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|Current Reblogger: Chloë Bass|
Chloë Bass is an artist, curator and community organizer based in Brooklyn. She is the co-lead organizer for Arts in Bushwick (artsinbushwick.org), which produces the ever-sprawling Bushwick Open Studios, BETA Spaces, and performance festival SITE Fest, which she founded. Recent artistic work has been seen at SCOPE Art Fair, CultureFix, the Bushwick Starr Theater, Figment, and The Last Supper Art Festival, as well as in and around the public spaces of New York City. She has guest lectured at Parsons, the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, and Brooklyn College. Other moments have found her co-cheffing Umami: People + Food, a 90 person private supper club; growing plants with Boswyck Farms (boswyckfarms.org); and curating with architecture gallery SUPERFRONT (superfront.org). Chloë holds a BA in Theater Studies from Yale University, and an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) from Brooklyn College.
To take a break from the thematic posts, here's an open call you can still squeeze into:
Mapping Meaning invites women artists and scholars in all fields to participate in a unique summer conference in the Dixie National Forest at Red Canyon in Southern Utah. The conference is inspired by this photograph from 1918 depicting an all-female survey crew and will be conducted while camping for 5 days.
-via Krista Caballero
APPROPRIATION : SYMBOLIC
In Declared Void, Carey Young appropriates a cube of space with the words: "BY ENTERING THE ZONE CREATED BY THIS DRAWING, AND FOR THE PERIOD YOU REMAIN THERE, YOU DECLARE AND AGREE THAT THE US CONSTITUTION WILL NOT APPLY TO YOU."
Tue Greenfort's Project for the New American Century places dilapidated type on an abandoned building on the defunct Governer's Island as part of LMCC's Swing Space program, framing a Right Wing think tank as a failed organization.
Both Greenfort's and Young's projects exist in an abstracted-from-the-everyday art context, and so really function as illustrations. What I find most exciting about these projects is their potential as instigations: imagine a nation-wide effort creating dilapidated New American Century offices, besmirching the think tank's name... Imagine Cary Young's delcared void anywhere other than a gallery. Even in a police station it would instigate something more than the quiet contemplation of a white cube.
I'm reminded of my favorite adage: "only as art can naked people cutting up dead animals and smearing their blood and guts on them be considered boring. And it is!"
APPROPRIATION AS A TOOL
'Pamphleteer, aka "Little Brother," is a propaganda robot which distributes subersive literature. Pamphleteer is designed to bypass the social conditioning that inhibits activists' ability to distribute propaganda by capitalizing on the aesthetics of cuteness.'
In Guarana Power, Superflex appropriates the appropriated, creating a bottling company owned by the farmers of guarana, copying the marketing tactics and brand design on a major guarana-powered drink manufacturer.
In both of these projects, appropriation is used to create a tool. In this type of appropriation, we are starting to go against the grain of the thing being appropriated. We've moved from playful re-use to symbolic illustration to a warping of original intent to provide something tangible that can be utilized by other people.
Another way to appropriate is to object-ify - as in: to make something into an object (with no negative body politics intended). Of course, when we speak of objectification in public or participatory art, we are talking about turning an event or group of people into an object.
In Mark Tribe's Port Huron Project, protest speeches from the New Left movement during the Vietnam War era were re-enacted in the site of the original speech, by actors resembling the original speakers.
Brody Condon framed an existing Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) within the context of a public art show - the Sonsbeek International public sculpture exhibition in the Netherlands.
"Set in a distant future where civilization as we know it had almost been lost, players from different worlds met deep in the holy forest and inhabited a 40 feet high tower "in character" for 3 days at a time while worshipping invented deities embodied by the other artworks of the exhibition."
Like Duchamp, these works take an existing object (in this case an event), and change nothing about the original apart from changing its context from whatever it was to art. A game becomes a performance, a speech becomes an act.
What else does this do? What does turning someone else's tactics into spectacle change? Might be helpful to look at Marjetica Potrc as you consider these questions...
Today's theme is Participatory Art as Appropriation. Since appropriation is such a frequently used tactic in art-making, I'm breaking it down further, into Appropriation as Re-use, Appropriation that Object-ifies, Symbolic Appropriation, Appropriation as a Tool, and Appropriation as Mis-use.
We'll start with Rebar's PARKing Day, which turns a parking space into a PARKing space, relying on the public to feed the meter to keep the park running. It started as a single appropriation, and has become a nation wide movement.
Bureau de Mesarchitecture's "Double Happiness."
Needs no description.
And my last entries for re-use come from Gelitin.
So, with these appropriations that hinge on clever re-use of existing structures, we are also creating an adventure. And although these works are clearly site dependent, they are not specifically context-dependent, so they serve as instigations as well as appropriations. In other words, any yard can become a hot-tub, any billboard can become a swing-set, any parking space can become a park - so why not try it yourself! These are works meant to be copied, opening up the potential of the everyday for anyone.
1/9: ART AS ADVENTURE
In Parfyme's Street Canoes, this group of Danes (and an American) used grappling hooks and tow cables to ply the streets of Queens by Street Canoe, pretending that the pavement was water, and they were some sort of viking.
In the Harbor Lab, they turned a parking lot into a studio/workshop/home (that's my tent on the roof) to engage the public in rag-tag explorations of new potentials for the Copenhagen Harbor, including a floating museum, a series of weekend adventures in paddle-boats, and the creation of water-borne shelters, breakfast nooks, and reading corners along the harbor's edge.
In True Love IV, Gelitin attempt to launch a home-made rocketship on a 25 year mission to venus and back to earth. "The mission's objective was to investigate in the nature of love and return samples to earth to obtain knowledge about how humans could rebalance the different love-forces on earth."
In Weltwunder (in between), Gelitin installed their piece in the Hannover Expo 2000 three meters under ground, visible only by diving into a pool and swimming underground.
My major questions as I analyse these works are:
- What tactics are being used?
- Who is having the adventure?
-Things to avoid, investigate in your own work?
I see the street canoe and rocket ship as works that use art to craft an adventure scenario for the artists themselves. The public experience these works as spectacle, not as participatory adventures. To be clear, I do not believe there is anything wrong with using the constructs and structures of art to create adventures for yourself - one of the most amazing things about the art world(s) is that they can provide a venue and mechanism for people to truly invent their own jobs and lives outside of any previously accepted realm.
But there is clearly a difference between the canoe/rocket works and the harbor/diving works in terms of particpation. In Parfyme's harbor lab and Gelitin's diving piece, the adventure is created for the participant. Like a computer program or immersive installation, a specific environment and set of rules are established, and then the public are able to experience their own adventures within those boundaries.
Art CAN BE Not Just Symbolic
But Direct, Plebian, Plain, Invisible, People
In The Way, Annoying, Lawn-Gardeny, inside
joke, LIFELONG PURSUIT, Contemporary art is a
modernist activity. not a mirror to reflect
reality, but a hammer with which to shape it
-Bertolt Brecht. IRRATIONAL HOPE. organized
coincidence. if it can be talked about it must
be dead -foucault. nobody who fails to get
fun out of his activities can expect them to
be fun for anybody else. Acts of subversion
followed by boasting ("documentation").
Guerilla Public Art: Socially Mediated Interventions
I have just finished teaching a class called Guerilla Public Art: Socially Mediated Interventions, so in my next set of posts, I think I will go through some of the major themes with covered under the umbrella of Guerilla Public Art:
- Art as Adventure
- Art as Appropriation
- Art as Intervention
- Art as Blurring Reaility
- Art as Community
- Art as Creating Tools
- Art as Prank
- Art as Politics
- Art as Community Action
For the course I put together an excerpted and instigational Guerilla Reader, which will provide some additional fodder for the following posts.
Deborah Fisher on art, change, earnestness and people like you
As Eyebeam puts together a panel this summer to discuss "Artists as Agents of Change," I thought it would be a good time to revisit Deborah Fisher's against-the-grain look at Art and Change and The World.
Over the past two or three years, Deborah Fisher has lead me down a rigorous and aggressively self-reflexive analysis of the usefulness, traps, and futilities tangled around the process of art-making. She's talked about art as life, the habit of making art hard, that a lot of participatory art suffers from the fact that people have better things to do than put up with people like you in their way, "appropriate" materials, context in public art, art and obnoxiousness, empty space, art as a neutralizing influence, sculpture traps, earnestness, and top ten art fears.
I've gotten a lot out of her posts, and hope you will as well.