notes from a meeting, on throwing forth – artists and audiences [day two pt1]

Murtaza Vali Artists & Audiences Photo G Mannes-Abbott

CLICK on image to link to SAF & more images or read on below…

Murtaza Vali moderated another of the central panels during this March Meeting; Artists and Audiences. One which spoke from the UK, the USA/Dubai, Palestine, Taiwan and Qatar to an audience far more diverse in its locations. Vali spoke of a radical “rethinking of the artwork as a situation that requires an audience to complete it”, something which new media has helped generate as well as being some of its sites. As he said, this raises many issues but “the really big one [is] what is it exactly that we mean by the word audience?” If audience activates the artwork then how does the artist/artwork/institution ‘activate’ the audience? How is theory made new practice?

It’s a tough question which the panel bounced around but didn’t ‘dunk’. Louise Hui-Juan Hsu from the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taiwan, for example, reminded us that the “translator in this case, is beyond the translation of words”. Abed al Ju’beh, who runs the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah, Palestine, spoke of the singularity of his literally captive audience. I’d not seen him since the leaving party at his home in the South-east of England 5-6 years ago when he took up this post. Ramallah is at the heart of a giant open air prison where, he said, the audience comes looking for confirmation of their existence. It’s an audience which the Sakakini reaches out to with a residency programme strictly for local artists. Continue reading “notes from a meeting, on throwing forth – artists and audiences [day two pt1]”

on cabbage love; from gordon matta-clark to forest food

I’ve always felt there were many uses for a ‘Gordon Matta-Clark’ and can only approach life, especially urban life, as or through art in the broadest sense, that sense being not a Marxian one but a making something-from-nothing one. I’m [to a fault] less interested in exploiting my own having-made something-from-nothing -except to the extent of being able to make it in the first place and make something else subsequently! Only an idiot wouldn’t be interested in or cognisant of the abysmal world of surplus value, however there is a certain idiocy in being transfixed by it too…

One use for a Gordon Matta-Clark is to help think through the question of whether art can be food or food art. The answer is obviously in the affirmative but I have something quite specific in mind. Food, itself. As such. The piece that was also a place which was also a community-borne restaurant called Food, that is. Continue reading “on cabbage love; from gordon matta-clark to forest food”

on odes to mud, utopian dust and insurrectionary trees

Francis Ponge [still from French documentary]

Primarily, this is a brief advertisement for CB Editions‘s irresistible bi-lingual edition of the great Francis Ponge; Unfinished Ode to Mud, translated by Beverley Bie Brahic in 2008. It’s a selection from what she has translated as The Defence of Things and Pieces, some of the latter being their first appearances in English…

So, firstly, please get hold of a copy of the book from the publishing miracle that is CB Editions whom, it’s worth knowing, work on very short print runs. I have no links etc., but urge you to take up their current offer here, while getting hold of this beautiful selection and give copies to people that you wish loved you…

‘Unfinished Ode to Mud’ itself, is also an ode to the Resistance Continue reading “on odes to mud, utopian dust and insurrectionary trees”

on silence or not, cage blake alÿs and on…

Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing…” made sense, mainly because it was such a great track back in the mid-90s, right? Cage Against the Machine, the attempt to block/buy the No. 1 slot for a recording of John Cage’s 4’33” -a rigorously orchestrated slice of atmospheric sound, often described as silence- was always a bit too clever and so a bit too dumb to work, no?

Kenneth Silverman’s recent biography of Cage, Begin Again, is a pretty straight celebratory record of an entirely remarkable life [and not published in the UK!]. Cage spans [subverts?] or strides [meanders?] the 20th Century in very particular ways, making work from beginning to end nearly and constantly mining the same seam of inventive attempts.

Always beginning again, afresh, anew -so the thesis runs. KS makes an epigram of Gertrude Stein’s gorgeous line from The Making of Americans; “Beginning was all of living with him, in a beginning he was always as big in his feeling as all the world around him.” The way in which this actualises is exemplary even while it creates doubt in me too -as the book goes on dutifully detailing yet another I Ching derived whatever!

4’33” was achieved using a deck of tarot cards, which even Cage said “seems idiotic” but he composed each movement by joining up randomised periods of silence with precise measures which totalled four minutes and thirty three seconds. The point, one made more precise by his subsequent visit of Ryoanji and fuller acquaintance with Zen, was that the ‘silence’ is a pregnant one, like the stone garden’s potent ‘blankness’.

Two thoughts; one links directly to the gorgeous version of Feist’s song, There’s a Limit to Your Love, that James Blake put out a month ago. As you know, the track is a departure from his flurry of promising EPs released this year alone, including CMYK and Klavierwerke, for foregrounding his voice against a piano track redolent of Nina Simone and an electronic bassquake. Apart from just enjoying it and its arguably rather more local newness I was struck by the ‘silence’ it contains. Or near silence, Continue reading “on silence or not, cage blake alÿs and on…”