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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  February 2011

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING February 2011

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Subject:

Re: the object of performance

From:

Johannes Birringer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Johannes Birringer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 2 Feb 2011 19:55:49 +0000

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dear all,
interesting contribution to the Nam June Paik discussion, coming from Johannes Goebel and addressing the notion of 
music as a time based non-object (or the "ideal" time based art form and non object), the sound of music as uncuratable/uncollectible, 
and, fact of matter, Johannes is probably quite right that  musicians and music theoreticians (and sound artists and laptop performers
as well) would really be great in this conversation, and i do recall that Curtis Bahn and Dan Trueman (Curtis works on the Rensselaer music faculty, I think, next door to EMPAC),
when they came to a dance technology workshop I hosted, brought their instruments (custom built or modified) and their own  bespoke spherical speaker systems
along,  and off we went performing and rehearsing, with interactive / live real processes of sound mixed with movement and gesture, and at the same time,
I admired these musicians as instrument builders, as i guess Nam June Paik's installations/objects and artworks had that same character of the artifactual....

and did he not exhibit in "Exposition of Music" (1963), and do we all agree that music cannot be exhibited?  
what about "TV Garden" or the work with Charlotte Moorman  (TV Cello, Originale...), or the concepts that flowed into 
"visual music" as an artform or (in the digital age) a form of generative processes?  would you argue that these are
video works and not music, strictly speaking, and how do you then defend music against the necessary materiality
of the instrument performance or instrument performers?    

Incidentally, i was curious that my examples (back in January)
from the "MOVE: Choreographing You" exhibition and the cross-media world of art/performance did not elicit a response,
i have another example today, just seen at the Royal Academy of Arts, from the exhibition "AWARE: Art, Fashion, Identity"
here I came across a wonderful object: Helen Storey's "Say Goodbye" [2010], an "experimental dissolvable dress" (dimensions
variable) that you may think to wear but it's not to be used or bought, only to be watched as it slowly, biodegradably, descends
and disappears into a liquid container, until it is no more. Bizarrely curated in this dull and predictable, and intermittently hilarious show, the dissolving
dress hung from a guillotine-like  scaffold on top of the staircase, dissolving downward.  I imagined heating the sound of it,
but the sound actually seemed to come from a near-by video/monitor of Yoko Ono's 1965 "Cut Piece."  It was a quiet soothing visual performance,
unlike her sound art that they "hung" into the MoMA last year. 

How do you collect "Cut Piece" (well, you can show the film, transfered to video).  is it a music piece? or a performance piece?
From what i understand, "Cut Piece" had one verb as its instruction: "Cut."    Ono executed the performance herself in Tokyo in 1964 by walking on stage and casually kneeling on the floor in a draped garment. Audience members were requested to come on stage and begin cutting until she was naked.  Apparently folks were shy and careful in Tokyo, and at Carnegie Hall the next year, less shy, and sometimes these performances would get out of hand; this particular performance, documented, stops after 11 minutes, not finished. 

In the context of the Paik discussion, how do curators feel about what Abramovic did with Sevem Easy Pieces and her recent show (where some of her early work was re-performed by young artists)?
Would one show "Cut Piece" in an exhibit by having it performed by some one after Ono's score?  thus merely "showing" the time-based sounding of the work?


with regards
Johannes Birringer
dap lab, london

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