1. Artist Residency Program is open for applications at the Experimental Sound Studio:
ESS is extremely pleased to announce the next installment of the Artist Residency Program, thanks once again to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.Â We will offer four 40-hour residencies through the 2013-14 Artists Residency Program (ARP). Candidates must be US residents; at least three of the residencies are forÂ Chicago area artists, and one residency will be open to aÂ non-Chicago US artist. Each residency includes access to the ESS recording facilities with engineering assistance.Â http://www.
experimentalsoundstudio.org/ pages/artist_residency_ program/24.php
2. Apply to the Propeller Fund!Â Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago and threewallsÂ announce a call for applications to the Propeller Fund, entering its fourth year as a granting opportunity for independent visual artists, curators, and visual arts groups in Cook County, IL. Applications are due August 1, 2013, with 15 grantees announced in October 2013. A total $50,000 will be disbursed in 2013.Â More about that on their websiteÂ here.
3. And this from Edra Soto on facebook:Â OPEN CALL – WIND CHIMEÂ
As part of the events taking place during the Chicago Artists Month, Garfield Park Conservatory will be hosting the exhibition WIND CHIME.Â Garfield Park Conservatory has made available 30 trees to display wind chimes for this exhibition.Â THE PURPOSE OF THIS CALL IS TO:â€¢ Complement the art & music programs taking place during the Chicago Artists Month at Garfield Park Conservatory.â€¢ An opportunity to promote your organization events during the East Garfield Park weekend of art sponsored by Chicago Artists Month and New City.â€¢ Strengthen the relationship of the East Garfield Park arts communities.ELIGIBILITY:This call is open to artists with residence in East Garfield Park and artists affiliated to the following neighborhood organizations:Â Switching Stations, Albany Carroll Studios, West Carroll Avenue Studios, West Side Cultural Arts Council, The Golden Dome, Adds Donnas, Devening Projects, The Hills Esthetic Center, The Franklin, Julius Caesar, Peregrine Program, East Garfield Park GUILDHOW TO APPLY:â€¢ Submit a comprehensive sketch on jpg format no bigger than 1240 x 1240 dpi that illustrates your idea accompanied by a word document with that includes: your name, phone number and email;Â a brief description of the concept and materials you will be using to create your project; yourÂ affiliation to East Garfield Park community.â€¢ Send applications to email@example.comâ€¢ Open call starts Wednesday, July 17, 2013 and ends Saturday, August 23, 2013Â CRITERIA:â€¢ Original, artistic quality.Â â€¢ Safe materials.â€¢ Strength of build sculpture /weather resistance. Your work will be exposed to unpredictable types of weather. GPC is not responsible for damaged work.â€¢ Works needs to be delivered ready to install.Â â€¢ All sculptures will be displayed suspended high off the ground.
I’m admittedly inspired by today’s Printers BallÂ (hence the poster above), and as a result the following calls are a bit unusual for a visual art blog. However, I think the following publications could offer interesting avenues for the publication and dissemination of your visual work/research practices/writing. I’m always interested in finding bridges between disciplines. So with that disclaimer in mind:
4. Â Journal of Artistic Research:
We invite submissions to JAR from all fields and disciplines in which artistic research may be relevant, including areas that may not usually be conceived of as ‘artistic’. Although the journal has emerged as a result of demand in the academic field, JAR welcomes submissions from practitioners with or without academic affiliations.Â
The key problem for many involved in artistic research is â€˜writingâ€™ and its authority. In response to this, JAR introduces a new format for publishing artistic research, the â€˜expositionâ€™, a multi-media document that can combine and interlink text, image, film and audio material on one or more scrollable pages.Â Go here to read more about their submission process and see examples of the work they have published in the past.
5. Cabinet Magazine:Â Deadlines for forthcoming issues for which we are accepting submissions:
Issue 52Â (Winter 2013â€“2014, with a themed section on â€œCelebrationâ€): 15 September 2013
Issue 53Â (Spring 2014, with a themed section on â€œStonesâ€): 15 November 2013
Issue 54Â (Summer 2014, with a themed section on â€œThe Accidentâ€): 15 February 2014
Issue 55Â (Fall 2014, with a themed section on â€œLoveâ€): 15 May 2014
Issue 56Â (Winter 2014â€“2015, with a themed section on â€œSportsâ€): 15 August 2014
Issue 57Â (Spring 2015, with a themed section on â€œCatastropheâ€): 15 November 2014Â
Details on their guidelines and submission process here.
6. Hobart 15 (a print anthology) — HOTEL CULTURE
We’re reopen for print! And… you know the deal. We rock a theme issue every other issue, which means we’re due for a theme. Our theme: HOTEL CULTURE.
What that means: open to your interpretation.
Reminder: we love both fiction and nonfiction. Oh! Also: art.
Finally: we’re reading everything blind.Â Don’t put your name on your submission. If your name’s anywhere on the doc, it (and you) will be disqualified.Â (I guess, also, no need to be clever or impressive in your bio, as we won’t be able to see them anyway.)Â More info here.
The Life Instinct: unification, the eternal return, the perpetuation and MAINTENANCE of the species, survival systems and operations, equilibrium.
â€“ Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969!
This month is different because I left Chicagoâ€”it’s the first time in six years I wasn’t in Pilsen for the Fourthâ€”to study for a month in the Naropa Summer Writing Program. The point isnâ€™t that Iâ€™m fancy (Iâ€™m not; I saved up!), itâ€™s that this place is wonderful so I want to be your Mina Harker. (Or for you to be her yourself.Â Here’s the archive.)
This column is different too. Iâ€™m still in Boulder. I decided to write you from here, even though I need to turn in my portfolio soon eek, because I like the idea of book-review-as-postcard. I am writing you now, before I get back and set this experience against Chicagoâ€™s meat and concrete and home. I didnâ€™t want to write starry-eyed, and I didnâ€™t want to write retrospectively. I just want to show you some books I read while I was here, because I found them, living in a city where the skyâ€”not the neighborhoodâ€”is what centers.
My constraints were that I couldnâ€™t write about anything I had to read for class, and I couldnâ€™t write about anything Iâ€™d heard about before. To sort that out I started taking selfiesâ€”these snapshots belowâ€”on lunchbreaks in the Ginsberg Library. I thought I was taking these pictures for myself, but in class yesterday I realized I was taking them for this column. Fragments are a good way to show Â reading for research and pleasure while on deadline (dovetailing with what Carl Wilson says about poetry here). Plus these are personal because each one represents something I copied into my notebook, or otherwise Felt Very Near and Dearly.
Next month will be same as beforeâ€”your regularly scheduled MAINTENANCE. If thereâ€™s something youâ€™d like me to read, or read about, let me know: mairead dot case at gmail dot com.
Publications discussed here:
+Â Heavenly Breakfast: an Essay on the Winter of LoveÂ by Samuel R. Delany (Bantam, 1979)
+ Under Milk Wood: A Play for VoicesÂ by Dylan Thomas (New Directions, 1954)
+ Civil Disobediences,Â edited by Lisa Birman and Anne WaldmanÂ (Coffee House Press, 2004)
+Â Margery KempeÂ by Robert GlÃ¼ck (Serpent’s Tail, 1994)
+Â I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning TimeÂ by Kristin Prevallet (Essay Press, 2007)
+Â What’s With Modern Art?Â by Frank O’Hara, edited by Bill Berkson (Mike and Dale’s Press, 1999)
+ “A poem for record players” by John Wieners (1958)
My first night, I walked to Pearl Street to buy a sandwich and something to read. Missions help. I found Trident and bought this book, which is also an essay, because this introduction here made me feel like I’d Â swallowed a rock and needed to cry. Heavenly BreakfastÂ is the commune where Samuel Delany lived, on the Lower East Side in 1967-8, and also his band. Babies lived at Heavenly Breakfast too, one bathroom didn’t have a door, folks “balled” a lot, and the kitchen was for guests, meals, practice, and the bathtub. “If you’ve ever indulged the fantasy of being invisible,” Delany writes, “you’d probably like commune life.”Â Heavenly BreakfastÂ is clean, quick, and gripping, not so much a book about rock bands and sex as it is holding space, and living together in the in-between.
Under Milk WoodÂ is a radio play about the dreams people have in a small Welsh fishing village. It starts and ends at night, with some day in the middle. Characters include Mae Rose Cottage, a teenager who draws circles on herself in lipstick, a constable who pisses in his helmet, and Organ Morgan, who has nightmares about orchestras. The book is unified by time and musicâ€”reading it aloud at random, and again, is a great way to practice deep listening. (Or to make a bone-white student apartment seem less vast.) The people at Innisfree stocked two whole copies of this book and so I wanted to kiss everyone working that night.
“Symbiosis” is anthologized in Anne Waldman and Lisa Berman’sÂ Civil Disobediences, a “talking book” of smart beautiful people writing about how poetics can engage with politics. (Lady Liberty is on the cover, blurred like she’s making a fist not holding a torch.)Â Peter Warshall, theÂ Whole EarthÂ catalog guy, he wrote this essay (available here on Google Books)â€”his “her” is Beatrix Potter, the writer and also, the first person to prove that lichen is the product of fungus and algae. That freaked out Scientific Society, because it was queer coupling and also, a woman proved it. Warshall tells Potter’s story like the cool uncle at holiday dinner, conversationally, and braiding in biologist Lynn Margulis, Gaia, Gay Liberation, and billions of years. The essay rambles but it holds, and it gives Peter Rabbit a hero’s welcome home. I am excited to read the other essays hereâ€”Civil DisobediencesÂ is about half a phone book but I’m lugging it home anyway, to keep on my bedside table where I can love and argue with it over the years.
Okay, here I’m cheating because I’ve read this book before. It’s one of my forever favorites though, it’s about waiting and romantic obsession in two knitted-up stories, one belonging to Margery Kempe, a failed fifteenth century saint who loved Jesus physically and passionately and is credited with writing the first autobiography. The other belongs to GlÃ¼ck, who wanted to write Margery’s story for decades but couldn’t until he fell in love himself, with a younger man named L. The book is hot and funny and sweet and taboo. “I’m Margery,” writes GlÃ¼ck, “following a god through a rainy city. The rapture is mine, mine the attempt to talk herself into existence.” “Mine the attempt to talk herself into existence,” what a killer gymnastic. Above is another paragraph I loop to myself aloud.
The front table at the library had two books, that I saw, that people wrote about their fathers’ deaths. One was Eleni Sikelianos’s heartstoppingÂ The Book of Jon, and the other is here,Â I, AfterlifeÂ by poet and hypnotherapist Kristin Prevallet, who writes about when her father killed himself in the car. It’s a powerful tug-of-war won by Prevallet, the survivor. One tension is her nimble poetry against the sudden vortex, another the way she braids clinical report language with elegy. I, Afterlife is brave and current, happening now.Â I read it twice in a row and went to class red-eyed. Another moment: “Never fall in love with a text that attempts to convince you that you are already dead. / Or that you are a vampire.”
This is a pamphlet of Frank O’Hara’s short reviews and “other art writings” from the 1950s, edited by Bill Berkson (who told us to look up George Schneeman too: here). Just like his poems, O’Hara’s reviews are vibrant and sincereâ€”and capsule-sized, which means Robert DeNiro, Joseph Cornell, and Joan Mitchell can hang out together on one page. He uses words like “beautiful,” “brave,” and “passion” but his feet stay on the ground, in fact I copied a few reviews out longhand into my notebook to muscle up. Berkson includes a piece framing Jackson Pollock’s black and white paintings, a charming critique of David Smith’s sculpture (“circle them as you may, they are never napping”), and his own breezy, meaty afterword. The excerpt above is fromÂ IngenueÂ magazine 1964, from a feature where teenagers were encouraged to write in and ask a poet “What’s with modern art?” I love how seriously O’Hara replies. I love poets as critics, and teenagers asking important questions about art.
Okay, I’m cheating again because Eric Baus made me read this one, it was assigned for his Week Four Lecture (which was great; you can read the whole thingÂ here). Poet Wieners studied at Black Mountain College with Charles Olson and Robert Creeley (whose bumper sticker was apparently “I saw delight”), and later on he worked at SUNY Buffalo. His poems are jazzy and sexy. I love how this one begins in the whirlpoolâ€””The scene changes” is the first line, the second “Five hours later,” andÂ then there’s pigeons, coughing, wings, squeaks. “I am engaged in taking away / from God his sound,” writes the speaker as he hides from a clock, echoing Krapp. What I really, really loved here was how nobody doubts the speaker’s eye, he just keeps zooming around the seacoast city, doing his best to be clear even though the reader will probably misunderstand, as readers do. (I read this poem on the bus on my way to Counterpath Books in Denver, to hear the amazing Julie Doxsee (an SAIC grad!), which is why the annotation’s a little wobbly.)
Because sometimes on lunchbreaks you don’t read, instead you walk downtown for coffee and sun and you bump into some guys playing D&D.
Work by Calvin Ross Carl, Josh Reames, and Maria Walker.
LVL3 Gallery is located at 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception Saturday, 6-10pm.
Work by Nick Bastis andÂ Anthony Romero.
Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery is located at 1136 N Milwaukee Ave. Reception Saturday, 7:30-10pm.
Work by Cleav’d Cleaver, Blood Transfusion, Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan Moan, and Billington/Walker.
TRITRIANGLE is located at 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. Fl 3. Reception Friday, 9pm.
Curated by Tempestt Hazel, with work by Jeff Austin, Rob Frye,Ramah Jihan Malebranche, Michael and Yhelena Hall, Viktor Le and Stephen Lieto.
Terrain Exhibitions is located at 704 Highland Ave., Oak Park. Reception Sunday, 5-8pm.
Work by Hedwig Eberle.
Corbett vs. Dempsey is located at 1120 N. Ashland Ave. Reception 5-8pm.
Anna Friz and Coppice performed in their audio installation at Tritriangle on 5/25/2013 in Chicago, IL. The two installations and two live performances occupied the gallery as co-existing organisms. Â Each stemming from Frizâ€™s and Coppiceâ€™s own larger overarching projects, Frizâ€™s Nocturne and Coppiceâ€™s A Vinculum Variation are iterations, though it becomes clear that these iterations are not repetitions, but manifestations of differences in space, time, and materiality. The artists filled the spaces above my head and below/around my feet with sounds produced by other bodies: people, instruments, apparatuses, and radios. The two installations created the terrain in which the live performances inhabited. The earthy landscape, coupled with a cloud of respiration, constituted a world of transmission that enabled relationships to form in and between bodies.
In the space of Tritriangle, tiny blueish-silvery lights floating in air illuminate 82 small silver radios suspended from thin silver wires, a cloud of radios. In one corner of the space is blue light; in two other corners, yellow-gold illuminations. The blue corner holds three hand-built radios by the inventor George Kagan, an accordion, a harmonica, a chair, a mixer, and other sound equipment. Two radio transmitters fixed near the ceiling, send signals on two different frequencies to the 82 suspended radios. The radios, hovering at different levels around my head, emit gentle sounds of an accordian-played melody, breath, and radio static. The golden-brown corner contains a chair, an accordion, a box. Another corner contains a set-up with tape players, speakers, and an inductive mixing table with devices that send signals to the speakers lining the room close to the floor. These speakers emanate sounds of breathing, bellows of an accordion, air passing through processed reeds, the crackling paper inside a shruti box, pressure cuffs, and a funnel. In a third corner, golden light illuminated that illuminates a metal funnel.
A Vinculum Variation; Coppiceâ€™s Archived Air Contours
For the installation and performance at Tritriangle, Chicago-based duo Coppice (NoÃ© CuÃ©llar and Joseph Kramer) created a listening experience that compelled the listener to navigate and inhabit the space of the gallery in a fluid way. Before the performances, the audience could walk freely around the space and stop to observe what was emitting from the various speakers lining the room. During the performance, the audience stilled and the artists and the audio material activated. CuÃ©llar, playing the accordion and free reeds, moved his own body around and through the space, while Kramer used two custom-built apparatuses: his customized inductive mixing table and customized cassette tape player. Kramer, kneeling on the floor, using this table, which â€œredistributes the sounds of the Vinculum archive as they are played back through small speakers resting at different locations on its surface,â€ Â changes the location from where sounds poured. The cassette tape instrument Kramer designed and created is able to â€œmake a record of the sonic space that also reproduces the recording from moments ago while simultaneously recapturing its own output.â€ 
These devices together create space and time that shift and refuse to remain static or linear. The changes in the part of the room that contained the raw recordings from the Vinculum archive created a constantly changing environment of breathing; audio materials from their ongoing-archive emerged in the space and surrounded the audience with breath. CuÃ©llar, changing positions throughout the space of the installation, used the accordionâ€™s keys and bellows to breathe sounds throughout the room. Coppiceâ€™s contribution to the installation as a whole grounded the audience and the space itself creating a material terrain the viewer could navigate and explore.
Coppiceâ€™s installation and performance at Tritriangle emerged from its ongoing project since 2010Vinculum, a constantly shifting index of sounds, bodies, and space that involves isolating and highlighting particular sounds that are specific to Coppice. Sitting down with CuÃ©llar and Kramer in their studio, they describe their interest in the â€œbehavior of soundsâ€ Â and the ways in which different sounds demand a different kind of listening. However, Coppice is not necessarily interested in making the listener more aware of the plethora of quotidian sounds that may surround her. Rather, the listener is encouraged to connect to the collection of sounds Coppice draws from to create their compositions. The work is deeply self-referential in its consistent pointing back to itself, its own self-reflexivity. The recordings, which are used to form Coppice compositions, are stored and categorized as specimens the listener can study and discover within the work. Coppiceâ€™s archival process, which involves recording the sounds and storing them in built containers or vessels – hand-sewn pouches or built wooden boxes (for Vinculum Specimen Edition), produces a peculiar meditation on the nature of cataloguing. What is capable of being stored? What should be saved? The individual entries/specimens can then be accessed and experienced by the listener in a multitude of ways. Coppice encourages the listener â€œto play the discs simultaneously on repeat from multiple players when possible.â€ Â However, the listener has the ability to change the order and method of playback to create her own way of experiencing the archived sounds. The archive is not static and is rather presented as a collection that is open to change and re-arrangement; it is an â€œopen composition.â€ 
Coppice describes the sounds of Vinculum as quiet and having to be found from a particular point of view. Because Coppice is concerned with each soundâ€™s specific experiential condition, the recordings in the archive capture the particular spatial arrangement necessary to recognize the sound, making the archive one of space and the way the listener and the instrument inhabit space. Many of the sounds Coppice finds, makes, and records relate to the human body and its rhythms. The breath that passes through a tube and the air that traverses through the bellows of an accordion or pump organ indicate the necessity of the body to the production of that sound, whether it is the musicianâ€™s breath, hands, or feet interacting with the instrument or apparatus. They claim that it is the â€œair on the edge of thingsâ€ Â that makes its way into the auditory. Coppiceâ€™s sounds that insist on the â€œair on the edge of thingsâ€ found themselves in conversation with Frizâ€™s dreamy cloud of radio breath that floated above their audio terrain.
Nocturne; Anna Frizâ€™s Radiogenic Objects
Canadian sound and radio artist Anna Friz, who is currently based in Chicago, performed second, immediately following Coppice, in the installationâ€™s landscape. While the suspended radios picked up the transmission of an accordion-played melody, Friz began to play that same phrase in the middle of the space. The recordings emanating from the tiny radios and the live instrument in the installation mingled together in a sea of sounds and lights. When the recorded melody ended, Friz used the live accordion with its bellows to create a drone, filling the space. At one point, Friz got up, put the accordion down, turned on the handbuilt radios, picked up the harmonica, and began to play the instrument, sending it through the transmitters to the radios filling the space above my head.
Nocturne is an iteration of her radiophonic installations that began in 2006 with You are far from us, a project she has been transforming since its premiere at Radio Revolten Festival at Ã„rtzejaus in Halle, Germany. The work explores the notion that radio technology is not disembodied, and that it actually holds within it traces of bodies and perhaps even allows us to overcome distance between bodies. Friz materializes the radioâ€™s possible embodiment through voice and its breath, corporeality, and emotion. Breath and radio are intimately linked; Friz describes the phenomenon of the breath and radio static as sharing the same frequency range – a fascinating aspect of radioâ€™s embodiment. She also describes the radios and their tendency to drift from their frequencies as a precarious bodily situation, not unlike human and nonhuman animal bodies that are subject to their environments and situations. The radios are in relationships with each other, though mediated through the multiple radio transmitters that populate the ceiling of the space.
The first manifestation of the installation You are far from us involved four transmitters, 50 radios, and 5-10 hand-crank Grundigs. This installation focused on the disastrous human condition and the ways in which it is transmitted and created through radio. In her statement for You are far from us, Friz asks the question: â€œWhat nearly inaudible signals, transmitted in moments of intensity or crisis â€” what do people seek to transmit, in a moment between the intake of breath and the breath held, waiting, in tension?â€ Â Further, in turning to the specificity of the radio, she states that â€œ[b]uilt on breath and other bodily exclamations typically absent from regular radio broadcasts, the radios operate at the limit of their capacity to transmit emotion.â€ Â This interest in the radio as entity and performer itself is something Friz has been working with, an evolvement of her earlier work which conceptualized the radio as containing within itself people and that â€œthe voices emanating from the radio were the voices of the little people who lived inside. Turn on the radio, the little people begin to talk, change the station and they change their voices. I imagined the radio people waited inside while the radio was off, ever ready to perform at the click of the dial.â€ Â Now, she conceptualizes the radios themselves as the performing entities, not tied to a necessarily anthropomorphic view of the world. This is not to say that the radios are entirely outside the realm of human experience; they experience the precariousness of the world in perhaps a similar way. They tune in to frequencies and then drift off, floating and locking into a new one â€” a new world experience.
Friz describes the radios suspended in the floating cloud as sleeping, experiencing REM cycles, taking in the day and processing it through dreams. Nocturne at Tritriangle is an outgrowth of the section â€œNocturneâ€ from Frizâ€™s previous installation You are far from us, with the sectionâ€™s intent being â€œstilling the breath and relaxing [the radios].â€ Â Friz emphasizes that she chooses to privilege the auditory over the visual in the installation because it helps the listener â€œfocus attention on moving through spaceâ€ Â and instills the notion that the listener is a sensing body. The stilling of the breath and the radios drives home this recognition. When limiting one sense, other senses heighten. The viewer is no longer dependent on the two orbs situated in the front of the head as guides through space. The audio creates spatial relationships that enable the viewer to navigate the space at her own leisure. This navigational drifting relates to the radiosâ€™ own drifts. The radios experience the phenomenon of capture effect, thus causing them to detune and find a new channel to occupy. For Friz, the detuning isnâ€™t necessarily about interference, since the notion of interference corresponds to a cybernetic theory of communication with involves fidelity to a message. Rather, she is interested in exploring “fields of influence.” Â The radiosâ€™ detuning donâ€™t mark a deficiency or breakdown. Instead, the tuning into different frequencies seem to reflect human and nonhuman animal choices to take a turn, go down a different path. The suspension of the inhale,  creates the space in which life is lived, with all of its precariousness.
Coppice and Friz created an environment in which the audience and the device could all breathe together, exchanging exhalations and inhalations actualizing a cloud of respiration. Focusing on the breath allows us to recognize that we are constantly exchanging material from our own bodies with the world. Though, this body in its continual state of exchange shows us that the molecules in our own bodies arenâ€™t static and canâ€™t always belong to us; these molecules are only finding themselves to exist within us for a passing moment in time. â€œThe breath does not belong to the self. It enters and exists of its own accord. It inhabits the empty space of the lungs for brief periods and the same molecules and particles may never enter again.â€ 
 Personal conversation with Anna Friz and Coppice at the performance, May 25, 2013.
Â Coppice,Â A Vinculum Variation,Â http://www.futurevessel.com/coppice/work/performance-installation/a-vinculum-variation.
Â Joseph Kramer, “Episode 31: Porous Notion: Index Fragments and Interpretation,” Radius (Oct. 2012):Â http://theradius.us/episode31.
Â Personal interview with Coppice, June 5, 2013.
Â Coppice, Vinculum, http://www.futurevessel.com/coppice/work/recordings/vinculum.
Â Personal interview with Coppice.
 Anna Friz,Â You are far from us,Â http://nicelittlestatic.com/sound-radio-artworks/you-are-far-from-us/.
 Anna Friz, Who are the people inside your radio,Â http://nicelittlestatic.com/sound-radio-artworks/who-are-the-people-in-your-radio/.
Â Personal interview with Friz, June 8, 2013.
Â Friz describes the inhalation as suspension.
Â Meredith Kooi, â€œAristophanesâ€™ Hiccups and Relational Spasms,â€ given at Location/Location symposium organized for Field Static: A Group Show About the Object, Co-Prosperity Sphere (Chicago, IL: June 6, 2012), 6.
The following article has been circulating around the art-internet of late and I thought I’d repost it here for your consideration.
A Letter to Goldsmiths art students on capitalism, art and pseudo-critique
written byÂ Prolapsarian
Dear Goldsmiths Art Students, I attended yourÂ MFA showÂ two nights ago. I apologise to an extent: with so many artworks on display it was difficult to digest any of them. That situation was exacerbated by the fact that so few of the works seemed to have it in them to behave destructively towards the others. Maybe this is where I can begin: that the type of co-operation between artworks, their intellectual co-ordination, is something I find troubling. It didnâ€™t seem to me to be the co-operation of a school thinking together, but instead the co-ordination of the school uniform, of a discipline that had been so fully internalised that all of the artworks, under its authority, might comfortably coalesce. That made those artworks difficult to be with. I want to write to you about a single gesture that was performed by a great majority of the artworks in the show (although there were some important exceptions). It is a gesture that claims to determine a relation between artworks and â€œcapitalismâ€. It is of no surprise that under the contemporary situation of global capital, undergoing its most profound crisis in eighty years â€“ creating conditions not only of mass destitution but also of mass resistance and protest â€“ that the relation between art and capital would present itself more explicitly in the new works of art than has been the case in the last decades. But the expression of this relation of art and capital in the work displayed at your show was not only predictable, but questionable on both political and aesthetic grounds. The gesture that I refer to is that of artworks that attempt to parody capitalism, and in this parody hope to effect a critical irony through the apparent distance between the artwork (and its social situation) and the forms of commodity or capital that it parodies. In this gesture the artwork proclaims a radicalism, a dissatisfaction with the actually existing. It proclaims that the object of this dissatisfaction is â€œcapitalismâ€. The modes of making explicit the structure of parody are plural: some take up the bathetic disjunction through a fully instrumental comparison with some hazy far-away classicism or humanism; others exaggerate the shoddiness of capitalâ€™s products; others rely on a revelatory mode whereby it is claimed something of capitalâ€™s seamy underbelly is exposed; while others are just bits of fixed capital â€“ most often employing the high technologies of marketing â€“ transposed into the gallery-space. But the gesture of this parody common to all of them will, I imagine, be familiar to you. read more