thanks for your beautiful response, Esther,
i will reply soon....
I am enjoying the conversation a lot!
On 18 Jul 2012, at 18:52, Johannes Birringer wrote:
I am tired of oscillating between not selling and not selling.
I like Johannes phrase: oscillating between not selling and not selling. I think this is a relevant position, and I hope it is possible to take a playful and conscious position here as an artist. When I started to think about producing work for art marked, I remember a conversation I had with Bart Rutten on the subject some years ago. He was curator at Montevideo (later NIMk) and had some examples from video, performance and media art, for example Marina Abramovic. These art forms are limitless reproducible, or one time performances documented on video or as instructions, and/or technically unstable. So how to think about collecting and selling?
In his view (if I remember correctly) there are two options: either create an artificial scarcity trough an edition or certificate on a video-tape (or set of instructions), or create a physical object that derivatives from the work itself. In the latter case again there are two strategies: the object could represents the work and its artistic qualities, but not posses artistic or esthetic qualities in itself. This way the collectable object functions more or less as a share in the project/work, or in the artistic activities of the artist.
The other option is to create an object that in its own realization and existence contains qualities that are a mirror of the qualities of the work itself, or somehow physically, conceptually or aesthetically contain the qualities of the work. It was clear that Bart preferred the last option and as a result I felt challenged to think about options likewise within our own practice.
By that moment had completed two successful GPS projects, and they both were based in the interaction with participants and had resulted in an installation and website. I thought it was a very clear practice, but also very depending on the subsidy system, that also defined our relationship with the audience. So I started thinking about changing this working method while we were working on the NomadicMILK project. We realized that we, as media artists also should be able to think about the production of collectable work as a medium in itself, especially to relate to the audience.
I now will describe as an example the production of monoprints that became an integrated part of NomadicMILK project. The prints are based on digital data but still unique. Also as they are printed as a set of “tiles” the audience has the option of choosing monoprints individually, and is invited to break up the work. We find this resonating with cartography and printed maps, which are always (except for globes) parts of a bigger constellation. I would be very curious after other examples of creating collectable work in a playful manner.
As part of the NomadicMILK project we had developed a robot that is able to make drawings of GPS tracks on the ground in lines of sand. This way we could discus GPS tracks of Nomadic people on location, where it was no option to beam or otherwise screen them. The robot was designed for a participatory “show and tell situation”, with the robot functioning as performer, like a puppet even. After doing some of these performances, we fell in love with the aesthetics of the sand lines and tried differed ways to present them. We came to a technique were we drew the sand lines on sheets of paper (later canvasses) that where positioned as a constellation of tiles. After the robot run over them, a set of tiles contained the whole track. After this we did spay paint the paper/canvasses and removed the sand after drying. This way a set of monoprins was produced. The first try out we did with this technique was during our exhibition in Zeeland, mentioned already in the previous mail. Later we used this as integrated part of the NomadicMILK installation, but we also exhibited the prints independently. We like the prints for different reasons:
-They are beautiful objects.
-The prints a based on digital data but as the behavior of the robot and the sand was never totally predicable, the result was each time unique (we called the prints therefore monoprints).
-One track consisted of twelve prints. The audience was invited to break up the constellation, by choosing their prints out of the bigger set. Conceptually this is connected to the cartographical tradition.
I think we found a way of producing collectable work in a playful manner that had differed artistically layers. The audience was now also challenged to consider the work as something they could (partly but uniquely) own. The work became a like a new plot of land, to be divided between owners.