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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  February 2008

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING February 2008

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Subject:

Re: Writing about the ephemeral... the insignificant the singular the condition

From:

Elena Cologni <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Elena Cologni <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 21:23:23 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Dear all,
I have followed your unfolding thoughts and, although I wanted to
contribute, I found myself facing the ongoing dilemma: 'is this time for
making and messing or analysing and organising?' I will respond to some of
the interesting issues discussed and propose some new ones.

I have been working on various aspects of memory, time, representation since
99 in mediatised performances, and the writing becomes more and more
creative and less analytic to the point that I can say that the medium of
performance relays on the writing. Not script sort of writing, but words
that make up extended titles, which eventually shrink into a short title,
which might actually be used. It's very similar to a dawing process, where
one looks for the essence, it's a thinking process. For whichever medium,
it's appropriate context is location for art, including the page. The
cohesive element is a conceptual approach. There seems to be a method, but
the problem with this is my inability to stop and write to analyse or
describe from a set and fixed position - as much as in all my work, now
dealing with the video delay, the subject is the deferral.

'You define the present as that which is, when it is simply what is
happening. [ce qui se fait]. Nothing is less that the present moment, if you
mean by that the indivisible limit that separates the past from the future'.
When we think of this present as what ought to be [devant etre], it is no
longer, and when we think of it as existing, it is already past…all
perception is already memory' (Bergson *Matièr et mémoire, *166-167 in
Guerlac's 'Thinking In Time, An Introduction To Henry Bergson', Itaca and
london Cornell UNiversity, 2006, p.148.)

'The observation of an event is an event in itself' (Bruno Vicario,* Il
Tempo*, Il Mulino, 2005)

With a new performance at Manchester Museum in April and Glasgow
International later the same month, I am now chewing cables... looking for
that video image. The image is an overlapping of delayed live recordings to
be used in the performances.

On the other hand I am working on the documentation material in
www.elenacologni.com/memory for a publication. The project developed between
2004 and 2006.  *Mnemonic Present, Un-Folding* series investigates the
relationship between liveness, present-ness and memory in performance
art practice,
and between the process of memorisation on the part of the audience
and the creation/manipulation
of video documentation produced live at the moment of performance and
immediately re-played. The performances included, the folding of paper,
myself recollecting images of homes from memory, three 8 seconds delayed
projections of a close up of the action, one of which from my forehead. As I
would look at the audience I would descrive a person's movements, later
mirrored on the screen.

In the context of the performance concept, the stills I will chose to
publish would re-interpret the work also in the light of more recent
writings which interesting enough developed in parallel of my project being
investigated including:

[...] The question of whether an event actually has to happen in order to
qualify as live art is one I take up in my recent essay "The Performativity
of Performance Art Documentation," Performing Arts Journal, Nov. 2006. A
slightly caricatured version of the argument I make in this essay is that an
event does not actually have to happen to be considered live art, but it does
have to be documented. On the face of it, one would think that conceptual
art, which is all about the idea, and live art, which is presumably about
the action, are two different things. But especially with endurance art and
the like, I think that the experience of live art for the audience
frequently is primarily conceptual. [...] I am saying that because it is in the
nature of this kind of work that the audience must imagine most of it, the
impact is largely conceptual. [...] Yves Klein did not actually have to jump
out a window onto the street below in order to make his point. Best Phil
Auslander '[...] It may well be that our sense of the presence, power,
and authenticity
of these pieces derives not from treating the document as an indexical
access point to a past event but from perceiving the document itself as a
performance that directly reflects an artist's aesthetic project or
sensibility and for which we are the present audience.' (from the above
mentioned essay)
best Elena
On Wed, Feb 20, 2008 at 11:16 AM, Maeve Connolly <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Dear Verina, Kristoffer and all on list
>
> I am also interested in this idea - setting up an "ephemeral" space
> THROUGH a very concrete calculating operation. But in keeping with
> Kristoffer's point about the dialectical relationship, I wonder how easy it
> is to actually define 'functionality' at this point. So I'm going to
> reference a work that is pretty far removed from most definitions of 'new
> media', in which issues of ephemerality and functionality arise
>
> The work, by Colin Darke is called The Capital Paintings and was recently
> shown in Temple Bar Gallery and Studios (Dublin)
> http://www.templebargallery.com/2008Programme/0801CDarke.htm
>
> This project  follows on from an earlier work in which Darke transcribed
> Marx's Das Capital onto everyday ephemera - this process took several years.
> The second stage (The Capital Paintings) involved the production of
> portraits of these objects, with the layer of transcription removed - again
> a lengthy process. This  resulted in a series of 480 paintings presented in
> grid-like display. The project transformation of ephemera into art objects -
> these are 'function-less' in the sense that they are art objects yet also
> highly 'functional' in the sense because they can be readily bought and sold
> - circulating within the processes of economic exchange that they apparently
> critique.
>
> The exhibition provided the vehicle and the backdrop for a gallery
> discussion on Creativity and Commodification, yielding a fairly familiar and
> narrow debate about the fetishisation of artistic labour.  But the debate
> also (inadvertently) emphasised the economic interdependency of public and
> private spheres  - particularly within the local art economy, whereby the
> framing of this work as 'critical' actually confirms its market value. These
> issues were not incidental to the work but actually brought to the fore
> through the focus on different forms of labour (material, immaterial)
> involved in both production and reception
>
> It seems to me that there's a definite interest at the moment in issues of
> economic exchange amongst critics and artists that might  seem particularly
> concerned with the conceptual and the immaterial (an example would be the
> work of the POCA group  http://www.gold.ac.uk/visual-arts/poca/)  as well
> as earlier discussions around immaterial labour (in publications such as
> Multitudes).  But the 'material' persists in interesting ways in some
> writing about artists (such as Pierre Huyghe) who treat the ephemeral and
> the temporal as their material. I'm thinking in particular here of Tom
> McDonough's article 'No Ghost', in October 110, Fall 2004, which takes issue
> with Nicolas Bourriaud's ideas of both temporality and labour in relation to
> production and consumption.
>
> With regard to the Dan Graham's exploration of timeliness and his
> exploration of the page as site,  I wonder  how the notion of an
> 'intervention' in a publication can be reconfigured now, with a
> proliferation of artists' publications exploring various forms of
> ephemerality, temporality, spatiality etc and the establishment of the
> artists' page as a convention, even institution.  Clearly, the 'timeliness'
> of the art magazine and the status of the page as site have both changed
> radically because physical pages are now supplemented/shadowed by web
> pages..
>
> I would be interested to know of artists who have responded to this
> changing context and extended the exploration of the page as site
>
> Best
> Maeve
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org on behalf of Verina Gfader
> Sent: Wed 20/02/2008 09:24
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Writing about the ephemeral... the
> insignificant the singular the condition
>
>  Hi Kristoffer and everyone on the list!!
>
> Thanks for your contribution to the feb theme. I thought it is
> interesting what you suggest, to think the possibility of a work setting
> up an "ephemeral" space THROUGH a very concrete calculating operation.
> So as if the concrete calculating operation (= the function) conditions
> the ephemeral (that what does not remain, that what is perhaps also
> imaginative). But you also suggest the "ephemeral" space as a space for
> thought...
>
> The ephemeral here would not as such be related to the
> material/non-material/im-material, but be understood as a concept
> (virtual-actual?) which I find interesting especially in relation to
> "media work" which has often been discussed in relation to the
> immaterial, and, importantly, to money.
> Does this perspective shift the discourse from the material to the
> conceptual ---- and from art to business/economies?
> When you describe the work I am interested in the potentially infinite
> receipt roll that seems to be the manifestation of such a shift. But I
> imagine that the actual processing of the numbers, the sound of the
> machine, and the abstraction that takes place at the site, at particualr
> moments, is also what brings the work back to the idea of the ephemeral
> as something that in its aesthetic value of the disappearing and
> fleeting and the "never the same" escapes certain logics of growth, and
> labour. (well, labour in a different sense)
>
> I also think what is most interesting that the "art" media did not have
> much of a voice, but rather the business media? There is a quite
> frightening dynamic here, namely that the artwork is already quite
> absorbed in economies. I wonder how art critics reflected on the piece,
> how art journals deal with it. What does this "state of the Danish
> press/media" say about the larger issue of the incorporation of art in
> (mass) media.
> And also about the DIFFERENT situations of countries involved in global
> politics...
>
> In relation to this theme I have been thinking about a serial work by
> American artist Dan Graham, which uses an art journal as object and as
> the site of intervention. In 1966 ARTS MAGAZINE published the two-pages
> photo-text layout Homes for America. This intervention is part of
> Graham's early "works for magazines".  Homes for America is an
> investigation in the 'over-all magazine article lay-out' (Graham) which
> also addresses, the artist notes, the 'present-time (timeliness)' of a
> magazine. As one of its most important aspects, and partly deriving from
> this timeliness, Graham emphasises that the work made no claim for
> itself as a work of art.
> The page of the magazine, a site of non-art, functions as an underlying
> grid-like, schematic, coded system.
> There is a lot more to say about this work, but I thought this might be
> interesting in relation to an "artwork" as a critique of (mass) media -
> in this case print media - and its self-critique.
>
> The work's live and afterlive, and second life (in media, in oral
> histories). . . seems to make the work in a way HAPPEN.
>
> Few , maybe a bit incohesive thoughts on the current theme...
>
> verina
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Kristoffer Gansing <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 4:56 pm
> Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Writing about the ephemeral... the
> insignificant the singular the condition
>
> > Writing about the ephemeral - Calculating "Danmark"
> >
> > As others have already pointed out, this is a very interesting
> > theme and as a newcomer to the list it is also quite a challenge to
> > comment on. A lot of directions of thought are opened. And this
> > will be a long ramble on a recent work by Danish artist Linda
> > Hilfling and myself.
> >
> > Catching on to the original post, mentioning the "press review" in
> > the list of things "particularly important for ephemeral, live or
> > broadcastworks" - I'd like to try and build on this in relation to
> > a work I've just shown in an exhibition at the National Gallery in
> > Denmark. This is a work in which I take part as an artist rather
> > than a curator, but which consists of a work which is typical for
> > new media work in that it in itself is generative and tries to set
> > up a space for thought rather than a conclusive statement. The
> > tricky part is that it tries to set up this "ephemeral" space
> > through a very concrete calculating operation, and this immediately
> > confounds critics and spectators. The work is functional, but this
> > function is at the same time an aesthetical act which points to the
> > virtuality of what is being calculated.
> >
> > I actually think that this rupture between the material function of
> > a processual work and its meaning and ephemerality is quite common
> > to new media works in general. Considering that many new media
> > works consists of a re-routing of ongoing information processes.
> >
> > So to briefly explain the piece itself and the reaction to it. In
> > the installation, an old office calculator sits at a table and from
> > it extends a mess of cables in different colours, making it clear
> > that this machine has been hacked. The display continuously adds
> > numbers together and these are printed by the machine on a receipt
> > roll which spills over the floor. The calculator is scraping data
> > off the online statistics of Linden Lab, the Californian company
> > behind Second Life. It then calculates how much money (in Danish
> > crowns) an average Danish SL user would earn on average in SL
> > during the exhibition period's two weeks.  The result is a very
> > small number (32 crowns), but 160 meters of paper spilling on the
> > floor. The whole work is a comment to the Danish Ministry of Taxes
> > setting up an island of their own in SL last year, naming it
> > "Danmark" and thereby establishing a kind of State presence in SL.
> > The focus of this virtual "Danmark" though is to inform Danish SL
> > users that they should pay taxes on money earnt in SL. This space
> > was set up when the hype of the economic possibilities of SL was at
> > its highest.
> >
> > As an intervention into "Danmark", the calculator is also viewable
> > through a webcam "projected" on to a large billboard in the state
> > owned Danish SL.
> >
> > What I'd like to focus on is how the Danish "business" media
> > reacted to this piece. Having caught on to the results of the
> > calculation they proceeded to publish a number of articles, stating
> > the depressing state of the Danish side of the SL economy.
> > Obviously, there were a lot of Danish SL entrepreneurs who objected
> > to this, and started to comment on the online editions of the
> > articles. In retrospect, I wonder what was lost in this treatment
> > of the work, which was meant to project an image of control and the
> > virtuality of capital flow, rather than as an instrumental tool for
> > monitoring the actual amount of earned money. Of course, statistics
> > in some way always "lie" and the official statistics of Linden Lab
> > could probably be read and critically analysed in a number of
> > alternative ways. Yet, what is more at stake here is the
> > aesthetical value of such online information and the political
> > implications of creating a generative work out of this data -
> > connecting imagined locality (the national state of Denmark and its
> > virtual "Danmark") with global business and service providers (SL).
> >
> > So it seems to me a purely functional evaluation of such a work
> > completely misses the point - at the same time as the work would
> > not "function" on its ephemeral level without this concrete
> > dimension. So are we back in a dialectical relationship here.?
> > Well, at least I hope to inspire to some more considerations on
> > this rupture between functionality and ephemerality, which is
> > necessary but without excluding the one or the other.
> >
> > best wishes,
> > Kristoffer Gansing
> >
>
>
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