member Darren O'Donnell riffed on their reasons for working among multiple disciplines. Margaret's easy manner and tendency to respond thoughtfully to questions and then ask her own of Brian or the audience pulled the entire room into the discussion, which at one point gave rise to a polyvocal swell of talk about the possibilities and challenges of cross-disciplinary fertilization. During the readings, Margaret treated us to a substantial bit of new work (including the riveting and playful "GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS"), and Brian spoke about his corpus in light of his practice of "stealing" (not to be confused with appropriation), read excerpts of Portable Altamont and an essay on the cassette tape, and played a clip from Voice-Over.

And all of this took place under the Evening Canopy and the Sunset Hour.

Points for me to keep in mind for next time: Keep extra chairs near the door for latecomers. Start on time, because this is likely the best way to be fair to the entire audience (from the punctual-arrivers-soon-to-be-fidgety-watch-checkers all the way to the unreformed stragglers).

I hope others enjoyed it as much as I did (for that is the goal). Sound files to come.

Also, stay tuned for the possible announcement of a special edition summertime Test. Please start studying for the May edition (that's the last dumb joke of this kind you'll hear from me).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Mark,

As always happens with these things one question sticks in your mind until the next day and last night it was Jesse’s question about (I think) an object (found or stolen) that resists re-contextualization into art. Last night I think I joked along the lines of “I’d destroy it” but it has slowly hit me today that the proper answer is that, yes, sometimes, art, or the process of art, should be avoided but whenever the hell that’s the case is wildly idiosyncratic. Good question Jesse.


4:09 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, that Jesse is good for a good question.

Sometimes I think art is to be avoided unless one can't.


6:38 PM  
Blogger editor said...

Thanks guys. What I was actualy wondering was if you ever find something that is allready formed as art, and can simply present it: like a readymade? Have you ever done that? I've often wanted to present things I've found, and many of the artists I admire work to minimize their effect on a found thing when they represent it...the artistry actualy goes into minimizing the artists effect, which can be much harder (if you still want to make something interesting). Anyhow, hope you guys have a good afternoon...

Jesse Huisken

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey jesse

i thought that was what you were asking, and i found it a very interesting question. my tendency is usually to do as little as possible to alter the texts themselves. when i put together "Graffiti for J.J. Harper" i didn't have the technology to reproduce the handwriting of the graffiti I used, but I did my best to get both wording and handwriting as accurate to the original, and as unaltered by me, as i was able.

On the other hand, when i used newspaper stories in the same piece, i worked them over quite heavily, because as pure untouched material they didn't have the same sort of resonance; so i suppose it depends on the source text and what you want to do with it.

i've printed a number of things in CRASH that are essentially readymades, though just framing them in the context of CRASH is a kind of alteration. but the texts themselves i've often left untouched, because (as i think you said) they were sort of perfect as they were. i've used some altered texts in CRASH as well, but it's often the readymades i am most fond of.

i suspect that the two kinds of texts that most lend themselves to unaltered use are the highly paranoid and the highly technical. what that means, i'll leave to others to consider.

-- maggie

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jesse,

In answer to the question you actually asked … no.

And I don’t know why other than maybe something being presented as art through the Duchampian gesture isn’t interesting enough to me. I think when that happens the only relationships explored are between the artist and the object, possibly a specialized public and maybe the presenting institution. In 2006 I want more. And, I’d argue that the idea of “found art” is suspect and a little too willfully naïve.

Duchamp didn’t present his urinal as “Urinal.” He titled it “Fountain.” And I would argue that titling something is the most IMMENSE and powerful gesture of art and hardly minimal.

One solution would be to not present individual objects or texts as found pieces but the collection of the whole as some kind of project.


5:17 PM  
Blogger editor said...

Hey Brian,
I've got some time at work. Just to clarify, giving a title to something is still a minimal gesture, in at least literal sense, even if we are now highly sensitive to them. The title does not effect the object, except via the viewer, it casts a conceptual light, or whatever. I think a great example of the work you are talking about would be Luc Tuymans. In quite a real sense his paintings are created by their interaction with a title. Ed Ruscha, who's works ARE a title. I think both these artists, in a sense, present readymades (paintigs of readymades) which are still potent. Someone who for sure still uses readymades is Hans-Peter Feldmann, perhaps my favorite artist. Anyhow, you should try it!

Jesse Huisken

5:48 PM  

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