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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  September 2009

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING September 2009

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Subject:

Re: September 2009: update and "Real-Time: Showing Art in the Age of New Media"

From:

Sally Jane Norman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Sally Jane Norman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 4 Sep 2009 08:29:08 +0100

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wow - thanks Charlie, this is provocative. Reading it from the standpoint of theatre and performance instantly calls to mind Tadeusz Kantor's Theatre of Death - notably The Dead Class - and his staging of "found objects", "found gestures", "found characters" to effectively recycle vestiges of life, husks of living pasts, as poignantly living (resuscitated) but dead, jaded, bygone. Kantor used to berate us, telling us how (we) the audience were dead and how these pathetically recycled players and actions were the most vital witnesses to life that could be conjured up. It was always uncanny seeing his works several times over - deadweights that each time would pull different emotional strings. It was weird when he died in the middle of rehearsing the last piece, leaving his troupe with the impossible task of "living through" their last dead theatre work. 

In a piece shown at Baltic a couple of years ago by Jo Coupe called Enough Rope, a "still life" of decaying fruit placed on a round wooden table studded with electrodes generated electricity driving an array of cutting tools that gradually cut the leg of the table... Something about this piece, as circuitous as the table and as deadly linear as the cut of an electric saw  - even though it was continuous because of/as the decay process - for me related to the morbid "live art" energies of Kantor's theatre.

When Larry Yaeger presented "Polyworld" at Siggraph back in the early nineties, he had these little avatars that wheeled around on his flatland screen/ simulated surface, manifesting what at the time were very basic emergent behaviours, but they were enthralling. And when some of his dervishes as we called them spun out of control and dropped off the table it was quite tragic. 
Random(ly generated) living dead.

Bang bang.

very best

sjn



________________________________________
From: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Gere, Charlie [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 04 September 2009 07:52
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] September 2009: update and "Real-Time: Showing Art in the Age of New Media"

Another thought following on from my last post - perhaps the whole issue between time-based art and object art is that of death. The object presents us with an illusion of something whole, enduring. We have the idea with most object-like works of art that we can see it all at once, in an instant, and what we see will remain stable, and enduring, which paradoxically gives it a sense of infinitude, and thus perhaps allays our own fear of death. Curation is based on defeating the effects of entropy and decay to preserve works of art in a state of suspended animation, life-in-death.

By contrast time-based arts operate in time, you need time to see them, thus they imply ending and indeed can and do come to an end, even if they then repeat or start again, and thus finitude and so on.

Thus a work such as Hirst's Shark, supposedly a meditation on death, in fact is its disavowal, whereas time-based and the ironically-named 'live' arts actually engage in finitude and death. The real irony is that they are therefore far more about life


-----Original Message-----
From: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org on behalf of Gere, Charlie
Sent: Fri 04/09/2009 6:45 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] September 2009: update and "Real-Time: Showing Art in the Age of New Media"

Hi Crumbs

Thought I would start discussion about the question of time-based art with a few general thoughts, in anticipation of the conference

It is obvious that the incursion of time-based art into the gallery or museum space involves considerably more than simply the inclusion of other forms of media. It offers rather a profound challenge to a number of assumptions about the 'art work' as a phenomenon, to do with its supposed autonomy, stability, endurability. So far so obvious. What is perhaps interesting is to think about the context in which this took place and how it reflects other questions. The emergence of time-based art is correlative and coeval with deconstructions of the autonomous grounded self that had been a dominant feature of Western thinking since Descartes. It is perhaps not surprising that many of the pioneers of process, performance and time-based arts were extremely interested in Eastern thinking, including Cage, Paik, many of those involved with performance and happenings and so on, or in the implications of the work of Heidegger and existentialism or in Freud and psychoanalysis, all of which involved a critique of the grounded cartesian self.

In his book Lack and Transcendence David Loy looks at the role the desire for fame plays in attempts to master the fear that we are nothing. I wonder if the continued fetish of and investment in the object somehow relates to this need to assert an autonomous self. In the gallery it presents a kind of ontological mirror reflecting back and stabilising our own sense of self in its apparent stability and autonomy. (Here one might look at Tony Bennett's work on the museum and gallery as disciplinary institutions, imposing an exemplary discipline of spectatorship). By contrast time-based art, interactive art, and all art involving some form of interaction over time tend to do the opposite. Perhaps this may be a partial explanation of the continued resistance to such work in mainstream institutions

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