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Jeremy Deller - The Battle of Orgreave, 2001
"In 1998 I saw an advert for an open commission for Artangel. For years I had had this idea to re-enact this confrontation that I had witnessed as a young person on TV, of striking miners being chased up a hill and pursued through a village. It has since become an iconic image of the 1984 strike – having the quality of a war scene rather than a labour dispute. I received the commission, which I couldn't believe, because I actually didn't think it was possible to do this. After two years' research, the re-enactment finally happened, with about eight-hundred historical re-enactors and two-hundred former miners who had been part of the original conflict. Basically, I was asking the re-enactors to participate in the staging of a battle that occurred within living memory, alongside veterans of the campaign. I've always described it as digging up a corpse and giving it a proper post-mortem, or as a thousand-person crime re-enactment."
Inke Arns - History Will Repeat Itself: Strategies of Re-enactment in Contemporary (Media) Art and Performance
"Is there repetition or is there insistence.
I am inclined to believe there is no such thing as repetition.
And really how can there be." (Gertrude Stein, “Portraits and Repetition”, Lectures in America, pp. 166–169)
A little more than a century ago, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud wrote that hypnosis makes it possible for a patient to fulfil “one of the most fervent wishes of humankind”, namely, “to experience something twice”.(1) The main character in Tom McCarthy’s novel Remainder (2005) (2) fulfils precisely this wish — not through hypnosis, but through ‘re-enactments’. The novel’s protagonist is disabled after an accident but is very wealthy as he received a lot of money as compensation. He has banal scenes from his own life, and later also spectacular events that were hyped by the media, re-enacted in public spaces and in apartment blocks bought specifically for this purpose. Through these re-enactments, in which the protagonist is always the main actor, he hopes to recapture a particular, but diffuse, feeling again that he has only felt very vaguely since his accident. The re-enactments, which are staged with an absurd amount of work and an enormous number of helpers, allow the protagonist to experience the repeated situation in full consciousness (of his own role), and at the same time to observe events from the centre yet from a distance.
Historical Re-enactment as a Practice of Popular CultureIn general, a so-called re-enactment is a historically correct re-creation of socially relevant events, such as battles (for example, the Battle of Hastings or the Battle of Gettysburg). (3) It is the “best possible, detailed repetition of how an event occurred, historical or modern; where possible, it is staged at the location where the original event took place, and under the same conditions as when it occurred.” (4) Criminology, for example, uses re-enactments to reconstruct a crime. Re-enactments are often part of experimental archaeology (5) when testing working techniques of the past through experiments (for example, Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947). In numerous countries, many very different re-enactment groups exist in which there are people who do it for a hobby, but also professionals who devote themselves to specific subjects, epochs, or events. For our particular enquiry here, both the parallels and the differences to similar practices are of interest. For example, re-enactments are very different to pop-cultural practices such as ‘living history’ and ‘live action role-playing’. Living history, (6) for example, does not take a concrete, historical event, but rather seeks to re-create the life style and realities of life in past epochs (for example, the late Middle Ages, the late fifteenth century, the Napoleonic Wars, or the American Civil War). And live action role-playing (7) is role-playing games in which the actors also physically play their character. In contrast to re-enactments and living history, which both refer to historical events, live action role- playing is entirely fictional.(8) What all three forms – re-enactment, living history, and live action role-playing – have in common, is that they allow access to history, or histories, through immersion, personification, and empathy in a way that history books cannot.
Re-enactment as an Artistic Strategy
Art, censorship and morality - Interview Podcast
Frieze Magazine on Censorship and the Art World
Georges Bataille Seminar Notes
Georges Bataille – The Accursed Share (3 Volumes) 1946-1949: Consumption
- The paradox of utility
- This volume focuses on consumption, consumerism, “stuff”
- Alternative theory of how to address consumption
- Looking back to Mexican/Incan society – historical/cultural anthropology
‘Prodigalities’ (p.63) – squandering wealth, idea of luxury, abundance, lavishness – economic waste
SACRIFICES – wasteful? Wasting resources: unproductive use
General economy instead of a Restrictedeconomy
- More Holistic approach? Includes economic values that may not superficially appear to be valuable, but have a greater significance in society eg happiness, charity, even waste
- This ‘wasted bit’ ie The Accursed Share
Kings ‘giving’ monetary wealth – but not entirely altruistic, there appears a sense of obligation from the other party. Introduces intangible sense of rank.
Ritual prodigality – Ritual giving has economic value in a general economy
Interest = self-interest? Standard western European sense of economy.
Merchants of Mexico do not follow rule of “profit” trade conducted without bargaining. Negotiation is seen as demeaning.
“Their trade was conducted without bargaining and it maintained the glorious character of the trader” (p.65)
Gift giving activity becomes so ritualised it transforms the profane (gifts) into the sacred.
Objects are imbued with an aura
[Art in the age of mechanical reproduction – Walter Benjamin]
General economy introduces an implicit, tacit contract, an obligation
Potlatch//Potluck – no bargaining involved
Sense of implicit, obliged exchange
“More often than not it is this solemn giving of considerable riches, offered by a chief to his rival for the purpose of humiliating, challenging and obligating him”
Important: this culture of gift-giving and potlach holds central the idea of the afterlife. This may also be an implication of a general economy. There is a sense of an ultimate goal, insofar as society does not self-destruct following the sacrifice of wealth and riches.
Destructive Art – Michael Landy (credit card destroying etc), Gustav Metzger (Auto-destructive art), Jean Tinguely (Auto-destructive robot thing), John Baldessari (Cremation Project), Susan Hiller
Marcel Mauss (The Gift) – p.68
Susan Hiller @ Lisson Gallery
Julian Charriere @ Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
Jim Shaw @ Simon Lee Gallery
New Contemporaries 2015 @ ICA
Michael Craig-Martin "Transience" @ Serpentine Pavilion Gallery
"This winter, the Serpentine presents an exhibition by Michael Craig-Martin (b. Dublin, 1941), one of the best-known British artists of his generation. This is the first solo show of Craig-Martin?s work in a London public institution since 1989 and brings together works from 1981 to 2015, including his era-defining representations of once familiar yet obsolete technology; laptops, games consoles, black-and-white televisions and incandescent lightbulbs that highlight the increasing transience of technological innovation. The exhibition features new wallpaper that has been conceived especially for the exhibition. From the earliest work in the show, a wall drawing first produced in 1981 (the same year that the first personal computer was made available), to a painting from 2014 that depicts the minimal lines of an iPhone, Craig-Martin?s work has recorded the profound impact that electronic technology has had on the way we consume and communicate. The exhibition explores the seismic shift from analogue processes to digital technologies that informed the production and distribution of new kinds of objects in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Craig-Martin's early works explored the conceptual possibilities of contemporary art, testing the boundaries between functional and functionless forms. The introduction of digital technology in recent years has resulted in the breakdown of the relationship between form and function, a process that Craig-Martin captures in his depictions of successive inventions, from the battery to the cassette to the laptop. As Marshall McLuhan wrote in his seminal book Understanding Media, which Craig-Martin read shortly after it was first published in 1964, ?technical change alters not only habits of life, but patterns of thought and valuation?. Craig-Martin?s work holds up a mirror to these alterations, reminding us that we are as much produced by the objects we invent as they are by us. Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich-Obrist, Co-Director, said: ?Craig-Martin's acute observations present an extraordinary picture of recent developments in the production, processes, functions and form of the objects that populate our world. His work reveals a search for the ultimate expression of contemporaneity in a way that we all experience ? through the items we use every day.?
Susan Philipsz @ Tate Britain
War Damaged Musical Instruments features fourteen recordings of British and German brass and wind instruments damaged in conflicts over the last 200 years.
The notes recorded are based on the tones of the military bugle call ?The Last Post?, but the tune is fragmented to such an extent that it is almost unrecognisable. The tune signalled to lost and wounded soldiers that it was safe to return to base and is used today as a final farewell in military funerals and Remembrance ceremonies.
The artist has worked with the architecture of the space devising a sequence of sounds that travel the length of the Duveen galleries. Philipsz explains,
I am less interested in creating music than to see what sounds these instruments are still capable of, even if that sound is just the breath of the player as he or she exhales through the battered instrument. All the recordings have a strong human presence.
Forming part of the 14-18 NOW arts programme to commemorate the First World War centenary, the work features several instruments from that period, and has a special resonance with the history of Tate Britain, as part of the site was originally a military hospital that treated soldiers injured in the First World War.
It is also a poignant reminder that conflict and loss are present in the world today.
Art Now: Vanilla and Concrete @ Tate Britain
Post Internet Art - Elephant Magazine
What is the ‘Post-Internet’—a faceful of virtual candyfloss or a thriving discourse around how the digital context is changing the meaning of art and images? Gary Zhexi Zhang goes in search of the art world’s New Big Thing and finds himself asking a further question—is it over already?
Frieze Magazine: The online anthropology of Jon Rafman - Gary Zhexi Zhang
Jon Rafman @ Zabludowicz Collection
Anne Hardy Field @ Modern Art Oxford
Victoria Miro - Forces in Nature
EIJA LIISA AHTILA
Renowned Finnish film and video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila has been inspired by an eclectic collection of writers and artists when making her multi-screen, multi-perspectival meditations on animal and man – these include German biologist and philosopher Jakob Johann von Uexküll, Giorgio Agamben, Ingmar Bergman, the Dogme 95 collective, as well as Giotto and Fra Angelico. Absorbed in the modern enquiries of post-humanism and intra-subjectivity, Ahtila nonetheless follows a conceptual pathway that winds back through the dark corners of medieval Gnosticism and Enlightenment-era Immanentism, where the subject, far from suffering deconstruction, is upheld as an agent of divinity.
‘Parallel Worlds’, organized by Moderna Museet in Stockholm and Kiasma in Helsinki, is a comprehensive retrospective of Ahtila’s film and video installations, drawings and sculptures, all of which inhabit a distinctively un-Pop, Scandinavian umwelt. In an interview in the exhibition’s catalogue, Ahtila ponders: ‘Can a spruce be a mimetic creature? For me, this carries the question: “What do we really see?” Do we simply see what we want to see or where, at what point of looking, do we meet the spruce, if at all?’ This extrapolation on autopoiesis is reified in the filmmaker’s consistent use of multiple screens, a formal device that directs (or divides) the eye from a tightly packed, informatic subjectivity into a landscape of non-human and non-narrative multiplicities.
Philosophy of Change
Felix Gonzalez-Torres "Untitled (Perfect Lovers)" 1991
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. ?Untitled? (Perfect Lovers). 1991. Clocks, paint on wall.
Between 1987 and 1990 artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres made an edition of 3 plus 1 artist?s proof of ?Untitled? (Perfect Lovers)?, which consists of a identical pair of store-bought black-rimmed clocks. The piece was dedicated to his lover Ross Laycock, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991. In the same year Gonzalez-Torres created a white version of the work, which is owned by the MoMa, New York. The guidelines regarding how the work should be arranged and displayed are the following: ?When installed, the two clocks were to touch; the clocks could be replaced with white plastic commercial clocks of similar dimensions and design; the minute and second hands were to be set in sync, with the understanding that eventually they might go out of sync during the course of the exhibition; if one of the clocks needed the batteries replaced, it was to be done, and the clocks were to be reset accordingly; the clocks were to be displayed on a wall painted light blue.?
Throughout his work, Gonzalez-Torres (American, born Cuba. 1957?1996) questioned the notion of the unique art object, making series of works based on identical pairs (two clocks ticking side-by-side, two mirrors embedded in a wall) or finding inspiration in the possibilities of endless reproducibility (stacks of sheets as give-aways for visitors, piles of candy to be continually replenished). He wanted his work to be disseminated, to exist in multiple places at the same time, and to be realized completely only through the participation of the viewer, which he described as ?one enormous collaboration with the public,? in which the ?pieces just disperse themselves like a virus that goes to many different places?homes, studios, shops, bathrooms, whatever.? Reproducibility, collaboration, and circulation?sound familiar? His particular approach, which has been enormously influential for contemporary artistic practice, also made Gonzalez-Torres an essential presence in Print/Out.
For Gonzalez-Torres, art was an effective means of addressing social concerns?even more so when it could be multiplied. Inhabiting the familiar forms of Minimalism and post-Minimalism with his stacks and floor pieces, the artist embedded subtle but insistent references to current issues, from political violence to gay rights. In billboard projects like ?Untitled?, the artist played with the powerful juxtapositions that could be generated between private and public spaces. By choosing this photograph of his bed, the artist exposed this most intimate of spaces, emphasized by the rumpled sheets and the recent impressions of two heads in the pillows. In the early 1990s, with controversies surrounding homosexuality and the AIDS crisis simultaneously wreaking havoc across the gay community, the bed also represented a site of conflict, symbolizing both love and death. That Gonzalez-Torres?s partner, Ross, died of AIDS in 1991 brings an intensely personal note to this work, but does not diminish it of its universal associations with comfort, intimacy, loneliness, or loss.
Dom Sebastian - artist link given from end of project crit
Buddhist Theory of Impermanence/Momantariness/Anicca
The Theory of Momentariness: The Buddhist doctrine of impermanence, as explained in the canonical texts, does really amount to a theory of momentariness, in the sense that everything is in a state of constant flux.
This becomes clear from a passage in the Anguttara Nikaaya (AN 3.47), where the three sankhata-lakkha.nas (the characteristics of that which is compounded) are explained. Here it is said that that which is sankhata (compounded) has three fundamental characteristics, namely uppaada (origination), vaya (dissolution), and.thitassa a~n~nathatta (otherwiseness of that which is existing).
From this it follows that the Buddhist doctrine of change should not be understood in the ordinary sense that something arises, exists for some time in a more or less static form, and dissolves. On the contrary, the third characteristic shows that between its arising and cessation, a thing is all the time changing, with no static phase in between. Thus the Buddhist doctrine of change does really amount to a theory of universal flux.
Panta Rhei "everything flows"
Heraclitus, that renowned Greek philosopher, was the first Western writer to speak about the fluid nature of things. He taught the Panta Rhei doctrine, the flux theory, at Athens, and one wonders if that teaching was transmitted to him from India.
"There is no static being," says Heraclitus, "no unchanging substratum. Change, movement, is Lord of the Universe. Everything is in a state of becoming, of continual flux (Panta Rhei)."
He continues: "You cannot step twice into the same river; for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you." Nevertheless one who understands the root of the Dhamma would go a step further and say: The same man cannot step twice into the same river; for the so called man who is only a conflux of mind and body, never remains the same for two consecutive moments."
Philosophical Principles of Flux: Heraclitus
Heraclitus, I believe, says that all things pass and nothing stays, and comparing existing things to the flow of a river, he says you could not step twice into the same river. (Plato - Cratylus 402a = A6)
The established scholarly method is to try to verify Plato's interpretation by looking at Heraclitus' own words, if possible. There are three alleged “river fragments”:
B12. potamoisi toisin autoisin embainousin hetera kai hetera hudata epirrei.On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow. (Cleanthes from Arius Didymus from Eusebius)
B49a. potamois tois autois …Into the same rivers we step and do not step, we are and are not. (Heraclitus Homericus)
B91[a]. potamôi … tôi autôi …It is not possible to step twice into the same river according to Heraclitus, or to come into contact twice with a mortal being in the same state. (Plutarch)
If B12 is accepted as genuine, it tends to disqualify the other two alleged fragments. The major theoretical connection in the fragment is that between ‘same rivers’ and ‘other waters.’ B12 is, among other things, a statement of the coincidence of opposites. But it specifies the rivers as the same. The statement is, on the surface, paradoxical, but there is no reason to take it as false or contradictory. It makes perfectly good sense: we call a body of water a river precisely because it consists of changing waters; if the waters should cease to flow it would not be a river, but a lake or a dry streambed. There is a sense, then, in which a river is a remarkable kind of existent, one that remains what it is by changing what it contains (cf. Hume Treatise 1.4.6, p. 258 Selby-Bigge). Heraclitus derives a striking insight from an everyday encounter. Further, he supplies, via the ambiguity in the first clause, another reading: on the same people stepping into rivers, other and other waters flow. With this reading it is people who remain the same in contrast to changing waters, as if the encounter with a flowing environment helped to constitute the perceiving subject as the same. (See Kahn 1979.) B49a, by contrast, contradicts the claim that one can step into the same rivers (and also asserts that claim), and B91[a], like Plato in the Cratylus, denies that one can step in twice. Yet if the rivers remain the same, one surely can step in twice–not into the same waters, to be sure, but into the same rivers. Thus the other alleged fragments are incompatible with the one certifiably genuine fragment.
In fact, Marcovich (1967) has succeeded in showing how a misreading of B12 could lead to an interpretation such as that embodied in A6 and B91[a]. It is possible to see Cratylus, a late follower of Heraclitus, supplying the wayward reading, and then adding his famous rejoinder that one cannot step into the same river even once (although the reading may go back earlier to Hippias: Mansfeld 1990: 43–55). Since Plato is alleged to have heard Cratylus’ lectures, he may well have derived his reading from Cratylus’ criticism.
If this interpretation is right, the message of the one river fragment, B12, is not that all things are changing so that we cannot encounter them twice, but something much more subtle and profound. It is that some things stay the same only by changing. One kind of long-lasting material reality exists by virtue of constant turnover in its constituent matter. Here constancy and change are not opposed but inextricably connected. A human body could be understood in precisely the same way, as living and continuing by virtue of constant metabolism–as Aristotle for instance later understood it. On this reading, Heraclitus believes in flux, but not as destructive of constancy; rather it is, paradoxically, a necessary condition of constancy, at least in some cases (and arguably in all). In general, at least in some exemplary cases, high-level structures supervene on low-level material flux. The Platonic reading still has advocates (e.g. Tarán 1999), but it is no longer the only reading of Heraclitus advocated by scholars.
- a flow or discharge
- continuous change; instability
- a substance, such as borax or salt, that gives a low melting-point mixture with a metal oxide. It is used for cleaning metal surfaces during soldering, etc, and for protecting the surfaces of liquid metals
- (metallurgy) a chemical used to increase the fluidity of refining slags in order to promote the rate of chemical reaction
- a similar substance used in the making of glass
- (physics)(pathology) an excessive discharge of fluid from the body, such as watery faeces in diarrhoea
- the rate of flow of particles, energy, or a fluid, through a specified area, such as that of neutrons (neutron flux) or of light energy (luminous flux)
- the strength of a field in a given area expressed as the product of the area and the component of the field strength at right angles to the area
⇒ ■ magnetic flux,
⇒ ■ electric flux
- the act or process of melting; fusion
- (in the philosophy of Heraclitus) the state of constant change in which all things exist
- to make or become fluid
- (transitive) to apply flux to (a metal, soldered joint, etc)
- (transitive) an obsolete word for purge
Word OriginC14: from Latin fluxus a flow, from fluere to flow
Tabor Robak "Drinking Bird"
The Serpentine presents a new video work by Tabor Robak in The Magazine Restaurant at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery as part of its autumn season.
- Tabor Robak (b. 1986 in Portland, Oregon, USA) is a new media artist living and working in New York. His work includes computer generated images (CGI) to create animated visualisations of virtual worlds.
Drinking Bird Seasons, 2015 is a new single-channel video work by Tabor Robak. It displays an abstract landscape of colours and patterns suggestive of a smart phone’s lock screen. The continuous stream of Computer Generated Imagery animation is overlaid with an electronic phone clock showing the passing of days in compliance with the Gregorian calendar. It is juxtaposed with fictional holidays and constant live news updates. This internet-enabled animation serves as a commentary on the intrusiveness of digital information and the reliance on technical devices.
- Robak's work employs computer generated images to create animated visualisations of virtual worlds. They adopt the visual vocabulary of contemporary video games, action films and science fiction in order to explore the relationship between the digital and the real.
Drinking Bird explores the changing perceptions of consumers within an increasingly digitalised world. The work also explores the perceived materiality of digital media that bleeds into an extrapolation of l’art pour l’art and the aestheticisation of modern commodities that ultimately places the value of an object in its use rather than in its production.
The work can be viewed as an Internet enabled painting. It incorporates the interactions of imaginary fluids in a digital simulation overlaid by an atomically correct digital. This can be seen as an expression of these digital objects existing in a very real time and space, while in another sense being an irreal object that only exists as it is perceived. This is further enhanced by the use of a physics engine to create a tangible sense of fluidity, incorporating different viscosities and opacities resulting in the effect of liquids with variable surface tensions.
The title of the work is taken from a toy heat engine that, using the basic principles of thermodynamics, mimics the movements of a bird drinking from a birdbath. This is an expression of the varied applications of technology and scientific discovery and the technologising process which society has been a part of since its inception. This speaks of the use of scientific principles as a source of aesthetic enjoyment and also suggests that society has undergone numerous technological revolutions of which the digital is one.
However, unlike the drinking bird toy, which is an exercise in repetition, this painting is continually changing with almost infinite possibilities. The work encompasses all colour pallets, moods and effects. The screen mimics that of a smart phone and in doing so speaks about the increasing presence of a world, which is intuitively customisable and available at one’s fingers but ultimately chaotic. This is reflected in the work’s abstract appearance that connects it to a semiotic system, which reaches its subject through a transcendental relationship. This is diametrically opposed to the Smartphone, which aims at concrete connections to the intuitable world around oneself.