Hi all -
Reading the thread and following the links has been really interesting.
I wanted to respond to Juliette's question that she posed (in her response
to Bruce Wands): "How to curate such open-ended, entirely process-based
projects? What's the best presentation model and work method for curators?
This is the question I'm raising at the current panel."
What came to mind was the strategy of various embedded artists that adopt
the language, look, and feel of their 'host' organizations to produce
artwork that is a 'byproduct' of a larger system. I spent a few years
researching artists embedded in industry, science, and government which I
published in a book called 'Byproducts: On the Excess of Embedded Art
Practices." (http://www.studiorev.org/p_byproduct.html - free downloadable
PDFs can be found online by googling) Driving my interest was something
that resembles Juliette's query — in this case, I referred to the artwork
as the *excess* of a process. As one example, on October 5, 2007, the new
media/performance artist Kristin Lucas became the most current version of
herself when she succeeded in legally changing her name from Kristin Sue
Lucas to Kristin Sue Lucas (same spelling) in a Superior Court of
California courtroom. On the name change petition, she entered the word
‘refresh’ as the reason for the change. After a philosophical debate on the
perception of change, and a second hearing date, the presiding judge who
granted the request said: “So you have changed your name to exactly what it
was before in the spirit of refreshing yourself as though you were a web
page.” The artwork is both the process and its artifacts — the court
transcripts, the court sketch, and other artifacts.
In a project that similarly relies on language (specifically the
performative utterance) as political intervention, three Slovenian artists
changed their name to that of the Centrist Prime Minister, Janez Jansa. The
"artwork" includes all the artifacts of the process as well as the
gesture's power to create and revise social narratives.
The challenge of curating process thus faces many embedded artists — and
this was documented and amply discussed by Barbara Steveni and John Latham
who co-founded the Artist's Placement Group in the UK. Between 1968 and
1991, APG placed over 1000 artists in industries, corporations, government,
etc. Both curated and produced exhibitions of high visibility, and they
recognized that the objects in the gallery often fell flat when compared to
what was a very dynamic process. Here's how one artist embedded in a
factory explained it: "You create an object that looks and smells like art.
That's for the manager. The rest of the workers and I know that the real
art is the process."
However, to me this quote problematically seems to dismiss or foreclose the
possibility that the artifact, deracinated from its (embedded) process,
might in fact have a separate life of its own, meaningful relationship to
Thank you again for your provocative thoughts!
Marisa Morán Jahn
[log in to unmask] | *studiorev.org <http://studiorev.org/>* |